With approximately 80 percent of exhibitors reporting they will introduce new or recently enhanced products, this year’s International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Las Vegas exemplifies the industry-wide push for greater efficiency and innovation.
More on the 2017 AHR Expo
Innovations being unveiled at AHR echo major trends driven by the growing construction market in North America and the world. These themes include:
- Green building as a standard of design, reflected in new ultra-efficient equipment, monitoring and sensing tools, and building information modeling methods that help achieve notable energy savings and ensure reliable, efficient, long-term operation
- A rapidly returning residential construction market, answered via the introduction of numerous heating, cooling and ventilation products specifically designed for residential applications and user-friendly homeowner operation
- Strong focus on remodeling and renovation as seen across new product and system solutions designed specifically for installation in smaller and/or logistically challenging existing spaces
- Increasing pre-fabricated/off-site construction methods, reflected in modular equipment with multiple installation configurations and more compact footprints
- Skilled labor shortages, as addressed by several new tools and other resources that streamline mechanical system installations and repairs
The response from manufacturers to these and other market demands is evident among exhibitors.
Building automation & control
As demand for data acquisition, and the crucially related controls that collect it, has remained strong as a means for most efficiently employing building automation and information system data, innovation has continued to follow. Software and control system developers have remained hard at work over the past year to further elevate the power of building automation, and this sector will bring an array of technologies to the market in 2017.
Many solutions have been engineered around BACnet — a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks developed under the auspices of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). BACnet provides a foundation of consistency and quality that further streamlines the integration of building automation and control systems, and it has also become an internationally recognized standard, including by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Instruments & controls
Instrumentation and related controls remain key to the success of in-field mechanical system personnel — from ensuring reliable long-term equipment operation, to monitoring and troubleshooting equipment functions.
Whether integrated within a larger product or system or used independently, HVACR instruments and controls are now relied on in greater and more crucial ways, particularly as mechanical equipment becomes more technically sophisticated.
A selection of new instruments and controls on display at AHR includes:
- A compact-footprint gas ignition control for next-generation gas-fired appliances
- 128-channel input gas detector with flexible analog/digital/wireless transmitter combinations, data logging, touchscreen display, alarm, four SPDT relays, an extensive password-protected menu and enhanced logic control
- The industry’s first data logger to record and transmit CO2 data wirelessly to mobile devices via Bluetooth technology, setting a new standard for CO2 monitoring by allowing easier access to hard-to-reach critical monitoring spaces
- A calorimetric flow sensor to measure and monitor flow velocities of aqueous media, operating without moving parts and featuring a color-changing LED display (to indicate thresholds), analog or switching output, nominal pressure up to 25 bar, and simple startup with a micro USB interface and optional setup program