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 are Manufactured
Step 1. Gather raw materials.
Step 2. Melt raw materials.
Step 3. Pour molten glass mixture onto tin bath.
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 silkscreen.
Step 8. Mold glass to shape, adding curvature.
Step 9. Add PVB layer to glass and lay 2nd piece of glass on top.
Step 10. Heat the three layers in oven to bond.
Step 11. Wash, label, pack, and ship windshield.
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?
A good sign that a company is 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 accreditations, 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.