by Bob Beranek

There was a great deal of interest in the introduction of Pilkington’s new Calibration Tool, the Opti-Aim™, at this year’s Auto Glass Week held in San Antonio, Texas.

Every time the tool was demonstrated on the show floor, the Pilkington booth was surrounded by an interested audience. The Opti-Aim is not for sale yet; estimates are it will be available during the first quarter of 2017, although Pilkington did accept pre-orders during the show.

The tool is simple to use and effective with both dynamic (in motion) calibrations and static (in shop) calibrations, although Pilkington recommends that a test drive be done after every calibration to assure systems are working properly.

According to Pilkington, the tool will come with everything needed to calibrate the vehicle including the aiming panels, an electronic device that plugs into the OBD port, and the necessary training to successfully complete the calibration.

Corning Glass had a booth that featured their Gorilla Glass product. The first use of a Gorilla glass windshield in a production vehicle was in the 2016 Ford GT model. The glass is lightweight and resists breakage better than regular annealed glass. I predict Gorilla Glass will be looked at seriously by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to aid in weight reduction and better fuel efficiency in new vehicles. Corning even brought along a device to demonstrate the features of the Gorilla Windshield and the break-resistant properties.

The Replacement and Repair Olympics did not disappoint either. Both competitions brought participants from all over the world. The repair champion came to from Lugo, Spain. Braulio Lopez did a great job and we congratulate him on a job well done.

Alfredo Calva of Alfredo’s Auto Glass in Corona, Calif., captured the Regular-Sized Company award after several times trying. You may know Alfredo from his YouTube installation videos. Desmonde Ellington from GlassPro in Mount Pleasant, S.C., won the Large Company award. Congratulations to all the competitors, not just the winners. They all did extremely well. The competition is not easy to win, but these technicians show that attention to detail and perseverance will take you far in the AGR Industry.

This year’s event drew more than 30 percent more attendees than last year and had rave reviews from all who attended. I urge all who read this post to plan on attending next year’s Auto Glass Week in Florida and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy yourself and learn new things.

Ford Gorilla Smaller for OnlineThere is a new use for Corning’s Gorilla glass by Ford Motor Company in the new GT model for the 2016-17 model years.

When I say Gorilla Glass windshields, what is the first thing you think of? Unbreakable glass? Loss of business? Reduced revenue? Well, rest assured that these windshields will not put you out of business. On the contrary, it may make you more money the more it is used on everyday vehicles due to its initial increased cost.

If you read the article carefully or look at the video, it says, “The hybrid windshield consists of three layers. The Gorilla Glass serves as the inner layer, a plastic adhesive is the interlayer and annealed soda lime glass serves as the outside layer, according to Corning.” This means that the outer layer exposed to road debris is not changed from the current type of annealed glass windshield. It will not make the breakage any less. The main purpose of the use of Gorilla glass is weight reduction with increased strength for roof support, not break resistance.

It is no surprise that Ford was the innovator for this new type of hybrid windshield. Ford is one of the early pioneers of utilizing glass for roof support in their early model Taurus and they continued the technology with other new models.

It is also no surprise that carmakers are seriously looking for ways to reduce weight to meet the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) laws put upon them from the federal government. The Gorilla Glass product fits that bill very nicely. The use of Gorilla glass can reduce the glass weight in a vehicle up to 30 percent, which is substantial.

The introduction of this type of automotive glass, to me, was inevitable. Our entire industry should be grateful to Ford, Corning and Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) for designing a hybrid that will not hurt the aftermarket glass shop.