Innovation You Can Count On

Easi-Set Worldwide
Written by Claire Suttles

Headquartered in Midland, Virginia, the Smith-Midland family of companies includes three precast concrete manufacturing facilities, a barrier rental company, an advertising and marketing business, and a product licensing subsidiary: Easi-Set Worldwide.

Easi-Set Worldwide provides precast manufacturers around the world access to six innovative, proprietary product lines. These revolutionary systems have earned Easi-Set recognition as an industry leader in precast concrete.

The company works closely with manufacturers to identify the ideal product line for their specific needs. The result is increased efficiency and marketability, which leads to increased growth as well. After licensing to manufacturers, the team continues to offer marketing and sales support, design assist, regulatory approvals, and onsite production training.

“Easi-Set is the pioneer when it comes to precast product licensing,” says President Art Miles. “There’s probably nobody else doing what we do—at least to the degree that we do it—not only nationally, but internationally. Through our licensees, we’ve developed a national and international network which is what has established the Easi-Set brand in the marketplace.”

A forward-thinking, creative mindset has been key to success. “Innovation is in the DNA of the company,” says Engineering Manager Chris Reese.

Miles adds, “The secret is very simple: we’re always looking forward and if anybody is going to replace our products in the marketplace, it’s going to be us.”

Easi-Set has a wide variety of specially developed, innovative products available for licensing. Take the J-J Hooks® Safety Precast Concrete Barriers, for instance. Designed for highways, this barrier connection system uses self-aligning, identical-ended connectors, making installation a snap. Without any loose hardware to deal with, single sections are easily removed from the adjacent sections, allowing for emergency access and preventing loss or damage. This ease of use, combined with reliability, makes J-J Hooks® ideal for either a temporary or permanent barrier system on any highway.

“There is no more popular barrier in the marketplace today than the J-J Hooks®,” Miles says. “Right now, we probably have over 17 million linear feet of barrier throughout the U.S. and overseas.”

Easi-Set’s SlenderWall® is a lightweight precast cladding system for exterior walls on low-to-high rise commercial buildings. “There’s really no product in the marketplace right now that’s as light as ours,” Miles explains. “You’re talking 30 pounds to the square foot; there’s nobody near that. So it’s a lot more efficient to fabricate, a lot more efficient to ship, and a lot more efficient to erect.”

This leads to notable savings in costs as well as resources. No wonder more than three million square feet of SlenderWall® has been installed throughout North America on commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings.

Easi-Set offers prefabricated modular concrete buildings that combine convenience with lasting durability and security. The easy customization, ease of installation—often in just one day—and economic return make prefabricated structures an ideal choice for a wide range of uses, from heavy industrial, water, and wastewater, to parks and recreation, with unlimited size options.

“We could do a small 10’ by 10’ Easi-Set building, or our Easi-Span buildings can go 40’ wide, and then, in 10’ increments, we can go to infinity,” Miles says. “We either factory-assemble them or we can field-assemble them, depending on the size.”

Another offering, with market-leading sound absorption technology, is the Softsound Noise Wall. “It’s a mixture of cement and wood chips,” Miles says. “The typical concrete wall, when sound hits it, it bounces off. With this product, when sound hits it, it gets absorbed into the product, and we have achieved a noise coefficient factor of .85, which is one of the highest in the industry.”

In a different vein, Beach Prisms Shoreline Protection is a series of precast concrete modules that reduce the amount of energy in a wave before it reaches the shoreline. This allows the shoreline sand to stay where it belongs, preventing erosion.

“Beach Prism looks like a highway barrier, except it’s got cut outs through it,” Miles says. “It allows the water—the waves as they come into shore—to go through it. But on the way back, it keeps the sand in place and [keeps] the erosion from occurring. It’s kind of like when you’re standing on the beach and the wave comes and hits your feet, and as it goes out your feet accumulate sand behind them. Well, it’s the same effect. It captures that sand behind it.”

Easi-Set Beach Prisms have proven effective across a number of beaches. “We’ve had a lot of success in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and up in the Great Lakes,” Miles shares.

The company stands out for its breadth of offerings designed for a myriad of purposes and markets. “We have a large variety of products,” says Building Products Manager Jeremy Smith. “If you look at competing companies, they’ll have limited product lines. So a lot of what keeps us at the top of the licensing industry is not only have we been doing it for so long—starting in the late seventies—but that we keep a variety of versatile offerings and continue to develop new and innovative precast products.”

All Easi-Set products meet the most rigorous standards. “We do extensive testing on all of our products,” Reese says, “and a lot of that testing is done by a third party as a part of development that we do to prove out the product, and then we also do industry-required or specified compliance testing,” he explains.

“For example, vehicle crash testing for J-J Hooks® Concrete Barrier is one that we’re required to do for compliance with federal and state regulations in order to get eligibility and federal approval of that system to use within the State DOTs (Department of Transportation),” Reese continues. “We’re constantly not only developing and refining, but we’re constantly keeping up with industry standards for testing purposes as well.”

With such a wide range of reliable products, it is no surprise that the business has enjoyed decades of success. “Our company’s been in business over 60 years,” says Miles. The parent company got its start on a farm in Midland, Virginia, where father and son team David and Rodney Smith began making concrete cattle guards. “And from there, we’ve grown into a multimillion-dollar international company.”

The founders’ can-do approach continues to this day within the company culture. “It’s really about a work ethic,” Miles says. “It’s our ability to innovate, our ability to keep our associates wanting to come to work, our ability to do a lot of things in the marketplace.”

Always striving to develop new products, the team has just developed a new, low-profile highway concrete barrier. Low-profile barriers are already popular in several states. “We’re trying to get it introduced throughout the whole country,” Miles says.

Easi-Set’s low-profile concrete barriers utilize the company’s proven J-J Hook connection, “the fastest connection in the industry. We’re excited because we now have at least three major projects in Texas that are going to be using that low profile,” he says.

“Some states have their standard designs, but we’ve been able to take our innovative design and get it crash tested and bring it to market,” Miles continues. “And not only is it much easier and safer to install, it’s a lot cheaper to build and install, and it’s passed the same exact crash testing requirements that federal highways require.”

To be sure, Easi-Set remains a company to watch, as another new, innovative product is sure to follow this most recent release. From barrier systems to sound absorbing walls and prefabricated buildings, the company continues to deliver a remarkable variety of exciting, market-leading solutions.



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