Windscreen Manufacturers – What do they Really Mean?

 

“We fit OEM standard glass” is a statement trotted out by many windscreen replacement companies, and unless you are fulfilling your offer by fitting genuine, car manufacturer-branded or OEM branded glass, you’re well, misleading us all. The end users will think they’re getting manufacturer authentic, genuine parts but they’re not, and most will be unaware of the difference. Windscreens and other vehicle glass which are not OEM branded are often described as ‘OEM equivalent’. Another confusing statement.

This confusion can be traced back to the manufacturers.

But first and foremost, a distinction must be made between OEM branded windscreens and (glass) and (glass) manufacturer-branded aftermarket, or what some people may refer to as ‘copy’ glass. There are some automotive glass manufacturers who produce ‘genuine’ glass which is fitted to cars during assembly as well as supplied to their OEM (or, main dealer) parts networks; some manufacturers cater for the aftermarket glass replacement (AGR) market and some will supply both industry sectors. Some of these brands are better known than others, but how can you tell the difference? For example, Guardian Llodio Uno S.L manufacture glass for some Audi models and the glass will display the Audi ‘four rings’ logo above their own. Guardian Llodio Uno S.L also produce a ‘non branded’ glass which does not feature the Audi logo. A question often asked is, is it the same glass with one obvious difference in detail? Many installers will tell you it’s the same glass off the same production line. There also some windscreens (and vehicle body glass) which fall into both categories. Pilkington produces windscreens for SEAT cars; the Ibiza model for example, will clearly feature the ‘SEAT’ logo. A windscreen via an authorised SEAT dealer parts seller will also feature the same logo however, the same glass from an aftermarket supplier will have the SEAT logo removed (usually by laser) and overlaid with a black Pilkington logo:

Seat OEM Windscreen by Pilkington

Seat OEM Windscreen by Pilkington

Pilkington Windscreen for Seat

Pilkington Windscreen for Seat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, no definitive answer why this is. It could well be required due to restrictions imposed by commercially complicated bureaucracy. But Pilkington’s Executive Director Pat Zito ‘certifies’ their products by stating:

“Pilkington manufacturing processes and products meet the highest quality standards set by the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers. All Pilkington glass products supplied are always certified ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT PARTS and ORIGINAL SPARE PARTS”

Aftermarket (AGR) glass versus Genuine (OEM). Same, or different?

“Antonio Girbrau Ortega, Superior Ind Engineer and Quality Manager of Guardian Llodio Uno S. L.

C E R T I F I E S

That all replacement glazing produced by Guardian Llodio Uno S. L.., identified with the Guardian logo, are manufactured according to the same specifications and standards as the Original Equipment used for vehicles. It means that the replacement glazing has the same quality as the Original Equipment parts.

Besides, the Company is in the possession of the following Quality System Standards:

ISO 9001 : 2.000

Automotive Standard QS-9000

Automotive Standard VDA 6.1″

At face value, it all seems fairly straight forward, and glancing at the Quality Manager’s statement appears to confirm that there is no “quality” difference between an OEM Guardian glass and a non-branded equivalent.

Andrea Vietti Ramus – Quality Manager ARG Europe for Asahi Glass Company (AGC) and Spintex glass – has an interestingly different choice of key words:

“This is to confirm that all products made by Splintex for the ARG market respond to OEM main technical and aesthetic characteristics.
Furthermore, all Splintex products are homologated according to:

European R43 regulation, revision 1 – add. 42 (March 1987) of UN and European Directive 92/22 (1992)
American Standard ANSI Z.26.1.

Finally, please note that Splintex products specifically for the ARG market do not bear the car manufacturer logo”

What exactly does ‘respond to’ mean? There is a criteria set out and our products respond to it? It would be reassuring to the end user if products surpassed those prerequisites, surely? But if their non OEM glass “responds” merely to “main technical and aesthetic characteristics” could mean that the glass looks the same (aesthetically) and is the same size (technically). This statement could, technically speaking, apply to mock designer handbags or faked expensive watches, “this watch responds to Breitling’s¬† design criteria”.

Taken from their website, Polish manufacturers Nordglass state:

“NordGlass company produces high-class windscreens for over 650 popular car models sold in Europe. Our company also deals with the distribution and selling of side and rear windows as well as accessories necessary for the assembly of car windscreens.

We offer our Customers a product that is compliant with the strictest requirements of the industry, for original parts as well, with all necessary legal requirements. Our products meet OEM standards both in terms of materials used and technological process parameters, therefore obtaining the assumed technical specification of this product line.”

The glass manufacturing business is now busier and more competitive that it has ever been. There are Chinese brands, Polish, South African and Turkish manufacturers all pitching to produce more and more glass for the AGR and, or OEM markets. It’s even evident on new cars; the front windscreen, the door glasses and the heated rear window might all bear the same car manufacturer logo, but the glass itself might be from three different manufacturers.

One thing we can be sure of is if your glass comes via an OEM source and is branded with the vehicle manufacturer logo, it’s about as genuine as you can get. But with the others, take your chances. It looks the same, it might measure the same; the product ‘responds’ the same, but nobody can tell us if it really is the same.

 

 

 

 

 

OEM Glass via Insurance

Aside

It is widely thought of, that these ‘price control mechanisms’ which largely regulate the windscreen insurance claim values, act, in a significant way, to sell more aftermarket ‘copy’ glass and deny the consumer the benefit (and option) of genuine parts (OEM).

The underwriters add to this by adding in some terms and conditions to their policies which only become clear in the event of a claim. This is a salient point and should be discussed and made clear before an insurance proposal is accepted.

Textbook Bullseye

First, the impact mark/point is tidied. The break is then dried to remove any moisture present.

Stonechip Repair Windscreen

Windscreen Chip Repair BMW X5

Once the optimum working temperature is achieved, most of the air is removed from behind the impact:

Windscreen Chip Repair

Vacuum stage

The resin injector is positioned over the break for the next step:

Windscreen repair equipment

Glass Doctors bridge with Novus injector

A pressure (and if needed, vacuum) cycle is applied to remove any remaining air and the resin is cured under Ultra Violet light. The final stage is to fill the impact crater with a finishing resin which is also cured under a UV lamp.

Chipped Windscreen Repair

Job done

A textbook bullseye and one of the easiest to repair.

 

 

The Consumer Cash Inn

Aside

There is a coachworks establishment¬† which is involved in the repair of damaged cars for a Porsche seller (amongst others). Some of the work they do requires the windscreen (or other glass) to be removed. The windscreen guys they were calling in were cheap. But the proverbial poo hit the fan when an old 930 nearly filled up with water after all the windows (which they had fitted) leaked water like they weren’t there. This is when they started to realise why their subbies could afford to be cheap.

Our customer had sold the car in question and embarrassingly for them, the problems occurred when the new owner took the car out for a drive on what later turned out to be a rainy day. The seller’s boss called me and explained the situation. We sorted the problem and whenever the Porsche seller (my customer) needs any of their cars glazed/de-glazed/whatever, I’m happy to now go to that bodyshop to do the work (understandably, he doesn’t want to chance a repeat scenario). The bodyshop guys admitted that the ‘other’ guys they were using weren’t very good and it’s only until they’d seen a Porsche being done correctly that they realised just how much the job really involved.

The boss of this bodyshop has since asked me to have a look at his own car which had its windscreen replaced by ‘that’ other company. It quite simply needed removing and refitting and the list of reasons why would be too long to list; besides, it would deviate from the purpose of this post (but it was quite a significant cock-up they had got away with until that point). I put everything right and showed him all the issues, and in the name of goodwill, he was charged a lesser rate (well, I also felt sorry that he had such a bad experience with these guys).

Fast forwarding to the present, the same guy – the boss of the same bodyshop – asked me to price up a windscreen replacement for a job they had in. I duly obliged. His response was quite incredible, “I can get it 25 pounds cheaper” and as it happened, it would be from the not-so-good windscreen company he’d been using before. Now this isn’t about my ability to negotiate a 25-quid difference and I’m certainly not interested in Dutch auctions especially on already discounted ‘trade’ prices. Yes, I’m in business and to remain so, I must be competitive to a point. What, or where that position really, and literally is the point: someone is having their car repaired at this guy’s shop and they are potentially having inferior/unsafe work done on it. The shop owner knows the guys replacing the windscreen are shoddy and are clearly not up to doing the job correctly, but in the name of retaining a larger margin – all 25 quid of it – he’s prepared to take a chance.

A chance which will only become clear when – like on his own car – wind howls into the car as a result of poor application of materials and improper installation of parts. Let’s hope for all involved, the car is not involved in a front end collision scenario whereby a deployed airbag is reliant on a properly installed windscreen to be effective in minimising injury to the vehicle’s occupants. He won’t have them work on his own car, but for his customers it’s all about the money he can make from them?

 

 

BMW 5 F10/F11 Windscreen

A few images of a BMW windscreen being fitted correctly to an F11 (2012 5 Series Touring). There are many misconceptions about windscreens and how they are installed. The aim of this post is to show the key stages so that you can gain a better understanding of how your windscreen is fitted.

First, the substrate is cleaned and removed of any contaminants as part of the pre-bonding preparation:

BMW 5 Windscreen - prep stage

Preparation is crucial; get this wrong and it’s only a matter of time before the problems begin to manifest themselves. Here you see the addition of Polyurethane adhesive (PUR) and a thick strip of absorbent material across the bottom of the glass.

BMW 5 Windscreen by Glasstec

Glasstec1 Images405 (2)

The new (OEM) windscreen comes with all the correct hardware:

.BMW Windscreen

Special attention to detail includes ensuring the windscreen will be ‘set’ at the recommended height by using the correct buffers, and positioning them according to the manufacturer’s specification:

Windscreen Buffer

The windscreen is now set in place and aligned against markers set-out from laying the screen in ‘dry’. This reduces any time spent on measuring to centralise the glass.

Windscreen Fitted

No scratches to the paintwork means no black paint to hide them (one of the biggest misconceptions on what ‘black’ adhesion promoter is used for).

No Scratches

Before the A-pillar trims are refitted, a few checks are made just to satisfy that there is good contact of PUR between the two surfaces.

Glasstec Windscreen

Camera, rain/light sensor, condensation sensor and the rear view mirror assembly are reintroduced:

BMW Windscreen Technology

BMW 5 Series Touring F11 Windscreen: done.