Where and How is Auto Glass Made?

Auto glass is produced all around the world by many different companies. In fact, several different companies in North America are working every day to produce safe auto glass for your vehicles.

Where Auto Glass Manufacturing Starts

Automotive glass begins in the float glass manufacturing plant. This is where the raw ingredients, such as silica sand and limestone, are combined and float on a bed of molten tin to create a long ribbon of glass. The glass is called float glass in its raw form. Float glass facilities are unique because they are built to run continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Glass.com breaks down the steps of the windshield manufacturing process

What Are Float Glass and Windshields Made From?

Float glass is used to create laminated glass. Almost all windshields in North America are made out of laminated glass. Laminated windshields are composed of two pieces of float glass with a plastic interlayer between them. Think of a sandwich where glass is the bread and plastic is a slice of bologna. The resulting glass is much stronger than just plain float glass. When laminated glass does break, it breaks into small pieces rather than large shards, making safety in that way too.

Laminated glass is used for most windshields, and for some side windows (called sidelites) and back windshields (called backlites). Most other auto glass is made from tempered glass which is also stronger than float glass but breaks differently than laminated glass.

Some auto glass is fabricated by float glass companies. Other auto glass manufacturers buy float glass and fabricate it into windshields and other auto glass parts. Some companies make auto glass for car manufacturers (called OE glass); others make glass for use only in the aftermarket, some make both.

How Auto Glass and Windshields is Manufactured

Step 1. Gather raw materials.
Step 2. Melt raw materials.
Step 3. Pour molten glass mixutre onto tin ban.
Step 4. Gradually cool glass as it is rolled through annealing lehr.
Step 5. Cut glass.
Step 6. Cut glass to windshield shape.
Step 7. Apply black frit to glass using silk screen.
Step 8. Mold glass to shape adding curvature.
Step 9. Add PVB layer to glass and lay 2nd piece of glass ontop.
Step 10. Heat the three layers in over to bond.
Step 11. Wash, label, pack and ship windshield.

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Where is Auto Glass Manufactured?

Companies producing auto glass are located throughout North America. Some of these companies include AGC Glass Company North America, Guardian Industries, PGW Glass Pilkington North America and Vitro. Their OE operations can be found throughout the country in states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Some also may have facilities in Canada and Mexico.

Fuyao Glass America, which is owned by a Chinese company, also serves North America and has a number of plant locations in the U.S. You can find them in Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and Illinois. Xinyi Glass (XYG) is based in China, where it has seven manufacturing facilities. It has North American operations in Ontario, Canada.

The Mexican company Vitro also has automotive glass production in North America.

Many of these auto glass manufacturing companies also have operations serving other countries around the world.

If you’re now wondering about the glass in your car or truck, take a close look at the windshield, sidelite or backlite. You’ll find the manufacturer’s logo that may just give you some idea of where your glass was made.

Be sure to visit Glass.com to continue learning more about auto glass, where to find it and more resources that can help you along the way.

Who Fixes Auto Glass?

Having to fix a crack on your car’s windshield, or replace a side window, can be a headache, so finding a qualified company or technician to fix it shouldn’t be an added hassle.

Where to Start

Auto glass repair and replacement companies employ glass technicians. These technicians should have extensive training in order to properly evaluate each nick, chip or crack on the glass to advise you on what’s needed: a repair or a replacement.

Know Your Options

There are many companies that fix auto glass a few are large national chains, most are regional or local companies and, depending on where you are located you could find all three. Glass.com offers a great way to locate quality companies. Simply enter the type of glass you need and the zip code and you’ll see choices from all different types of auto glass installation companies. Most companies let you bring your car to them or are happy to work in your windshield with mobile units that come to you. Either way, repairing or replacing your auto glass should be a little less taxing.

But when it comes to fixing an important part of one of your largest investments, how do you know who’s reputable?

Check Credentials

A good sign that a company’s qualified to fix your car’s glass, is that they’re recognized by the Auto Glass Safety Council(AGSC). On this not-for-profit’s website, you can find a complete list of companies that are registered members of the organization, as well as a list of accredited technicians. Being accredited is not a requirement, but if a technician holds the AGSC certificate, the more qualified they are to repair or replace the damaged glass. The website Glass.com lists quality companies and shows you their accredidations, so you can make an informed decision when choosing an auto glass installation company.

An accredited AGSC technician will have passed an examination consisting of 70 multiple choice questions, with limited time allotted per question. You can find a complete list of accredited technicians on the AGSC website.

We’re doing our best to bring you the most accurate information to help you with your glass repair and replacement needs. Be sure to visit glass.com for more resources along the way.

Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted.  You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.

© 2020 Glass.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed written permission. Questions? Contact info@glass.com.

Ellen Rogers

By Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers has been involved with the glass industry for nearly 20 years and is the editor of USGlass Magazine and Architects’ Guide to Glass magazine. Ellen received a degree from Peace College where she studied journalism.

Ellen enjoys running and competes regularly in races including half and full marathons. When not on the go, Ellen enjoys reading, wine tasting, true crime shows, and family game nights with her husband and son. Their favorite game is Clue. Ellen also bakes what is known locally as “World Famous Oatmeal Cookies.”

13 responses to “Where and How is Auto Glass Made?”

  1. I’m in the process of looking to procure automotive safety glass for a special vehicle. is it available? the vehicle is a 1932 ford 5 window coupe. where and how would I find automotive safety glass for it? any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Anthony Sgro

    • Hi Anthony,

      There are relatively few places that custom make safety glass and it is unlikely that there are any in your area. I would suggest reaching out to local shops first though. If that doesn’t produce results, then doing an online search should help you locate someone. If the 5 window coupe is stock, they may be able to produce the glass piece easily. Or if the car has been chopped they may be able to go off of your exact measurements and ship it to a local installer.

  2. Fuyao is not Japanese. They are Chinese.
    Source: Fuyao group website and history (note that the language is also Chinese and not Japanese)

  3. Is there any glass manufacturer in the USA that can supply me with a full set of OE or OEM glass for a 1967 SS Chevelle Coupe/2 dr hdtp shipped to Iowa?
    If the answer is no, and I am forced to buy repro glass, who has the best classic car glass? and is that glass made in China ,Taiwan or elsewhere?

    Randy in Iowa

  4. I checked with Pilkington Classics and their side glass is only 3/16″ thick per the salesman. I need glass that is closer to 1/4″ thick or thicker. Can you provide a DOT # of a reputable Chinese glass producer? I have heard that some Chinese glass is very good and some Chinese and Taiwan glass is junk. When I ask suppliers where their glass is produced they get very defensive and tell me to look elsewhere? All I want is a set of repro glass that is made OEM specs and will fit like it should.

    • Hi Randy,
      The year, make and model of the vehicle you need glass for will help identify what replacement parts are available for it. You can use our Affiliate locator to find a local shop in your area that should be able to find this information using the NAGS database. Sometimes aftermarket is the only option. Other times, OEM and even factory parts are available.

  5. We are building a knight rider replica 1982 trans am, and need a windshield that does not have the blue or green strip at the top. I have emailed and called multiple custom auto glass companies, and to no avail. Please advise!

  6. How can i find the manufacturer of my car s front door glass ? i can see the stamp on it but i cant spot the facory-supplier . Can you help me ?? Thanks in advance !!!

  7. Hi, I am a student and working on research project regarding automobile laminated and tempered glass. Can you guide me the composition of materials used in manufacturing tempered glass for vehicles? As i have not yet found anything like complete chemical composition of materials to be used in manufacturing tempered glass…
    Thanks in advance…

    • Hi Faraan,
      Tempered glass is different from regular glass due to the tempering process, rather than the chemical composition. Once the glass is manufactured, it undergoes the tempering process where it is heated, then cooled using a technique called “quenching”. The heating and cooling process is what tempers the glass and creates the qualities unique to tempered glass such as increased strength and a unique breaking pattern. As for the chemical makeup of the glass that undergoes the tempering process, the raw materials will be similar to those seen in the How Automotive Glass is Made video. For more specifics, you would need to contact the manufacturer.

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