SEMA: The Event That Gives Vegas a Run For its Money

August 4th, 2021 by Bryan

By Emmariah Holcomb

No matter how long you’ve been in the specialty equipment industry there’s one thing that everyone seems to know—that the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) is one of the industry events you don’t want to miss. Every year it seems to grow and take on new life of its own as attendees ranging from industry professionals to car enthusiasts come to Sin City from around the globe for the annual four day affair at the Las Vegas convention center.

The 2018 show, which ran from October 30th to November 2nd was no different, as it drew in more than 2,400 exhibitors. While only a fraction of them were geared towards window film, there was something to see, learn and experience at every display.

Rolling The Dice With New PPF

If there were ever a time to introduce a new paint protection film (PPF) this show was it. Thousands of people made their way through the crowds to learn more about Filink and CCL Design’s newest options.

Filink took a unique approach to its latest PPF and wasted no time in showing attendees what the company had been working on. Many were fascinated with the variety of colors they saw as they observed the film from different angles.

“We currently have a patent out on our new chameleon film, it has a cool feature that mimics the animal. So if you were to stand on one side of a vehicle that has it installed and look at it, the color would be different if you were looking at it from an opposite angle,” said Andrew Park, company representative.

The company can create a custom effect for vehicles that can’t be found anywhere else. Park also mentioned he often found himself trying to explain the product to dozens at a time as each person would stop to listen in at different periods of his demonstration when they noticed changes in the film’s color.

CCL Design used a common backyard barbeque condiment to give its attendees a hands-on experience they weren’t going to forget. The company gave its guests the chance to test its new NanoFusion PPF by using yellow mustard on standard vehicle parts and parts that had the film installed. The Nano-Fusion film is a clear layer that helps protect against road debris, stones and salt while keeping the vehicle’s color intact, according to the company.

CCL Design aims to eliminate the need for touch-ups and paint detailing with its latest PPF.

Breaking Out New Products

A multitude of companies showcased new products. Some, like Wintech Window Films, debuted products with higher durability factors that also self-heal.

“It’s exciting because we have a new IR and ceramic film in addition to our newest PPF,” said Dennis Kim, Wintech Window Films representative.

The company’s new IR 90 film rejects heat, while the ceramic film has a low absorption rate, which makes it safe for dual-pane use, according to Kim.

The Solara, from American Standard Window Film left attendees oohing and aahing. According to the company, it’s a high performance film that blocks 99.9 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays and 97 percent of infrared heat carrying wavelengths. A few employees at the booth said the company chose to let Solara speak for itself by offering an interactive display where anyone could walk up to it and see it in action.

Other booths, such as SolarFree Window Film, focused on being budget friendly for consumers. The company chose to highlight its new Z2A ceramic film which protects against heat without torching your wallet.

“Our company is hoping to get more people interested in it because it’s a more affordable option when it comes to ceramic films,” said Erik Martinez, company representative.

Printing got a lot more interesting thanks to Mutoh America Inc. The company took a different approach to innovation with its new UV printer. It moves at rapid speeds and finished printing designs on license plates in under 2 minutes without any smearing or color distortion.

“It’s so quick to print and we can use it on a variety of surfaces. What’s really cool about it is the instant drying time, so as soon as the ink is on the surface it’s dry within seconds. I definitely see this avenue growing on the printing side of the industry,” said Manuel Ramos, western regional sales engineer.

Colors were at the top of mind for Kay Premium Marking Films USA (KPMF), which introduced five new ones and put its wrap skills to the test.

“Our company has been producing colors like crazy since we’ve launched our new colors, customers just seem to be drawn to them,” said Anastasia Simanouski, KPMF product development chemist.

The latest colors include:
• Opulent Indigo;
• Stealth Tundra;
• Matte Iced Silver Titanium;
• Metro Satin Desert Storm; and
• Metro Matte Violaceous Blue.

There’s been a lot of excitement so far,” said Marycruz Covarrubias, Air Design office manager.

There always seemed to be a line and large clusters of people at Hüper Optik, why?—Because the company offered chances to win daily prizes and to see its new pedestal floor lamp, which an attendee won during the show’s last day.

“Our new lamp takes up a fraction of space compared to the more traditional style wall lamps. We kept hearing dealers talk about finding ways to minimize what’s on the floor to create more space, and our product solves that need,” said John Yard, Hüper Optik national sales vice president.

The excitement didn’t stop there, according to Yard, the company aims to release new products this year for both Autobahn and Hüper Optik.

Gyeon Quartz Distribution literally had walls jam packed with its newest products. Everyone there could see how it got people excited to learn more about them. Out of the dozens on display, the company’s ceramic coatings were a popular focal point.

“I think people like them so much because they are easy to apply and we offer a range of coatings. We have a few for beginners and they continue until you get to a more professional level, like being a certified dealer,” said Jens Lochner, company representative.

If you made your way to the Westgate Hotel you most likely made a stop at Hexis to see its new Skintac 190 Evo film and to pick up an eco-friendly swag bag.

“It’s one of our high-performance films and it’s compatible with all printing systems. It’s definitely what someone would want if they’re looking for full printed wraps,” said Jessica Singletary, sales and operations assistant.

After attendees got the latest scoop on Hexis’ Evo film they often became a part of the carbon craze at Maxpro which was the next booth over.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of tint shops in the industry want to grow and expand, and one way many of them agreed upon was with using carbon films. So it’s really geared to help them,” said Elizabeth Dillon, sales and marketing executive vice president.

Raising the Stakes on an International Level

If you were at the show and didn’t see either of these international companies you must not have been looking hard enough, as the excitement their reps had throughout the show was electric. FM Co. Ltd. might be new to PPF but the Korea based company is not new to the industry. This international manufacturer decided to step into the PPF market.

“One of our biggest strengths is that we can customize for our customers easily. We’re hoping that customers will increase as we continue to introduce new films to the states. It’s still amazing to see how far we’ve come in just 5 years on the PPF side,” said Andy Son, company representative.

Across the hall Zhejiang Schichuang Optics Film Manufacturing Co. Ltd. also took this opportunity to focus on furthering its brand in the U.S.

“Everyone who has tried our product has come back to us. Yes our brand is newer, but it’s easy to apply and our prices are hard to beat,” said Jun Xu, company representative.

Securing Your Winnings

Solar Gard wanted to make safety shine at last year’s SEMA show. The company noticed the uptick in the use for security film after several school districts actively sought them out.

“We saw the trend in safety and security window films. Our company makes film specifically for that market. Not only does it protect against light and heat, but you can also easily view the outside while inside,” said Kendall Combs, Saint-Gobain thin films general manager.

The annual bug challenge from Johnson Window Films (JWF) continued to be a highlight for the family owned company. However, for the 2018 SEMA show the company showed guests that there’s more beyond the beetle. JWF spent time shifting some of the attention away from the infamously difficult vehicle to tint to its web store.

“The industry is always changing but one big thing we’ve noticed is the growth in our online web store. People who visit it can see that our company provides and makes virtually everything they need and they can find it all in one place, with us,” said Spencer Robley, training coordinator.

Xsun Window Films packed its booth with a little bit of everything to ensure every attendee could find something to spark their interest. Its booth highlighted automotive, residential, safety, and ceramic films while also having at least 100 items on display.

Cashing In Your Chips

The SEMA show experience in Vegas is proof that what happens at SEMA doesn’t always stay there, as companies are still working on developing and improving aftermarket products and films. If you want a first-hand look at what the show was like, head to windowfilmmag.com and click the studio tab. There you can watch all of our coverage and prepare for this year’s show.
The 2019 SEMA Show will return to Las Vegas on November 5th and run through November 8th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Emmariah Holcomb is the assistant editor of WINDOW FILM magazine. You can reach her at eholcomb@glass.com.

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

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