At Las Vegas construction trade show, everything’s bigger Laura Carroll, Las Vegas Review-Journal · March 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm Everything’s bigger here. From a bird’s-eye view inside the Las Vegas Monorail, ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 unfolded before attendees like a temporary theme park created for the construction industry. During their morning commute, passengers let out collective oohs and aahs, then went almost silent as the train flew past the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Silver Lot. There, colorful cranes in red and white, black and school bus yellow are stretched as high as their reach will allow, and oversized booths designed to hold the largest construction machinery have invaded the space. Through Saturday, ConExpo-Con/Agg occupies 2.5 million square feet, or every available inch of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show, produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturing, expects about 125,000 attendees who will create an estimated nongaming economic impact of $157.3 million to the city, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Compared with the show three years ago, registration already is tracking ahead for the 2014 show. About 2,500 companies are exhibiting at ConExpo-Con/Agg, which comes to Las Vegas every three years. The show is collocated with the 2014 IFPE expo for fluid power, motion control and power transmission. “Both shows are the largest they have ever been,” said Megan Tanel, vice president of exhibitions for the Association of Equipment Manufacturing. The convention’s so big this year that registration has been housed at the LVH. And, on Tuesday morning, the hotel’s convention area was bombarded by thousands of people who either didn’t preregister or didn’t receive their badges in the mail. Once inside the LVH pavilions, the throngs extended into the casino from deep inside the property’s convention center. New to the show this year is the Platinum parking lot area that’s housing 387,000 square feet of equipment. At Caterpillar’s outdoor park in the Gold Lot, faux grass, black park benches, flowers, curbing and stone planters work together to make the area look like a permanent construction park where giant Caterpillar machines go to rest after a hard day’s work. Too bad it will all be taken down starting Saturday. Until then, the area is home to a number of machines, one of them the brand- new, 38,450-pound 586C site prep tractor with 350 horsepower. This shiny new toy features a bright orange front end and black tires that are about 5 feet high, or eye level for some of us. Side steps needed to enter the cab almost reach to chest level. Nearby, JLG Industries’ orange and cream-yellow lifts, including compact crawlers and boom lifts, were being displayed. Just beyond, JCB was making a big splash with its booth that included an area devoted to its dancing diggers, equipment choreographed to perform to a group of violinists. Outside the performance area, the brand’s bright-yellow and black machines were positioned on soft black turf, while a wooden walkway provided a runway for potential customers to easily access the business center. “A lot of our customers come to the show, and a lot of big construction equipment customers use this as a buying opportunity because they can compare like units from different brands,” said Bob Cannady, general manager of Flaska JCB, a dealer for the Phoenix-based brand. “It’s a selling show. It’s a very good show to be at to meet new customers as well.” Thus far, Cannady said the show is very well-attended from what he’s heard. Globally, JCB has the No. 1 selling backhoe, which it invented. In the United States, John Deere and Caterpillar hold the market share. “(JCB is) a local player really trying to crack into the U.S. market,” Cannady said. Elsewhere, Fassi was exhibiting its line of cranes, while Allu was showing its new DL series screening buckets for compact machines. Gunnebo Johnson, a Swedish company, was celebrating its 250th birthday. Gunnebo is a manufacturer of grade 80 and 100 alloy chains and fittings, crane blocks and wire rope shivs. The company’s showing a new system on its crane blocks called Flexiweight that changes the weight carried from a few thousand pounds to upward of 20,000 pounds. “It’s important because a lot of the cranes have longer boom lengths now and so we’re able to match the needs of the block with the boom length,” said Joe Bridgeman, vice president of sales and marketing for the USA. “We can also cut down the number of truckloads to the job site. We know weight is money.” Bridgeman said he’s excited for the show’s business possibilities. “Folks are excited to be here compared to three years ago. They’re in a much more optimistic mood,” he said. ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 runs through Saturday and is open to industry only. Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.