CHICAGO — Over 1,700 companies have reserved more than 414,500 square feet of exhibit space at McCormick Place for the 2012 Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo on Jan. 23 to 25, making it the largest HVACR exposition of all time.

“We are very pleased about achieving this new all-time record, especially as this is our company’s 100th anniversary,” said Clay Stevens, president, International Exposition Co., which produces and manages the AHR Expo. He attributes much of this growth to more companies introducing new energy-efficient equipment, as well as the anticipation that their customers will need to replace outdated equipment that they have been nursing through an uncertain economy.

Included among the more than 1,700 exhibiting companies from 34 countries are 130 first-time exhibitors and over 300 non-U.S. exhibitors. As the largest AHR Expo of all time, the 2012 expo may also be on track to establish new records for total attendees and registered visitors, excluding exhibitor personnel.

Stevens said that another reason for the record exhibit space is that AHR Expo covers all segments of the HVACR industry, including the new solar and sustainable technologies, which are experiencing strong growth. A comprehensive educational program featuring more than 100 sessions and special show features also attracts a significant number of HVACR professionals from around the world.

“Based on these early indicators, we expect Chicago to be a very strong event,” Stevens added.

Long-Time Exhibitors

The AHR Expo provides a great opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their latest offerings, giving contractors the chance to check out new products. The show also provides the ability for manufacturers to meet directly with new and existing customers to discuss products and specific applications. This is why many manufacturers continue exhibiting year after year.

Basically, exhibiting at the AHR Expo is a great way to connect to a broad section of HVAC business owners, marketing pros, and salespeople, said Tom Ruse, marketing communications manager for Aprilaire. “It’s a good forum for introducing innovation, and it’s an event that helps attendees and exhibitors stay on top of important industry trends.”

Marking Aprilaire’s 52nd year as an exhibitor at the AHR Expo, Ruse noted that at the 2012 show, the company will offer a formal presentation that will demonstrate how Aprilaire can help contractors connect “all things IAQ” for the consumer. “Attendees will have many chances throughout the show to learn how this new innovation from Aprilaire will help them talk to their customers about IAQ, and best of all, be able to easily yet comprehensively ‘deliver the goods’ as the IAQ solutions provider.”

For Danfoss, exhibiting at AHR Expo each year has been a no-question-about-it event, said John Galyen, president of Danfoss North America. “As a global manufacturer, the international show affords us the tremendous opportunity to interact face to face with many of our customers from all regions. It’s a great forum to converge the industry to network, learn, and explore the latest in engineering and product development.”

Galyen particularly appreciates the opportunity to talk with OEM customers, wholesalers, and contractors at the show about their specific applications and performance. “As the trend toward variable speed continues, we see opportunities like that at the AHR Expo as crucial to engage the market to advance adoption of these leading high-efficiency products — products such as speed compressors, variable frequency drives and oil-free centrifugal compressors — that harbor the potential to drastically cut our energy consumption.”

At the 2012 AHR Expo, Danfoss will exhibit several new products, including VSH-II, a new variable-speed commercial compressor, which incorporates IPM motor technology for 20 percent energy savings over fixed-speed compressors; the ETS6, a new electrically-operated expansion valve that ensures precise resolution for better control of superheat
to match exact capacity demands for improved energy efficiency; and the Danfoss Turbocor TT400 380V high-efficiency oil-free centrifugal compressor.

This will be the 50th AHR Expo for Rheem, and according to Joe Fristik, corporate vice president of marketing and national accounts, the annual event is a great way to kick off the year ahead. “The show helps attendees connect with manufacturers on the show floor so they can learn firsthand about business trends, insights, and planned new product releases for the coming year. Rheem benefits greatly from the show, because it allows us to show contractors and distributors our priorities for the year ahead by giving them access to our company’s leadership and highlighting new products in our exhibit.”

Last year, Rheem utilized the AHR Expo to unveil its new brand identity and numerous redesigned products. In 2012, the company will highlight its XR90 Extreme Recovery gas water heater, which delivers more hot water, faster than a standard 50-gallon gas water heater, said Fristik. Rheem will also exhibit its new commercial integrated air-and-water system, which was displayed in a concept form last year. Designed for full-service restaurants, the product works by switching over from a refrigerant-to-air system, to a refrigerant-to-water system, when there is a demand for air conditioning and hot water. “This is an energy-efficient option because the heat of the refrigerant is transferred to the water
instead of the outside environment as in a normal air conditioning cycle. The benefits include improved efficiency
in water heating and air conditioning.”

Educational Opportunities

Sponsored by nearly two dozen industry associations, 43 free educational sessions covering a variety of critical topics will be offered during the first two days of the expo, including the following:

• Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) will present “Residential Ventilation: Is Heat Recovery the Answer?”; this session will cover when heat recovery ventilation is appropriate, benefits and pitfalls of heat recovery ventilation, and selection and installation of HRV/ERV equipment.

• Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association (SPIDA) will present “Find the Benefits of Less Duct Before Considering Duct-Less,” which will be an overview of the tools and data needed to evaluate types of duct for relative requirements of material and installation, as well as ultimate cost of ownership and operation.

• In “The Journey to System Performance,” the Green Mechanical Council will cover how to achieve increased comfort and efficiency through system performance verification, focusing in the areas of psychrometrics and combustion.

• The Testing Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) will offer a session titled, “Delivering the Green Design with Testing Adjusting and Balancing a HVAC System and the Problems Commissioning Can Create,” which will cover the importance of testing, adjusting, and balancing the HVAC system.

Other educational courses and certification testing will be offered for a fee by industry groups, and the Building Automation and Control Showcase will again be featured, highlighting everything from energy and building management systems to controls and networking solutions. The Software Center and New Product Technology Theaters will also be featured again at the AHR Expo.

The New Product Technology Theaters will showcase the latest new products and technologies that will impact the HVACR industry. Over 85 presentations will take place, as manufacturers from around the world display their newest products and solutions during 15-minute presentations all three days of the expo. The presentations are complimentary to all attendees and seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Publication date: 01/09/2012