This year the Show floor exhibited 1,824 companies from across the entire industry, including 497 international exhibitors.

Best of AHR 2019

Feb. 15, 2019
The show’s return to Atlanta featured innovative products, a wide array of educational sessions, and network opportunities galore.

The 2019 Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Exposition returned to Atlanta for the first time since 2001 and was a big success by almost any measure. This year the Show floor exhibited 1,824 companies from across the entire industry, including 497 international exhibitors. 

And this year for the first time the AHR Expo used radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to verify attendance. This allows for the scanning in of each person without stalling the crowd and creating long wait times. (In previous years the Show relied on pre-registration and on-site registration to quantify attendance.) 

All of which means that the Show was able to generate a true capture of every attendee that walked through the door, and well as track data from time spent on the exhibit floor and time spent in sessions. The 2019 numbers are strong, with a total verified attendance of 45,078. 

“The HVACR industry is in a very exciting position at the moment and that energy was evident on the Show floor this year,” said Mark Stevens, show manager of AHR Expo. “Attendees came from all over the globe and from every corner of the industry to make this Show a success. We’ve received great feedback on the quality of networking from both attendees and exhibitors and look forward to seeing many of these connections come to life in the products and technologies on the Show floor in Orlando next year.” The 2020 AHR Expo is scheduled for February 3-5 at the Orlando Convention Center. 

The Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, endorsed by a host of industry leading organizations, and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference (see our cover story, ASHRAE Wraps Successful 2019 AHR Expo). 

Best from the show floor 

Armstrong Fluid Technology announced the availability of a new capability on all of its Design Envelope solutions. All Design Envelope pumps will have the capability to predict and detect cavitation in a pump, and deliver an alert to a previously established contact. The ability to detect cavitation and provide an alert will limit the energy losses and equipment damage. 

Aquatherm had new, larger diameter PP-R pipes and fittings to showcase, but the real scene-stealer at the Aqutherm booth was the new large-diameter heat-fusion machine from McElroy that was forming joints on-site. 

Bosch brought a host of new products to the show, including their Connected Control Thermostats, the SSB Industrial Boiler, the Greenstar Gas Condensing Boiler, and the SM Rev C Geothermal Heat Pump. But, with their flexibility that makes them ideal for retrofit applications, it may be their new minisplits that have the biggest impact. The Climate 5000 Minisplit Heat Pump System is ideal for residential heating and cooling up to 48,000 Btuh. The system id quiet, inverter-driven, and can function properly across an extended operating range from -13F to 122F. 

Emerson showcased a variety of ASCO solenoid and electrohydraulic fuel gas safety shutoff valves. These products meet leading agency approvals and are ideal for boilers, ovens, furnaces, gas generators and heating equipment in commercial and industrial applications. Also on display were the company’s AH2(E) On-Off Actuator and AH4(E) Low-High-Off Actuator. Compatible with V710-type gas valve bodies, these electrohydraulic motorized actuators provide reliable on-off and low-high-off control of main gas lines to industrial and commercial burners. 

Lochinvar announced the release of its micro-CHP (Combined Heat & Power) XRGI 25 cogeneration system. Producing 480-volt three-phase 24-kW and capturing 163,000-Btuh from the engine exhaust renders an astounding 93% operating efficiency. You can get the full story from columnist Dave Yates starting on pg. 24.

Niles Steel Tank debuted its Power Plates water heating system that ships with the customer’s choice of water storage tank up to 2,500 gal. The Power Plate heat exchanger provides high rates of heat transfer requiring less surface area than conventional shell or tube heat exchangers. Grooved connections for easy boiler hook-up come standard.

Poloplast is a German company working to establish itself in the North American marketplace. They manufacture PP-R pipe for plumbing and mechanical systems. The company’s pipes and fittings are designed to be assembled in a quick and cost-sensitive manner into systems that are longer lasting, exceedingly eco-friendly, and provide efficient operating characteristics. 

Rinnai had two major launches at AHR, the I-Series Boiler and the Demand Duo 2. The I-Series can allows for simultaneous home heating and domestic hot water production. If the heat is running and someone in the home wants to take a shower, the heat is not interrupted. The technology also includes an innovative bypass servo valve, which enables precise control of the hot water temperature. The boiler is available in both combi and heat-only models and comes standard with multi-zone heating control. 

Building off the success of its current line of commercial products, the Demand Duo 2 combines the hybrid technology of the Demand Duo product family with the redundancy and performance of its commercial rack systems. The system features a 119-gallon storage tank along with two CU199 Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters with freestanding rack that work together to offer the best benefits of both tank and tankless technology. The 119-gallon storage tank offers built-in redundancy and storage for high spike draws – eliminating the need to purchase multiple tank water heaters. 

The big story out of the Taco Comfort Solutions booth was the 0018e high-efficiency, Bluetooth-enabled circulator. The ECM-powered 0018e is a solution for contractors who want the durability, efficiency and simplicity of other Taco ECM circulators, while looking for more system feedback and control. The circulator features Bluetooth communication to a mobile app that provides real time control, diagnostics and reporting, such as installation history, power consumption, performance and runtime. The installer can select between multiple constant speed, proportional pressure, and constant pressure modes as well as activeADAPT™, Taco’s self-adjusting proportional pressure mode. 

Taco also touted its new 4900 Series magnetic dirt separator that provides dual-action separation for closed loop hydronic heating systems. The 4900 separator utilizes a powerful, 13,000 gauss magnet in addition to patented PALL ring technology, and is easily blown down by opening a valve at the bottom of the vessel. It is available sizes range from ¾” to 2” NPT and from ¾” to 1-1/2” sweat.  

Victaulic showcased a new grooved piping system designed exclusively for chlorinated polyvinyl chloride/polyvinyl chloride (CPVC/PVC) pipe. Created for use on Schedules 40 and 80 CPVC and PVC pipe, the system includes a full line of Installation-Ready couplings, fittings and pipe preparation tools. 

Also at the booth was Victaulic’s CG1100 Cut Grooving Tool. It can produce the PGS-300 cut groove into 2-12”/DN50 - DN300 Schedules 40 and 80 CPVC/PVC pipe. The tool is portable, lightweight, and available for purchase or rental. 

Viega’s MegaPress technology is now available for stainless steel pipe up to 4". Three new fitting sizes were featured at the booth, 2½", 3" and 4" joining the current MegaPress Stainless offerings of ½", ¾", 1", 1½" and 2" sizes to create a comprehensive lineup for a broad variety of applications, including maintenance and repair.  MegaPress fittings reduce installation time by up to 90 percent compared to traditional pipe joining methods. Combining productivity with peace of mind, MegaPress Stainless XL fittings are equipped with patented Viega Smart Connect® technology, which allows installers to easily identify unpressed connections during pressure testing. 

WaterFurnace was demonstrating a new commitment to the commercial and industrial markets with its Versatech variable capacity water-source geothermal units in 3 to 6 and 10 to 15 ton capacities. All units are configurable in horizontal or vertical cabinets, all feature variable speed Copeland scroll compressors, integrated EC direct drive fan motors, and all are constructed with heavy gauge, environmentally responsible, galvanized steel cabinets. 

2019 Innovation Awards Product of the Year 

The AHR Expo awarded its esteemed Product of the Year award for 2019 to enVerid Systems. enVerid was also recognized as the winner of the 2019 Innovations Awards Green Building category for its HVAC Load Reduction® (HLR) Module 1000E-M. Each year, winners are selected in a total of 10 industry categories. 

Educational Sessions 

Smart home: Best opportunities research
Presenter: Continental Automated Buildings Association 

Research unveiled at AHR Expo pinpointed the best course forward for smart home technology deployments. The upshot: multi-dwelling units (MDUs) remain underserved due to the varieties of end-user requirements. At the same time, they sit at the intersection of the single family—who benefits most from smart home innovation—and commercial buildings, sharing characteristics of each. Importantly, MDUs have the size to invest in new technology, a stronger connection to resident satisfaction and more direct involvement of senior management for investment decisions. This makes MDUs the sweet spot where smart home innovation and experimentation can take root. 

Low Cost Leads are Hurting Your Business
Presenter: Women in HVACR 

Erik Wytrwal, a consultant with Stochastic Marketing, a data analytics company designed specifically with HVACR and plumbing contractors in mind, discussed low cost/low value leads versus higher cost/higher value leads. All leads are not created equal, and rather than generating more business, low-value leads can end up driving your business into the ground.

The 7th Annual Connection Community Collaboratory

On the second day of AHR Expo 2019, Ken Sinclair, the publisher of invited a panel of experts from around the IoT and building automation industry to join him in a panel discussion on the new area of connectivity and our “journey of digital transformation” as part of the Seventh Annual Connection Community Collaboratory. The panel included Marc Petock, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Lynxspring, Inc., a company offering building automation, energy management and system integration solutions to its clients; George Thomas, President of Contemporary Controls, an electronics manufacturer who partners with its customers in applying network solutions to automation projects; Troy Davis, Director of Sales for EnOcean, Inc., a company applying a patented energy harvesting technology for use in building automation and smart home control; and Martin Villenuve, President of Distech-Controls, a company that connects people with intelligent building solutions. (Look online at for a full write-up.)

Value with Hydronic Snow Melting
Presenter: The Radiant Professionals Alliance 

Bo DeAngelo of Viega and Lance MacNevin of the Plastic Pipe Institute joined forces to discuss the basics of hydronic snow melting; both the benefits, installation techniques, typical applications, control strategies and more. (For the full write-up, turn to pg. 6.) 

The Benefits of Manifold Flow Meters in Design and Installation for Radiant
Presenter: The Radiant Professionals Alliance 

The design options that manifold flow meters make possible by controlling output through precise GPM delivery to radiant panels.

Buildings and employees: How better buildings improve productivity and job satisfaction

New research presented at AHR Expo showed that building quality ranked second in contributing to employee satisfaction and productivity when benchmarked against other traditional employee perks such as bonuses, fitness benefits and flexible work hours. Only private work offices topped building quality by a slim margin. Since 80% of most organizations budget is spent on staff and 10% on buildings, spending more on providing a quality work building environment to get more loyalty and productivity from staff makes sense. (Presenter: Continental Automated Buildings Association.)

Distribution Efficiency: The Often Overlooked Advantage of Hydronics Technology
Presenter: The Radiant Professionals Alliance

This session, conducted by John Siegenthaler, first defined the concept of distribution efficiency, then compared the distribution efficiency of properly designed and poorly designed hydronic systems to that of forced air and VRF systems. (See Dave Yates’ March column for a full write-up of this session)

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!