By Erik Sine
If you haven't been aware or haven't been keeping up with the Electric Sign Industry there has been a big PR fight going brewing in the background slowly making itself to the forefront and it starts with WatchFire Signs mainly leading the war of American vs Chinese Import EMC Boards
It's been all over social media and LinkedIn a lot lately with all links pointed to Watchfire Signs
What is this all about?....The Short?
Watchfire Signs claiming the Imports break FCC regulations when it comes to emissions. That they can interfere with Broadcasting as well as cellular/data usage.
How real is it?
It's hard to know, placement is a big key along with usage, and individual EMC make up. But their painting it with a much, MUCH broader stroke IMO.
We've all seen this once before in the electric sign industry when it came to LED's with unfounded claims followed by the long mis-information & mis-characterization marketing campaigns over conventional light sources. LED manufacturers used and created regulation to strangle and utterly annihilate conventional light source manufacturers.
Though this is similar, it's also exaggerated and campaigning the FCC into a marketing sales tool.
No doubt there is some truth to the claims in certain situations, but it's being painted into a much larger problem than it really is.
They've involved and introduced a lot of fear marketing to the consumer, by they themselves paying massive fines and having to pay money for new EMC Boards to pass the FCC.
Where this will get bigger and unlike in the past where Sign Associations have shrugged their shoulders at LED MFG claims and omitted to act on behalf of Neon & Fluorescent light manufacturers, that most likely WON'T happen this time because their going to get dragged into a self-serving marketing campaign that might bite them selves in the ass at the end, not only for Sign Associations who will be asked to pick a side between a large paying membership/sponsorship & Advertising payers, but also for the EMC industry itself who might get the government and bureaucrat agencies to look at the industry with a microscope which may entail more regulation to sort out the "green washing" but also bump that cost to the consumer who after all will pay for the waged war.
We commented on a Linkedin WatchFire post a couple of weeks back when it comes to breaking emission standards, stating that most everything is produced in China, they have the worst pollution standards in the world and in no way would any manufacturer ever pass California standards. So if you take their "dirty" components from China and assemble them here in America is it suddenly now "Clean???"
I personally can care less which way this goes, I know the consumer will pay for it in the end like usual. But I've been in this industry long enough to see manufacturers use regulation, U.L. / NEC / IAEI to rub out their competitors by bending so called "Safety Standards" to their advantage. As I've said in the past, beware of the "Product, Environmental Safety Movement", it's the biggest industry/manufacturer killer and once unleased it doesn't care who's side you're on.
But this time their attempting to drag the sign associations into the street fight too.
LED Boards are big money, and they pay big money to Sign Associations like ISA (International Sign Association) and others. If they think they won't find themselves getting involved, or can simply ignore it, think again. They'll have a lot of companies looking at them and they'll have to pick a side, gain some money/membership here, and loose a lot over here.
This time it's a movement pushed and backed by bigger, more powerful funded dogs, Sign Associations will be asked, Errrrr.... demanded "to do what's right, and not do only what comes easy" as is their way in the past. After all these large LED Board Manufacturers basically make the sign conventions with their big floor spaces and sponsorships foreign or domestic. Their not funding these Associations for nothing after all every time we see a city pass a ban on these Boards a ISA rep is there before the ink is dry. The ISA Expo LED Park that they like to have on the floor will be at stake if nothing is done in the eyes of those that fund it. This is something the Neon & Fluorescent market should have done from day one with the sign associations when they were on top, instead of fighting to be the "Last Man Standing" in a small market that was one dominating. Lesson Learned.
This will be interesting. Sign Associations never gave two shits about letting the LED manufacturers spread mis-information and mis-characterize the Neon & Fluorescent manufacturers and community, which has been the Electric Sign Industries long standing heritage....So...
Watchfire Signs is marketing...
Watchfire Signs Doc
This may go, or it may all go nowhere at all BUT.....make no mistake.....I'll be watching how this all slowly unfolds with a beer in one hand and peanuts in the other from a distance
Hell, I think I better make an order for some hot wings with some extra ranch on the side, this may be a while!
By Erik Sine
High Quality Signs In Our Industry, & Those Who Produce Them.
I’ve made some posts in the past in reference or alluded to the fact that I’m not really in the game anymore, so to speak. I have a good handful of clients who I take care of and I’m pretty much a one man show these days. But...sometimes I get too busy with that along with running this site. So sometimes I have to rely on others, and...I have a hard time with that because, well....I’m so fricken anal with shit and trusting my expectations and standards in the hands of others ( I have higher standards than UL).
So at the last ISA show in Vegas we had a small cozy meet and I relayed to one of my customers that I wanted to use their services for an upcoming job. I wanted to try them out. I knew they made quality work because I’ve been in their facility quite a few times, whether to pop in for a sales call, or sometimes even drop orders off. I’ve known them for some time when a mutual friend introduced us at one of our meets years ago at an ISA Expo when we had a meet & Greet and Dick’s Last Resort in Excalibur. I can even go so far to say that before that intro I had a quick run in with them a few times at a smaller SoCal Show here in San Diego at a CA Sign Association show....errr, Western Sign States Show. So when we were introduced it was a couple of familiar faces, just a little more formal, and over a beer.
So now I’ve had them build some major portions of a few jobs for me.
I’ve...had a my far share of wholesalers in my short 20+ existence. I have to travel about an hour and a half to pick up if I so choose, they even deliver.
If you were to ask me to say one word that best describes them, or use one that I would associate them with, that's easy. I would say........“Pride”.
I’ve used the services of more than I can remember when I’m too busy to perform the normal task of production myself, and most of the time I would only hand part of the task to someone and I would take over or finish it off....it’s that anal part again.
I have to say, when I go to pick up the structure I had them build for me there is that immediate sense of pride on the faces of the fabricators and owners. I’ve been to a few where the job is just another order and the workmanship is.....so so.
I’m talking about RNS Letters out of Corona CA, or Richard’s Neon Shop. Their quality from head to toe and BY far one of the best I have EVER seen, and benefited from.
The owners of RNS, Richard and Sal are themselves very picky, picky about the finished job and they have a tendency to “overbuild”. While so many purposely try to under build to pinch a few pennies here and there, their more concerned with NOT under-performing. They have a few old school fabricators there, and their craftsmanship if you ever use them will speak for itself. When I say old school, I’m talking about building signs with real structures and real neon sign structures. The fabricators build the signs like they themselves are going to install the project, so they have just about every detail as a installer figured out and completed. Things a installer would have never thought about that will make their jobs easier come installation day.
Pride, you see it in their work, you see it on Richard’s and Sal’s face when you go to pick up your sign, and you see it on their staff’s faces. RNS does a lot of jobs for National Sign Companies when they themselves find themselves too busy, and most of the time their building those signs a lot better. I can’t go into detail on that part, I would like to..... but I can’t, I;’ll just leave it as.......they know what their doing, detail is payed attention to, that part is always fresh in their minds, they perform, and strive for the highest quality BECAUSE they take “Pride”. They take their work and name seriously.
Anyways, Richard, Sal & Company are a great bunch of guys and gals to work with. If you ever have that need for a premium, high grade architectural finish NOT that junkie economy crap where rivets are showing or unpainted, seems showing up etc etc, I'm talking about a job you would enter into Signs Of The Times beauty show contest. They ship all over the US. Give them a try, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about and here.
Lastly I should mention, their a true FULL service wholesaler. Obviously from their name RNS or Richard’s Neon Shop you know they do Neon, but they have a full paint booth, router, water, plasma cutter, pizza cutter and much more. Not only do they understand and manufacture Neon sign projects, but they also love to use NC LEDs, so that right there tells you ALL you need to know....their building for the long haul not the short time pick up.
The bottom line....whether it’s Neon or LEDs for illumination, you WILL be getting a very bright and long lasting product when you receive it. THEY will make YOU look good!
Here’s a few pics of the first project I had them build for me where I took over and finished it off.
By Erik Sine
I'll discuss it more later, but starting with a new year I'm going to offer free advertising as a Board Vendor to Wholesale Sign manufacturers who's line up includes Channel Letters and Cabinets.
It will include banners that will rotate in with our weekly newsletters and website.
The only catch is, they must test, evaluate, and integrate the premium sign supplies sold here from the Sign Syndicate on a consistent basis. Products like our NC LEDs, GTO (Stay tuned for this one), and other Neon related products. With these premium products integrated into signs everyone who purchases products from said wholesaler will also know their getting high-end sign components integrated into their signs that will outlast signs made from other wholesale manufacturers....which in the end makes for very happy end user clients.
When it comes to the NC LEDs which can be used in channel lettering and cabinets, based on our testing here on the SS in tests like Project Tighty Whitey, Great White Hope II, The Red Light District. We all know that the LED product lasts, they have very high light levels, levels that have lasted over time and have shown to have VERY little light degradation over time, and finally when it comes to 6500K white....their beautiful white white appearance.
NC's are Constant Current NOT "Eco" (Constant Voltage), their not cheap chinese modules like 90% these days are, their Korean which has quality control equal to Japan. I'm not asking for a wholesaler to convert completely over 100%, after all sign applications call for different light sources and products based on the project itself.
Anyone interested, can test, evaluate for themselves, come to a their own conclusion (as we have) about the products and be added into our sort of Sign Syndicate "Preferred Wholesale Vendor"
I think anyone who uses these products into their projects all will know and feel confident about the end result of those finished products
More info later, but feel free to contact us.