Over 45,000 people participate in the AHR Expo's 75th show.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Organizers and exhibitors seemed to be happy with this year's AHR Expo, the first one held in central Florida.

The Feb. 7-9 event at the Orange County Convention Center brought 45,000 people to Orlando from around the world. Show traffic appeared brisk and representatives from many of the record 1,871 exhibiting companies said they were pleased.

"So far, this has been a better show than in 2004," said Larry Reese of Wisconsin HVAC equipment manufacturer Carnes Co. in an interview on the show's second day.

Brenda Keith of York International Corp.'s Unitary Products Group agreed.

"The response has been overwhelming," Keith said. "Our booth has been filled with a variety of people from every group, ranging from international visitors to specifying engineers and consumers."

John Doran of portable spot-cooling equipment maker MovinCool said the show's energy made him eager for the 2006 AHR Expo.

"If this show is any indication of what is to come, we look forward to the show in Chicago next year," Doran said. "AHR Expo is our biggest opportunity to introduce products and is a vehicle to launch our marketing plan for the year."

Officials with the International Exposition Co., which manages the show, said it was one of the five-largest expos in the event's 75-year history, with 372,955 square feet of exhibit space.

Here's a listing of some of the products on display.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Iowa Precision Industries was demonstrating its Tie Rod Crimper. The machine crimps bolts or nuts to any length electrical metallic tubing using commonly available hardware. The machine can produce more than three pieces per minute, according to company officials. It works with half-inch, three-quarter and 1-inch electrical metal tubing, and three-quarter-inch stainless steel tubing.

Donald Bodjiak, sales manager for Gripnail, demonstrates the company’s latest PowerPinner Glider during the AHR Expo.

Fastening machines to sealant

Gripnail Fastening Systemsintroduced three new duct-liner-fastening machines. The PowerPinner Glider applies weld pins while the head travels up to 5 feet away from the operator. A foot pedal or a pistol grip activates the machine. It fastens weld pins up to 2 inches long to sheet metal as thick as 16 gauge. The Gripnail Gilder shares the same platform as the PowerPinner Glider except it uses impact fasteners. It uses the same control and requires only an air-pressure adjustment when switching sizes. The third machine is the PowerPinner 7005. The 7005 is a fixed-head machine and has the same electronic controls as the PowerPinner Glider. A weld pin is applied every time the foot pedal is depressed and it has all the power required for fastening 2-inch weld pins.

CertainTeed Corp. was promoting ToughGard 2 textile duct liner. Officials with the Valley Forge, Pa., company say it provides better acoustic and thermal performance while being easier for contractors to handle. The glass fibers in the product help with cutting and produce less dust, officials add.

Fluke Corp., an Everett, Wash.-based testing and measurement equipment maker, has expanded its IAQ-monitoring test tools line. It used the expo to introduce its 983 Particle Counter. The device features expanded data logging and six-channel particle-size display, which allows users to run more tests and cycle through screens to get the data they need, according to Fluke. The Fluke 983 counts and logs up to 5,000 sample records, with selectable sample time, count data and programmable delay. Logged samples include date and time, particle counts, sample volume, temperature and relative humidity.

The company also now offers the Raytek ThermoView Ti30 thermal imager under the Fluke name. The fully radiometric unit was designed to allow technicians to more easily identify problems, giving a full, two-dimensional picture.

Hardcast, a division of Carlisle Coatings and Waterproofing Inc., used the expo to showcase its latest duct-insulation adhesives. The new line includes Coil-Tack, Booth-Tack, Roto-Tack and Speed-Tack, water-based products designed for spraying coil lines or mechanical coating systems. In addition, the line includes Insta-Tack, a solvent-based product for manually applied applications; Travel-Tack, an aerosol-applied insulation adhesive; and Un-Tack, an adhesive remover and cleaner designed to remove spray adhesives from various surfaces.

Mon-Eco Industries Inc.'s newest product is the Eco-Duct Seal 44-72. The sealant is designed to seal high-velocity and high-pressure air-handling systems. Eco-Duct Seal 44-72 may be applied in one heavy coat or by beading. According to Mon-Eco, the sealant applies easily and dries quickly. Bonding time is approximately 15 minutes to touch, and about 48 hours before bonded all the way through. Drying time depends on the temperature, humidity and film thickness.

Eric Alley, HVAC specialist for Johns Manville, demonstrates how to cut and fabricate the company’s duct board products.

Ductboard to duct tools

Johns Manvillespotlighted its line of fiberglass duct-board products, including Mat-Faced Micro-Aire, SuperDuct RC and EnviroAire XG. Employees of Johns Manville were on hand to demonstrate how the company's duct board could be cut and fabricated on site. Johns Manville also highlighted its LinaTex, Permacote, Linacoustic and Spiracoustic Plus insulations. The company demonstrated how its insulations reduce sound and improves indoor acoustics.

Nomaco K-Flex provided information on its duct liner and wrap. NFK Duct Liner/Wrap is used to retard heat gain and prevent condensation or frost formation on cold equipment or ducts. The insulation is applied to clean, dry ductwork and equipment. It is also acceptable for some duct or plenum applications. The material can also be used on external ductwork or air-handling units, such as rooftop equipment. The company's K-Flex LS can be used as an alternative to fiberglass insulation in order to confront concerns over mold and mildew. The product's closed-cell foam structure helps with moisture resistance.

Lockformer displayed and demonstrated its Vulcan 2900 plasma-cutting machine for HVAC applications. The machine can be used to cut sheet metal up to 60 by 120 feet into component parts for ductwork. The Vulcan features sealed motor encoders for steady movement of the torch over the cutting area, with a torch-height system for consistent distance. A gull-wing scrubbing-action airfoil table helps to eliminate dust particles under the metal. The machine also has software capability to preview fittings in 3-D before cutting. Other software options include a hole-cutting program, a Vulcan parts graphic software and software for calculation and cutting of turning vanes.

HVAC accessories manufacturer Ductmate Industries Inc. held a press conference to announce that its Clutcher and EZ-Lock wire-rope hanging systems now meet the International Code Council's seismic guidelines, which refer to a structure or product's ability to withstand earthquakes. To qualify the products, Ductmate worked with the council to create new seismic guidelines for HVAC hanging systems.

Air Duct Manufacturing Inc. was again demonstrating its SPIRAmir self-sealing duct system.

Cutting products to purification

Wood Dale, Ill.'sSpiral-Helix Inc.announced that the company's Helix Goreslitter was "back by popular demand." The machine is used for cutting gores, including elbows, flat-oval and twisted elbows, and offsets. Microprocessor controls make cuts fast and accurate, officials say. Up to four cuts in one pass can produce five gores from a blank.

The KN-10 gas-fired, direct-vent cast iron boiler was on display from Hydrotherm. The unit has a 1 million Btuh input, a condensing design with efficiencies up to 93 percent and sealed-combustion direct vent. The boiler also uses a Tru-Flow control to maintain the fuel-air mixture at all firing rates and venting conditions. The combustion air is constantly measured to fine-tune the fuel-gas flow through the gas valve. The KN also comes with a self-diagnostic control to monitor all interlocks and provide full information. The controls are compatible with building-automation systems.

Rheem Manufacturing Co. displayed a number of its products. The latest units are the new Rheem Prestige Series RASL and Ruud Ultra Series UASL air conditioners with an 18 seasonal energy-efficiency ratio rating. Both series are equipped with a Copeland Scroll UltraTech compressor. Each of the air conditioners use R-410A refrigerant that contains no gases or compounds harmful to the ozone layer. The Prestige Series and Ultra Series are also available in 16 SEER with R-22 and R-410A refrigerant. The company also displayed the Rheem Corsaire and Ruud Zephyr line of air conditioners and air-source heat pumps. The 10- and 12-SEER models are available with a scroll compressor, a louvered metal jacket and a 10-year warranty on 12-SEER models.

York International Corp.'s Unitary Products Group gave attendees a look at numerous products, including its Affinity furnace and air-conditioner line. The line of furnaces includes the variable-speed V series, two-stage T series and single-stage S series. The furnaces are available with 80 percent and 90-plus percent annual fuel-utilization efficiency ratings. The Affinity air conditioner with 15-plus SEER uses a swept-fan design, an isolated compressor compartment, composite base pan and two-stage scroll compressor. York also displayed its Predator MagnaDry convertible singe-packaged rooftop unit, which the company says allows for maximum dehumidification independent of the cooling load. Each Predator MagnaDry is convertible between side- and down airflow, and is available in cooling only, cooling with electric heat and cooling with gas heat configurations.

Coleman highlighted its Echelon 5T Series 15-SEER air conditioners. The units feature the WhisperDriven system, which according to Coleman, helps to make the air conditioner one of the quietest units the company has offered. The WhisperDriven system includes a swept-wing fan, isolated compressor compartment, two-stage compressor technology and composite base pan that work together for a quieter operation. The Echelon furnaces are also equipped with EcoTrack technology, which offers continuous, gradual speed operation.

Luxaire provided information on its new Acclimate line of furnaces, which feature variable-speed V series, two-stage T series and single-stage S series of units. Furnaces are available in 90 percent and 90-plus percent AFUE ratings. They are also equipped with GeoTrak technology for gradual fan-speed operation, resulting in more energy efficiency, according to the company.

Portable spot-cooling equipment maker MovinCool showcased its Office Pro 36 at the expo. The portable cooling system delivers 36,000 Btuh of cooling and features low-temperature operation. The unit comes with a standard arc fault circuit interruption (AFCI) plug that protects against electrical arcing, and an optional Plug N Play pump that can be installed to eliminate the need to manually drain the condensation tank. According to MovinCool, the Office Pro 36 is ideal for offices, schools and other places with temperature-sensitive equipment.

Ruskin introduced its latest air-measuring station, louver, and fire and smoke dampers. The AMS50, an air-measuring station, gives customers the ability to provide their own control package to coordinate their building-automation systems. According to the company, this helps to ensure that the building has the correct amount of outside air or zone control for proper airflow in occupied spaces. The AMS50 combines control damper- and flow-measurement stations in one assembly. Ruskin also displayed its EAML6625 and EAML3625 louvers with built-in air-measuring stations. The louvers require only a few inches of installation depth and perform the same function as separate louvers and air monitors.

The EAML design uses an airfoil-shaped extrusion to measure airflow. The information is then provided to the fresh air intake damper actuator controllers, which increase or decrease the amount of fresh air intake through the louver. The company's combination fire and smoke dampers include the FSD60 and the FSDR25. The FSD60-series dampers are ideal for high-velocity, high-pressure systems because of their single-piece blade design, officials say. The FSDR25 is a "true-round" fire and smoke damper that can be installed in metal- or wood-stud walls and concrete floors. The device comes equipped with retaining "cinch" plates for installation.

American Metal Products introduced its Model EGS B-Vent Gripper Support. The device features a one-piece design with finger-type grippers that can support up to 30 feet of vent pipe. The support is offered in four sizes for vent diameter from 3 inches to 6 inches. A spacer ring integrated on the bottom of the support plates ensures a 1-inch clearance to combustibles. The support does not require assembly.

Ward Industries displayed its 8- by 4-inch Access Door from its line of duct components. The doors are stamped from 20-gauge galvanized steel and feature poly-knobs. According to the company, a cellular sponge gasket ensures a leak-free seal. The new line also includes models for flat and round duct, along with applications for single- and double-wall duct. A self-adhesive template is included with every door.

BreathClean provided attendees with information on its Whole Home Air Purification System, which according to the company was designed to destroy the pathogens that infect the air breathed indoors. The BreathClean device employs a high-intensity ultraviolet light, which is installed in the home's central ductwork. It plugs into a standard electrical outlet, drawing less energy than a 75-watt light bulb, yet provides 24,000 microwatts of UV energy, enough to kill 99.9 percent of pathogens, BreathClean said.

Testing to software

The most recent product fromCooper Atkinsis the MFM300 Multi-Function Instrument. The tool measures three temperatures and two additional functions at the same time. It also allows the user to view the readings simultaneously on an LCD display. A general-purpose probe and a pipe strap probe are also available. Additional accessories allow for calculation of superheat and subcooling, relative humidity and dry-bulb temperature.

Spectronics Corp. unveiled its new Optimax, a portable fluorescent leak detector. The product uses LED technology to pinpoint refrigerant leaks. According to the company, the power is equal to that of 100-watt lamps. The lamp uses a rechargeable battery that provides more than six hours of operation. The Optimax also provides an inspection range of approximately 20 feet.

Extech Instruments unveiled its latest humidity and temperature-chart recorder, and its newest psychrometer. The Model RH250 can be mounted on desks or walls and provides simultaneous numerical and graphical displays of humidity and temperature. The RH250 also calculates dew point. The multiple graphic displays are cursor controlled and have adjustable XY-axis resolution, allowing the user to monitor temperature and humidity within a specified range. The device records up to 49,000 readings with time and date, which can be transferred to a computer.

The SuperHeat Psychrometer Model RH350 is also available. The instrument was designed for HVACR, mold prevention and plant-maintenance use. The psychrometer allows for the simultaneous display of relative humidity with ambient-air temperature, plus dew point or wet bulb or external temperature. Built-in memory will store up to 99 data points.

Wrightsoft announced the release of its newest software, Right-Sales. The sales tool is for HVAC business owners, and automates the entire HVAC sales process from sales lead to signed proposal. According to Wrightsoft, the software was designed to make replacement sales a "by-the-numbers" process. If combined with tablet computers or a laptop computer, sales personnel can present the company's story, manufacturer videos, display product information and equipment selection, and create a final proposal for in-home printing. Right-Sales includes an integrated sales-manager feature to help business owners set measurable goals for staff, view the status of individual proposals, and adjust the sales process or the business plan to meet demands.

Show officials announce Innovation Award winners

A product that can convert HVAC-system runoff into drinking water and a monitor that can help service technicians diagnose problems before they arrive were among the winners of the AHR Expo's 2005 Innovation Awards.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers members judged the entries for novelty, value, use and potential market impact in the categories of building automation, cooling, indoor air quality, heating, refrigeration, ventilation, software, and tools and instruments.

Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Co., which manages the AHR Expo, said organizers were happy with exhibitor participation levels.

"We are very pleased with the wide range of high-quality product submissions we received for the third year of the awards program," Stevens said. "It is a pleasure to recognize and honor manufacturers that have excelled through exceptional creativity in turning technology into useful and efficient products."

In the indoor air quality category, Munters won for its H2O LiquidAire, which takes the moisture from outside air and turns it into water suitable for drinking. The water comes from an HVAC unit's cooling coils. Up to 3,500 gallons can be produced daily, according to Munters.

Hardcast's Flex-Grip 550, a spray-grade, water-based duct sealant, won in the ventilation category. The fiber-free sealant can be used on metal and fiberglass ductwork, and eliminates the "bottleneck" when ducts are sealed by hand with brushes, according to company officials.

In the tools and instruments category, the Model CTV-1500 cooling tower vacuum from Goodway Technologies Corp. took top honors. It allows towers to be cleaned without shutting down and draining the basin. It saves time and eliminates the need to shovel debris out of the basin, reducing worker exposure to contaminates.

Danfoss Inc.'s Intelligent Control Valve, which won in the refrigeration category, has a weld-in design to eliminate the need for flanges, which can leak. Its mild-steel body does not have internal-wear surfaces and weighs less than half of comparable iron valves, according to Danfoss.

Wrightsoft Corp.'s Right-Radiant Plus won in the software category. It allows contractors to lay out and design radiant-heat loops, reducing labor costs and improving design quality, according to company officials.

In the cooling category, Emerson Climate Technologies' Copeland Corp. Division won for its newest Copeland Scroll compressors, which include larger shaft-bearing systems and standardized parts. The compressors include 20 major design improvements and nine patent-pending applications, according to Copeland.

The IST Monitor from Invisible Service Technicians was voted the best building-automation product. Using microprocessors, sensors and the Internet, it allows service technicians to diagnose customers' HVAC system problems remotely.

And in the heating category, TRS Systems Inc.'s RC2100 wireless hydronic controller installs easily into hydronic heating systems, with wireless outdoor temperature sensors.

The awards were sponsored by ASHRAE and the International Exposition Co. Entry fees paid by the manufacturers will be used to start an HVACR scholarship fund for a central Florida vocational school.