They are all seeking high-impact new product visibility at the point of sale. They are all striving for a visually arresting point of difference in today’s hotly competitive marketing arena. To that end, these producers are all banking on a decorative product coating system known as “Final Finish.” This surface-treatment technology has now become the final step in their manufacturing process. And all of them have begun using the process in the last year. It’s part of an incredible growth and development story surrounding the process that was rolled out four years ago.
Final Finish was discussed in the June 1999 issue of PCI with a description of the process and the company behind it: Immersion Graphics Corp., Columbus, GA. It is a new image-transfer system that — by way of a proprietary immersion process — instantly and permanently affixes any color, design or pattern selected to any nonporous item desired, including home and office furnishings, housewares, decorative accessories, communication devices, and sporting goods.
Using a photo, a piece of art or a computer-generated visual of a design, the image is digitized and transferred to a specialty substrate with the exact replication of the original. The image is then floated on the liquid surface of an immersion tank and sprayed with a chemical activator. Once the substrate dissolves, the pattern remains intact in a kind of gelatinous form. At this point, it is ready to be transferred to the desired product through immersion, wherein the exact image wraps around all surfaces for overall coverage. From the most complex multi-dimensional product to the very simplest, Final Finish covers every peak, dip, angle and curve in its construction. It adheres neatly, evenly and fully dimensionally to steel, aluminum, wood or plastic, maintaining integrity of the original design selected.
Users of the process can select the finish best suited to the use and function of their products from Immersion Graphics’ collection of wood grains, marble veins, metallics, stripes, checks and earth tones, or they can create their own one-of-a-kind coating designs that express their corporate personality and marketing stance.
The previous article pointed out that based on the coating pattern or designs selected, such items as Formica table tops or other innocuous materials can be quickly transformed to the look and feel of Carrara marble, with the depth of grain and brilliance of color throughout. Inexpensive glass urns, lamps or dishes can take on the spectacular sheen of jade or alabaster once immersed in these liquified designs. Plastic or metal picture frames can be readily converted to the patina of burnished brass, bronze or copper by way of the Final Finish system. Auto dashboards can instantly take on the richness and luster of yellow pine or burled oak. And monotone office machinery, home computers and other consumer electronics can assume a diversity of styles ranging from textured alloys to hand-loomed fabrics.
For example, the after-market upgrader of computer cabinetry mentioned earlier had previously been custom fabricating wood housings around the equipment to make it more compatible with upscale office environments. Now, with the addition of Final Finish to their conversion process, the shells and cases are immersed into the liquified wood grain pattern and quickly withdrawn with all the realism of freshly polished oak, walnut, mahogany or pine. The process has been found to be quicker, cleaner, more realistic and more economical than any alternative wood-graining method used to date.
Similarly, the custom molder of plastic motorcycle parts is now putting the brand out front with a selection of dramatic colors and patterns, ranging from dimensional stripes and psychedelic swirls to feathered fade-outs and metallic dot designs. A major boat manufacturer consigns its steering wheels and dash panels to the process for reproductions of tooled leather, brushed chrome, rubbed mahogany and numerous other patterns — all nontoxic, waterproof and UV-ray resistant. Full fleets of golf carts and ATVs are undergoing dramatic surface transformations ranging from sophisticated country club graphics to rugged wilderness scenery.
A major manufacturer of bicycles and related riding gear is adding new eye-stopping pizzazz to its products by way of the Final Finish treatment. Brilliant depths of colors and intricate stripe and dot designs — all impossible with any other decorative technique — give the merchandise visual dominance and arresting sales persuasion in the marketplace. Or for a near-total disappearance in woods and wildlife settings, a prominent international producer of hunting equipment is now camouflaging its inventory by way of the system. While becoming effectively invisible in the great outdoors, the products take on greater visibility than ever before in the retail sales arena with consumer purchases on a rapid rise.
Paralleling this dramatic past year’s increase in Final Finish usage has been the growth of Immersion Graphics Corp. as an organization, and the expansion of its network of licensees. Since mid-1999, the company has added nearly 10 licensees in strategic marketing areas throughout the United States in support of the increased “product” usage. This continues the growth trends of the company since its inception in 1996 when it closed the benchmark year with 10 licensees, and subsequently doubled that number the following year.
Reflecting the success and popularity of the Final Finish process, Immersion Graphics reached profitability in the first year of operation, and in 1997 the company’s revenues increased 215% over that of its first year. In 1998, revenues rose another 70% and 1999 saw an increase of 42% over ‘98.
Among the major multinational brands presently profiting from the Final Finish system are Amana, Kawasaki, Victor Plastics, Oberhaufer, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Searay, E-Z Go/Textron, Yamaha, Polaris, Browning Fire Arms, Matthews Archery Products, Zebco Fishing Tackle and Alladan/Stanley. Based on the vigorous licensing/sales activity presently under way, an additional annual growth rate of 50% is anticipated by year end 2000.
For more information about immersion finishing, contact J. Patrick Epling, Vice President, Immersion Graphics Corp., 6106 Coca-Cola Blvd., Columbus, GA 31909; phone 706/560.4424; fax 706/561.2757; visit www.immersiongraphics.com; e-mail email@example.com.