Slightly Shaded by Jordan Campbell
by Jordan Campbell
July 8th, 2020

Why Does It Matter?

One of the industry’s more entertaining topics is who manufactures the film we use in our shops. This conversation usually starts mini feuds between installers over which “white box” film company gets what films from where. This conversation is one of the many on social media forums that ends up with someone, with a sense of humor, posting a Michael Jackson eating popcorn GIF within the thread. I can’t help but ask myself, why does it matter?

Anyone who spends 15 minutes walking around an industry trade show floor or talking to a veteran installer has heard of the “Big Four” film manufacturers rumor. For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, the “Big Four” are the major film manufacturers that are said to manufacture all of the window film. They then redistribute it throughout the industry in different levels of specifications and qualities. Let me be clear, THIS IS A RUMOR. I have never spoken with anyone in the industry that has confirmed this theory 100%. However, I have heard a lot of “I can’t confirm or deny” remarks.

Your next question might be; who are the “Big Four”? Well kids that would be 3M, Global, Madico, and Solar Gard (in alphabetical order.) Do these manufacturers make a lot of window film? Yes. Do they sell their film to “white box” suppliers? – Absolutely. Does it matter? Not even a little bit and I’ll tell you why.

The machines required to manufacture films are astronomically expensive and physically quite large. The amount of scientific technology required to make the films of our age are mind bogglingly amazing. Some of these films use scientific processes that can’t even be explained in laymen’s terms. As a disclaimer, this isn’t me saying that some smaller manufacturers don’t have all of the necessary equipment. A lot of them do. Generally it just isn’t logical for smaller film companies to invest, house and maintain the level of technology and types of manpower required to own these machines. Instead, the “Big Four” offer the services of their mad scientists and machines to cook up personal film recipes for smaller manufacturers.

At the end of the day each film company gives a warranty (or not) with their products. Each offers a different level of customer service. They all hire representatives to assist you with sales and warranty claims. They all come to town and check on your level of satisfaction with their products. They all carry products they don’t even care about, like tools and chemicals, to make your life easier as an installer. So again, it doesn’t matter who manufactures your film. What matters is your happiness with the product and company that provides it.

Until next time, see you in the shade.

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  1. I agree with you but you might want to mention Eastman?

  2. This is an interesting, if not completely incorrect perspective of the window film industry writ whole.

    Any discussion about window film manufacturers must include Eastman Chemicals the indisputable world leader in this industry sold under the LLumar, Vista and SunTek brands to name a few.

    There are critical differences in window film performance, clarity and durability. Re-boxed films may or may not meet the same standards as the leading manufacturers albeit the NFRC has documented performance characteristics that are quantifiable. These documented aspects of specific films separates reality from marketing babble about a film’s performance.

    Warranties are only as good as the company providing the paperwork. The private label, re-boxed films may have support today but check these same companies out in 10 years or so!

    No – -All films are not created equal. A Rolls Royce isn’t the same as a Nissan Sentra. Anyone pretending otherwise is self delusional.

  3. I’m glad you think the article was interesting. Persoanlly though, I’ve never considered someone else’s perspective “incorrect”. What makes a perspective to begin with is the option have free rein opinions on any given subject.

    Sure, Eastman is also a major manufacturer and they were not specifically excluded from the list of major manufacturers. However, in my experience of speaking with other installers in the industry they have been excluded from the rumor my article was referring to.

    I also never said all films were created equally. I simply stated that regardless of who makes the films the end result must be your happiness with the company selling you the film and the products themselves.

  4. Nice to see you writing for WFM Jordan! Love this subject and I could talk for days on it. Challenging to have to keep it to only 5 paragraphs but I think you summed it all up in the last 2 sentences. 🙂 Take care!

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