What's the buzz behind "bracketless" wiper blades?
If you've been in the market for new windshield wiper blades recently, you may have been stumped by the term bracketless or beam blades.
What are they?
Bracketless wipers represent a technology upgrade for most vehicles equipped with conventional blades, says Otto Stefaner, Senior Product Manager for Bosch Corporation, a global supplier of automotive parts. The combination of bracketless design, attached to the traditional arm, internal tension springs and aerodynamic wind spoiler improves driving visibility in the worst weather conditions all year around -- be it mist, drizzle, rain, blowing dust or heavy snow.
"Conventional wiper blades use an external steel frame and joints that apply pressure at specific spots," said Stefaner. "By eliminating the frame and joints in a bracketless design, we have increased the blade's ability to conform to the curvature of each windshield, which applies uniform pressure along the entire length of the wiping element and results in a cleaner, quieter wipe each time," he explained.
Bosch's new bracketless wiper blade -- Bosch Icon -- features an integrated wind spoiler that encloses dual precision-tensioned steel springs. "Enclosing the tension springs reduces the chance of snow and ice buildup and ensures equally efficient performance in winter," Stefaner said.
In addition, the dual rubber technology -- harder rubber wiping edge that resists wear and the softer rubber flex for better flip over -- helps remove the smallest droplets of moisture, he said.
"With more of these blades on new vehicles, bracketless wiper technology is the way of the future," said Bosch's Stefaner. Currently, more than 35 percent of new European cars come equipped with bracketless blades and Bosch estimates close to 40 percent in the U.S. by 2010.