The Hottest New Products at Expo 2006

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2006
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 64-66

The Hottest New Products at Expo 2006
Residential Jackshaft Opener Steals the Show

By Tom Wadsworth

According to an exclusive survey by Door & Access Systems, the new LiftMaster residential jackshaft opener was clearly the hottest new product at Expo 2006 in Las Vegas. In a post-Expo survey completed by 80 Expo attendees, 56 percent (45) named this new side-mounted opener as one of “the hottest new products at Expo.” The product far exceeded all other products mentioned by survey respondents.

The online survey was sent via e-mail immediately after Expo 2006 to 880 dealers throughout the United States and Canada. To avoid leading the respondents to any product, manufacturer, or product category, the survey did not provide a check-box list of specific products.

Rather, respondents had to draft their own responses from their memory of all the products at the show’s 200 exhibits. Many attendees cited only one product, but some listed two or more products.

Here are the top seven hottest products that received more than three votes in our survey. This list notes the total votes received by each product and the percent of respondents that voted for that product.

#1 LiftMaster Residential Jackshaft Opener (45 votes/56 percent).

#2 Carriage-House Doors (17 votes/21 percent). Manufacturers mentioned: Amarr (3), C.H.I. (3), First United Door Technologies (2), Northwest Door (2), Castle Gate (1), FrenchPorte (1), and Wayne-Dalton (1).

#3 Wayne-Dalton 9800 Fiberglass Doors (7 votes/9 percent). These doors ranked #2 in our Expo 2005 poll, garnering votes from 13 percent of respondents.

#3 Garage Door Screens (7 votes/9 percent).

#5 High-Performance Doors (5 votes/6 percent). Manufacturers mentioned: Albany (2).

#6 Compact Industrial Door by Rolflex Nederland (4 votes/5 percent), a door that folds up and stacks flat in the up position.

#6 Fingerprint Entry System by BioMetrx (4 votes/5 percent).

Jackshaft Jackpot

By any standard, the response was remarkable for the LiftMaster residential jackshaft opener. This one small product gathered more votes (56 percent) than the entire category of carriage-house doors in their banner year of 2005 (37 percent).

“The garage has changed,” explained Dan Nixa, marketing manager for LiftMaster residential products. “It’s no longer a square box with a nine-foot ceiling. In new garages, you now see entertainment areas, ceiling fans, storage systems, car lifts, and more.”

Thus, he adds, many garages “no longer have room for an operator in the middle of the garage.” The changing garage has created a new opportunity for wall-mounted openers like Wayne-Dalton’s idrive and LiftMaster’s side-mounted jackshaft model.

Overcoming Challenges

Jackshaft openers are nothing new; they’ve been common in commercial openers for decades. However, various UL 325 requirements have made it difficult to use jackshaft openers in residential settings.

But now, Chamberlain’s new product has earned its UL 325 listing. “We’ve come up with a way to monitor the cables with a cable-tension monitor,” says Nixa. “The opener also offers a way to lock the door down with a deadbolt lock that is included with the system.”

Nixa says the new product is sold with a remote-controlled light and meets UL 153 lighting requirements. The opener requires 7-1/2” of sideroom and is designed to lift doors up to 14’ high. Nixa says the product’s first ship date is August 1.

Carriage Craze Continues

Door & Access Systems took a similar “hottest new products” poll after Expo 2005. The clear winner then was “carriage-house garage doors,” attracting 37 percent of the vote.

Last year, carriage-house doors dominated the show floor. Of the 135 complete residential garage doors on display at Expo 2005, 84 (62 percent) were carriage-house doors in wood, steel, or other materials. (We’re defining “carriage-house doors” as upward-acting sectional garage doors that are designed to look like swing-out side-hinged doors.)

Newness Wearing Off

At Expo 2006, carriage-house doors continued to dominate all residential doors on display. Of the 150 complete residential garage doors on the show floor in Las Vegas, 92 (61 percent) were carriage-house doors.

Thus, the industry’s fascination with this door continues, but our 2006 survey showed that the door is no longer viewed as “the hottest new product” at Expo. “New” may be the key word here; the newness of these doors appears to be wearing off slightly.

Note: Our survey should not be viewed as comprehensive, but it certainly indicates products that attracted attention at Expo. If you missed the show, this survey gives you some idea of what you missed.

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