Beam blades are the latest technology using a tensioned steel strip, curved to hug the windscreen across the whole blade length. They deliver better performance and the even pressure distribution results in a longer lifespan. Trico beam blades use a sealed design to help protect the blade from exposure to the elements.
Beam blades are certainly here to stay. Whilst the basic structure will remain the same, manufacturers continue to develop new and unique connection types for fixing the blade to the arm – the challenge for the aftermarket is to react quickly to these and ensure these new connection types can be serviced.
A recent development has been the ‘aqua blade’, where the washer system is integrated into the structure of the blade with water running through the blade or into the end/central point of the blade to be sprayed directly onto the windscreen as the wipers operate. This reduces the amount of water required, meaning a smaller washer fluid tank can be fitted, which helps with the vehicle manufacturer’s (VMs) quest to reduce the overall weight of their vehicles.
Trico invests a great deal in its R&D function to develop original equipment products, with the VMs supplying CAD 3D glass and body data, which the company uses to simulate the glass and calculate the required spline design, using their own patented Variflex software. Once the design is completed, 3D printed parts are used for initial testing on up to 20 vehicles. The main tests look at wind performance, durability, corrosion, and weatherabilty, but many more are undertaken, depending on the VM’s specification. Designs may be adjusted and new 3D prints made as necessary to perfect the quality.
After customer sign-off of these prototypes, tools are created and the ‘off tool’ parts go through the same rigorous testing procedure. Only then will the parts go into full production.
Trico Product and Brand manager, Sam Robinson explains: “We are continually developing new products, either as standalone ranges or extensions to existing ones, with a commitment to being first to market, which ensures that our customers should never lose out on a sale.
“We have recently launched blades to fit the new ‘19mm Top Lock FZ’ connection, fitted to several Toyota, Subaru and Land Rover models that were only launched last year – a prime example of how we work quickly to make sure the aftermarket can service all requirements.”