Volume 8, Issue 3        May/June  2006

Off the Line
oem glass manufacturing news


What's in a Trademark?
by Russ Corsi

If you ask anyone who has been around the technical end of the automotive glass replacement industry for any length of time the most common question they are asked, it’s very likely they will say it is an explanation of the trademark that appears on all automotive glazing. 

As specified by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 205, Glazing Materials, section S6., and detailed in American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Z26.1-1996, Safety Code for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land Highways, section 7, all certified glazing material manufacturers must properly identify the products they produce for vehicles that will be “operating on land highways.”

Whenever a glass fabricator decides that it will provide glass for highway use, it must apply for a Department of Transportation (DOT) number that is assigned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The proposed fabricator must provide proper documentation it is meeting the requirements of Z26.1, before it can receive a DOT number. In addition to self certification, many companies also employ independent laboratories to verify compliance to Z26.1, as well.

So, let’s get back to the question of what’s in a trademark. The basic requirements of a trademark are: a DOT number, an AS-(number), an M (model number), and a traceability code (date code).

For most automotive applications, the AS number (American Standard) is followed by a “1” if it is in compliance with Z 26.1 Section 4, Application of Tests, Item 1, a “2” with compliance to Item 2, or a “3” for compliance with Item 3. Typically, AS-1 products are laminated windshields with at least a 70 percent light transmission, AS-2 can be tempered or laminated with a 70 percent light transmission, while AS-3 is tempered or laminated with no minimum light transmission requirement (privacy glazing). 

AS-1 products are fabricated utilizing annealed glass while AS-2 and AS-3 products that are laminated can be annealed, heat-strengthened, or tempered. In addition, only AS-1 product can be used for windshields with AS-2 product located anywhere behind the A post. AS-3 can only be glazed behind the B pillar on SUVs, trucks, and vans.

The “M” number is a model number. Manufacturer specific, the M number specifies the composition of the product, i.e., two pieces of 2.1 mm tinted glass with a .76 mm layer of PVB.

The traceability code is also unique to a glass manufacturer. The month and year when the glass was fabricated and plant location (if there are multiple plants assigned to the same DOT number) are contained in the traceability code.

More Information, Sir
OEM glass trademarks will contain additional information that the car manufacturer requires. The vehicle and company name are two good examples, with perhaps a description of the glass such as “Safety Flo-lite.” In addition, the OEM vehicle manufacturer specifies where the trademark must be placed on the glass.

AGR trademarks typically contain the glass manufacturer’s logo and some unique product identification language such as “Tint Shaded Duplate.” Many manufacturers are including the NAGS number in the trademark.

Some glass fabricators also private-label glass for others. This practice is perfectly legal as long as the fabricator is a certified DOT number-holder and the trademark displayed contains the fabricator’s DOT number along with the correct AS number, M number, and date code. (An up-to-date listing of DOT numbers can be obtained from NHTSA. If you go online, you’ll have to start with the Department of Transportation Web site. Another potential source of current DOT numbers is your preferred glass supplier.)

It’s important to note that an auto glass technician should verify that the replacement glass he/she is installing does contain a trademark with the minimally required information displayed. If a piece of flat laminated glass has been cut for an automotive application, it too must contain a trademark. (We know that all quality, AGRSS-registered technicians are well aware of these requirements.)

Russ Corsi retired as manager, technical services, from PPG Industries’ Automotive Replacement Glass business unit after 31 years in the glass industry. He now serves as a consultant to the industry and can be reached at RssCors@aol.com. 

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.