Karen Edwards: Hello, and welcome to the Roofers Coffee Shop sound stage. We are live at the 2022 International Roofing Expo in New Orleans, and we are talking to our friends and partners, and I am so excited to welcome Jim from SOPREMA! Jim, welcome!
Jim Hanson: Welcome. Thank you, Karen. Thank you for having us here.
Karen Edwards: We are excited to learn about what Soprema's doing, what's new, but first of all, tell our viewers what your role with the company is, what you do there.
Jim Hanson: In my role at Soprema, I'm the technical coordinator for the building envelope, waterproofing and deck coatings division. So I handle a lot of the technical questions, details, specs, troubleshooting for the contractor, as well as training them on some of the equipment we used to install our products.
Karen Edwards: A little bit of everything.
Jim Hanson: A lot of hats, but it's fun. It keeps the day interesting. And it's a great company to work for. So it's fun.
Karen Edwards: A great company to work for and always looking for solutions that will help contractors, right? I mean we've got some trying times. We've got some challenges finding labor. How much does that drive what Soprema does?
Jim Hanson: You're right. Labor is a pain point for our industry. Every year when the professionals get together, they try to figure out what the trends are going to be for the upcoming years. And what has been a constant concern or question or issue in the conversation is labor shortage. So what Soprema looks at is, okay, how can we as a company provide products that are high quality, but also address the pain point of labor shortages. One way of doing it is making products that require less steps to install or products that allow us to go to the next step, even quicker, lessen the turnaround time and allows the contractors to get through the job quicker with less labor, but also allow them to move on to their next job. Contractors seem to have plenty of work. It's just not enough labor to do the work.
Karen Edwards: I'm involved with the Roofing Technology Think Tank, and one of our members is Steve Little from KPost Roofing and Waterproofing. And we did an educational panel. I think this is back in 2019. And he was talking about a machine that he got from you guys called the Mini-Macaden that allowed him to cut down on the number of guys on the roof and to save incredible amount of time and labor.
Jim Hanson: Yeah.
Karen Edwards: Tell us a little bit about that machine and what it does.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. The Mini-Macaden is a game changer. Every contractor that has used it loves the machine, swears by it. It's a force multiplier for us in the industry. It's allowing the contractor to utilize the smaller teams they have up on a rooftop, to achieve up to four times the production they would've otherwise not had doing it manually.
This machine is an automatic machine. It's self-propelled, self-guided and it heats the membrane and applies the membrane in such an efficient manner that it allows the crews again, to utilize smaller crews to do more work. Some of the benefits to it is there's two modes that the machine operates on. One is manual mode where the operator can control the speed and the direction of the machine manually with a little joystick kind of like playing a video game.
It's that simple. It really is. The other way is an automatic mode. And when it's in automatic mode, it uses a laser guidance system that will guide the machine down the salvage edge of the previous role. And it will provide a continuous heating process and application of the Soprema modified bitumen sheet, as well as weld in the side lap with such consistency that you can't duplicate it by doing it manually. It's just an amazing machine. I was on a job last week to see it in action in 25 degree weather. And it was just unstoppable. The contractor was floored by how quick he was able to install the base plan on his rooftop
Karen Edwards: And how, like you said, consistent, perfect level, even. No human error.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. It eliminates a lot of the human error. It provides for that consistency and application of the Soprema base sheet or Soprema cap sheet. And it just works nonstop from the first minute until you shut it down at the end of the day. It's just steady production all day long. And like I said, it allows the crew to install up to four times the amount of square feet in a day compared to their traditional manual application with the hand torch. So it is a true game changer. Really is.
Karen Edwards: Wow. Yeah. I know he's an early adopter and he's been talking about this for several years and I think you encourage everybody who's doing those installs to check that out.
Jim Hanson: Yeah, yeah. We've had it in the market, in the U.S. Market since 2014. Really didn't do a hard launch with it, but we're really taking a strong focus and emphasis on the Mini-Macon this year to get it out into the forefront, introduce it to all of our Soprema applicators and help them overcome the shortage of labor, but also help them become more profitable. Lowering their square foot cost allows them to be more competitive in a lot of situations.
Karen Edwards: Absolutely. I mean it's nice to see manufacturers supporting and providing resources and tools to contractors to help them be successful and more profitable.
Jim Hanson: Yes, definitely.
Karen Edwards: Because you want them to be successful and profitable. They're installing your product.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. We want to be successful and profitable installing our product all day long. We want them to continue to use our product day in and day out.
Karen Edwards: Soprema, here at the show, has a nice large booth with a really awesome demo area. Can you tell me about the demonstrations that are taking place there? What can somebody see?
Jim Hanson: Well unfortunately we had to change our approach. We have the large space and we were supposed to do hands on demo, but with COVID and everything else-
Karen Edwards: Changes everything.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. We had to call an audible and it was a good call. We have a strong team here. And what we decided to do was a couple weeks prior to the show, we had all hands on deck, building different mock ups of all of our systems. So where we were going to do the hands on, there's now four by four panels or four by four mockups of all the various systems that we provide to the industry, including the Mini-Macaden, which seems to be getting a lot of show stop. We get a lot of traffic because of it.
Karen Edwards: Oh yeah. So, if you are at the show booth number 20...
Jim Hanson: Help me out there.
Karen Edwards: ...2209.
Jim Hanson: 2209.
Karen Edwards: Yeah. You want to go by, because we love to see it. See it, touch it, feel it, see that Macaden. Oh okay.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. We have a continuous loop showing various jobs where the machine's been used so that the contractor can actually see the tool being used up on a rooftop and get an idea, how easy it is to use and how efficient and proficient it is. And then we have an actual machine there right next to the monitor. So I can walk them around, how the machine works, all the bells and whistles, how to load it and answer all their questions at that time.
Karen Edwards: And I like that, you mentioned you were just on a project, it was 25 degrees outside because in the colder parts of the country and winter, roofing slows down. But if you've got this machine that can keep going in the cold weather even, it keeps you productive.
Jim Hanson: On this one particular job, we worried about the cold weather, but the Mini-Macaden performed great. We were able to dial in the temperature and the speed for the weather conditions. And within the morning, by the time lunch rolled around, we already had 60 squares of the first ply down. And the contractors like " I didn't estimate to do 60 squares in a day and you've done it by lunchtime." So he was quite happy. The other benefit to the Mini-Macaden is the carbon footprint. We're using 75% less propane to put down the roofing system than by traditional means. So this particular job was about a $12,000 savings in propane alone. So it adds up.
Karen Edwards: Wow.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. So it's not just labor, but the carbon footprint.
Karen Edwards: Right. Which are all becoming more important, carbon footprint. Which, a lot of building owners that sustainability is important.
Jim Hanson: Exactly.
Karen Edwards: Wow. So speaking of sustainability, Soprema also, you don't always think of asphalt based products as being that sustainable, but I know Soprema offers some options for building owners who want to have that option to be good to the planet.
Jim Hanson: Yes.
Karen Edwards: So yeah. Go see it, go by the booth, 2209, and take a look at the mockups, take a look at the machine.
Jim Hanson: Yep.
Karen Edwards: And just learn about how that can help your business. I think it's important too as we do have material challenges, right?
Jim Hanson: Yes.
Karen Edwards: So it's good to have options.
Jim Hanson: Definitely good to have options, but if the job was supposed to go in one way and you can't get those materials, there are other materials we can possibly substitute on that particular project. As long as we have communication between us and the contractor and the contractor and the owner, and we're all on the same page and understand that we're all in this together. I mean this is very unique for us all, this challenge we're dealing with, but there are ways to work through it if we have an open line of communication.
We work together on addressing the concerns of the client. It might not be the product they wanted, but it's going to provide them the same solution.
Karen Edwards: Right. At the end of the day, that's what we want.
Jim Hanson: Exactly.
Karen Edwards: We want the building warm, dry and protected.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. And we protect all six sides of the building. Everything from the roofing to the building envelope to below grade waterproofing to our coatings for balconies and plaza decks, parking garages to the civil market where we're waterproofing bridge decks.
And again, we use the Mini-Macaden on bridge decks. It's a phenomenal tool. When you're doing a mile long bridge deck, this machine lays out the product and in record time.
Karen Edwards: Wow. Talk about a versatile machine.
Jim Hanson: Very versatile.
Karen Edwards: Bridge decks to rooftops.
Jim Hanson: Yeah. That's our civil market and they do very well, but rooftops to bridge decks is a good point. Yeah. A low grade above grade and even over the water.
Karen Edwards: Everything in between. Wow. That's fantastic. So be sure to stop by 2209, if you are here at the International Roofing Expo. If you're not able to make it, we know some of you were not for various reasons, we have a directory on Roofers Coffee Shop for Soprema that talks about all these things. We're going to double check it and make sure that information about the Mini-Macaden is up there, especially since it's growing in popularity. And we want to really get the word out about that. So we'll be broadcasting live throughout the show, bringing a little taste of the show to you. Jim, it was great to have you stop by.
Jim Hanson: Thank you, Karen.
Karen Edwards: Visit with us and share what's new. Thank you so much.
Jim Hanson: You're welcome.
Karen Edwards: Subscribe to our YouTube channel, ring that bell to get those notifications when we go live and we'll be coming back to you soon. See ya.
Jim Hanson: Thank you.
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