August '18

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60 • RV PRO • August 2018 rv-pro.com O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T Dometic's Boyer says he once did a presentation where part of it involved taking a hammer to an acrylic window. "We gave it a pretty good whack, but it didn't break," he says. Acrylic is capable of being scratched, although Trans Atlan- tic's Rodabaugh notes that as a cast composite material it can be formulated to reduce its susceptibility to scratching. "We can also coat the window and make it equivalent in scratch-resistance to conventional glass windows," says Rod- abaugh. "For those who worry about scratches, we offer that as a solution." Once scratches happen, there are partial fixes. "There are various cleaners and also home remedies that will take out some of those little scratches," Boyer says. Acrylics also require some care in cleaning. Rodabaugh says that was a bigger issue in the past, when companies that manufactured glass-cleaning products were heavily into using ammonia-based formulations. Their use can cloud an acrylic surface. "It's an educational thing we have to perform as the OEM," says Liberty's DeHoff. "We have to make sure the dealers and customers are aware these are not standard glass windows and it's best to just use plain soap-and-water solutions or acrylic cleaners with a microfiber cloth. That's perfectly fine." DeHoff adds, "The advantages of what the consumer can do with the windows definitely outweigh the different ways of taking care of them." He says other than for nostalgic models, Liberty wouldn't consider going with anything other than the acrylic windows. "The versatility is just far superior," DeHoff says. "From being able to match the radiuses on the trailers to being able to make them virtually any size we want, it's a pretty good option." nüCamp's Hubble calls acrylic windows part of his company's identity and relates how when the T@B model first came out it had to utilize a flat glass portal window in the door. "We had to get that portal window custom-made, and when we were finally to offer it as a dual pane acrylic, it was welcomed with open arms," he says. "People were even replacing their entire door to be able to achieve the look. They really like the aesthetic it offers." As for the product manufacturers, their feelings about the future of the product may be a bit mixed. Dometic's Boyer says he's seen the market go up and down over the past 10 years as gas prices fluctuate and interest in smaller RVs increases and decreases. "Now, it's become more about styling," he says. "Now that we're seeing some European-styled Class A units, there's more of an interest. It ebbs and flows based on what people are looking for." However, Trans Atlantic's Rodabaugh says that his company has seen its market grow by more than 100 percent annually, despite some OEMs' concerns about cost. "I think the main thing is that people just don't know what they are, and consumers aren't looking for it," he says. "If we were to reach out to consumers to inform them about the advantages of these prod- ucts, I think we'd see a very high surge in their popularity." The acrylic windows on Liberty Outdoors' products help give the company's teardrop trailers their distinctive look while also offering some nice benefits for customers. "It lets us do things we wouldn't otherwise be able to do," Director of Operations Dylan DeHoff says of the custom-made acrylic windows. "The large window in the back of the camper is over the main bed and we're letting in tons of light back there."

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