In this issue of Stone World, we present our annual "Showcase," a collection of information on companies from all sectors of the stone industry -- including stone suppliers as well as providers of machinery, fabricating accessories, installation and maintenance products and more. The firms participating in this Showcase present themselves in a variety of ways, including new product and equipment offerings, company overviews and customer testimonials.

Essentially, the Showcase can be equated to a "trade show in print." Just as visitors to a trade show can walk the aisles of the show floor and learn more about the suppliers to the industry, readers can peruse the Showcase and gain insight on companies that they might not get from a display advertisement.

And whether it's in our printed Showcase or at an actual trade show, companies supplying the stone industry are continually releasing new products that are worthy of attention. This issue also includes a review of Coverings, the stone and tile show that took place in Orlando, FL, this past May (page 31). Attendance of stone fabricators and installers at the show appeared to be stronger than ever. Responding to this, many companies in the stone sector used Coverings as a springboard to launch new stone products, equipment or tooling.

Stone suppliers are continually tapping new sources of material, and they are also developing new finishes and product lines -- such as large-format tumbled tiles and calibrated slabs. Suppliers of installation and maintenance materials are also developing new products, including more and more that were specifically designed for natural stone, as opposed to products that were originally intended for ceramic tile and then modified for stone.

And for fabrication, the development of new stoneworking machinery and accessories is continuous. Companies in the U.S. and abroad are developing equipment and tooling that improves the quality of the finished product while also reducing overall fabrication costs in many cases.

The new materials and technology are out there, and they can be viewed in many forms. To foster further growth in the stone industry, it is important that its members take advantage of this and keep themselves informed.