Windscreen Technology: Not Just a Piece of Glass

Vehicle and windscreen technology is accelerating at an increasing rate including the use of glass as a structural component. Windscreen technology now bonds glass into place in a specific and controlled way, and becomes an integral element of the uni-body structure. This adds to the vehicle’s rigidity and strength so as with any structural component it’s important that Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) are used, rather than fake or non-branded after-market parts.  This is particularly important now that vehicle cameras and sensors are integrated into new windscreen technology.


New camera-based technology has improved safety – but many are unaware it requires special recalibration when windscreens are repaired.  ADAS is an industry term for the forward-facing camera technology that enables active-safety features like autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning and steering assistance on many modern cars. However, what’s not widely known is that when a windscreen is broken on an ADAS-equipped car, the system has to be recalibrated to ensure it’s operating correctly. This is because glass replacement involves removing the cameras/sensors and remounting them.  As a result specialist automotive glass repairers are investing in highly sophisticated re-calibration machines to speed up the replacement process and provide customers with surety.


Recalibration work can also be done at most franchise dealerships but having the same sophisticated equipment in-house means that glass specialists can offer a one stop shop service.  ADAS technology is a relatively new phenomenon  so not widespread in the NZ national vehicle fleet yet, though its growing fast within business fleets and will become commonplace over the next few years as the vehicles are upgraded and replaced.   ADAS is now essential for a top score in crash testing: 95 per cent of vehicles tested by EuroNcap in 2015 had some form of camera-based safety tech fitted.


There are three possible types of recalibration, depending on the vehicle:


“Static” recalibration requires a controlled environment with a levelled floor and is completed using specialist target boards.


“Dynamic” recalibration involves driving the vehicle with a hand-held device plugged in to the diagnostic port on the vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers can also specify  the types of roads that must be used, or the distance and speed travelled, to allow the system to confirm it has viewed and recognised certain road features.


Third is “combination” recalibration, where both a static and a dynamic test needs to be undertaken. Generally, the specification for which recalibration process is required is consistent within a vehicle manufacturers’ range of models: for example, Ford prescribes dynamic recalibration for all its models.


Crash Management handles windscreen and glass replacements for all clients and all insurance companies.  To ensure the safety and integrity of your vehicle, call 0800 2CRASH for instant response 24/7 for accident towing and collision repairs.  Be aware of the risks with new windscreen technology, and call Crash Management for windscreen placement too.

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