BY ROBERT P. MADER of CONTRACTOR’s staff
ORLANDO, FLA. — For the first time in its 75-year history, the AHR Expo came here, attracting a large number of industry professionals from around the globe. According to show management, the 2005 AHR Expo set a new record for number of exhibiting companies with 1,871 exhibitors taking up 372,955 sq. ft. of exhibit space. Total attendance was more than 45,000, including more than 27,000 visitors and 18,000 exhibitor personnel.
The show continued its trend of attracting a growing number of international exhibitors and attendees. A total of 311 companies from 31 countries, including exhibitors in several country-specific pavilions, showcased their products at the event. Foreign exhibitors included 34 companies from Europe, 86 from Pacific Rim countries and 123 Canadian companies.
More than 5,300 international visitors from 117 countries registered to attend the show. The event generally attracts about 20% of its attendance from more than 100 countries outside the United States. The 2005 show drew a large presence from Mexico and Central and South American countries.
Despite the overall air-side HVAC focus of the show, plenty of products on display involve pipe somewhere along the line.
Victaulic introduced its Advanced Groove System mechanical coupling for large diameter pipe. The coupling, which is two pieces instead of the typical four, joins pipe from 14 in. to 24 in. and delivers pressure ratings to 350 psi. Victaulic said the two-piece, two-bolt joining system is easier to assemble.
Rival Anvil, maker of Gruvlock mechanical couplings, showed NPT-threaded circuit balancing valves. The valves come in a range from 12 in. low flow up to 2 in. The five-turn valves handle 300°F and 300 psi.
Now that its five-year non-compete agreement with Anvil has expired, Tyco Fire & Security has resurrected the Grinnell name for a line of couplings, fittings, flange adapters, branch outlets and valves. The company is producing grooved fittings from 114-in. all the way up to 24 in.
Lochinvar Corp. introduced the Solution residential boiler, featuring a two-stage firing control system, built-in bypass piping and pump, and combustible-floor shield. The lightweight, low-mass boiler has a gasket-less copper finned-tube heat exchanger, which provides for fast heat transfer. The entire heat exchanger can slide out for servicing. It does not require gaskets and has cast-iron headers. The unit comes with a built-in draft hood and top-mounted water connections. The boiler has a rating of 84% AFUE.
State Industries showed its Titan and Titan LV powered burner commercial gas water heaters. The LV units are available in gas, oil-fired or dual fuel gas/oil models. The water heaters are available with storage capacities as high as 600 gal., inputs to a maximum of 2.5 million Btuh and first-hour recovery rates as high as 2,400 gal. The standard Titan offers inputs to 750,000 Btuh. Despite their large capacity, the units occupy a smaller footprint than most comparable water heaters, State said.
A.O. Smith showed its Equinox rooftop water heater for fast-food restaurants and other light- to medium-duty commercial applications. Its advantages, the company noted, are that it frees up floor space, meets California and Texas low-NOx standards, and its 80-gal. tank and 120,000 Btuh input provide a recovery rate of 116 gph at a 100° F rise.
Under the Rheem and Ruud brands, Rheem Water Heaters displayed the Ventmaster power direct-vent commercial water heater. It’s available with 100 gal. tank, can vent through either 3-in. or 4-in. PVC pipe, and the gas control can be cranked up to as high as 180° F.
ECR International highlighted its Dunkirk Quantum 95-200M gas-fired direct-vent condensing boiler. The 95% AFUE boiler can modulate between 76,000 and 190,000 Btuh output and can be shipped with either a Taco or Grundfos circulator. The mono-block cast-aluminum heat exchanger does not require primary/secondary piping and can take return water temperatures down to 40°F.
Taco showed a mixture of both new and old, including an expansion of its “00” Series of wet-rotor circulators equipped with an integral flow check. Taco now has a 007 circulator with the integral flow check in its priority zoning circulator line. Also new is a boiler electric water feeder that works in conjunction with Taco’s low-water cutoff control. Taco showed its packaged radiant heat injection mixing system and domestic hot water recirculation pumping system.
Bell & Gossett exhibited its Circuit Sentry automatic flow-limiting valve that can be used to adjust hydronic systems for peak performance. The valve is designed to work with variable-speed pumping systems because it can compensate for changing pressures. B&G showed its Check-Trol isolation flow control flange that combines the features of a flow control valve, isolation valve and companion flange.
Honeywell displayed its 5000 Series Zone Valve, equipped with “soft close” technology that reduces water hammer potential, ultimately decreasing callbacks and complaints. The Quick Fit pushbutton actuator removal feature offers a metal-to-metal connection, allowing for rapid installation and easier service, the company said.
Honeywell unveiled its SuperVent air eliminator. The company pointed out the device’s rugged design, intended to reduce leaks and callbacks. Honeywell has taken out a patent on the method by which the air eliminator breaks up air bubbles. It features a no-clog vent assembly, a 360-degree adjustable collar ring, and it can be serviced in the field.
T-Drill, well known for its tools to pull soldered T-openings in the side of copper pipe, introduced its Pipe Branching System 8. The tool can cut tube and pipe up to 8 in. in less than a minute. The system (including the pipe roller stand) cuts steel, stainless steel, copper, soil pipe, and plastics cleanly and squarely. The cut is square enough to allow orbital welding without any further pipe preparation, T-Drill said. Wall thicknesses up to Schedule 40 can be handled as well as thinner wall pipe.
REHAU updated its InsulPEX energy-transfer pipe to include 16 new ASTM-compliant inch sizes that meet North American standards. In addition, the firm is producing more than 50 new Everloc fittings for the pipe. Insulated PEX is growing in popularity, especially for snow-melt applications, REHAU said.
InsulPEX consists of pre-insulated RauPEX pipe. The smooth interior wall of RauPEX carrier pipe provides good flow while eliminating the possibility of corrosion inherent in buried metal piping systems, REHAU said. The pipe, however, also can be used inside buildings. Available in one- and two-pipe configurations, the pipe is produced with a bonded layer of CFC-free polyurethane foam insulation. The outer casing is of seamless, co-extruded polyethylene is now black for increased UV resistance.
Danfoss introduced both hydronic and electric radiant heating products. Convec is a packaged hydronic heating and cooling system coupled with a high-efficiency axial fan. Unlike radiators that deliver heat via convection, the Convec system forces air over a heat transfer tube to warm or cool a room. The Convec hydronic panels are available in two configurations, InLine for wall and ceiling applications or FloorLine, and they can be adjusted to fit any length or angle.
Danfoss also introduced the LX electric radiant product, supplied as a mat, which can be rolled out quickly on the subfloor or, in a renovation, on top of an existing floor. The mat is made of a fiberglass material that can withstand the rigors of the jobsite, Danfoss said, but is easily cut to allow working it around obstacles such as toilets, sinks and cabinets. The mat is self-adhesive. The LX electronic thermostat has dual voltage capabilities (120v or 240v); four-event, seven-day programming; and built-in GFCI functionality.