Canadian Plastics

Redefining Niche Marketing

As a manufacturer of acrylic, thermoformed wind deflectors for cars and trucks, Glas Aire Industries Ltd. has raised the practice of niche marketing to a new level. The company supplies the car OEMs d...

June 1, 1999   Canadian Plastics



As a manufacturer of acrylic, thermoformed wind deflectors for cars and trucks, Glas Aire Industries Ltd. has raised the practice of niche marketing to a new level. The company supplies the car OEMs directly, not just the after-market. It handles all design and prototyping work in-house and has developed and invested in new thermoforming technology to meet the stringent appearance requirements of its customers. And just recently Glas Aire opened a sales office in Japan, where it had already become the only North American company to supply the Japanese auto industry in Japan.

“Because our products are an integral part of the car, they’re subject to the same warranty conditions as other original equipment,” says Glas Aire general manager Omer Esen. He says the company’s customers in North America include all the major automotive companies, except Ford.

With approximately 70 employees, Glas Aire operates out of a 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Vancouver; as well, has a distribution warehouse located just across the border in Bellingham, WA.

Glas Aire supplies two different sunroof wind deflectors to Daihatsu Motor Company. The parts are made in Vancouver and shipped to Japan. Getting the Japanese business entailed several years of development work, notes Esen.

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“Japanese surface quality requirements are more stringent than in North America,” says Esen. “In order to meet the requirements we had to develop a new thermoforming technique.”

Esen says it took the company two years to perfect “low mark-off” vacuum forming, a process which minimizes the thermal shock between the tool and the heated acrylic sheet. As a result, the process reduces in-mold stresses which often produce surface deformities in the molded part. The process is run in a 27,000 cu. ft. class-three clean room in order to eliminate the chance of contamination.

Glas Aire uses continuous cast acrylic supplied equally by Mitsubishi Company and Aristech. In comparison to regular acrylic, continuous cast acrylic has better heat distortion and mechanical properties, notes Esen.

The company is adding 3000 sq. ft. of office space this year. Obviously, Glas Aire’s approach to a “niche” market is paying off.


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