Windshield repairs have saved consumers millions of dollars over the years by allowing factory installed auto glass to be safely repaired with scientifically designed plastic resins. In the 1960's laminated windshield glass was introduced. With the use of polyvinyl butyral the inner layer that laminated glass came into wider use by auto makers. It wasn't until the 1970's that true windshield repairs became possible. Until that time, all that could be done was to force some oil-based fluid into the damaged area to disguise it, but the results were poor and offered no real repair qualities to the safety or strength of the damaged area, as you can well imagine. From the first giant repair machine, originally introduced by 3M, to a myriad of equipment and companies that specialize in all aspects of glass repair, the search to find the right repair guy has become quite a challenge for "Joe" consumer.
Poor quality repairs can happen even when the most experienced repair person is at the helm. Windshield glass is layered like a sandwich, and it's the outer layer of glass that receives all the activity from the harsh road environment. The poly layer in the middle flexes and holds the inner and outer layers of glass together so splintering is reduced and strength is added to the vehicle's roof. When an object hits the windshield it will cause a hole or crack that runs to the inner glass layer. Even if the damage is small, the first thing that immediately contaminates the area that is broken is good old air, and it's that air that shows up as a dark gray blemish within the windshield. Don't mistake this blemishing for water or dirt settling inside the damaged area. The cracks in the glass layer can be so tight that moisture in any form could not penetrate the area.
The quest to successfully remove all the air trapped within the outer glass layer of a broken windshield is on. As with all science and technology, improvements in the glass repair business have improved drastically in recent years. Auto glass repair shops and mobile service providers must now make the choice between using the old way or changing to the new superior technology for their customers. Ultimately consumers must know a little about the repair systems themselves in order to receive the best service for their money.
After a windshield is repaired with the super hard plastic glass resin, that's it. The resin cures so hard that the repaired area becomes stronger than the original glass, welding the broken surfaces together. So producing the best looking repair the first time is crucial from both the service provider and the client.
Less than two years ago a revolutionary new windshield repair system was introduced to the industry called "Prism Technology". Prism was developed to enhance the results produced during windshield repairs by one of the leading glass repair products manufacturers in the world that has been a big player in research and development for the glass repair industry. The Prism technology uses the most advanced "dry vacuum" injector system to not only remove the maximum air contaminates from the damaged area, but also to simplify the entire repair process for the technician. This new system takes all the guesswork and mystery out of knowing that the air contamination has been removed first before the acrylic resin is injected into the broken glass.
With older repair systems still being used in majority, all pull the air trapped in the glass up and through the liquid resin that is contained within the repair injector. The technician loads the liquid resin into the barrel of the injector after mounting it onto the windshield by way of the bridge. The bridge is the thing with the suction cups that stick to the windshield. The resin sits on the bottom of the injector that is sealed to the windshield surface and an o-ring seals the resin in the injector barrel. Then a vacuum is produced by pulling up a plunger at the top of the injector, you've seen this before more than likely. The air contaminate, that is trapped within the broken glass, now must be pulled out of the damage and up through the liquid resin. Problems arise from air bubbles that are left behind in the damaged area. Some air bubbles can stay in the liquid resin, not being pulled completely through to the top, and when the injection starts with the downward motion of the plunger, the bubbles are pushed back into the glass. The air bubbles push the resin aside and produce voids in the repair that look unsightly and produce weak repairs.
The new Prism dry vacuum technology eliminates this frustrating problem for the auto glass repair industry. The injector has two parts-the body or barrel, and the resin cup. The injector is mounted the same way as the old system, but after mounting the injector to the windshield, the barrel is turned so the resin cup is down and gravity keeps the resin from running into the injector. A strong vacuum is then produced by the plunger being pulled upward or by a machine vacuum attached by a hose to the injector for several minutes. Under a vacuum, the injector barrel is turned 180 degrees and the resin liquid runs into the damaged glass, unobstructed by air. Because of the vacuum produced, all the air is sucked out from the damage and the resin flows freely into the zone. When it's time to push the remaining resin into the damage, the plunger or machine produces high pressure that squeezes the liquid into the tightest regions of broken glass. When the repair area is properly cured with UV light rays, and remains under pressure until hard, the repair resin welds together the entire damaged area completely, producing the highest quality windshield repair in the industry.
Consumers can now get the best windshield repair for their hard earned dollar just by understanding the latest auto glass technology. Don't forget to ask the repair guy or gal if they use the new "Prism" dry vacuum repair system. There is manual, machine and computerized repair equipment that uses the high tech Prism system. Be on the lookout for the manual type systems that use hand pulled plungers. Most of those will use the older technologies. It's worth the time you'll spend to find the right repair guy that is keeping up with the current technology before getting your next windshield repaired.
Keep that original windshield as long as you can to keep your factory seal, and don't replace it until you just have to, because the inevitable fact is windshields break when hit. So have it repaired with the right stuff, you may have to look through it every day.