Esprit was growing fast during the 1980s and the next big change came when John received a phone call from a company with a new type of UV curing resin, asking to meet us. This new resin revolutionised Esprit and the windscreen repairing industry. They had a thin, clear resin which cured to an almost invisible result, and it achieved this result in minutes rather than 24 hours. It also no longer needed mixing and cured with a UV lamp before it could seep into, and possibly damage the inter layer of the screen.
John immediately saw the potential of this, and set about redesigning the kit to include a UV lamp instead of a heat gun, and also updating all the training. Despite its improvement, many companies were initially unwilling to change, but over time we upgraded every kit to the new UV resin repair system.
The next big change was the UK MOT testing brought in windscreen damage as a fail, so windscreen replacement companies also looked at introducing repairs alongside replacement – the first company being Silver Shield, who equipped every van and depot with Esprit kits under their own label.
Competition sprung up with other companies carrying out repairs, some using Esprit and others sourcing their own equipment or creating their own.
In the 1990s one company tried to claim, despite every evidence to the contrary, that windscreen repair didn’t work. They worked closely with British Standards to try to prove this, but Esprit were keen to join the committee and prove that the technology worked. Esprit passed all the tests that the British Standard used to test new windscreens (ECR43), and Esprit have maintained those high standards to this day, holding BS AU 251 as well as BS AU 242. We have always maintained that standards are a useful way of allowing customers to ascertain which kits are proven to work (especially now that there are so many options available). BSI are now looking to withdraw BS AU 251 based on the view that resin manufacturers should ensure their resin is fit for purpose. Esprit believes (and has always believed) that the only real “fit for purpose” test is to subject it to the same “in use” tests a new windscreen would pass which gives confidence that a repaired screen will perform as expected in a collision or impact. Esprit believe this performance testing gives a repairer complete confidence in their equipment and we are in the process of looking at other worldwide standards to ensure that our customers always know that they are getting a tried, tested and passed windscreen repair system.