Guardian Industries began as the Guardian Glass Company in 1932. Back then we made windshields for the automotive industry. Today, Guardian Industries Corp. is a diversified global manufacturing company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with leading positions in float glass and fabricated glass products for commercial, residential and transportation applications; automotive trim; and the distribution of building products. Through its research and development centers (Science & Technology Center for glass and Advanced Development Center for automotive), Guardian is at the forefront of innovation. Its automotive trim group, SRG Global, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of chrome-plated plastic parts for the automotive, commercial truck and consumer goods industries. Guardian, and its subsidiaries and affiliates employ 17,000 people and operate facilities throughout North America, Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
In 1970, we opened our first glass plant in Carleton, Michigan, and began manufacturing float glass, a product achieved by floating molten glass on a bath of liquid tin. At the time, we were the first company to enter the U.S. primary glass industry in nearly 50 years. Today, we have 28 float glass lines around the world.
While we were expanding our glass business globally, we also began to diversify. Beginning in 1980, Guardian opened several fiberglass insulation plants. Then in 1998, we acquired Builder Marts of America (BMA) and in 2000, we purchased Cameron Ashley Building Products (now Guardian Building Products Distribution), moves that gave Guardian a strong and growing presence in the building materials distribution business.
The 1990s also saw the expansion of our automotive capabilities. With the acquisition of Automotive Moulding Company of Warren, Michigan, and Lab.Radio, in Valencia, Spain, both automotive trim manufacturers, we became the first and only company to manufacture and fabricate both glass and trim products for the automotive industry. We added automotive fabrication plants in the U.S. and Europe, expanding our offerings and geographic reach.
The theme at the turn of the century was value-added product innovation. In 2000, we opened our Science and Technology Center in Carleton, Mich. that has expanded and enhanced our product offerings in the Commercial, Residential, Interiors, Solar, Electronics and Transportation segments. In 2008 we acquired Siegel-Robert Automotive, which eventually led to the formation of SRG Global, one of the world’s largest suppliers of advanced, high value coatings on plastics.
With hundreds of new patents, scores of fresh products and several new facilities around the world, Guardian is poised to meet the challenges of the coming decades. Our products and systems grace vehicles, homes and construction projects all over the world. We have accomplished so much in such a short time, it’s exciting to ponder what’s coming next.