Glass Canada

Smart Glass Company Research Frontiers to make SPD-Smart automotive sunroofs and windows

October 20, 2008  By Administrator

Oct. 20, 2008 – Pittsburgh Glass
Works (PGW) has acquired a license from Research Frontiers Inc., the
developer and licensor of SPD-Smart™ light-control film technology.

Oct. 20, 2008 – Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has acquired a license from Research Frontiers Inc., the developer and licensor of SPD-Smart™ light-control film technology. The worldwide non-exclusive license grants PGW the right to manufacture and sell SPD-SmartGlass™ automotive glass products utilizing Research Frontiers’ patented light-control technology, including smart sunroofs, roof glass systems, and windows. PGW was formerly the automotive glass business of PPG Industries and is North America’s largest producer of automotive glazing.

When integrated with glass or plastic sunroofs, roof systems, windshields, side and rear windows, and other vehicle glazings, SPD-Smart film gives users the ability to rapidly, precisely and uniformly control the amount of light, glare and heat entering the vehicle. 

SPD-Smart vehicle glazings provide greater security due to on-demand privacy capability. They also provide increased passenger comfort, and protect passengers and interiors from heat and harmful ultraviolet radiation.


SPD-Smart technology empowers users by offering rapid, real-time control over the environment to suit one’s preference or requirements.

SPD-Smart glass is tunable manually or automatically to any level of light transmission between clear and extremely dark, and is capable of blocking over 99.5% of visible light. All of this is done rapidly and uniformly regardless of the size of the window – advantages that other smart window technologies cannot offer.

Dick Heilman, Vice President, Marketing and R&D, Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC commented: “PGW has introduced numerous technological and energy-efficient innovations into the automotive glass market. SPD-Smart light control technology will enable us to develop the variable light control windows and roof systems our customers are demanding. We also are excited about combining SPD-Smart technology with our other innovative technologies to produce smart glass products with extraordinary performance.”

Joseph M. Harary, President of Research Frontiers, noted: “We are pleased that PGW approached us for a license. We have been monitoring each other’s progress and we admire their approach to innovation and the work that they have done to introduce greater functionality and energy-efficiency to automotive glass. They are not only a worldwide leader in automotive glass products generally, but they are also on the leading edge of advanced glass products. This positions them very well to supply their customers with SPD-Smart products that could also include other advanced and complementary PGW technologies.”

More vehicles are equipped with sunroofs, and auto makers are introducing larger sunroofs, glass roof panels, and all-glass roof systems in their vehicles. Worldwide automotive sunroof sales are expected to exceed 18 million units in 2008, and grow to over 110 million square feet by 2010. Customers for these products are interested in increased functionality including variable light transmittance and improved solar control.

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