This next-generation product provides significant benefits to laminators, automakers and consumers.
"The Saflex tri-layer acoustic product provides laminators with outstanding handling and processing characteristics," said Rich Daniels, director of innovation and growth for Solutia's Saflex® business. "Not only does it offer easier handling when compared to monolayer products, but its unique structure provides outstanding de-airing performance and edge stability."
The product is a combination of three Saflex interlayers: one layer of specialized acoustic PVB sandwiched between two layers of traditional PVB. When laminated between two or more panes of glass, this Saflex tri-layer product is used to make laminated automobile windscreens, side windows and backlites. Use of the product enables noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) engineers to design a vehicle up to six decibels quieter than they would have been able to design with standard tempered glass. This provides drivers with a noticeably quieter and more comfortable driving experience.
"The market for acoustic interlayers has been growing by about 20 percent annually," said Tim Feast, worldwide business director for Solutia's Saflex business, "and we anticipate this type of growth will continue as automakers and consumers increasingly demand quieter vehicle cabins."
A number of trends are driving this increased demand. As people are spending more time in their cars, they desire a comfortable oasis where they can enjoy a premium sound system or a conversation without the intrusion of outside noise. Other factors driving demand include increased traffic and road noise, caused by urbanization and a rise in the use of diesel vehicles, which often are noisier than vehicles using other fuel sources. In addition, automakers are working to reduce the weight of their vehicles, an effort that can be bolstered by the use of laminated glass.
"For automakers, our current- and next-generation tri-layer acoustic products provide outstanding long-term stability against edge de-lamination issues in laminated acoustical glazing," said Daniels. "This also means acoustical automotive glazing can be installed without the need for edge seal protection, thereby reducing costs and enhancing car styling."
Daniels added, "Our Saflex tri-layer product is a 'drop in' solution for automakers, because its 30-gauge thickness is the same as a traditional laminated glass window. Automakers also value the fact that laminated glass weighs approximately 11 percent less than comparable tempered glass."
In addition to reducing noise, vibration and harshness, laminated glass made with Saflex interlayers has other inherent benefits valued by consumers. The tough PVB interlayer increases intrusion resistance by about 10 times over tempered glass. Laminated glass also protects passengers and interior materials from UV ray penetration. In fact, tests by the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency showed a 90 percent reduction in UV ray penetration with laminated glass versus 60 percent using ordinary tempered glass.
Saflex's current generation of acoustic interlayers is used by automakers such as General Motors Corporation, The Ford Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz, and PSA Peugeot Citroën. The next-generation Saflex tri-layer acoustic product will be featured at the Saflex exhibit (Hall 11, Stand A60) at Glasstec 2006. Samples of the new product are presently available, and laminator testing already has demonstrated exceptional results. Commercial quantities of the new product will be made available in the spring of 2007.