Pilkington's Hotscreen™ product incorporates fine wires that are capable of de-icing a frozen screen at –5°C inside two minutes. A recent innovation allows the full area of the screen to be de-iced within this timescale. Further customer benefits are achieved if this type of technology is employed where the wipers rest on the windscreen.
As power levels increase in vehicles, this will provide an elegant way to electrically heat windscreens that have an infrared reflective coating applied directly to the glass. Pilkington Automotive is developing a full area coated heated windscreen that provides both de-ice and anti-mist properties. This heating functionality is in addition to the benefits of optimised solar control and high shape complexity that are already achieved with Pilkington Automotive coating technology.
Pilkington Automotive has also developed a patented sensor that detects moisture on the windscreen and automatically activates the windscreen wipers. This rain sensor, attached to the interior of the windscreen, detects moisture by using infrared light emitting diodes. This technology is licensed in the market place and is being increasingly adopted on new models.
Another Pilkington Automotive technology that improves driver visibility is a 'hydrophobic' coating, which is applied to the outside glass surface and significantly improves water droplet flow from the vision area. Hydrophobic products are used extensively in Japan, with market interest in Europe and in North America.