The discovery of bulletproof glass was a mere accident in the 17th century, when in England, “Prince Rupert's Drops” were formed by submerging molten glass in cold water, which rendered the glass virtually indestructible. Prince Rupert's Drops, also known as Batavian tears, are toughened glass beads made by dripping melted glass into cold water until it solidifies into a tadpole-shaped droplet with a long, thin tail. Later, in 1909, first-ever safety glass patent was filed in France for laminated safety glass.
Bulletproof glass is a blend of many different glass manufacturing techniques, rather than a single breakthrough. Bulletproof glass, which in the industrial terminology are also referred to as Bullet Resistant Glass is manufactured by applying a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) polycarbonate (PU) or acrylic sheets to layer the glass. These materials provide an optimal level of protection as well as better transparency in appearance to the glass. The bulletproof glass works on the science of momentum reduction of the object which intent to provide harm.
Bullet tolerance of glass is determined by its thickness and the method used for its manufacturing. Bullet resistance glass is of three types. First, Acrylic Bullet resistant glass is usually 1.25 inches thick and offers a basic level of protection. Second, Laminated Polycarbonate glass is more versatile and offers better security as compared to acrylic. Third, Glass-clad Polycarbonate glass employs layers of glass on both sides of the polycarbonate sheet which results in an impenetrable final product.
The application of bulletproof glass has extensively been observed in the automobile industry, defense sector, and construction industry, among others. The Bullet resistant glass can cost USD 25 to USD 100 per square foot depending on the type and thickness. While bullets from the high-powered rifles can still pierce the glass, however, the chance of damage to human life is significantly reduced.
The growth of the bulletproof glass market is directly proportional to the growth in the end-user market. The demand for products from the automobile industry, particularly, the premium vehicle with value-added features contributes to the growth of the bullet-resistant glass market. COVID-19 has adversely affected the global automobile industry, thereby affecting the demand for the global bullet-resistant glass market. The abrupt halt in the supply chain, production plants in the automobile sector has led to the decline in demand for the bulletproof market.
The disruption in the supply chain of raw materials across the globe also subsidized the slowdown of the market and resulted in the supply-demand gap. Thus, hampering the production rate of bullet-resistant glasses and negatively impacting the market growth. The construction sector was also affected by the sudden pandemic situation. Major construction projects were halted during the lockdown, due to which demand for specialized material such as bulletproof glass was hampered
The global demand for bulletproof glass is driven by the upsurge in menace to public safety. The evolving global financial infrastructure coupled with the rising security concerns is expected to boost the market of bullet-resistant glass. The ease in regulatory norms by the government will also aid the growth of the bulletproof glass market. The emerging economies, such as China, India, and others are moving swiftly towards the normalization of economic activities. The rise in urbanization will increase the demand for personal security, therefore will result in the growth of the bulletproof glass market.
The automobile manufacturing industry was severely affected by the pandemic. The manufacturing plants were shut or were forced to reduce the output. The allied industries to the automobile sector were also drastically impacted by the sudden lockdown due to COVID-19. Bulletproof glass is customarily used in the automobile sector. The pandemic caused a drop in demand for cars, which steered the downfall of the bulletproof glass market.
FIGURE 1 GLOBAL SALES-PASSENGER CARS, 2019-2020
From the above diagram, we can infer that the demand for passage cars has decreased considerably in the year 2020 as compared to 2019. The reason for the fall in the sales of passenger cars was due to the COVID-19, this, led negative effect on the global bulletproof glass market.
However, post-pandemic the automobile market is expected to grow at a constant rate and will help the growth of the bulletproof glass market. The increasing demand for personalization in the vehicle with enhanced security features will drive the demand for bulletproof glass.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the building industry, which is particularly vulnerable to economic cycles. Many repairing and construction projects were put on hold during COVID-19 due to a lack of funds. The Bulletproof Glass market is particularly put in an application in the construction of official buildings. The slow-paced construction projects caused a direct impact on the bulletproof glass market as the demand was suddenly decreased during the pandemic.
Despite the slow post-COVID economic growth, the construction sector is likely to emerge as a key industry that decides the gross development of the nation. The growth of the construction industry will directly support the growth of the bullet-resistant market.
Bulletproof glass is mainly used in the construction and automotive industry. Any impact on these industries has a direct implication on the bulletproof glass market. Due to a dip in construction and infrastructure activities, the demand for bulletproof glass has faced a decline globally.
Urbanization and modernization will aid in the growth of the bulletproof glass market. The government has provided stimulus funds to the small and medium business market, aiming to boost the production and revenue for small-scale businesses. The bulletproof glass manufacturers also bring innovative technology to their production chain, which is helping in increasing the revenue and profit margins. The growth in the automobile industry and construction industry will directly promote the growth in the bulletproof glass market.