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Polycarbonate Glazing: an Alternative for Glass in the Automotive Industry

Automotive glazing involves the installation of windows in vehicles. Glass is widely used material for automotive glazing, but with changing dynamics of the automobile sector and consumer needs, it is slowly replaced by automotive polycarbonate. There is a growing trend of using polycarbonate, instead of glass for automotive glazing owing to its advantages of a lightweight, easy to use and thermal efficiency. Also, the polymer’s properties like high impact strength, excellent weathering, optical, electrical and thermal properties are surging its adoption in passenger and commercial vehicles, thereby boosting the automotive polycarbonate glazing market.

Advantages of Polycarbonate Glazing over Glass Windows:
Although polycarbonate was widely used initially as auto headlamps covers, its utilization in glazing components like side & rear windows, windscreens and sunroofs is increased due to its benefits over the glass. The polycarbonate sheets are 250x times stronger than glass and have high impact resistance. As per the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, the weight of polycarbonate window glazing is nearly 40-50% less in comparison to tempered or laminated automotive glass. Thus, reducing the overall weight of the vehicles and enhancing its fuel efficiency.
In addition, the polycarbonate glazing meets better safety standards as it is shatterproof. The easily moldable property provides ample scope of design flexibility and innovations in glazing products. Many plastic manufacturers like Chi Mei Corporation, Sabic, Renia’s Co. Ltd., and others make different types of polycarbonate sheets such as bulletproof, tinted and corrosion-resistant for diverse implementations. The polycarbonate glazing products like panoramic sunroofs and windows provide better transparency and light in the interior of vehicles.
The adoption of polycarbonate glazing is increasing in passenger cars, and commercial vehicles owing to its contribution in reducing the weight of vehicles, enhance its fuel efficiency and reduce the vehicular greenhouse gases emissions. As per new rules of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), auto manufacturers are forced to seek new ways to lessen fuel consumption. For reducing vehicles weight, auto manufacturers like GLM Co. (Japan) and Fiat Automobiles (Italy) announced the incorporation of polycarbonate windscreens in their electric vehicles, respectively- Tommykaira ZZ and Chrysler.
As a result, the gains from polycarbonate glazing over glass accompanied with other factors like flourishing automobile industries, increasing demand for sunroofs in cars and lightweight glazing products are stimulating the market growth of automotive polycarbonate glazing. Also, the strict carbon emission regulations in the wake of environmental concerns and necessity of fuel-efficient, advanced modern cars with custom-made components provide vast opportunities for the automotive polycarbonate glazing market.
The polycarbonate glazing has grabbed the automotive glazing products and services market by evolving as a less expensive, durable and better-insulated substitute for glass. The widening acceptance of polycarbonate over the glass in glazing materials results in the prosperity of polycarbonate glazing market on a global scale.

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Author: Inkwood Research

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