AHR Expo showcases latest HVAC+R products
January 29, 2024
By Peter Saunders
Nearly 50,000 attendees met with 1,875 exhibitors.
Last week, for the first time since 2018, AHR Expo returned to McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., the most central location of the annual event’s rotating venues. As a result, there was strong attendance for its showcase of the latest heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC+R) products and services, with more than 48,000 attendees hobnobbing with 1,875 exhibitors.
“Chicago is our biggest show, always,” said Ginger Scoggins, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which co-sponsored AHR Expo with the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and, as honorary sponsor, Canada’s Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI). “It is very well-embraced by the industry.”
“AHR has always served as a jumping-off point for the year ahead,” said Mark Stevens, show manager.
Running from Jan. 22 to 24, AHR Expo saw an increased focus on such themes as decarbonization, electrification, energy efficiency, sustainability and artificial intelligence (AI). Here are some of the highlights from the 527,520-sf show floor, in alphabetical order by exhibitor name.
Pump manufacturer Armstrong presented best practices for and lessons learned from district energy projects, such as the Enwave systems in Chicago and the company’s home city, Toronto. Armstrong sees a growing opportunity for data centres to use its products and interconnect with nearby communities for district heating purposes, rather than wasting heat by releasing it into the atmosphere.
Bell & Gossett, a Xylem brand, unveiled its line of smart pump systems, including the e-1510X. Combining Bell & Gossett’s e-1510 end-suction pump with Xylem’s Hydrovar X smart motor, it is to be made widely available by the end of February.
“The modern mechanical room requires intelligent, connected products that can meet evolving commercial building standards and energy-efficiency requirements,” said Dave Flinton, Xylem’s vice-president (VP) of operational excellence.
While Bosch Home Comfort is well-known in the residential market (and hosted a presentation at the expo by Canada’s own Mike Holmes), the company also showcased products for commercial applications, including geothermal and water-source heat pumps. Its QV Series, in particular, offers single-state ultra-quiet heat pumps for office buildings, hotels and condo towers.
Bradford White highlighted its Vitraglas tank lining for corrosion resistance and built-in Microban antimicrobial product protection for its tank-type water heaters.
Caleffi‘s new CEO, Tina Gullickson, who succeeds Mark Olson, stepped up to introduce the company’s Xtra Filtration (XF) magnetic dirt separator for high-efficiency heat pumps and condensing boiler systems.
Air conditioner manufacturer Carrier, which is selling its global commercial refrigeration business to joint venture (JV) partner Haier and its security unit to Honeywell, presented a streamlined portfolio accordingly, including its first magnetic-bearing chiller with a smaller footprint than its peers’.
Copeland showcased its oil-free centrifugal compressor for air-cooled chiller applications, especially in data centres. It is slated to go into full production this summer. The company also specializes in compressors for retail food refrigeration applications, promising to “provide everything supermarkets need.” By way of example, its CC200 microprocessor-based refrigerated case controller for display cases and walk-in coolers and freezers (WICFs) was a finalist in the AHR Expo Innovation Awards.
Speaking of the awards, Danfoss’ DSG compressor came out tops in the cooling category. It is designed for low-pressure refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP) that would usually require a much larger compressor size to offer the same capacity as high-pressure refrigerants.
Infinitum unveiled the next generation of its Aircore EC high-efficiency motor system, designed to power commercial and industrial applications—including fans, pumps and data centre cooling—with reduced energy consumption, emissions and waste. As with all of Infinitum’s products, it integrates a variable frequency drive (VFD) to help improve system efficiency, promising upward of 93%.
Johnson Controls, recently named a leader in energy management software by industry analysis firm Verdantix, has released the Verasys 5.0, the latest version of its cloud-enabled remote connectivity building automation system (BAS). Its booth also presented the York YVAM air-cooled magnetic-bearing centrifugal chiller as one of the most efficient systems for cooling data centres.
SunEarth highlighted the role of solar water heating in the electrification and decarbonization of the HVACR industry. Given rising costs for natural gas, its systems offer another option for commercial and residential applications, one that is more consistently reliable than gathering solar energy via photovoltaic (PV) panels. The company is looking to increase distribution in Canada and to support larger applications, such as heat loops for multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), light industrial facilities and university campuses.
Uponor, which is also expanding operations in Canada this year, reintroduced its AquaPEX Blue Pipe for commercial and residential domestic-water applications, in the interest of full-colour differentiation for cold-water plumbing lines (as its AquaPEX Red Pipe is for hot water).
Finally, Victaulic showcased modular water pressure reducing valve (PRV) stations and rolled out a new productivity app intended to help engineers better collaborate with contractors. Fittingly, the company also discussed how its equipment modules had helped accelerate piping installation for ASHRA’s new net-zero energy headquarters (HQ) in Peachtree Corners, Ga., not far from the Atlanta site of last year’s AHR Expo.
The next edition of the show is slated to take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 10 to 12, 2025.