Thousands of attendees streamed back to the Orange County Convention Center today, determined to hit as many exhibitor booths and educational forums as possible. The buzz of activity that filled the 325,000 sq. ft. convention center was an encouraging sound, at a time when the HVACR industry is hoping for a 2010 economic revival.
Exhibitors undaunted by economic forecasts continue to design and release new equipmenent. Enterprising contractors, manufacturers reps, and distributors, refusing to sit back and wait for the recession to end, are taking action to improve their businesses.
Here's what some of the exhibitors and attendees had to say about the show up to this point.
Craig Mathias, president, Math Mechanical, Inc., a commercial/industrial contractor based in Portsmouth, VA, was overwhelmed by the product offerings at AHR Expo. “There’s so much great stuff here; the green products, and solar products interest me, and I’ve seen some things I’m going to be using. I wouldn’t have known about them if I hadn’t come to the show,” he said. Mathias also came to the show looking for franchise opportunities that would help him expand his business into other areas. He succeeded by finding two such opportunities he’s now exploring closer. “And I’m only half-way through the show. I’ve got three bags of information.”
Mike Ballard is manager of the home appliance solutions group at MicroChip Technology, Chandller, AZ, a manufacturer of microcontrollers and analog semiconductors. MicroChip is also a member of the ClimateTalk Alliance, which works for open protocols in residential HVACR systems.
“The show’s been great. Turnout’s been very good. There are a lot of topics on people’s minds, especially smart grid, smart energy, when it comes to home energy use. Since the home’s biggest energy user is HVAC, ClimateTalk’s been popular here today. The open communications protocols will make equipment controls more common and standard. Open protocols help to make the residential HVAC consumers’ experience much easier and much less boxed in to a single protoco,” Ballard said.
Commercial contractor Dave Yates, of F.W. Behler Inc., York, PA, made the journey to AHR Expo in search of enhanced wireless controls to integrate HVAC systems for homes and businesses.
"I think wireless is the future for the HVACR industry," Yates said. "We found about three dozen control systems, at different levels of sophistication. They're still a relatively expensive item, but they're coming down in cost. Eventually, the simplicity of them will drive the business with contractors.
A residential HVAC contractor, Alan McCormick, owner of Cool Breeze Heating & Air, Savannah, GA, said he spent five hours at the Expo and still hadn't walked half of the show floor. The 12-year business owner said he's had a busy year despite a down economy. He was looking for energy recovery products and other energy efficient systems.
Dan Grahn, national sales manager, Field Server Technologies, Milpitas, CA was happy with booth traffic. “We had many smart customers visiting the booth. There’s more interest in energy monitoring, which wasn’t as strong last year,” Grahn said.
Linda Appler, director of sales and marketing, Cliplight Mfg. Co., Toronto, said the show was “amazing, from the moment the doors opened. The Cliplight booth was hopping, with visits by established customers and curious new visitors seeking more information about the Cliplight SuperSeal products. “We always have a large audience. Our hands-on demonstrations give the contractors an opportunity to gather ‘round and learn more,” Appler said. Cliplight.com/hvacr
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Here's a look a just a few of the many products ContractingBusiness.com editors found worthy of report:
Field Fusion business management software —designed in cooperation with a leading commercial HVAC contractor — helps streamline service calls, with many additional capabilities. The product is powered by Fujitsu. “The software is designed to bolt onto existing accounting packages, to allow technicians to maximize the value of those packages,” developer Tim Scheutzow explains. “It electronically pulls info from your existing system, and automatically populates the scheduling queue, that allows that to combine with the field service component.”
Field Fusion’s combination tablet/keyboard is comprised of four different components: Operations manager: a complete work order management tool designed to streamline service calls. Mobile office: a complete field tool that brings the most robust features to your field service personnel. Executive dash board: a read only, automatically updated view of your entire service operation. Server manager: maintains the connections from the mobile office connections and operations manager connections and handles automatice updates and behind-the-scenes processing.
The MovinCool® CM25 self-contained, ceiling-mounted air conditioner offers a very high cooling capacity for an air conditioner of its class, but at a lower cost than conventional solutions, such as precision cooling systems. It has a total cooling capacity of 25,000 Btu/h and a high sensible cooling capacity of 18,900 Btu/h.
Fulton introduced the Reliance high-efficiency hydronic boiler. Designed for non-condensing hydronic heating applications, this newest addition to the Fulton line of commercial heating products features a copper finned tube heat exchanger with a stainless steel heat exchanger jacket. Pulse width modulation with 5:1 turndown capabilities and a variable-speed blower motor ensure precise load matching to maintain building temperatures.The boiler features fiber mesh burner technology for even flame distribution and low emissions. In addition, the unit includes a ventless gas train with full input capacity at 3.5” w.c. incoming gas pressure.
The Eternal condensing hybrid water heater is designed for extremely easy installation. It can be wall mounted or floor standing, with water connections on the unit’s top. Vented with 2-in. or 3-in. PVC up to 100ft, direct vent sealed combustion convertible, natural gas or propane on the same unit, and the indoor unit can also be converted for outdoors. The Eternal condensing hybrid features a full modulation infrared burner that is dual activated by both a thermostat similar to a tank, or flow sensing similar to tankless. The intelligent control means Eternal has no start up lag to waste water, and is compatible with upcoming Water Sense shower heads.
The Daikin McQuay® Magnitude™ frictionless centrifugal chiller, already known for its oil-free, magnetic bearing design, is now available in models with up to 550 tons of capacity, making it ideal for mid- to large-size buildings such as schools, universities and hospitals. With industry-leading efficiency, low sound levels and a small footprint, the Magnitude chiller helps owners reduce energy and operating costs, create a comfortable environment and meet requirements for sustainable design, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification criteria. Mcquay.com
Victaulic’s Tour and Andersson differential pressure controllers are designed for use in variable flow HVAC systems. The differential pressure controller gives engineers and balancing contractors increased control over temperatures, as well as reduced noise in the system and simplified balancing, commissioning and maintenance procedures. Victaulic.com/ag
The Danfoss Performer VSD cooling package is an AHR Expo Innovation Award winner. It was named the ASHRAE Product of the Year, and was awarded the Exposition’s Innovation Award in the Green Building category. Normal001382181126711.1282000
The Performer VSC constantly matches the capacity required to maintain the homeowner’s set point, without cycling on and off. This increases comfort and efficiency and, while the temperature set point is maintained, dehumidification is achieved. Additionally, the Performer VSD features a new compressor concept designed for capacities from 2 to 5 TR. 2
Ruskin's CDTI-50 insulated control damper for green buildings is designed for low temperature applications. The CDTI-50 has been tested to -40 degrees and carries an excellent R-value. A thermally broken frame for better performance is also available.