Every year, tens of thousands of concrete and masonry professionals descend upon the Las Vegas Convention Center for World of Concrete, the nation’s only annual event that caters specifically to those trades. The largest and most impressive of its kind, the World of Concrete expo draws attendees and exhibitors from around the globe to showcase the industry’s most innovative tools and technology, test their mettle in arduous challenges, and much more.
This year’s World of Concrete, met with significant praise amongst the industry, marks the event’s 9-year high in size. Over 58,000+ registered attendees had the opportunity to visit more than 1,500 exhibiting companies throughout nearly 750,000 square feet of exhibit space. In the outdoor lots, companies like Bosch, 3M, and DeWalt provided demos of cutting-edge tools and equipment.
Bosch, for instance, showed off a giant leap forward in laser-leveling tools with their new bluetooth connected 360-degree three-plane line laser. “It’s a green-beam technology so it’s actually four times brighter than your standard red beam product,” explained Jordan Majstorovic with Bosch Laser Leveling. “It is powered by VisiMax technology, which is going to monitor the temperature of your diodes and your power consumption,” which prevents overheating and maintains longer battery life.
Bluetooth connection and mobile applications were a running trend, in fact, with most exhibitors offering easy-to-use mobile solutions for hardware and software alike. Procore, the most widely-used construction management platform in the world, displayed not only their own app, but how that app can work in a streamlined fashion with its counterparts in the industry.
“What Procore is really pushing toward right now is what we call ‘Construction OS’ – that’s a construction operating system,” detailed Josh Newland, a Procore Senior Marketing Manager. “We are trying to integrate Procore’s applications with all of the other amazing software vendors here so that everyone on a construction site can connect their applications together, break down all the data silos, [and] get rid of so many of the inefficiencies that are in construction.”
World of Concrete wouldn’t be what it is today without an atmosphere of healthy competition, however, and those events were in abundance in 2018. Teams of concrete and brick layers took to the Bronze Lot to compete in intense, high-speed contests of trade prowess. The Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 competition, for example, was one such event where teams had the opportunity to win over $100,000 of cash and prizes.
Alongside the arduous concrete-laying competition, Construction Robotics, a company that grew to prominence with their semi-automated mason, SAM, demonstrated the future of the craft by effortlessly placing concrete onto a quickly-forming wall with The Mule, a machine that lets one person do the work of work of ten without the back-break.
“The Mule was designed initially for the masonry industry, but also for construction as a whole, to help take heavy lifting out of the construction industry,” said Construction Robotics president and co-founder, Scott Peters. “When you’re laying 50 pound blocks all day long, it really takes a toll on your body. Our unit is designed to carry all of that weight for the mason.”
In the contemporary landscape of concrete and construction, technological innovations continue to pave the way toward more efficient and economic companies and jobsites. Companies like Viewpoint, Trimble, busybusy, Sage, and others provided solutions for data collection and project management, all of which can be executed on sharply designed, accessible user interfaces on a variety of platforms.
“Contractors of all sizes are using technology and digitizing their operations to integrate the office, the team, and the field,” Abe Cohen, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Viewpoint said. “Which ultimately is improving productivity, efficiency, collaboration, and more importantly, helping to lower costs, improve profits, and manage risk.”
World of Concrete also brought the industry’s massive trucks and vehicles to the forefront with companies showcasing their latest models. These, too, are becoming further augmented by visionary technology. “We have what is called our Diamond Logic electrical system which helps you work smarter at the worksite and be safer and more integrated with your body as well as the product you’re using,” Darin Vehlewald, a Product Marketing Manager at International Trucks, said.
Surrounding the rows of elegantly designed, but brutally powerful trucks and vehicles was a near-endless arrangement of cranes and lifts that towered over attendees’ heads in the expansive exposition space. From the events outside to the hardware and software marvels inside, World of Concrete 2018 aligned the tradesmen and stakeholders of the industry in a way no other event can.
A recurring sentiment throughout the show was the resilience of the industry. A structure made of concrete can withstand lifetimes of use and abuse. The concrete industry builds with longevity in mind, which in turn, has granted the trade similar longevity over the years.
“Having our largest event in 9 years proves that the construction sector is going strong worldwide,” explained Jackie James, Group Director of World of Concrete. “Participants, both domestic and international, experienced the very best the industry has to offer in terms of suppliers, products, services, and education, and we look forward to an even larger event at World of Concrete 2019.”
World of Concrete 2019 is set for January 22-25; Seminars January 21-25.