ISH shows a more connected future

May 6, 2015
Only 4% of ISH attendees are Americans.  So many of the products at the show are amazing; this is where press fittings and mod-con boilers came from.  ISH drew 198,000 attendees to see exhibits spread out over 2.8 million square feet.

FRANKFURT, GERMANY — According to data from Messe Franfurt, the producers of ISH or International Sanitär Heizung Klima, the biennial mega-show here, only 4% of attendees are Americans. That’s really too bad because so many of the products are amazing; this is where press fittings and mod-con boilers came from. And the show keeps getting bigger.

Kohler wall-hung toilets.

As a point of comparison, the AHR Expo this year in Chicago was a large and successful show with 61,000 attendees and 480,000-sq.ft. of exhibit space. By comparison, ISH drew 198,000 attendees to see exhibits spread out over nine buildings and 2.8 million square feet. 

Here are some highlights from the show

So-called rimless toilets will be a hot market sector in the coming years. Kohler displayed its Reach Clean wall-hung toilet with rimless bowl for easy day-to-day maintenance. A propulsion system ensures effective waste drainage and full, complete bowl wash. Water is propelled from the rear via two side sprays, one center spray and four small rear sprays. To eliminate the chance of splash from the rear spray, an anti-splash ledge guides water to the front of the bowl and redelivers it over the sides. It also comes in extremely low-flow dual flush of 2.6/4 liters, or 0.7/1-gpf.

The Reach was shown in a wall-hung model because of the popularity of wall-hung toilets in Europe and elsewhere. Kohler displayed an extensive line of wall-hung toilets, all of them dual-flush.

Kohler, which has produced more than its share of cast iron fixtures through the last century, showed a lightweight, Vikrell-like material for bathtubs called Flight that’s reportedly as tough as cast iron. And in one disappointment for Yanks, the firm showed an outstanding faucet finish called Rose Gold that will only be available in the Asian market.

Grundfos circulators.

Grundfos displayed two circulators that have been in the U.S., the Alpha2 wet runner series and the Magna3. New features for the Alpha2 include a real dry run protection and secure start of the pump. The dry-run protection takes care of leakages, large amounts of air in the system or accidental damage before commissioning. The circulator checks the load directly above the impeller and activates the dry run protection if necessary. 

The secure start feature is a dirt and crud fighter. Because dirt can hinder starting the rotor, especially after long periods of inactivity, the pump starts with a short, targeted vibration to loosen any dirt. The Magna3 circulator can now be controlled with differential temperature in connection with a second temperature sensor. The temperature control scheme is designed for systems without a significant differential pressure change.

It was clear from the booth of the EnOcean Alliance that the Internet of Things is here to stay. There are 350 companies participating in the interoperability group. The purpose of the Alliance is to establish energy harvesting wireless technology as the wireless standard for sustainable buildings. Energy harvesting includes tiny sensor that use movement — any kind of motion — to generate their own electricity; no batteries needed.

The Alliance is developing specifications for interoperability and working to bring about the existence of a broad range of interoperable wireless monitoring and controlling products for use in and around residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The Alliance has an impressive list of participants, including Honeywell, Caleffi and Emerson.

Watts Home Control.

Watts also jumped into the Internet of Things with its Smart Home system. The Watts system is made up of wireless radio frequency devices, a wall-mounted touch-screen controller, ability to control 50 different zones (HVAC, lighting, roller blinds); up to 50 RF thermostats, 50 RF relays, 25 RF electrical outlets, and 50 RF 10A light receivers. 

You can also tie in outdoor sensor, humidity sensors, gas sensors, and window sensors (the kind that turn the HVAC system off when a window is open). Watts’ display was geared to a European audience, so they showed connected devices, such as thermostatic radiator valves. The systems can be controlled online or with an Android or iOS device.

Uponor showed a number of retrofit schemes for hydronic radiant wall and ceiling systems. Perhaps the most interesting new product from Uponor was its Uni Pipe PLUS, a seamless, multi-layer composite pipe. The aluminum inner layer is the oxygen barrier; the inner and outer layers are temperature-resistant polyethylene. The Uni Pipe PLUS has an extruded aluminum layer that does away with weld seams completely.

Uponor pipe.

The advantages of the pipe, Uponor says, include a high level of form stability, material and cost saving and increased flexibility with up to a 40% narrower bend radii. The pipe is compatible with existing Uponor fitting systems. The pipe is available with insulation as standard for domestic water service and radiator connections. 

Caleffi continued its traditions of showing dirt separators that remove small particles without creating a lot of head losses. The latest version of the Dirtmag separator seen at this year’s ISH has the magnet inside a tube, which projects into the mesh element inside the separator. Unscrew the magnet out of its tube and all of the particles drop to the bottom, where they are flushed out via a drain valve.

Hansgrohe’s exhibit on its designer Axor side included a wall display showing its entire range of faucets and washbasins from designers such as Jean-Marie Massaud and Philippe Starck. One of the more interesting faucets was clear glass designed so that the water flowing through the faucet base swirled in a vortex. The faucet was available with an etched glass base to make it even fancier than it already was. Axor also featured one of the more interesting showerheads seen at the show, a combination of a light fixture and showerhead by the Japanese design studio Nendo.

About the Author

Robert P. Mader

Bob Mader is the Editorial Director for Penton's mechanical systems brands, including CONTRACTOR magazine, Contracting Business and HPAC Engineering, all of which are part of Penton’s Energy and Buildings Group. He has been  with CONTRACTOR since 1984 and with Penton since 2001. His passions are helping contractors improve their businesses, saving energy and the issue of safeguarding our drinking water. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with an A.B. in American Studies with a Communications Concentration.

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