Dave Jackman, account executive at Triad Manufacturing in St. Louis, says his company, sunk $250,000 into an ORMA 3D vacuum thermal laminator machine about three years ago specifically to support a nationwide roll-out of mobile phone displays and kiosks for Best Buy stores. Triad, a wood and metal fabricator and decorative surfaces laminator with an automated powder-coating line and in a nearly 1 million-square-foot shop, decided the potential to extend sanitary, seamless surfacing options to fixtures projects in the hospitality, food service and commercial sectors was worth the investment of in-house 3D Laminates capabilities. “When we were successful with the Best Buy stores, we began to ask, ‘Who else can we help with this product?’” Jackman says.
In November 2009, Triad’s experience with pressing surf(x)® 3D Laminates films by Omnova Solutions attracted Enterprise rental car company, which had recently acquired Alamo and National and aimed to update the three brands’ counter systems in more than 20 airports across the U.S. The large-scale overhaul called for vertical surfaces engineered to withstand the abuse of around-the-clock battering by hurried travelers parking heavy luggage and awkward wheeled carts against a counter system to complete a quick rental car transaction. Specifying a highly durable surface material such as 3D Laminates surfaces for vertical panels can provide this level of high quality and unique design at an affordable price point.
Jackman says even the most value-conscious companies can achieve a strong brand image with 3DL surfaces. In the case of the Enterprise brands, for example, pairing Omnova Solutions surf(x)® films with the right FSC-certified MDF substrates provided a moisture- and stain-resistant vertical panel that is easy-to-clean. Curved corners eliminated “laminate lines” and catchable edges. Because 3D Laminates surfacing doesn’t chip, costly laminate repairs won’t interrupt customer service. “Plus, the 3D Laminates will dent but only slightly in impact situations where other laminates would crack,” Jackman says.
He says Enterprise (marketed as cost-efficient), Alamo (specializing in car rentals for vacationers) and National (the branch focused on business travelers’ transportation needs) required preserving those independent identities but designing a common consistent, attractive and reliable counter systems. “This meant creating the same luxury rental experience for all customers, those looking for an economy model or their dream car.”
Triad installed the first of these systems in the Atlanta Hartfield International Airport in January 2010 and has since completed more than 20 more. Its vertically integrated manufacturing capacity allows designing, fabricating and installing all structural framing and metal accents in complement to the engineered wood and laminate components. “The fact that 3D Laminates are only slightly more expensive than traditional laminate and comes in virtually any woodgrain or color imaginable can surprise clients, especially when considering its lifetime and performance characteristics,” Jackson says. Omnova Solutions surf(x)® films in metallic finishes are now part of the latest National car rental rebranding project, which Triad recently installed at the Dallas Forth Worth Airport.
“Overall, our clients’ response to 3D Laminates has been very positive, and we are now looking at other areas where we may be able to use the product, such as clients’ back rooms and break areas to increase the lifespan of those types of fixtures and furniture pieces,” Jackman says.
Counter tops used for the Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental systems are solid surface DuPont Corian or Silestone.
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