While tourists were busy at the gambling tables, 3,300 fabricators, architects, designers, distributors, retailers, remodelers, builders, woodworkers and cabinetmakers from around the world were finding a wealth of knowledge at the 8th annual Solid Surface International Expo, which took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 3 to 5.
Of course, as the top publication in this field, SolidSurface magazine was at the show from start to finish to capture highlights for those of you that couldn't make it. We received a lot of good feedback and suggestions for the magazine going forward, and are looking at introducing some of those ideas in the near future. In the mean time, we've compiled some of the highlights of the show.
Cygnus Expositions and SolidSurface magazine took a new approach in developing a cutting edge conference program this year by working with an advisory council comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the marketplace. This council made suggestions and helped create a show that addressed the needs of the evolving surfacing industry.
In addition to the education one could get on the show floor, more than 45 clinics, workshops and conferences were available to attendees. Learning opportunities covered everything from fabrication techniques and best business practices to shop management, installation, safety and solid surface production.
As was reflected in the number of exhibitors and the attitudes of attendees, quartz surfacing and solid surface topics were covered during the educational events.
The exhibit hall, with more than 130 exhibitors this year, had all of the major manufacturers of solid surface products, engineered stone/quartz products and natural stone distributors, CNC machinery for use with all products and a full complement of tooling, abrasives, adhesives, software, digital templating, dust collection and much more.
As always, numerous new colors of solid surface and quartz surfacing were on display at the show, with almost every manufacturer touting some new innovative color or pattern variation (see the March/April issue of SSM for more on this).
Equipment. Everything from hand tools to CNC machinery to thermoforming equipment was on display, with manufacturers showing their best or newest. There were some inventive new offerings that really caught the attention of the crowd.
One thing that was widely talked about was the Dust Raider dustless router system developed by Kevin Andreas of Andreas Custom Designs, with the help of Steve LeFebvre of Monument Toolworks, the company that manufactures and markets it. Many disbelievers have turned believers after the show. Not only is a dust-free environment better for people and equipment, it makes for a lot less cleanup (see Figure 1).