WOC Man-on-the-Street Reports

Shawn Wardall, Specialized, Inc.
In spite of a smaller show, with fewer friends, and attendees as we've seen the last several years, WOC 2010 was still worthy of the annual homage. I always look forward to placing a face with someone I've talked with over the phone, or via e-mail. The personal contact, and opportunity for new contacts are always invaluable, and this year was no exception. There was a noticeable absence of some major players that we're used to seeing, and not very many young new upstarts were there to be discovered. There were some new products worthy of mention in spite of the smaller venue.

I flew out on Friday before the show to work with my friends at PROSOCO and help them display their new Colorhard product, and re-launch their Gemstone Stains. These new and reformulated dyes are water based, but any solvent carrier will work effectively. The diversity, vibrancy, and color retention are worthy of your consideration.

My friends at Butterfield have a new countertop mix Flat Out Fast Countertop Mix, and a vertical mix that I look forward to playing more with.

There was also a new Rapid Set TRU Self-Leveling topping, resurfacer and underlayment from the folks at CTS Cement Mfg., which may re-open the doors to this market for me.

Wearing shorts for a week was also a plus.

Dennis Purinton, Purinton Builders
Even after many years of attending the World of Concrete in Las Vegas, it seems I always find something at the show to broaden our business base. This year we were interested in products to finish above grade concrete, as well as new equipment for pervious concrete paving.

We visited the SureCrete booth where we were shown a wall spray with multiple designer finishes, in addition to wall stamping materials, including stains and sealers. These are great ideas when you have a contractor who believes that concrete is ugly and says his customer will never accept the natural beauty on concrete. Surecrete has a wide range of concrete finishing materials to achieve the look a contractor/customer desires.

A stop at the Lura Enterprises, Inc. booth to look at a roller screed allowed us to see the many options that are available to make pervious concrete placement easier. The Curb Runner and Riser Wheel Rings will certainly solve a couple of issues in pervious placement.

At the Terramite booth, the T5C Triple Roller Screed showed us how we could increase our pervious production and decrease labor costs at the same time. The use of three rollers in one single pass will eliminate the need to make multiple passes. The T5C is operated by a single operator who sits facing the screeding operation, insuring higher quality finishes and eliminating the need for a second person in the screeding operation.

Even in tough economic times, a trip to the World of Concrete always introduces us to new technology, allowing us to diversify our business and stay competitive in a very tough environment.

Shellie Rigsby, Decorative Construction Supply, Inc.
Every year World of Concrete delivers a spectacular show that draws tens of thousands of industry professionals who are passionate about concrete, and or the business of concrete. Although the attendance was down from prior years, the experience was greatly improved. Exhibitors were able to spend quality time with attendees who were seriously interested.

With this article contribution as my mission, I deliberately sought out new, innovative, and unexpected product debuts. I found that with little exception, the new to market to be improved technologies rather than new. Although improved technology may not be sexy or exciting, at its core, it is fantastic for the contractor and end user. Examples of these improvements would be:

  • SureCrete's Xtreme Series GFRC is a two-component bag mix with greater simplicity than traditionally expected from GFRC. This system makes GFRC accessible to decorative concrete contractors looking to enter the market as well as dedicated countertop professionals.
  • SureCrete is also announces its Alcohol Reducible Sealer, ARS 400, a VOC-compliant scratch and stain resistant sealer designed with countertops in mind.
  • Epmar's Kemiko introduced the pairing of stained concrete floors with UV curable coating, Rapid Shield, their 100 percent solids, ultraviolet curable coating with outstainding gloss and durablility.
  • Dust Collection Products introduced Dust Muzzle angle grinder attachment for dustless crack chasing, cutting, and tuck pointing.

Again, it is not as much that these are new concepts, but improved systems and technologies that empower the contractor to deliver better results with safer and more efficient methods.

Brian Roddy, Lindsay Lampasona, LLC
I wouldn't exactly consider myself a "rookie" as far as the World of Concrete is concerned. I have been to the World of Concrete in Orlando, New Orleans, and almost a half a dozen times in Las Vegas. Each and every year, it has been a positive experience for a variety of different reasons. I have either met a leader of our industry, learned some useful information from a seminar, saw a new tool that would help us out, or even made a business contact that has helped in some way shape or form.(It wasn't until the show moved to Las Vegas that my wife started to require specific examples of each of these items upon my return home.) So when Concrete Contractor asked if I would be interested in writing a few words on my observations at this year's show, I felt like I was qualified to compare this show to others, and was excited at the opportunity to let everyone know what a great experience that the World of Concrete can be.

This year was very different, compared to years past. The first thing that I noticed while stepping off the monorail at the convention center stop was the concrete boom pumps were not flying high in the air. In past shows, this was always something that I looked forward to. The little kid in me loved to see the booms straight up in the air, seemingly touching the clouds. I must say that I did miss seeing this, and I was a little disappointed and concerned at the same time. I was later happy to see that there were quite a few concrete boom pumps on display on the inside; the manufacturers simply had "economized" their exterior booth space.

This "economization" was a recurring theme throughout the show. It is my honest opinion that the show was actually better for this reason; in years past there would be booths that would have items that would be of no direct benefit to the concrete contractor, or masonry contractor. This year, most of these booths were gone. For the first time in years, I was able to walk the entire show, and visit each and every booth. The vendors that were in the booths were glad to see the potential customers, and they actually had some relevance to the Concrete or masonry Industry. A few items stood out, so I thought that I would describe what I thought a few gems were.

Kraft Tool introduced over a hundred new products this year at the show. It is my opinion that one of their best new items are their new Professional Work Gloves. Although work gloves are not exactly cutting edge new technology, these gloves are state of the art, and have a recommended retail price at just under $14.00, which makes them very attractive to the concrete professional. They would compare for me with other similar gloves that command a $30+ price tag. I could easily envision Lindsay Lampasona Finishers and Laborers all gloved up, ready for a day of battle with concrete.

Euclid Chemical introduced a few new products that we will certainly use. Euco Re Cover is a fiber reinforced, polymer modified, concrete resurfacer, that is specifically designed for rain and salt damaged slabs that must be aesthetically pleasing. Every flatwork contractor out there has had the unpleasant experience of placing a slab and gotten the afternoon unforeseen rain shower or two. This product will repair the areas where the floor received any rain damage, in lieu of ripping the damaged area out.

Euclid has finally entered the lithium silicate movement with their new Ultra Sil LI+. For those of you who do not know, lithium silicates have been replacing the past trend of sodium silicates, for a penetrating hardener/densifier for a lot of exposed warehouse, industrial, and commercial and retail floors. The alleged benefits of lithium silicates are that they produce less waste, and the by product is less than that of a typical sodium silicate application. I am not exactly positive if these claims are true or not, but certainly lithium silicates are the current "flavor of the month" for penetrating hardener/densifier in the market today.

The last new product from Euclid that I was impressed with was their Kurez RC/Kurez RC OFF removable curing compound system. This system was formulated with the specific task in mind of providing a temporary cure, and being able to remove that cure completely, so as to not conflict with any coverings or coatings that will be incorporated with your finished floor product. I can think of quite a few applications in the past where we could have benefitted from such a product. I am sure that all concrete contractors will be happy to hear that they may never have to glue some grass carpet to the bottom of their pans to aid in the removal of cure again.

One of the biggest things that I noticed this year was the Wacker Neuson booth. It was hard not to notice it, not only did they sponsor the beer tent outside, they were giving out beer vouchers, and their outside "compound" was enormous. They did a great job with their power trowel challenge, and even though we missed out on the opportunity to own the souped out, chromed out trowel, we enjoyed watching everyone compete for it. When you really think about it, it becomes quite obvious that Wacker is positioning itself to become even more of a concrete industry leader. Wacker has spent a lot of money on their booth and their products. When I first came into the industry, to be perfectly honest their products were not held with the highest regard. However a few years ago, they introduced a walk-behind power trowel that revolutionized the flatwork industry. If you have ever burnished a floor with a conventional walk behind, and twisted the heck out of your pants and belt, I would recommend that you burnish a floor with one of their walk behinds -- it will not only leave your pants and belt orientated where they should be, but the trowel will impress you.

This year their best new product was their electric over hydraulic ride on power trowel. It has quite a few items that set it apart from its competition. You may be happy to hear that it still incorporates Wacker's fork truck pockets (which is a great idea and eliminates lifting bales). This machine's major difference that sets it apart is its electric over hydraulic steering system that is unmatched in the industry. Wacker took a lot of time and effort with their design of this power trowel. During their development of this trowel, they went out and asked contractors nationwide how they would like to have their trowel steer. It became immediately evident to the developing team that contractors wanted two different machines: some liked the steering tight for when finishing in a pipe fest section of flooring, some contractors wanted the steering a little looser for panning. Wacker has addressed this major divide by providing this rider with a switch that will actually modify the way that the steering is controlled. One setting is loose; the other is tight, so essentially you get two riders for the price of one. This rider can be a pan machine with the loose steering, or a combination or a finish machine with the tight steering. Another benefit to the electric over hydraulic system is the loss of weight that a typical hydraulic only system would have. There are no hydraulic pumps that control the steering; instead lighter electrical components perform this task. This takes quite a bit of weight off the machine, and allows you to get on the slabs at a time similar to that of a mechanical pan, but allows for many of the benefits of a hydraulic machine.

One of the greatest things about the World of Concrete is that you really do get to rub elbows with the industry leaders. This is great for many reasons. There has not been a time where I have talked with these "concrete gurus" where I have not learned a trade trick, industry secret, or learn an up and coming specification, qualification, or funny quote or point of view that really will make me think. I have been lucky enough to learn most of their stories from them personally, and it inspires me to no end. This is one of the things that really excite me about the World of Concrete. I really do enjoy seeing the actual people who hold a lot of influence within our industry, and even more so I enjoy the fact that they have taken the time to learn my name and seemingly value whatever input I may have as well.

One of the items that one of the "concrete gurus" brought to my attention this year was the Kestrel 4300 weather tracker. This meter will calculate record and display the evaporation rate of concrete that you pour. It does this by measuring the wind, humidity, temperature, and then it will calculate if you require the use of surface retarder to prevent plastic shrinkage cracks. There was no other sure fire way to do this easily. In the past you would have to have multiple instruments, and do the calculations yourself, once you referenced the ACI guidelines. So this task was seldom performed. With the Kestrel instrument, it makes it a much simpler task, and we will use it for any and all of our exposed finish flatwork. We purchased one out at the World of Concrete, and if it works as easily as it claims to, I could see us using one on every job, to get an extremely accurate record of environmental conditions to protect our work that we perform, and help recognize any direct affects that environmental conditions have with the finishability of our high quality floors.

As I stated above, this year's World of Concrete was economized. At first look, I was a little disappointed by this. After I thought about it though, I really took notice of who was in attendance, and who had a booth at the show. This year's show didn't have the "fluff" of years past. I had realized that everyone who was out there was the "best of the best," or the "cream of the crop" leaders in our industry. Vendors and attendees both were all from solid companies that were here to stay, their attendance affirmed the fact that not only do they have a solid foundation, but that they really did have a vested interest in the concrete and masonry industry.

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