Manufacturing modern car windows at Pilkington Automobile Glass

Pilkington, Witten

Over time, the window glass for cars developed into a high-tech product, and the production of the modern car window is equally complicated and time-consuming.

Simple safety glass is no longer enough.

There are only a few specialists in the world who have mastered the production of such special glass. Today's vehicles have more and more technology on board that does not stop at the windshield. Not only are the panes curved, tinted, patterned, and composed of several layers, antennas and sensors are also built-in. The size of some single-piece windshields, seen on the front of modern coaches and trucks, is also impressive.

Manufacturing process - Top priority: cleanliness, high precision, and speed

Before raw panes become ready to install car windows, they must pass through many stages in the production process. These stages range from cutting and bending the basic glass to gluing two panes to form "laminated glass" with a special film. Additional elements such as antennas and sensors are then also installed here. What is extraordinary about this production is that after each production step, precise control with subsequent cleaning of the panes occurs, usually done with the help of a camera and computer, but also partly by hand. The panes need to be transported very quickly and precisely between the individual production steps. For example, up to 1m/sec transport speed with a positioning accuracy of 1/100 millimeter, which means a constant cycle time under ten milliseconds for the CPU.

SPEED7 for high-speed production

Initially, VIPA controllers only were intended for the expansion and modernization of the existing S5 system controls. But step by step, individual production systems are now being completely refitted with VIPA technology, for example, the S5 interface IM306 and CPU 315SN/NET, which will replace the old S5 controls in the Witten plant. It is necessary to automate as much as possible because of the intense competition in the automotive industry. Additionally, car manufacturers have long since stopped operating traditional warehousing, instead are relying on just-in-time delivery. Only manufacturers like Pilkington can be reliable suppliers to the automotive industry because the high degree of automation in production provides the necessary flexibility in combination with the automotive manufacturers.

VIPA is very happy to be a part of this!