Guardian expansion complete

The 75,500-square-foot expansion is on the east side of the 83 acres owned by the company in the Industrial Park on Forge Avenue.

It houses a control room and one machine that is 730 feet long and 18 feet wide.
The machine enables an energy-efficient coating to be placed on glass manufactured at the plant. The 10-step process includes loading, coating, inspecting, cutting and packing the glass.

"There's a need for this type of coating process in the glass business," said plant manager Mark Mette, noting that the product is in demand.

Mette said the machine is working on a trial-run basis, with the finished product being distributed as samples. The machine should be in production around mid-July and running around the clock, five days a week, by the end of the year, he said.

The addition will mean 42 new employees over three shifts; 36 have already been hired. The $120 million Guardian glass plant, which opened on May 1, 1998, now employees about 300 workers.

Mette said roughly 100 truckloads of the treated glass should be shipped out per month to Guardian's customers in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest and Canada. The product will be cut to order.

Brendan Culloty, operations manager, said the coating machine is the fastest and largest of its kind in the world, although a larger one will be built this fall for Guardian's plant in Luxembourg.

The machine was built in Germany and brought to Hamilton, Ontario, on a cargo ship. From there, it was trucked to the Geneva plant.

Most of the glass treated with the coating will be used in residential windows.

Culloty said the coating acts as a filter, allowing more light inside the home while blocking out heat and ultra-violet rays.

"It's more energy efficient," Culloty said, adding that the coated windows also re-reflect heat in the house, making it warmer during the winter months.

A total of 11 layers of coating could be placed on the glass. More layers increase the efficiency of the glass, Culloty said, adding that all 11 layers combined would be about the width of one human hair.

While the coated windows are more expensive, several window manufacturers offer the product free as an incentive to purchase their products.

600450 Guardian expansion complete

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