When organizers first brought the AHR Expo to Las Vegas in 2011, they thought the move was a bit of, well, a gamble.

Officials with the Connecticut-based International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the expo, had avoided the popular convention city, fearing it did not have enough nearby population or drive-in attendance to support the show. But organizers quickly admitted they were wrong when opening-day crowds made the aisles of the Las Vegas Convention Center hard to navigate — a problem the International Exposition Co. was happy to have. Total attendance was pegged at 54,000.

With Las Vegas an in-demand convention locale where dates book up quickly, it’s taken the AHR Expo six years to return. But with the HVAC construction industry experiencing strong growth, show officials are optimistic about the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 event. 

“It’s exciting to see such enthusiasm around the rebounding North American building and construction industry, and subsequent growth in demand for the latest evolution of products, technologies and services the HVACR industry has to offer,” said Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Co.  “With this resurgence, a spirit of ingenuity and creativity has flourished among HVACR manufacturers, and we’re pleased to present the venue at which the results of this will be displayed for 2017.” 

Surveys say

Surveys conducted by show officials say 80 percent of the expected 2,000 exhibitors plan to showcase new or improved products during this year’s event.

“Manufacturers understand that they have a yearly opportunity to engage a receptive audience that is ready to learn about the latest and greatest,” Stevens said.  “In keeping with our reputation for being the world’s largest HVACR marketplace, we at AHR Expo are proud to create an experience that can, and often does, serve as a launching pad for our exhibitors’ annual sales and marketing efforts.”

In an effort  to better engage with expo attendees and exhibitors, officials recently announced that the show’s official website, www.ahrexpo.com, had been redesigned and the International Exposition Co. was boosting its social media efforts on platforms such as Twitter (twitter.com/ahrexpo), Facebook (www.facebook.com/ahrexpo) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/ahrexpo).

“Demonstrating that our finger is on the pulse of the latest HVACR trends through our online content is an exciting way to extend our engagement throughout the calendar year, and to show the AHR Expo audience that we’re committed to delivering the latest and greatest of what they want — and need — to learn,” Stevens said. “We recognize the key role played by social media in business, as well as the importance of informing and engaging with our exhibitors and attendees online. We want to learn and grow with the visitors to our website and social media streams, and look forward to providing content that meaningfully reflects our understanding of the AHR Expo audience’s interests and needs.”

Learning opportunities

While the product-packed show floor generates much of the attention of attendees and members of trade press, organizers point out that there are plenty of educational seminars for visitors to check out. Among the 52 sessions scheduled: 

  •  “Global Trends in the HVAC Market,” 8 a.m. Jan. 30. Presented by BSRIA Ltd., this session will cover the industry’s hot spots, including renewable energy, smart controls and building automation.
  • “How to Sell Profitable Hydronic Radiant Systems,” 8 a.m. Jan. 30. A panel discussion with representatives from Taco, Caleffi and Uponor will offer tips on the business of radiant heating. Presented by the Radiant Panel Association.
  •  “The Future of Building Automation: The Self-Learning Edge Revolution,” 9 a.m. Jan. 30. This session will discuss advanced automation and information technology.
  • “Humidity and Occupants: What the Latest in Humidity Research Means for You,” 11 a.m. Jan. 30. New research says humidity levels may affect human health. This Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute-sponsored session will explore technologies that can help control humidity.
  • “How to Read and Interpret a Test-and-Balance Report,” 11:30 a.m. Jan. 30. The National Balancing Council is sponsoring this session that will help facility managers and others understand the highly technical document.
  • “Chilled Beams Performance Certification,” 10 a.m. Jan. 31. The AHRI’s new program will be the focus.
  • “Make More Money by Identifying Where Your Market Really is and Saying ‘No’ to Where it Isn’t,” 1 p.m. Jan. 30. Presenters Dave Squires and Michael Layton of Online Access Inc. will explain why limiting your marketing efforts often makes the most sense. The session is presented by Women in HVACR.
  • “Intelligent Buildings and the Internet of Things,” 11 a.m. Jan. 31. The Continental Automated Buildings Association will present results from a $150,000 study conducted by the association.
  • “How to Grow Debt-Free While Generating Cash,” 2 p.m. Jan. 31. Women in HVACR are presenting this business-planning session.
  • “Restoring Energy Efficiency Through HVAC Air Distribution System Cleaning,” 2:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association will present this overview of the benefits of cleaning ductwork, including air quality and energy consumption.
  • “Back to Basics: IAQ and HVAC Survey Techniques and Case Studies,” 3:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The Indoor Air Quality Association is bringing in experts for this session on HVAC system components and indoor air quality.

The full list of sessions is at www.ahrexpo.com.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ winter meeting overlaps with the expo, and the society also offers a bevy of sessions and speeches on topics such as indoor air quality and refrigeration. Most society events will take place at Caesars Palace. Many of the educational sessions qualify for continuing-education credits in most states.

“Providing technical expertise for ASHRAE’s members and their clients continues to be the core of the conference technical program,” said conference chairman Leon Shapiro. “Climate change will compel ASHRAE members to rethink HVAC and R for the future. In addition to sessions on low (global warming-potential) refrigerants, the technical program will also focus on the water-energy nexus and designing for maximum efficiency, energy efficiency and IAQ (indoor air quality) in industrial spaces, and achieving projected results after all the modeling is completed. The rich experience from the technical program will leave the attendees better prepared to deal with these issues as they advance their professional careers.”

Details on ASHRAE’s conference are at www.ashrae.org/lasvegas. 

More than 700 product categories to be displayed on show floor 

Visitors to this year’s AHR Expo can expect to find more than 760 different types of products on display, with categories ranging from HVAC and refrigeration systems, equipment and components to specialized climate control systems and technical support and services.  

Here are just a few of the products attendees will find at the show.

Ruskin will feature its pressure-independent automatic balancing dampers and various air-control products and equipment at booth No. C3334. The dampers automatically regulate damper positioning for automatic airflow in supply and exhaust applications.

At booth C3106, Trane will be displaying its compact vertical blower coil. The blower coil is available as a single-zone variable air volume system with the company’s Tracer UC400 controllers and can deliver up to 66 percent higher efficiency, company officials say.

Mestek Machinery will have six products on display at booth No. C1530, including its Vulcan 1600 WJ waterjet insulation cutting table by Lockformer, which is designed to eliminate duct-liner bottlenecks in sheet metal shops and reduce labor associated with the process, officials say. The company will also feature its Vulcan LaserMax laser cutting table, Tie Rod Crimper, ISM D-Max 2.0E Spiral tube former, Cornermatic Plus and Cornermatic Combo.

At booth No. C1250, Sensaphone will promote its Sentinel Pro remote monitoring system, which can interface with any HVAC and refrigeration equipment that uses a programmable logic controller with Modbus sensors. The system interacts with existing sensors in a facility and provides operators with on-demand live status and data acquisition from any internet-connected device. The company’s full line of remote monitoring devices and sensors will also be on display, including its pressure sensor, vibration sensor, Web600 monitoring system and more.

Duro Dyne will showcase its 2017 RH Mach III Pinspotter Pink Edition at booth No. C2124. The special-edition pin spotter highlights the company’s partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer. Duro Dyne will be donating all proceeds of the special-edition machine sales to the foundation and will donate an additional $1 every time the hashtag #DuroDynePink is used online before and during the expo.

Portacool will debut its Kuul Control evaporative cooling media, a specialized series of evaporative media comprised of raw materials that enhances cooling performance. Company officials say it’s the only evaporative media made in the United States. Visitors to the show can find Portacool at booth No. N8513.

Portland, Oregon-based manufacturer Ventacity Systems will exhibit its full line of heat recovery ventilation and energy recovery ventilation products at booth No. C980. The units can be equipped with the company’s Smart Building Gateway technology to provide round-the-clock remote performance monitoring and fault alerts.

Johnson Controls will display several new technologies that increase energy efficiency and building intelligence at booth Nos. C2929, C3124 and C3329.

Products include Verasys, a plug-and-play controls system that integrates HVAC and refrigeration equipment and controls for light-commercial buildings; York YVFA free-cooling air-cooled screw chiller, which is listed as a finalist in the AHR Expo Innovation Awards’ cooling category; York EcoAdvance, a technology that captures and removes molecular contaminants from indoor air and manages the flow of outside air into a building; Johnson Controls BlueStream hybrid cooling system, which company officials say can reduce water consumption in traditional cooling tower systems by 25 to 80 percent compared with all-evaporative heat rejection systems; and its variable-refrigerant-flow Smart Gateway, which offers integration into the company’s Metasys building management system and brings in data for all York VRF indoor and outdoor units.

At booth No. C2943, Uponor North America will promote its code-listed, commercial-grade ProPex brass transition fittings in sizes from a half-inch to 2 inches.

Grundfos will showcase its Scala2 domestic booster pump and its PACOpaQ HVAC packaged pumping system at booth No. C1320.

UV Resources will feature its upgraded RLM Xtreme fixtureless ultraviolet lamp system, which now includes a prewired 24-volt safety interlock switch to ensure operator safety by de-energizing the UV-C system when an access door or panel is opened. Attendees can find the company at booth No. C5417.

At booth No. C5917, Nortiz will have two models of its CB Combination Boiler on display. The boiler uses high-efficiency condensing technology to deliver hot water to plumbing and hydronic heating applications.

Bosch will have its SSB commercial condensing boilers among the company’s products at the show, including the new Buderus SSB stainless steel boiler. The Buderus SSB series has 96 percent efficiency, and has the same features and benefits of a small residential boiler for use in large commercial applications. Visitors can find Bosch at booth No. C5115.

Johns Manville will show pipe insulation and PVC product lines in its C4515 40-by-40-foot booth. The display is expected to be over 16 feet long and 10 feet wide. It includes the company’s Microlite EQ PSK duct wrap. Free of formaldehyde and lightweight, it includes blanket-style insulation with a PSK facing for thermal and condensation control. The company will also demonstrate the fabrication of Spiracoustic Plus duct liner and Micro-Aire duct board.

For updated information on products to be shown at the 2017 AHR Expo, visit www.ahrexpo.com.

Organizers hand out innovation awards

Big ideas and creative solutions abound with the 10 category winners of the 2017 AHR Expo Innovation Awards, organizers say.  

Entries were evaluated on innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact, and winners were selected by a panel of third-party American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers member judges. 

The winners will be recognized in a formal ceremony during the 2017 AHR Expo, where the Product of the Year Award winner will also be announced.

“This year’s AHR Expo Innovation Award winners have shown, once again, that the parameters for HVACR advancement are truly ever expanding,” said Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Co., which announced the category winners in September 2016. “We congratulate those who have been recognized as 2017’s pioneers from across all areas of the industry, by proving there is always more to be achieved — and farther to be propelled — when it comes to HVACR innovation. This is the spirit that makes each year’s competition so fresh and exciting, and is what we are proud to see, year after year, as a cornerstone of inspiration for the HVACR industry’s ongoing creativity and advancement.”

The 2017 winners are:

Category: Building automation

Company: Danfoss

Product: Danfoss Enterprises Services, a cloud-based service delivery platform designed for food retail applications that collects a range of data points from connected devices and provides insight into aspects like HVAC and refrigeration operations, and energy management and usage.

Category: Cooling

Company: Daikin Applied

Product: Daikin Pathfinder AWV, an air-cooled screw chiller that features variable volume ratio technology, which allows the chiller’s compressor to adjust to its own internal compression ratio as water and air temperatures fluctuate.

Category: Green building

Company: Carrier

Product: Dual Stage Relief Economizer, a traditional economizer designed for light-commercial rooftop units that has the ability to relieve building pressure without the use of a power-consuming device.

Category: Heating

Company: Noritz America

Product: Noritz Combination Boiler, a boiler that delivers hot water for plumbing and hydronic residential heating applications while managing the switch between uses without disrupting performance.

Category: Indoor air quality

Company: Nortec Humidity

Product: Nortec GS Series CS Model Humidifier, a gas-fired isothermal humidifier that produces hygienic and atmosphere steam, fulfilling a wide range of humidification requirements for indoor environments.

Category: Plumbing

Company: Taco Inc.

Product: SmartPlug Smart Hot Water Recirculation Control, a plug-in, 115-volt control that features technology to learn and record a homeowner’s hot water-usage pattern and adjusts accordingly to operate a home’s hot-water recirculation pump when hot water is usually required.

Category: Refrigeration

Company: Danfoss

Product: Danfoss CTM (Electrical-Controlled Transcritical Multi Ejector), an electrically controlled multi-ejector designed for the warm climate operation of trans-critical carbon-dioxide systems in food retail applications that recovers energy while controlling the high pressure of the trans-critical application.

Category: Software

Company: Nidec Motor Corp./U.S. Motors

Product: Rescue Select Programming App, an app that works in tandem with the cloud-based web service Rescue Select Truck Stock motor to help service contractors identify an original blower motor’s horsepower ratings and operating parameters, and program an in-stock replacement motor to mimic the original performance profile.

Category: Tools & Instruments

Company: Pexology Inc.

Product: Pexgun, an automatic, lightweight and compact handheld tool that attaches to Pex pipe to rebar or wire mesh in radiant heating and cooling, and snow- and ice-melt applications.

Category: Ventilation

Company: Titus

Product: Helios Digital Diffuser, a wireless digital variable air volume diffuser that provides ventilation for indoor spaces to elevate occupant comfort and improve indoor air quality.

For more information on the 2017 winners, visit www.ahrexpo.com/awards-winners-2017.