Viva las Metalcon
LAS VEGAS - There was no gamble in holding this year's Metalcon International here.
Unlike when the metal-building show last visited the city in 2001 - a few weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - and suffered poor attendance, the Oct. 20-22 event brought more than 7,100 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center, an 8 percent increase over the 2003 Tampa, Fla., show's figures.
That was enough to make many exhibitors happy.
"This was a terrific show," said Rick Wester, vice president of Ras Systems, a Peachtree City, Ga., maker of sheet metal machinery. "We sold four pieces of equipment in two days."
Officials with St. Louis-based Engel Industries, another machinery manufacturer, agreed. Marketing manager Vic Park said Engel had been talking to Rosen Materials of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., about purchasing equipment for some time. Coming to Metalcon closed the deal, he said.
"Their buyer really wanted to see and touch the equipment before making a decision," Park said. "He showed up the first day and bought it right away. That's why we're here, for someone like that and many others like him who need to see the machines and meet with us in person."
Claire Kilcoyne, vice president of trade shows for convention management company PSMJ Resources Inc., said she is noticing a change in the type of people who attend Metalcon.
"As this industry continues to grow, we see a more educated audience," said Kilcoyne. "They know more about metal and appreciate its value for their clients and their bottom line. It shows in attendance at our educational sessions and on the exhibit floor, as new exhibitors and interested buyers increase each year."
SeminarsThere were 327 exhibitors and more than 75,000 square feet of displays at this year's show, including a number dealing with metal roofing. Organizers also offered six seminars on the subject, including a three-hour session Oct. 22 titled "Cool Metal Roofing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly... It's All Good."
Besides being a play on the 1967 Sergio Leone film that starred Clint Eastwood, the title referred to the benefits of environmentally friendly or "cool" metal roofing and the challenges it faces in gaining acceptance from homeowners and building-code officials.
Metalcon officials brought in Cool Metal Roofing Coalition Executive Director Greg Crawford, Chairman Scott Kriner, W. Lee Shoemaker of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association and Charles Eley of Architectural Energy Corp., to talk about the issues.
Starting with the "good" news, Crawford, who is also vice president of operations at the Steel Recycling Institute, told attendees metal roofing is highly reflective, which means it releases heat and energy, uses a lot of recycled materials, is durable and costs less to maintain during its lifespan. That makes it "cool," according to supporters.
In addition, homeowners with cool metal roofs can save up to 40 percent in energy costs, he said, adding that a cool roof does not have to be white to offer benefits.
"A lot of cool roofing is associated with all-white roofs, but that's not necessarily the case," Crawford said.
Kriner added that a recent study says cool roofing indirectly increases a home's resale value. For every dollar saved in utility costs from installing energy-efficient roofing, the home's sale price rises by $20, he said.
‘Ugly' developmentsAs for the bad and ugly, the speakers said they have had limited success convincing state and local officials to allow metal roofing as part of energy-saving building codes. Part of the reason, Kriner said, is many people still don't think of metal when they hear about environmentally friendly or "green" building.
That included Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "His idea of ‘green' roofing was garden roofing," Kriner said.
City officials were considering an energy code that would require roofing products for some projects radiate away more than 90 percent of the energy or heat they absorbed, commonly called emissivity. Many metal roofing products, even those painted dark colors, radiate away 80 percent or more.
However, coalition officials were able convince the authors of Chicago's code to change the requirements to permit metal roofing.
Others still need convincing. The coalition is working with the U.S. Green Building Council, a group of builders, architects and others who promote environmentally responsible construction, on figuring out metal roofing's place in the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards program. The coalition is also working with California officials on including metal roofing in the state's Title 24 building codes.
(For reprints of this article, contact Jill DeVries at (248) 244-1726 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Plenty of new products at trade showOrganizers say 327 companies exhibited at this year's Metalcon, and its likely several times that many products were being promoted through fliers, videos or live product demonstrations at their booths.
Here is a small list of some of the products being promoted or on display.
Petersen Aluminum Corp. touted its Tite-Loc metal-roofing panels, which are corrective-leveled for flatness and include a factory-applied sealant bead to bolster weather resistance. Minimum panel length is 4 feet.
Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp.'s Wheeling Corrugating Division was showing off Centurydrain, its new roofing and siding material. Made of 100,000 pounds-per-square-inch tensile galvanized steel, it includes a drain channel to guard against wind, rain and snow.
Swenson Shear was offering its patent-pending Snap Table, which allows operators to notch and shear. The Valley Pro model has a variable-angle table that allows notching by pointing the front notcher toward the slope on the ruler. The Shop Pro's fixed notchers lets operators make 90-degree eave notching by moving the panel after one rib is notched. The machines can be used with 1 3/4-inch snap-lock profiles, 1 1/2-inch snap lock, 1 1/2-inch mechanical seam, 2-inch mechanical seam and nail strip.
Engel Industries officials were talking about the company's high-speed metal-framing-production system. It includes a "flying" precut and punch, an interior wall stud-track-furring channel, a high-capacity, expanding mandrel de-coiler, microprocessor controls, optional accessory tooling and more.
Malco Products Inc. was letting attendees try out the improved TurboShear HD, which allows operators to perform one-handed cuts. It inserts into the chuck of standard or cordless drills.