Date: 30 October 2001
Certification to the ECE-Regulation offers an added advantage in that it will also certify the glass in countries that are Contracting Parties of the 1958 UN-ECE Agreement (i.e., many of the former Eastern Bloc countries).
Although the two standards deal with many forms of safety glazing, this article will address only uniformly-toughened glass panes and ordinary laminated-glass windshields.
ECE/EEC Certification Testing of Safety Glazing
The ECE/EEC certification tests may be performed either at the manufacturer's TUV-approved facilities (provided they are in possession of the prescribed test equipment) or at an outside approved test facility. The glazing manufacturer also needs to provide an information folder for each glass type tested. This must include a detailed description of the glazing, in accordance with the ECE/EEC standards.
For windshields, the glazing manufacturer also needs to include pertinent vehicle-based information, such as the vehicle's manufacturer, the type of vehicle, the vehicle category, the size and shape of windshield, the installation angle, the seat-back angle and the R-point (driver's hip point) coordinates relative to the center of the upper edge of the windshield.
The technical description of the safety glazing provided in the information folders(s) will ultimately appear on the manufacturer's ECE/EEC approval certificate(s).
Upon satisfactory completion of the certification tests, a technical report (to which the manufacturer's information folder is annexed) is sent to the appropriate European governmental authorities, at which time they will issue an ECE/EEC approval to the glazing manufacturer.
Uniformly-Toughened Glass Panes
Uniformly-toughened glass panes are more commonly known as tempered glass panes. This type of safety glazing is common in the automobile industry for such applications as side windows, rear windows and sunroofs. The glass is designed to shatter into small, dull pieces upon impact.
The following inspections/tests need to be performed in accordance with the ECE/EEC standards:
Glass panes are fragmented by means of a hammer or center punch, and the break pattern is evaluated. Of concern are large, elongated or knife-edged fragments. Also, the number of fragments in a given area is regulated to avoid very small fragments, which could penetrate the airways of occupants, and very large fragments, which could result in cuts.
Mechanical Strength Test
Test pieces are subjected to a ball drop test on the outside face of the glass pane (if applicable) at the geometric center from a height of either 2.0 m or 2.5 m, depending upon the glass thickness. The test is deemed to have given a satisfactory result if the test piece(s) does not break.
Light Transmission Test
The regular light transmittance (i.e., the percentage of light that passes through the glazing) is determined. The applications of glazing with low light transmittance (i.e., < 70%) are limited to non-critical areas from a visibility point-of-view, such as sunroofs and rear quarter windows.
Ordinary Laminated-Glass Windshields
Ordinary laminated-glass windshields are also known as laminated windscreens. This type of safety glazing is common in the automobile industry for the majority of cars and trucks, etc.