Dozens of live product demos highlight the first day of the new event.
Day 1 of COLE Publishing’s 2016 WEQ Fair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, gave attendees the opportunity to not only see dozens of new products up close but also test those products in real-world applications. And for many contractors, the opportunity to witness a product’s capability can mean a sale. I talked with several attendees who said they are ready to buy and were enticed by the idea of seeing their potential investment up close and in operation.
“Seeing all these different options and actually getting my hands on them is a big opportunity,” says attendee Ben Smith of Marvel Sewer and Drain of Minneapolis. “I’m like a kid in a candy store looking at all this stuff.”
For Smith, who walked the fairgrounds with his wife and two young children, the fair is an opportunity to stay on the cutting edge of drain cleaning technology, while providing ideas on how to potentially diversify his service offerings in the future. He’s owned his company for 5 years, and despite an extremely competitive urban market, he sees room for growth.
“I’m just getting into pipe patching and am considering lining, so being able to see how those systems work and talk with the people that actually designed them is huge,” he says. “I’m just a one-man operation, so any equipment purchase I make is a big investment. That’s why I research and really try to do my homework.”
Demos ranged from large hydroexcavators and pipe-lining systems to small cart jetters and cutting nozzles. They ranged from large multi-step operations, such as Perma-Liner’s Perma-Lateral with patented Tear-A-Way process, to one-man shows like Rodney King’s Kei Carts attachment to add an all-terrain element to sewer cameras. For King, the fair is an opportunity to get his new product in front of the people who can use it — sewer and drain cleaners.
“This is a new product on the market, so the best thing I can do is just let people know it’s out there,” he says. “It’s about letting people know there’s a better way.”
King’s product fits over the existing wheelbase of Envirosight Verisight inspection cameras, widening the axle for stability while rolling on all-terrain tires. He says it’s an ideal product for drain cleaners and inspection contractors who need to roll their camera over rough terrain. King had his carts on display in the Picote Solutions booth because he recently agreed to a distribution contract with the longtime industry supplier.
“When you’re working with a $25,000 camera, the last thing you want to do is hit a rock or rut with the wheel and tip it over,” he says. “Being at a show like this is great for me because it lets people try my product out and see the difference for themselves.”