Archive for the 'Automotive' Category

CPFilms(R) Launches New LLumar(R) Auto Windscreen Film

ST. LOUIS, October 14 /PRNewswire/ —

– New Technology Protects from Solar Radiation and Lowers Cabin Temperature Without Reducing Visibility

Solutia Inc.’s (NYSE: SOA) CPFilms(R) subsidiary, the world leader in glass treatment film, today announced the launch of AIR Blue automobile windscreen film under its global LLumar(R) brand. AIR Blue dramatically reduces irreversible damage to human skin and vehicle interiors due to harmful ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infrared (IR) rays that penetrate ordinary window glass, while keeping the vehicle significantly cooler.

Continue reading ‘CPFilms(R) Launches New LLumar(R) Auto Windscreen Film’

CPFilms marketing the automotive film

In a promotional video for CPFilms’ automotive window film, a machine re-creates a side-impact car accident. It slams into a car that has a driving mannequin, and predictably, pebble-sized pieces of glass splatter inside and outside of the vehicle.

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The Value of a Good Installation

You could purchase the best window film on the market but if it is poorly installed, what do you have? Dissatisfaction, frustration, loss of time, loss of money, maybe and angry spouse, and last but certainly not the least; your home or office now looks like it received a cheap tint job. How does this situation come about and how can you avoid it?

You Really Do Get What You Pay For -Here Is Why?

All of us are in search for the best price, the best deal we can get. So we scower the Yellow Pages or start Googling looking for window film companies to come out and give us a bid. What are we typically looking for? Is it not the best price in a lot of instances? Sure it is! Ask yourself what is it that motivates my buying decision? What makes me choose one bid over the next?

As I mentioned, we all want the best price. However, when we go so far as to create competition amongst bidders to the point where they start slashing prices below a healthy profitability margin, we inadvertently set ourselves up for a horrific installation. Here is what happens.

Every business must profit to stay alive. If they do not profit, it is only a matter of time before they go out of business. So if a window film company discounts the film that you would like to purchase down to an unhealthy profitability level and still is not the lowest bidder, where does further discounting come from? Well the next bid line item on your invoice is usually the labor charge or the money that is used to pay the installers, their insurance, taxes, and other benefits. So lets say that the bidding company discounts 40% of the labor charge to tint your home. Logic dictates that this will also affect the amount of money the installer takes home on your job. If he or she is roughly losing a third of their income for the day, they will have to work faster so that they can squeeze in more work that day and make up for the loss on your job.

We all know what can happen to quality when we are forced to squeeze in more quantity and this can be the case with window tinting. Rushed jobs can simply be due to the economics of competitive bidding.

How Can You Avoid a Bad Install?

There is no guarantee that you will not find a bad apple or have a poorly installed window film job but there are some simple steps to drastically minimize the possibility.

1) Get a referral. If you know someone that has had window film installed in their home or place of business go take a look at it. Does it look good? Ask how their experience was with the window film contractor. Did the installer take his or her time, were they neat and clean, did they take care not to damage or dirty your home or business?

2) I usually say ask for experience but recently I trained a new installer who barely has 1 year under his belt and does better work than the 20yr + veterans. So if anyone brags about the length of time they have been installing window film refer back to point #1. The finished result knows no length of experience and speaks for itself.

3) Ask if they are licensed and insured. Usually companies that invest in measures to protect the consumer will more than likely do good work.

4) Be reasonable. Do not put contractors in a bidding war. It will only facilitate the above mentioned scenario. One hint is to choose the company that either holds their ground or even backs out of the bid. Usually these companies know from experience what their bottom line is and more importantly, they know not to cross it just to win your business.

Consumers deserve to have excellent products installed to the highest standards possible. However, with good reason contracting companies should also receive a fair wage that allows their installers to take the time necessary to perform good work and still be able to make a living. Then having the best window film installed to your satisfaction can be a reality.


Purple Haze

Purple haze all in my eyes…

What happened to my windows! I had window film installed on my windows and the salesperson that sold it to me said that it was the best film on the market… Now my windows are turning purple and I can’t get the company that I contracted to return my call. Believe it or not, this scenario happens regularly. How do I know? Well, I remove quite a bit of that purple stuff. Dyed films are notorious for turning purple. You would think that consumers would start to become more aware of this but just about every day I either drive by a house or a building with purple glass and how many times do we all get passed by a car with purple windows? Nobody wants it, but despite this, people keep buying dyed film. Why?

Lately things don’t seem the same…

The window film industry in recent years has had an influx of new suppliers bringing new products to market at enticing prices. The problem with this situation is that for every good window film that has become available to consumers, there are many more poorly constructed films that have made it to the marketplace as well.

Competition amongst manufacturers is a good thing. It breeds diversity, innovation, and keeps pricing competitive. The problem rears its ugly head when the marketplace gets cramped and does not grow. Companies compete fiercely for market share but the proverbial pie does not get any larger. So without a growing marketplace suppliers have to be strategic as to how they will attract customers to their products.

The path of least resistance has always been to find ways to lower prices in order to increase sales. When prices are lowered something has to give in order to stay profitable. So if you are a manufacturer and you do everything in your power to reduce your operating expenses even going as far as moving your manufacturing facilities to countries where labor is cheaper, you eventually have to give consideration to the quality of materials that you are going to construct your product with. If you want to produce a low price film then you need to find cheaper components. You can also try and minimize the number of components or use a less expensive processes to fabricate all of your components together into the finished product.

I was talking to a Chinese scientist that does R&D for one of the major window film manufactures and he summed it up this way. “If you use cr@p materials and process, you get cr@p film.” I think that sums it up pretty well. The old adage “you get what you pay for…” still holds true but this is not necessarily the most reliable way to spot poorly developed films. Nowadays, even the more expensive films on the market incorporate dyes that can break down or even wear off the film surface.

I can’t tell if it’s day or night…

Dye is an inexpensive way to regulate the visible light transmittance of window film. It also is used to reduce the reflectivity of some metalized window films. Some manufacturers produce very inexpensive films by putting the dye into the adhesive layer because it is an inexpensive and easy process. The problem is that dye located in the adhesive discolors very quickly. Dye in the polyester layer is also susceptible to discoloration, it may take a little longer but it will happen. Even on some so-called “premium window films” dye is incorporated into the scratch resistant coating which is the protective surface layer of window film can wear down from cleaning and is susceptible to organic and inorganic fluids and cleaning materials. Whatever the combination, dye will eventually fade to purple.

The haze can come from a number of sources. The polyester can be one such source, stacking of film layers, pigments, and improper cleaning and maintenance of manufacturing machinery are among other factors that contribute to excessive haze and poor optics. So how does a consumer spot these problems before making the purchase?

The best way is to have samples placed on your windows before you commit to buying. Have differing brands of film placed side by side and look at them throughout the day, even in the evening, and be sure to look at them from the exterior as well. You will be surprised at how one film differs from the next and you will be able to pick out the dyed films right away. As the sun starts to hit the window look for “low angle haze.” Well-made films will be free of such haze and they will look good at any time of day.

I’m not happy… I’m in misery.

Don’t take this wrong but in a day and age where information is more readily available than any other time in human history, there is no excuse for a consumer not to educate themselves. Those who refuse to take advantage of the unprecedented access to what is available will suffer the consequences. A miserable experience can be easily avoided by not hyper-focusing on price but rather, on value. Dye-free films would naturally be the best option. Most ceramic films are dye-fee and there are some Spectrally select Films that are dye-free as well. One good way to spot these products is to look in a manufacture’s marketing material. Look for advertising that states that the product is dye-free.

Other options are to look for films that use pigments instead of dye. Pigments can either be organic or inorganic and are more stable than straight dyed films. There are some trade-offs when you go with films that incorporate pigments, we will try and address these in future blogs.

Once again, the main message is to be informed. Research, ask your window film professional questions, make sure they install samples, and look for good value rather than the cheapest price otherwise you may end up having “Purple Haze All Around…” your home, office, or vehicle.


IR Rejection Part2 –The Slight of Bandwidth

I might catch a bunch of grief over this blog but I feel it is something that needs to be addressed. We have long used BTU Meters in our industry as an easy way to illustrate window film’s performance to a consumer. An Infrared heat lamp is placed in front of a BTU meter and a measurement is then noted. Next a piece of window film is placed between the meter and the lamp and WOW! The meter almost bottoms out to zero. What just happened?

Before I address that question let me just say that this type of demonstration does have its place in a sales presentation. The heat lamp demonstration is a way to allow a consumer to “feel” the difference between a filmed and unfilmed piece of glass. I agree that this is a good way to demonstrate that window film works and that it is a viable way to increase the performance of glass. Here is the part that I take issue with; Improperly trained sales persons will use this IR lamp demonstration and compare the BTU measurement between different window films. The way that they present the results leads a consumer to conclude that one film’s superior BTU reading means that it overall outperforms the other films that it is being compared too. Note the following demonstration found on You Tube: [Update See Why This Video Is Unavailable] [Another Example Can Be Found Here]

In my opinion this is a deceptive practice. What you are seeing is a lamp that throws out over 90% of it’s energy as infra red radiation and a meter that is designed to measure the amount of infrared that it is being bombarded with. There is no way to account for the energy in the Visible Light Spectrum which makes up a sizable portion of the total solar energy because Infrared Light Bulbs are not designed to produce visible light. Remember too, in a previous blog we established that IR rejection does not translate to overall film performance. Nonetheless, let’s break this demonstration down by asking ourselves some questions.

What wavelength does this meter sample at? Well a little research shows that it is between 900-1050nm. Is this the entire Solar Spectrum that is being sampled? No, the solar spectrum starts at around 300nm and extends past 2500nm.* It becomes clear that BTU meters like the one in the demonstration are not capable of measuring total solar performance past 1050nm.

What wavelengths of the IR spectrum is the film rejecting energy? Some films are designed to reject IR at 900-1000nm. You can find these references as footnotes added to IR rejection specifications. If you refer back to the solar spectrum chart in our previous blog you will see that this particular wavelength range is one of the lowest intensity areas in the IR spectrum. That just so happens to be where beam splitters sample IR rejection (950nm) and it is also part of the “sweet spot” that some BTU meters sample at. So if a particular film performs best at that specific wavelength then it is naturally going to produce a better reading on a BTU meter than other films, but this does not necessarily mean that its overall energy rejection will be better. Why? As we have established, Total Solar Energy Rejection is an entirely different, and more accurate, measurement that IR rejection. Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER) and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) are total performance measurements that take in the entire solar spectrum rather than select wavelengths. Due to the publishing of single region measurements that can be marketed to resemble total performance, such as IR rejection, the International Window Film Association went so far as to publish a clarification on the difference between IR rejection and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measurements. SHGC measurements can be used to accurately compare the total performance of one window film to another whereas single region measurements cannot.

Therefore to imply that BTU readings are an accurate test to determine overall performance from one film to the next has no basis according to the facts. It is a deceptive sales presentation to say the least and in my opinion it should cease to be used in this manner. Third party performance testing by a reputable organization such as the NFRC is a much more accurate and reliable way to gather and publish data so that you can compare the performance of one window film to the next. Ask your sales professional to provide you with NFRC test results rather than hyped up marketing demonstrations designed to capitalize on a consumers lack of understanding.


*ASHRAE 2005 Handbook Fundamentals– 31.14

Infrared Rejection

Window Films are capable of rejecting Infrared (IR) but oftentimes this can be mistaken for Total Solar Energy Rejection. Improperly educated window film dealers, crafty marketing on the part of manufactures, and a lack of standardized testing can propagate misinformation leading a consumer to conclude that a window film will reject up to 98% of the heat! This just isn’t true at all. Let’s take a few paragraphs and learn what infrared is, why it is listed on some specification cards, and how IR rejection should be interpreted.

Infrared –What is it?

Energy created by the sun travels to earth in different wavelengths. These wavelengths make up what is known as the “Electro Magnetic Spectrum” or EM spectrum for our acronym dependent crowd out there. The diagram above illustrates how differing wavelengths affect us in different ways. When it comes to our windows and energy control we are affected primarily by what is known as the “Solar Spectrum” which is a band of frequencies made up of Ultra Violet, Visible, and Infrared wavelengths. These three areas are responsible for what we feel as heat and the total solar energy that results from solar spectrum can be regulated by window film.

The chart above shows that energy is distributed across the solar spectrum in 3 distinct bands. Infrared frequencies extend from 780 to 2500nm and beyond. 53% of the sun’s energy comes to us in this band whereas 44% of the sun’s energy is in the form of visible light and 3% in the form of UV radiation. (Note: See Updated Understanding of Energy Distribution Across the Solar Spectrum.) As you can see infrared radiation is a band of electromagnetic wavelengths that account for 53% of the sun’s energy. Clearly, this band cannot be interpreted as Total Solar Energy (Heat) nor can it be used as a total performance specification to differentiate one window film’s ability to regulate the total amount of energy that enters through glass over another film. So why do some manufacturers publish this specification in their literature?

Why List IR Rejection Percentages?

We mentioned earlier how window film can be designed to regulate these three bands of the Solar Spectrum. Certain materials that have spectrally selective properties can be incorporated into film substrates. There is one family of films that primarily focuses on IR rejection while allowing more of the visible light to transmit through the film. These films are sometimes referred to as Spectrally Select Window Films because they regulate specific wavelengths of the EM spectrum. With the advent of Spectrally Select Films eventually came the justification to list the performance of the primary regulated band in the solar spectrum namely, the infrared rejection. As a result, you will find some manufacturers listing their product’s IR rejection in varying percentages.

How Should IR be Interpreted?

Even if these specifications came about with the most noble of intentions, the reality is that IR rejection specifications can certainly be capitalized on with a little crafty marketing or simply from a salesperson that lacks the proper training and education. If we simply keep in mind that any given IR rejection percentage is simply telling you that the film is rejecting xx% of the IR band which makes up 53% of the total solar energy then it becomes easy to interpret performance in the context it belongs in.
One note of caution must be mentioned. Marketing departments can report IR rejection any way that they want because there has never been an industry standard for reporting IR rejection. One strategy for reporting extraordinarily high IR rejection numbers is to sample specific wavelengths in the IR band and report rejection. For example, a film’s specification card may say that it rejects 97% of the IR. Wow that is amazing! Or so it looks that way, however when you do some further investigation you find that they are only reporting this IR rejection percentage between 900-1000nm. Is that the entire near IR band which extends from at least 780-2500nm? Hardly! So is this film really rejecting 97% of the IR? No, it is actually closer to 86% when you average it out over 780-2500nm. We will go into more detail in future articles but suffice it to say, buyer beware. Standardized performance measurements such as the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) which is recognized by the NFRC the only non-profit independent rating agency for window and applied film performance is a much more accurate total performance specification that can be relied upon to compare one film’s performance to another film. Fortunately, there are many well-trained professionals in the window film industry that can help you to find the right product for your needs but it certainly does not hurt to do a little research and educate yourself along the way.

Facts About Fading

Sun Damage is a fact of life. If there is a window that faces the outside world, you will have to deal with the affects of sun damage sooner or later. Carpets, furniture, linoleum, wood floors, cabinets, artwork, and your skin are all susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. In this article we would like to address what the contributing factors to sun damage are and what you can do to minimize it.

Causes of Fading

Fading is the result of three primary factors… Ultraviolet rays, Heat, and Visible light. There is a fourth factor that encompasses conditions such as humidity, fabric type, dye anchor strength, species of wood, and other conditions. The diagram below gives a general picture of how much each factor contributes to sun damage.

UV radiation is the largest contributing factor at 40%. Don’t be fooled either, just because the sun is not shining directly through your windows does not mean that you and the contents of your home or office are not getting exposure to this damaging part of the EM spectrum. UV radiation bounces off of surfaces so no untreated window is safe. The best performing window films provide 99% (or more) ultraviolet rejection which almost all but eliminates the ultra violet from entering through your windows.

Heat is another contributing factor at 25%. Now that may not seem like much but when you look at the length of time it takes to see the noticeable effects of sun damage on an east/west exposure, you will see damage show up first on the west exposure because it is usually exposed to more heat for a greater amount of time than an easterly exposure. Incoming heat gain should be reduced as much as possible to minimize sun damage. Most window films are capable of rejecting up 80% or more of the total solar energy.

Visible Light is the reason we have windows. We like our light and the last thing we would want to do is make a room overly dark. So we have to use balance and good judgment when choosing a film. There are spectrally select films that are designed to achieve maximum heat rejection while letting in higher amounts of light transmission.

How many times are we told to use sunscreen when we are outside? The good news is that glass filters out almost all of the UVB rays, however the UVA rays go right through your glass unobstructed. Unfortunately, UVA rays are also the ones that contribute to skin cancer. Window film has been recommended by dermatologists and it is also recongnized by skin cancer organizations as an effective way to protect your skin from the damaging affect of UVA rays.

Beware of claims that window film eliminates sun damage altogether. This is not true. The only way to eliminate sun damge is to eliminate your windows and that is not an option. On the other hand, window film is a great way to reduce sun damage saving you thousands in replacement costs.

-Window Film Online