The AHR Expo has started to look a little bit more like itself again this year as the largest HVAC/R trade show in North America returned to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. For the three-day show, there was a total of 42,794 verified visitors, which ran from Feb. 6-8. This was an increase of close to 12,000 attendees compared to the 2022 AHR Expo.
“This year’s show is one for the books,” said Mark Stevens, show manager. “We heard it in every corner of the industry – HVAC/R is gearing up for an exciting path forward. As a collective force, we are focused on change and growth inside our industry, as well as anchoring our combined efforts on serious developments to set the course for the future of HVAC. It’s hard to miss the excitement.”
The show hosted 17 industry podcasters as part of its Podcast Pavilion. Full session recordings will be available on the AHR Expo website once produced content is released by the hosting podcasters.
Over the three days, several educational sessions and panels were held, including the headliner panel “HVAC & Social Media: Strengthening the Trade with a Community Mindset,” which featured influencers of the industry.
Returning in 2023 was the show’s innovation awards. This year’s product of the year winner was Cielo WiGle for its Cielo Breez Max. There were an additional 10 industry winners from the staple categories.
- Building Automation: Cielo’s Breeze Max smart thermostat.
- Cooling: Chemours’ Opteon XL41, non-ozone depleting, low global warming potential refrigerant replacement for R-410A.
- Heating: Copeland’s ZPSK7 scroll compressor.
- Indoor Air Quality: Belimo’s new room sensors.
- Plumbing: Caleffi’s PresCal HP, piston-type reducing valve.
- Refrigeration: Copeland’s ZFW variable speed scroll solution.
- Software: cove.tool’s loadmodeling.tool.
- Sustainable Solutions: Taco Comfort Solution’s System M, an air-to-water heat pump system.
- Tools & Instruments: Navac’s NEF6LM BreakFree power flaring tool.
- Ventilation: SmartD Technologies’ Clean Power VFD.
The AHR Expo 2024 will be hitting the road and heading closer to the Canadian border! A fan favourite, the show will be returning to Chicago, Illinois and will run from Jan. 22-24. “What a show,” said Stevens. “This is the industry to be a part of right now. We are essential; we are poised for growth and the world needs us to be prepared to solve problems and meet demands. We’re excited to play a role in launching new products, services, conversations and partnerships to make it happen. We hope to see you in Chicago.”
At the 2023 AHR Expo, our team made its way around the show shooting our Walk ‘N Talk video series, and highlighting some of the innovations introduced on the show floor. In addition, we met with so many different manufacturers and discussed some of their latest products. Take a look at some of the highlights.
Mitsubishi Electric Trane introduced its new Hybrid VRF, a two-pipe hybrid variable refrigerant flow zoning system that uses water instead of refrigerant in indoor spaces. It performs like comparable traditional VRF systems, even at low ambient temperature conditions. It has a main hybrid branch circuit controller that exchanges heat between refrigerant and water. Conditioned water is pumped to the individual zones, eliminating refrigerant in indoor spaces and reducing the overall system refrigerant charge. Choose between air-source or water-source units to achieve design flexibility. Hybrid VRF can be intermixed with standard VRF systems on projects that require no refrigerant in smaller spaces, such as multi-family, hotels, senior living facilities, and dorm rooms.
Thermostatic mixing valves
Watts’ new LFUSG-HWP Under Sink Guardian 3/8-inch compression-fitting thermostatic mixing valves maintain and limit hot water to a desired selectable temperature between 27 C and 49 C with flow rates as low as 0.25 GPM and as high as 2.25 GPM. It features a hot water by-pass lever allowing hot water sanitization at the point-of-use fixture. The mixing valve is listed to ASSE standard 1070 for single fixture applications and IAPMO cUPC and incorporates dual check valves to protect against the cross-flow and integral screens to filter out debris.
Franklin Electric announces its planned expansion to its line of condensate pumps with the introduction of the VCMA-20 pro series. It offers a range of installation flexibility, allowing for critical condensate removal from air conditioning, refrigeration, and dehumidification equipment in tight spaces. The pump is also suitable for high-efficiency oil and gas-fired condensing furnace and condensing boiler equipment. An external float-activated switch automatically detects high water levels, and rubber feet absorb vibration on hard surface installations and reduce noise from the unit.
Magnet dirt separatorTaco Comfort Solutions expanded its 4900 series of commercial air separator line to include a magnetic dirt separator. The single unit uses neodymium magnets combined with PALL ring micro-bubble air and dirt separation. A patent pending on/off magnet and two-inch full port blow-down reduce field maintenance time. The 4900 series air separator with magnet offers a standard working pressure of 125 PSI with options for 150 PSI and higher. Options include stainless steel construction and high-velocity models for higher flow rates, minimizing pressure loss.
Carbon steel fittings
Nibco announced its BenchPressG carbon steel fittings line to include two-inch sizes to its existing product assortment, bringing press technology to fuel and gas carbon steel pipe applications. It can be installed in residential, commercial, and industrial carbon steel piping systems. The BenchPressG press technology provides consistent joint integrity and requires no threading equipment or lubricants. Available in half-inch to two-inch sizes, the fittings feature a yellow hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber seal that provides a leak-proof connection.
Steam boilerCleaver-Brooks’ new CBEX-3W firetube boiler has an operating efficiency of 85 per cent on natural gas and 88 per cent on #2 oil. It combines EX technology with components including a large furnace, heat transfer tubes, and an integral burner, which enables the boiler to attain a 10-to-one turndown. The CBEX-3W can be controlled via the Cleaver-Brooks Hawk control system, available with HMI. The integrated control system offers features available on a steam boiler such as data trending, high-resolution graphics, and touchscreen navigation. It has an extended 10-year burner warranty.
Danfoss’ VLT preferred harmonic drives (PHD) offer harmonic mitigation and input power factor performance. Their ability to accomplish this at full load and reduced loading from both utility lines or standby/backup generator power, makes it ideal for HVAC fans and pumps. Traditionally, low harmonic drives need to run at or above 80 per cent load to provide a reduction in total harmonic distortion. But in many instances, the drive running an HVAC fan or pump will most likely be called on to run at a reduced speed. While reducing the speed provides tremendous energy savings, it is still important to keep harmonic distortion under control. The adaptive feature embedded in the VLT PHD panel keeps the total harmonic distortion levels below five percent, even when the input power load is reduced to 60 per cent of the drive-rated capacity.