The Year in Review: Top News from 2017

Glass Magazine
December 18, 2017
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION

Glass Magazine’s 2017 top headlines reflect an industry experiencing strong demand and market confidence, while facing capacity challenges made worse through supply disruptions. During the year, the North American industry witnessed unexpected production stoppages at three float glass lines throughout the year. Other main stories included business expansions, with announcements of major capital investments and new facilities, and major mergers and acquisitions. Below, Glass Magazine presents the most-clicked news stories of 2017 from GlassMagazine.com.

  1. Unexpected Furnace Outages Prompt Concerns Over Glass Supply
    2017 witessed unprecedented, and unexpected, disruptions in glass manufacturing, significantly affecting the glass supply in North America. In March, a tornado hit NSG/Pilkington’s Ottawa, Illinois, float glass facility, leading to cold repair of the plant’s furnace. The incident was followed in June by a gas explosion at Guardian Glass’s, guardianglass.com, DeWitt, Iowa, float glass plant that left the furnace offline for extended repair. The end of the summer saw a three-alarm fire break out at Vitro Architectural Glass’, vitroglazings.com, plant near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, caused by a leak in one of the two melting furnaces. The unexpected loss of float capacity prompted fresh concerns over float supply in North America.
  2. Saand Acquires Guardian Massachusetts Fabrication Facility
    Saand Inc., sand.ca, acquired the Guardian Webster Inc. fabrication facility located in Webster, Massachusetts. In business since 1973, Saand is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, and currently operates four glass fabrication facilities in the province of Ontario. This purchase represents the second major acquisition within the past four years and the first U.S. location for the company.
  3. Pulp Studio Merges Businesses
    Pulp Studio Inc.'s, pulpstudio.com, sister company, Vitracor Inc., doing business as California Glass Bending, merged into the operations of Pulp Studio. It will now operate as a division of Pulp Studio. All three, now under the Pulp Studio umbrella, will be located in a new 150,000-square-foot facility in Gardena, California.
  4. Wingate Partners Acquires Binswanger Glass
    Wingate Partners, wingatepartners.com, a Dallas-based investment firm, partnered with CEO Tim Curran and management to acquire Binswanger Glass, binswangerglass.com, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Wingate Partners will support the current management team as Binswanger continues to provide service to a growing customer base, company officials report.
  5. Vitro to Build Jumbo MSVD Coater in Wichita Falls, Texas
    Vitro Architectural Glass, vitro.com, selected its Wichita Falls, Texas plant to be the site of a jumbo magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition glass coater, expected to be the largest of its kind in North America, Vitro officials report. The $55-million investment, which Vitro Glass first announced when it acquired PPG’s former flat glass business last fall, will enable the manufacturer to produce high-performing, energy-efficient low-emissivity glasses in larger sizes.
  6. Hartung Glass Industries Opens New Dedicated Commercial IG Facility
    Hartung Glass Industries, hartung-glass.com, opened its new, dedicated commercial insulating glass fabrication plant. The new facility, which was completed in mid-February, includes inline inventory, cutting, tempering, insulating, crating and shipping specifically designed for large and oversized insulating glass units.
  7. Vitro Acquires PGW’s OEM Automotive Glass Business
    Vitro S.A.B. de C.V., vitro.com, acquired Pittsburgh Glass Works’, buypgwautoglass.com, automotive original equipment manufacturer glass business from LKQ Corp. The acquisition completes the agreement announced last December for $310 million, free of cash and debt. The final acquisition price is subject to potential post-closing purchase price adjustments, which are typical for these types of transactions.
  8. Saint-Gobain Adds New Float Line in Mexico
    Saint-Gobain, saint-gobain.com, will open a new float production line in Saltillo, Mexico. The new plant will supply Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and North America with glass for automotive and construction markets. The new operation is scheduled to become active in early 2020.
  9. AGC Glass to Install New Coater in North America
    AGC Glass, agc.com, will install its new MSVD glass coater in North America to serve the residential and commercial glass markets. The company will announce the coater’s location in the near future.
  10. Norsk Hydro to Purchase Sapa
    Norwegian metals firm Norsk Hydro, hydro.com, will take full ownership of aluminum products maker Sapa, sapagroup.com, by buying a 50 percent stake from conglomerate Orkla, according to a Reuters report. The transaction values Sapa at $3.24 billion on a debt-free basis. Jointly owned by Orkla and Hydro since 2013, Sapa has 22,400 employees.