Volume 12, Issue 4 - July/August 2008

The Bar Has Been Raised
International Window Film Expo, Conference and Tint-Off™ 2008

The window film industry is constantly evolving. But one part of the industry has evolved at an exponential rate recently: its customers. The green movement and a slow economy have led homeowners to begin exploring energy (and thereby money) saving options, but it also has led those same consumers to develop a scrupulous eye. As of May 3, 2008, several hundred professionals left this year’s International Window Film Expo, Conference and Tint- Off™ (IWFE) more qualified to meet these challenging opportunities.

Early Birds Got the Worm
Early birds were rewarded as Speaker Dave McFadyen held them on the edge of their seats while he shared insights to help dealers improve their businesses. McFadyen, who owned American Window Tinting for 12 years, covered operational, sales and marketing, and financial best practices from a window film point of view.

In an opening session, WINDOW FILM’s editor, Drew Vass, shared some the past year’s events and explained how they often link to create opportunities. Vass then turned the session over to Brett Webster, product manager for Venture Tape Corp. in Rockland, Mass., who covered advancements in paint protection technologies and provided key considerations for any window film dealer looking to capitalize on this segment.

Webster said window film dealers who wish to provide paint protection as a side product would need to do their homework and be able to provide a complete installation in two hours or less in order to be competitive. In a later session, Dana Curtis covered technologies that can help dealers meet this goal by utilizing plotter systems and pattern software. Curtis covered the ins and outs of selecting and implementing a plotter system then provided a live demonstration followed by a question- and-answer session.

Tying into Webster’s presentation, Barry Edwards, president of Aegis Films in Norcross, Ga., provided an overview of the automotive market. Edwards provided key statistics, including expected new car production levels and explained that his company anticipates the automotive film industry to remain strong. Edwards message was later echoed by keynote speaker Christophe Fremont, president of Bekaert Specialty Films in San Diego, who delivered a spirited message to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 120 attendees. Fremont also advised taking full advantage of industry associations—citing numerous points shared by Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA), in his prior session. (Read more on Fremont’s speech on page 28 of this issue.)

Inspiring Short Courses
IWFE boasted a number of sessions aimed to deliver the “shortcourse” on various areas of improving any window film business.

Ed Golda, president of Michigan Glass Coatings Inc., addressed the issue of softer times by explaining how dealers can manage to prosper in a down market; Dan Molloy and his partner Mel Auston of Molloy LLC enlightened attendees with sales techniques centered on effective sales language; Kathryn Giblin, vice president of global marketing and technical services for Bekaert Specialty Films, tackled the green movement; and Mike Raymond of ASTIC Signals Defenses LLC brought dealers up to speed on the signals defense market, to name a few.

Teaming Up
Being co-located with the Independent Glass Association’s Spring Auto Glass Show and Americas Glass Showcase gave IWFE attendees the advantage of rubbing elbows with a sister industry. The conference portion of this year’s event wrapped up with a glass industry update, provided by Donn Harter of the Americas Glass Association.

Never has there been a more critical time for window film professionals to grow and learn. And this year’s event left several hundred ready to meet the modern challenges this industry faces.

In between educational sessions and watching the Tint-Off™, attendees had the opportunity to rub elbows with some new and favorite manufacturers.

Aegis Films
Aegis Films had a crew on hand to promote everything from the company’s premium films and ClearBra paint protection, to plotters and software. The Norcross, Ga.-based manufacturer’s Acuity Architectural Films are made from all metal laminates and ultraviolet (UV) protection is built into all layers as well as in between laminates to provide a high level of UV protection. www.1800gettint.com

Bekaert Specialty Films
Bekaert had a full staff at IWFE to demonstrate the company’s plotter system, Specularis software and full film lineup. Live demonstrations showed how the company’s Panorama dealers utilize Specularis to produce reports and sales packages including accurate impact predictions based on project parameters. In addition to inputting building characteristics, the software also uses historical weather data and sun positioning. www.bekaertfilms.com

Johnson Window Films
Johnson Window Film’s booth promoted all of the company’s offerings, including Insulatir—an IR-rejecting, ceramic film that the company says is long-lasting and wireless-signal-friendly. The Carson, Calif.-based company also had a number of free handouts for visitors including its handy tool pouches. www.johnsonwindowfilms.com

Madico Inc.
Madico drew a crowd with its complete line-up of films, including everything from decorative and impact resistant to premium automotive products.

The company’s Onyx® and Charcool® lines provide nearly 100-percent ultraviolet protection and block more than 66 percent of the sun’s heat, according to Madico. www.madico.com

UltraFilm USA
UltraFilm parked a Ferrari F40 in its booth this year. The company’s complete portfolio of value-priced, premium and specialty window film lines also drew a crowd while a mini-lab setup demonstrated its special plasma process. www.ultrafilm-usa.com

Roland ASD
Roland Advanced Solutions Division (ASD) provided live demonstrations of its plotter systems and Film Designs Pro software. This advanced system allows film professionals to add designs, logos and text to window film patterns. www.rolandasd.com

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