A new year is finally upon us. This past year brought various stories throughout the glass, glazing and fenestration industries, ranging from inflation to supply chain issues to the fight to reduce carbon emissions. The year also had its fair share of ironies, such as the glass repair owner who was accused of shattering glass windows, along with an array of acquisitions and mergers.
Here is our annual look back at some of the most popular stories of the year.
1). Glass Leak at Vitro Plant Injuries Multiple People (August 8)
A glass leak at Vitro Architectural Glass’ Wichita Falls, Texas, plant in August injured multiple people. Vitro states that the line number two furnace developed a leak that caused the hot, molten glass to escape from the vessel. Multiple agencies were deployed to the scene to help seal the leak. Six employees injured during the incident were taken to United Regional Hospital for heat stress treatment.
According to Robert Struble, Vitro’s brand and communications manager, glass production slowed on line two but was not stopped during the leak or repair.
2). Guardian Glass Announces Price Increases and Surcharges (June 14)
Guardian Glass cites extreme volatility in raw material costs, supply chain disruptions and industry conditions in a letter to its U.S. and Canadian customers announcing price increases on all shipments. It also announced its energy, transportation and silver surcharges will now undergo monthly adjustments.
All thicknesses of clear float and tinted float will increase by 40%, as will prices of tempered glass, tempered coated, and patterned glass. UltraClear, coated SunGuard, coated ClimaGuard, ShowerGuard and laminated glass will increase by 20%. Mirror prices are increasing by 25%.
3). Forklift Accident Kills Woman at Vitro Plant in Wichita Falls (August 2)
An employee contracted by Vitro Architectural Glass died in Wichita Falls, Texas, after being run over by a forklift. The Wichita County Sheriff’s Office said that 31-year-old Kimberly Wright passed away after arriving at the emergency room following an industrial accident involving a forklift. Wright was employed by ABM Industries and contracted to the Vitro plant in Wichita Falls, according to Baxter.
4). Damaged Windows Spark Lawsuit by University of Iowa Children’s Hospital (June 27)
Since its opening in 2017, the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital has been plagued with window deficiencies that have become so common that many patient windows have begun to pose safety issues, The Gazette reports. As a result of these alleged deficiencies, the University of Iowa’s Board of Regents filed a lawsuit on June 10, 2022, against Knutson Construction Services Midwest Inc. and Cupples International Inc.
5). KPS Capital to Acquire Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® in Cash Offer (February 28)
KPS Capital Partners LP announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE) from CRH plc for approximately $3.45 billion in cash through a newly formed affiliate. Speculations regarding the possible $3 billion sale were reported in 2021, which caused CRH’s stocks to rise. OBE, headquartered in Dallas, has over 6,700 employees and operates 84 manufacturing and distribution facilities in five countries.
6). Owner of Glass Repair Shop Named Person of Interest Following Months-Long Vandalism Spree (October 3)
A months-long vandalism spree in Citrus Heights, Calif., that resulted in dozens of shattered windows and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages might be over, says the Citrus Heights police department. The crime spree spanned months and threatened Citrus Heights business owners’ livelihoods as individuals repeatedly shattered windows throughout multiple county jurisdictions.
Following a multi-agency investigation, Citrus Heights police identified Philip Archuleta, owner of Brothers Doors and Glass, which provides glass service, repairs and installments, as a person of interest.
7). Worker Dies in Accident at Cardinal Glass Church Hill (December 15)
An employee of a subcontractor for Cardinal Glass in Church Hill, Tenn., died in a workplace accident. Local media outlets report that no cause of death has been unveiled. The identity of the person has also not been released. A spokesperson for Cardinal Glass said the accident occurred in an area that is not currently used for production.
8). Victims Sue Apple, Say Glass Storefront Not Designed to ‘Prevent Tragedies’ (December 19)
Attorneys representing victims injured during the deadly Apple Store crash in Hingham, Mass., in November 2022 announced that they are filing a suit against Apple, the owner, developer and manager of the property and the driver claiming that the incident could have been avoided. Doug Sheff, a personal injury lawyer at Sheff and Cook representing multiple victims, says that Apple’s all-glass storefront design is not designed to prevent such tragedies.
9). Koch Responds: Here’s Why it’s Not Shutting Down its Russian Float Lines (March 31)
Koch Industries president and chief operating officer Dave Robertson were criticized by a number of mainstream media outlets for stating the company was not shutting down its two Guardian Glass float lines in Russia.
“While Guardian’s business in Russia is a very small part of Koch, we will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them,” says Robertson. “… Doing so would only put our employees at greater risk and do more harm than good.”
Koch later sold its business in Russia to a private enterprise in the construction industry, an outcome that Robertson said was “facilitated and supported by plant employees and complies with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations.”
10). Float Glass Companies Consider Options for Russian Facilities (March 22)
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led many businesses to withdraw their operations from Russia. Companies in industries such as banking, entertainment, retail and travel have all withdrawn or suspended operations. The same can’t be said for all companies in the glass industry.
Koch Industries, parent company of Guardian Industries, is the only U.S.-based glass company with float operations in Russia. The company has two glass manufacturing facilities in the country with 600 employees; an additional 15 employees are employed in Russia outside of Guardian.