NEVADA GOLDEN DAYS – World of Concrete marks its 50th anniversary in true Las Vegas style.

Published: 4/3

Face it, World of Concrete and Las Vegas are made for each other. What better place to stage a yearly event showcasing everything for the concrete and masonry industries than a city that has…well, everything.

And the 50th anniversary World of Concrete held this past January was no different. The aisles and outdoor spaces of the Las Vegas Convention Center were chock-full of displays, demonstrations, and—to the delight of the organizers and exhibitors—people, a lot of people. There was even a wedding.

First the numbers. According to organizer Informa Markets, World of Concrete’s 2024 edition continued its post-pandemic resurgence by attracting nearly 60,000 registered professionals, a 23% increase from 2023. More than 1,400 companies, nearly a third of which are based overseas, occupied more than 700,000 ft2 (65,000m2) of indoor and outdoor space, maintaining World of Concrete’s standing as Las Vegas’s second-largest annual trade show. (In case you’re wondering, the Consumer Electronics Show, held two weeks earlier, is number 1 at twice the attendance/exhibit space.)

Compare that turnout with the first World of Concrete, held in 1975 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston. Co-sponsored by the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), and the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA), the event attracted 1,550 attendees and more than 70 exhibitors. Over the next three decades, World of Concrete became something of a moveable feast, staged in a rotation of venues that included Las Vegas (first time in 1976 at what is now the Westgate), New Orleans, Phoenix, Houston’s Astrodome, and Orlando, before making Las Vegas its permanent home in 2004.

Now with an alphabet soup of more than a dozen sponsoring organizations, World of Concrete is a staple of the construction industry’s wintertime trade show circuit, with the exception being the COVID-delayed 2021 edition. But even then, organizers and the city found a way to maximize the summertime spotlight, using the event to debut the Convention Center’s new West Hall and herald Las Vegas’s post-pandemic resurgence (as if there was any doubt that would happen).

But enough with the history lesson; what about the 2024 show? Well, as stated above, there was pretty much everything concrete and masonry contractors could ask for. Here are some highlights.


Batteries, batteries, batteries

Appropriately in step with figurate trend of “cutting the cord” from cable TV in favor of Internet streaming services, tool manufacturers are providing more ways for contractors to work untethered from electric feed lines. DeWalt and Milwaukee Tool offered a variety of products based on new, longer-lasting battery platforms, while Bosch touted the success of the 30-member AMPshare multi-brand 18V battery alliance, which facilitates interoperability between tools and brands, including Bosch’s CORE platform.

Speaking of Bosch, the company also announced that 2024 would see more than 30 new products brought to market, the majority of which are set for release in the second half of the year. Some of the recent innovations were on display at its always-expansive outdoor booth, including the GSB18V-800C ?-in impact hammer drill/driver and GSR18V-800FC 5-in-1 drill-driver, both of which provide 565 lbf in (63.8 Nm) of max torque. There was also the GBH18V-28CN 1-1/8-in rotary with a self-contained dust collector, and the 12V GWG12V-20S ?-in (6.35mm) right-angle die grinder with a new user interface and variable speed trigger.

Husqvarna displayed a number of battery-powered offerings as well, including the 4.17kg K540i, which also can cut up to 4-in (100mm) deep with blades up to 10.5-in (267mm) in diameter, and the 2.4kW DM 1 core drill. The stand-mounted machine uses bits of up to 15.75 in (400mm).

Stihl debuted its new TSA 300 battery power cut off saw, with a 12-in (305mm) wheel that can cut slabs up to 4-in (100mm) thick. Compatible with the company’s AP battery platform, the TSA 300 features a low-noise wheel, a magnetic filter that protects the motor from fine metal dust particles, and a maneuverability-enhancing magnesium cutting wheel guard.

Also on display at the Stihl booth were two of several conventional-power concrete saws introduced at World of Concrete. The gas-fueled TS 710i and TS 910i STIHL Cutquik® models, both scheduled for full release later this year, feature electronic fuel injection, anti-vibration technology, and the X2 Air Filtration System that reduces maintenance-related downtime. The TS 710i, a replacement for Stihl’s TS 700, is used with a 14-in (355.6mm) cutting wheel, allowing for maximum depth cut of up to 4.9 in (124.5mm). The TS 910i, which Stihl says will be the largest gas-power cut-off saw on the market, is designed for 16-in (406mm) blades and a maximum depth cut of 5.7 in (145mm).

For bigger cutting jobs, ICS/MERIT displayed its new 57-hp (42.5kW) M500 gas-powered concrete cutting flatsaw that features a four-speed gear box, a parking brake for slopes up to 15 degrees, and a larger fan/cooling system. In a departure from the “more is better” technology, ICS/MERIT says the M500 features more manual systems, reducing the complexity sometimes associated with electronics-heavy equipment.

Elsewhere in the saw spectrum was the MC 800 joint hog saw from US Saws. The propane-powered milling machine can remove concrete sections up to 4 in (101.6mm) wide and 1.75 in (44.5mm) deep to repair spalled joints using 8-in (203.2mm) blades. With a cutting speed of up to 30 in (762mm) a minute, the saw also be used for grooving, cutting inlays, and preparing floors for permanent line striping.

Several grinders were on display as well, led by the debut of Superabrasive’s new 31-in (783mm) and 20-in (510mm models, both available in propane and electric models.


The wheel deal

Celebrating its own 50th anniversary, Kubota came to World of Concrete with its new KX080-5 compact excavator, a 67-hp (50kW) machine with digging depth of approximately 15 ft (4.6m) and maximum dumping height of just over 17 ft (5.2m). A two-pump load-sensing hydraulic system supports a variety of attachments.

Illustrating what the company says is its move from simply being an “equipment provider,” Kubota also displayed its new RTV X1130 diesel utility vehicle with a 6-ft (1.8m) long bed configuration. Built at Kubota’s Gainesville, Ga., manufacturing plant, the truck features a 26-ft3 (.7m3) storage bed that is easily accessed from three sides. Similarly, company’s new RTV-X utility vehicle represents another advancement in this product line, with a three-cylinder 24.8-hp (18.5kW) diesel engine that produces 51.4 lbf (70Nm) of torque.

Several Chinese equipment manufacturers brought micro-sized products to World of Concrete. They included Kingstone’s 13.8-hp (10.3kW) XN12-9 diesel crawler excavator with a 62.2-in (1,580mm) digging depth, and BDI Equipments’ BDSW-65 diesel skid steer loader with a nearly 2,100-lb (952.5kg) capacity. BDI also showed its 25-hp (18.6kW) BEX-3 mini skid steer with a 1,945-lb (882kg) loading capacity.

As reported elsewhere in this issue of PDa, Brokk introduced its new range of SmartPower+ robots, designed to last longer and increase operational uptime while also significantly reducing the number of cables and connectors. The “brains” of the SmartPower+ range is a new ergonomically designed control box ergonomically designed with tilted joysticks and easier-to-reach features, including an emergency button that shuts down the robot remotely.

Demonstrating that there’s always room for competition in the remote-control demolition sector, Husqvarna introduced its new half-ton DXR 95, the lightest and most compact of the company’s now-model line. The DXR 95 provides 3.1 hp (2.3 kW) of power and 3,626 psi (250 bar) to the end-of-arm tool, and can manage steep inclines of up to 30°.

As usual, the manufacturer Pentruder took the opportunity to show its wide and powerful range for concrete cutting. What particularly attracted the visitors’ interest was the company’s new Pentruder MDU3 core drilling system.

The well-known manufacturer of concrete cutters, Von Arx, which is now owned by Fredrik Åkermark, took the opportunity to show off its new and wide range of, among other things, dust extractors.

World of Concrete 2024 was more than ever an excellent opportunity to reconnect with old acquaintances within the industry. Some examples of companies in our industry were Hilti, Superabrasive, US Saws, Widecut, Dymatec, Lissmac, Diamond Products, Sonmac, Diteq, Antraquip, Ashine, Distar, Shibuya, Syntec, MB Crusher to mention a few.


Something new and different

World of Concrete 2024 saw a record 325 first-time exhibitors, one of which was Ignite Attachments. Founded fewer than two years ago, the Moorhead, Minn., e-commerce company says it has already launched more than 100 products, with another 30 in the works, including aggregate and demolition buckets. Fluids, lubricants, and ground-engaging wear parts will also be added to its product portfolio this year, the company says.

Ignite introduced itself in a big way with its new three-model line of nitrogen breakers designed for mini track loaders and skid steer loaders. The breakers range in weight from 503 to 1,005 lb (228 to 456 kg), with the largest model delivering up to 819 lbf (1,110Nm) of impact energy.

The company’s approach to customer service begins before the sale. A “Fit Finder” tool on its website helps users match its breakers and other attachments to the customer’s carrier size. Each attachment is affixed with a QR code that connects users to the appropriate manuals electronically, with helpful “how-to” videos soon to be added.

Australia-based Makinex celebrated a couple of anniversaries at World of Concrete—it’s 20th overall and 15th in the US. Touting “simple innovations that just work,” the company has produced items ranging from a multi-position jackhammer trolly for removing floor tiles and other coverings from concrete surfaces to the updated version of the Portable Power Box, which the company says provides 10kW of jobsite power for and 15 kWh of battery storage.

And who couldn’t use a lift these days—especially when it’s something heavy. GRABO impressed many World of Concrete visitors with its line of portable vacuum lift tools. The company says its flagship Pro-Lifter 20 (with a vacuum pump capacity of 20 liters/min) stays secure to loads up to 375 lb (170kg). GRABO also offers an attachment makes it easier for two workers to carry and place large, heavy materials.


A different kind of aggregate

There are any number of distinctive wedding venues at Las Vegas, but James and Patricia Estrada chose the Convention Center’s grand entrance at World of Concrete as the place to tie the knot. Elvis apparently couldn’t make it, but celebrity Mobile Minister Roland August filled in an officiant, while show attendees provided an impromptu congregation.

According to a World of Concrete press release, James Estrada explained, “I’ve been married to concrete for 30 years, it was finally time I married Patricia. It felt like the right moment and right place to share the blessings my career has provided.” There’s no word whether the happy couple took home any new breakers or saws as wedding gifts, but World of Concrete did present James with a “lifetime membership” to commemorate his legacy with the show.

The Estradas’ wedding was actually the second World of Concrete-related ceremony of the week, as a couple who met while working at an Australian construction firm made the most of their very long trip to Las Vegas by getting married the Sunday before the show opened.

So how will World of Concrete top all this when its 51st edition rolls around next January? Rest assured they’ll think of something. It is Las Vegas, after all.

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