2012 AHR Expo Was HVACR Product Playground

Last week we blogged from the show floor and highlighted a few activities in our booth, a list of our new products, the size and scope of the show and finally, survey results on what exhibitors are expecting the 2012 economy to be for the HVACR industry.  With more than an estimated 60,000 attendees this year and nearly 2,000 exhibitors, this was quite a show.

For three days in the Windy City, spirits were high, traffic was excellent and there were plenty of innovations and product launches at this year’s AHR Expo.  As I mentioned last week, many consider this to be show to go to for innovation, green building and technology trends in the HVACR and buildings market.  Some even call it the biggest product playground in the HVACR industry.

As I walked the show floor, it was easy to overhear discussions on energy efficiency, green products and sustainable technologies as well as building automation and controls, energy monitoring, audits and commissioning.  All of the conversations I overheard made it clear that it starts and ends with performance, efficiency and energy-savings.

Technology Trends and Going Mobile

While sustainability continues to be a key talking point in the industry, the development and introduction of new technology drives the market.  In fact, as I toted around my Smartphone, iPad® and flip camera for the second year in a row, I noticed for the first time I wasn’t alone.

One such technology trend that was noticeable walking the floor was the number of companies that have developed mobile applications (apps) and/or software to streamline and automate processes. A few of the ones that peeked my interest:

  • A field service management platform that delivers functionality that improves in-the-field efficiency
  • An Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard that informs occupants in real-time, building performance data and illustrates the building’s sustainable features to create environmental awareness among occupants and the public.
  • The Bell & Gossett System Syzer® that performs critical calculations using iPads® and iPhones®
  • Several new lines of Wi-Fi enabled HVAC Controls and Web Portals
  • A new GPS tracking interface with an entirely new look and feel.  It was like looking at a video game.
  • Other mobile applications available in the HVACR marketplace include:
    • Belt-efficiency calculators
    • Cap-tube resizing calculators
    • Fuel-cost calculators
    • Duct-sizing calculators
    • Fan-law calculators
    • HVAC-operating cost calculators
    • Steam calculators
    • Voltage-drop calculators
    • Wire-size calculators
    • Residential load calculators
    • Pressure/temperature

Other interesting topics and trends that were discussed and seen while at AHR Expo:

  • Custom products for Data Servers, increased interest in “cloud” storage.
  • Interest in heat pumps and heat recovery versions of products
  • Increase in system performance (energy efficiency) rather than component efficiency
  • Increased presence in geothermal heat pumps and technology
  • New models and expanded offerings of modular chillers
  • Increased development of Low GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants
  • Increased use of VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) zoning strategy

Whew!  What a show!  I’m sure all that walked the floor to see the innovative products and services available in our industry would say the same.  Next year is in Dallas, see ya’ll in 2013.