TheShoalsSearch from TimesDaily.com
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Fake clouds could bring sunny future for firm
Last Updated:April 07. 2008 12:03AM
Published: April 07. 2008 4:30AM
Daniel Giles/TimesDaily
Kyle Randolph, of Snow Masters in Lexington, watches as a cross-shaped cloud floats toward the ceiling after being made in the company’s new cloud machine.

The latest product from a Lexington-based industry has company owner Francisco Guerra walking around with his head in the clouds.

The product is called Flogos, which combines the words flying and "logos," and that's a good description of the product.

A combination of a little helium and a lot of air produces a substance that looks and floats like a cloud. The product can be 24, 36 or 48 inches long.

The best part is, the substance can be molded into any form. That gave Snow Masters owner Guerra and fellow company inventor Brian Glover the idea to form them into company logos.

One looks like the famous Disney logo of Mickey Mouse's head. Another is an Atlanta Braves tomahawk. There's also a peace sign, as well as countless other shapes. Whatever shape a company or organization wants, the company can make a mold for it.

"They will fly for miles," Guerra said. "They are durable so they last a while.

"The secret is our formulation and equipment. We're able to keep the cloud together for a long time."

He said the Flogo clouds can hover at various heights, depending on the amount of helium and oxygen mixed into the formula. "As a norm, they'll fly about 300 to 500 feet high," Guerra said. They can sail much higher or lower if needed, he said.

They travel at a slow pace for 20 to 30 miles, at altitudes up to 20,000 feet, he said.

The logos have that soft, puffy look of a cloud, but stay cohesive even if they bounce off a building. Workers at Snow Masters say motorists in the area literally have stopped and gotten out of their vehicles to take a closer look when they see a floating Flogo that the company is testing from its plant on Lauderdale 71.

"In the future, we will be able to color them," Guerra said. "For now, we like them only in white, because that's what a cloud looks like."

He said the product eventually evaporates, so it is environmentally safe.

Disney and Universal Studios are among theme parks that already have deals with the company for the products, Guerra said.

Snow Masters rents the product for $2,500 a day, he said.

Major League Baseball franchises and various Fortune 500 companies also are interested. Guerra said presidential campaign representatives also have contacted him.

Snow Masters will contract with distributors across the nation who will have the equipment for the product.

"We're just now launching," he said. "We'll start doing rentals in the next 30 days."

Snow Masters' original product is artificial snow. For years, the company has contracted with national theme parks for the artificial white stuff and has provided effects in motion pictures and for various events.

The company also has a product that emits puffs of smoke rings for an eerie effect.

Guerra said a single Flogo can be pumped out every few seconds, so it's possible to have a long trail of them that would blow about, making them ideal advertising. The air is free game, so companies could promote a product or simply display their logo anywhere desired.

"It's a new form of advertising that's never been used before," he said. "The sky literally is the limit."

Bernie Delinski can be reached at 740-5739 or bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com.





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