World of Concrete 2017 & the AFS Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference

The year has only just begun and already we’re in the thick of industry trade shows. From January 17-20th, 2017, representatives from United Surface Preparation took part in World of Concrete 2017. More than 50,000 people registered for the event, along with nearly 1,500 exhibiting companies. While we didn’t exhibit at this show, we were there in support of a few manufacturers, including Pullman Ermator, HTC Duratiq, Metzger McGuire, and McNeilus.

Shows like World of Concrete are a great way to stay in touch with customers and vendors, bringing everyone together at least once a year to discuss industry trends and business opportunities face-to-face.

After World of Concrete, we hit the road again to attend the 79th American Foundry Society Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference and Exposition in Milwaukee, WI. The show took place from February 8-10, 2017, and brought together foundry professionals for networking, technical sessions, exhibitions, students engaging in casting competitions, and more. As members of the American Foundry Society, United Surface Preparation frequently takes part in events that keep us involved and updated on the latest metalcasting industry developments and processes.

We are always happy to show our support for our valued customers and manufacturers, and appreciate the chance to get together for industry events such as these. To stay updated in between shows, feel free to keep in touch by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we post additional information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Recapping 2016, and Looking Forward to the New Year

This past year saw many ups and downs, and will be remembered throughout history  thanks to a historic and tumultuous election season. However, many other notable events happened this year that also deserve recognition.

Back in November, the annual FABTECH show brought together manufacturing leaders and enthusiasts. Attendees included metal formers, fabricators, welders, and more. The show provided everyone with the chance to meet new prospects and buyers, while collecting information on the latest technological and industrial developments. More than 1,300 manufacturing companies exhibited this year, providing countless opportunities for networking and product demonstrations.

United Surface Preparation was in attendance, supporting a number of manufacturing companies we work with; Wheelabrator Group (Norican), Apex Machinery, Michigan Pneumatic Tools, 3M, Dynabrade Tools, Arc Abrasives, AM Machinery Sales & Service, and Gibson Blast Equipment, to name a few.

We also took advantage of learning opportunities, networking events, and other highlights of the show. Overall, we saw many examples of what manufacturing will look like in the future.

In the coming year, we expect business to begin getting back to normal throughout the industrial sector as things calm down post-election. We’re anticipating gradual growth, which is already starting to be seen throughout industry. Trends such as additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing thanks to the Internet of Things are expected to pick up the pace in 2017. An overarching goal is to improve productivity and efficiency, so it can also be expected to see greater automation on the shop floor.

What are your big predictions for 2017? Let us know on Twitter.

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United Surface Prep Works to Support our Brands through Trade Shows and Hosted Events

This fall is shaping up to be a busy one for us! We will be traveling to trade shows, exhibiting, and hosting a special VIP event at our facility.

First up is our trip to IMTS the week of Sept. 12. We aren’t exhibiting at the show but will be there to support the lines we carry. IMTS is the largest manufacturing show in the country with over 2,000 exhibiting companies and 114,000+ attendees. Held every two years in Chicago, this show brings manufacturing industry professionals from around the world together with leading manufacturers of products and productivity solutions.

On September 20th we will be hosting a VIP event for contractors and professionals in the concrete polishing industries for a private presentation of HTC’s newest innovations. HTC is the leading manufacturer of professional floor systems with cutting edge technology for grinding, polishing, and preparing concrete or stone.  This event features an exclusive product demonstration as well as food and beverages, gifts and prizes. This exclusive unveiling of their latest innovation will take place from 1-5 pm at our offices in Anoka, MN.

Finally, on October 20-22nd we will be attending and exhibiting at CP&S the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference and Expo in Milwaukee, WI. Attendees include polishing, flooring, resurfacing, and coatings contractors; designers, architects, and engineers; and specification writers. We will be showcasing the newest innovations from HTC in Booth 300.

We are looking forward to polishing our people skills this fall and hope you will join us at these exciting industry events.

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Golf Outings Combine Organizational Support with Fun in the Sun

For many of us, hitting the links in the summer is a great way to get outside and have some fun.  When a good golf game is combined with showing support for organizations we believe in, then it is the best of both worlds.

This summer we have had the pleasure of sponsoring golf outings with three of our favorite organizations—the American Welding Society (AWS), CCAi, and the American Foundry Society (AFS). The purpose of these events is to raise money for local scholarships to young people interested in becoming welders, metal casters, or one of the many other fields these organizations represent.

This year USP has supported the 37th Annual AWS Northwest Golf Outing that was held on June 13th at the Majestic Oaks Golf Club in Ham Lake, MN and the 71st Annual AFS Golf Outing that took place on Aug 8th also at the Majestic Oaks Golf Club. CCAI, Chemical Coaters Association golf event was held at Oak Glen Country Club in June.

While we support these organizations all throughout the year it’s the golf outings that we especially look forward too. In addition to playing in some of these events, USP takes on a sponsorship role to further enhance our contributions. As a sponsor we have certain holes on the course listed under our banner and signage announcing our direct support. These events also offer us the opportunity to visit and play with our customers while meeting others who also support these organizations. The camaraderie formed out on the course is unlike any other.

We build our success on delivering quality products and services to all of our customers. Supporting the organizations that work to build strong membership bases to encourage careers in the field keeps the manufacturing industry alive and growing for the future.

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United Surface Prep is Right at Home on Land or at Sea

You might not think of boats when you think of United Surface Prep but you should! We work closely with the marine industry by providing the equipment they need to keep boats of all sizes in pristine condition.

Although we are not located on a coast, we serve the Great Lake areas where recreational boating is a major industry. The Green Bay area is also home to a number of naval contractors who prepare ships before they ‘ship out’ on a great adventure. For seaworthiness, all boats and ships must be prepared for their time in the water. That is why proper preparation, maintenance, and the right products are so important.

Routine maintenance includes thoroughly inspecting the hull of the boat for blisters, distortions, and cracks. If any of these defects are present, they must be addressed before heading out to the waters. Using the right abrasive material and equipment is key to getting the job done right. We offer a wide range of surface conditioning abrasives, marine adhesives, sealants, and compounds, and marine black streak remover to improve and protect the hull. Our abrasives are suitable for use on both wood and fiberglass. In new molded fiberglass applications, we supply sanding and polishing equipment to OEMs for all finishing applications.

If the paint is in good condition, only a light sanding might be necessary before applying a fresh coat of paint. Unfortunately, many boatyards prohibit normal power sanding because it generates too much dust. We have addressed this issue and offer a new dustless sanding system. This technology protects residents and the environment from toxins by containing 100% of the dust generated through sanding. This has been a long term problem and our customers are very happy to have an outstanding solution.

There’s an old saying that boats are holes in the water you dump money into. While boats do require regular maintenance and repair, United Surface Prep provides high-quality and high-value products that will help you get the job done right. Contact us today to learn more about products that help the marine industry stay afloat

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Did You Know That June is Safety Awareness Month?

The National Safety Council celebrates safety awareness every June. Their mission is to make everyone safe at work, at home, and on the roads. As an industrial equipment distributor, it is our goal to provide products that workers need to stay safe on the job. Because of this we pay close attention to regulations and standards designed to protect workers in a wide range of industries.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”  One area in which OSHA has been focusing heavily on is noise levels and hearing loss. Their statistics state that approximately 30 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise at work.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that workers in the manufacturing industry at high risk for hearing loss. Many of the machines and tools used in manufacturing produce very high noise levels. Exposure to these levels can cause irreparable hearing loss and increase workplace accidents. OSHA recommends noise controls as the first line of defense against excessive noise exposure and annual hearing tests.

Noise controls come in varying forms. OSHA recommends administrative controls to change the environment to expose the fewest number of employees to noise or to move employees away from machinery. While these administrative controls are an ideal situation, it may be unreasonable or impossible to institute these kinds of changes. If that is the case the easiest and fastest way to protect workers from noise is with hearing protection devices (HPDs).

HPDs include earmuffs and plugs that are worn when workers are working in noisy environments. The choice of which type of HPD to use depends on factors such as noise level, comfort, and the suitability of the device for the worker and the situation. But, the most important factor is that the HPD provides the desired noise reduction.

When it comes to occupational safety, using the correct equipment is the first step in protection. United Surface Prep stocks a large selection of occupational health and safety products such as safety glasses, respirators, and hearing protection products. This June, keep all your employees safe from noise and other dangers with safety products from United Surface Prep.

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Exhibiting at CastExpo was a Great Success

As we mentioned in a previous blog, we attended CastExpo and the 120th Metalcasting Congress on April 16th-19th as a first-time exhibitor.  Sponsored by the American Foundry Society, the show brought professionals from all areas of the metal casting industry to our home state.

This year’s attendance was impressive with 6,173 registered attendees and over 400 exhibitors. Being new to the show were weren’t sure what to expect, but the show floor was consistently busy. We spoke with suppliers, metal casters, and casting buyers. Industry experts presented the latest technical research and held practical roundtable discussions and panels.

The show was well organized and offered us networking opportunities to get in front of an industry we don’t typically target. In fact, the show generated 49 new sales leads for us! The ability to have machines on display allowed us to explain how they worked and the types of finishes they produced. Having the video of the machine in action and examples of finished parts available enhanced our ability to connect to the attendees who stopped by the booth. There were many questions answered by our experts.

The 121st MetalCasting Congress and Tabletop Exhibit is scheduled for April 25-27, 2017 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI. The United Surface Prep team is looking forward to attending and exhibiting again next year!

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