If business on the trade show floor is any indication, the precast concrete industry in North America continues to grow and diversify. The Precast Show 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center, held March 5-7 in Orlando, Fla., attracted serious buyers who were looking to purchase equipment to meet growing demand for precast products.

“We saw more movement at this Precast Show than any since 2007,” said Ty Gable, NPCA president. “Last year, many companies were checking out equipment and supplies and making plans for major purchases. This year, they were actually buying.”

More than 3,400 precast industry manufacturers and suppliers filled a trade show floor that buzzed with optimism with construction forecasts for 2015 and 2016 projecting solid growth in the 8% to 10% range. It’s the most optimistic mood since 2007, when the precast industry peaked. Then along came the Great Recession. Over the next few years, sales plunged by up to 40% in many companies.

“Some companies went out of business and most other precast manufacturers held off making any major equipment purchases,” Gable said. “They have been squeezing extra years out of their equipment and making continual repairs rather than following a routine replacement schedule. Now that business is improving, there is some pent-up demand for new equipment, upgrades and new technology.”

The trade show featured 268 exhibitors in more than 57,000 net square feet of exhibit space on a trade show floor that spanned more than 120,000 square feet. That’s an increase of about 14% over 2014. The National Precast Concrete Association (precast.org) produced the trade show in partnership with the American Concrete Pipe Association (concrete-pipe.org).

“We are the largest precast-specific trade show in North America,” Gable said. “We tend to have serious buyers on the trade show floor. They are either company owners or decision influencers and so we’re delivering quality leads to our exhibitors. We often hear from exhibitors that they get good solid leads from The Precast Show that will keep them busy for weeks after the show.”

In addition to the trade show, both NPCA and ACPA held extensive training, committee meetings and special events during the week.

The Precast Show 2016 will be held March 3-5 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (www.pci.org) will join NPCA as a partner in 2016.