As I wrote in my Editor’s Note column for the January’s pme issue, I had heard the stories about how well the AHR Expo audience traveled. Since I had only attended the event when it was held in Chicago (2012 and 2015), I was happy to get a chance to see for myself how the 2016 AHR Expo performed at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

I can say with authority that the stories I heard were true. This event was full of people, excitement and interesting new products. The showcase for the heating and cooling industry was not tempered by the fact that a major portion of the U.S. — the Northeast, an especially key market for the hydronics industry — was crippled with inclement weather and travel delays.

The exhibitor hall on Monday and Tuesday was packed throughout the day, so much so that I can admit that I nearly knocked over someone as I tried to make an appointment on time (which I did not because of the crowd.). In case that person is a reader, I want to offer my sincerest apologies.

Even on Wednesday, the last day of the show, there was a surprising number of attendees still checking out products and connected with industry contacts. Typically at every booth stop I make, I’ll ask one of the company workers how the show has gone. The “harshest” response I can recall hearing was along the lines of “this show has been pretty good.”

On average, the people tracking how booth traffic is going would say “it has been great.” As of this post, the show’s organizers have not posted an official number of visitors to the show, but it will be an impressive one.

Stand out products

Speaking of things that impressed me, here are a couple of new products and technologies that stood out on the AHR Expo floor.

  • Trimble showcased its TX8, a laser scanner that collects precise data from a 3D scan. It is ideal for contractors, but even engineers who visit a site and may need to figure out a design change on the fly. The TX8 can give users a 360° x 317° field of view and collects data at 1 million points per second. A typical scan time is three minutes.
  • Schebler Chimney Systems displayed its FyreGuard/SlimVent unit, which is a complete grease duct system. It’s factory-fabricated UL 2221 Classified – with zero-clearance to combustibles and a two-hour fire rating.
  • AERCO International touted The OriGen, an energy recovery system that converts waste heat into clean, renewable power. The OriGen could be used in many applications, including biomass, geothermal/solar and heat recovery for manufacturing facilities, offices and power plants. The OriGren can generate 20kW to 1MW of power with its Organic Rankine Cycle technology and traditional HVAC components in a continuous cycle.

For a full 2016 AHR Expo recap, be sure to check out the March editions of pme, Plumbing & Mechanical, Supply House Times and Reeves Journal.