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World of Concrete 2011 Review

January 22, 2011 in Marco's Posts

Hold my beer and watch this!

Hold my beer and watch this!

I just got back from World of Concrete (WOC) and thought I would offer my opinion of what I saw. The biggest question I got was regarding attendance. I guess the official count will be reported in a few days, but it was down from last year. Yes, I feel it was because the industry is still slow, but it is also important to remember that in a Con Expo year, WOC is always slower.

The people that were in attendance were there to strike deals and buy. The mood was more serious than I have seen it in the past. We all have the same question on our minds regarding the economy, is this really the bottom?  The reason I knew that it was just owners and decision makers? There was not a long line of beer drinking rowdy’s waiting to ride the concrete trowels.

I have some new items I saw at the show I want to talk more about. My editors call this a “tease”. I call it too lazy to write the article at this time. Here is a list in no particular order.

  • Trimble has formed a joint venture with software firm Tekla. The result is great visual feedback for structural concrete layout. The work flow is true BIM (Building Information Model) and integrates with all current BIM software to allow the structural concrete crews to be a part of the BIM process.
  • Topcon has rolled out a real time pavement profiling system (RTP). A user can profile existing road conditions and return to the office and download it into the office computer. From there, the design, ride-ability and material usage can be optimized. That new model goes back into the field and milling and replacement provide a better result that current methods.
  • In Site software has completed an addition to their takeoff package that provided visual feedback for subgrades. The program has always provided material quantities for the subgrades, now the 3D view shows the change to the surface. The program also is a true dynamic 3D design tool, more on that later.
  • Leica has some new things coming up. They were coy with me, and said I would have to wait until Con Expo. Looks like you will too.

In my discussions with vendors and clients, we collectively feel we are at the low point of the economic cycle. We have all been bumping on the bottom for about a year. The biggest confusion is the climb is not consistent, we still need to wait a bit longer until a true growth pattern starts to show. Those of us who have lived through many of these cycles just feel this is deeper and longer than we remember. I guess if it was easy, everybody would do it.

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