Volume 9, Issue 4 - August/September 2007

ROLAGS Revisited
ANSI Accepts ROLAGS as 
National Windshield Repair Standard; Industry Reacts

by Penny Stacey

In June, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accepted the joint NWRA-NGA Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS) as an official ANSI standard. The new standard was developed by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) and the National Glass Association. It provides guidelines for what types of damage should be repaired, how a repair should conducted and performance requirements for laminated glass that has been repaired.

In Support
With the acceptance of ROLAGS by ANSI, the repair industry has been filled with mixed emotions about what the new repair standard could mean to the industry. Many are pleased the windshield repair industry now has guidelines with which to work; others feel that certain portions of the Standard should have been revised before its acceptance.

Jackie Newman, project editor for ROLAGS and president of Redline Inc. in Austin, Texas, is happy to see the Standard come to fruition. She says she began work on it in June 2003. “Obviously since I put in so much work, I am actually thrilled,” she says. “I wrote the initial Recommended Practice ten years ago and this is a much more powerful document.”

(The Recommended Practice for Windshield Repairs was developed by the NWRA in the mid-1990s and many consider it the director predecessor to ROLAGS.)

Newman adds that she was glad to see many different sectors of the industry come together to develop ROLAGS. “The committee that worked on it was so diverse, we had people from the glass manufacturing industry, networks,” she says. “It has a much wider scope [than the original Recommended Practice].”

Rich Campfield, president of Ultra-Bond in Grand Junction, Colo., and long-time supporter of ROLAGS, echoes Newman.

“I was very happy about it [being accepted],” Campfield says. 

Long-Crack Mayhem
Many critics of the repair standard have concerns about the damage that it deems repairable; the length of a crack that ROLAGS cites as repairable is 14 inches. 

John Robinson, chief executive officer for Glass Medic, a division of Belron, says he does not intend to change the company’s windshield repair polices based on the Standard; Belron’s policy is to not repair any damage that cannot be covered by a dollar bill. 

“We naturally support industry efforts to improve vehicle glass repair standards which are focused on promoting customer safety and effective working practices,” Robinson says. “However, we do not totally support BSR/NGA R1.1-2007 as we do not believe it is in the best interests of consumers. At this stage, we will therefore not be recommending any immediate changes to our current guidelines.” One industry source who wished to remain unidentified for fear of reprisals says he feels repairing a crack 14 inches long could compromise the support the glass offers.

“Based on what we know, any crack compromises the strength of the glass, and you know, a reasonable thing would be like 6 inches,” he says. “I think that’s what’s in the British standard, even though that is not something that should be repaired.”

Advocates of the ROLAGS, however, say they feel that 14 inches is reasonable.

“Long crack repair is a viable process that provides the public with a valuable service,” says David Taylor, chief operating officer for Cindy Rowe Auto Glass in Harrisburg, Pa., and a member of the joint NGA-NWRA ROLAGS Committee. “At times it has been the source of varying opinions. Many knowledgeable representatives worked diligently to determine best wording for long crack repair as well as all parts of the Standard.”

Weird Science?
The length of the crack ROLAGS accepts isn’t the only concern industry members have expressed about the new standard for glass repair. Mark Gold, marketing director for St. Louis-based Solutia Inc., says it’s science that concerns him.

“One [of my concerns] is with the chemistry of the glass interlayer and the understanding that breakage may cause that chemistry and interaction between the interlayer and the glass to change, and if that chemistry has been changed, you can’t just cover over it with a repair resin,” Gold says. “I have a secondary concern based on my experience, which is, do the size and length of the repairs compromise the safety of the glazing? That is more based on my perception, though, as opposed to my first concern, which is based on my technical knowledge and training.”

The industry source who wished to remain unidentified says he feels there was a lack of scientific evidence for ROLAGS as well. “A lot of objections were that there was no scientific basis for the standard,” he says. “There was no study done … to see what the actual repair accomplished, so that’s what we were very concerned about.”

Coming Days
Now that the ROLAGS has been accepted by ANSI, are shops going to use it in their businesses? According to Campfield, that’s the plan.

“I wouldn’t say [that there are] any specific plans, but I’m sure that’s in everybody’s minds, because that was the object of it,” he says.

ROLAGS includes a section on the training of a repair technician.

Dave Zoldowski, who served on the ROLAGS committee and also is president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA), agrees that the work on the Standard is not done yet—adding that the committee hopes to extend its reach in the future. 

“An ANSI standard is a living document, and with the ANSI standard over the course of the next several years, we are hoping that we develop measurement techniques to assist the technician through some type of tools and measurements to be able to measure a before and after in optical clarity,” Zoldowski says. 

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.

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