Coverings, the international stone and tile exhibition, took place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, from May 3 to 6, 2005. And statistics as well as exhibitor and attendee feedback report positive results, with a 10% increase in attendance making this year's edition the most successful yet.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming response we've received and the increase in numbers across virtually all key industry segments,” stated Tamara Christian, Coverings' show director and president of National Trade Productions, the organizer of the event. “These numbers prove that, once again, Coverings is the place where tile and stone professionals from around the world come to do business. We've certainly raised the bar, and our team is already looking ahead to make Coverings 2006 another year to remember.”

In total, 32,228 visitors registered for Coverings 2005, according to statistics. National Trade Productions registration data showed significant growth in five key industry categories as the reason behind the record attendance at this year's exhibition. Records illustrate a 25% increase over last year among installers, followed by stone and tile specifiers, who were 17% above 2004 numbers. Dealers and retailers were close behind with a 15% jump, while representation of fabricators and contractors increased by 10% and 7% respectively, stated National Trade Productions.

Attendees hailed from all 50 U.S. states as well as 90 additional countries. While 86% of visitors live in the U.S., another 9% traveled from elsewhere in the Americas. Additionally, representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania comprised 5% of the entire show attendance.

New products introduced

Consisting of a little more than 500,000 square feet of exhibition space, which was a 5% increase over 2004, Coverings featured numerous displays of stone and tile products, tools, machinery, and installation and maintenance products. It provided a forum for exhibitors to introduce new lines and showcase their new developments.

“Tile and stone products add beauty to all types of residential and commercial applications,” stated Christian. “And Coverings continues to reflect this beauty through incredible product displays and exhibits that draw dealers, distributors, architects, builders and interior designers, in addition to installation and fabrication trades-people to Orlando to not only buy and specify, but to celebrate the industry's success.”

Also prominent on the exhibition floor were live demonstrations of large fabricating equipment and hand tools as well as stone and tile installations. Manufacturers of stone maintenance products also illustrated to attendees how their products work. All in all, exhibitors expressed satisfaction and many even reported that quality visits led to sales of machinery and products.

Educational conference

The keynote address was given this year by syndicated columnist and humorist Dave Barry to a sold-out crowd. Barry's witty and thought-provoking commentary covered a wide range of topics from Florida politics and Social Security to relationships between men and women. Additionally, Barry Wood of “Trading Spaces,” one of the top-rated shows on The Learning Channel, and Leatrice Eiseman, principal of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, were also among leading speakers at this year's show.

Coverings 2005 also featured an extensive educational conference program throughout the four days of the event. Seminars focused on all aspects of the natural stone, ceramic tile and flooring industries -- from distribution to market trends. The program was specifically designed to benefit the diverse audience that the exhibition attracts, increase knowledge, provide real world answers and enhance professional development.

“We strive to present educational sessions for fabricators, architects and contractors that speak directly to what they need to build their businesses,” stated Garis Distelhorst, executive vice president of the Marble Institute of America, which organized the stone portion of the seminar program. Included in this year's line-up was a Fabricators' Roundtable, addressing pertinent issues that are effecting stone companies today. This discussion also allowed fabricators to ask questions and talk with others from their field, providing new insight and helpful tips to help them improve their businesses. This session was moderated by

Stone World Editor Michael Reis and included speakers Rich Booms of Booms Stone Co., Scott Lardner of Rocky Mountain Stone Co., and Jose Rodriguez of Total Design on Marble and Granite.

An informational seminar on the Sicilian stone industry was hosted by the Italian Trade Commission, followed by a cocktail reception. The session included a photo presentation by Stone World Editor Michael Reis, who recently traveled to Sicily for an in-depth tour of the island's stoneworking regions. Industry veteran Vincent Marazita also spoke on the Sicilian stone industry, educating the audience on the island's stoneworking history and materials available.

Sponsoring organizations of Coverings include Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractories Manufacturers), ASCER (Spain's Ceramic Tile Manufacturer's Association), TCA (Tile Council of North America), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association) and NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association).

The co-sponsors of the event are the Marble Institute of America, American Institute of Architects (Orlando Chapter), The American Society of Interior Designers (Florida North, Florida South and Florida West Coast), International Interior Design Association (Florida Chapter), the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors, the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada, the Tile Contractors' Association of American, and the Tile Heritage Foundation.

Sidebar: Touring the exhibit halls of Coverings 2005

Once again, Coverings was a forum for companies to introduce new products to the marketplace and to improve

existing products. The following is a sampling of the products on display at Coverings 2005 in Orlando, FL. For more information on these products, circle the indicated number on the Reader Service Card enclosed in this issue.

Stone Suppliers/Organizations

Akdo -- displayed large and small mosaic panels which introduced new stone and tile lines, including French Country, Rittano, Gaughin, Matchstick and Op Art
Circle No. 280

Amsum & Ash -- Kota Blue limestone/slate from India, which features a blue/gray tone and is available in natural cleft and polished finishes
Circle No. 279

Antico Stone -- displayed marble and antique tiles, including Arbel, Jerusalem White and deep blue; introduced Ciottoli stone collection; announced new location in Hackensack, NJ
Circle No. 278

Antolini Luigi & C. -- offered a broad range of exotic slab materials, including backlit-onyx as well as large-format onyx slabs
Circle No. 277

Basaranlar Marble and Travertine -- Kale Sugar marble, which is described as white with tan flecks; Aegean Beige Golden, which features swirls of tan and beige
Circle No. 276

Bermarmol S.A. -- exhibited block, cut-to-size, and slabs of limestone, marble, travertine and stone tiles; distributed its hardcover catalog, which includes samples of the company's projects, as well as photos of products used in commercial and residential applications
Circle No. 275

Bestview International -- displayed a wide range of granite, marble, slate and sandstone materials; marble medallions and mosaic tiles for applications, including fireplaces, sills, mantels, countertops, etc.
Circle No. 274

B.M.S. and Co./Stone Interiors -- granite slabs with the exclusive Venezian® finish, a textured feel that emulates the natural aging of granite
Circle No. 273

Campolonghi Group -- Tsoa Pearl granite from Madagascar, which has a silver tone with blue accents; Ice Pearl granite from Madagascar, which has a white surface with blue and black accents
Circle No. 272

Caribe International -- reintroduced New Delhi slate collection, which consists of brown, cream and tan shades
Circle No. 271

Cosentino -- introduced its new partner company Cuellar Architectural Stone -- the expert in converting classic elements into luxury home decor -- which will help Cosentino provide more unique stone products to the custom building industry
Circle No. 270

Cremar S.p.A. -- highlighted its six exclusive stones from Brazil, including Sandscape, which has gold and tan hues with black flecks and thin veins, and Typhoon Green, which is dark and light shades of green with black veining
Circle No. 269

Da Paz -- Juparana Cascadora granite, which features a rich golden color with waves of dark and light tan
Circle No. 268
Dimpomar -- classic Portuguese materials such as White Estremoz, which can be cut into items such as paving and cladding; Moca Cream, which is ideal for architectural work; Rosa Aurora, which is pink with black veining, available in bookmatched slabs
Circle No. 267

Gem Granites -- displayed an assortment of granite, including Giallo Glitterati -- a warm blend of gold and beige with some darker veining; and Sugar Cane -- swirls of beige and yellow with patches of a rust color and darker veining
Circle No. 266

Graninter -- Lapidus granite, which has a deep, reddish-gold color with distinctive patterning and waves of tan; Yellow Starlight granite, which has a consistent surface pattern of light and dark gold along with black accents
Circle No. 265

Granistone S.A. -- Ceará White granite, which features a consistent white surface pattern with accents of gray and black
Circle No. 264

Granitex S.p.A. -- White Pearl marble onyx -- gray with white flecks; Red Aquarella granite -- mainly green and black with white flecks; Seabrush -- tan and white with black flecks; Niagara Gold -- gold with black flecks; Stone River -- green with black, pink and white spots; Yellow Sun -- represents the sand from India with its tan shade
Circle No. 263

Hindustan Granites -- a range of granite materials from India, including shades of beige, tan, brown, white and black
Circle No. 262

IGM - International Granite & Marble -- introduced new marbles, including Supreme Black (black), Platinum A2 (white), Glamour A2 (white with gray flecks), and Spring Valley (black and blue with green flecks)
Circle No. 261

Ideal Stones -- Juparana Golden Forest, which has a golden tone with waves of black; Acquaverde, which has a light green tone with a sand-like surface pattern
Circle No. 260

International Italmarmi -- Blue Sodalite, which is quarried in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia; a broad range of onyx varieties
Circle No. 259

Italian Trade Commission -- hosted a large pavilion of exhibitors, including a contingent of stone suppliers from Sicily, showcasing Perlato di Sicilia marble, lava stone from Catania and limestone from Ragusa
Circle No. 258

Jacigua -- Typhoon granite, which has shades of gold, yellow and gray; Manhattan, which has shades of light and dark green with brown tones
Circle No. 257
Jerusalem Marble -- offered its biggest seller, Jerusalem Grey/Gold marble; also introduced split-face Cream fireplaces
Circle No. 256

JMS -- displayed a number of Jura stone products from its own quarries in the Bavarian region of Germany, including Jura Beige, Bavarian Gold and German Greenstone; materials available in a variety of finishes such as polished/honed, striated, bushhammered and brushed
Circle No. 255

LaPonte Marmi -- Galattica granite, which has black and grey specks; Typhoon granite with black and tan specks; Copper Canyon granite with gold and black specks
Circle No. 254

Laticrete -- SpectraLock grout, featuring improved workability in hot weather, longer working time (80 minutes), increased stain and chemical resistance and reduced haze potential
Circle No. 253

Levantina De Granitos -- Argento from Brazil, which features dramatic patterning in shades of dark tan, beige and light tan
Circle No. 252

Levantina Natural Stone -- an assortment of stones, including Niwala Yellow -- light beige with darker lines running throughout; Crema Antares -- light and dark shades of beige and tan; Mistral Beige -- light beige; Crema Marfil -- a variety of tan shades from light to dark
Circle No. 251

Marmoleria Gallos -- medium-range Noce travertine, which is white and tan with distinctive patterning
Circle No. 250

Marble Institute of America -- announced it is accepting entries for the 2005 Pinnacle Awards Competition, a premier design and installation competition for natural stone products; promoted its one-day and two-day stone fabrication and restoration seminars
Circle No. 249

Marmocil -- Matipó granite from Brazil, which has shades of blue and maroon
Circle No. 248

Marmoles Industriales Castro (MIC) -- displayed a range of decorative stones, including Dorado, Golden Siena and Red Onyx
Circle No. 247

Micapel -- displayed planks of slate in a variety of colors, with free lengths and widths, natural cleft engaged
Circle No. 246

Michelangelo -- Bianco Michelangelo, which is white with grey flecks; Sea Foam Green tiles; two marbles, including Vaticano -- rose with white flecks, and Napoleon Red -- red with white flecks
Circle No. 245
Monzonite A-S-Brachot-Hermant -- Blue Pearl SPA/Blue Pearl DB granites quarried at Tvedalen, Larvik area in Norway; bright blue granites with illustrious blue and grey crystals on a dark background
Circle No. 244

MS International Inc. -- introduced Café Portoro marble from China, which has a light black surface with waves of tan and brown
Circle No. 243

Mystic Granite & Marble -- displayed Mystic Golden Raspberry granite, consisting of a golden field with swirls of shades of raspberry
Circle No. 242

Odorizzi Porfidi -- displayed interlocking stone pavers comprised of porphyry stone, preassembled for easy installation
Circle No. 241

Pokarna Granites Ltd. -- Colonial Gold, Pokarna Green, Colonial Cream, Acacia, Golden Teak quartzite from a quarry in Hyderabad
Circle No. 240

Polycor Inc. -- Pearl Grey from Polycor/Georgia Marble, characterized by flowing variegation, which is soft and subtle; the stone is composed almost entirely (more than 98%) of calcium carbonate
Circle No. 239

Qualita -- Cosmic Black, which features fossilization on the surface
Circle No. 238

Regio/Talavera -- a collection of antiqued stone tile in a variety of sizes and colors, including Paredon (light beige), Chocolate (dark tan), Red Peach (light red), Desert (beige with tan veining), Noce (light brown) and Sienna (gold with maroon accents)
Circle No. 237

Sinai International for Marble & Granite -- natural stone from Egypt, including Giallo Cleopatra, which is gold with dark tan veining; Ramsis Cream, which is light tan with subtle veining; Sinai Brass, which has a dark golden tone with flecks of maroon; and Beige Classico, which is a combination of light and medium tan shades
Circle No. 236

Stone Suppliers LLC -- the Holyland Collection of Jerusalem stone from Alony Marble, available in six outstanding colors, including Jerusalem Gold, Jerusalem Grey and Masada Gold
Circle No. 235

Tekmar -- offered a range of Turkish marbles, including Crema Unico Light marble -- consisting of beige tones with subtle veining and patterning
Circle No. 169

Tem-Mer Marble -- Crema Tem, which has a unique golden surface with distinctive light tan and white veining; Rustic Beige, which features a blending of light brown and tan
Circle No. 234
Tracomal -- Gold Brasil granite, which features a light golden tone with black, tan and maroon accents; Crystal Gold granite, with a dark golden shade and light tan/white accents
Circle No. 233

Travertine Brothers -- a range of travertine, including Vanilla Cream, Noche and Country Classic
Circle No. 232

Tureks -- Seashell, which features a consistent beige color and is available in a variety of formats in rectified, tumbled, honed and polished finishes
Circle No. 231

Equipment and Supplies

AGM -- promoted the Intermac OT 1500 CNC machine for routing, edging, sink cutouts, drain boards and blade cutting; produces finished products such as kitchen countertops and vanities
Circle No. 230

Alpha Professional Tools -- the Alpha® Groove Cutter, which is designed to cut flawless grooves for joint lamination; the Twistouch Turbo system for flat surface polishing of granite to remove scratches
Circle No. 229

Braxton-Bragg -- introduced A.R.T. Stone Lux (Advanced Repair Technology), a fully automated integrated system for effective true-to-nature repair of polishable natural stone in interior and exterior settings; includes fast repairs in a single visit, high surface quality and durable high-gloss finish and color stability and non-yellowing
Circle No. 228

Breton -- the Speedycut FK/NC 800 bridge saw, which was designed for all levels of stone processing, even sophisticated cuts; the unit is operated by Siemens Sinumerik 810D numerical control, and the axes are interpolated through CAD/CAM software installed on the machine; the user interface is a personal computer with a color “touch screen”
Circle No. 227

Calypso Waterjet -- promoted the Hammerhead Waterjet, ideal for countertop cutting, inlays and metal work; machine available in 10- x 5-foot or 12- x 6-foot table size and features dual head mirrored image cutting -- up to 40% reduction in individual part processing time
Circle No. 226

CMS/Brembana -- offered a range of fabricating equipment, including CNC machines, waterjets and bridge saws; displayed continuous production modules, covering all phases of processing slabs into finished products
Circle No. 225

Diamant Boart -- the Magnum five-step polishing system; Fury flexible pads and Fury profile wheels for use in the fabrication shop
Circle No. 224

Diamond Productions Canada -- a range of flexible pads, including Diaflex polishing discs, Cerameka diamond polishing discs and Debel polishing discs
Circle No. 223
Edgemarc -- introduced the Swarm 2500 HT bridge saw, featuring 10 hp, 72- x 130-foot table size, 130-foot maximum cut length and 0- to 360-degree table lock
Circle No. 221

ETemplate Systems -- the new Integrator module, an intelligent processing system that automates the formatting of data, and is ideal for countertop design as it generates overhang radiused corners, backsplashes, calculate cabinet level, and linear and square footage in a CAD-based DXF format; the new Back Plot tool, which allows the completed DXF files to be plotted onto the jobsite photos in Etemplate
Circle No. 220

F. Barkow -- displayed custom stone carriers, including the 600 series cargo van with 10-inch carrier on driver's side and 5-inch carrier on passenger's side
Circle No. 219

Faro Technologies -- Digital Template FaroArm, which captures digital input from the jobsite, brings it to CNC machines and then compares the final products back to the original in a smooth and cost-effective process that eliminates mistakes, saves time, and is accurate and easy-to-use
Circle No. 218

Flow International Corp. -- Computer-controlled waterjet for intricate cutting of medallions as well as slabs
Circle No. 217

GranQuartz -- introduced the Diarex line of handling equipment, featuring heavy rugged construction; offered its “Wanted Dead or Alive” promotion, which entitles customers to a $25 reward coupon to be used towards GranQuartz products when they trade in any pneumatic electric or air tool
Circle No. 216

Grein Brasil -- Golden Ayrton, which features a distinctive pattern in waves of gold, dark blue and black
Circle No. 215

Groves Inc. -- offered a Heavy Duty Bundle Rack, which holds up to nine slabs or 9,000 pounds per section; also promoted the Stone Display Rack for countertop displays -- holds up to eight tops
Circle No. 211

Hard Rock Tool -- the Blue Ripper Jr. Rail Saw, a 2HP saw with standard 3⁄4-inch quick disconnect water fittings with 10 feet of hose; DeWalt D24000 10-inch wet tile saw with detachable water trays, 24-inch rip capacity and 18-inch diagonal; Hitachi power tools, including disc grinders ranging from 4 to 5 inches
Circle No. 207

IGE Solutions -- conducted a demonstration of a CNC workcenter, Prussiani “Energia Plus;” displayed the “920PXC” Pedrini LUX bridge saw
Circle No. 206

International Machine Corp. -- exclusive distributor of Matec® of Carrara, Italy, introduced the Matec® filter press, part of water filtration system, which is good for marble, granite and ceramics, runs in three stages to purify water
Circle No. 203
Italdiamant -- introduced silent core diamond blades in 12-, 14-, 16-, 18-, 20- and 24-inch diameter; also offered steel milling wheels
Circle No. 202

Laser Square -- the LT-55 precision laser templator, a precision laser that measures in Real Time and provides field measurements in DXF format with multi-color and multi-plane files; users can see the drawing before you leave the site and can even e-mail it back to the shop
Circle No. 201

Marmo Meccanica -- LTH 721 M-PA high-speed multi-profile machine; HTO-1B bridge saw; a complete line of edge polishing machines
Circle No. 199

Matrix Stone Products -- the Sebring bridge saw, which features a 20-horsepower, direct-drive Italian sawing motor, precision ground saw bridge, German-made laser, amperage meter for maximum cutting efficiency and direct drive DC-electric motors with fingertip speed control for all drive motions
Circle No. 198

Moraware -- reintroduced Job Tracker software for stoneworking professionals, with more easy-to-use features, including a new bar coding system
Circle No. 195

Park Industries -- the Velocity decorative edge shaper and polisher
Circle No. 194

Pyramid Supply/EuroStone Machine -- The ECS EICH water purification system designed specifically for the stone industry, eliminating flocculants and harmful sludge; the system cleans water for the most demanding applications, including polishing black granite; in addition, the system is completely self contained, with water storage tanks and automatic refill and overflow
Circle No. 192

Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica USA -- the Splash edging machine for producing stone backsplashes, which features a 4-horsepower, multi-functional spindle with adjustable working positions of horizontal, vertical and 45 degrees
Circle No. 191

Salem Stone -- the PetraDAM CNC stone machining center from Gadia, which was specifically designed for the stone industry and is engineered for ease of use, available from Bergman-Blair, the company's stone machinery division
Circle No. 190

Sawing Systems -- reintroduced the 551 C bridge saw, featuring 12-foot cut capacity, 15 hp, 45-degree plunge and standard hydraulic tilting turntable
Circle No. 189

Sommer & Maca -- Tri-Axe Warrior I automatic computerized bridge saw with hydraulic worktable that tilts and rotates; Warriorâ„¢ Merlin CNC full multi-function 3 Axis CNC with 135- x 70-inch work surface
Circle No. 188
Stone Boss -- Panther Boss diamond products for use in stone fabrication shops
Circle No. 187

Vic International -- promoted the Denver Quota Tech, a smaller affordable CNC that offers quality and reliability, is in stock and ready for immediate delivery; machine comes with a “try before you buy” policy at the company's training facility in Powell, TN
Circle No. 186

VMC Technical Assistance Corp. -- the Crystallizer, a 30-year-old, two-step, safe and proven system that chemically transforms the stone's surface similar to conventional methodology done at the factory
Circle No. 185

Vytek Industrial Laser Systems -- announced the addition of the new MLT hydraulic lift table for its laser-etching system
Circle No. 184

Water Treatment Technologies -- the patented EnviroSystem filtration system, designed exclusively for the stone fabrication industry, including engineered stone; the system produces crystal clear water, filtered to less than 2 microns
Circle No. 182

Wood's Powr Grip -- vacuum hand cups, which provide a quick and convenient way to handle smooth non-porous stone surfaces; also offered larger vacuum handling equipment such as the 1,200-pound capacity manual tilter
Circle No. 181

Z. Bavelloni S.p.A. -- the Egar 450/4 N with 4500 x 2500 mm working dimensions; the brand new Sharp 500 bridge saw, which is a fully equipped, two-speed spindle laser device for viewing the cut, all cast iron work table, cuts sheets of marble and granite using a rotating work table and cutting disk inclination system
Circle No. 180

Installation and
Maintenance Products

Akemi North America -- introduced Darkener Super, a very deep coloring impregnator; Tahixo, the newest polyester using the company's patent seamless technology
Circle No. 178

Aqua Mix -- a new antibacterial cleaner for stone countertops; announced that Sealer's Choice 15 has improved stain resistance
Circle No. 177

Bellinzoni -- offered Simple Stone Care, which sells Bellinzoni and Akemi selected care products -- all distributors participate and customers can also place orders through a Web site
Circle No. 176

Dry Treat -- introduced “no more grime,” which is safe to use for indoor applications; “enhanced plus sealer,” a long-lasting enhancing product, and a penetrating coating with out shine to help keep the stone natural looking
Circle No. 175

Fila -- promoted a selection of products for protecting and maintaining all stone surfaces, including: Fila Cleaner, a detergent that cleans deep down but delicately; FilaWet, a topical wet-look sealer especially suited for outdoor surfaces in natural stone that does not yellow or flake with age; and Fila MP/90, a natural-look penetrating sealer for polished surfaces
Circle No. 173

HMK Stone Care -- new “How-To” CD-Rom guide for cleaning, protection, maintenance and refinishing; HMK P1, a 3-n-1 spray cleaner for protecting and maintaining natural stone surfaces
Circle No. 172

Miracle Sealants -- Mira Polish, a non-acidic polishing cream formulated to use less water than powders, suitable for travertine, marble and some granite varieties; showcased pint-sized bottles of regular product line as well as 32-ounce spray products
Circle No. 171

Tenax -- announced a new certification for the use of its products in slab manufacturing; factories using Tenax resin products can now place an identification decal on each finished slab, denoting that Tenax products were used during the process
Circle No. 170