A federal agency’s ruling has opened the way for a new polycarbonate window system to be used for all non-windshield glazing, provided it meets all existing auto glazing requirements.
A federal agency’s ruling has opened the way for a new polycarbonate window system to be used for all non-windshield glazing, provided it meets all existing auto glazing requirements. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S. Dept. of Transportation has accepted independent lab certification showing that Exatec 900 glazing from Exatec LLC, Wixom, Mich., meets the NHTSA’s FMVSS regulations for auto glazing. “It’s now possible to use PC in all non-windshield locations globally,” says Exatec CEO Clemens Kaiser. Previously, PC was limited in the U.S. to non-passenger areas of the vehicle, typically in back cargo areas of SUVs, although there are no such applications yet. Exatec 900 passes all glazing requirements, including the important Taber abrasion test, which requires the change in haze to be no higher than 2%. Exatec, an international joint venture of GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., and Bayer MaterialScience, Pittsburgh, is not pursuing PC glazing options for windshields at this time, says Kaiser. Exatec 900 glazing is a three-part system that includes a PC substrate, water-based adhesion promoter, a 10-year weathering layer, and a glass-like, plasma-deposited hard coat. The hard coat is about 15 to 30 microns thick. The first company to use the Exatec 900 product commercially is Peguform Bohemia in Liberec, Czech Republic. This automotive molder has set up a separate company called CleverGlass to make PC side and rear windows and sun roofs. The plant, which will produce up to 2 million m2 of glazing, is expected to start up in 2007.