ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- AHR Expo floor traffic this year was strong, according to what Snips saw.

Tormec's Paul Kasper demonstrates a new wireless welder.
AHR Expo floor traffic this year was strong, according to what Snips saw, with of course the traditional strongest days being Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of the show, with an accompanying falloff on Wednesday. But for a so-called “off year show” in a location far from many, most exhibitors admitted the crowd levels were better than expected. Some 28,513 visitors were reported, with another 15,636 exhibitor personnel, for an overall attendance of 44,149 for the three-day event, the world’s largest hvacr exposition.

The 2002 visitor total exceeded the numbers from the very successful 2001 Show in Atlanta by more than 1,500. The 2002 edition of the AHR Expo was in Atlantic City for the first time in 19 years.

The AHR Expo returns to Chicago next year, then goes to Anaheim, Calif. in ’04 and Orlando, Fla. in ’05 before returning to Chicago again.

  • Ductmate Inds. showed new grease duct access doors for kitchens, a new Flex Riggin strap for easier flex duct hanging, and a Quick Stick insulation adhesive.

  • Desert Aire, Milwaukee, has added FlexAire fabric duct to its product line. This is made from a highly porous fabric and evenly disperses ventilation air without “dumping” it in localized spots like traditional grilles do. It can be used in various applications including office buildings, warehouses and indoor swimming pools.

  • Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products, Marietta, Ohio, has announced entry into the zone damper business with drop-in replacements for Honeywell Trol-A-Temp zone dampers. Motorized replacement dampers include opposed and parallel blade dampers, bypass dampers, round dampers and low-leakage dampers, supplied by Trolex Corporation. Controlled by independent thermostats, zone dampers installed in the ductwork permit varied temperature selection in different zones of a home or office.

  • AK Steel continues to create industry buzz with its mold-fighting steel coating for air ducts. The EPA registered the use of AgION antimicrobial compound for use in hvac systems back in March, and the company has continued testing on initial application sites. The AgION antimicrobial compound is blended into an epoxy paint system and then appllied to AK Steel products by continuous coil coating. The silver coating is intended to suppress the growth of a broad array of destructive microbes including bacteria, molds and fungi. AK Steel and AgION are working with United McGill on the concept. It can also be used in fans, drip pans and diffusers, as well as non-hvac product areas such as food processing equipment, appliances and medical equipment.

  • Guardian Plus is a new whole-house ventilation system. This is a whole new product area we’ll be seeing more of, as healthier homes find a need for more use of outside air – not just heating and cooling. Broan-Nutone, maker of exhaust fans and range hoods, introduced this new HEPA-filtration system at the show; it comes in three levels, beginning at $600 and up to a full $1,300 heat recovery ventilator (an energy recovery ventilator is also planned). It comes with its own control panel; the homeowner can turn it off or put it in a “boost” mode if odors are present or more occupants than normal. The pre-filter should be changed twice a year but the HEPA filter lasts a year. It uses flex duct to attach to the existing ductwork and installation in basements, attics, garages or crawl spaces is said to be under three hours. It is sized for a 2,500-sq.-ft. home. With an air flow rate of 70-105 cfm, it will compete with Research Products’ Aprilaire and other similar products. Aprilaire introduced a new bypass humidifier, the Model 600, which has a humidistat and a built-in bypass damper.

  • Sheet Metal Connectors, Minneapolis, showed its new E-Z Flange with barrel clamp, companion rings and blast-gates, saving field labor with virtually no leakage at the transverse connections.

  • Tormec of Switzerland showed its Tormec CM-S stitchseam wireless welder, introduced at last year’s Expo, especially suited to shorter sections of duct where you can use a continuous weld instead of spot welding. It can handle welding lengths of 2-18 inches, from 28 to 23 ga. galvanized steel, mild black steel or stainless.

    Harley Flagler Jr. (right) shown with the Flagler Corp.'s new Cleat Folder.

    Sheet metal machinery

  • Lockformer and Iowa Precision Industries showed several new products in their booth. The LinOpt 500 and the Condu Crimp as well as the Vulcan 1600-WJ water jet cutting system and a manual flange duct bender, demonstrated on a Tennsmith, that it may market. The Lin Opt 500 cuts and optimizes EMT conduit, with an automatic deburrer on the end, and can even load it with a spring-loaded bolt for easy installation. Or, the spring-loaded bolt can be sacrificed for a simpler, lightweight nylon type of fastener that reduces shipping costs.

  • Advance Cutting Systems, Pelham, Ala. showed a new AutoFold dual seam coil line with remote data entry and a new Hypertherm Powermax 1000 plasma cutter, the first one going to Limbach Mechanical. Ken Shannon Jr. said show traffic was good.

  • Ovalformer has a method for forming ventilation holes right into the ductwork, making an integral diffuser, which can eliminate the need for distribution boxes. The Atlantic City convention center, for instance, utilizes dozens of these boxes, all at added cost as well as time-consuming installation.

  • East Coast Sheet Metal, Littleton, Mass., showed an interesting E 1000 D plasma cutter which is a two table system but can be ordered as a one table system and later upgraded. The advantage of a two table system is simple productivity; you always have metal under the cutter, said president David Derocher. You can lay out patterns on the one table while the other is cutting. Price at under $45,000 is also near comparable for a single table. East Coast was also touting its full line of labels (E-CAD) and labels (E-Maker) as it seeks to be a source for all your metal cutting needs.

Engel Inds., St. Louis, showed its Companion Duct System, “ductwork without corners.” The self-aligning flanges fasten easily with large sheet metal screws, saving installation labor while strengthening duct connections and seams, with fewer duct hangers and using existing flanges. It also features touch-screen controls.

(More AHR Expo coverage can be found in our Tools and Test Instruments feature this month; coverage will also continue in next month’s issue; for any announcements or new product introductions that Snips may have missed, please send the information to the Editor, Snips Magazine, Business News Publishing Co., 755 W. Big Beaver, Troy, MI 48084.)