Drawing 4,500-plus attendees late last month to Denver, The Precast Show continues a steady, post-recession growth trajectory as North America’s largest annual, precast-specific trade show. This year’s event had 375 exhibitors across 73,000 net square feet of Colorado Convention Center space.
|The Precast Show featured 15 hours of exhibit time at the Colorado Convention Center, along with companion events such as the Master Precasters course, which saw a 32-member class.|
“Last year we saw optimism and enthusiasm, and we knew there was some pent-up demand for new equipment and technology,” says National Precast Concrete Association President Ty Gable. “This year, that translated into more purchases and serious product comparisons on the trade show floor. I heard from many exhibitors that they sold more this year than any time since before the Great Recession.”
The Precast Show features heavy equipment, technology and services that span all segments of the precast and prestressed concrete industry. NPCA sponsors the three-day event with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute; joining them as participating groups are the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and Cast Stone Institute.
Beyond the exhibit floor, The Precast Show 2018 featured education and training courses, tours to precast plants and an industry networking event at Mile High Stadium, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. The show host also announced its 2018-19 class for Leadership NPCA; held a graduation ceremony for 32 Master Precasters plus 12 Leadership NPCA students from the 2017-18 class; and, presented Plant Certification and Sustainability Awards. The Precast Show 2019 will be February 28–March 2 at the Kentucky International Center in Louisville.
STEEL TARIFFS ELICIT SWIFT PROTEST
Tariffs of 25 percent that President Donald Trump has promised to apply to steel imports would negatively impact the precast concrete industry, according to National Precast Concrete Association President Ty Gable. “When you impose high tariffs, two major things happen,” he says. “The price of domestic steel goes through the roof. Second, there is a capacity problem and [producers] have difficulty getting their materials on time.”
When President George W. Bush imposed tariffs of 30 percent on steel imports in 2002, he adds, the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition found that prices rose about 40 percent for domestic steel consumers. While intended to last three years, those tariffs were pulled after 21 months in the face of European Union threats of retaliation on a variety of American products.
“History is likely to repeat itself here in dramatic price increases for steel,” Gable contends. “This will have a detrimental effect on the construction industry and possibly limit supply at a time when we need it most. We encourage the president to reverse course on this as soon as he possibly can.”
Nearly all NPCA members use steel in one form or another—rebar, wire mesh, reinforcing fibers, lifting devices and covers—in products or structures. Some producers likewise use a variety of hatches fabricated from aluminum, imports of which are the targets of a 10 percent tariff President Trump plans as a companion action on steel imports. NPCA will work with a coalition of groups concerned about tariffs’ effect on steel and aluminum prices.