Guardian Glass Carleton Celebrates 50 Years of Operation

Plant Inaugurated Guardian Industries' Float Glass Production

Auburn Hills, Mich. – August 10, 2020 Guardian Glass is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of its Carleton, Michigan glass plant, and with it the company’s entry into float glass production.

Under the leadership of William “Bill” Davidson, Carleton pulled the first ribbon of glass on August 20, 1970. Up until that point, the company had been a manufacturer of automotive laminated windshields using glass sourced from others.

With the launch of the Carleton float line, Guardian became the first new company to enter the glass manufacturing business in 50 years. The state-of-the-art facility was 275,000 square feet and pulled 350 tons of glass per day. In just three years, Guardian launched a second float line at the site and started its trajectory of global growth that continues to this day.

“It is a testament to the hard work and dedication to safety of all our employees over the years, and to our customers and suppliers, that our Carleton team has maintained 50 years of float glass production consistently at the highest levels of quality,” says Ron Vaupel, Guardian Industries President and CEO. “It is wonderful to celebrate this first float plant as we prepare to launch a new float glass plant in Poland just over a month from now.”

"The team that led Guardian into the float glass business were learning on the job how to start up and operate a float glass manufacturing line,” explains Rick Zoulek, Executive Vice President, Guardian Glass Americas. “They illustrate the best of the entrepreneurial spirit at Guardian. This environment made success and growth at Carleton possible, creating momentum that carried Guardian toward rapid expansion across the Americas and then globally.”

The Carleton plant’s growth included the addition in 1977 of the capability to coat glass to improve performance and aesthetics and a tempering furnace in 1978. Carleton was also the site at which the highly successful Guardian SunGuard® product family of high value-added glass coatings was launched in 1995. Carleton helped Guardian to another milestone in 2018 when the plant started to produce jumbo coated glass, the first Guardian jumbo coater installation in the Americas. The team has completed several cold tank repairs over the five decades to maintain the assets, improve safety and environmental controls, increase capacity and better meet customer demand.

“We extend our thanks to the Village of Carleton, Ash Township, Monroe County, and the surrounding communities,” Zoulek continues. “And we thank every employee over the last 50 years, many of whom went on to support other Guardian plants. Today, this dedicated team is continuing to transform for the next 50 years.”

About Guardian Glass

Guardian Glass, a major business unit of Guardian Industries, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of float, coated and fabricated glass products. At its 25 float plants around the globe, Guardian Glass produces high performance glass for use in exterior (both commercial and residential) and interior architectural applications, as well as transportation and technical products. You’ll find Guardian glass in homes, offices, cars and some of the world’s most iconic architectural landmarks. The Guardian Glass Science & Technology Center continuously works to create new glass products and solutions using the most advanced technology to help customers see what’s possible™.

About Guardian Industries

Guardian Industries, a global company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, operates facilities throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Guardian companies employ 18,000 people and manufacture high-performance float glass; coated and fabricated glass products for architectural, residential, interior, transportation and technical glass applications; and high-quality chrome-plated and painted plastic components for the automotive and commercial truck industries. Guardian’s vision is to be a preferred partner to our customers, suppliers, employees and communities based on a foundation of mutual benefit. This drives our relentless focus on improving people’s lives by providing products and services they value more highly than their alternatives and doing so responsibly while consuming fewer resources. Guardian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. Visit


Amy Hennes, Corporate Communications

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