DALLAS — The HVACR industry headed south in big numbers for the three-day Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Exposition (AHR Expo) recently. According to show promoter International Exposition Company (IEC), the 2013 Expo broke the all-time Southwest record for the event.

A total of 33,891 visitors attended the event to interact with the 1,951 exhibiting companies. When including the 17,446 exhibitor personnel, a total of 51,337 HVACR industry folks were walking around Dallas during the last week of January.

“We were very pleased with the attendance and the enthusiasm on the show floor,” said Clay Stevens, president of IEC. “The aisles were packed for almost all three days of the show.”

The mood of the show was upbeat as new and old companies showcased innovative products to contractors and distributors. There was a lot of talk about efficient products, products to make installations simpler, and the improvement of the economy.

Trane was one of the older companies creating a big buzz as evidenced by their booth, which was packed daily. The company celebrated its 100th anniversary with a booth full of new products, on-site demonstrations, and cupcakes. Trane was also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Trane Centrifugal chiller.

“For 100 years, Trane has defined the industry by providing heating and air conditioning solutions to help people live, work, and play in comfortable environments,” said Dave Regnery, president of Trane North America. “As we move into our second century, we are excited to play a leadership role in energy efficiency as we drive the advancement of energy management services and energy conservation. Trane will continue to improve lives by uncovering groundbreaking, efficient ways to improve buildings.”

A new company creating a similar amount of buzz at the expo was hilmor. The new HVAC tools and equipment manufacturer launched 150 separate items across multiple categories at the show. In addition, the company, which was five years in the making, seemed to paint multiple areas of the show green and black, including the shuttles taking attendees to the convention center.

“This exciting product launch is backed by one of the largest HVACR research projects in the history of the industry,” says Rich Mathews, senior vice president, marketing, hilmor. “We wanted to ensure our tools were the best in their class, so we started by identifying the challenges HVAC technicians faced in the field. We rode along with technicians, visited job sites, and talked with distributors. We traveled coast-to-coast, investing millions of dollars in the research behind this line of tools.”

Rheem Manufacturing Co. was selected as the 2013 AHR Expo Product of the Year award winner for its H2AC Rooftop Unit, a restaurant integrated a/c and water-heating system.

“We congratulate Rheem and all the winners of the AHR Expo Innovation awards,” said Clay Stevens, president of IEC. “These companies deserve recognition for the innovative products they are creating, products that improve the environment where we work and live by making it healthier and more comfortable while using less energy.”

The previous Southwest AHR Expo record was set in 2007 which was also held in Dallas.

“We believe the enthusiasm on the show floor bodes well for the economic outlook of the HVACR industry overall, and AHR Expo 2014 next January in New York,” Stevens said.

Publication date: 2/18/2013