Idea Display Inc., a custom thermoformer specializing in point-of-purchase display products, recently opened a new facility in Pensacola, Fla. Joe Barnes, co-owner and partner in the company with his brother Jim, said the firm's 17,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Crystal Lake, Ill., could not be expanded.
The 10,000-square-foot building sits on four acres. An addition is planned ``as soon as the dust settles,'' sometime next year, Barnes said, adding that the plant can be expanded by 100,000 square feet.
Each facility contains two thermoforming machines and equipment to perform complete in-house services from product concept and design through finished goods.
The Crystal Lake facility recently installed a new computer numerically controlled router in response to increased demand for products.
Both plants also provide hot stamping, silk screening and toolmaking and employ a total of 25.
Idea Displays also makes a line of proprietary products, marketed under the name IDM. The products include dummy television sets, video cassette recorders, computers and monitors for in-store displays, model-home decorating, trade shows and theatrical uses.
Barnes said the brothers thought up the idea when they had need for a dummy computer at an exhibit.
All they could find were cardboard props painted to look like a computer, and the prices were outrageous, he said.
``A light bulb went on in our heads,'' Barnes said, ``so we went to work designing and manufacturing props of electronics equipment.
``If you didn't know ours was a dummy television, you'd never believe it isn't real,'' Barnes said.
One of the biggest obstacles the brothers have had to overcome in marketing and selling the plastic props is the preconceived notion that people have of the cardboard props, which do not look real.
IDM is working on a dummy security camera, which Barnes said he expects to expand IDM's market considerably.