Around 1,900 exhibitors display the latest HVACR products and services at the AHR Expo 2020, Feb. 3-5, in Orlando. Show organizers are expecting a great turnout, judging by pre-registration activities. The 500,000-square-foot exhibition, billed as “The World’s Largest HVACR Marketplace,” includes well-known HVACR brands such as Emerson, Samsung, Johnson Controls, Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric.

“The show is unique in that it is the gathering place for professionals from across all roles that make up the HVACR industry,” says Mark Stevens, Show Manager. “Not only do you have the opportunity to see what’s new in terms of product and technologies (in some cases being revealed at the show), but the show also offers a strong education program, guidance from industry leaders, networking, access to product designers, company representatives, etc., as well as best practice information and more. There is really something for everyone.”

Visitors From Around The Globe

Although the majority of attendees come from the United States, there are also visitors from 165 countries worldwide, including the Pacific Rim, Europe and South America. Commercial, institutional and industrial markets are dominant, but there are also residential-focused attendees. Manufacturers and distributors are in attendance, as are contractors/dealers, engineers and others allied to the field. Some 72% of attendees have a role in purchasing; and senior management, engineer/architect, and marketing/sales are the top job functions represented.

There are also visitors from 165 countries worldwide, including the Pacific Rim, Europe and South America ASHRAE members who register for the concurrent ASHRAE Winter Conference (Feb. 1-5 in Orlando) can attend the AHR Expo at no charge. More than 3,000 buildings-related engineers, architects, contractors, students and other industry professionals attend the ASHRAE Winter Conference, which includes technical sessions, education, committee meetings and social events.

Every year exhibitors bring their latest developments to the AHR Expo show floor, which really makes each year a new experience,” says Stevens. “New exhibitors joining the show bring their tech and solutions to the floor.”

AHR Expo has continued to grow during its 90-year history

Education Sessions, Podcasts and Awards

The AHR Expo Innovation Awards honor the most inventive and original products, systems and technologies showcased each year. "There were more Innovation Awards entries this year than ever before", says Stevens.

There is a full slate of education sessions on Sunday through Tuesday (Feb. 2-4). “We’ve added an AHR Expo Expert Council over the course of the year to speak to The AHR Expo Innovation Awards honor the most inventive and original products, systems and technologies showcased each yearsome of the trends impacting the industry, and they’ll be joining our Education Program,” says Stevens. Additionally, there will be a Podcast Pavilion, where some of the industry’s most popular podcasts will record. A Building Automation & Control Showcase and Software Center are available on the show floor plan.

 

Because the AHR Expo can be overwhelming, show organizers suggest attendees use the “MyShow Planner” app to log in and put exhibitor appointments and education sessions on their agenda. They can then access it at the show.

Over The Past 90 Years

AHR Expo has continued to grow during its 90-year history. This show has continued to develop with the HVACR industry, which is vital in today’s world. “The dedication to delivering the latest advancements, new products and technologies, and education has always been at the forefront of the show,” says Stevens. “We have grown to be able to provide a platform for manufacturers to meet and interact with industry professionals and showcase their solutions. Likewise, all roles can come together to view solutions that help grow their businesses, relationships and knowledge.”

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HARDI Hub Platform Provides Videos for HVACR Market
HARDI Hub Platform Provides Videos for HVACR Market

HARDI, an organization of wholesale distributors in the HVACR market, is curating and publishing videos on various aspects of the industry. Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) has launched HARDI Hub, a platform with educational and informative videos that allow viewers to learn something new. As the Hub evolves, the hope is to see an increased contribution of content from members, allowing them to be able to teach their peers information they are the expert in. Video types include interviews, webinars, full conference sessions, and more. HARDI is also working with Supplier/Manufacturer and Service Vendor members to provide educational videos about their products and services, educating viewers about how to successfully use the product, or the benefits of implementing it into their business. These videos will be chosen similarly to their proven vendor program, verified by HARDI. Educating the HVACR market HARDI has full access to all aspects of the HVACR industry, says Emily Frost, Content Manager. “We can easily find out what is important to our members and then create or source the resources to provide the education and knowledge they are looking for.” The addition of Tim Fisher, Team Leader of Market Intelligence; and Brian Loftus, Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst, positions HARDI to create the content members are asking for.The video hub has content that anyone in business can use to grow their skills HARDI’s primary audience is HVACR Wholesaler Distributors. However, the video hub has content that anyone in business can use to grow their skills, says Frost. “While we are HVACR-focused, there are many skills and qualities that transfer over into general business needs.”  For example, the video “Perfect Your Facebook Marketing Strategy” with Antoine Dupont covers a topic that anyone can learn from and use to grow their business skillset. There are also Government Affairs videos with content that directly relates to HVACR Distribution, such as the "HFC Phasedown" video, discussing how the introduction of new refrigerants will affect members’ businesses. HARDI Hub videos come from a trusted source, and the association seeks to provide valuable content that will help members succeed Trusted source of information “Our members have always asked for a library of resources, and video is increasingly becoming the method of choice for how people wish to view content,” says Frost. “The industry needs a collective place they can go, to get reliable information they can use to grow their skills and their businesses.” HARDI Hub videos come from a trusted source, and the association seeks to provide valuable content that will help members succeed, resulting in increased awareness of wholesale distribution as a whole.Anyone can submit a video proposal to HARDI Currently, content providers include HARDI staff, industry experts from councils, and members or partners who are experts in a specific field. Anyone can submit a video proposal to HARDI, which will work together to determine if it is something valuable that members want to engage with. Videos from HVACR experts Currently, there are feature videos from Jason Bader, a known HVACR industry expert; Alan Beaulieu, a world-renowned Economist; and Alex Ayers, HARDI’s Government Affairs expert. The councils source experts in their designated fields to provide general content on topics such as Sales, Marketing, HR, and Supply Chain, or more industry-specific, like the Controls Council and their webinar on controls distribution.HARDI Hub is also frequently featured on social media pages when new videos are published To find HARDI Hub, members can go to the website, hardinet.org, and click the HARDI Hub tab at the top right of the screen in the menu bar. HARDI Hub is also frequently featured on social media pages when new videos are published. “We have also included videos in our association newsletters like the Thermostatus and Data Driven Newsletter (DDN) to reference content that relates to the featured article and in our blog,” says Frost. “Videos can be embedded on other websites, allowing the video contributor to share the video on their website. There are social media share buttons on each video as well, allowing anyone to share a video to their page. We also encourage members to subscribe to HARDI Hub, so they get an email notification when new content is published.”

Annexair Shows New Eco-Friendly HVAC Line During AHR Expo
Annexair Shows New Eco-Friendly HVAC Line During AHR Expo

Annexair unveiled a new line of more sustainable and eco-friendly HVAC systems during AHR Expo in Orlando. The company displayed the new units, made from biosourced engineered composite panels, in a parking lot that was a short drive from the Orange County Convention Center. Composites are 50 to 60% lighter and five times stronger than metal. The engineered composite panels have reinforced glass fiber. Annexair combines the composite panels with green foam insulation made from recycled water bottles and glued together using a non-chemical adhesive resin derived from sugar cane. Performance of the 100% eco-friendly foam surpasses any other type of insulation, says the company. Insulated composite panels are available in 1-in, 2-in, 3-in, 4-in and 5-in thicknesses and take the place of structural steel in Annexair’s new generation of HVAC equipment. There is a lifetime warranty against corrosion and zero leakage. The company claims it is "the most advanced, sustainable and eco-friendly HVAC system on earth.” Eco-Friendly HVAC System “We are making a major transition to modernize the industry and make it more eco-friendly,” said François Lemieux, Annexair President, at a reception during AHR Expo. The biocomposite unit took nine years to develop and is the world’s first of its kind, he says. Manufacturing processes, such as using between 30 and 40 million recycled water bottles, will help to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.Some 26,500 recycled plastic bottles are used in manufacturing the ERUs Some 26,500 recycled plastic bottles are used in manufacturing the energy recovery units (ERUs), and 18,000 bottles are used to manufacture the makeup air units (MAUs). The systems are built inside a composite housing using motors and other components from other manufacturers. A rooftop unit with a built-in gutter system uses airport-style doors, and there are drain pans and easy walk-in access. There is no welded steel. Panels are seamless, no matter the unit size; panels can be made up to 12-feet wide and 45-feet long in a single piece. "We are making a major transition to modernize the industry and make it more eco-friendly" Easy cleaning and impoved lifespan Smooth rounded interior corners and edges ensure hygiene and no dirt accumulation for easy cleaning. FDA-approved anti-microbial/UV nanotechnology improves casing durability and lifespan for the inside and outside casing, including anti-fungal, chemical resistance, water repellence and anti-scratching.Annexair intends to sell the systems at the same price as comparable traditional systems Annexair intends to sell the systems at the same price as comparable traditional systems to guarantee better access to green technology for the industry. The system is more durable, does not rust and is very light for building structures and transportation. Construction is 50-60% lighter. It also reduces energy loss and is fire-resistant. Composite casings Use of composite casings reduces the greenhouse gas produced by 85 percent. Annexair intends to stop assembling metal-based ventilation units by December of 2021 to meet business sustainability targets. The system is a perfect complement to LEED certification, says Lemieux. The systems will be manufactured in a new 300,000-sq ft factory, 70 miles east of Montreal, Canada, that is automated and eco-friendly. Annexair seeks to be carbon-neutral by 2024-25.

AHR Expo 2020 Review: Ingenuity and Enthusiasm Drive Successful Show in Orlando
AHR Expo 2020 Review: Ingenuity and Enthusiasm Drive Successful Show in Orlando

There was plenty to see and appreciate at AHR Expo in Orlando. And there is good news to report: Innovation is alive and well in the HVAC market. Some new products on display demonstrated genuine ingenuity. Exhibitors had enthusiasm to spare as they shared what’s new in the market with this first-time visitor to the show. HVAC is not a new market, but it is changing and, in some regards, re-inventing itself. The vibrancy, variety and sheer size of AHR Expo showed off the newest and best the industry has to offer.  ‘Better Way to Heat and Cool’ Electronics highlighted the benefits of inverter systems -- "a better way to heat and cool" -- at their press event at AHR Expo. Despite the advantages, HVAC contractors are pushing back at the new, less familiar systems. The industry is at a "crossroads." Inverter systems have variable-frequency drives that control the speed of the compressor motor, enabling lower power consumption – operating at a partial load as Innovation is alive and well in the HVAC marketLG opposed to a full load. For example, an inverter system may use only 20 amps compared to 90 amps for traditional systems. The systems are quieter, too. There are also now inverter systems for ducted systems – "the space in between that nobody is talking about". New "hydro kits" can also extend the benefits of the systems, providing radiant floor heat or the ability to melt snow from a driveway. LG Electronics also introduced a new line of IP-based controls, aimed at the 97% of commercial buildings that are 100,000 square feet or less, many of which don't have building automation systems. The controller can be used in lieu of integrating with third party systems, which can add costs. They also are introducing predictive analytics that can consider multiple conditions over time and then predict things that may happen, such as maintenance requirements. The company also emphasized the benefit of LG as part of a range of products the company provides for the home, from OLED televisions to appliances to robotic vacuum cleaners. There is an opportunity for all the devices to be connected to an LG panel and "drive the experience." Monitoring Indoor Air Quality Airthings was a new exhibitor at AHR Expo, located off the beaten path among the high-numbered booths. Even so, the company had a great show with “enormous interest,” said Oyvind Birkenes, CEO. Airthings has an indoor air quality monitoring system, with a battery-operated, wireless sensor as the main component. There Some new products on display demonstrated genuine ingenuityare actually seven sensors inside the device, monitoring radon gas, CO2 level, temperature, humidity, VOC levels, pressure and ambient light. The device can be easily mounted on the wall and provides data every 5 minutes, which is sent to the cloud to be analyzed. The cloud system provides an overview of data, which is customizable. Users can set notification levels and/or download air quality reports. The system can also be integrated with building management systems (BMS) or other dashboard displays. A hub can manage up to 50 of the sensors for larger systems, in effect, a fully independent local network. Birkenes said the device provides a “disruptive” upsell opportunity for various platforms. Cooling Towers Making a Comeback A new era of cooling towers includes products that are modular and built on a smaller scale for tighter locations, says Neal Walsh, HVAC Business Manager, Baltimore Aircoil Company. “We’re turning the concept of cooling towers on its head,” said Walsh. The new concept leverages the energy efficiency advantages of cooling towers, while opening new applications to the technology. The modules of the product can be put in place by a forklift, and it is less than half the size of a traditional cooling tower. Up to six of the devices can be installed in A new era of cooling towers includes products that are modular and built on a smaller scale for tighter locationsa row with a control panel. Low water usage enables the system to be flushed and refilled once a day – no expensive water treatment needed. In all, it is less expensive to install and maintain, and could be installed inside a building, on a roof or anywhere there is space. The product is popular with school districts, which seek to avoid refrigerants. The new design is driving a “resurgence in popularity” in the market, said Walsh. Plastic Pipes with Easy Waterproof Sealing Uponor displayed pipe systems made of PEXA (cross-linked polyethylene) plastic, featuring “crosslinking thermal memory.” The pipe returns to its original shape when heated. It is available in ½-in. to 4-in diameters for residential or commercial installations. A special tool can be used to expand the pipe to accept a fitting, and then the pipe returns to its original shape when heated to create a water-tight seal without glue or solvents. The pipes can be used for radiant heating applications, and Uponor offers “roll-out” mats (pre-assembled configurations of pipes) for easy installation.  Through a partnership with a Serbian company, the company also now offers polypropylene pipe for larger applications. There was plenty to see and appreciate at AHR Expo in Orlando SPVU Systems with Greater Efficiency Bard offers “single-package vertical units” for commercial applications in space-confined systems, whether the application is equipment cooling or “creature Many products demonstrated at AHR are also big in the education marketcomfort,” said Paul Quigley, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. The factory-sealed systems ensure greater durability for mission-critical applications, such as telecommunications, data centers, etc. Bard’s products are also big in the education market (especially portable classrooms). Their line has been completely redesigned and reconfigured by Bard’s engineers; they have replaced nine major product families (and 10 million product iterations) with just two categories. The new models meet the Department of Energy’s 11EER minimum energy conservation standards for Single Package Vertical Unit (SPVU) air conditioners and heat pumps – a 22 percent increase in efficiency. They can also remove 35% more humidity than other units. The new systems use recycled denim for insulation (instead of fiberglass).  Leveraging the Benefits of UV-C UV Resources highlighted the use of UV-C spectrum light for HVAC applications. They have a germicidal lamp system that uses UV-C to penetrate the HVAC coil to eliminate microbial buildup. It keeps coil surfaces, drain pans, air filters and ducts free of organic buildup and works better than pressure washing or chemical treatment. The company also displayed a germicidal UV fixture that can be wall-mounted at 7 feet or higher in a room. Special louvers direct “germicidal irradiation” at an upward and outward angle and create a zone of UV-C to kill germs and minimizes the dosage in the lower area of the room. It's useful in doctors’ offices, public buildings, etc. LG Components’ New Compressor LG Components launched a new product – a fusion compressor (hybrid) that merges the best of rotary systems and of scroll technology. Durability-improving innovations include a more sensitive vacuum prevention device and a stronger, stress-tested discharge reed valve that withstands the harsh operating conditions posed by refrigeration applications and limits excessive sound levels. It is compatible with multiple refrigerants, including R-404A, R-507, R-407A, R-407C, R-448A and R-449A; the compressor has a capacity range of 1-6 HP Catch up on our Day One Review here. or our Day Two Review here.

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