For a company with such a modern hi-tech product line, the ADS group has a surprisingly long and storied history. Founded by entrepreneurs, the company can trace its roots all the way back to 1902 in the USA, while its European legacy extends even further back to the founding of a small family business in 1860. The common themes that have run through the past, and continue today, are decorative graphics and innovation.
In the earliest days, the business employed artisans who would painstakingly produce ‘tickets’ used to describe products in retail stores. In the early 1900’s, the company was the first in North America to introduce the iron-on dry transfer process. These products were originally used in the knitting and weaving industries and eventually extended their reach to decorate tee shirts, sportswear, tennis balls, and even rub-on tattoos.
The innovative people of ADS satisfied a request by the US War and Navy Department shortly before WWII to develop a process for printing mutli-colored cloth survival maps which would be impervious to both fresh and salt water. These maps, printed on a new material called nylon, became a staple for American and British airmen. In the 1950’s, the company developed a new technology for the manufacture of printed transfers for the decoration of melamine dinnerware, which was widely used by the Lenox Corporation.
The 1970’s through the 1990’s brought about some of the most significant changes in the company’s technologies, much of which defines how the business operates today. The introduction of close tolerance screen printing, flexible printed circuitry, membrane switches, high pressure thermoforming and injection molding provides for fully integrated manufacturing facilities. Today, ADS is widely regarded as a world leader in the market for backlit instrument cluster appliqués in modern vehicles, as well as in products using the film insert molding variant of In Mold Decoration.
After more than a century and a half of accomplishment in innovative product marking, identification and decoration, ADS is working on the next challenge. ADS has developed the “next generation” touch panel, which will incorporate printed circuitry and insert molded connectors into thermoformed, two-shot molded parts.
Owned by highly experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs who are building on the foundations of their predecessors, today ADS is recognized as a world-class manufacturer of decorative graphics for customer driven markets around the globe. Backed by a strong global presence and a team of dedicated people, you should look forward to another 160 years of excellence and innovation.