One of the leading indicators if an economy or market is turning south is an industry filled with once-prosperous, but now struggling, trade shows and expos. Exhibitor floor space shrivels up, attendance numbers slump, shows even consolidate or disappear altogether.
On the other hand, organizers of the 2017 International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), Jan. 30- Feb. 1 in Las Vegas, said on the first day of the show that the AHR Expo would be the largest ever. The event saw nearly 2,000 plumbing and HVACR companies displaying their newest and most advanced products to an international crowd of nearly 70,000 attendees who browsed more than 500,000 square feet of exhibits filling two of the facility’s mammoth exposition halls.
“Very, very large,” said Ed Langlo from E.C. Langlo Co., in Santa Barbara, Calif., who said interest in new technologies brought him to the 69th edition of the show. “I’ve been contracting since 1971, so I’m old school, and I’m just trying to catch up on the newer technologies. Zoning systems, controls — those types of things.”
On the international front, St. John’s, New Brunswick, Canada-based Source Atlantic Purchasing Manager Tom Kennedy said he’s been making the trek to AHR events for the past seven or eight years: “The exposure we get from an international trade show brings us two opportunities that we don’t see a lot,” he said. “So, we’re at a stage where we have strategic meetings with suppliers while we’re here, and with the two of us here, we can develop those relationships.”
In addition to trade-show floor fun and frolic, the event boasted an impressive array of both free and paid educational sessions and seminars. The fact is an attendee easily could have spent his or entire show in classrooms without ever seeing a twinkle of the exhibit halls, learning about everything from radiant heating and cooling, high-performance building design or designing high-performance healthcare HVAC systems.
Another highlight of the expo was the presentation of its annual Innovation Awards to companies who’ve come to market with the coolest hardware. Not all winners were from the plumbing category, but there were some familiar names among the honorees, including Noritz America, whose combination boiler won the prize in the Heating category and Taco, which took the nod in the Plumbing category with its SmartPlug hot water recirculation control.
Also on tap during the AHR Expo was the Radiant Professionals Alliance annual membership meeting, during which the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating annual membership chair David Hughes presented a CHC Award of Merit to longtime radiant hydronics expert Robert Bean. At an RPA social event later that evening the group gave its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Taco’s John Hazen White, Jr.
Next year’s event moves to the friendly confines of Chicago’s McCormick Place Jan. 22-24, 2018. Monitor www.ahrexpo.com to be sure you’re getting the latest on the show.
2017 AHR Expo Product Spotlight
Upgraded water heater from Intellilhot
Intellihot Green Technologies announces the expansion of its water heater product line and services. The next generation offers added significant monitoring and analytics capabilities, cost savings and greater control of operational efficiency for hotels, sky-rises, sports stadiums and hospitals. The GenII: iQ Series & iSeries are Internet of Things and Wi-Fi enabled, come equipped with an on-unit touchscreen that displays usable operational data and prognostics, and can be managed and monitored remotely with a state-of-the-art mobile app. Intellihot. www.intellihot.com
Coupling for seismic events
MetraFlex’s Seismic BreakAway Coupling hanger is designed to disconnect and let the seismic expansion joint move freely during a seismic event. The coupling is ideal for virtually any loop size or configuration and can be used to prevent long flexible legs on large seismic loops from sagging. For loops whose weight or extreme flexibility requires additional support, optional cable tethers are available. MetraFlex. www.metraflex.com
Push-to-connect plumbing system
SharkBite launches EvoPEX, a new push-to-connect plumbing system for new construction. The EvoPEX extends beyond the traditional pipe-and-fitting solutions to be inclusive of fittings, PEX pipe, outlet boxes, valves and other accessories needed to install a complete plumbing system from meter to fixture. EvoPEX is made from Acudel high-performance polymer and features a green-colored visual indicator to ensure the fittings are properly connected. SharkBite. www.sharkbite.com
Fire and smoke dampers
The fire and combination fire/smoke damper portfolio from Ruskin include more than 70 models that can be mounted horizontally in UL design I503. The I503 design is a two-hour fire-rated protective membrane made from steel studs and gypsum board. It also offers a cost-effective energy-saving choice for building owners for airflow performance. Ruskin. www.ruskin.com
With a desire to reduce CO₂ emissions, Danfoss releases its new scroll compressors with IDVs in capacities from 7.5 to 40 tons. The units are designed to deliver a cost-effective solution for the next generation of rooftop units and chillers with R-410A. Other key benefits include a higher part-load efficiency delivery; backward compatible for reduced complexity and redesign costs; and additional manifold combinations for increased design flexibility. Danfoss. www.danfoss.com