Stone, tile and flooring professionals make the trek to The International Surface Event 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA).
The annual gathering of surface industry professionals happened once again in Las Vegas at The International Surface Event (TISE) or known as Surfaces, a trade show co-located with StonExpo/Marmomac and TileExpo.
Mandalay Bay Convention Center is a 93,000sqm facility that hosts the Surfaces event. Over 800 companies – 135 were new to the show – presented their products.
It’s an event conducted on a scale unlike most trade shows in Australia. According to organisers, Informa Exhibitions: “Attendees came from 77 countries and from every corner of North America to buy, source, network, and discover what is new, needed, and up-and-coming for their businesses”.
A major benefit of attending live markets is being able to catchup and network with business acquaintances, old and new. As with most major trade events, it presents an opportunity to conduct face-to-face meetings with key and potential customers and see the latest products first hand.
StonExpo/Marmomac at Surfaces is considered a serious stone event for industry professionals in North America. It is endorsed by the US-based Natural Stone Institute through its involvement and sponsorship.
The Institute’s booth at Surfaces is a central location for members to gather and each year, it offers a full day Accreditation Immersion Class available to fabricators and installers. During the course, participants are able to fill out the accreditation application and take the exam.
In addition to Institute specific programs, it is part of the StoneExpo/Marmomac education committee. Its goal is to create a comprehensive educational program for stone industry professionals. It reviews business planning, stone industry sales and technical training.
The Institute also holds its annual awards ceremony to recognise winners of the Pinnacle and Grande Pinnacle Award, Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement, Women in Stone Pioneer Award and Craftsman of the Year Award. Two scholarships are also granted, the Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship and the Natural Stone Scholarship.
Marmomac is the event partner of StonExpo/Marmomac, and represents the global showcase of stone materials and machinery held annually in Verona, Italy. The Marmomac International Pavilion showcases stone and stone supplies from countries such as Canada, India, Italy, Turkey and Portugal.
Education and demos
Surfaces has its own education program that begins a day before the trade exhibits are open. This year, it launched CONVERGE which “offers the industry a new way to gain training, knowledge, and information”. The program was reconfigured into three targeted persona-based interest groups: Creatives, Suits and Hammer + Nails.
With its flexible scheduling to give participants time to see exhibits and attend other events, the CONVERGE program came about after feedback and is designed for “immersive, targeted discussions”. Participants also had the flexibility to pass freely between sessions to gain the type of knowledge needed.
Technical topics included “Moisture Mitigation Roundtable” and “The Ways of Water: Critical Considerations for Shower Construction”. Design-centric, forecasting sessions had topics such as “Colour Vibes: A Journey Through Colour and Trends” and “The Power of 5: The 5 Hottest Trends in Flooring & The 5 Types of People Buying Them”.
Surfaces 2019 also had the Product Demo Stage at The Design + Installation Showcase Hub (DISH), located on the show floor. Mapei USA and building materials company USG offered daily demonstrations each hour, covering topics from shower and floor prep to installing floors in a flash. Participating companies at The DISH were Custom Building Products, DriTac Flooring Products, Johns Manville, Merkrete/Parex and DryTile North America.
The amiable and charismatic Roberto Vianello who is BSM (business service manager) and sales director for Intermac’s stone division showed the Discovering Stone team around the stand.
He explained how the new Master One CNC router can transform the workflow in all kinds of shops. It is designed for processing natural and engineered stone as well as ceramic materials. It works with Master Loader, a robotic arm designed and built to optimise all loading and unloading times for work centres and water-jet machines. It also offers the advantage of EasySTONE by DDX, a new CAD/CAM software option that offers seamless integration between the whole Master CNC router series and Donatoni’s CNC bridge saws. With one software package, countertop fabricators and stone shops will be able to program both the cutting machine and the profiling machine from the office.
Two Montresor machines were showcased at the stand, along with vertical edge polishers, Vela and Luna.
The SOPHIA IoT is Intermac’s cloud-based software management tool that provides an easy-to-use dashboard containing real-time visibility of machine status, performance and functionality. It is fully integrated with Intermac’s new PARTS portal, which gives customers the ability to purchase parts, check availability and track purchases online 24/7.
This year, Intermac won a Best Product Award for its SOPHIA IoT platform, from the Surfaces organisers.
As part of Intermac’s presence at TISE, machine tool company Diamut demonstrated its ultra-fast HYS T33 R3 80-series tooling on Intermac’s Master One CNC.
The proximity of the two company stands allowed visitors to experience firsthand just how fast five these diamond tools and one polish tool are capable of running while maintaining quality.
Diamut also demonstrated bridge saw tooling on the Donatoni Jet. Visitors saw blades and reverse thread tooling such as incremental step cutting bits. For edge polishing, it displayed tooling ranging from diamond wheels to polishing pads.
Before the show started, Peter Hauser, Diamut’s brand sales manager – stone division, said: “[Surfaces] is a great opportunity for show visitors to sit down with us, get their questions answered, and even talk with us about special projects they might have on the horizon, so we can brainstorm solutions together”.
The Genya was front and centre at the Breton stand. According to Colin Oakey, sales manager at Breton Australia, the company recently launched the Genya 600, a new five-axis bridge saw. The machine is ideal for end-users looking to upgrade or replace an old saw.
Colin believes it offers good value for money because it has all the following specifications: Siemens 840 SL Computer Numerical Control (CNC), large work bench measuring 3.7 x 2.4 metres, hydraulic tilting table with rubber surface, suction cup system for cut-piece handling (even 40mm strips), powerful 13Kw spindle 5000rpm, fixed camera for slab image, touch probe measuring the slab thickness, and a blade diameter sensor.
The Farnese stand at Surfaces showed off the Marc5, among other models. The Marc5 is the new breed of 5-axis bridge saws for the stone industry that has a full CNC controller coupled with the easy-to-use front-end program.
The machine’s head/blade can rotate around the full 360º so the operator can make angled and circular cuts, as well as tilting from 90º to 0º for drop in sink work. Its CNC “brain” allows the operator to use the machine in four different modes: manual, parametric, semi auto and full auto.
In manual mode, the user can operate the machine to cut at any angle across the table in any direction. In automatic modes, the Marc5 will make a cut in any direction, as well as curves and circles.
DXF files can be imported and programmed which makes the machine compatible with most digital templating machines currently in the marketplace. The spindle has a 1/2” GAS attachment that allows it to fit a drill, which can be programmed to drill out the corners of internal cut outs for the simple removal of internal pieces.
The machine is also fitted with a tilting table that can be used from the front panel. Its monolithic design is an effective space saver with no compromise in the “full slab cutting” sizes.
Laser Products Industries
At the Laser Products stand, the company introduced ClearCut, an optical tool measuring system that easily captures images of tool sets directly on the CNC machine and recalibrates them for optimal performance. Compact and lightweight, it operates directly on the CNC, analysing both tool and spindle performance.
ClearCut can help fabricators extend the life of their tools, optimise tool pre-sets, and increase CNC efficiency.
The LD-2D3D Templator is an accurate, reliable laser measuring tool designed to increase efficiencies. Featuring an interactive table, it can take minutes to template a new project and is accurate to one millimetre. In three simple steps, users can document and measure, add in details and complete the template, which can upload directly to CAM software. With a range of over five metres, this device is made from impact resistant, aircraft grade aluminium.
Laser Products has also just launched its new website, featuring product videos, technical guides and in-depth tutorials. The online presence is part of a larger service offering the company is providing for its US-based customers that includes specialised training and support services. This initiative is expected to have benefits for the Australian market. Laser Products is distributed through CDK Stone in Australia.
The STONETECH® range along with SPECTRALOCK® PRO Premium Translucent Grout, MUTLIMAX™ LITE mortar, HYDRO BAN® Cementitious Waterproofing Membrane and VAPOR BAN™ Primer ER were specially featured at the Laticrete stand this year.
Laticrete’s Permacolor Select was also showcased. It is a crack-resistant cement grout designed to withstand extreme environments, suitable for residential and commercial installations. It has enhanced stain resistance and equipped with STONETECH sealer technology so no sealing is required. According to the company, it has vibrant consistent colour and resists efflorescence. The grout simply needs to be mixed with water and can be placed in three hours.
It claims to be the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment solution and separates the coloured pigment from the base. Each colour kit contains two colour “packets”. Customers are able to select the size and colour while eliminating excess inventory cost and space for retailers. Store owners only need to carry the inventory they need. The Permacolor colour kits also allows retailers to stock all 40 Laticrete colours as well as other popular competitor colours.
Mapei North America maintained its strong presence at the 2019 Surfaces event. This year, marketing manager Yoanna Pergantis and Princess Pitts from corporate communications gave the Discovering Stone team a guided tour of the stand. “The International Surfaces Event is an effective networking ground for us. In addition to welcoming many of our customers to our space, TISE also serves as a meeting ground to exchange face-to-face with a number of international colleagues,” said Yoanna.
“The Mapei brand is well known in the industry and our products are distributed widely throughout North America, as well as the rest of the world. We are not necessarily looking for sale leads per se at this event, but rather, we use our time and space to share our latest product developments and technologies. In order to achieve this, we give a number of product demonstrations each day and have a full team of people on-site available to answer questions. In addition, we also typically participate in technical training seminars for professionals seeking credits towards their continuing education requirements.”
Integra presented its new surface bonder at the tradeshow. Surface Bonder Zero is a non-sagging adhesive specifically designed for natural stone and quartz-based products. As a non-sage product, Surface Bonder Zero is ideal for mitred edges and seaming joints. The adhesive stays right where the user puts it. Alongside this, it is suitable for vertical applications such as wall cladding, facades or cabinetry.
Packaged in Integra’s cartridge system, Surface Bonder Zero is available in a 250ml 10:1 cartridge and is compatible with any 250ml dispenser. The product also comes in 45 different colour options and can be colour matched to a very large range of surfaces. The company said it is the latest advancement in surface bonding. The range of products from Integra Adhesives is available through CDK Stone in Australia.
Many products from the Sika family of bonding products were present at the Surfaces event. Brady Gunn, sales representative – interior finishing and Andre Eisenmann, marketing co-ordinator – interior finishing showed the Discovering Stone team around the stand.
When asked whether the event has been effective for the company, Andre said: “If I had to rank the show out of ten, I would say effectiveness was around a six out of ten. This show was great for sales leads and public relations. More importantly it was a good opportunity to meet with other companies … and plan future meetings with current and potential customers that you may not find gathered on one place like TISE platform provides.” Sika has been exhibiting at Surfaces from 2015, according to Eisenmann.
Save the date: The International Surface Event will be held 28-30 January 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas (USA)