Volume 7, Issue 2, March - April 2003
Remember the Alamo
Window Film Conference Proves Memorable for Attendees
by Penny Beverage
The International Window Film Conference and Expo™ (IWFE) turned out manufacturers and dealers from the United States and Canada when it was held January 23-25, 2003, in San Antonio. The IWFE was co-sponsored by the International Window Film Association (IWFA) and Window Film magazine.
The show offered attendees an array of new products, including several new lines of films from Martinsville, Va.-based CPFilms Inc., Woburn, Mass.-based Madico Inc., Clearwater, Fla.-based Bekaert Specialty Films, St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Film Technologies International and New York-based Intermax. In addition, tool companies such as Dublin, Ohio-based Performance Tools Distribution, Clearwater, Fla.-based Filmhandler International and Canton, Ga.-based Gila Tools were on-hand to show film applicators the latest in squeegees and power sprayers.
Attendees also enjoyed a variety of educational opportunities, including seminars on opening a window film business, effective business proposal writing, the impact of building codes, the future of the IWFA and diversifying a business.
In addition, social activities included a visit to “the Madico Ranch,” a country-western themed party sponsored by Madico, complete with a Tex-Mex buffet and country band, and a luncheon with keynote speaker John Baker, a noted trainer and representative of the Sandler Institute in Irvine, Calif.
Protective Glazing Council president Scott Haddock, who is also president of GlassLock in San Jose, Calif., kicked things off with his presentation about advanced security film attachments.
“One thing I’d like to do is dispel some myths,” Haddock began. “Film does not make the glass stronger or bullet-proof.”
However, Haddock said, it does control glass failure, reduce property damage, reduce glass spalling and injuries and save lives. He then went on to explain attachment systems and how they reduce threats of explosions by not only holding the glass together somewhat in the event of a crash, but also by holding the glass in the window.
In “Advertising and Warranty Basics for the Window Film Industry,” the IWFA’s legal counsel Valarie Williams of Alston and Bird in Atlanta discussed what should and shouldn’t be said when trying to explain to your customers why your film is the one they should choose.
For example, she reminded attendees that it is fine to say subjectively that your film is the best they can get, but wrong to say that its performance surpasses that of your competitors, unless it can be proved by testing. Williams also warned retailers to be sure to take note of the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines regarding warranties.
Vicki Lovell, code consultant for the IWFA and AIMCAL window film committee, provided an update on how window film fits into the code systems and what may be coming to affect it further. Among these updates was the possibility of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) beginning to rate film and some codes the Department of Energy is debating that could include film for retrofit purposes.
“Some of the things we’re trying to do is to create opportunities in the code bodies for marketing film,” she said. “What we have to do is give a little and take a little.”
Lovell also mentioned the wired-glass issue, but reported that the full results of her testing wouldn’t be available until March.
Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA, followed with an update about where the IWFA stands and its future direction. The discussion focused mainly on the IWFA’s accreditation testing, and Smith revealed that online testing via educational testing centers (such as Sylvan Learning Centers throughout the United States) soon will be available. Thus, not only would the testing be more readily available, but scoring would also be more immediate.
In addition, the IWFA is introducing an Advanced Solar Control Film accreditation test and an Advanced Security Film accreditation test.
Finally, in “How to Diversify,” attendees learned about opportunities for diversifying their businesses from Dick Bass of Ziebart International of Troy, Mich., and John Byron of Glass Doctor of Waco, Texas. (See "Branching Out" for related story.)
Go, Tampa Bay!
Keynote speaker John Baker of the Sandler Institute in Irvine, Calif., took the podium with one first important question: “Who’s going to win the Super Bowl?”
With the big game taking place that very weekend, Baker’s questions drew many responses; almost everyone in the audience announcing they were rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, except Haddock, a California native and an Oakland Raiders fan.
While the question seemed unrelated to film, Baker soon explained that that is how applicators and shop owners can form bonds with their customers by chatting with them about something of interest to them, such as their children, sports interests or other hobbies. This step in the “Sandler System,” as Baker explained, is called “Bonding and Rapport,” and is the first in a series of four.
“Bonding and Rapport” is followed by Pattern Interrupts (asking random questions, such as “does your daughter play soccer?,” to keep a conversation going and to increase interest), Creative Listening (deciding if a person is audio, visual or kinesthetic) and Upfront Contract (getting an answer, whether it’s yes or no, so you’ll know early what the future might hold).
Baker encouraged attendees always to allow customers to talk 70 percent of the time so that you will remain in control of the situation.
Finally, Baker reminded attendees to develop an “abundance mentality”—to think about opportunities for extra work, such as partnering with a glass installer to refer film work to you. Also, he said that shops should not drop prices at the expense of quality and to remind customers of the same thing.
“Would you go to Tijuana to save a couple thousand dollars on heart surgery?” Baker asked. “People don’t want low prices, they want low risk.”
In addition to the educational opportunities afforded by the conference, the trade show offered attendees an opportunity to see some of the latest products available for window film applicators. Following are some of the products highlighted at this year’s show.
|CPFilms Training CD Provides In-Shop Installation Methods
Martinsville, Va.-based CPFilms Inc. unveiled its brand-new automotive film application training CD. Lewis Pitzer, national sales manager for the company, took center stage at the New Products Demonstration breakfast on January 24 to display the capabilities of the innovative CD.
“We want to bring ideas to dealers, and through this CD, we can bring tons of ideas to thousands and thousands of people,” Pitzer said.
The CD offers details on some of the most basic application strategies to tips for more difficult installations, while also providing details on the most important tools an applicator must keep on-hand.
“We forget that a lot of people still need to learn all of this,” he said.
The CD is set up as if it were a website, so that it is easily navigable and user-friendly. The training techniques available on the CD were filmed in the company’s brand-new training facility in Martinsville, Va. The company’s head trainer, Dave Laufenberg, narrates the training techniques.
“The best film in the world is nothing to the end consumer, depending on how good the installation is done,” Pitzer said.
Eventually, the company hopes to make the CD also available on DVD.
3M Unveils Scotchtint™ Color-Stable Film
St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Company displayed its Scotchtint color-stable auto film. According to the company, the film does not contain any dyes or metals and does not interfere with the global positioning systems with which many vehicles are now equipped. Likewise, the film is easy to shrink and is available in a variety of black and bronze colors in several different light-transmission levels. 3M also guarantees the film against bubbles, peeling or blisters.
Bekaert Introduces Hilite 70
Bekaert Specialty Films LLC of Clearwater, Fla., has developed Hilite 70, a new addition to its Hilite™ clear solar protection line. According to the company, Hilite 70 provides a clear, unaltered view with extraordinary solar protection. The spectrally-selective film is manufactured from a variety of metals, including silver and gold. Using the company’s advanced metal oxide technology, the film has a multi-layered stack construction that enables it to have a high visible light transmittance rate.
FTI Unveils Proposal Generating System 2.1
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Film Technologies International introduced an upgraded version of its software program, PGS version 2.1.
This proposal-generating system allows installers to use a complete professional managing tool to help with bids, pricing, accounting and exact measurements needed with film installations.
Gila Offers Blade Eater
Gila Distributing of Canton, Ga., has developed the Blade Eater, a clip-on holster for carrying blades and cutting tools as you work. According to the company, it holds tools and blades and cuts down on time when completing an application.
In addition, the company offered its Little Foot squeegee for applying film and meters for detecting coatings on glass.
Johnson Attracts Attendees
Johnson Window Film of Carson, Calif., kept its booth packed with attendees as it demonstrated auto applications, showed off its films and surveyed dealers on what an average day in their shops is like. According to Johnson’s Fred Zwilling, director of training, a new film is due out soon, but he couldn’t reveal the details at press time.
Madico Offers SafetyShield® 800
Woburn, Mass.-based Madico Inc. offered its SafetyShield 800, which was recently UL-approved for resisting intrusions. According to the company, the film has an unlimited impact rating for ANSI Z-97, a Category II CPSC rating, a Category B rating for ASTM E-1996 Large Missile Impact and +/-100 psf for cycling. In addition, when used with a 4-side FrameGuard® attachment system, Madico has found that the film has a GSA Performance Condition of 2 and 3B when installed with a 2-side FrameGuard system or with a 4-side wet-glaze attachment system.
Madico’s SafetyShield 800 transmits 78 percent solar energy, reflects 10 percent and absorbs 12 percent, according to the company. It transmits 84 percent visible light and reflects 10 percent, while carrying a median U-factor of 1.08 and a design U-factor of 1.12.
Big Foot Sighting in Performance Tools Booth
Performance Tools Distributing of Dublin, Ohio, stirred some excitement at the show with its Big Foot for applying film to backlites. According to the company, the Big Foot is equipped with a flexible handle and stiff edge to ease the reach that applicators endure when applying film to a backlite. Likewise, it lessens the strain that is exerted on the applicator’s back when making the reach.
Protect Gard Focuses on Decorative Film
Miami-based Protect Gard Corp. focused on its decorative films for this show, and introduced its new “bloody red” colored film for automotive use. In addition, the company offered a new frost privacy film for use in office complexes with cubicles, restaurants and other such applications.
Get Ready, Set, Go!
IWFE attendees said they were pleased with the information they received at the event. Lawrence Streidel, owner of Interior Guardz Window Tinting LLC in Rockville, Md., attended almost every seminar and the trade show.
“I think one of the best seminars they had was the one about warranties and the laws [by the IWFA’s legal counsel, Valarie Williams],” Streidel said. “That is definitely something I’ll use in the shop.”
The date and location for next year’s conference had not been set at press time. Visit us online at www.glass.com® for further details as they become available.
Penny Beverage is the editor of Window Film magazine.
© Copyright 2003 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.