To say that everyone that I spoke with who attended the 2016 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) had a great experience is an understatement. Held Jan. 25 to 27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the expo hosted 60,926 registered attendees, the facility and the weather were near perfect, and the conversations about the HVAC industry and the technology on display were enthusiastic and insightful. The industry is moving in a positive directions with automation and control of systems at the forefront.

In total, 469,540 square feet of exhibit space was occupied by 2,063 exhibitors, 334 of which participated in AHR Expo for the first time in 2016. The show boasted technical sessions, technology showcases and award winner announcements. Aeroseal’s HomeSeal duct sealing technology was announced as the winner of the 2016 AHR Expo Innovation Awards “product of the year” accolade.

“We are pleased to honor Aeroseal with this award, recognizing that it offers a groundbreaking solution to an industry-wide problem,” said Clay Stevens, president of IEC. “For decades, ventilation issues have gone untreated, simply because there was no viable solution to sealing otherwise hard-to-access leaks. Aeroseal’s technology has taken this complex issue and made it into a relatively simple task.”

In total, the complete list of 2016 AHR Expo Innovation Award winners includes:

  • Building Automation: Accutrol AVC Fume Hood Control System from Accutrol, LLC
  • Cooling: ZoomLine Flexible Tubing from Sporlan – Parker Hannifin
  • Green Building: Piranha Wastewater Heat Recovery Heat Pump from International Wastewater Systems Inc.
  • Heating: Victaulic Grooved System for Saturated Steam Piping from Victaulic
  • Indoor Air Quality: ASCENDANT conventional cooling, active desiccant hybrid system from SEMCO LLC
  • Plumbing: NEUTON controlled chilled beam pump module from SEMCO LLC
  • Refrigeration: HEOS Sistema – high efficiency waterloop system for commercial refrigeration from CAREL INDUSTRIES S.p.A.
  • Software: PlasmaSoft 2.0 IAQ Procedure Software from Plasma Air International
  • Tools & Instruments: ZoomLock Braze-Free Fittings from Sporlan – Parker Hannifin
  • Ventilation: Aeroseal duct sealing technology from Aeroseal

New & featured products from the exhibit floor

In addition to the award winners, many products were launched or featured at the show. The list below is exhaustive but not a complete list of all the innovative technology on display on the floor.

Armstrong Fluid Technology

Armstrong Fluid Technology announced two new series of Horizontal End Suction Design Envelope (DE) Pumps featuring Sensorless integrated controls for greater energy savings. Both the DE 4200H and DE 4280 Series include Armstrong DE technology with Sensorless control and enhanced connectivity to BAS to achieve efficiency improvements. The DE 4200H pumps are supplied with split-couplings and outside balanced seals while the DE 4280 pumps use a close-coupled design.

Ayla Networks

TCL Group unveiled three new smart products, built using Ayla Networks’ Internet of Things (IoT) platform during the 2016 AHR Expo. With the introduction of TCL’s new products — a split air conditioner, a mobile air conditioner and a dehumidifier — TCL also is officially launched into the North American market. The Ayla IoT platform provides comprehensive device, cloud and mobile app connectivity for any product. Ayla allows manufacturers to get secure, reliable connected products to market and to improve multiple aspects of their business based on the real-world knowledge gained from data generated by the connected devices.

Baldor Electric Company

Baldor Electric Company, a member of the ABB Group, introduced the Baldor•Dodge Raptor coupling, with patented WingLock Technology. Featuring a finite-element optimized winged elastomeric element design, the Raptor provides longer driven equipment life and improves reliability. Raptor’s patented WingLock technology increases the surface area at the most critical regions of the element, resulting in higher bond strength, improved fatigue resistance, and longer life. A non-lubricated natural rubber element results in lower stiffness and improved vibration damping. For reduced maintenance, the Raptor offers a split element for easy installation and replacement without moving or realigning connected equipment.

BITZER

BITZER showcased its CKH reciprocating compressors for transcritical carbon dioxide (CO2) applications. The compact and efficient four-cylinder model belongs to a compressor range with displacements between 1.9 and 22.3 cubic feet per minute. All the models in the series offer speed adjustment between 30 and 70 hertz and operate with low-pressure pulsation. The CKH compressors reduce the amount of service required and the cost of operating refrigeration systems. The CO2 compressors are designed for standstill pressures of up to 1,450 psi (low pressure) and 2,320 psi (high pressure).

CAREL

CAREL presented its solutions to optimize refrigerant applications that use CO2 refrigerant. In these systems, complexity is a result of several factors, above all system pressure, climatic conditions and required cooling capacity. The CAREL range includes the pRack pR300T plus EVD driver, a compact solution for control and management of transcritical CO2 compressor racks; Ultracap technology that guarantees complete closing of the valves (both high pressure and showcase valves) even in the event of sudden mains power outages; and ExV-C, a series of drivers for high pressure CO2 valves.

ClimaCool Corp

ClimaCool featured SHConDemand, which was designed with a focus on reducing energy consumption and the environmental impact of heating and cooling equipment by harnessing energy that is already produced but not used. This focus results in a product that is sustainable enough to help contribute up to 28 LEED points. The system also allows mechanical room space maximization.

CoorsTek

At its booth, CoorsTek demoed its new DuraGlo Silicon Nitride Igniter. The DuraGlo is a 120-volt igniter designed to provide dependable ignition performance and reliability in a wide array of operating conditions. Testing has shown that DuraGlo exceeds industry expectations for igniter life in heating applications.

Daikin Applied

Daikin Applied launched the new SmartSource Compact vertical water source heat pump (WSHP) during AHR 2016. This equipment is a fit for contractors, facility managers and engineers who need to maximize building floor space and budgets — priorities for any project. Compact units offer energy saving efficiencies in a small footprint. With a wide selection of voltages, sizes and special features (including hydronic heat and waterside economizer), SmartSource units give customers the flexibility to customize based on their job requirements for new construction or retrofit applications.

Delta Products

Delta Products introduced its new line of NEMA 1 stacked bypass panel systems with built-in control features. Specifically designed for drop-in use with HVAC applications, it comes with a CP2000 series advanced variable frequency drive, HOA hand-off-auto switch, circuit breaker and main power disconnect, built-in programmable logic controller with discrete and analog input/output, fire mode, and other fan control functions. BACnet and Ethernet are among the many communication options available. The system can operate in applications ranging 1 to 40 horsepower (up to 30 kilowatts).

DiversiTech Corp.

DiversiTech Corp. featured its new motor lines under the premium Genteq brand. The addition of the Genteq motor lines provides distributors and contractors with a nationally recognized brand name. DiversiTech’s expanded motor portfolio means distributors and contractors now have greater product choices and selling options for their customers. A family of Genteq PSC motors and the Evergreen® ECM motor line joined the Wagner brand residential motor line. Both Genteq motor lines are built from the same technology found in millions of original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM’s) systems nationwide. Genteq, a brand of Regal Beloit, was originally known by the General Electric name for more than 20 years.

Eaton

Eaton unveiled an expanded product and service portfolio during the show. Among the products featured at its booth were the B-Line Series of power management solutions, designed to help heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration professionals meet energy efficiency requirements, simplify systems management and lower total cost of ownership.

hilmor

At its booth, hilmor announced the launch of several new products, including tools that compliment the brand’s Driving Tools category with key introductions such as the Fast Connect Screwdriver Bit Set, Fast Connect Magnetic Nut Driver Set and an extended size of its popular 9 in 1 Multi-Tool. In addition, hilmor held the Fastest Hands in HVAC/R Contest during which skilled technicians competed for new hilmor tools.

IEC

International Environmental Corporation (IEC) developed the MiniReStoraMOD, a small, minimally invasive high-rise fan coil solution, enabling easy and fast replacement for hospitality, multifamily and higher education applications. Also available for retrofit buildings, the MiniReStoraMOD has the ability to fit into any current space by sliding into the shell of an existing unit, avoiding the need to shut down an entire riser, which can often result in significant costs, downtime and revenue loss.

IAT

Innovative Air Technologies (IAT) featured its fully integrated technology that uses desiccant technology to address some of the world’s biggest moisture control challenges. Headquartered in Covington, Georgia, IAT provides dry air solutions in multiple fields such as energy research, military applications, water treatment processes, life sciences, electronics, advanced material and consumer products to the global HVAC marketplace. The company’s product offering includes Compact Series, Rotor Series, IDP Series, iPaks and Portable Units.

Miura America Company

Miura America Company unveiled the LX-300 in the New Product Showcase at the 2016 AHR Expo. Available in April, this new model features a number of upgrades including: increased energy savings because of the addition of a variable frequency drive, improved turn-down ratios, quieter operation and a safer electrical configuration.

Nidec

Nidec launched a new innovation for variable torque pumps, fans, blowers, farm vents and hydronic pumps: a U.S. MOTORS brand 3- to 10-horsepower electronically commutated motor with an IE4 (Super Premium efficiency) rating integrated with a tuned variable frequency drive. The new integrated motor and drive were designed with ferrite magnets rather than rare earths for more consistent pricing and cost structure. A detailed article on this technology will be featured in the June issue of Flow Control.

NOARK Electric

During the show, NOARK Electric announced the latest edition to the B1N miniature circuit breaker family, the UL 489 B1NQT. The recyclable, quick-connect breaker is available in three curves (B, C and D), ranges from 0.5 to 63 amps and has an optional detachable shield to make it faster and easier for the installer. The current limiting B1NQT is thermal-magnetic and protects against short circuit and overload conditions.

Rinnai America

Rinnai America, introduced wireless connectivity for its new and existing tankless water heaters and tankless water heating options, including its Ultra Series, Luxury Series, Value Series and its Hybrid TankTankless Water Heater. Also in the booth, the company highlighted its heating line up, including solutions for whole-house heating and supplemental heating applications.

Ruskin

Ruskin exhibited its solutions for extreme conditions. These included the Louver EME6325D and CD60 Control Damper during AHR 2016. Demonstrating its designs and upgrades, the company also displayed more product solutions for critical conditions and special applications.

Sierra Monitor Corporation

Sierra Monitor Corporation showcased its secure I for OEMs of commercial and industrial controls devices and systems. The suite provides a set of hardware, software and cloud services that OEMs can use to accelerate the transformation of their devices into smart, cloud-connected products.

Superior Radiant Products

Superior Radiant Products featured its Series 750, the low temperature tube heater. It is designed and CSA approved to meet requirements for CNG/LNG-fueled vehicle maintenance facilities in accordance with NFPA 30A 7.6.6. The Series 750 will be featured at the AHR Expo in Orlando at SRP’s booth #3153. The patent pending tube system maintains tube temperatures of less than 750°F (399°C) while providing even heat distribution. The Series 750 heater configurations include Model LA single‐stage or Model LTX two‐stage burners.

SWEP

SWEP presented its Brazed Plate Heat Exchangers (BPHEs) certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. Testing performed by its contracted laboratories verify that product performance is according to specified ratings. This offers additional security when selecting BPHEs for HVAC installations. BPHEs provide high efficiency, compact design, and a robust construction which improves reliability and reduces maintenance.

Triatek

Triatek introduced its new smart actuator for Venturi air valves at the show. The actuator is quiet, powerful, and smart. Staff working within critical environments that use exposed Venturi air valves in the ductwork will appreciate how quiet the actuator is, and the data it sends to facility managers will help improve building automation efficiency and warn of any excessive valve and actuator movements.

Victaulic

Victaulic highlighted its grooved piping system for saturated steam and condensate piping. Designed for use on commercial and industrial steam applications, the system features the Style 870 rigid coupling, a full line of fittings, and pipe preparation tool roll sets to process the new OGS-200 groove profile. The Victaulic grooved steam system eliminates the need to weld steam piping with pressures up to 150 psi (1,034 kPa) and temperatures up to 366°F (186°C). These steam couplings and fittings provide easy installation and maintenance, compress the construction schedule, reduce downtime, and maintain a safer, more productive worksite.

Viega

Viega replicated its proprietary equipment with the first press fitting technology for black iron pipe and highlighted this technology at its AHR 2016 booth. The Viega MegaPress system is ideal for hydronic heat, chilled water, compressed air, fire sprinkler systems, low-pressure steam and vacuum lines and is American Society of Mechanical Engineers B31 compliant for pressure and boiler piping.

Weil-McLain

Weil-McLain featured its high-efficiency condensing boiler. The new 95 percent AFUE Evergreen boiler features technology with simple controls, flexible functionality for multiple applications and a durable design. It is also easy to install, use and maintain. The unit is adaptable for most heating needs including light commercial or large residential applications and for single or multi-boiler installations.