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As Stated on Manufacturer's Website:
Wilsonart International was founded as a producer of high pressure decorative laminate in 1956 in Temple, Texas, by Ralph Wilson, Sr., a retired laminate industry executive. Wilson’s intent was never to build a major competitor — the field in those days included 12 domestic competitors — but rather to fill his free time.
Throughout the 1960s, Wilson’s “hobby” grew dramatically through a formula comprising a dedicated local work force, high-quality products and an old-fashioned commitment to customer service.
The company, then known as Ralph Wilson Plastics Company, was founded on the promise to deliver “laminate anywhere in the United States in 10 days or less.” To ensure this, the company purchased and still maintains its own fleet of delivery trucks in North America.
A warehouse system, now comprising 15 facilities in North America, was put in place to respond to diverse market conditions and maintain a vast inventory of laminate close to every customer.
The mid-1970s brought the real push to establish what has become the world’s finest network of independent wholesale distributors of building materials. These distributors today number more than 200 across the globe and serve as the personification of Wilsonart International, marketing with the same ideals and service philosophy on which Wilsonart was founded.
By the end of the 1970s, Wilsonart® Laminate had become one of the nation’s leading brands of decorative laminate. A new plant, located in Fletcher, North Carolina, was added in 1979 to meet increasing demand for product. Less than eight years later, “Temple North” — the world’s most highly efficient, state-of-the-art laminate production facility — came on line in Temple. This facility has since doubled in size and is over 500,000 square feet.
Wilsonart International also produces and distributes its own brand of Wilsonart® Adhesives. The manufacturing facility in Temple, Texas produces a wide range of adhesive products for ever-changing market needs.
The 1980s marked the beginning of product diversification for Wilsonart International. Design Group I™ (now The Standards), the company’s line of readily available solid colors and patterns, was instituted and has become, in large part, an industry standard for design direction. Wilsonart® Decorative Metals joined the line-up in the mid-‘80s.
By the 1990s, Wilsonart International’s product diversification sped up to meet new market opportunities.
- Wilsonart® Custom Edges add a rich look to countertops with laminate beveled edges or a variety of wood edges;
- Wilsonart® Gibraltar® and Earthstone™ Solid Surfacing create rooms with unparalleled design and distinction;
- Wilsonart® Gibraltar® Kitchen Sinks and Vanity Bowls may be bonded to sheet goods creating integral bowl and countertop looks.
- Wilsonart® Custom Laminate allows designers to create one-of-a-kind laminate surfaces through digital or silk-screen printing processes;
- Wilsonart® Performance Laminates meet a wide range of specialized needs, include Wilsonart® Chemsurf® Chemical-Resistant Laminate, Fire-Rated and High-Wear laminates
- Wilsonart® Metalaminates™ provide the popular look of metals with the workability of laminate.
Wilsonart International is a business unit of Illinois Tool Works Inc (NYSE: ITW), Glenview, Illinois, a $10 billion diversified manufacturer of highly engineered components and industrial systems.
The future for Wilsonart International, based on the company’s market position, customer relationships, product mix and improving business climate, is bright.
International expansion became an important new focus for the company in the 1990’s. By the year 2000, Wilsonart had established a global network through major off-shore investments in acquisitions and Greenfield operations.
In Asia, Wilsonart International has established manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, China, with distribution centers in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shen-Zhen. The manufacturing plant, started in 2000, completed a major expansion in 2003. A second Asia manufacturing plant, in Bangkok, Thailand provides access to the growing ASEAN markets of Southeast Asia.
In Europe, Wilsonart acquired Resopal GmbH, a leading decorative laminate brand in Germany, and this provides an excellent platform for growth on the continent. Separately, Wilsonart acquired the U. K. producer of residential worktops. This high volume application of decorative laminate provides a platform to expand our sales into the U. K. commercial markets with both worktops and Wilsonart Laminate.
Rounding out our international network is the acquisition of the Arborite Company in Canada, and strong market positions in Australia and South/Central/Latin America.
In this global economy, and as our major customers expand internationally, we are becoming increasingly successful in developing international business with our customers.
Today, these key business operating units comprise the Wilsonart/ITW family:
- Wilsonart® Laminate
- Wilsonart® Adhesives
- Wilsonart® Solid Surface
- Wilsonart® International