Marines rush to point where descending U.S. Army helicopter will pick them up after a sweep east of the Cambodian town of Prey-Veng in June, 1970 during the Vietnam War.
Paint protection film has been around since the Vietnam War. In the 1960’s, when helicopter rotor blades incurred damage from shrapnel and debris, the US Military relied on 3M to develop a material that would be able to protect the blades during battle. They found it much easier and cheaper to apply the film than to replace expensive helicopter parts. Once referred to as “helicopter tape,” paint protection film proved to be an invention that would be useful in more ways than one.
After seeing the potential that paint protection film had, 3M started to improve the film to be better suited for use on other products and vehicles that were highly susceptible to damage. One challenge they faced was the films inability to conform to smaller, curvy, intricate objects. Since the film’s original use was for rotors and flat helicopter blades, 3M set out to find a way to improve its flexibility.
By the 1980’s, NASCAR and other major auto racing sports found a use for the film after discovering its ability to protect the paint from chipping. This was convenient to have so they wouldn’t have to re-paint the cars after every race. The sheer strength of the thermoplastic urethane film was also able hold the racecars together when they would collide with barriers and other racers on the track at high impact speeds of over 200mph.
More Durable and Clearer than Ever
Over the years, major window film dealers have advanced the quality and performance of paint protection film to be used on a wide range of industrial, automotive, and consumer applications. From luxury vehicles, to airplanes, to hand held devices like cell phones and tablets, paint protection film has come a long way since protecting the US Military’s war machines. The same film that’s used to protect your luxury vehicle is being used to protect Boeing 747’s from birds at speeds of 400mph. Does that give you an idea of how durable paint protection film is?
Paint protection film is reaching its peak in performance, design, and usability. Window film companies have improved the film to exceed many expectations that were not met in the past, such as thickness, flexibility, and transparency; however it’s not to say that it can’t get even better. Older versions of the film have been known to cause yellowing over time, but today’s films are designed to eliminate that defect.
“These days, paint protection film has advanced to the point where it’s more durable and clearer than ever. It’s easy to install (for dealers) and if there’s a hair or something under it, you can easily peel it back to clean the surface. It even has a self-healing top coat,” says Keistor Richardson, Marketing Technical Services Representative at Eastman’s Performance Films.
A Gravelometer Test was done to show paint protection film in action.