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US: Ford to commercialise new windscreen mount technology

By Graeme Roberts | 17 November 2011

Ford has invented a new method of preparing vehicle windscreens for attachment to cars and trucks that it said is simpler, more cost-efficient and 'eco-friendly'. 

Ford is working with companies like Plasmatreat US to bring new technology to market.

The new, patented process makes the attachment less costly, simpler and more eco-conscious than current practices.

One patent covers cleaning and activating the edge of the windshield glass in less than 10 seconds. A second covers the application of a plasma-reacted nano-coating that modifies the surface for bonding of the adhesive that holds the windscreen in place. The entire patented process takes less than one minute.

Larry Haack, a technical expert at Ford Research & Innovation, said there are several benefits of the new technology including elimination of the primers that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

 “The new process has the potential to reduce costs because it requires far less material to create the ultra-thin bond coating, and the fully automated process is much less labour-intensive,” said Haack. “This new process also lessens the use of chemicals including VOCs, which is good for the environment.”

The typical method to attach a windshield – used throughout the industry – is to first wipe the glass with a solvent cleaner, then apply a primer and adhesive to secure the windshield to the vehicle. Part of the problem, said Haack, is that this method releases a small amount of highly undesirable solvent emissions.

The new technology eliminates the use of the solvents that contain VOCs and simplifies the manufacturing process by reducing steps, such as wiping the glass clean.

Ford recently signed a non-exclusive, worldwide licence agreement with Plasmatreat that grants the right to use the automaker’s new process patents and incorporate the technology into Plasmatreat’s own equipment and patented processes. Ford also will provide technical assistance to Plasmatreat and its customers to implement technology using the automaker's experience and know-how.  

Chris Danowski, technology commercialisation director, Ford Global Technologies, said the new technology will be offered worldwide first in equipment that Plasmatreat plans to sell or lease to Ford, other automotive OEMs, the heavy truck market, motor home and bus industries and other customers who want to use it.

Ford Global Technologies manages intellectual property for the automaker and commercialises technologies for use inside and outside the automotive industry.