Innovative materials

The Innovative Materials Sector comprises two major Activities: Flat Glass and High-Performance Materials. Employing respectively nearly 33,000 and 27,000 people, these Activities have a worldwide footprint and a manufacturing presence respectively in 33 countries and 36 countries. Innovation is the priority focus of the Sector’s marketing teams, application engineers and R&D centers located in Europe, the United States, China and India. Innovative Materials puts an emphasis on deploying operational excellence programs to support its steadfast commitment to quality and service.

Flat Glass

Innovation as a performance driver

The Flat Glass Activity is number one in Europe and number two worldwide. It comprises three main businesses: flat glass manufacturing  (Saint-Gobain Glass), processing and distribution of glazing for the building industry (Glassolutions) and glazing for the automotive, aeronautics and railway industries (Saint-Gobain Sekurit). 

An ongoing commitment to research enables Saint-Gobain to launch innovative products and systems that meet consumers’ requirements for energy efficiency, comfort, esthetics and safety. This research is naturally aligned with a sustainable development process to create high-performance products that deliver optimal thermal insulation and energy efficiency for the building and transportation industries. 

Innovative glass and glazing

Saint-Gobain Glass makes float glass, as well as laminated, patterned, silvered and lacquered glass, and has a world leadership position in coated glass. Its high-performance glass products combine energy efficiency, comfort and respect for the environment.

Glassolutions offers a wide range of products for the building industry, including reinforced thermal insulation and acoustic protection glass, solar control glass, decorative, safety and fireproof glass, and active glass. Comprising a network of processing and distribution companies, Glassolutions covers a broad spectrum of innovation-filled applications. Its activities include glass ceramics manufacturing through EuroKera (a joint venture with Corning S.A.S.), the worldwide co-leader in glass ceramic cooktops.

Saint-Gobain Sekurit develops and supplies major car manufacturers with windshields (including panoramic windshields), sidelites, backlites and glass sun-roofs that meet consumers’ growing demands for safety and for visual, thermal and acoustic comfort, while also helping to reduce vehicle energy consumption. 

Saint-Gobain also serves other segments of the transportation industry with glazing products for the aeronautics and railway industries, as well as for trucks and armored vehicles.

United States, Series production of electrochromic glass

The world’s first plant for the series production of SageGlass® electrochromic glass has come on stream in the United States. Electrochromic glass darkens in response to an electrical charge, offering total control over solar transmission and heat transfer in buildings.

High-Performance Materials

The power of R&D coupled with an efficient manufacturing base

Saint-Gobain High-Performance Materials delivers high value-added solutions for the manufacturing, construction, transportation and healthcare markets. As the worldwide leader in ceramic materials, plastics, abrasives and textile solutions, Saint-Gobain unleashes its innovation by making the most of its efficient production facilities. The High-Performance Materials Activity allocates a high proportion of net sales to research and development (4.2% in 2013). 

High value-added solutions

The Activity has acquired leading-edge expertise in a range of technologies, enabling it to leverage all the benefits of these highly complementary materials and to develop solutions that meet its customers’ specific needs. Many products are co-developed with partner companies to ensure that their requirements are taken into account.

Ceramic Materials comprises businesses dedicated to the synthesis and conversion of raw materials (Grains & Powders) for supply to a wide variety of markets, including abrasives, the paper industry and oil extraction, as well as refractories for the metal industry and the full range of glass technologies.

Abrasives offers a portfolio of products representing a comprehensive range of solutions for each stage of the abrasion, cutting and polishing process. The markets served are also wide-ranging, including habitat and construction (from rough cutting of concrete walls and floors to sanding of wooden floors and polishing for decorative finishes), heavy industry (steelworks and paper mills), and manufacturing and high-tech industries (automotive, aeronautics and electronics). Saint-Gobain is strongly positioned in the abrasives market, thanks to its expertise in producing ceramic grains. 

Saint-Gobain Adfors is the world leader in glass fiber technical fabrics for applications in construction and industry. Its products include glass fiber mesh for exterior wall insulation, wall coverings, joint tapes, glass mat for thermal insulation and the production of asphalt concrete overlays, as well as insect screen and paving reinforcement grids. 

Performance Plastics has developed considerable technological expertise in high-performance components and solutions containing special polymers that open up the possibility for many new applications in industry (automotive, aeronautics and healthcare) and construction. It produces composites (films, foams and coated fabrics for construction and industry, as well as high-performance tapes), bearings and seals (for the automotive and aeronautics industries), and fluid systems (for the healthcare, agri-food and electronics industries). 

Lighting fabrics

Saint-Gobain ADFORS’ Exclusive ONIRYS™ lighting fabrics were developed in partnership with innovative start-up Brochier® Technologies by combining fiberglass and fiber optics using Lightex® technology.

The Sector’s ambition is to invent the materials of the future and to serve the habitat market and industry with innovative technological solutions.