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CMD Enterprises Offers Simple, Powerful Lighting Technology

CMD Enterprises CEO Chad Griffith

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At CMD Enterprises in Winston-Salem, N.C., simple yet powerful lighting technology and support is always evolving. Chad Griffith, president of CMD, offers insight into the company's latest products.

Recently released RGB model-Program C is one innovation. “It's a new program with a new chip set that has the capability to blend 256 colors - you can hit 80 colors going between red and blue through that color spectrum. There's no one else that is color-blending quite like this with automatic technology,” Griffith relates.

He notes that “It automatically goes through all sequences and effects, loops and then goes back through them again. We are really pushing the envelope in terms of auto technology, so much so that most people at this stage in the game can't tell the difference between one of our auto systems and individually controlled systems, because we can squeeze so much out of the chips.” According to Griffith, CMD may eventually add an individually controlled system, but for now is focusing on automatic systems. “You have to make something that's essentially bulletproof because our industry is so tough on lights. We are proud of the fact that we have systems holding up after seven years of operation.”

The latest program operates on sets of 12, simplifying the process for owners from its  A and B programs which operated in sets of 16.  “There are others out there that use and process information like this in real time, but they are very complicated systems. They're beautiful, but there can be bottlenecks for owners. We try to use the simplest technology we can to create the most beautiful effects.” He adds that CMD is pushing the limits of what they can create, and using the best technology for the carnival industry. “Out there on the road, with the wear and tear on the ride, with all kinds of weather, you need a simple, stable technology that withstands the rigors of the outdoors,” he attests.

The company has also improved their colors and upgraded them for intensity. “We upgraded our LED red which used to be a white LED with a red lens; now we are doing a red LED with a red lens.” Griffith says he's focused on making little improvements like this all the time.

Another improvement is a new hinged channel, the Easy Access Aluminum Channel. “It's an extruded aluminum channel two inches wide and an inch and a half deep. We can do it in customizable lengths up to 16-feet long. The unique thing about it is the hinge. It gives you the ability to easily access lighting from the front of the channel.”

Griffith explains that other channels on the market require a cumbersome process to access lights, involving removal of end caps, screws, and lid, and in some cases even requiring the removal of existing wiring. With the hinged access, owners simply unscrew the hinged door, which opens from the front, to access the lights. “You avoid all the difficulty. It is a time saver and a hassle saver,” Griffith says. “We are pretty proud of this product. We can customize it, so all the customer has to do is basically plug them in. It's as easy as it gets.”

Other new plans are already in the pipeline for CMD. “The last quarter of the year, we plan to release a Program D to nicely complement our recently released Program C. Our ultimate goal is to create lights that work like a painter's palette, where show and ride owners can ‘paint' the rides with lighting in a variety of ways.” He says the D program will offer deliberate, smooth, slow fades, while Program B and C are more effects-driven. “D could be used for trim or outlines or borders. For example, it could be used on the border of a sign, while the letters use Programs B and C. I'm just trying to give the end-users as many ‘paint brushes' as I can, with as many different colors as I can, and give them the control to decide what goes on which ride.” Griffith adds that he loves giving his own input on lights and colors, and that what he enjoys most is seeing the “transformation. I love seeing rides redone, and it's cool to be a part of that, and seeing people getting excited about it, and to push what can be done with the auto technology that's the most stable for our industry.”
Griffith asserts that providing the durable, flexible, and yet beautiful lighting that the customers he serves wants has “always been our end game. We want to give the customer the power to do whatever they want with the ride. A lot of times with auto programs, everything looks similar, and you're locking into one program. A lot of the effects all look the same. We try to get away from that and put a lot of thought into our effects.”

CMD writes all its programs in house. “We make sure the effects, from the time they start up to the end of the sequence, are all thought-out. We try to leave 80% of the lights on at all times; and we always want the rides to look bright and vivid.” With that in mind, development focuses on thinking through all the transitions for a strong and smooth flow.

“One of the things that sets us apart is our focus on detail when it comes to the effects. We are able to do these killer effects using the technology that others are doing more rudimentary effects with. We are constantly updating our chip sets and our products, updating circuit boards, LEDs and processes, because we are always trying to improve.”

Griffith asserts that “At the end of the day, what I want to do is offer a great product that will perform well, and come in at a fair price at the same time. We are not the least expensive on the market, but we feel that our effects and our quality set us apart.”

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