From Commodity to
Just a few years back the window film industry faced a major threat. The challenge was unique in that it didn’t come from outside forces. It wasn’t from international competition, shifting legislation or even raw materials costs. This threat was more subtle and more insidious. Simply, window films were nearing the point of becoming perceived as low-value, commodity products.
The combination of discoloring auto tint, disposable, “do-it-yourself” glass insulation and underperforming commercial laminates compromised the credibility of the window film industry and threatened its long-term viability. After all, once a product becomes a commodity, price becomes the final differentiator.
There is one, and perhaps only one, sure-fire way to overcome commoditization: innovation. And this is precisely the strategy executed with great success by pioneering window film manufacturers and forward-thinking distributors. From revolutionary applications to unprecedented performance levels and compelling visual designs, window film innovation has come in many forms. New market opportunities and new levels of credibility have followed behind each breakthrough.
The beauty of innovation is that it becomes self-perpetuating. Advancement in one area increases the capacity for progress in others. New software programs expedite time to market, refined manufacturing processes enhance efficiency and improved mechanical systems ensure the highest product quality. The end results are rising performance and dropping costs.
This favorable trend has also been occurring in our industry for several years, and industry associations, including the IWFA and the AIMCAL Window Film Committee, have reported back to members the emergence—and implications—of major trends. While I would enjoy tracing this remarkable progress back to its point of origin, there is space in this column for only a handful of highlights. So I have decided to limit my search to the most recent. Over the past several months a number of window film makers have propelled all of us into a brighter future. Let’s take a look at a few of these highlights:
These are just a few of the most recent innovations in the traditional sectors of the window film market. Many companies also are investing heavily on antimicrobial products to create cleaner environments, privacy-aiding materials for high-security environments, and other high-value applications that many experts agree will sustain this industry for generations to come.
As they say, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” Given the rocky waters in which we all sailed in the not-too-distant past, this adage is especially true in our fine industry.
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