The 2015 AHR Expo outdid itself and the competition Jan. 26-28.

The premier HVACR event, held at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago, took the title of best-attended event ever held in the city. Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., which put on the trade show, announced that the AHR Expo broke five Chicago trade show records.

The records broken include:

• Total number of registered attendees – 61,990;

• Number of visitors – 42,400;           

• Net square footage – more than 480,000;

• Number of exhibiting companies – more than 2,100;

• Number of international exhibitors – 592.

“Chicago is the site of some of our largest shows and we are thrilled that we set so many new records this year,” Stevens said. “These impressive results also show how vital AHR Expo is to the industry. We’ve had tremendous support from the 41 sponsors and endorsing associations that participate, as well as from our exhibitors who rely on the show to introduce new products and meet customers and prospects from around the world.”

Manufacturers were very pleased with the amount of foot traffic and generated leads during the show.

“We found AHR 2015 impressive regarding show and attendance. Chicago is a great city to host this show,” said Marc Heffner, director of marketing at Lochinvar. “We experienced 40% growth in our booth traffic over last year.”

Navien Specialty Channel Sales Manager Brian Fenske agreed Chicago was the ideal place to host AHR. “The attendance and booth traffic was exceptional and noted by all in the Navien booth,” he said. “Perhaps some of it was the acceptable Chicago weather for that time of year that attributed to the large presence.”

Water and energy efficiency continued to lead the way on the show floor. Many manufacturers touted new or enhanced products in their booths, including Taco. The Cranston, R.I.-based manufacturer reported the distributors they spoke with during the show are very concerned about saving water resources.

“One of the recurring conversations we’ve had recently with wholesalers, and at the show, has to do with hot water recirculation technology,” said Mark Chaffee, Taco’s vice president of brand management and new business development. “Each year, water becomes a greater concern here in the U.S. – water quality, water supply, preserving the resource and what can we do to use the resource more intelligently.”

Bell & Gossett reported that its supply channel partners were impressed with the company’s ecocirc XL high-efficiency circulators that were on display.

“The market is quickly embracing ECM-driven circulators due to their high levels of efficiency, mirroring the trends we’re seeing in the industry toward optimization of products and processes,” Mark Handzel, Bell & Gossett’s vice president of product regulatory affairs and director of HVAC commercial buildings. “(Our) Series 60 and e-90 pumps with ECM technology also are good options for wholesalers looking to replace older products that may not be as efficient as the units we’re building today.”

Lochinvar introduced its enhanced Crest boiler line, its newly released remote boiler control, CON·X·US, and its FTXL fire-tube boiler during the show. The Lebanon, Tenn.-based manufacturer felt the efficiencies its products can provide were a big hit to wholesalers.

“Our distribution partners were impressed with the FTXL since it offers best-in-class AHRI thermal efficiency and footprints, plus the remote connectivity that puts the SMART SYSTEM control at your fingertips,” Heffner said.

Building performance was another hot topic in the exhibitor halls. “That’s tied to energy efficiency, of course, but separates itself somewhat as professionals look at specific ways to achieve Net Zero energy and LEED certifications,” Chaffee said.

Lochinvar’s CON·X·US app frees an engineer or building operations manager from the mechanical room, allowing them to monitor the application’s performance over the Internet.

“Using any smart device, you can link up with SMART SYSTEM controls on boilers in multiple locations, for multiple customers,” Heffner said. “From a single boiler to an 8-unit cascade system, you’ll be able to check operating status or reprogram boiler function from anywhere.”

Bell & Gossett also introduced its Online Little Red Schoolhouse at AHR for the engineering community. Engineers will be able to receive more education at any time, from anywhere.

“We’re excited to help advance our educational offerings for the industry and we look forward to seeing how this new asset will streamline the learning process,” Handzel said. 

The 2016 AHR Expo is booked for Jan. 25-27 in Orlando and exhibitors are already excited about the potential opportunities for that show. “We’re always impressed with the great turnout and the level of professionalism demonstrated by the AHR team,” Handzel said. “We know a lot goes into putting a show of this size on and their hard work shines through.”


As Seen AtAHR Expo

Double-drop elbow fittings

Viega’s double-drop elbow fittings maintain water quality by reducing stagnation and are designed to keep fresh water close to each fixture. The new, flow-through style fittings are designed with threaded fixture connections and integrated mounting brackets. They are used in series or ring installations and can be used in hot or cold water systems. The fittings are available in 1/2” and 3/4” sizes.



Commercial hyper-heating

Mitsubishi Electric’s P-Series Hyper-Heating Inverter heat pump outdoor units for light commercial applications feature H2i technology. Its Hot Start process provides warm air flow from the start. It offers multiple fan speeds and a humidity-reducing dry mode. At -13° F, the outdoor units operate at 80% of rated heating capacity and provide 100% at ambient temperatures down to 5°. They feature automatic restart in case of power outages, automatic cool/heat changeover, quiet operation at 52 dB(A) in cooling and 53 dB(A) in heating and line-length capabilities up to 245’.

Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Cooling & Heating Division.


HE fire-tube boiler

The new FlexCore 1.5 high-efficiency fire tube boiler from RBI achieves 95.1% AHRI-certified efficiency and utilizes a precisely temperature-balanced flex core heat exchanger. The FlexCore is ASME-certified for water heating and space heating. It also features Cv = 75, which is enough pressure drop to allow easy balancing of multiple boilers, turbo pilot ignition, a proven reliable ignition system and a design geared toward ease of maintenance.



Hydronic balancing valve

The TA Series 7CP is a new compact pressure independent balancing and control valve from Victualic that advances hydronic balancing with its small size and precise ability to engineer high-performance systems. The valve limits overflows and has increased diagnostics by minimizing guesswork. The TA Series 7CP decreases operating costs and minimizes pump head with high flow capacity and a low pressure drop.