As is tradition in this industry every January (or early February), thousands of manufacturers, distributors, engineers, contractors and anyone else with any relation to HVACR gathered in one place to showcase and explore the latest innovations and up-and-coming technology.
I’m speaking, of course, of the AHR Expo — and beast of a trade show, exhibition and showcase that seems to set the tone for what trends we’ll see in this industry in the months ahead.
Held in Atlanta this year at the World Congress Center, the AHR Expo featured 1,824 exhibiting companies from across the entire industry, including 497 international exhibitors, and a total verified attendance of 45,078.
With so much to see and do, two-and-a-half days was hardly enough time to take it all in ... but I tried. Over the course of the show, I visited dozens of booths, talked to many manufacturers and contractors and walked nearly 16 miles!
Many exhibiting companies use this industry gathering to unveil new products or make major announcements, and this year was no different.
At a press briefing on the first morning of the show, Rheem announced a comprehensive sustainability platform, A Greater Degree of Good, as well as groundbreaking sustainability commitments tied to “Designing for Zero Waste.”
This program has three key pillars, each with its own ambitious 2025 goal:
- Degrees of Innovation aims to launch a line of air and water products featuring a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas footprint.
- Degrees of Efficiency aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and net waste to landfill impact of Rheem’s global manufacturing operations by 50 percent.
- Degrees of Leadership aims to train 250,000 Rheem pros on sustainable product install, setup and recycling best practicies.
Danfoss held its 24th annual press conference at the Georgia Aquarium. John Galyen, president-North America, started off by stating that in 2018, Danfoss’s North American business experienced 12 percent growth.
“For 2019, we expect to see 3 percent growth overall and high single digit growth in HVAC for the year,” Galyen said. “There will likely be some softening in the second half of the year. Rising material costs and tariffs will weigh on the U.S. market, and higher interest rates will temper the residential market.”
At the LG Electronics USA press breifing, Senior Vice President and General Manager Kevin McNamara described the VRF and ductless market in the U.S. as being "past the tipping point," as it has gained significant acceptance.
“An obvious choice for hospitality, retail space and healthcare, VRF technology along with LG's other business units can now offer total building solutions," said Donald Decker, director, owner sales for LG.
Revolutionary products and experiences were also at the center of Daikin’s presence at this year’s AHR Expo. The company’s Innovation Roadshow trailer made the trip to Atlanta, and is featured as an interactive demonstration of Daikin’s commercial HVAC solutions.
In addition, Daikin hosted an exclusive event for engineering and technical trade students who represent the future of the HVAC industry.
On the refrigerant side, both Carrier and Honeywell featured new replacements for R-410A.
In collaboration with The Chemours Company, Carrier will offer Puron Advance (R-454B) to meet UN Montreal Protocol Kigali Amendment regulations.
The new refrigerant, to be offered in these Carrier products beginning in 2023, is expected to surpass the requirements of anticipated future regulations.
Honeywell has introduced Solstice N41, which exhibits similar to better performance characteristics to 410A, while preserving safety.
“As a company, we made a decision to invest in years of research and development to introduce the industry’s first nonflammable, R-410A replacement solution to meet the industry’s need for a refrigerant that will meet HFC phasedown requirements,” said George Koutsaftes, president, Honeywell Advanced Materials.
The AHR Expo also featured myriad new products and technologies. While I may have covered quite a bit of ground at the show, it’s simply not possible to see it all.