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    Houston Office: (713) 956-1165

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  • The History of 3M Window Film

     In Window Film Industry

    In 1966, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, now known as 3M, was granted the first patent for solar control window film. 3M created the film with the goal to protect the people and items that matter most.

    First: Dye-Based Film

    The first solar control window films were dye-based. These films had two layers: one with the dye, which absorbed the sun rays, and another with the adhesive, which attached the film to the window.

    However, the issue with dye-based films is that after prolonged sun exposure, they tended to turn a deep purple color and end up with a bubbly texture. This is caused by the absorption of the sun’s heat into the film instead of rejecting it. Because of this, dye-based film have a relatively short lifespan.

    Transform the World Into Color

    While originally used for mostly automotive purposes, people began to install them in their homes and businesses. The first window films were transparent, and colored films quickly came into high demand. Colored films provided increased privacy and sun control, while at the same time complementing or even adding to the aesthetics of the area where they were installed.

    Security Films

    The 1970s brought the introduction of security films to the window film market. At the time, there was an international need to improve safety and security in the wake of terrorist acts. Today, safety and security films provide an invisible layer of protection to cars, businesses and homes.

    Lower Energy Consumption

    In 1973, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) imposed an embargo leading to a shortage of fuel and high gas prices, a time that is now known as the energy crisis of the 1970s. Window film quickly became a popular solution to use when trying to trap heat within a space. Which in turn reduced the amount of heat lost to the outside and therefore lowered energy consumption.

    It was the energy crisis of the 1970s that first highlighted window film’s value as an environmentally friendly investment for home and business owners. Polyester films were initially used in this process, but it was then found out that they only absorbed and reflected long-wave infrared heat instead of being a transparent medium. This discovery led to increased experimentation of new materials that could be used in window film.

    The Introduction of Metalized Films

    In the 1990s, metalized films were introduced to the window film market. These films were made with a metallic coating that helped reflect the sun’s heat and UV rays. Unlike the previously used dye-based films, these didn’t change the color or texture appearance of the glass they were installed on. The metallic particles in the film work to reflect the sun’s UV rays and heat. These films reduce up to 50% of heat allowed through the glass.

    One downfall of these metalized films, though, was that due to their metallic composition, they interfered with electronic devices and even car radios.

    Ceramic Window Films

    Recently, ceramic window films have been introduced to the window film market. While they are currently the most expensive window film option, they are also the highest quality. Ceramic films reject up to 99% of UV light, reduce glare from the sun and efficiently reduce up to 59% of solar energy. Due to their ceramic makeup they don’t interfere with electronics, unlike metalized films.

    As the original patent holder in the window film industry, 3M continues to lead the industry. Today, 3M is the only manufacturer that produces their own polyesters, adhesives, metals and scratch-resistant coatings that go into their films multi-layer technology. This means that 3M can oversee all aspects of quality control, allowing them to provide their customers with the highest quality window films backed by a comprehensive warranty with a company you can trust.

    For more information about 3M and its Window Film products, contact Accent Distributing.

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