Ten products were chosen by builders and contractors to be acknowledged as a Top New Product. These products and their applications are listed below. The innovators also shared their secrets for developing products that stand out in their categories.
First Place Winner: Walls Category:
Omawall PL with EVO™ by ATAS International, Inc.
An important challenge with metal panels is oil canning, but with the new Omawall PL with EVO™, you don’t have to worry about it. This .10 thick aluminum panel was developed for high end applications. It has a smooth flat surface with greater durability than many other metal wall panel options.
The panel is prefabricated, saving on time, costs, and waste by avoiding field-fabrication. The panel is also easy to install due to the hidden, panted panel extrusion, EVO™, which was developed by Carter Architectural.
This plate system was introduced in early 2022 to create one-stop shopping for clients. With these heavier gauge wall panels, they can get the roof, soffits, and walls, everything they need, to complete the building envelope in colors that match.
Lee Ann Slattery, Sales Support Manager at ATAS International, believes that the Omawall PL with EVO™ made the top product list because of ATAS’ client base. Their 60th anniversary is coming in 2023, and a lot of architects and contractors know and trust their products.
Slattery states that an important piece of getting clients interested in a new product is marketing. When ATAS has a new offering, they send out a press release, post it on all social media channels, and give it a prominent place on their website to generate interest. Their team of sales professionals are also instrumental in introducing new products to the market.
Second Place Winner: Technology Category:
MetalCoffeeShop™ by RoofersCoffeeShop®
Businesses benefit from access to resources such as continuing education, networking, and information about the trends in their industry. RoofersCoffeeShop is a channel for the construction industry providing podcasts, webinars, and other online resources.
Heidi Ellsworth, Co-owner, said that speaking with people in the industry, including the Metal Alliance and Sherwin Williams, helped them determine there was a niche to be filled in the metal industry.
MetalCoffeeShop was introduced in May/June of this year to provide the same services for metal construction as they have provided for roofers. Ellsworth believes that MetalCoffeeShop has received much attention and acceptance becauseit is unique, and the shared covid experience has had something to do with it, too.
“Covid drove everyone online, and now when I tell people what we are doing they get it; I don’t have to explain the online community concept any more. People just want to be part of it.”
Ellsworth believes that diving in and really becoming part of the community is the best way to get your product/brand noticed.
“Be involved with your industry associations, care about what’s good for the industry, and do things that help the contractors, then the attention will follow.”
Third Place Winner: Structures Category:
Roof Hugger Retrofit Sub-Purlins by Roof Hugger
Retrofitting a roof can be a challenge, especially when working with open framing. Roof Hugger has developed sub-purlins for metal roof retrofits designed to conform with existing industry standards. Made of the same thickness and tensile strength structural steel as the existing building, they have been tested as a system on typical metal building framing, providing proven performance for design and code compliance.
These high-strength, galvanized sub-purlins are precision punched to span over the existing panel ribs. Together they act as a spacer ensuring that the new roof panels lay flat. The Hugger sub-purlins create a cavity between the old and new roofs that can be used to improve the thermal efficiency of the building, plus they have the ability to add strength to the existing building framing.
Installation is easy since you are walking on the old roof, making fall protection only necessary at old skylights and the perimeter.
Dale Nelson, the President of Roof Hugger, believes that these sub-purlins are popular because of their simplicity. They solve a problem that the client recognizes, and they solve it efficiently.
Further, they are usable everywhere, from heavy snow areas to Florida with its tough wind codes and requirements.
Radius Gutter by Classic Gutter Systems LLC
Augustine Crookston, the owner of Classic Gutter Systems is a perfectionist. He has worked in gutters all his life; his dad had the business before him so he really cares about the industry. That’s why he felt he had to do something about beautiful homes with “hacked-up radius gutters”.
Crookston was referring to the way gutter systems wrap around house turrets. He says there could be 30-40 joints in the gutters held together with sealant. He felt it was aesthetically unappealing and not very practical, since seams are where leaks usually come from. The product he and his team developed, the Radius Gutter can take 30 joints down to 2.
The new gutter came out in 2021, making it possible to get a gutter that runs for 11’ in length. That was unheard of, he states; prior to the radius gutter, the longest choice was 7 1/2’.
He and his customers have determined that 11’ is about the biggest it is practical to go, due to shipping and handling.
Radius gutters are not the same from building to building. The company sends out templates for the customer to measure their radius, and when they get it back, they build the gutter from it.
“This is not a one size fits all product,” Crookston said. “We have to have a template for every curve, even if they have the same radius. So people need to take their time creating templates because then the gutter will fit perfectly.”
Crookston’s advice to companies that are looking to develop their own “top product” is this:
“If you know your industry well and you are passionate about it, you will see something about it that you or others do not like. Then try to find a better way. You will know soon enough if people like it or not.”
Insulation and Weather Barriers Category:
Adseal DWS 4580 Series by Adfast
The Adseal DWS 4580 Series is now a great sealant choice for designers using metallic materials.
It is based on Adfast’s Neutral Cure technology which does not rely on the evaporation of solvent or water within the sealant to begin its vulcanization/curing process. Instead, neutral cure silicone draws in moisture from the ambient humidity, allowing for better adhesion performance and durability. It is classified as a Class 50 through ASTM C719 Hockman Cycle testing, meaning that the sealant offers 50% elongation and 50% compression compared to the 25% that the thermoplastic and acrylic sealants typically score. This sealant expands with the joint. It also offers superior UV resistance, excellent adhesion, and durability. Further, the absence of solvent means low VOCs.
Adfast already had more color choices in this class of sealant (400 plus) than other manufacturers, and in late 2021, the series was expanded by introducing several metallic color options for use in a wide variety of metal construction applications..
This is important in industrial design, according to Audree Bergevin, Adfast’s Marketing Director. The sealants have some sparkle to them so they match metallic colors such as pewter, copper, bright silver, champagne, and pearl charcoal.
The Adfast team developed their new color series based on customer wants and needs. They take a consultative approach, treating customers like partners, which is reflective of their direct to market approach. It is also a result of the company size; Bergevin says they are small enough to be nimble in response to feedback.
The company has a color team, and they attend trade shows, gather samples, and amass as much feedback as possible, then set to work creating new offerings..
This is why, Bergevin adds, that they have made a point of using aluminum foil rather than plastic in their largest product line; it’s better for the environment, more economical, and more efficient for the customer.
Paint and Coatings Category:
Intercoat® ChemGuard-AG by Chemcoaters
Intercoat® ChemGuard-AG is truly a revolutionary coating. A hot dipped galvanized G40 substrate coated with ChemGuard-AG can out-perform a G235 which has nearly 6x the zinc! Further, while coatings usually require a lubricant or extra coating for metal forming, steel can be dry formed in most cases with Intercoat® ChemGuard-AG.
Introduced in March of this year, the impetus for this new formulation came from a customer. Rylee Zegley, the Sales and Marketing Manager, explained that the customer approached them with a challenge: their fans were experiencing corrosion. The problem, Zegley said, was that ASTM standards depend on the D117 test for salt spray. However, that doesn’t really work for agricultural environments because the problem is ammonia, not salt spray.
The customer needed a solution soon, not years down the line while R & D worked on it and tested it for years in the field. As a niche company focused on coatings and coating products, Chemcoaters were able to accelerate production by using their coating cabinet to emulate real-world exposure, applying ammonia, heat, and water for humidity. The end-result: this high-performance coating.
The company owns the ChemGuard formula. It has proven to be very versatile and they are able to custom-engineer products based on it.
Zegley believes that the key to innovation is to approach everything with a sense of curiosity, then it follows that you will sieze every opportunity to innovate.
TD Double Folder Modular Automation by Cidan Machinery Group
Automation can be a wonderful thing, allowing a few people to accomplish what once took many. In a situation where employees are not easy to come by, automation can make a huge difference to a company. However, many small companies cannot afford these solutions, although they face the same labor shortage problems. Cidan and Thalmann are working to eradicate that.
Their TD Double Folder makes architectural trim and wall panels and according to Chandler Barden, Cidan President, it’s approximately half the investment of comparable systems. He added that it can be purchased in phases so you don’t have to buy everything during the initial investment. The purchasing process would look like this:
Phase 1. Buy the Double Folder with flipping device to automate material flipping.
Phase 2. Get the Loading system to feed the metal into the machine.
Phase 3. Finally, purchase the unloader which will take the finished part off of the folder.
“This system takes all of the manual manipulation and handling out of the process, and now you just have one person supervising the equipment,” Barden said.
“With this modular system a company can grow their automation as their company grows.”
He cautions that in conjunction with an automated process, you have to pay attention to the software. “You can have the fastest robot in the world, but if the software is time-consuming, it’s no good,” he said.
The full automated folder system was initially unveiled in Europe in late 2021 and came to America shortly thereafter.
Barden believes that new products that get a lot of attention are the result of interacting with your customers and
discovering their worst pain point. When you develop products that help them overcome their biggest hurdles, you have a winning product.
NovaFlex Metal Roof Repair & Patch Mastic by Novagard
NovaFlex Metal Roof Repair & Patch Mastic is a spin-off of a well-loved product, according to Joe Borak, Senior Vice President of Sales at Novagard. The original, NovaFlex Metal Roof & Panel Adhesive Sealant, comes in cartridges for joints, snow guards, small penetrations, and window (roof?) flashings. The product won Rural Builders’ Gold Key of Excellence award perennially.
This new adaptation of that product is for chimney flashing, hips, and any penetrations. The mastic comes in a one gallon pail so it is trowelable and brushable.
Exceptionally tough, yet flexible, NovaFlex roof repair and patch mastic is designed to repair metal panels, roof systems, gutters, and metal structures. Based on the chemistry of oxime cured silicone, it is UV neutral and it won’t degrade over time. It’s also translucent, so it doesn’t change the appearance of the original material.
Roofs can be patched short term with this mastic, holding the roof together until the roofer can get back to re-roof, or it can be used to extend the longevity of a roof, holding for multiple years.
Loyal, long-term customers were asking for a product like this and they wanted it to have the characteristics that they knew NovaFlex brings. Novagard introduced it in 2021.
Borak believes that their customers are loyal because the NovaFlex name has become synonymous with longevity, durability, and contractor friendliness.
Borak said, “If you are looking to make new products that really make a splash in the industry, don’t ever skimp on the quality of the components in the product. Also hold true to the original formula that contractors and the public are accustomed to; the new product should have similar or exceeding properties and benefits.”
Ridgeline Safety Anchor by Ridgeline Safety Systems
Every year, the number one fatality in the industry is workers falling off of roofs, per OSHA. Todd Meinhold, President of Ridgeline Safety would like to see that change. The Ridgeline Safety Anchor is a step in that direction.
When people tie off, they attach the anchor, work on the roof, then untie to move the anchor to a new location, repeating the process until they complete the work. This leaves the worker vulnerable much of the time. This proprietary ridge anchor removes that danger from the equation because it is permanently attached under the ridge cap.
This system is for roofs with a pitch of about 6/12 and up on commercial or residential buildings. There are two versions available: one for new construction and one for re-roofs.
The anchors can be installed before the ridge cap, and a system is devised to show where they are, either under overlapping pieces of the cap or where a screw is placed as a marker. The anchors are hidden from the weather, but still findable by those who need them.
And many need them; a lot of solar companies are interested in this product. One of the intriguing things about this system is that once it’s there, it’s there. Any tradesperson can use it after the initial install; the roof repair person, the mason who comes to fix the chimney, and the gutter installer/cleaner can all tap into this safety system…even the homeowner installing Christmas lights.
The full patent is due December 2022, so this is truly a brand-new product. Ridgeline is pricing the systems affordably because they want everyone to use them.
Meinhold developed this system because he spent years installing roofs and he saw how often roofers failed to tie off due to the inconveniences of positioning and repositioning. Being that immersed in your industry can mean that you see the gaps, the places where problem solvers are needed. Further his sons and son-in-law are in the business; nothing else is more likely to inspire innovation for safety’s sake.
“The experienced workers are retiring and the young, inexperienced people coming onboard haven’t had forty years of working on roofs, so they can end up in very dangerous situations. This system will save lives.”
Construction Tools & Equipment Category:
Panel-Tite® Burr Buster® ZAC® by Triangle Fastener Corporation
The new Panel-Tite® Burr Buster® ZAC® is an amalgamation of two great innovations by Triangle Fastener Corporation.
The patented thread and point of a Burr Buster® screw minimizes burrs by forcing them back into the wood, thereby reducing corrosion and the potential for leaks. Triangle developed it within the last 4-5 years.
The ZAC® Head has been popular for a long time. It doesn’t rust because it’s made of zinc and aluminum, and it won’t react negatively with galvalume or zinc aluminum, further avoiding corrosion.
The ZAC® head and Burr Buster™ came together just this year to bring together the best anti-corrosion properties.
Josh Krohn, Engineering Manager at Triangle Fastener Corporation, said this product is designed to be used with a roof system with a 20-year warranty. This screw is made to last, so put it to work with other materials that will endure.
When asked about developing new products, Krohn offered this advice: Be innovative, but don’t go with a way out there idea. Stay close to what your clients know and make improvements they can see will benefit them. MB