DALLAS - For years the HVAC trade has shown the best of the best equipment at annual shows like the 2007 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). Manufacturers brought an array of products designed to improve efficiency, ease-of-maintenance, and to give a wider variety and choice. A recent trend at the AHR Expo has been the dramatic increase of software companies showing off their new software packages that are designed to run powerful programs and make operating systems and equipment more state-of-the-art than ever before. This year’s show in Dallas was no exception, and some of the new software products are included in the list below.


Data-Basics Inc.(www.databasics.com) featured SAM Pro Enterprise version 7.0, the latest update to its accounting and service management software suite. More than a year in the making, version 7.0 includes across-the-board enhancements to help contractors and service providers work more efficiently. In addition, the company also announced a concurrent update to TechAnywhere 2.0, its wireless field service software.

“All of these new features come directly from our customers,” said Tim Carcione, director of product development, Data-Basics. “While some of the enhancements to version 7.0 may not seem flashy on the surface, advancements in areas such as accounting and Rules-Based Management have expanded the depth of SAM Pro, which make running a service business more profitable.”

While dozens of enhancements have been made to SAM Pro, the more notable features include smarter escalation management and enhanced payroll tools. Smarter escalation management technology automates the service workflow process using pre-defined escalation profiles that enable the system to automatically e-mail, fax or page a manager if a work order falls out of spec. Enhanced payroll tools, part of SAM Pro Enterprise’s fully integrated accounting package, include a multiunion and multistate payroll. Version 7.0 also brings improved payroll support for Canadian firms, increased security features to enable executive payroll, and better support for employees with recurring wages.

Joe Simmons demonstrates new software at the HVAC Solutions AHR Expo booth.

The update to TechAnywhere 2.0 for tablet PC allows technicians to electronically fill out job tickets as they currently do, with a pen called a stylus, and on a form designed to look like the job tickets currently used.

HVAC Solution(www.hvacsolution.com) introduced Pro Version 4.0 with the following brand new features, including a new component, the blowdown separator, which completes the boiler system toolbox. Functionality enhancements include:

Shapes:The drawing tool that allows the user to draw rectangles, circles, lines, and other objects also allows them to create a title block or finish up a control schematic.

Weather database:A weather database has been included in HVAC Solution that allows users to pick a location and then it automatically provides location specific altitude, dry bulb, wet bulb, and other climatic design data.

Metric issues:Check the SI units option to work with a more standard SI unit system.

Allowed fluid head loss factor to be disabled:User can now turn off the fluid head loss factor globally to enhance modeling.

Calculate and size drip traps:Automatically size steam traps based on the length of pipes.

Allows pipes to terminate without an ending component:Users can double-left click any pipe to terminate it. This feature works well for connecting to systems that don’t need to be designed. All the relevant temperature data required to define a system can be set right within the pipe. This feature works for steam and hydronic systems.

Added fuel oil pump to boiler:For oil systems, it added oil fuel pump information in the boiler.

Timothy Carcione plays with some of the latest software from Data-Basics.

Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited(www.iesve.com) launched Version 5.6 of its building performance software suite, the Virtual Environment Building performance software can help green-building designers understand the physical, climatic, and environmental factors that affect a building’s actual energy performance, even at the earliest stages of the design process.

ApacheSim Renewables, a new ApacheSim feature, allows detailed dynamic thermal simulation for renewable energy sources, including wind turbines, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar energy systems (SES), and combined heat and power (CHP). The software also has the ability to import 3-D building information modeling (BIM) data that has been enhanced as well as the ability to export geometrical data in an STL format to Star-CD. Model IT Model Merge is also a new time saving feature that allows the merging of existing and new model application data.

In addition, IES has developed VE Compliance, a new module for automating performance-based building regulations and energy codes compliance analysis.

Sage Software(www.sagesoftware.com) showcased the Sage TimeSheet-MAS 90 Edition, a comprehensive ERP solution that integrates Sage TimeSheet into Sage MAS 90 and Sage MAS 200. This new integration facilitates key business processes such as project management, employee time tracking, job costing, accounts payable and receivable, and payroll using a single data entry point. Sage TimeSheet-MAS 90 Edition supports an almost unlimited diversity of business process and approval levels, project structures, and workflows.

Sage TimeSheet offers organizations extensive time and expense tracking, resource allocation analysis, and project headcount justification. It can also be integrated with other business management applications.

“Integrating a project and resource management application such as Sage TimeSheet with Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200 will enable small and mid-sized organizations to streamline business processes for more efficient daily operations and provide these organizations with a greater sense of confidence that they are accessing the most current and accurate information from any area of their business system,” said Chris Donie, Sage Software vice president and general manager, Sage Fixed Assets, Time Tracking and Analytics.

Tridium (www.tridium.com) featured the latest release of its Niagara(AX)® software, a new oBIX driver interface for Niagara and a portfolio of Vykon®-based solutions for integrating building automation, energy, and security to the enterprise at the AHR Expo.

The company also unveiled its next generation touch screen Java Application Control Engine (JACE®) and displayed the new Security JACE for Access Control, the new JACE-NXS, and the rest of the JACE series platforms with increased RAM and flash memory options. As part of its exhibit, Tridium conducted a variety of demonstrations featuring real-world applications and installations.

Developed using the Niagara Framework®, Tridium’s solutions and enterprise applications are designed to integrate diverse systems and devices - regardless of manufacturer or communication protocol - into a unified platform that can be easily managed and controlled in real time over the Internet.

Wrightsoft (www.wrightsoft.com) won an Honorable Mention in the 2007 AHR Expo Innovation Awards for its Right Universal (RU) HVAC software package. This package combines residential and commercial design capabilities in one product, allowing users the power to employ a single program for all of their design and sales projects.

“RU represents the culmination of 20 years of research, development, and technological innovation,” said Chris Edgren, vice president of sales and marketing for Wrightsoft. “By creating a program that allows users to manage residential and commercial projects at the same time, and quickly and easily switch between calculation methods, we are enabling a level of efficiency that will save our customers enormous amounts of time and money.

“This recognition from AHR validates our efforts and confirms that RU is a true industry breakthrough that will significantly change the face of HVAC software.”

RU integrates the functionalities of Wrightsoft’s software products to allow users to quickly switch calculation methods depending upon project requirements, instead of opening and operating separate programs for each project.

For instance, commercial load calculation methods that are beneficial for high-end housing will now be available for use on residential projects, which will also have access to commercial duct calculations that allow more accurate results for complicated duct designs.

At the same time, commercial projects will now benefit from the additional functionalities of Wrightsoft modules, Right-Radiant Plus™, Right-Proposal Plus™, Right-Loop™, Right-Sales™ and Right-$™, which allow for a range of design and sales capabilities previously only available in residential design software.

Publication date:02/19/2007