Solutia Inc. is looking to expand the market reach of its polyvinyl butyral film for glass with a new line of higher-performance systems under the Vanceva brand name.
The company's bread-and-butter product line will remain the Saflex system of the PVB interlayer used worldwide in vehicle windshields. But it claims the Vanceva line offers improved performance for specific uses in automotive and architectural markets.
``People started asking us, `What if we bump up this or that feature,' whether for security or color or noise,'' said Greg Wilson, director of public and government affairs for Solutia films.
The new offerings combine PVB with other thermoplastics, such as PET, in its Vanceva Secure automotive line, to address specific market demands.
St. Louis-based Solutia first introduced Vanceva Color during the summer for architects, with an interlayer offering a translucent inner layer in colors that can be used to create specific design effects. The first automotive line, Vanceva Secure, bowed in October.
Wilson expects the first commercial applications to make their appearance sometime in 2002.
Solutia also will continue to unveil other versions of Vanceva featuring a mix of performance qualities, such as noise control or ultraviolet-light protection.
Meanwhile, the company continues to push its Saflex brand, especially in the auto industry, trying to convince automakers to use laminated glass in side and rear windows.
The lamination, promoted generically under the name Enhanced Protective Glass, already goes into windshields. Side and rear windows typically use a safety glass designed to break into small pieces when struck. The PVB layer, produced by several suppliers, keeps glass intact longer, reducing the potential for an occupant to be ejected through a broken window during a crash and also thwarting thieves.
Less than 1 million of the more than 40 million cars and trucks produced worldwide each year now carry all-EPG windows, typically appearing in luxury cars. Vanceva is aimed to focus on the high-end options even beyond the typical laminated glass.
It takes more than two minutes to break through a window equipped with Vanceva Secure, for instance, Wilson said. A standard PVB lamination withstands blows for about 40 seconds.
``It's great for us to continue to make Saflex,'' Wilson said. ``But we're also looking at adding value for higher-end products.''