Special to CONTRACTOR
TORONTO — ISH North America certainly isn’t the world’s biggest plumbing show — that honor would go to its German cousin or the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show — but the first ISH-NA had plenty of new products for contractors.
Moreover, the organizers highlighted the new products with an interesting gimmick, a competition among new products in a variety of categories with one product named Best in Show. A panel of journalists, including one from CONTRACTOR magazine, judged the products in the New Product Showcase.
The winners included the futuristic Mare kitchen faucet from Japanese producer San-Ei; The Brick, a support for sump pumps by Liberty Pumps; the e-distac software system for plumbing distributors from Management Software Systems; and proving that grease interceptors can be exciting was the Canplas Industries Grease Interceptor Flow Control.
Two of the more innovative products were the Trim Workstation and the Vitodens 200.
Arvin Plumbing, a production plumber in southern Indiana, invented the Trim Workstation from Plumbing 2000. The product is a jig that holds kitchen or bathroom sinks that can rotate, allowing the plumber to easily attach faucets and trim. A plumber can finish a kitchen sink with faucet, drains and a garbage disposer in minutes, speeding work on structures such as apartment buildings.
Viessmann’s Vitodens 200, the wall-hung condensing boiler that made a splash at the last ISH in Frankfurt, won Best Overall Product. Now available in the United States, the Vitodens has inspired hydronic heating contractors, especially in the Northeast, to proudly post their installation photos on Internet chat rooms like snapshots of a new baby.
The Vitodens features a stainless steel heat exchanger, gas-fired radiant burner, standard programmable controls and an AFUE rating up to 94.2%.
Elsewhere at the show, Weil-McLain was determined to strike a blow for the Yanks by unveiling the Ultra condensing boiler. The boiler, which comes in 155,000 and 230,000 Btuh ratings, has a cast mono block aluminum heat exchanger that’s designed for low-temperature return water and has a 15-year warranty. The stainless steel mesh burner can be turned down to as low as 20% of rated input. The sealed combustion boiler comes with its own controls, including an outdoor reset control, and is equipped with a Taco 0011 circulator. While it’s made for floor mounting, a wall-mounting kit is an available option.
Sloan Valve Co. showed the latest versions of its Optima line of hard-wired and battery-operated sensor faucets, plus a battery-powered electronic soap dispenser. The redesigned Optima faucets have more of a sleek, arcing Euro look than previous models. The firm also came out with a line of products on which to mount them — SloanStone solid surface lavatories. The products come in a variety of styles, including complete lavatory systems suitable for schools or stadiums.
Elkay introduced its Quick-Clip Mounting System for its stainless steel sinks. Grooved mounting brackets are nailed onto both sides of the sink opening in the countertop. Elkay sinks come with built-in clips that ratchet into the grooves on the mounting brackets. The installer pushes down on the edges of the sink to “click” the sink into place. If a sink has to be removed, the clips are attached to the underside of the sinks with screws. When the screws are loosened, the clips come out of the grooves in the mounting brackets and the sink can be lifted out.
Watts Radiant showcased its SubRay radiant subfloor system for 38-in. or 12-in. radiant tubing. The system is comprised of “header sticks” that hold the tubing in place at either end of a room and “sleepers” that organize the tubing in 2-in. wide radiant channels spaced on 8-in. centers. The underside of the cabinet-grade birch system is covered by aluminized Mylar tape that reflects the heat upward. General Manager Mike Chiles said the wider channels eliminate expansion and contraction noise, and the tubing goes in quickly.
In the kitchen, Delta Faucet was showing different design styles. Delta has moved its Victorian faucet line into the kitchen. The Victorian line features the firm’s Quick-Snap quick-connect system that allows water lines to be connected without tools. The company was also showing its Providence and distinctly Euro-style Trevi faucets for the kitchen and bath. Also in the bathroom, Delta introduced its Monitor jetted shower line that’s a medium-flow system that uses less water and installs at a fraction of the cost of custom shower systems.
WennSoft, the computer company started by mechanical contractors, showed its MobileTEC series of wireless dispatching software. The system includes service call dispatching, call closeout, communications and a maintenance-tasking feature that walks a technician through the steps of a maintenance or inspection procedure. MobileTEC works on an Internet connection that communicates with a wireless handheld that runs Windows CE.
Bradford White introduced the first unit of its EF Series of ultra-high efficiency water heaters. Its 98.5% thermal efficiency reduces utility expenses and qualifies for tax rebates in many states.
Brass Craft showed its line of Safety+Plus line of gas connectors and safety shutoff valves. The Safety+Plus valve is a magnet-based valve that seals itself under excessive gas pressure and flow, such as that created by a broken gas line.