2016 AHR Expo to showcase HVACR industry’s latest technologies
More than 80 percent of the show exhibitors at next week’s 2016 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) plan to introduce new or upgraded products, systems and technologies.
Spanning categories from indoor air quality to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.
“We are impressed by the ingenuity, inventiveness and problem-solving capabilities seen in the incredible variety of the 2016 exhibition line-up,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., co-host of the event. “It’s apparent that manufacturers have been hard at work in redefining the limits of HVACR innovation, as well as fine-tuning – and in some cases, altogether reinventing – what have already been deemed as bar-raising developments.”
AHR began more than 85 years ago as a heating and ventilation show. It has grown into one of the world’s largest HVACR events.
The exposition is held annually in key markets and major cities across the U.S., hosting close to 2,000 exhibitors and bringing in crowds of 60,000 industry professionals and provides a forum for the HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies and ideas.
Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration
The air-conditioning and refrigeration market has seen great shifts in recent years, as trends in energy efficiency, coupled with new demands from burgeoning construction verticals like data centers, health care and education, have created new and greater cooling requirements. Additionally, an increase in retrofit construction has posed challenges from the perspective of both general equipment design and installation parameters.
With these shifts have come several innovations to be displayed at the 2016 AHR Expo, such as:
- Wireless Bluetooth transducer app for monitoring refrigerant pressure, with remote, real-time data management capabilities from any WiFi-enabled device
- Brazed plate heat exchangers with maximum performance at both full and partial loads, and capabilities as either an evaporator or a condenser
- High-temp cushioned clamping system featuring proprietary thermoplastic rubber that resists high heat and facilitates elongated pipe life by minimizing vibration fatigue
- Quick-install mounting brackets for VRF/VRV systems
Building Automation and Control
A large number of products slated for launch at the expo are following a trend of automatic data acquisition through smart thermostat, sensor and other instrumentation. With these technologies, measurements like temperature, humidity and differential pressure are read and then controlled as needed through wireless, easy-to-install and self-configuring sensors and vents.
New or upgraded building management and related control systems to be seen on the 2016 expo floor include:
- Compact-sized BMS solution for small- to mid-sized buildings that is quickly and non-disruptively installed, even during normal business hours, and provides robust monitoring of HVACR, lighting and other systems while accounting for variable demand response
- Hand-held testing instrumentation for building commissioning and balancing that pairs with wireless probes/modules to display and log measurements of differential pressure, air velocity, volumetric air flow, temperature, humidity, dew point and wet bulb temperatures
- Conglomerate CO2 concentration, temperature and relative humidity monitor designed for greenhouse applications to illicit energy savings while maintaining desired CO2 ppm levels
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
As energy efficiency and the incorporation of advanced/renewable energy sources remain strong inspiration for HVACR industry innovation, the 2016 AHR Expo show floor will reflect this across numerous exhibits. These include:
- Active desiccant hybrid air handling system that has been optimized to deliver low dew point air while minimizing regeneration energy input
- Cooling tower filtration system designed to overcome inefficiencies in water usage and power consumption associated with older technologies used on cooling tower basins
- Low Pressure Drop (LPD) Y-strainer that eliminates a bridge wall to facilitate direct and lower-velocity fluid flow while lessening turbulence, minimizing pressure drop and reducing overall energy costs
Heating equipment, while representing one of the longest-standing exhibition categories, remains an ever-evolving arena for innovation and technological advancement. Several boiler systems will be showcased at the 2016 AHR Expo, reflecting a commitment to ingenuity even across the HVACR industry’s most traditional product lines.
Among the line-up of new products to be exhibited are:
- Multi-fuel condensing (MFC) hydronic boiler that can operate on #2 fuel oil, providing a back-up solution for healthcare, industrial, military, emergency operation and other mission-critical environments
- Rotary air-to-air heat exchanger primarily designed for comfort ventilation applications, with compact casing and new matrix geometry that facilitate efficient and optimized performance
- Condensing boiler unit engineered with a high mass, resilient cast iron heat exchanger capable of holding latent heat longer than traditional materials
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
With indoor air quality as an increasingly defined parameter in today’s building methods, particularly as the building envelope becomes tighter and more efficient, the IAQ exhibition category has quickly evolved into one of the most popular among AHR Expo attendees.
To address IAQ requirements and the latest standards from entities like ASHRAE, manufacturers are tirelessly innovating to address issues like fresh air intake and general air exchange, as well as moisture control, air particulate management and emissions detection.
Examples of the newest IAQ solutions to be exhibited at the 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando include:
- Non-woven polyester pleated filters with integrated activated carbon for economical odor and molecular filtration management
- All-in-one steam humidification system which feeds high-purity water to the humidifier water tank, reducing operating costs and maintenance via prevention of scale build-up
Instruments and Controls
Key to the day-to-day in-field functions of many AHR Expo attendees, instruments and controls remain an area of keen annual interest, particularly as these innovations can streamline troubleshooting and reduce unnecessary visits to the jobsite.
A sampling of new instruments and controls to be exhibited in 2016 include:
- Factory calibrated infrared sensors for the precise detection of refrigerants in enclosed spaces
- Field-programmable controller offering four gas channel inputs from digital and/or analog transmitters to monitor toxic, combustible and refrigerant gases in commercial, institutional and light industrial applications
- Smart phone application-driven portable clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter for monitoring the flow of liquid through metal or plastic pipe in a range of applications
Foundational to the built environment, plumbing systems have played a consistent and significant role in AHR Expo exhibition history. From the latest in piping and fitting technology, to valve and pumping systems, to innovations in domestic hot water production, the 2016 exhibition floor will feature plumbing solutions including:
- Insulation couplings designed for polypropylene metric pipe that create a vapor barrier at the clamping points in insulated tube and pipe installations
- Hydronic balancing coil kit bag and tag valve solution, featuring automatic, multi-turn and circuit setter balancing valves and accessories including strainers, ball valves, PT port unions and stainless steel hoses
- Mechanical temperature-sensitive water main controls that do not require batteries or electricity, and elicit automatic water shut-off to avoid pipe damage when detected temperatures fall below freezing
With the technological advancement of HVACR products and systems has come an influx of ancillary software development. As a crucial part of the HVACR landscape, software is a driver behind everything from holistic building management integration, to mission-critical application monitoring, to intuitive interpretation of a homeowner’s dynamic preferences.
Numerous examples of software’s role in the HVACR space will be exhibited, including:
- Intuitive selection software that streamlines the design engineering process by providing complete lines of radiant, fan coil, heat pump and hydronic heating systems, and facilitating schedule creation, dynamic submittals and other automated report generation
- Cloud-based platform designed specifically for mechanical and HVAC contractors to manage information exchange to and from the jobsite
- No-cost web-enabled tool that harnesses the power of Google Maps to remotely perform ACCA-approved Manual J load calculations and generate professionally formatted reporting for residential applications
Tools and Contractor Suppliers
Recognizing that time is money for mechanical contractors, several manufacturers have carved a notable niche in the development of tools and supplies that streamline a wide scope of contractor installation and service functions.
The 2016 AHR Expo floor will feature new tools and supplies such as:
- Compact 10-inch snip providing full-size performance at a lightweight 9.5 ounces, with large protective loops that are easily leveraged and 3-inch carbon steel blades that ensure efficient, controlled straight cuts, circles or squares in 26-gauge steel
- Extreme temperature foil tape with 1.75 mm aluminum foil backing and specially formulated acrylic adhesive, designed specifically for sealing high-temperature flue pipes and furnace-certified plastic vent pipes
As part of the IAQ movement and in response to notably increased building envelope performance, more and more ventilation solutions are being seen across the AHR Expo show floor. The evolution of energy recovery ventilation (ERV) technology is only one poignant example of how ventilation as a market category is growing by leaps and bounds across North America.
Addressing guidelines and standards from entities like ASHRAE and the USGBC, ventilation technologies have become key for integration across both residential and commercial construction, with contractors and engineers on high alert for the latest solutions that can meet their project needs.
Numerous ventilation products and systems solutions will be exhibited, including:
- Cost-effective mechanical ventilation system for residential applications that manages both humidity and temperature, with an independently powered and controlled 120 volt ENERGY STAR fan that operates separately from air conditioning and heating units
- Fabric end air duct/dispersion system that replaces traditional ductwork, insulation, diffusers and air valves, providing even air distribution, improved energy efficiency, streamlined installation and reduced maintenance
- Combined louver/damper with drainable 45-degree fixed exterior-facing blades and adjustable interior-facing blades with seals that can be completely closed, offering superior resistance to weather infiltration
Many other products, technologies, tools and services of value to HVACR professionals will also be on display in Orlando, some of which include:
- Handheld portable USB microscopes for inspection and quality control functions, with magnification ranges from 10x to 900x and integrated software that can capture images, record video, annotate and perform measurements, and store or email findings/results
- Hydrocarbon refrigerants study guide, developed to help technicians navigate the safe maintenance of systems that employ HCs and other flammable refrigerants
- Comprehensive ASHRAE climate data resources/reports, including International Weather for Energy Calculations, Climate design Information, Weather Data Viewer DVD, and ASHRAE Standard 169-2013, Climate Data for Building Design Standards
For additional information, visit www.ahrexpo.com.
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