Automotive display glass processing strategies – which one to choose?

Conventional glass cutting or laser technology? Edge grinding or polishing? From an array of possible glass processing technologies, which one is the most optimal for an automotive display application? Let’s find out.    

What do you expect from a modern car dashboard? For at least a decade, most automotive dashboards are packed with displays of all sorts. Whether it is navigation or an entertainment system, speedometer or driver assistance tools, when it comes to interior displays, one thing is clear – car manufacturers are in a constant search for even more sophisticated and cooler designs, because they know we love them.

High-efficient processing of display glass for automotive applications

Car exteriors, as well, are continuously enhanced with innovations in automotive glass that enable better, more durable – and more intelligent glazing.

But first, for all these advanced automotive display glass applications to exist, glass needs to be processed. And it needs to be done precisely and in the most practical way.

Luckily, glass processing technologies don’t stand still. With a wide range of glass processing solutions available, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

There are several basic processing strategies for display glass:

  1. Conventional cutting and edge grinding
  2. Laser cutting and full edge grinding
  3. Laser cutting and edge polishing
  4. Conventional cutting and edge grinding
    + laser cutting the elements that cannot be cut conventionally
  5. Conventional cutting and edge grinding of the outer contour
    + laser processing of the inner features

Each strategy has its advantages and disadvantages. The optimal processing technology always depends on the display glass application and its requirements. Different applications require different specifications.

Thus, edge strength, maximum chip size, edge shape and dimensional tolerance are all important and dictated by each specific customer application. For example, laser cutting makes an almost perfect rectangular edge. However, it is only acceptable in a limited number of situations, which should be checked case by case.

In addition, each technology’s cycle time and costs vary, too. Conventional cutting and grinding might indeed be the fastest and most cost efficient. But this processing strategy is not right if the required display needs to have any integrated internal features.

These days, it is only by combining conventional cutting, laser cutting, grinding and polishing technologies, can you master display glass processing. This ‘combo strategy’ is the only one allowing glass to be really tailored to individual needs.

Download our technical presentation if you want to know more about the topic. First presented at GPD 2019, “High-efficient processing of display glass for automotive applications” demonstrates real-life examples and provides you with good practical insight into how the different strategies work.

GPD2019 downloads

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About the author

Robert Prange

Robert is Glaston’s SVP for Automotive & Display Technologies. After his studies and PhD at the RWTH Aachen University of Technology, he worked in various industries before joining Bystronic glass in 2011. Over the years, he has extended the company’s product portfolio in machining display and functional glass into new markets and built the company’s thin glass processing expertise. Robert aims to achieve still more great things with others. He has made sustainability a large part of all the company’s operations. He also lives out his enthusiasm for sustainability in a 250-year-old farmhouse and is a serious home brewer. His wife is an aspiring artist he hopes will support them in the future. (Just kidding – he loves his job!)