Axalta

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) has been a theme in Automotive Refinisher over the last year as we track the evolution of these systems that are changing the market place. Addressing these challenges is South Africa’s premium auto glass maker Shatterprufe®. The global player speaks to us about how ADAS has revolutionised the business of manufacturing these specialised pieces of glass.

Shatterprufe®’s local glass production goes back as far as the 1930’s. A subsidiary of the PG Group, Shatterprufe are the only OE approved manufacturer of autoglass in South Africa. They supply local manufacturers such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu and Nissan with their OE windscreens and side windows, as well as the aftermarket.

They have three plants; the Neave and Struandale plants in Port Elizabeth as well as their Shatterprufe® plant in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria. The company produce over 4 million pieces of glass per annum with a staff complement of over 1 500 employees.

Of the 1.2 million windscreens and 2.5 million toughened automotive glass parts, 35% of their total production services our local OEM vehicle manufacturers while another 30% attends to the local aftermarket. The remaining 35% gets exported to international markets such as the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and Taiwan and surrounding African neighbours. We spoke to Mike Ford, Sales Director for Shatterprufe® to hear how the company has managed to keep ahead of the technological curve in glass production and just how the OEM’s insatiable appetite for ADAS ready glass has changed the nature of the business.

“Shatterprufe® produce automotive glass to the highest global standards using only the latest glass bending and shaping technologies thanks to our Research and Development division”, said Mike. Along with new windscreen manufacturing processes, Shatterprufe® have invested in multiple new processes for our high-volume OEM production parts, which allows us tighter tolerance control on our windscreens.

“Our “Shatterprufe® windscreens not only conform to global specifications but are locally SABS tested and approved to withstand the harshest South African elements. This gives us the edge over our competitors as our products are durable and robust enough to withstand any climate. With Saint-Gobain – world leaders in glass manufacture, and shareholders in Shatterprufe® – in our corner, we have the technological and technical assistance to deliver the world class product that we do.

“With the introduction of ADAS systems we have noticed the increase in complexity, especially with the number of versions of windscreens per vehicle model which has has increased significantly. This has had a knock-on effect with our warehousing space which has had to increase to cater for the ranges.

Some new model variants went from two to three different variations to over 15 variations of windscreen in just one model generation,” Mike said. Thanks to six sales centres around the country that distribute their autoglass, they have more than enough space to cater for the market demands.

Visiting Shatterprufe®’s Bedfordview Automotive Replacement Glass (ARG) distribution warehouse is testimony to just how organised the company is. On an average day, over 2000 pieces of glass – windscreens, door glass and rear lights – are moved across the country from these various centres. Seamless processes ensure on-site deliveries with some regions receiving two deliveries a day.

The level of care taken when moving glass is of utmost importance and can be seen throughout the ARG. Careful attention to limiting waste in the process is also adhered to, with the majority of replaced auto glass being recycled. This fits in with the company’s sustainable outlook for an environmentally friendly future.

Story and pics by Jay Groat