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.