Gains will derive from a variety of factors, including resurgent growth in nonresidential building construction activity, continuing rapid growth in a variety of emerging technologies (such as smart glass and self-cleaning glass) and strong gains in laminated glass used as hurricane glass, ballistic glass and burglary-resistant glass.Solid advances for certain niche products in the large motor vehicle market will also contribute to growth. In the residential construction market, expanding market penetration of self-cleaning and smart glass products will offset a weak new housing environment. These and other trends are presented in Advanced Flat Glass, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Overall, solar control advanced flat glass products will post the fastest growth through 2010. On the other hand, the dominant safety and security segment will experience much slower growth.
Other flat glass products will post above-average growth, due to very rapid gains in heads-up display windscreens and self-cleaning glass. Among the most rapidly growing advanced flat glass products is so-called “smart glass.” These products can alter their own levels of light transmission automatically via the application of an electric current. The dominant application for smart glass technology to this point has been electrochromic mirrors for motor vehicles. These products are making rapid inroads in the automotive market, reflective of the overall trend in motor vehicle design toward the greater use of electronics to improve vehicle safety, navigation, communications and comfort. Looking forward, significant growthwill be provided by other smart glass products, primarily in architectural markets, as electrochromic and suspended particle device (SPD) technologies make inroads into window applications.