METALCON 2013, held Oct.1-3 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, drew more than 5,600 visitors searching for products and answers to their technology and business needs. According to show management, the 23rd edition of METALCON International had more action in the exhibit hall, great educational programs, and more to see and do than ever before.

“Atlanta is a great location for attracting regional as well as international groups who want to know more about using metal in their projects,” Show Director Claire Kilcoyne said. “Our newest feature, Metal in Action, did exactly what we wanted. It created a central spot for active learning about metal roofs, walls, solar and tools — everything a contractor needs for improving jobsite productivity.

METALCON draws contractors, designers, builders, developers, fabricators and suppliers from more than 52 countries. Experts from nearly 300 companies exhibited the latest products and technology and shared their knowledge with attendees, while industry specialists presented sessions on key topics in the education program.

Specialists from the Metal Construction Association (MCA) and other industry-related associations presented the latest applications and field techniques in daily demonstrations in the Metal in Action area of the exhibit hall. This interactive program combines the best of Solar Bay Live, MCA’S Residential and Commercial Roofing Demos and Tools Demos. Solar Bay Live offered presentations of techniques for installing solar and metal combinations. In the Tools Demos, participants tested the latest tools for use with metal. With plenty of seating, the Metal in Action area was a comfortable center for learning.

Scott Cosens of SAMCO Machinery in Toronto, Ontario, summed it up nicely. “We’ve been coming to METALCON for a number of years and find it one of the most successful shows for our company,” he said. “A lot of the people we deal with count on this show each year. They come from all over the world, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe for an event that lasts only three days. Yes, they’re checking out the competition too. But if you’re a well-branded company, even with this large amount of traffic they’ll find you at METALCON and get the answers they need. Also, I noticed that when they do the demonstrations [in Metal in Action] for the betterment of everyone, people walk away with a lot of knowledge they didn’t think they’d ever have.”

Don Fahlquist, president of Hot Melt Technologies, Rochester Hills, Mich., agreed. “We’ve been in METALCON for 10 years, and it’s always been a good show for us,” he said. “Our equipment automatically applies a bead of sealant to the edge of the panels, so we’re a niche product for people who buy large roll-forming machines. For that size purchase, they need more than one day to compare products. Because of that we don’t expect to be constantly busy each day, but we’ve always come out ahead at METALCON.”

Exhibitors with new product introductions, such as Steelscape, generated a lot of excitement. The Kalama, Wash.-based company built its booth from its products and got a lot of attention for its pre-painted metal innovations. One product, Dazzle, is among many new developments the company has recently released that have created significant market interest. “Dazzle was developed specifically for interior applications and is easily cleaned to the point of being able to wipe away permanent markers. Dazzle is also Microbial resistant and NSF approved. Besides that, it’s visually stunning. For products like this, it takes time from development to usage, and we’ve had a lot of interest in it here. Plus, we had more traffic by about 40 percent this year than last year,” said Allen Garrett, sales and marketing manager for new products at Steelscape.

International visitors were abundant. Companies such as ATAS International had visitors from a diverse group of countries including Brazil, India, Russia and Columbia. “All have great business potential. The group from Russia was interested in our products, especially what we offer for residential applications,” said Dick Bus, president of the Allentown, Pa.-based company.

Adam McNab, regional manager for IMETCO, Norcross, Ga., also had great audience response. “We had a wide variety of visitors to our booth with lots of interest from contractors about our roof and wall panels, and especially our new IntelliScreen, which is a line of complete rainscreen wall systems,” he explained. “It was our first time to exhibit this product at a trade show, and we had a good flow of traffic to our booth for it.”

Miguel Pena, sales manager for GSSI Sealants, Houston, Texas, said, “We had a mix of contractors, small building manufacturers and distributors visit our booth. This is exactly the type of audience we wanted. Some exhibitors are also customers, so overall it’s the best place for us to see all of the types of customers we want in one fell swoop.” His company makes sealant tapes for the metal building and components industry.

The success of this year’s show set the stage for next year’s event to be held Oct. 1-3, 2014 at the Denver Convention Center in Colorado. “Atlanta was a great show. Our exhibitors were really pleased with the audience we attracted,” METALCON’s Exhibits Manager Paulo Gomes-da-Costa said. “Many had their best show in years in terms of closing business on the show floor. With the success of this show, 89 percent of exhibitors rebooked, and many companies increased their space for next year in Denver. Plus, more new exhibitors are continuing to book daily. Overall, the industry is showing signs of an emphatic rebound from previous years. As a team, we have been able to beat the curve in the construction trade show industry with growth instead of a decline like many other shows are experiencing. Our leadership continues to strive for new, innovative and unique offerings for our exhibitors, attendees and the metal industry we serve. We look forward to 2014 being our best year yet.”

The show’s success reached beyond the usual business needs with more than $16,000 raised for It’s The Journey Inc., producer of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. The nonprofit organization was recipient of METALCON’s 2013 Giving Back Program. “We’re thrilled with all of the positive outcomes from METALCON and especially thankful to all members of the industry for their support in helping us contribute to this very worthy cause,” Kilcoyne said. Since METALCON’s Giving Back Program began in 1994, it has met its annual goal of donating goods, services and/or funds to nonprofit groups serving local host communities.

METALCON is produced by Newton, Mass.-based PSMJ Resources Inc. and sponsored by the MCA. 

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