Flat Screen TV Provider Sets Pace For Limo Interior Tech

Posted on June 19, 2012 by - Also by this author

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Gryphon Mobile Corp. owner Nelson Yen and Vice President of Operations Mark Elkins have expanded the company into flat-screen LED-panel displays being used by such limousine manufacturers as Krystal and Tiffany.
Gryphon Mobile Corp. owner Nelson Yen and Vice President of Operations Mark Elkins have expanded the company into flat-screen LED-panel displays being used by such limousine manufacturers as Krystal and Tiffany.

LA PUENTE, Calif. — Six years ago, Gryphon Corp. got a call from a limousine manufacturer that sparked a venture for a new product line.

The manufacturer asked Gryphon for advanced LED light patterns for interiors and for raw TV panels as well. “We made lots of LED and it was very expensive,” recalls Mark Elkins, vice president of Gryphon Corp. (pronounced Griffin). “We saw we could reduce prices substantially and offer choice and variety. There were two or three main distributors for the limo industry that focused on opera light LED patterns. We decided let’s take a shot, so we handmade several varieties and built patterns for LED opera lights.”

The company tried out various sample LED panel configurations and found one that worked well for limousines, Elkins says. “I thought there is an industry here that is thriving that needs a better product. By about September 2006, we were importing our own higher quality raw panel and offering it exclusively to custom car builders and mainly to the coach industry.”

That first request helped the company grow a product line that started when it was renamed Gryphon in 2005 so it could specialize in a labeled, higher-end brand of superior video lines to offer car stereo shops and consumers.

After 2006, flat panel TV screen technology rapidly improved, leading to thinner, cheaper and more durable screens. By 2008, Gryphon was taking its product line to a higher level when it started supplying them to Tiffany Coachworks, a major California-based maker of limo buses and stretches, Elkins says. Demand combined with more advanced applications led to bigger screens — “we added other sizes to our product line; we had 15-inch and 17-inch screens, then did 23-inch screens and then brought in 32-inch and 42-inch screens.”

That same year, Gryphon got an even bigger break: Krystal Enterprises, the leading limousine manufacturer in the world, called with a need to transition from traditional TV panels to LED flat screens. “They were running into an issue of changing over from home TVs,” Elkins recalls. “Within a year of supplying Krystal, we updated our system by adding LED to panels and LED back-lighting systems which created brighter, cooler, longer-lasting TVs. We also sought out and started importing a higher quality LED Ribbon tape and were able to develop custom one-off LED-kit designs for Krystal for various vehicles, such as party buses, vans, Hummers, and new Lincolns.”

Gryphon’s emphasis on quality, simplicity and reliability helped it attract some top names in vehicle modification and manufacturing. In addition to Krystal and Tiffany, the company supplies: Automotive Design and Fabrication, L.A. Custom Coach, Vogue Motor Cars, Ultimate Custom Coach, Lexani Motor Cars, Prestige Motorcoach, Premier Motorcoach, Southern Comfort, and Rocky Ridge Conversions.

A 42-inch raw panel costs $899, and a 10-inch panel, $149. The most popular model, the 23-inch screen, costs $399, and $419 with a special tuner for the China market. Gryphon backs up its LED panels with a two-year warranty on the screens and a one-year warranty on the LED ribbons, with free replacement and repairs within the first year. The LED ribbon cable is housed in a ceramic footprint for longer life and less heat, and is waterproof and dust proof. “We want to keep it simple,” Elkins says. “By focusing on LED ribbon cables to raw panel TVs, we do not oversaturate our product line.”

Gryphon Corp. also markets its portfolio of products through numerous channels including industry leading distributors and specialty retail chains, and independent retail establishments worldwide, with plans to boost partnerships in the global electronics market.

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