September '18

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rv-pro.com September 2018 • RV PRO • 135 "The majority of the improvements we've made since I've been with the company have come as recommendations from our customers," Edwards says. "We don't always do exactly how they want it, but we can make improvements based on either issues they've had or recommendations they've come up with." Whetton describes it as working together with the OEMS. However, he says that's changing, mainly due to efforts by Lippert to take more of a lead in the product line. "We have a team of engineers and a full research-and-develop- ment team where we're trying to be proactive and come up with new and interesting concepts we can introduce into the market," he says. "We're working on several different projects." The change has come over the past six or seven years, Whitten adds, and while the company is still happy to work with the OEMs and their product managers, there is a new focus on having LCI develop its own ideas and concepts. While it's certainly not on everyone's lips, a good example of LCI's commitment to new window technology is the 2016 introduction of the contoured front window glass at Forest River, which was mentioned earlier. Its main feature: Using a clamp ring that adheres directly to the coach, eliminating a gluing process not commonly utilized in the industry and replacing it with more industry-standard installation methods but for contoured glass. One yet-to-be-realized possibility, Whetton says, is a lighter glass product. "We have some things in the works that we hope to introduce in the near future," he says. "While I don't see any major, major changes happening over the next three years or so, we could come up with something that could be a real game-changer." In the meantime, both men are confident glass windows are going to be a solid part of the RV market for years to come. As Edwards notes, the demand for glass windows has continued to go up right along with growth in the industry. And, Whetton believes his product will hold its own against its acrylic competitors on into the future, or at least "until they can get the price down a little bit." The bottom line, he says, is that acrylic will probably be a niche product that will serve OEMs building lighter units in what he calls the European style. "I really don't think you'll see acrylic be a hit over here, at least over the next few years," Whetton concludes. "The glass industry is a great industry, with so much potential out there, and in so many different areas."

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