LAS VEGAS—With crowds braving an unseasonably chilly Las Vegas, World of Concrete 2016 opened with an estimated 5% increase in registered attendees compared to 2015. Held Feb. 2-5, the trade show draws in crowds eager to see the latest in concrete and masonry products and equipment. 

The show itself has grown in size in the years since the recession of 2008, according to Steve Pomerantz, senior marketing manager for World of Concrete. “We have more than 1,525 exhibitors, [its] our largest event in seven years with over 700,000 net square feet,” he said. Last year's show saw just just under 56,000 construction professionals in attendance.

Around the Show

Rosy predictions of a 5% increase in portland cement consumption in 2016 by the Portland Cement Association was qualified by some worrying economic indicators on the strength of the non-residential construction market.

Among the exhibit areas, Skyjack unveiled the largest telehandler in its lineup, the SJ1056TH, with a maximum lift capacity of 10,000. The telehandler meets U.S. Tier-4 Final emissions standards with a 74-hp engine, which keeps it under the EPA's more-stringent requirements that apply to 75 hp and above diesel engines.

Additionally, Mack Trucks announced an uptick in adoption of its new mDRIVE HD transmission system on its work trucks following a robust penetration rate on highway tractors.

Put a Sensor on It

In addition to the hands-on product demonstrations that World of Concrete is known for, manufacturers were just as eager to demonstrate new levels of wireless connectivity coming to tools and heavy equipment. Hilti announced its ON!Track asset-management system, which uses RFID tags on tools for easier tracking. The tags can be added to any asset via simple RFID barcode stickers, and are integrated into new Hilti tools in the factory. The cloud-based system allows for remote monitoring of tool status, and for entire tool chests to be quickly scanned at once.

Technology firm Trimble is bringing greater connectivity to mixer trucks. New sensor packages and an in-cab tablet allows for better monitoring of concrete deliveries. “We’re working with seven or eight major mixer truck manufacturers to get this into their machines,” said Jeff Van Grootel, global sales director for Trimble Logistics. The latest version of the system, announced at World of Concrete, includes an Android tablet in the cab so the driver can monitor the status of the drum and the truck, with remote telematics for support and data collection.

Van Grootel added that Trimble is working to integrate monitoring of the mixer trucks into its broader portfolio of software. “Right now it integrates into our other fleet management software, but we’re also trying to tie it into Tekla and other programs so your cement deliveries can be seen in the overall project view," he said.