Dear Reader March/April 2019

August 4th, 2021 by Bryan

New Industry Outlook

As you may know, I’m the assistant editor of this magazine, and the film industry has given me everything from happiness, excitement, and yes… even frustration. But there’s something about it I find fascinating nonetheless.

Recently I visited Eastman’s window film plant in Martinsville Va., and the experience gave me a new outlook on the industry I’ve grown to appreciate. Imagine driving to a place you’ve never heard of or been to before to be told you’re going to see machines that are worth more than your entire neighborhood. That was my reality as I put on protective glasses, a reflective vest and an all-white suit that made me look like the Michelin Man, but made me feel as confident as a ghostbuster.

My eyes opened wider and wider as our very knowledgeable tour guide, Richard Dill, said without missing a beat, the machine I was standing in front of cost twelve million dollars. I felt so small compared to the various plant mechanics that are essential to producing film for this industry. I thought I knew enough about the industry to walk into the tour with my head held high, but in actuality I only knew a small portion–the installation side.

Now after seeing, feeling, and even smelling, the intricate facets that make window film a reality, I can say the manufacturing side is much more complex than I ever imagined. The manpower alone is something remarkable, not to mention all of the quality checks that are performed like clockwork every shift.

As we walked through one of the testing rooms, a joke was made. An Eastman employee, who used to work in the tire manufacturing business said there are more steps to produce window film than to produce tires for your car. Yes in the moment I laughed, but after seeing how urethane is made and how intricate the measurements have to be to get the precise color and the texture for film, I can see there was a lot of truth behind his joke.

Though I have a lot left to learn about the industry I’d say I have more clarity on the manufacturing side which I’m sure will be helpful the next time I contact one of you for an interview.

In life I believe there are some things people just don’t forget when they experience a new place for the first time … and in this case I won’t forget the respect I now have for the entire process of making, distributing, selling, and, of course, installing window film.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Leave Comment