Connectivity drives water heater and boiler trends at AHR Expo
AHR returns to Atlanta for the first time since 2001.
The 2019 AHR Expo returns to Atlanta for the first time since 2001 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 14-16.
Since 1930, the show has become the world’s largest marketplace for HVACR, bringing professionals from all facets of the industry together under one roof to discuss and display current trends and best practices.
The show will draw more than 2,100 exhibitors and thousands of visitors from around the globe. Attendees can look forward to industry seminars, the latest trends and technologies, special floor sections showcasing where technology is shaping the industry, plenty of networking opportunities and knowledge they can implement in their businesses right away.
There will be thousands of products and technologies spanning more than 770 categories. There is a lot to see over three days. Product preview guides are a great way for attendees to see a sample of what will be on display. Attendees are encouraged to use the MyShow Planner to assist with schedule building and show planning.
“The AHR Expo packs all the industry knowledge under one roof. This is the one big event that all in the HVAC industry need to attend,” says Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr, of Caleffi North America, and a 2019 AHR Expo Education Program speaker. “It’s the one place where you can see, meet and touch all the latest cutting-edge technology, equipment and training available today.”
Water heater and boiler trends
Connectivity and the Internet of Things continue to be buzz words across industries, but it’s not just marketing. App-based technologies are reflected in the newest plumbing and heating products. Mobile apps and controls can provide maintenance subcontractors with alerts when there has been a failure or notifications for predictive maintenance. For light-commercial applications such as apartment developments that might not have full building management systems, remote access and monitoring via a mobile app is obviously attractive.
The service contractor “will be able to get there faster and remedy the problem sooner,” says Mark Avron, national sales manager for Triangle Tube. “It gives the service contractor some information before he arrives. He can see what might be the nature of the problem before he gets there so he can make sure he has the parts available. In the end it’s going to save the consumer money.”
Even for buildings that do have a robust management system, alerts and notifications from individual components or systems can be useful, says Peachie Hytowitz, commercial product manager at boiler manufacturer Raypak. “If you’re a maintenance manager that focuses on your boiler system, then you may not want all of the BMS notifications,” she says. “You just want notifications on what you’re maintaining.”
Hytowitz says she expects to see the trend toward condensing boilers, and therefore stainless steel piping, to continue. “That’s really been the trend in the last maybe 5-7 years. It’s been moving toward that stainless steel condensing to get higher efficiencies,” she adds.
Brian Fenske, director of commercial sales for Navien, says he expects to see a continued trend toward more fire-tube boilers, as compared to water-tube.
“There are upsides and downsides to both types to be considered when selecting style,” he says. “With water-tube boilers, due to convectional flow, the movement of water can be much faster than that of a fire-tube boiler, hence rate of heat transfer is high which results in higher potential operational efficiencies. Quicker and reactive heat transfer, as well as load handling, is synonymous with water-tube boilers.
“The industry also has taken a liking to fire-tube boiler designs with its operational benefits such as lower head loss, larger mass and often simpler cleaning techniques. Fire-tube boilers can, however, be misunderstood regarding their potential operational efficiencies and need for minimal and controlled flow so that thermal shock and liming is controlled to a minimum.”
HVACR manufacturers report positive 2018 sales growth according to the latest AHR Expo and ASHRAE Journal Annual Economic Outlook Survey. Last year’s confidence in the industry’s economic outlook is forecast to carry into 2019, with 87% of respondents anticipating positive business prospects heading into the new fiscal year.
The report indicates the HVACR market is primed for continued business growth. Reports for 2018 are at an all-time high with 44% of respondents reporting a significant sales increase of more than 10% year-on-year; this is up from an already impressive 2017 record of 35%.
“This is considerable data confirming the continued growth of our industry, even amongst market shifts and issues facing professionals,” says Clay Stevens, manager of AHR Expo. “It is further indication that the changing market has potential to grow in unexpected ways, and industry professionals need to stay abreast of the latest technologies and equipment available to them.”
The 2019 AHR Expo Education Program includes more than 120 sessions of free seminars, professional certifications and continuing education courses. It continues to grow each year and is a comprehensive, all-inclusive opportunity to hear directly from industry leaders about trends and best practices in HVACR.
This year features nearly 75 free sessions presented by industry experts from leading organizations. The sessions, ranging from one to two hours, provide attendees with potential solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the industry. Attendees can listen in on general HVACR industry subjects, as well as sessions specific to their own line of practice.
This year, attendees can choose from 20 ASHRAE Learning Institute sessions for attendees to participate in professional development, all of which are offered prior to and during the show. All short courses and professional-development seminars have been approved for continuing education units that can be applied toward maintaining P.E. licensure. Attendees must register and pay tuition fees in advance of the show by visiting the ASHRAE registration website, https://bit.ly/2LsRdnH.
In addition to free seminars and paid certification classes, attendees are encouraged to sit in on brief exhibitor presentations in the New Product & Technology Theater. There are more than 100 presentations scheduled, each lasting about 20 minutes, that aim to give attendees an overview of new product announcements and technologies that they’ll see in exhibitor booths on the show floor. These sessions take place in special theaters right on the exhibit floor and there is no fee or registration required.
2019 Innovation Award winners
Each year, products in 10 different categories are recognized for being some of the HVACR industry’s most innovative products, systems and technologies. Winners will be featured at the show and will be formally recognized during a special ceremony. They were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each award entry based on its innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact.
Building automation winner: Automated Logic Corp. (Booth C5731); Cooling winner: Johnson Controls (Booth B1617); Green building winner: enVerid Systems (Booth B1061); Heating winner: Regal (Booth B1639); Indoor air quality winner: CPS Products (Booth B3553); Plumbing winner: Anvil International (Booth C6625); Refrigeration winner: Emerson (Booth B2219); Software winner: Taco Comfort Solutions (Booth B2239); Tools and instruments winner: Dwyer Instruments (Booth C5407); and Ventilation winner: Energy Wall (Booth B268).