Expo Evolution

National Concrete Masonry Association’s ICON-Xchange debuts.

Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa InteriorThe National Concrete Masonry Association will inaugurate a revised template for its main annual gathering next month. ICON-Xchange, February 6-9, at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif., is set to pick up where NCMA’s Icon Expo left off. “To reflect the way our tight-knit community does business,” notes NCMA Chairman Charles Newsome, “we have developed a new show format to give NCMA members a unique opportunity to expand their businesses and build relationships.”

In lieu of two or three days of five- to eight-hour show floor activity—concurrent with committee meetings and education sessions—the association has programmed the event around: 

  • B2B Exchange, February 6, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., offering producers oneon-one time with specific manufacturers, suppliers or service providers through meetings in hotel rooms and suites. A morning general session and evening reception will frame the B2B Exchange.
  • ICON-Xchange Marketplace, February 8, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., staged in the Westin Mission’s main hall, but offering a business-to-business meeting format and more intimate exposition setting for concrete masonry interests. NCMA envisions the ICON-Xchange Marketplace as a lively showcase of the products, materials, equipment and services. It will start with a breakfast and general session, and conclude with 6-9 p.m. social event. At the center of the Marketplace will be the Knowledge Bar, a casual networking area where industry experts lead discussions on business developments shaping the industry, including:
  • Trends in Sustainable Design and Functional Resilience. Design strategies and building requirements intended to satisfy objectives of sustainability and more resilient construction are constantly evolving.
  • Is Value Engineering a Real Value? Experts weigh in on how masonry is faring as designers and general contractors serve their clients through rigorous value engineering analyses
  • to ensure buildings achieve performance objectives at the lowest possible costs.
  • Plant Certification. NCMA continues on its path towards a certification program. Presenters will discuss what it will entail and what producers should do to prepare.
  • Environmental Product Declarations. Experts profile EPDs and how producers can measure and communicate the environmental impact of concrete masonry units, and what industry resources are available to ease document preparation.
  • Better Units with Internal Curing. Participants will learn how the simple concept of adding saturated lightweight aggregate to mix designs can improve masonry unit quality and reduce production costs.
  • Check-out the Check-off. The march toward achieving the vision of a concrete masonry check-off program continues. Session leaders will field questions about how this program will be created and implemented.
  • NCMA’s Solutions Center. NCMA is continuing to help members become better service providers to their own customers, including through website content measures. In between B2B Xchange and ICON-Xchange will be a day loaded with committee meetings, education sessions and networking events.

Highlighting the February 7 schedule is:

  • Front Line View–Virtual Plant Tours, 7:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m. Industry suppliers and service providers will showcase their latest advancements in equipment and production techniques, offering live video feeds from several concrete masonry production lines.
  • Plant Operations Boot Camp: Introduction to Absolute Volume, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Experts will provide essential information for plant and operations managers, machine operators, accountants and owners on how to use existing raw materials’ specific gravity data to create an accurate mix design that will benefit in terms of costing, yields, material waste and cement optimization.
  • NCMA Product Development and Creative Concepts Forum, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. An NCMA subcommittee spotlights efforts advancing the development of new and existing concrete masonry products, methods of production, innovation in block and brick designs, and systems integration within markets.
  • NCMA PAC Reception, 7:00 p.m.– 8:30 p.m. The most important fundraising event for the NCMA political action committee, supporting Congressional incumbents or candidates friendly to legislation helping concrete masonry interests, including the Check-off initiative.

Committee meetings are scheduled February 7 and 9, the latter day featuring the NCMA Industry Business Luncheon, with a state of the association update from Chairman Charles Newsome. Additional ICON-Xchange details and registration can be obtained at www.iconxchange.org, or from NCMA, 877/627-3976. Hotel reservations can be made through www.westinmissionhills.


ICON-XchangeThe B2B Exchange and ICON-Xchange Marketplace schedules afford attendees ample opportunity to learn of new equipment, material and service offerings. Sponsors offer a sampling of what’s on tap for the Palm Springs gathering.


Kraft Curing SystemsKraft Curing Systems
Full range of solutions for manufactured-concrete curing includes the Quadrix II – Individual Chamber, designed primarily for applications without automated equipment in the curing environment. The model suits installations where curing chamber loading time is three hours or less. An individual chamber may consist of one or multiple passages; each has a door and is separated by insulated dividers.

iwi Group

Company can design a complete curing system to meet producers’ unit masonry performance requirements. It represents manufacturers of high efficiency steam generators, insulated kiln doors and fogging and misting equipment. New and used equipment offerings are posted at www.iwigroup.com.

Besser Co.
Full line of production equipment for concrete masonry units, pavers and retaining wall units. Research & Development team will share insight on new equipment and upgrades to improve production efficiency and quality. Also in the spotlight: the 2014 Blockmakers Workshop schedule that includes two Executive Sessions and a new Recycled Materials course.

Pathfinder Systems
In addition to its B2B Exchange and Marketplace presence, the company will spotlight its Tiger brand of plant equipment and machinery during the February 7 “Front Line View” segment. Participants will observe a tour of the Kirchner Block & Brick operation near St. Louis, equipped with a full board Tiger PS-100 and quick mold change; finger car system feeding individual kilns; pallet accumulation; and, CC-style cuber featuring dual splitting lines plus centerline for rapid palletization of pavers, retaining wall, block and architectural slabs.

Mixer Systems, Inc.Mixer Systems, Inc.
New to the company’s most economical batching control line, the E150, is a standard English and Spanish language feature. A touch of a button on the new 10-in. screen will switch between languages. Legend plates will also offer both languages. Housed in a NEMA 4 enclosure, the E150 offers control of up to six aggregates, six admixtures, two cements and one water source.




Columbia Machine Inc.Columbia Machine Inc.
Equipment line includes mixing and batching, concrete product machines, splitters, pallet handling and cubing systems. The manufacturer also offers spare parts and equipment servicing, and maintains a product mold library for 150,000-plus units from Columbia and other brand machines.

BASF Construction ChemicalsBASF Construction Chemicals
Effective 2014, the company is harmonizing products under the Master Builders Solutions brand, including MasterPel 240 (formerly Rheopel Plus), a water-repellent/efflorescence control admixture based on a chemistry that offers water repellency and significantly reduces secondary efflorescence. MasterPel 240 is recommended for use in a variety of applications,
including architectural block, single-wythe masonry construction, paving stones, segmental retaining wall units, concrete roof tile, and precast/prestressed concrete.

Standley Batch Systems
The company offers a full range of batch plant solutions for manufactured-concrete production, along with advanced color blending equipment for unit masonry operators. As
an alternative to the traditional “stacking” method of colored mix blending, it has developed improved handling and transfer configurations. Typical setups use feeder style conveyors to place specific amounts of colored concrete on a conveyor belt feeding a small machine hopper. The colors can be stacked one on top of another (sandwich) or one behind the other (checkerboard) to achieve the desired product look.

Some blending systems go a step further by placing the material blends in different locations on the belt feeding the machine. The colors are placed to the right, center and/or left
of a “wide” machine feed belt in a determined strip length. This is changed per required recipe, giving the customer an infinite number of blends to develop and market. Advantages of
this system are the limitless number of color blends a producer can have and repeat with minimal waste or down time.