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Leave it to LG Electronics USA (www.lgusa.com) to take it to the next level in duct-free air conditioning. The company stole the show in the ductless category with its Art Cool product line. It is LG's premium, design-oriented air conditioner series, which includes renditions of classic art pieces by famous painters such as Van Gogh and Sisley featured on the product's front panel. In essence, the company transformed household white goods such as air conditioners into stylish art objects.
This year in Chicago, LG unveiled a first-of-its kind, picture-frame air conditioner as part of its Art Cool line. The new picture-frame air conditioner allows consumers to display a favorite picture, drawing, or any type of printed image - up to approximately 17-by-17 inches - under its transparent front panel. Pictures can be changed whenever the consumer desires by simply opening the panel and replacing the image.
The new picture-frame air conditioners will be available in April in two different Btu levels, 9,000 and 12,000 Btu, with suggested manufacturer's retail prices ranging from $2,500 to $3,000. Other Art Cool models are now available in three different Btu levels, 9,000, 12,000, and 18,000 Btu, in a variety of colors and finishes.
According to the company, its wall-mounted evaporator is slim and lightweight, and the outdoor condensing unit provides quiet operation. The Art Cool line also offers a "chaos swing" feature - a three-way airflow with computer-controlled vanes that are designed to simulate a natural breeze. This feature creates a more natural flow of air to eliminate hot or cold spots from a room. The system also features an ultra-quiet fan and motor.
Its plasma air purifying system is designed to remove air impurities - such as microscopic containments, dust, pet hair, and pollen. It also includes a dehumidifying feature, designed to remove excess moisture from interior spaces.
READY FOR 13All ductless manufacturers at the expo pointed out that they are ready for the new 13 SEER standard. Fujitsu General America (www.fujitsugeneral.com) announced a 24-system, R-410A inverter lineup of Halcyon ductless mini-split air conditioners and heat pumps. The new line includes models ranging from 9,000 to 42,000 Btu, with efficiencies up to 21 SEER.
Fujitsu's 2006 Halcyon lineup features 28 models in a variety of styles, including wall-mount, ceiling-suspended, cassette, universal, and its new IAQ mix-and-match multizone inverter systems with up to four zones. All models exceed the new 13 SEER minimum standard. It said its new systems' compact footprints and high-energy efficiencies save both space and money. Many new models feature advanced electronic IAQ plasma filters for air purification, while all models include R-410A refrigerant. All new models are backed by a two-year parts, six-year compressor warranty.
According to Fujitsu, energy efficiency was a paramount concern for company engineers in designing the new lineup, with efficiency increases as high as 110 percent and reductions in size as much as 30 percent over conventional 10 SEER models. The efficiency is increased on these new compact systems through the use of DC motors on indoor and outdoor equipment. This change also provides quieter operation and reduced energy costs - up to 23 percent quieter than previous models and up to 46 percent quieter than the competition, claims the company.
The company said its IAQ line for 2006 resolves a common problem faced by many homeowners and contractors - namely, how to install a multizone combination system of evaporators that creates the perfect climate for virtually any size of space. The company's solution is to offer new IAQ systems with mix-and-match evaporators, which are suited to the unique capacity requirements of a variety of residential and commercial environments.
For instance, the dual-zone system lets installers mix and match two evaporators with a range of capacities: 18,000, 21,000, and 24,000 Btu. With the larger 36,000-Btu chassis, installers can mix and match up to four zones with 27,000, 30,000, 33,000, and three 36,000 Btu combinations. This is achieved by allowing all multizone systems to share the same evaporators.
A convenient wireless remote control is also included, providing easy access to the IAQ system's advanced features from anywhere in the room.
"In creating our new mix-and-match multizone IAQ systems, we listened very closely to feedback from our contractor and wholesale distributor customers," said Roy Kuczera, vice president of HVAC sales.
"Previously, we offered combinations for just four applications, requiring wholesalers to stock four separate condensing units and nine separate evaporators. Today, we offer combinations for up to 18 different applications, which minimize wholesalers' SKU stocking requirements to just two outdoor condensing units and three evaporators. We accomplished this by allowing all Fujitsu's multizone systems to share the same evaporators. Now overall inventory management is made much simpler for our distributors, who can simply order these high-quality multizone products by model or system."
Sanyo (www.sanyo.com) introduced its newly re-engineered line, upgraded for 2006 and the 13 SEER mandate. New features to the releases include inverter control and the use of R-410A refrigerant in a new design. In all, the lineup consists of 50 new models.
The inverter control technology was demonstrated in the Sanyo booth at the expo. According to Tom Crock, national sales manager for Sanyo, the inverter control is designed to raise customer satisfaction by ensuring an energy-saving operation and whisper quiet function.
The inverter control is designed to provide rapid cooling and heating with the time to reach the desired temperature quicker than traditional systems, he said. Once reaching the desired temperature, the inverter control unit is designed to maintain a more constant temperature, Crock said, so there is considerably less fluctuation than the spikes and lows as in a conventional unit.
"In many ways, the HVAC system has assumed an important role in the comfort of the consumer, whether residential or commercial," said Crock.
"We're making some of our most advanced features and technologies available in models throughout our new line. The abundance of advanced technologies, including inverter control, means that more of our customers will now be able to experience the energy-saving benefits and quiet operation they deserve."
All Sanyo models meet or exceed 13 SEER, all the way to 16 SEER. They use R-410A refrigerant; Sanyo's version is named Cooleronâ„¢. All models are housed in a new design, which is smaller and lighter than previous models, said Crock.
"The new look and the technical advances of the 2006 line is critical to the success of this introduction," he said. "Our new complete lineup with product through 48,000 Btu sets us apart from the rest and delivers greater efficiency and cost savings."
Another feature of the new models is the Air-Clean Apatite filter, designed to trap germs, dust, and dirt. Meanwhile, the negative ion generator, which is a feature of every unit, offers physical and mental health benefits, said Crock. The generator is designed to help purify and freshen the air by releasing more negative ions into the room, he said.
Daikin AC (Americas) (www.daikinac.com) talked about its SkyAir four-way ceiling-mounted cassette and its ceiling-suspended unit. The system is designed to quietly blend into the ambience of shops, restaurants, small offices, or home environments. This single-phase, R-410A inverter system is designed to be flexible, so contractors can customize solutions.
Daikin also noted it will soon be launching its new FDXS models, a slim, built-in, split-type range of air conditioning system. The company called them a hybrid crossover from the traditional ductless solution into the larger, ducted unitary marketplace. The FDXS models will offer the benefits of ductless technology for spot cooling, add-ons, and dedicated zone systems, but it will also be installed like a more traditional ducted system. Initially introduced will be the 0.75-ton (9 MBtuh) model and 1-ton (12 MBtuh) models. To extend the range, the company is planning to add other units in the future.
The slim height of the FDXS (at 7-7/8 inches) makes it suitable for most of the residential applications where attic and/or bulkhead space is limited. Daikin said the sound level of this model is as low as 31 dBA for the 9 MBtuh indoor unit and 48 dBA for the outdoor unit. Other features include a bottom or rear suction option for easy installation, long piping run (66 feet), and a pre-charged R-410A refrigerant for a piping length up to 33 feet. These models also feature an inverter-controlled, variable-speed compressor, designed to produce greater energy efficiency, especially at partial load.
Daikin also touted its revolutionizing air conditioning control for customers, the intelligent Touch (iTouch) controller. A user-friendly color LCD screen is designed to allow the customer to control and monitor the usage of each individual air conditioning system. Also, featuring access through an Internet browser, iTouch is designed to enable customers to monitor and operate the system remotely through a PC-based Web connection in multiple buildings. Malfunction notifications can be routed to a customer's e-mail or mobile phone.
Core features of the iTouch system include customizable displays through color-coding, enhanced scheduling functions, multiple groups and zones controlled through an interlock feature, and enhanced security.
Combined with the Daikin VRVÂ® system available in heat pump and heat recovery versions, a higher level of control and comfort can be reached.
STILL MOREAt the Quietside/Samsung (www.quietside.com) booth, John Miles, director of engineering and technical support, stated that the company still has plenty of 10 SEER units available, which he termed a proven and understood product that is in stock and still legal.
"Our 13 SEER products are coming in, as required," said Miles, "so we feel uniquely positioned to handle all questions and requirements from the industry during this year."
Quietside offers a 13 SEER side discharge model (FDCU 18), with R-410A refrigerant. In mini-splits, the company offers a wall-mounted, single-zone unit in cooling only and/or heat pump, with 13 SEER efficiency, R-410A refrigerant, triple filtration, and a fresh air option.
Samsung, on the other hand, offers single-zone and multizone options in 13 SEER and higher. Its heat pump has been rated 14 to 17 SEER. The inverter drive compressors allow performance to match the indoor loads. Unique to Samsung is the Silver Nano air filtration system, a coating on the filter and evaporator that is designed to kill bacteria on a cellular level. In the multizone category, individual indoor units can be of mixed capacity to suit the individual zones to be cooled. The SEER rating is 17, with R-410A refrigerant. In its DVM system, multiple indoor units can be matched to a single outdoor unit, up to 16 on the largest size.
Enviromaster International (EMI) (www.enviromaster.com), which introduced a 13 SEER single-zone ductless system at last year's AHR Expo, talked about its new AmericaSeriesâ„¢. The company said the series is its most comprehensive line of single-zone and multizone ductless split air conditioning systems, and can offer over 100 combinations. The AmericaSeries C2C single-zone condensing unit, for instance, is designed to meet or exceed a 13 SEER rating when installed with the AmericaSeries line of evaporators. The EMI system is offered for straight cool applications. It is available in capacities of 9,000, 12,000, 15,000, 18,000, and 24,000 Btuh.
AllStyle Coil Co. (www.allstyle.com) featured its 13 SEER ductless mini-splits, in cooling-only and in heat pump styles. The units can be used for the whole home, room conditioning, or sunrooms. The products can be used in hotels and motels, and do work well in multifamily applications. Key features include quiet operation, electronic temperature control, and a low-voltage evaporative blower. Some models feature dual compressors, designed for higher efficiency and better temperature control.
Heat Controller (www.heatcontroller.com) highlighted its Comfort-Aire brand of ductless mini-split systems, with a range of 9,000- to 36,000-Btuh cooling. The 13 SEER models are offered in single-, dual-, and tri-zone models, precharged with R-22 refrigerant. Some features include a high-tech, three-speed fan, designed to provide balanced airflow; simple installation, as a 2-Â¾-inch hole is all that's required between indoor and outdoor units; indoor units with rounded corners; and wireless remote control.
HiSeer International, a YMGI Group Member Company (www.ymgigp.com, www.hiseerinternational.com), featured its new 13 SEER mini-split wall-mount systems. According to the company, these units are optimized through state-of-the-art "thermodynamic, mechanic, acoustic, aesthetic, and economic engineering." Sizes are 9,000, 12,000, 18,000, 24,000, and 30,000 Btuh of cooling only, cooling plus electric heater, heat pump, or heat pump plus electric heater.
AeroSys Inc. (www.aerosysinc.com) touted its CeilMateâ„¢ ceiling-mounted units, with 1 to 3 tons of cooling capacity. Standard features include an aluminum cabinet; A-frame coil; and three-speed, direct-drive blower motor. All the direct-expansion systems, 1-Â½-tons and larger, incorporate scroll compressors. The chilled-water units are completely piped, wired, and tested. All water- and glycol-cooled systems are delivered with factory installed, tested, and adjusted two-way water regulating valves, designed to maintain proper refrigerant head pressure.
GD Midea Air-Conditioning Equipment Co. (www.mideaaircon.com) featured its new split-type units, ranging from 9,000 to 24,000 Btuh.
Tili Electrical Co. (www.tili-northamerica.com) noted that its new 14 SEER ductless mini-split uses R-410A and is amazingly quiet and extremely efficient. A company representative said its DC inverter technology "reaches maximum power instantly, instead of a gradual rise like conventional air conditioners." The result is high performance in less time, which uses less energy.
Turbo Air (www.turboairinc.com) displayed its split-type units. The company said it has measured precisely the feeling of fresh air and soft wind that blows from mountains or valleys to create rhythm with the natural wind by utilizing artificial intelligence controls. The hydrophilic-coated aluminum fins improve heat exchange capacity by removing air resistance. The Btu ranges vary from 12,000 to 24,000 for cooling-only, and 9,000 to 24,000 for cooling and heating split-type units.
TCL Air Con (www.tclaircon.com) showed its new mini-splits with R-22 refrigerant. The compressor gives the system its strong cooling capacity, and keeps it quiet, with reliable operation. The strong cooling capacity of the Classic Tropical Series is suitable for tropical areas. This series also applies six-layer, anti-rust technology, designed to make the system last longer under tropical conditions.
Chigo Air-Conditioning (www.chigoac.com) brought a few of its 13 SEER wall split-type series units to Chicago. The Btuh range extends from 9,000 to 24,000. Features include defrosting system; independent dehumidification; multifold evaporator; washable corrugated filter, designed to trap very fine particles; and remote control.
Yonan Air-Conditioning (www.yonganac.com) made a splash with its wall split-type, floor-standing, and portable-type air conditioners, with Btuh ranges from 9,000 to 26,000.
Sidebar: Portable A/C And HeatCHICAGO - With the introduction of the CM12 at the 2006 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Expo (AHR Expo), MovinCool (www.movincool.com) now has a somewhat different twist to its portable spot cooling offerings.
Often the main roadblock to the efficient cooling of cramped server telecom and equipment rooms is the lack of floor space to accommodate a roll-in portable spot cooler. MovinCool believes it has solved this problem with its CM12, a lightweight, space-saving, easy-to-install ceiling-mounted unit.
The CM12 delivers 10,500 Btuh of cooling in a compact, self-contained unit that mounts with standard, off-the-shelf hardware above a standard drop ceiling and requires no special electrical connections.
"Saving space, time, and expense for spot cooling has become essential for many businesses with critical equipment operating in confined spaces with no ventilation or air conditioning," said John Doran, manager of the MovinCool Department. "MovinCool pioneered the concept of workplace spot cooling with its portable units, and now, with the CM12, offers an out-of-the-way ceiling-mount solution that will certainly save our customers time and money, as well as space."
The CM12 has a wide operating range of 60° to 95°F on the evaporator and 60° to 113° on the condenser. Built-in 10-inch supply and return air flanges with a 2.7-inch flange depth help make duct installation easier, improve air circulation, and supply more efficient cooling.
In addition to the CM12, MovinCool said its Office Pro lineup was updated, most notably the Office Pro 10 (OP 10) and the PC 7. The OP 10 is 110-volt compatible, offers 9,600 Btuh, and can be fully integrated into the air exhaust system. The PC 7 offers 7,000 Btuh and is ideal for localized hot spots.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW
Overall, not many new offerings in the portable and spot-cooling category were introduced at the expo. Deer AC USA (www.deer-ac.com) displayed its ducted, ceiling-, floor-, and wall-mounted units, in addition to its new portable air conditioners. Equipped with four wheels, the company's portable air conditioners can be moved from room to room, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, or wherever air conditioning is needed. The hot air is discharged out via a flexible exhaust pipe. Models include the KY-32, Kyd-32, KY-26, and Kyd-26.
In addition to its ductless products, Bora (www.bora.com) noted a few new portable air conditioners. It now offers a three-in-one model: an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and ventilator rolled into one unit. Features include three fan speeds and automatic fan operation. It has two hoses: one for exhaust and the other to take in outdoor air to cool the condenser.
Atlas Sales & Rentals (www.atlassales.com) now offers the CoolCube 10 and the DrizAir 2400, a portable dehumidifier. The CoolCube 10 is a compact, 10,000-Btuh module that can be rack-mounted, hung from the ceiling, stocked for capacity or redundancy, or used as a stand-alone portable unit.
Kwikool (www.kwikool.com) considers its KPAK-24043 "the smallest 20-ton portable package air conditioner available." The unit can deliver such tonnage in a package that is approximately 6-feet wide by 8-feet long by 4-feet high.
In its first appearance at an AHR Expo, Korea-based Hephzibah Co. (www.airrex.co.kr) displayed its Airrex portable air conditioners, spot coolers, and office coolers.
Port-A-Cool (www.port-a-cool.com) now offers a 16-inch portable model, which includes a Â½-horsepower unit.
In portable heating, Mosebach Manufacturing Co. (www.mosebachresistors.com) said it offers "the smallest, lightest, and most affordable portable electric heaters on the market." The HotBox Xtremeâ„¢ is designed for heating large spaces, buildings, machines, and processes without the problems of kerosene or propane heating. It uses the company's unique Weldless Weaveâ„¢, a continuous resistor ribbon that contains no welds. This element allows for maximum heat transfer in the smallest space.
- Mark Skaer
Publication date: 02/13/2006