The essence of HVAC installs and service is people working with their hands, and having the proper tools can make all the difference. This year’s gold winner in the 2014 Dealer Design Awards Hand Tools category is Western Enterprises, a Scott Fetzer Company’s HVAC VN Nitrogen Purging/Brazing/Testing Regulator product line. The company spent four years researching and designing this product line, working with surveys, focus groups, and test marketing to develop the product.

The HVAC VN Nitrogen Purging/Brazing/Testing Regulator product line has two models, the VN-250 and VN-500. These two control devices are designed to deliver the specified purge (25-35 cfh) and braze (3-6 cfh) gas flows, as well as pressure test for leakage at 250 or 500 psi. The idea behind the tool is to standardize the purge, braze, and test process recommended in the HVAC system line set installation process. It can be utilized in any application that requires flow and pressure applications that are within the product’s specified ranges.

The tool operates using a hand-tightened CGA-580 cylinder connection, and does not require exposed pressure gauges or flow meters. The unit has a standard SAE outlet connection to deliver to the system.

“I can see this easy-to-use device quickly becoming the tool of choice for installing line sets,” said Donna Conrad, director of sales, Western Enterprises. “The product does not require a wrench, nor does it need two separate devices to work. This durable product is an efficient and economical way to ensure contractors are correctly installing line sets.”

In addition to the tight cylinder connection, the unit features a click-style delivery selector and internal orifices to maintain delivery instead of using adjustable pressure gauges or flow meters.

“These are nice features and a good idea when it comes to ease of use,” said one contractor judge.

The company’s future plans entail having the product in every contractor’s hand in the near future.

According to Conrad, “We want to make contractors’ jobs easier and more efficient as well as save on costs in installing line sets.”

Silver Winner

TNA Pro Products Inc. took the silver award with its Magnetic Vac Sac. According to the company, the product allows technicians and maintenance personnel to thoroughly and properly clean stationary condensing coils with high-pressured nitrogen, CO?, or compressed air. This can be done in any location, on the spot, without compromising IAQ, food, or merchandise. The Magnetic Vac Sac adjusts to fit most makes and models of ice machines and conforms to attach to units that are in a tight or hard-to-reach space. In addition to ice machine condensing coils, applications include evaporator coils and hydronic or forced-air hanging heater units.

The unit allows technicians to blow out coils by channeling all dust and debris through its chambers into a vacuum, which is lightweight and folds for storage and transport. The washable Magnetic Pro Vac Sac is manufactured using durable commercial-grade materials that can be blown out or washed if needed.

The company spent two years designing, creating, and testing prototypes. They were tested in the refrigeration services field.

TNA Pro Products representatives said the company plans to use the Magnetic Pro Vac Sac to educate the industry about the financial and ecological benefits of proper maintenance of heating, cooling, and refrigeration system coils.

Bronze Winner

The Fluke Corp. earned bronze for its Fluke VT04 Visual IR Thermometer. The device is a troubleshooting tool with built-in digital camera and thermal heat map overlay. Building on the Fluke VT02, the VT04 adds PyroBlend™ Plus with resolution four times that of the VT02 and automatic alarm features. The unit is fully automatic with built-in intelligence, so issues can be detected instantly with no training required. It includes advanced alarm features for troubleshooting intermittent issues, including a hi-lo temperature alarm that flashes on the screen if the user-selected temperature goes out of the selected range; a time-lapse image capture that can be set to capture images in 30-second to one-hour intervals; and an auto-monitor alarm that initiates image capture automatically after a temperature alarm has been triggered, allowing users to automatically capture images — even while the VT04 is unattended — using the universal tripod mount.

The core technology (pyro electric array) has been under development for the previous 15 years. The VT products have been developed over the past three years. According to the company, the VT products are an integral part of Fluke’s temperature measurement range, and additional products are planned to provide more functionality and capability.

Publication date: 7/21/2014

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