GQA Qualifications Blog

Wednesday 4 July 2012

From Windscreen Fitting to Automotive Glazing

Anyone who has spent a few years in and around the Automotive Glazing Industry will certainly have seen a great change in the size, shape and purpose of a windscreen.
Sean Hayes is a Technical Officer and External Verifier at GQA Qualifications and spent over 30 years working in the Automotive Glazing Industry he said “At one time all the windscreen really had to do was keep the flies out of your eyes and preferably not let water in! Nowadays the windscreen does much more than this, with most windscreens (and a lot of the other glass in a vehicle) directly glazed into the aperture using the latest technology in Automotive Glass bonding systems, the windscreen is now an integral part of the safety of the vehicle; it acts as a deflector for passenger side air bags but it is not widely known that the glazing accounts for up to 30% of the structural strength of a vehicle. Therefore the need to ensure that the glass is correctly and safely installed has never been more important.”

The move to more cosmetically pleasing installations, meaning glass is often fitted without visible mouldings and tighter tolerances mean a higher level of skill and care is needed to remove and replace vehicle glass and the warranties involved with cars and repairs are other factors that have helped to” raise the bar” in the Automotive Glazing Industry. The need to ensure the vehicle is restored to OEM design specification for structural integrity and aesthetic appearance means that the quality of the adhesive systems, glass and associated components is vital.

Incorrect use of tools and direct glazing systems in a previous fitment lead to this!

Sean went on to say “Not only is the actual installation more complicated the glass itself has also evolved.  The size and shape of glass is now much more complex than previously was the case; the introduction of glass roofs and panoramic windscreens do what the Manufacturer’s intended in terms of appearance, but means Technicians have to be able to use new equipment, tools and techniques. Automotive glass now has many additional features, heated front windscreens have become more commonplace in the last 5 years as has glass that reacts with sunlight to reduce the amount of UV rays and heat that enters the car, but there are many more advances being made. Windscreens can have built in telephone ariels, satellite navigation systems and sensors that automatically activate windscreen wipers and headlights.

Others have technology built into them that can” read” road signs, warn a driver if he/she is drifting out of a motorway lane, glass that is designed to reduce the external noise entering the car and there are now vehicles with a “head-up” display; that is information such as speed, mileage etc. is displayed directly onto the glass, technology that until recently was only seen in jet fighters!”

 Sean also commented  “To add to this change in technology is the increasing demand from customers for proof that the Technician installing the glass has kept pace with the changes, making the need for qualifications and Continued Competence more important than ever before. GQA has been working with the Automotive Glazing Industry to write “fit for purpose” qualifications for over 20 years and has a number of Centres approved to offer these qualifications; the training and assessment can be delivered in the workplace reducing the loss of productivity and impact on the business, and in many cases I know the businesses and individuals have seen ways to improve their performance and also gained customers by being qualified. I know from my own time in the Industry how important training and qualifications are, the quality and attitude of the Technician is key to a good replacement. ”
All achievers of GQA qualifications can obtain a photo ID card detailing their achievements using the latest in smart card technology that will allow customers to see the qualifications and training the Technician has completed.

To find out more about qualifications for the Automotive Glazing Industry you can contact GQA on 01142 720033 or email to