Show Report: World of Concrete 2012

Good vibrations and great expectations describe this year's concrete show.

By Tom Hammel

Blaklader president Marcus Carlberg (L) enjoys a busy show and gets a helping hand in his booth from STAFDA distributor Maria Polidoro of ACE Tool Repair of Wantagh, NY.
Makita’s Wayne Hart shows off the company's new 18-volt rotary hammer.
Metabo’s Terry Tuerk shows off the world’s first fully cordless mag drill, the 25.2-volt MAG 28 LXT 32.
Gateway Safety VP Matthew Love said activity in his booth was a tie between eye wear and respirators. He noted that a lot of distributors were actively shopping the show along side contractors.
Little Giant’s Ryan Moss and the show-stopping Cage ladder.

Officially, the World of Concrete 2012, which ran from January 24-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drew 52,088 professionals and just over 1,200 exhibitors who occupied about 552,000 square feet of exhibit space, roughly 40,000 more than the 2011 show.

Unofficially, WOC’s impact may be much larger than its footprint would imply. The mood this year was significantly more positive than it has been certainly for the last four years. Exhibitors almost unanimously reported stronger business activity at the show, more orders being placed and a more confident mood heading into the 2012 construction cycle.

Larry Lemer, one of our old friends at Trimble/Spectra Precision, gave us this nutshell review of the show. “This has been an excellent show for us,” Lemer said. “In fact, this has been our best show in the last four years, and you can quote me on that,” he added and laughed.

Virtually every exhibitor we interviewed had some variation on Lemer’s assessment. The phrase “cautiously optimistic” seems to have run its course — manufacturers are now “optimistic” about 2012.

And there was plenty to see.
Multiquip’s new products included plate compactors with its COMPAS compaction analyzing system and  an all-new rammer with the Subaru ER12 rammer engine.

For its part, Subaru announced a new five-year warranty on many of its engine products, which will add significant value to OEM products that incorporate its engines.

Stihl dropped jaws with the first- ever fuel-injected chop saw.

Metabo showed its all-new cordless battery powered mag drill and dropped another bomb that is bound to shake up the cordless industry.

“Metabo Germany just announced that we are going to have the world’s first 4.0 amp-hour, 18-volt platform on cordless batteries,” stated Terry Tuerk, Metabo product manager. “We are launching it on our cordless 18-volt angle grinder, which is coming in March or April.”

Tuerk was also busy showing off another world’s-first tool, Metabo’s MAG 28 LTX 32 cordless mag drill.

STAFDA Distributor Maria Polidoro, president of ACE Tool Repair of Wantagh, NY, was helping out her friends in the Blaklader safety apparel booth inside the South Hall. Despite being at the back of the hall, the booth was humming with customers.

“They are wearing Blaklader outside at the Bricklayer 500 and people are coming in here to buy it,” she explained. “It’s a great line, the kneepads are built into the pants; it’s stylish, heavy-duty and long-lasting.”

Polidoro also commented on the show’s mood and her expectations for the coming year. “I expect to see double-digit growth in 2012,” she said confidently.

Little Giant drew its own crowds to see the new Cage ladder system that ingeniously solves the new six-feet-and-above tie-off regulations.

“The response to the new Cage ladder system has been phenomenal,” said Ryan Moss, president of Little Giant. “In fact, the Cage is probably generating more buzz than any other single product we have unveiled in all the years we have been introducing products here. It’s just been phenomenal.”

Bosch and Makita both showed new products from Makita’s brushless cordless rotary hammers and dust collection systems to Bosch concrete bits and Brute hammers. Big things are on the way from both companies in 2012.   

Over in the Gateway Safety booth, respirators were drawing equal billing with the company’s stylish eye wear.

“Traffic has been very good in our booth,” said Matthew Love, Gateway’s vice president. “A lot of distributors are here learning about new products, marrying safety products with their core lines of concrete supplies.”

Next year’s World of Concrete is set for February 5-8, 2013 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit