Carlex staff and students fom the University of Trier in Grevenmacher; Credit: Carlex

Carlex Glass Luxembourg S.A. has taken an active role in the "proTRon EVOLUTION" project being developed by the Trier University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Trier).

The automotive glass manufacturer supplied a progressively engineered windshield for this 21st century car project. The first glass prototype was presented yesterday in the presence of Tobias Hinterwimmer, Carlex Quality Manager, and Holger Müller, Director of Programme Management at Carlex, in Grevenmacher and given to Professor Dr. Hartmut Zoppke of the Trier University of Applied Sciences.

Carlex has been developing innovative lightweight automotive glass products since 2016. This was also the reason why the company chose to participate in the proTRon EVOLUTION project. Typically, the limits for the minimum thickness of windshields are determined mainly by the stiffness (vibrations) and acoustic properties. As required, Carlex succeeded in lowering these limits even further for the proTRon EVOLUTION project and thus developed a windshield with a thickness of 2.6 mm and a weight of only 5.4 kilograms. By comparison, conventional windshields weigh about twice as much. 

As an additional challenge, Carlex had to integrate a full-surface heating function into this windshield since, as in the case of electrically driven vehicles, no residual heat from an internal combustion engine can be used for de-icing or de-frosting functions.

proTRon, a research and teaching project, aims to provide innovative solutions to address both the current and future challenges facing the automotive industry. Its current focus is on the proTRon EVOLUTION, an energy-efficient e-vehicle designed for urban use. It promises not only an environmental-friendly mobility solution for the 21st century but also a better energy balance and lower energy consumption from production to component, thanks to the use of natural fibres over carbon fibres. 

While trends in the automotive industry may focus on driving comfort, experience and performance, the proTRon EVOLUTION vehicle is aimed at being a truly environment-friendly transport option. It offers a four-person capacity weighing in at under 550kg, with seamless, lightweight construction and embedded safety concepts, including a fibre-composite body and Carlex-produced windshield. The car also meets all regulatory requirements, including crash safety, and has been developed for possible mass production. The final car is due to be unveiled to the public in 2021.