SAINT-GOBAINLes Miroirs18, avenue d'Alsace92400 CourbevoieFRANCE
Because of the many facets of its business and the diversity of products and services it offers, the Saint-Gobain Group is able to support activities promoting more sustainable mobility in many ways. And across every dimension.
Saint-Gobain’s activities mainly concern automobiles, no matter whether they work with a thermal or electric engine, and, undoubtedly in the future, with other types of fuel such as hydrogen. Absolutely key in both cases is making vehicles lighter so that they use less fuel. Saint-Gobain Sekurit is working on making glass ever thinner. Less weight, less gas. "Athermic" windshields and side windows are designed to ensure the energy efficiency of the vehicle in summer and in winter, thereby increasing the range of electric vehicles: the electric automobile battery is used much less for air-conditioning or heating, etc.
Let’s board an airplane. Saint-Gobain is involved with the Dassault Aviation "Optiwind" project to design the cockpit windshield of the future and drastically reduce friction thereby cutting down fuel consumption. The Group also manufactures abrasives, which are used to polish an aircraft’s fuselage and therefore improve its aerodynamics, with here too the main aim being reduction in use of fuel.
Finally, as surprising as it may seem, Saint-Gobain has, for example, invested in the development of photoluminescent cycleways in the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy. The principle: polyurethane resin wraps glass grains to form the coating that illuminates the road at dusk and encourages cyclists to choose this mode of transport, which makes them feel safe when riding at night.
Sustainable mobility ambitions involve production lines, too. And increasingly so. By improving machinery and reducing materials waste and CO2 emissions, factories are becoming more environmentally friendly - a reminder that sustainable mobility begins even before vehicle assembly starts.
Glazing quality is judged by its shock resistance. It is not by chance that Saint-Gobain supplies parts for armored vehicles, high-speed trains, and for construction and agricultural machinery. Automobiles for the general consumer benefit from this expertise.
In addition, if there is one area where there is no compromise on safety, it is aerospace. Since rocket engines are subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures, the quality of seals is vital. For several decades, Saint-Gobain has applied its expertise to high-performance materials in the service of this demanding industry.
Cutting down the noise of an automobile, train, ship, or tram moving through the air is an unending challenge. Glass, of course, contributes to the acoustic quality of vehicles, and refines it. Isover designs specific glass wool products to improve acoustic quality for passengers. They can now be made in large part from recycled glass.
Augmented reality, interactive windows, communication with people outside, etc., a whole world of possibilities is opening up to us thanks to the innovations Saint-Gobain engineers are considering hand in hand with the players in the mobility field.
Without a doubt, within a decade the self-driving automobile will drive us to our slot on the highway and, looking further into the future, right through more complex urban traffic. The trip will therefore no longer be time wasted; it will offer the opportunity to interact with friends, read, or watch a film. 4G and 5G will operate with antennas integrated into the glazing. The automobile? A connected hub.
As Bastien Beley, marketing director for Saint-Gobain Sekurit, explains, we will no longer be able to overlook “items that aid driving and safety such as cameras, sensors and other perception systems.” Driverless taxis and driverless public transport will also take the shape of this self-drive mobility. Saint-Gobain is working on it.
Let’s get back on the airplane. We are now more and more able to use Wifi. At 10,000 feet above the Atlantic, replying to e-mails, publishing a post on one’s favorite social network are now possible. Outside the aircraft: a radome, a kind of composite fiber aerodynamic shell housing antennas and sensors, without which surfing would be impossible.
The ambition for sustainable mobility is being shared. With automobile manufacturers in particular. The Eolab project with Renault embodies the actual realization of what can be done best in terms of design, safety and innovation. Advances with which we will soon be equipping our vehicles.
Another example of commitment? This year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chose to recognize Saint-Gobain as sustainable supplier of the year. An honorary title, but it convinces us that we are on the right track.
By becoming more environmentally virtuous, and also more connected, mobility will restructure our daily way of life. Are you on board?