AHR Expo Deals a Hot Hand!

March 1, 2011
Innovative, energy-efficient products were found in every aisle of the 2011 AHR Expo. Many attendees said they came looking for some sure fire bets to jump start what they believe will be a better year.

The Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition electrified Las Vegas, NV, January 23-26. The exciting location, more than 1,900 exhibitors in 380,000 sq. ft. of show space, and more than 54,000 total industry personnel dealt a royal flush to an HVACR world eager for a winning hand after two years of slow growth.

AHR Expo sources reported the show had the second largest number of exhibitors, and second-largest volume of occupied square footage in its 80-year history.

Activity on and around the show floor included more than 130 conference sessions, seminars, and workshops, including 31 free sessions from several endorsing associations and organizations. A new product technology theater featured 73 free presentations of participating products demonstrations, and a sustainable technologies training trailer featured interactive displays of equipment that could be included in a Platinum-rated USCBC LEED® Green Building.

Things are Looking Up
According to an International Exposition Company survey of more than 1,000 AHR Expo exhibitors worldwide, 57% of all respondents expect a "better year" in 2011. Nine percent expect 2011 to be "much better."

Expo sources report that 62% of exhibitors introduced new products at the 2011 AHR Expo, nearly 70% of which are considered "high performance/sustainable" products.

And that’s why we're here. To provide a glimpse into the products that made this AHR Expo a winner, and which will improve the odds that 2011 is a winning year.

Airtec Products Corp. introduced the Airtec WBB-Series wall brackets, as an aesthetic, more versatile and less expensive equipment mounting alternative to ground-level support pads. The Airtec butterfly damper is reported to be the HVAC industry’s only damper with a built-in, virtually airtight permanent gasket for residential and commercial ventilation systems.

Cliplight Mfg., introduced three Flash™ professional refrigeration system leak detection kits that include three cans of Flash "no mess" dye, a reusable charging hose, an ultraviolet (UV) detector light and a carrying case. All kits include Flash, Cliplight’s patented new class of UV leak detection dye packaged in "no mess" vacuum-packed, one-time use cans that each treat up to one five-ton unit or 64-ounces (1.8-liter) of system oil.

ClimateMaster's ClimaDry II won an honorable mention AHR Innovation Award in the Indoor Air Quality category. Proportional reheat is controlled to the desired leaving air temperature setpoint (factory setpoint of 72F), regardless of water loop temperature. If condenser water isn’t warm enough, the internal circulating loop increases the water temperature with each pass through the condenser coil.

CertainTeed offered 40-minute educational sessions, dealing with IAQ topics, such as moisture and mold prevention, fiber erosion, and acoustics in duct assemblies. ToughGard® 2 Textile Duct Liner has been renamed ToughGard® T Textile Duct Liner. WideWrap™, a new fiberglass duct wrap product with a 5-ft. width, is designed to work perfectly with 5-ft. duct sections, eliminating the need for additional fabrications.

Daikin McQuay
The Daikin McQuay Magnitude™ chiller is described as the quietest chiller in its size range, with sound pressure ratings as low as 76 dBA per AHRI 575. Sound levels will be even lower at reduced loads and non-standard design conditions.

The compact size of the Magnitude™ chiller (shown below) makes it ideal for retrofit and replacement installations. In addition, the space that would have used for equipment can now be put to more productive use in the facility. Some models can even fit through a standard 36-inch door without dissassembling the shells.

Danfoss announced the second annual EnVisioneer of the Year award competition. Launched at last year’s AHR Expo, the competition recognizes U.S. end users, building owners and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that have introduced a new product, opened a new facility or invested in a building or system upgrade in the past 18 months using Danfoss products or solutions (

Two Danfoss products — the Micro Plate heat exchangers and the ERC 102 controller won honorable mentions in the 2011 AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition. Danfoss Turbocor Compressors, Inc. announced the pre-release of the new TT400 380V 50Hz and 60Hz, and the commercial availability of TT350 and TT500 compressors.

Dectron reported that its indoor pool dehumidification system was installed at the Kappen Aquatic Center in Philadelphia. Dectron features which contributed to LEED® Platinum points include environmentally-friendly R134a dual refrigeration circuts, hot gas heat recovery methods to provide free air and pool water heating, a Smart Saver passive heat recovery system, and water conservation, by using sanitized condensate return.

DuctSox now offers what company sources describe as the HVAC industry’s first fabric duct constructed of recycled materials for LEED® certification and other sustainable and environmentally-conscious commercial building applications. The 55% recycled fabric (80% post industrial/20% post consumer) is available in two models of DuctSox's eight-product air dispersion line: the Sedona Xm™—permeable, premium fabric with an anti-microbial treatment; and the Coronado™ permeable, designer fabric in four patterns of cork, harvest, galvanized, or camo.

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EBM-Papst fans with Green Tech EC technology can achieve more than 65% efficiency, reducing energy consumption by one-third. Green Tech EC fans are aerodynamically optimized, to to operate quietly and effectively. Motor speeds can be set via a programming interface.

Emerson Climate Technologies
Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, has launched a new compressor electronics platform: CoreSense™ technology. The launch expands Emerson's "smart compressor" strategy, using the compressor as a sensor, which includes on-board modules for select new compressor lines. This electronics platform is found only in Copeland® compressors. It enhances compressor and system performance by sensing and interpreting information found inside the compressor, for new levels of diagnostics, protection, and communication, sources report.

Enervex (formerly Exhausto) featured its demand-controlled exhaust systems for boiler and water heaters. A demand-controlled exhaust system maintains a precise draft by constantly adjusting the exhaust rate to meet current demands. Sources report that, over a 15-year period, a typical demandcontrolled exhaust system serving four high-efficiency boilers in a 20-story building costs 50% less to operate than a combined system without demand-control.

Fieldpiece Instruments introduced two new, portable digital refrigerant manifolds. According to company sources, the SMAN2 and SMAN3 are the only refrigerant manifolds that automatically calculate target superheat, letting technicians correctly charge any air conditioner or refrigeration unit. They measure and display dual temperatures and pressures, and calculate and display superheat and sub-cooling simultaneously.

Recent Fluke surveys of HVAC contractors found contractors naturally expect to see continued technological developments and improved productivity from product manufacturers. Tools developed by Fluke in response to the survey, and launched during the AHR Expo include:

  • The Fluke TiS thermal imager, with manual focus, a 6.5-ft. drop impact resistance from a height of 6/5 ft., and a large display screen.
  • the Fluke 376 clamp meter (shown on next page), designed to meet accuracy and safety standards for new, high-efficiency systems, comes with the thinnest, most flexible current coil on the market, company sources say.

Pulse combustion technology from Fulton offers energy efficient solutions to building mangers’ and owners’ more expensive heating needs. Sources say Fulton’s Pulse combustion condensing hydronic boilers feature the lowest electric consumption in the industry. The Pulse combustion process transfers more heat per square inch than traditional burners.

General Tools
The new Thermo Seeker Infrared Thermometer/Scanner (Model #IRTC50) from General Tools & Instruments, is a precision point-and-shoot, non-contact, infrared thermometer. It offers an easy and safe method for scanning and measuring surface temperatures of equipment, or of surfaces that are difficult or dangerous to contact directly. It allows the user to designate a set point and determine whether subsequent temperature readings are within or outside of any of three selectable ranges from that set point. A star burst laser aiming and measuring system helps the user determine the measured area.

LG introduced additions to its Multi-V and PTAC line (PTAC shown here), as well as new high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rated (SEER) models for residential and light commercial applications. Expanding the company’s line of energy efficient products, LG displayed four new high SEER Art Cool Mirror models. They range from 18.9 SEER to 20 SEER, and allow LG to qualify for the Federal Energy Efficiency Tax benefit. Also on display: an expanded line of Multi-V commercial systems and Flex Multi residential/light commercial products.

Grundfos Pumps
ALPHA2 is the latest and most innovative member of the Grundfos family of high-quality circulators. Simply install the pump and leave it in the factory setting, “AUTOADAPT.” ALPHA2 will automatically analyze the heating system, find the optimum setting, and continue to adjust its operation to meet changes in demand. Grundfos’ ALPHA2 is designed for circulating liquids in heating systems. Pumps with stainless steel pump housing can also be used in domestic hot-water.

Hart & Cooley
A new addition to the Hart & Cooley SMART product line is the SMART ERV (energy recovery ventilator). This unit provides fresh air supply and humidity control unit for residential housing. The SMART ERV uses a poly wheel with desiccant coating. It rotates between incoming and outgoing air streams, to pump out stale air and pump in fresh air, while capturing up to 80% of the energy within the exhaust.

Johnson Controls
The YVAA is Johnson Controls' most efficient air-cooled chiller. The design offers a lighter, smaller and quieter package that minimizes the installed cost and maximizes usable building space. YVAA chillers are simpler in design, with easy access to service components for reliable operation and efficient maintenance. With up to a 40% improvement in real world efficiency versus current products, YVAA sets the new standards for lowering energy use. It uses variable speed drive compressors, which have been used in JCI air cooled chillers since 2004. Johnson Controls' Metasys version 5.0, Building Management System (BMS), delivers greater visibility into building operations and energy usage through multiple system enhancements, including web-enabled reports and summaries compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms, and wireless controls and sensors.

The CREST® Condensing Boiler was among the Lochinvar products on display. It offers innovative fire-tube technology integrated with the exclusive Smart Touch™ operating control, offering mechanical contractors and building owners greater design flexibility and distinctive performance characteristics to meet today’s building standards for new construction and energy retrofit applications. The Lochinvar KNIGHT®, an advanced heating boiler, is now available as a wall-mounted unit, with an innovative, new, fire tube design.

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Luvata’s 800mm series of air-cooled condensors are engineered with features to protect the unit during its operational life. These features include prepainted galvanized cabinet, high reliability motors, special design coil mounting. To protect aluminum fins from corrosive environments, Luvata offers ElectroFin E-Coat: a uniform, flexible coating over the entire coil with immeasurable impact on thermal conductivity. Sources say 100% coverage is assured by the application process, even in hard-to-reach center portions of the coil, without bridging between the fins.

McQuay International
McQuay International introduced a RapidRestore option for Daikin McQuay Pathfinder™ Model AWS air-cooled chillers with variable frequency drive (VFD). The option provides peace of mind to facility managers’ who need to maintain necessary cooling levels in mission critical applications, company sources state. The RapidRestore option allows the chiller to start as fast as 30 seconds after power is restored. /

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating Solutions, announced that it will incorporate Honeywell's RedLINK™ wireless HVAC protocol into Mitsubishi Electric’s line of split-ductless and ducted heat pumps. With RedLINK technology, a wall-mounted wireless remote controller communicates through radio frequency, meaning that the wireless controller(s) can be placed in a different room than the indoor units and that no wires need to be run through the walls.

Modine’s new 15-30 ton commercial packaged ventilation system is an ideal solution to bring fresh, tempered outside air into a facility, in any climate. A zeolite-coated aluminum energy-recovery wheel allows outside air to be cooled and dehumidifed in summer and warmed and humidifed in winter more efficiently. The blower assembly slides out for replacement service, or pivoted for easy component access during maintenance.

The new MovinCool® Office Pro® W20 is a water-cooled, portable spot air conditioner that offers a cooling capacity of 15,700 BTUH. The unit, which is MovinCool’s first water-cooled model, is designed for applications where an air-cooled spot air conditioner cannot be used because there is no drop ceiling or other available space to exhaust hot air into.

Navien America
Navien America, Inc.'s prototype technologies on display included the Fuel Cell CHP (combined heat and power), Stirling Engine CHP, and Solar Energy System. For building applications, the Fuel Cell CHP converts natural gas into hydrogen gas and generates electricity through a chemical reaction. Heat is produced while converting the chemical energy into electricity, which is then used for domestic hot water and space heating. Sources say this saves energy and reduces air pollution.

Among those HVAC equipment manufacturers with the longest history in the industry, Rheem had what was perhaps the most dramatic news to report: a brand new look, plus a variety of technologically advanced and highly efficient heating, cooling and water heating products, and an industry-first commercial hybrid air and water product.

  • Some of the featured Rheem products at this year’s show include:
  • the all-new Rheem Hybrid Air and Water Package Unit;
  • the Integrated Heating & Water Heating System Powered by Tankless Technology;
  • the Hybrid Water Heater with Heat Pump Technology;
  • the Prestige™ Condensing Tankless Water Heater.

Ridgid has announced the launch of RidgidConnect™ — a subscription-based, online business tool designed for service professionals and contractors who create or use digital information. A first-of-its-kind platform, RIDGIDConnect provides the ability to share and store digital assets such as diagnostic job site photos and videos, job reports and histories, maintenance records, customer lists and other business files, which in turn simplifies external and internal communication, as well as the recordkeeping process, sources report.

Rinnai now offers two series of wall-mounted, condensing gas boilers that can be easily retrofitted to replace traditional, less efficient boilers or provide simple, space-saving installation in new builds. Sevem feature Rinnai's exclusively-designed stainless steel heat exchanger to deliver unparalleled performance and efficiency.

Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric has added the M900 series of electro-mechanical spring return actuators to its family of FORTA two- and three-way globe valve actuators. The FORTA series, a powerful solution set designed to reduce operating costs while minimizing installation and maintenance, provides HVAC professionals, contractors, architects and systems engineers with a fast, highly accurate method of control for heating and cooling applications. The M900 series is designed specifically for hot water, chilled water, and steam valve applications.

Steril-Aire’s DE UV light series includes a 62-in. fixture. The DE series is available in six lamp lengths. The 62-in. is designed to deliver up to six times the output of competitive UVC devices, at HVAC operating temperatures. This ensures longer life and more reliable germicidal control, sources say.

Entertainment is big in Las Vegas, and appropriately, Taco's special press conference prior to the show’s opening included songs by "The Taco Singers." The quartet, dressed in neon green, got things started with "Taco's Got the Green Pumps Now," a tune about Taco’s "esmart" energy-saving pumps and components. Taco's new 1900 VFD close-coupled, in-line pumps with integrated variable frequency drives are designed to enhance pump and building efficiency. Taco's single- or three-phase 1900 VFD line greatly increases energy efficiency and building comfort.

Tecumseh Products Company introduced the all-new AE2 next generation compressor, developed for the global commercial refrigeration market. The new AE2 will support traditional HFC refrigerants R134a and R404A, and is also optimized for hydrocarbon refrigerants R290 (propane) and R600a (isobutene).

Uponor's Climate Control™ Network System, is an integrated hardware and software package that controls and monitors a structures hydronic radiant system. The Climate Control system communicates over the BACnet protocol, and can be integrated into CACnet-compatible building management systems.

Watts Radiant
Watts Radiant's FlexPlate is described as a revolutionary new type of underfloor heating plate. The primary material in the plate is a specially processed natural graphite giving FlexPlate unique heat conduction properties. Extensive performance testing indicates Watts Radiant's ProMelt™ is an electric snow melting product line consisting of both mats and cables. Each ProMelt mat or cable has a single-point electrical connection, simplfying installation and wiring.