VW, Audi, Daimler, Bentley, Maybach, BMW and Rolls Royce are all Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland’s clientele, as are some of the OEMs’ suppliers. In fact, nearly one out of two European cars is equipped with windows from Saint-Gobain Sekurit.
Producing standard windows, however, would not accumulate such a high-quality customer base. The company develops and manufactures safety glass for vehicles and is increasingly involved in multifunctional technical products. Other new developments include ClimaCoat glass, thin glass windows for weight reduction and windows that reflect heat.
“We want to continue as a leading innovator,” says Managing Director Norbert Teschner. “It is important for us to make consumers more aware of the name Sekurit.” With Saint-Gobain Sekurit’s latest novelties, that should not be a problem.
ClimaCoat, first created in 2010, is heatable glass with an invisible metallic coating on the inner side of the laminated windshield. Electricity flows through the coating, heating the glass. The advantage for drivers is a reduction in ice, mist and frost and therefore a clear view through the glass. The metallic coating also reflects solar radiation better than other glass treatments to prevent heat buildup inside the vehicle.
Another advancement: windshields will soon directly integrate optical and acoustic information and gauges, such as the GPS and speedometer. A number of automobile manufacturers already equip their vehicles with such windows.
“Our R&D is very active in this sector,” says Dr.-Ing. Ann-Katrin Glüsing, junior communication manager. It helps that Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland works in close cooperation with its customers and reacts flexibly to their wishes.
“We hold all the necessary certifications for the automobile industry and fulfil norms for environmental protection,” adds Dr. Glüsing. “We have even won international awards as for our customer service. Our customers appreciate that.” For quality improvement and cost competitiveness, Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland focuses on programmes such as ‘world-class manufacturing’ to continuously improve manufacturing competence.
A part of the global Saint-Gobain Group, the German division also has production facilities in Stolberg and Würselen. Saint-Gobain made its debut in 1927 with the production of prestressed glass through the Sekurit process. Since then, the milestones have piled up: direct profile extrusion on glass in the late 1980s, tinted glass for increased heat absorption in the early 1990s, and heat and UV-protection glass in 2002. And those are just a few of the highlights.
A total force of 1,500 employees work for Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland, and 12,000 people are employed by the automotive branch worldwide. The company exports nearly none of its production as there are factories in more than 20 countries.
Manufacturing locally is part of the overall sales strategy. The company offers global distribution organisation, representation and introduction of new developments directly at the sites of the automobile manufacturers. It also hosts its own Tech Days in house. This strategy is paying off for Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland: the company amassed 250 million EUR in turnover last year.
The combination of innovation and staff is key to the company’s success. Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland earned place 17 on the list of top employers in Germany. “It is not merely our developments,” explains the managing director. “We have the well-trained personnel to make those developments reality.”
The company’s view of the future is as clear as the glass it produces. “Competition from Asia is becoming fiercer,” warns Mr. Teschner. “But the Asian and Eastern European markets are growing, and the label ‘made in Germany’ is still in demand on the international scene.”
“Competitors and price development and ultimately consumer behaviour are crucial,” adds the managing director. “We are in a strong position as far as innovations are concerned, and that is a deciding factor for growth.”