ORLANDO, Fla. — Winter storms battering much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were no match for the 2016 AHR Expo, which drew almost 61,000 to Orlando, Florida.
While some HVAC sales professionals from New York, New Jersey and Maryland may have had trouble getting to the Jan. 25-27 HVAC market trade show at the Orange County Convention Center due to winter storm Jonas, the expo still managed to have an official attendance of 60,926, which came to central Florida to see what’s billed as the largest HVAC construction trade show in the world.
The expo took up 469,540 square feet of the convention center, with 2,063 exhibitors showing their products. Exhibitors brought 18,254 staffers to work the booths over the convention’s three days, which saw lots of sheet metal products and ductwork fabrication machinery sold right off the show floor.
Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Company, which manages the show, said he was pleased with the show.
“A lot goes into making this show such a valued platform for today’s professionals to come together, but I’m proud to be part of making it all happen,” Stevens said. “Based on early feedback, we’re already working on several aspects of next year’s show to accommodate more attendees and to make the experience even more worthwhile.”
Officials with longtime exhibitor Regal Beloit America Inc. said they had another successful event.
“Regal has been exhibiting at AHR Expo for well over 30 years, and I’ve been coming for 16 of those years in various roles,” said Heather Scaggs-Richardson, marketing communications manager for the company. “AHR Expo is the premier event for HVACR professionals, and one of the few places to see what’s happening, live and in person, in our ever-changing industry. It would take a lot to get me to pass up the opportunity to come each year.”
Here are some of the items on display.
Bay Shore, New York-based sheet metal products company Duro Dyne Corp. pointed out that it was the company’s 55th AHR Expo, and the company had several products for booth visitors to check out.
The company’s new PLSU insulation cutter features a gear-driven slitter and a pull-driven cross cut, which allows the PLSU to accommodate virtually all insulation on the market, officials say.
The FDCC connector dispenser features straightening rolls to combat the curl of flexible duct connectors. It also carries up to three rolls of 4-by-4 connectors.
The MF-12A, a portable pin spotter, has a new transformer, which allows a switch between high and low taps on the face of the machine. The gun and ground cable now reach up to 10 feet.
Duro Dyne’s SSFU, the universal spraying machine allows operators to use the same applicator on 5-gallon buckets or a 55-gallon drum and allows easy clean up and maintenance.
It also had an insertion tool for rod locks allows them to be put into hollow pipe by flipping a switch, which impressed attendees, officials said.
The company also showed its FG Machine, which it said was welding pins perfectly all day long.
Ruskin showed its CD60 control damper. It includes a stainless steel option, easy installation and a stronger design. It offers quick installation, officials say.
Zonefirst’s Plug and Play Zoning System, which company officials say is the easiest, fastest and most cost effective zoning system to install on the market, features color-coded wiring terminals, system status LEDs, damper position LEDs, damper test buttons and plug-in damper terminals.
Alan Manufacturing’s C450 floor and wall grill system damper is based on wireless operation. The main task of the system, which is composed of a control board, infrared receiver, infrared remote, motor assembly and power supply adapter or battery pack, is to open and close the grill in the air duct system. To operate the system, users can press the button on the remote. Pressing the button a second time will reverse the direction.
Vicon Machinery’s single-head corner insertion machine has a heavy-duty design and easy load with a 16 to 24-gauge capacity.
Utilizing the company’s proprietary barrel clamp, the E-Z Flange spiral duct system by Sheet Metal Connectors Inc. creates virtually no leakage connection and assembles, the company says. The system has factory installed flanges on the ends of the spiral pipe fittings, which adds strength and rigidity to it. The flanges are attached by either spot-welds or button lock, there are no screw protruding into the air stream.
Brantford, Ontario-based Norlok Technology Inc. displayed its Surelok III clinching machine, which is a cold drawn process for fastening sheet metal and an alternative to spot welding and riveting. The machine fastens material from 14-gauge to 32-gauge, is stainless steel ready and air powered. Company officials said that the machine’s versatile design and features outperform its competition.
Stamped Fittings’ the Edge system eliminates the sealing of all connections in a spiral pipe system. Company officials say that The Edge has stronger fitting, eliminates sharp edge, has a consistent diameter, is factory installed and is treated with anti-friction coating for easy installation.
Additionally, as an alternative to sheet metal, Kingspan’s insulated metal panels offer superior energy efficiency, while offering a stylish look for the commercial construction sector, company officials said at the expo. The panels feature high-value, superior airtightness and low thermal bridging.
Indeeco’s new infrared ceiling heater, the CLI, is designed for recessed mounting into a ceiling. Officials say it provides heat in a quiet, efficient manner. Single units can heat small areas and multiple heaters can be used in large or odd-shaped rooms. The cabinet is 20-gauge steel with a V-shaped recessed box, and the front grille is made from 22-gauge steel with rounded corners.
The Nopeus industrial metal shear from Midwest Tool and Cutlery quickly and easily cuts profile material, spiral duct, wire mesh, and other material cleanly without a second pass, the maker says. Their scissor action blades cut straight and tight left curves with a capacity to cut up to 18-gauge cold rolled steel. The shears are also manufactured out of heat-treated steel and precisely ground and aligned for maximum cutting speed.
Autodesk displayed its MEP Fabrication suite, which includes its Fabrication CADmep, Fabrication ESTmep and Fabrication CAMduct software. These products use manufacturer-specific content to help generate better estimates, create more accurate detailed models and directly drive MEP fabrication.
EastCoast CAD/CAM also displayed new workflow software at AHR. The EX Design to Fabrication CAD/CAM software supports every phase of the MEP Contractor’s BIM workflow through detailing tools, 3D manufacturer content and complete shop fabrication software.
QuoteExpress Sheet Metal 3.1, an integrated estimating system for sheet metal ductwork and HVAC contractors from QuoteSoft, calculates rectangular, round, oval ductwork and HVAC accessories and equipment. The program has available specifications and standard labor times modified for any type of duct system.
Trimble displayed various software for sheet metal works and HVAC construction contractors at its booth, including its Trimble AutoBid SheetMetal for estimating; Trimble DuctDesigner 3-D and Vulcan CAM software for detailing and fabrication; and Trimble MEP Service Management Suite and AllTrak Cloud asset management and productivity software.
The company’s Trimble Field Link construction layout software was also promoted. Company officials say it meets unique HVAC market needs, and enables contractors to take advantage of satellite technology when performing outdoor construction layout. The Trimble Rapid Positioning System, another new product, includes the Trimble RPT600 layout station to record and find positions for layout work.
Ductmate’s GreenSeam Plus has been developed to target high-efficiency residential and light commercial duct systems that are being designed to conform to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and other green building initiatives. The company’s self-sealing snap-lock spiral duct has a pre-installed gasket that seals the longitudinal seam and the transverse joint once snapped together. It eliminates both material and labor costs of external sealing and taping, and, with increased fuel cost, reduces leakage which creates higher efficiencies leading to lower fuel costs. The spiral duct is also supplied with a pre-installed butyl gasket that once snapped together seals itself.
The RT-300 series duct smoke detector from Air Products and Controls helps HVAC, fire and electrical installers from pirating terminals. Compatible with all legacy APC detectors, sample tubs and remote accessories, the detector features 180 degree visibility for all visual indicators and flashing LED to indicate normal operation. Special features include no tools one-piece cover, timed maintenance mode, trade-dedicated terminal blocks and full-range voltage input.
Elgen Manufacturing, a New Jersey-based HVAC construction hardware and HVAC accessories supplier, displayed a variety of products at its booth. Its Superpoint weld pins, which are used for fastening fiberglass duct liner to the inside of the duct wall, were one of its newest. The raised head of the pins, which are made from 10-gauge electroplated galvanized steel and 28-gauge full, hard galvanized steel, allows for better movement throughout the hopper. They can be used in any insulation weld pin machines, and rings in the nail head provide more consistent welds, officials said.
Mestek Machinery had a large AHR Expo booth, showing off a variety of sheet metal forming equipment under the company’s Lockformer, Iowa Precision, Engel Industries and ISM by Lockformer brands.
The company promoted its D-Max 1.6, the Max-Stitch 1.0 and the Max-Flange, all part of its spiral duct tube former line from ISM. The company introduced the Laser-Max 1.5, a fiber laser table.
Also on display were an updated tie rod crimper and the new Gore-Max, an elbow machine.
Tool company Hilmor announced it would introduce 43 new tools in 2016 aimed at the HVAC construction market. Among those promoted at the AHR Expo were the Fact Connect screwdriver bit set, the Fast Connect Magnetic Nut Driver and a larger, 6-inch version of the company’s 9-in-1 multi-tool.
“These new tools and design enhancements demonstrate our continued commitment to enable technicians to get more done,” said Hilmor marketing Senior Vice President Rich Mathews.
Carlisle HVAC used its large AHR Expo booth to show a number of products, including its Seal Tack water-based vapor barrier for duct liner, Foil-Grip 1404-181BFX duct sealant and coatings and coverings for line-set protection. It also showed the Cartridge Killer, an extrusion gun kit that allows HVAC market technicians to easily apply Spray-Seal duct sealant to fittings.