By Stephen Bennett
Despite travel disruptions caused by Winter Storm Jonas–cancelled flights, travel bans in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic–nearly 61,000 people participated in the 2016 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, Jan. 25-27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
By official count, the Expo drew 60,926 registered attendees, consisting of 18,254 exhibitor personnel and 42,672 visitors, said the show’s management, International Exposition Co., based in Westport, Conn. Next year’s AHR Expo, co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, will be held in Las Vegas from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2017.
This year’s event in Orlando featured educational programs, a mix of exhibitors’ new product and technology presentations, ASHRAE Learning Institute courses, certification exams, PM Live seminars and many free programs offered by endorsing associations and other groups. Here is selected company news that was announced at the Expo, and some product highlights from the exhibits:
R.W. Beckett Corp.
Craig Butler of R.W. Beckett Corp. has been promoted to a newly-created position: product manager for residential oil burners and tank accessories. With the promotion, Butler, who previously was a sales engineer for 14 years for R.W. Beckett in the mid Atlantic, has relocated from Pennsylvania to Elyria, Ohio, near Beckett’s plant in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Butler can be reached at 800-645-2876 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butler’s move to the new position is part of R.W. Beckett’s expansion of its offerings of tank accessories. Beckett has acquired a number of companies recently, including Oil Equipment Manufacturing Co., known as OEM, who made the King®and Rocket® lines of tank Gauges, Fill Alarms and other fuel tank accessories; the Firomatic brand line of valves from Highfield Manufacturing, a division of Rexnord Industries; and Time Saving Fills, which makes connectors designed to enable fast, safe filling of oil tanks. Time Saving Fills of Harrisburg, Pa., was acquired from Lacy Foundries, based in Baltimore, Md.
Curtis “Curt” Martin, a graduate of the engineering program at Pennsylvania State University, has been hired to succeed Butler as sales engineer for the mid-Atlantic region, which consists of eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Martin can be reached at 717-819-2955 and email@example.com.
Bosch Thermotechnology Corp.
The Bosch Control Smart Room Thermostat exhibited at the show works with natural gas- or propane-fired condensing boilers from Bosch. The thermostat allows for precise temperature control from anywhere via the downloadable app, Wi-Fi and internet connectivity, and can be used remotely with compatible smartphones or tablets, the company said. The Bosch Control interfaces with compatible Bosch and Buderus condensing boilers and allows the user to control both heating and hot water settings for greater energy savings. (The Buderus Logamatic control works with oil-fired boilers, Craig Lazinsky, marketing program manager for Bosch Thermotechnology Corp., Londonderry, N.H., noted in an email.)
Bosch’s New Systems Control intelligent modules, also exhibited at the Expo, are designed to control single or multiple-zone systems for indoor comfort and energy savings. The NSC tightly controls energy use through two-way communications with a range of high efficiency (95 percent AFUE) Bosch and Buderus condensing boiler offerings: Greenstar wall-mounted and floor-standing boilers; Buderus GB142 and GB162 boilers for larger homes; and light commercial applications.
The Honeywell ERM (for equipment remote module) is cordless and offers a time- and cost-saving alternative to running wires from a condensing unit or boiler to control devices, said Honeywell’s Nate Streit, channel marketing manager for home comfort and energy systems. There are fewer holes to drill and wires to run. The Honeywell ERM includes Wireless RedLink™ communication between the condensing unit/compressor or boiler and thermostat.
General Filters’ President and CEO Bob Abraham and Vice President John Redner presented the “Soaring Eagle” Award to Mid Atlantic Sales during General Filters’ annual meeting with sales representatives, which coincides with the AHR Expo.
Presented to Tony Blanton and Robert Pelkey of Mid Atlantic Sales, the award is given to the sales team that best meets key business objectives during the previous year. Redner said, “It was a tough decision, as there were several companies whose efforts were outstanding in 2015. We truly appreciate everyone’s hard work.”
General Filters, Inc. is a manufacturer whose products include filters for oil-fired residential heating equipment. The company has a manufacturing plant in Novi, Mich., and offices in Canada.
Rinnai America Corp. this year will be introducing Wi-Fi connectivity for its tankless water heaters, the company announced. All of the manufacturer’s tankless water heater models, commercial products, condensing boilers, direct vent wall furnaces and fan convectors are available in propane as well as natural gas, and one-third of the company’s business is in propane-fired equipment, said Susan Mittelbrun, vice president of marketing, and James York, vice president of engineering for Rinnai America, based in Peachtree City, Ga.
“Home automation is a major theme for AHR this year,” Mittelbrun said. The Wi-Fi module, along with an app that works with the module, “is the first of its kind to bring gas tankless water heaters into this exciting arena” of Wi-Fi, Mittelbrun said.
Wi-Fi capability will be available for new equipment and for existing tankless water heaters dating back to 2008 products, York said in an interview at the Rinnai exhibit. Consumers will register their Rinnai unit with the installer, who will be able to use a computer, smart phone or tablet to download an app, or go to a designated website, to monitor and manage the customer’s equipment, York said.
Solutions With Innovation
Solutions With Innovation, based in Naugatuck, Conn., exhibited an upgraded “RF Capacitance Transmitter” for fuel tanks. With the upgrades, the unit has improved performance and is easy to calibrate, said Patricia Semplice, sales supervisor for SWI. The company also exhibited its custom switches for small and large tanks. The small-tank switch features probes up to four feet long; the large-tank switch features probes up to 15 feet long.
Taco Comfort Solutions, a Taco Group Company
Taco Inc. is now called Taco Comfort Solutions, a Taco Group Company. Headquartered in Cranston, R.I., Taco develops and manufactures hydronic-based components for use in heating and cooling applications in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.
Its acquisition of Italian pump manufacturer Askoll Sei, finalized on Jan. 1, benefits Taco through the addition of high-efficiency ECM technology to its product line and it also gives the company a position in the European market, John Hazen White, Jr., chairman, CEO and owner, told an audience at a press briefing at the Taco exhibit during the AHR Expo.
Today Taco has manufacturing sites in the U.S., Canada, Panama, China and Vietnam, White said, and has gone from being “an American company based in Rhode Island to a global company based in America.” Speaking after White, Wil VandeWiel, president and COO, said, “We are going to become one of the biggest players in the ECM business. That’s our goal.” The acquisition of Askoll Sei has already contributed to that effort: Askoll’s patented ECM technology has been incorporated into Taco’s new 00e Series high-efficiency circulator line. Taco says the pumps and circulators use less electricity than standard models and are designed for use in systems zoned with circulators or zone valves.
Taco also established an annual award in the name of Dan Holohan, long-time hydronics expert, and White presented the inaugural award to Holohan during the press briefing at AHR. “Dan has contributed so much to the industry in so many ways,” White said, praising Holohan’s contributions in “education, humor, writing” and “loyalty and friendship.” The award is called the “Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort,” and will be presented each year by Taco to a person, persons, institution or company “that we feel has contributed the most to the industry, to comfort–to all the things you represent in a way that’s full of love, happiness and laughter,” White told Holohan before presenting him with the award, an engraved bowl.
Noteworthy for those fuel oil dealers who have diversified into HVAC is that Testo introduced eight Smart Probes – HVAC instruments that allow users to remotely read measurements from one or up to six probes at the same time by using the Testo Smart Probes App installed on their smart device.
Designed for setup and diagnostics of large and small HVAC/R systems, the Smart Probes can be combined to create measuring solutions for most HVAC/R applications. The family of Smart Probes includes measuring instruments for air temperature, infrared non-contact surface temperature, humidity, pressure, air velocity, volume flow, and temperatures of pipes.
The Smart Probes App for both Apple iOS and Android is designed to be an easy-to-use tool that will turn a smart device into the display for the Smart probes.
After downloading the App, the user hits one button on the Smart Probe and it automatically connects to the smart probes and shows the data. All measurement data are presented as a live single-point reading, in table format or diagram, and can be converted into PDF or Excel files. Custom reports can be saved and/or shared by email with photos and comments. All of the data can be stored and retrieved, to and from a smart device, saving the end user hours of time-consuming paperwork.
Testo, Inc., based in Sparta, N.J., develops and manufactures handheld test and measurement instrumentation. Additionally, Testo is a manufacturer of portable combustion efficiency and air emission analyzers, temperature, pressure, moisture, and thermal imaging test and measurement instruments.
Uponor PEX pipe and ProPEX expansion fittings are now available in 2½” and 3″ sizes, offering professionals the ability to specify, design and install more hydronic piping systems with PEX, the company said. The fittings were on display at the AHR Expo.
The pipe offering, which includes Wirsbo hePEX oxygen-barrier pipe for hydronic heating and cooling applications, is available in various coil lengths and straight lengths to meet any application need. The ProPEX ASTM F1960 expansion fitting offering includes a complete line of tees, elbows, couplings and transition fittings, as well as a flange adapter kit. The offering also includes new PEX pipe cutting tools and larger sizes of PEX-a Pipe Support
(a steel channel that enables hanger spacing similar to that of copper for suspended-piping applications).
In conjunction with this new offering, Milwaukee Electric Tool is launching its new M18 FORCELOGIC ProPEX Expansion Tool that expands 2″, 2½” and 3″ Uponor PEX pipe for making ProPEX connections. The new tool complements Milwaukee’s current offering of M12 and M18 ProPEX Expansion Tools for ⅜” through 1½” pipe sizes.
Uponor, Inc., with North American headquarters in Apple Valley, Minn., is a provider of plumbing, fire safety, radiant heating/cooling, hydronic piping and pre-insulated piping systems for residential and commercial applications.