by Bob Beranek
  • facebook

You may have been hearing about Auto Glass University this past year and the school has plans for the future. Although I do not use my blog as a means to market any endeavor, to avoid any misconceptions, I want to make sure everyone in the industry knows who we are and what we do.

First, a little history may be in order. In January of 2010, for my company Automotive Glass Consultants, I developed and wrote an online training program at www.AutoGlassUniversity.com. Auto Glass University (AGU) first went online live in January of that year. The purpose of this training course was to present in one place a current, unbiased and easily to update automotive glass training course that is accessible from anywhere. It can be used as the foundation for internal training programs, as a study guide for certification, or by academics and anyone else with a desire to know about the art of automotive glass installation. Auto Glass University is solely my trademarked product.

Based on the materials we assembled for the online site (and with the invaluable writing expertise of my talented wife and business partner Ann Schuelke) in 2011 we wrote and published the textbook, “The Complete Guide to Auto Glass Installation.” We felt the book would open up another avenue to present the automotive glass curriculum at an adult level of education.

Obviously, though, we all know that automotive glass installation cannot be completely taught by book learning. You must experience the use of tools to master them, feel the release of a molding from its clip and smell the chemical odor of primers, cleaners and adhesives. Without this practice, it is not possible to attain true competence at the technician level. I know this and you know this.

It has become increasingly clear that the industry needs a hands-on training “school” through which aspiring entrepreneurs and entry-level automotive glass technicians can learn the art of installation. So, when I was approached by Eric Asbery of Equalizer Industries with a proposal with that idea in mind, I felt it had real merit. Equalizer offered their beautiful training facility in Austin, Texas, as a location to hold week-long classes with a curriculum based on our book. Thus was born Auto Glass University Powered by Equalizer (AGU hands-on for short) in 2013. Gilbert Gutierrez and Jason Horne, who many of you know from Equalizer, are certified instructors for the school. We are adding additional certified instructors as the program expands.

Eric Asbery and I agreed on one thing from the beginning. Our curriculum, based on the AGU format, must have the absolute reputation of unbiased education without the hint of commercialism. It is to Eric’s great credit that not only was this his desire as well, he made sure that concept was clearly understood by all his employees affiliated with our project.

Eric’s commitment to be an unbiased source of training is so strong that we hold a “Vendor Night” during each training session. At each Auto Glass University class, Equalizer hosts tool makers and suppliers from all over the industry to showcase and demonstrate their products, including his direct competitors. Eric and his organization put money and an immense amount of effort in helping us make sure the school was one that the industry could be proud of. “Auto Glass University, Powered by Equalizer” is named perfectly because it describes the relationship exactly the way it is, education first and industry support second.

AGU will never deviate from its core of unbiased education. During the hours of instruction, there will be nothing but practical instruction. If the names of specific products are mentioned, it will be for illustration purposes only. There are no favorites at AGU, just partners with a common goal of safe, quality automotive glass installation. Promotional events or offers after the day’s instruction or at breaks can be very informational to students new to the industry but they are completely optional to the students.

In the coming months, we plan to expand AGU to other regions of the country to make the program more affordable to those students who may not be close to Texas. You will see other industry sponsors, supporters and benefactors named in relation to AGU. These friends know that our future as an automotive glass replacement industry is dependent on the training and education available to our future leaders.

I hope this clears up any questions concerning AGU and AGU Powered by Equalizer. If not, feel free to contact me. I look forward to your feedback.

Glass preparation is very important to the success of the bonding chain, but proper preparation of the body’s frame (the pinchweld) is equally important. In most cases we don’t actually prep the pinchweld, but we prep the bonding surface applied to the pinchweld. The bonding surface is most often the existing original bead of urethane applied by the vehicle manufacturer, but it could be the OE paint, OE primer or aftermarket primer. In any case, the bonding must be attained by following the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions exactly as written.

The first universal understanding of bonding adhesives is that an adhesive will always adhere better to itself, or its chemical twin, than to any other surface. Thus, urethane adheres better to urethane than it does to other surfaces or coatings. That being said, it is our goal to reach a pure uncontaminated urethane surface to which we will bond. Getting there is the skilled part of the installation.

Our goal should be to cut out the glass from the vehicle and strip the urethane from the body cleanly without scratching any of the painted surfaces. And, in a perfect world, all technicians would cleanly re-install the glass without any excessive urethane oozing to the pinchweld wall leaving 1-2 mm (millimeter) of original urethane by which the next technician could replicate the first installation and so on and so on. However, that is not how things are in the real world. Many times the technician finds improper prior installations, sloppy body work or corrosion that has to be treated. This means that pinchweld preparation is more difficult to attain and experienced decision-making must be implemented to correct the problem or create the proper bond.

The next series of posts I plan to share is how we deal with each of the situations that might present itself in preparation of the bonding surface. All of these discussions are in the adhesive instructions of your chosen urethane product, but I have found that the instructions are either forgotten or seldom taught because they are not followed or understood universally.

Basic Body Preparation

The basic body preparation instruction is the first one that every urethane manufacturer prints in their instructions and teaches. The reason is because it is the scenario that is most commonly seen by the technician; it is the simplest to explain, easiest in theory and most cost effective.

Simplest

Remove the glass, trim back the existing urethane to 1-2 mm (1/16 of an inch), apply urethane and set the glass.

Easiest

There is no need to add primer to the existing bead because urethane sticks best too itself.

Cost Effective

If there are no scratches caused, no primer is needed and cost can be reduced.

BobPinchweldPhoto

This is the perfect world scenario that unfortunately many of us see only seldom due to the issues named above. However, we should keep trying to attain this perfect bonding scenario because it is the simplest, easiest and least expensive way to go. We can increase the frequency of this basic preparation with the use of technologically advanced tools and the implementation of improved technique. Eliminate scratches and contamination and you have contributed greatly to the steps necessary to the perfect installation.

What do I mean by technologically advanced tools and improved technique? I mean the new wire-out tools, power tools and how they’re used, and special cold knife blades all contribute to less body damage. Strip out tools and the techniques in stripping the urethane from the body also reduce the chance of paint damage. Less body damage means less additional preparation is needed for bonding and more profits are realized due to increased productivity.

Next week we will look at the more challenging body preparation issues.

On this the first post for 2014, I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting on my posts, without you this blog would be nothing. I would also like to thank Deb Levy and her wonderful staff for putting up with me these past months and for the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions without restrictions.

The New Year will bring many new vehicle designs, technologies and challenges that we will tackle together. Feel free to call or email me with your questions, concerns or revelations that can be shared with all. This next year will be fun. May you all have a happy and prosperous New Year!

The next step in glass preparation is prepping or priming. There are primerless urethanes and they work very well as long as the glass is cleaned properly. However, if not cleaned properly, the installation could be compromised. Most adhesives require the application of a prep or a primer to promote maximum adhesion. A prep is a secondary cleaner or application to prepare for adhesion. A primer is a chemical applied to a substrate to enhance the bonding. Whether a prep or a primer is required to be applied, it must be applied correctly. Some are applied and allowed to flash. Some are applied and wiped off, while some are applied twice. But all must be applied in one direction and not applied back and forth.

There is also a reason that some adhesive manufacturers offer “one-use” disposable applicators. They want the material to be applied with as little contamination as possible. There are some techs that use and reuse applicators to save installation cost. Though this may sound like a good idea, it is not. Introducing contaminants to the bottle of material will only cause the whole bottle to be contaminated. Dip once, apply and throw away.

The last thing I want to leave you with concerning glass preparation is when should you prep the glass? The following is my opinion and recommendation. It is not written in any instruction manual. I prefer to prep my glass before I take the vehicle apart. This allows me to inspect the glass for defects; check the glass to make sure it is the proper part for the vehicle; and let the primer/preps dry thoroughly. I then flip the glass over on my cradle to keep airborne contaminants from falling on the bonding surface. On cold days, I may even prep the glass in the shop before doing the mobiles. This allows for preparation in a controlled environment and allows primers/preps to dry thoroughly but this means you bought the glass, so make sure the glass is right.

In summary, if there is one thing you pay attention to and make sure is done right, it is to wash and prep the glass according to the instructions you are given. Nothing is more important to a successful and safe installation than a properly prepped glass surface.