WMA Trade Show: It’s All About Connections

October 11th, 2017 by Trey Barrineau

A few new products made their debut at this week’s World Millwork Alliance (WMA) trade show in Charlotte, N.C., but for most attendees and exhibitors, the event was a chance to reconnect with customers and old friends.

This new door from Plastpro was one of several new products that debuted this week at the WMA trade show in Charlotte, N.C.

“The people that we always enjoy seeing are here, and it’s always good to catch up with old friends,” said Dave Vanderpan, president of of Doorframer Inc. “That’s the biggest part of it. A lot of the people who show here are in the door industry, and it’s a good chance for us to rekindle old relationships. Wouldn’t miss it.”

That sentiment was echoed by other exhibitors.

“The show’s been awesome,” said Steve Grimsley, the national sales manager with Evermark. “This is a great networking opportunity for us. A lot of our customers are here showing, as well as coming to the show. We’ve had some very good meetings these last couple of days.”

A total of 100 companies displayed products at the show, and more than 600 attendees had pre-registered for the event.

Doors Galore

The WMA show is usually a big one for door manufacturers, and this year was no exception.

Tru Tech had a large booth at the show, and among the highlights was its new line of flush-glazed door products.

“We are combining different textures and different glass designs with SDL profiles that give you some flexibility,” said James Wilson, Tru Tech’s COO. “We’re going to be coming with a full-lite, half-lite and three-quarter-lite.”

The company also displayed a new steel-edged door with an adjustable hinge feature that allows a homeowner to rejigger a door in a house that’s experienced some settling over the years.

Taylor Entrance Systems showed off a prototype of a steel door with a printed exterior that resembles a wood door. It was one of the more unique products at the show.

Woodgrain Millwork is one of many companies riding the popular barn-door trend, and the company is taking it an extra step by incorporating glass into the design. Along those same lines, Rogue Valley Door rolled out an impact-rated wood door with a large lite of glass.

Plastpro showed off some products that haven’t been officially launched yet. A couple are based on the company’s fiberglass Shaker doors.

The Glasscraft booth featured its true divided lite (TDL) door with different types of decorative glass.

Benjamin Morgan Doors has a different take on the popular barn door trend — a product that’s very thin and has multiple uses.

Masonite is touring major U.S. cities in a fully-operational mobile showroom with location-specific home design trends. It showed up at the WMA Convention to reveal whole-home solutions with exterior and interior doors. Products on display included the fir-textured VistaGrande exterior door and the Heritage Winslow interior door.

Simpson Door offered a new door that had no rails and solid glass top to bottom.

“It’s totally for the visual,” said Brad Loveless, Simpson’s ‎marketing and product development manager. “It’s cool and it’s different.”

The door is available in a variety of glass types.

Novatech USA wanted to send three messages to WMA show attendees.

“The first one is we have patio doors manufactured in the U.S.,” said Jean-Pierre Croteau, product manager with Novatech. “The second message is our pre-finished black and white products. And the third message is the unique designs that we have.”

The Combination Door Company’s Easy-Change wood combination doors provide the flexibility of quick changing storm and screen door inserts, according to the company. Unlike metal doors, the wood construction gives homeowners the freedom to finish doors in any range of colors to fit their decor. They can also choose from a wide range of door and grille designs.

Components and Hardware

A new exhibitor, hardware maker GU Ferco, has a new handle set called Roma. It’s a 55-millimeter-wide product that fits perfectly with contemporary design trends. It should be available in December, said sales manager Charlie Maves.

Kikgard was another new exhibitor at the show. The company was founded by J.R. Hudson, a retired police officer who served for 36 years with the Houston Police Department. During his time as an officer, Hudson observed that most home break-ins occurred when a criminal kicked through the half inch of doorjamb wood. That knowledge led Hudson to come up with the Kikgard Shield. It’s a patented doorjamb reinforcement product that prevents the doorjamb from breaking during forced entry.

GPI Millworks showed off a security cover that facilitates the conversion of a PVC astragal to outswing. It covers the shoot bolt to prevent a criminal from breaking in and pushing the flip lock up and entering a home.

“It eliminates having a huge, long security flange,” said Ryan Chapman, president of the GPI Group.

AmesburyTruth displayed its new E-Lon door seal, a multi-hollow product that has a seamless and tear-resistant skin and extra-low water-absorption qualities.

Endura showed off the many varieties of its Replaceable Deck Sill (RDS) line. This enables replacement of a sill deck without removing the sill or door unit to prevent damage at the jobsite. The company also introduced a full range of upgrades to its Ultimate Astragal product. This includes spring-loaded, independently sealing floating boots, faster installations that no longer require bolt removal, added sealing power with a new built-in sealing fin, and other improved features.

VantagePoint Industries brought its full range of components to the WMA show, including bifold hinges, barn door hardware, plates and Grade A weatherseals.

Quanex displayed its popular Top-Drain Sill for entry doors, which the company says provides layers of protection against water infiltration. First, a primary seal stops 99 percent of water and then, as a secondary measure, a channeling system drains any water that has passed.

Machinery and Software

The shortage of skilled labor remains a challenge in the millwork industry, and machinery makers are stepping up to respond.

“The theme is that everyone is requesting more automation in their machinery,” said Shaun Hampton, national sales manager for Ruvo. “The labor shortage is obviously apparent, and our goal is looking at automating machines that let you to use fewer people in an automated line.”

Ruvo’s booth promoted its 505 pre-hung door machine at the WMA show. It can work with residential, commercial, architectural and labeled fire doors.

Canada’s Groupe Eugenie and JRC Machinery continue to show strong growth, and the company was the only one on the show floor with an operating machinery demonstration. Its Kathy KS-S door machine was a popular attraction.

“This is probably the best show in North America for the door industry,” said Will Cloutier, JRC Machinery general manager. “We almost sold a few machines yesterday.”

 The Simms Machinery booth featured the butt joint assembly, a collaboration between AMP and Simms Machinery. Designed for the millworking industry, the butt joint assembly joins together both interior and exterior trim sizes up to 1 inch by 6 inches.  It consists of AMP’s U-500 Backnailer Joining Machine, equipped with a 90-degree material fencing system.

On the software side, WoodWare showed off its new DocXT  technology for document storage and retrieval. It gives employees access to all of documents, drawings and files related to an order or customer. It automatically “tags” picking tickets, invoices, statements, etc. that are created in WoodWare. When a customer calls the support desk, all of their information is instantly available.

Ponderosa’s Customer Sales Portal is a web-based portal that helps millwork dealers and distributors fast-track sales and enhance service by letting their customers design and place orders over a secure web connection. The portal’s Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) tool presents selections for entry and interior door systems, windows and other millwork products as high-resolution images. If someone is interested in a custom entry door, they select, view and price their desired door slab type, sidelites, exterior trim and other options to fit their project.

DMSi brought its Agility ERP and Building Results CRM to the WMA show. Both are targeted to the lumber and building materials industry.

WTS Paradigm displayed its Web CenterPoint and Inspire products, along with its Insights product for business intelligence.

Web CenterPoint offers a scalable web-based configurator that can help drive business decisions in the right direction, according to the company.  Inspire is a new web-based application that helps door and window companies make their catalogs available to consumers online.

Glass and Beyond

ODL Inc. recently introduced Destination Door glass, which the company says uses linear and organic patterns and gives homeowners high-visual privacy without filtering out natural sunlight.

ODL says Destination meets rigorous quality standards for air and water resistance and door slamming. The products are certified by the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC), which evaluates glass performance, durability and longevity.

RSL, another maker of door glass, exhibited its Oceana product, which is a patterned glass with soft honeycomb curves that provides extra privacy. It’s available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and it can be configured as doorglass or used in sidelites.

Elton Manufacturing showed off its new 2248 venting door lite. It operates very much like a window, but it’s for a door.

The 2018 WMA convention and trade show will be held in Memphis, Tenn. Dates will be announced in the near future.

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