Solid Surface 2000 Scores a Big Hit

by WOHe

The International Solid Surface Fabricators Association (ISSFA)
has outdone itself with another fabulously successful trade show,
Solid Surface 2000. The show was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas
on February 10 – 12. The facility was top notch, and the seminars
were outstanding. Both the fabrication shop tour and the hands-on
workshops at ISSFA headquarters in nearby Henderson, NV, were most
worthwhile, with an efficient system of shuttle busses providing
hassle-free transportation.’

I also attended a workshop on decorative resin inlays at the
ISSFA training facility now under development. This training center
promises to become a major educational asset to our industry in the
future.

In past years, I remember attending trade shows like the
Inter-national Woodworking Fair (IWF) and the Kitchen & Bath
Industry Show (K/BIS), searching through large numbers of booths
for a few that displayed products of interest to countertop
fabricators. Solid Surface 2000 was a refreshing and entirely
different experience for me an opportunity to see the products of
hundreds of companies dedicated to serving the needs of solid
surface fabricators. Let me tell you about a few of the products
that caught my attention.’

Perhaps the most unusual new tool is called the SMF-599 Sander
& Microfinisher, developed by the Australian firm Surcare,
whose Web site is www.surcare.com . This large, hand-operated machine is
something like a giant random orbit sander, which uses four 6″
sanding discs mounted on a large base plate. Intended for
production shop use, this robust machine greatly speeds finish
sanding operations. The Pinske Edge is the company’s exclusive U.S.
distributor. Call 1-800-T-PINSKE or visit its Web site at www.pinske-edge.com‘ for details.

Another item from The Pinske Edge is a Vertical Seaming Table,
which incorporates air cylinders and vacuum cups to allow rapid
seaming of large, “L” shaped countertops and island countertops in
the minimum possible floor space.

I had the opportunity to see a piece of equipment at the show
that I had only read about previously the Norford Polytherm
Thermo-forming System. This machine uses heated aluminum platens to
rapidly soften a sheet of solid surface material, and a vacuum
blanket system to bend it to an accurate profile. Developed in
Australia, the Polytherm is now available in the Model 3000-5,
which can form both standard thicknesses of solid surface
materials, as well as thinner solid surface veneers. The U.S.
office can be reached at 1-973-884-4492, or visit the Web site at
www.norford.com.au.’

For years, I’ve written about the advantages of the v-grooving
technique for improving fabricator productivity. I can’t think of
any other investment that would be more worthwhile for medium-sized
shops intending to improve productivity through automation. This
technology speeds many of the most time-consuming fabrication
operations, specifically edge gluing, trimming and finishing, and
saves on materials, as well.’

Therefore, I was delighted to learn from Ted Benyovits of Auto
V-Grooving, Inc. that the price of entry level V-grooving equipment
has dropped significantly to the $50,000 price range for its Model
LG-1-SS. This Canadian company has shown its commitment to the
solid surface industry by serving as a sponsor of Solid Surface
2000 and a very active associate member of ISSFA. For details,
contact the firm at 1-800-387-5819, or visit its Web site at
www.vgrooving.com.’

Kevin Andreas, who specializes in repairing solid surface
materials as I do, has developed a line of precise templates and
matching template plugs that greatly speeds the process of making
accurate, high quality repairs. When I saw Kevin demonstrate his
technique, I was very impressed. Even without adhesive, his patches
were almost invisible. For more information, contact Andreas Custom
Design at 1-914-692-2355.
A new product from EMS Inc. is called Enhance Counter Top Cleaner.
The company claims that it deep cleans and protects against rings
and stains. I used it on a recent installation and was very pleased
with the results. I’ve tried many such products over the years, and
this one seems to be the best. It comes in different formulations
for matte and gloss finishes, and is approved by the major
manufacturers of solid surface materials. Call the firm at
1-800-643-8818 for more information, or visit the Web site at
www.easternmarble.com.

Two computer software products on display showed great promise.
Tractivity is a powerful job-costing system. I remember writing a
column about job costing about seven years ago. This system
automates steps that were usually done manually and tediously, or
not at all, in the past. The result is management information that
is bound to make users more competitive in the marketplace. For
information, call 1-888-540-7171 or visit their Web site at
www.tractivity.com . Solid Surface Manager by Data
Access Inc. takes care of business management functions such as
scheduling, project management and inventory control. A full range
of analysis reports can be produced as needed. For more
information, call 1-704-599-4801 or visit the Web site at www.dataaccessinc.com/ssm . Data Access, Inc. is now
working to modify its software so that it will interface with
Tractivity.

Specialtytools.com is a distributor of many of the supplies and
tools that solid surface fabricators use on a daily basis. Founded
by John Michaels, the company was formerly known as JCM Industries,
Inc. Among the many brands it sells are 3M, The Pinske Edge,
Dynabrade, Align-Rite, Velepec and Fein, all at discounted prices.
Now, it offers deeper discounts to ISSFA members through a program
called the ISSFA Advantage. Visit the Web site or call
1-800-669-5519 for a catalog and complete details.

Since I’ve mentioned the Web sites of all of these suppliers,
let me also invite you to visit my Web site, www.heaphy.com . There,
you’ll find hundreds of links to fabricators, manufacturers and
suppliers, along with copies of dozens of my columns. My goal is to
make it a useful information resource for everyone involved with
the solid surface industry. I would appreciate your suggestions
about the Web site.

If you’re a solid surface fabricator, and haven’t yet joined
ISSFA, you should do so immediately. Call 1-702-567-8150 or visit
its Web site at www.issfa.net‘ for complete information.

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