Have we always hadwindshields? Nope. In fact, drivers of early cars had to make do with a nifty looking pair of DRIVING GOGGLES to protect them from any scrapes and bumps. Needless to say, they weren’t very effective.So windshields were invented in 1904, but they still weren’tvery safe. Early windshields were very brittle and shatteredon impact, causing some pretty nasty injuries. Luckily, auto glass nowadays is much safer, thanks to the process of LAMINATION. But what is this mysterious process and how does it help? Let’s find out…
It all starts with a plainsheet of glass… The glass is SCORED (but not cut all the way through) by an automated cutting wheel.A robot then heats the score with a very hot flame. TheTHERMAL SHOCK completes the cut – this is the best wayto cleanly cut a piece of glass. The cut edges are then SANDED DOWN by sanding belts to make them smooth.The beautifully cut, smooth edged piece of glass is thenwashed with SOAPY WATER to prepare it for the next stagein the process…
Pairing, painting andmoulding The glass is LAYERED with another sheet of glass temporarily for processing. The sheets are TREATED with a mix of talcum powder and water to stop them sticking to each other.The outer rim of the glass is PAINTED black to match thedesign of the car. Then the two sheets are placed onto a special mould and processed in an oven – the high heat makes the glass MELT into the correct bended shape for the car.The glass then goes through a very slow cooling process , soit comes out the other end EXTRA TOUGH
The lamination processThe two pieces are then separated, and a sheet of VINYL isplaced between them. When the vinyl is first put in place, it is a cloudy white colour, which would be useless to see through! So, the windshield is sent to a NIPPER, which is a series of rubber rollers. The rollers squeeze out any air pockets in the vinyl to make it clear.The windshield is then taken to a special PRESSURECOOKER which takes the very last of the air bubbles out ofthe vinyl. This laminating process ensures that in the event of an impact, the glass may BREAK but it won’t SHATTER, as the vinyl will hold the broken glass together.
One final check… The windshields are then manually CHECKED for any chips, scratches and other blemishes.Finally, a sample windshield is SAFETY checked. If it passesthe test, the batch is good to go!
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