Sign & Digital Graphics

August '17

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50 • August 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS WRAPS DIGITAL GRAPHICS W e've all seen advertisements or maybe even had an auto- mobile dealership try to sell us on the benefits of "clear bra" products to protect the paint on a new car, but maybe you'd never given paint pro- tection film ( PPF) jobs a second thought. Like many other niche products in the sign making world, PPF products represent a potentially lucrative and nearly universal product that you can add to your arsenal of opportunities for new business, especially if you've become familiar with the skills and tools involved in vehicle wrap jobs. While PPF projects were once the domain of high-end sports cars or smaller jobs protecting the bumpers or rocker panels of offroaders' vehicles, new technology has made it much easier to wrap virtually every surface of a new car or truck—or even give a flashy car a simulated matte paint job, without altering the vehicle's showroom-quality original paint job. And though they can provide nearly impervious environmental protection for the lifetime of the car, they can also be removed relatively easily if the owner so desires. Tony Thomasian, CEO of Hillsboro, Oregon's TCT Wraps, says PPF projects have become more and more common in his shop, with a much wider audience now interested in the product. "Here in the Northwest, PPF sells itself to the majority of our customers," he says. "We have so much gravel on our roads in the winter months, and everyone knows that if the front end of the vehicle isn't protected, it will result in a ton of rock chips in the paint." More than just small hood or bumper proj- ects, Thomasian and other shop owners are now able to create or order PPF kits that can protect nearly the entire surface of a giant Ford F-150 pickup, or even be used for applications on rec- reational pleasurecraft. Thomasian says it didn't take much to spread the message about the benefits of PPF to his cli- ents, though a spotless installation lets customers know if you've mastered the art or not. But he cautions that PPF is not a skill you'll necessarily learn overnight, even if you're proficient at regu- lar vinyl wrap jobs. For one thing, PPF films are made with thermoplastic urethane rather than vinyl, and have different properties. "Mastering the art of PPF installation is very backbreaking. I can't mention enough how important it is to just keep at it and practice Durable paint protection films have progressed from simple protection projects to lucrative full-body jobs for trucks and sports cars alike. Some very specialized installation skills can help you master the PPF world. B Y A N D Y S T O N E H O U S E Andy Stonehouse is a Colorado-based freelance writer. XPEL Technologies Corporation's Stealth PPF allows customers to add the popular matte paint look to a glossy painted car, such as this Dodge Challenger. If the driver sells the vehicle or changes his mind, the film can eas- ily be removed, as well. (Photo courtesy of XPEL Technologies) Tony Thomasain, CEO of Hillsboro, Oregon's TCT Wraps, says the long-lasting protection offered by paint protection film jobs practically sells the prod- uct itself. (Photos courtesy of TCT Wraps) A Tesla Model S.

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