The S F & D Expo debuted in Orlando for its 10th anniversary. It was a great opportunity for the more than 2,300 attendees that took advantage of it, offering chances to gather information from peers, vendors and a well-rounded group of seminars.
More than 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space housed 130+ industry suppliers looking to make contact with fabricators of solid surface, engineered and natural stone to share insights on the newest and greatest surfacing technologies.
Quartz surfacing seemed to take much of the center stage for the show, with Silestone by Cosentino as the top sponsor and an unprecedented forum, with the presidents of four quartz surfacing producers coming together for public discussion on current and future trends.
This backdrop of perhaps the largest event in quartz surfacing and the annual ISSFA solid surface general meeting, provided the expo with a good mix of fabricators. The attendees were treated to a robust conference program focusing on key issues facing the surface community. Presented by industry experts, the conference program consisted of more than 60 seminars and was organized into six distinct tracks: Business Solutions & Opportunities; Fabrication; Materials; Sales & Marketing; Trends & Designs; and Clinics. The clinics were held on the show floor and offered live demonstrations by fabricators on topics that ranged from seaming to sanding to restoration and repairs.
The Exhibit Hall
On the show floor there were plenty of new and inventive products. U.S. Granite Robotics drew quite a bit of attention with its display of robotic cutting and profiling equipment. The RoboCut/RoboEdge RCNC Combo, a 6-axis robotic edge profiling and waterjet/saw cutting system with dual cutting tables and an automatic tool changer, was the first of its kind introduced to the surfacing industry (see Figure 1).
Two solid surface products drew quite a bit of attention, with their striking resemblance to quartz surfacing — Samsung Staron’s Tempest line and Eos Surfaces new quartz-like colors. Both of these solid surfaces use semitranslucent particulate that mimics that of quartz surfacing.
Another new product was a portable thermoforming oven offered by Specialtytools.com. According to company rep Ken Pfister, the oven, which isn’t much larger than a picnic basket, can heat solid surface strips to the proper temperature for forming and can fit easily into any service vehicle (see Figure 2).
WilsonArt introduced a line of solid surface sinks designed to be undermounted to laminate tops. This drew attention from fabricators that offer laminate as a low-cost alternative to higher end products.
And these were just a few of the many items on hand at the show for fabricators to sample.
A Historical Forum
Presidents from four of the leading quartz surfacing companies participated in the Presidential Forum: Roberto Contreras, president of Cosentino USA; Arik Tendler, president of CaesarStone USA; Martin Davis, president and CEO of Cambria; and Thomas Powell, president of DuPont Building Innovations. They addressed the strategic direction of the surfacing industry, with particular regard to quartz surfacing, and other keys issues in front of a packed house. Todd Werstler, owner of Tower Industries, acted as the forum’s moderator (see Figure 3).