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MCD Innovations: Made in the Shade

Upgrading an RV's Pleated Day-Night Shades and Visors
Article Date: May, 2009


Many RVs come with pleated day-night shades that have been known to plague RV owners. They have two steps of shade material - a translucent sun filtering day shade followed by an opaque privacy shade for nighttime use. They are held together with thin strings that frequently break, causing the shades to fall down. These are the shades that came in my 2007 Allegro Bus. Tiffin Motorhomes began using MCD roller shades in recent years and they have been getting rave reviews by RVers so we looked forward to upgrading the shades in our coach to MCD shades. After doing my research I was invited to come down to MCD's facilities in McKinney, Texas for my installation. I felt this was a great opportunity to learn more about the product, the company, and the actual installation process. MCD opened their doors wide for me and gave me full access to their production line as well as their service techs. I learned more about their company, their products, and just how to install them. I took plenty of photos so the following links will take you to a series of webpages that offer tutorials on all of these subjects.

MCD Innovations has long enjoyed a great reputation for making quality products and backing them with great customer service. In my first chapter I'll detail what I've learned about MCD and detail my experience with them. The next chapter will detail the various products they have to offer as well as the pros and cons and benefits to RVers. The third entry will document their windshield shades. In this chapter I'll describe how they work, how they compare to other options, and finally cover their installation in my coach in detail. The next chapter will detail their manually operated roller shades, as well as the valance requirements, and finish up with the actual installation tutorial. Following that I'll do the same for the remote powered roller shades as well as cover the various controller options available. Finally, I'll describe the various generations of manual roller shades as well as detailed procedures on how to identify which generation you have, and how to adjust them.

During the installation I had the benefit of watching and learning from one of their installation techs who had done over 600 installations. I learned many installation tips and secrets during this time and have included them in each area's installation tutorial. By the time you read these tutorials you will know whether or not this is a do-it-yourself project that you may want to undertake, or if you should have the work done by someone who does this regularly. You will gain the benefit of years of experience and you might be surprised as to how easy it is to perform this project yourself.

Now that I have my MCD shades installed I have to say that I am very happy with them. You would think that shades are shades but that's just not true. MCD has some real advantages and benefits that others do not have. Read on and you'll see what I mean. I've divided this article into pages to allow you direct access to each area if you need to refer back in the future. Following is a description for each page:

Welcome to MCD

MCD Shades have long enjoyed a great reputation for making quality products and backing them with great customer service. During my visit I met with Dave Townsley, the CEO of MCD, as well as numerous other members of the company. During this time I was able to learn more about the company, it's products, and it's commitments to it's customers. Originally MCD stood for Motor Coach Designs. However, as the value of their products became known many commercial buildings began purchasing their solar protection products so the name settled in as MCD Innovations, which is a better fit given that they are committed to bringing out new, innovative products.

I found that MCD has a number of things going for it. First of all, everyone is very friendly and customer service oriented. It didn't matter who I talked to. Everyone did whatever they could to make my visit and installation as enjoyable as could be. Secondly, they do not cut corners. They use only the highest quality components and materials in their products and do not cheapen the product just to cut costs. Thirdly, they are constantly developing new products and improving existing products. They are not just looking for "good enough", they are striving for perfection and their commitment to engineering and product development clearly reinforces that. Lastly, there's the solar screen material that they have made for them. You'd think that screen is screen but that's just not true. I did some tests and found that the MCD solar fabric is vastly different than the "me too" material used by all of their competitors. More on that later when we get to the Products chapter. MCD takes pride in their product and takes measures to ensure that everything is perfect when the customer receives it. Every shade is mounted on a test stand and thoroughly tested and adjusted before it leaves the factory. It is then placed in preformed coated cardboard boxes that will withstand even the roughest handling during shipping to ensure that it arrives intact at the customer's location.

Testing Shades Prior to Shipment

Many OEMs, such as Winnebago, Tiffin, and Newmar, use MCD products in their featured coaches. Naturally, the most popular products are the American Duo roller shades but MCD makes a complete line of products. Their 26,000 square foot facility uses state of the art equipment. I found that every order is logged and every product tagged with a build number. Every screen or shade is cut or drilled on a computer controlled machine. Even the stitch marks are laid down with an invisible UV marker that is only visible to the person who uses the UV equipped sewing machine to sew the hem. If you ever need a replacement shade all you have to do is tell them the build number and their computer system can retrieve that information and create a replacement shade to the exact same dimensions with zero tolerance.

MCD has a number of certified installers throughout the country. In addition they offer a shade installation service right at the plant in McKinney for those who want to take advantage of that opportunity. They provide eight complimentary sites for any RVer who is there for installation work. Customers may remain in their coaches during installation if desired. They are very pet friendly and the receptionist insisted on bringing our pet in to meet her. And yes, they will have dog treats. In addition they will provide you with an information packet on things to see and do in the Dallas/McKinney area and offer to assist you in any way. Naturally, this information pack comes in a handy tote bag made with durable MCD solar screen material. When you arrive at MCD for your appointment you'll be met by their staff, who will measure your coach for you and advise you of the many options that are available.

Overall I found MCD to be one of those few companies who has it all together. Great customer service along with an excellent high quality product, and innovative technology and product development will keep them a moving target that their competitors will never be able to match. In the next section we'll see what kind of products MCD makes.

RV Parking for Customers.

Another Pallet of MCD Shades Ready for Shipment.

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