Report from the big show
Patrick FlanneryFeatures News Shows
Feb. 19, 2014 - Canadians visiting the American Rental Association's Rental Show in Orlando got a welcome respite from the deadly cold that has gripped the country since Christmas. Sunny Florida offered attendees plenty of chances to swim in the pool, visit the local attractions with family and generally enjoy walking around outside without five layers of clothing. Even when things got slightly chilly at the outdoor Canadian Rental Association Hospitality event, no one dared complain.
Feb. 19, 2014 – Canadians visiting the American Rental Association's
Rental Show in Orlando got a welcome respite from the deadly cold that
has gripped the country since Christmas. Sunny Florida offered attendees
plenty of chances to swim in the pool, visit the local attractions with
family and generally enjoy walking around outside without five layers
of clothing. Even when things got slightly chilly at the outdoor
Canadian Rental Association Hospitality event, no one dared complain.
The Canadian Hospitality evening was again a smashing success, held at
the CRA's luxurious official show hotel, the Renaissance Orlando
SeaWorld. Over 300 refugees from the frozen north enjoyed some beverages
with seldom-seen rental friends from across the country on the Sunday
night. They got a chance to gather together again the following night at
the Region 10 Reception, where Ed Dwyer accepted the President's Image
Award for C&T Rentals in Winnipeg.
|It's a bird…it's a plane…it's Captain Canada! Tom Bell of Haulotte gave new meaning to "showing the flag" at the CRA Canadian hospitality event.
The keynote session
featuring Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane was a big draw,
completely filling the cavernous Orlando Convention Centre theatre.
Beane's talk was a little heavy on the baseball anecdotes and light on
the business message for some, but overall he gave a humorous and
interesting presentation.The ARA put on a very slick show, with huge
screens displaying the speakers and novel elements such as ARA CEO Chris
Wehrman doing a sit-down Q & A with chairman Mike Flesher.
|Beane is a good speaker, but you have to like baseball.
show boasted a healthy 675 exhibitors and an estimated 5,000 attendees.
Exhibitors reported good traffic overall and steady sales on the show
floor. Some Canadians reported that they were using the Rental Show as
an opportunity to survey the various manufacturers' offerings with the
intention of returning to Canada to place orders with their local
distributors at their local shows.
|No one could ever accuse Jim Clipperton of Nor-Val Rentals of being two-dimensional…until now.
One of the great things about
trade shows is the chance conversations you get into. On the concourse
outside the convention centre, I bumped into a fellow by the name of
Edward Kurtz with a badge identifying him as being from Kurtz Orchards
in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. What was a fruit orchard owner doing at a
trade show for the rental industry? It turns out Kurtz is getting more
and more requests to use his land as a venue for outdoor events,
especially weddings, and his daughter has turned it into a thriving side
business. Kurtz has installed a permanent tent with a beautiful
distressed-wood floor made from ship decking recovered from the Welland
Canal. He made the trip to Orlando to try to learn more about the event
rental industry and the suppliers who serve it. Suppliers wondering if
trade shows are worth the price of admission should ask themselves if
their sales person is likely to go around knocking on farm house doors
to see if they are hosting events. That's the power of a trade show: the
customers can come to you.
Notes from the show floor:
- Kohler probably scored the biggest buzz with its two new towable 500 kW generator offerings: a Tier 4 Final diesel that does not require DEF and a propane-fueled version with four onboard tanks. Perfect for the oilfield.
- Bomag has lightened its 60 and 65 tampers with a new design using only one thrust rod. It's new 900- and 1,000-pound reversible plates can be fitted with a narrower plate for trench work.
- Polaris wants to do more business with rental with its Brute utility vehicles, available with basic, hydraulic or full PTO attachment gear. They feature a hydrostatic transmission and convenient floor treadles for quickly switching between forward and reverse.
- Got dirty dishes? You are going to need a lot of them to keep a Meiko commercial washer busy. One of the models this German manufacturer was showing off is capable of processing up to 10,000 pieces per hour. With user handles painted a shade of blue that colour-blind people are able to see and doors engineered to prevent hot water drips, the Germans have once again thought everything.
- Schaefer Ventilation says it listened to the rental industry when it designed its new VersaKool drum fan to be narrower and easily stackable, with the wheels situated inside the fan cover profile. It's HotShot tiltable fan is designed for use with a heater for bedbug remediation and can withstand up to 150-degree temperatures. The 60-year-old manufacturer also has a number of misting options, including a tent cooling system that forces cold air to the top of the tent rather than trying to cool from the ground up.
- Paladin had its usual lineup of creative vehicle attachments, including the awesome Land Shark that can chew up eight-inch trees. New at the show was a gripper for lifting bricks, boulders and other hard landscaping materials, a grapple with forks for lifting brush and other odd-shaped loads and a brush cutter than attaches to the end of an excavator for hard-to reach areas such as ditches and steep slopes.
- Toro was showing its re-branded Pro Sneak vibratory plow, an updated version of the popular Aztec design. Users can trench and bury cable, pipe or tile all in one pass. Toro also has a new line of powerful stump grinders.
- Strattec is the company that makes the key fobs your car dealer charges you $300 for. They can put the same technology into your construction equipment, preventing thieves from being able to start the machinery without the RFID-coded key. They can provide a master key for you that will activate any item in your fleet when the customer loses the key.
- General makes nifty devices to save contractors' and homeowners' backs from the torturous work of lifting old flooring. One simple unit holds any regular hand grinder against the floor while the operator stands comfortably, moving the tool about with wheels and ergonomic handles. Another more professional-grade version features powerful chisels for lifting tile.
- Chicago Pneumatic is fitting into the group that owns Atlas Copco and American Pneumatic as the "better" part of its "good, better, best" product tiers (with Atlas Copco being the "best"). It launched at the show a complete line of concrete equipment including pokers, vibrators, screeds, floor saws, rails systems and more. Riding trowels are promised for the near future.
- Takeuchi makes a solid little wheel loader with some simple controls and heavy-duty hydraulics. Perfect for landscaping in back yards.
- OEM Data is one of those low-profile tech companies that makes a lot of the stuff other people use. Their bread-and-butter is GPS tracking systems, but their real strength is custom projects wiring up entire fleets for remote data gathering. Is the equipment working in a remote area with no cell coverage? No problem, OEM can rig up a local WiFi network to track fuel use, time of use, location and just about anything else the user wants to know.
The next Rental Show takes place Feb. 22 – 25, 2015, in New Orleans. More photos from the Rental Show are on the Canadian Rental Service Facebook page .
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