So much happens by the time we reach our 24th birthday. We learn to walk, but only by falling flat on our face a few times. We learn to communicate, but sometimes embarrass ourselves with some really foolish ideas. We dream wild dreams, but learn to temper them with the reality of responsibility. In a nutshell, we either grow up or are at least on the right path…hopefully.
This year the North American market for 3D laminated thermofoil turns 24. In many ways it has experienced the same things you and I have while growing up. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the industry for 19 of those 24 years. Though I wasn’t a part of the first 5 years, those who mentored me talked about the struggles of infancy and toddlerhood.
I remember hearing the horror stories experienced back in those days. Membrane presses were installed but the knowledge base didn’t exist on this side of the ocean to assure a clean start-up. Those wanting to jump into this exciting new technology filled dumpster after dumpster while they struggled to make it work. Then, as they worked through production issues, the era of yellowing thermofoil hit. Delamination issues followed the yellowing problem. Like a child stumbling along on the road to maturity, 3D laminating has experienced excitement and discouragement, victory and defeat; three steps forward and two steps back.
The good news is 3D laminating now produces components that are both aesthetically pleasing and extremely durable. In fact, I have a set of storage cabinets that have white thermofoil doors that were made on my watch sixteen years ago — still no yellowing and no delamination. When we utilize best practices in the manufacture of 3DL components, this is what can and should be expected.
As we move forward I intend to use this opportunity to help both producers and buyers of 3D laminated components make wise decisions that lead to enhancing the health of our industry. We’ll dream dreams. We’ll explore possibilities. But we’ll also temper them with the reality that we must deliver a quality product. We’d love it if you join the conversation.