VIVILON History
 

When evaluating a product like VIVILON, it is sometimes useful to know how the product was conceived, the criteria used in its formulation, how it was tested before it was brought to market; and, how it may have evolved to have new uses beyond the original targeted markets.

THE CONCEPT

In 1978, we were a manufacturer of a complete line of automotive detailing products. We also produced neoprene rubber based corrosion, thermal and sound insulating automotive coatings at our plant in Houston, TX. In addition to our manufacturing operations, we operated several automotive detailing centers throughout the state. These facilities served consumers, new and used car dealers, rental car agencies and fleet operators with first class appearance maintenance services  which were our own brand of  Kar Keepers paint and vinyl sealant, Tread Guard tire sealant and Lubri-Can lubricant ( Slogan; Does What Other Lubricants Can’t…Reduces Friction To A Fraction), rust protection and DuPont fabric sealant. Many of our fleet customers asked if we couldn’t create an easy to apply surface restoration coating that would restore a like new appearance of both color and gloss to any faded finish AND provide protection from sun fading, salt air corrosion and acid rain for as long as any top of the line automotive or industrial paints.

We decided on three primary criteria that would not be compromised in formulating VIVILON clear coat. The objective was to produce an easy to use clear coating product that could be applied to almost any surface, anywhere, in almost any climate. In short, a clear coating product that was simply the best surface restorer and protector available at any price.

To achieve that goal, VIVILON clear coating had to have all of these features:

QUICK AND EASY APPLICATION

VIVILON clear coat had to be simple enough to use that anyone who really wanted to do a great job could...without special facilities or equipment.  VIVILON clear coating also had to be capable of fast application, quickly drying to a weather tight finish that could be back in service within hours instead of days.

VIRTUALLY MAINTENANCE FREE

VIVILON’s clear coat finish had to extremely easy to clean AND it had to repel dirt buildup to stay looking clean longer between washings. VIVILON clear coating would not need compounding, buffing, waxing or hot pressure washers with hazardous acidic or caustic cleaners to maintain its lustrous finish. Just simple “room” temperature aqua pura (pure water) could keep the surface clean.

EXTREMELY WEATHER RESISTANT

Understanding that nothing is completely “weatherproof”, once cured we wanted the Vivilon clear coating to be able to protect against the damaging effects of any normal environmental exposure; sun fading, salt air corrosion or damaging acid rain damage had to roll off the clear coat weather shield like water off a duck’s back.

Because we wanted to offer VIVILON clear coat with an unheard of FIVE YEAR PERFORMANCE WARRANTY, we knew we had to be as certain as possible that the VIVILON clear coating could really stand up under the harshest environmental exposure for at least that long. So, we prepared several test panels to be placed outside a friend’s beach house in Galveston, TX.

First, we constructed a wooden frame to attach the panels to at a 45° angle to the south. This gave us maximum UV sun radiation exposure. In addition, being less than 40 yards from the Gulf of Mexico provided all the saltwater spray and salt air corrosion we needed to test VIVILON clear coating for corrosion resistance. Also, being right on the beach allowed the panels to be subjected to periodic blowing sand abrasion. Finally, given the fallout from all the petrochemical processing plants in the Houston-Galveston area, we knew we could count on the panels getting a fair amount of acid rain.

We then took two panels from dull and faded cars, which had weathered body parts on them because they came from a junkyard. The panels were cleaned using a 3M nylon scrub pad and Comet cleanser to remove oxidation after they had been wetted with a degreaser for chemical cleaning. It was then rinsed thoroughly with water and allowed to dry (very similar to some of the techniques we still use today). One of the two panels was sprayed with one coat of about 2 wet mils of VIVILON clear coating. This gave about a one half mil (13 microns) dry protective film. (By comparison, a new car panel has about 2 dry mils or 50 microns of paint). The other panel was sprayed twice with Vivilon clear coating in the same manner to give about a one mil (25 micron) clear coating. The reason was to measure whether there would be any appreciable difference in coating performance between the panel that had just one coat of VIVILON clear coating, as opposed to that which had two coats of clear coating.

The second set of test panels were simple bonderite primed steel panels 4” X 6” from the Q-Panel Lab.  We chose 6 colors (red, blue, green, yellow, black and white) of premium quality name brand acrylic enamel paint to apply to these panels. Eighteen panels (three panels of each color) were each sprayed with two coats of this automotive acrylic enamel paint. This gave each panel almost 2 dry mills (50 microns) of paint. One panel from each group was left as a “control” with no VIVILON clear coating to protect it. One panel was clear coated with 2 wet mils (one half dry mil) clear coating. And, on the final panel of each color, we sprayed two coats (one full dry mil) Vivilon clear coating protection.  Once again, the reason was to measure whether there would be any appreciable difference in coating performance between the panel that had no Vivilon clear coat, just one coat of VIVILON clear coating, and the panel had two coats of clear coating.

Initial gloss readings were taken on both the aged panels (after they were restored with either one or two coats of VIVILON), the panels painted with a top quality automotive acrylic enamel, and the panels with the clear coat protection of either one or two coats of VIVILON clear coating over the acrylic enamel.

Approximately every 90 days, we visited the test area, and took measurements with a gloss measurement device reading gloss levels at 60°. (This is the measurement standard preferred by most automotive paint manufacturers.) We also visually inspected the panels for any defects in the integrity of the coating films (cracking, pitting, peeling, flaking, etc.)

After almost twenty months of such testing, the results were as follows:

  1. The restored panels with Vivilon clear coat which had an initial gloss of 88 had retained about 91% of their initial gloss by the conclusion of the test, with a final reading of 80.
  2. The colored panels with NO Vivilon clear coat protection which had average gloss readings of 90 at the start of the test, had retained only 48% of that gloss with an average final gloss reading of 43.
  3. However, the colored panels protected by VIVILON clear coating which had an initial gloss of 91, retained 93% of that gloss with a final reading of 84.
  4. There was only 1 to 2 points extra gloss difference between the panels sprayed with just one coat as opposed to those with two.
  5. Finally, there was NO perceptible damage to the integrity of the VIVILON film on ANY of the panels.

While this testing was in progress, we had used VIVILON clear coating on customer’s cars in our detailing centers. Specifically, we sprayed wheel rims and engine compartments (after thorough degreasing and steam cleaning). The results of the clear coating were wheels that had a high luster and were a snap to clean. Also, the valve covers, wiring harness and air cleaner we sprayed with clear coating looked like new.  Even the dirtiest pickup truck engine, once protected with the clear coating, in off a dusty road, was brought back to a new shine with just a water rinse.  Even the rubber hoses were easier to clean and retained their flexibility with no brittleness from the clear coating. And, we had used Vivilon as a stone chip shield on more expensive cars. We found that in essence, the Vivilon sacrificed itself when a light stone would hit it, much like the skin bruises so the bone underneath doesn’t break. We gave customers a touch up bottle with a brush like nail polish uses and it worked exceptionally well.

As a result of all this testing, we were confident we had a winner in Vivilon clear coat. So, in the fall of 1981, we did our first school bus, for a local district, with the clear coat. As a result of that restoration and protection demonstration, we were given an order to restore 106 more faded buses before the end of the year.

From the beginning, we made the decision to sell VIVILON clear coating ONLY as a factory applied process. A solid performance track record being critical to our ultimate success, we needed to totally control the surface preparation done prior to all VIVILON clear coat applications. If the surface was properly cleaned, we knew the VIVILON clear coating would perform as promised. And It Did! By 1984, we were serving over 500 customers in 16 states. By 1986, the numbers were up to over 1,000 customers in 42 states for Vivilon’s clear coating. Having established a highly successful 5-year track record, we finally started selling VIVILON clear coating direct to customers, for them to apply within our guidelines.

As we worked at bus and truck maintenance terminals all over the country, our service people would be asked if we could do a mechanic’s camper, a driver’s pickup or a manager’s RV. Later, we would be asked to do a boat or a single or twin-engine airplane. We did all these and more... metal roofs, overhead doors, and decorative outdoor art pieces. The list went on and on. BUT, it all came from doing a really fantastic job at our specialty niche, transportation equipment...buses, trucks, tractors and trailers. Our results there pre-sold all the other types of jobs. We delivered on our slogan’s promise that “VIVILON Makes Anything Old Look New Again.”

Now, we have contractors, dealers, distributors and authorized Vivilon clear coating applicators doing property restoration and protection in areas we certainly never imagined at the beginning over 37 years ago. And, new uses are found every week.

In the past several years, we have trademarked the name VIVILON Classic™ for our original VIVILON clear coating. We developed a line of tie coat primers to insure optimum performance for VIVILON clear coat.  Also, we have introduced, after years of careful research and development, a waterborne version of our original VIVILON clear coating. We call it Envirolon™. Then, we added specialty use clear coatings for vinyl awnings and graffiti protection, called Vinyl Life™ and Tag...You’re Out™, to our line. Finally, in 2011, we introduced our first hand applied easy to wipe on clear coating, ForeverNu 3G. It does the restoration of color that all Vivilon products do with a better than new gloss; but also, is the best hand applied wipe on clear coating that can make clear coat scratches, scuffs and paint swirl marks easily disappear. No more laborious "cut and polish" buffing required AND the vehicle goes back to the customer with MORE clear coat to protect the finish instead of less. The ultimate in easy to wipe on effective paint perfection!

Only, one other thing remains. The name. How, did we come up with the name VIVILON. Vivi comes from the latin for life and lon comes from long. Vivilong didn’t have the right sound to it, so we shortened it to VIVILON...to mean Long Life. Our product restores a long life to the things it protects. 

And, Now you know the rest of the story.