ORLANDO, Fla. — While millions flock to Orlando each year to visit Walt Disney World, the attraction later this month for tens of thousands of HVACR professionals from around the world will be the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo. As one of the largest events in the HVACR industry, the AHR Expo, scheduled for Jan. 25-27 at the Orange County Convention Center, is the place where contractors, engineers, and other building professionals go to learn about new products and network with others in the industry.
The AHR Expo, which began more than 85 years ago, is held annually in key markets and major cities across the U.S., hosting close to 2,000 exhibitors and crowds of more than 60,000 industry professionals. The event provides a unique forum for the HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas.
More than 80 percent of exhibitors plan to introduce new or upgraded products, systems, and technologies on the 2016 AHR Expo floor. Spanning categories from IAQ to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers, and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch nearly every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.
“We are impressed by the ingenuity, inventiveness, and problem-solving capabilities seen in the incredible variety of the 2016 exhibition lineup,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co. “It’s apparent that manufacturers have been hard at work in redefining the limits of HVACR innovation, as well as fine-tuning — and, in some cases, altogether reinventing — what have already been deemed as bar-raising developments.”
HVAC contractors usually attend the AHR Expo to meet with vendors face-to-face as well as see a variety of products being introduced to market. Exhibitors, such as Fluke Corp. — which has had a booth there for decades — often feel the same way.
“The audience at the AHR Expo is central to Fluke’s business,” said Dan Wright, communications manager, Fluke Corp. “We understand that HVACR people working in the field always have the clock working against them and that they need tools with total reliability that work every time. We understand the needs of the customer and build tools that meet those needs. Several of our products are tailored to the specific needs of HVACR technicians, including an updated tool that we will announce at the show.”
The huge attendee count at the AHR Expo is unlike any other show in this industry, noted Ryan Driscoll, director of marketing for GPS Insight, a GPS fleet-tracking company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Over the course of the week, we’re exposed to a ton of buyers and get face-to-face interaction that we otherwise don’t have for the majority of our conversations with leads. We enjoy listening to the different challenges that business owners and fleet managers are having and discussing how our GPS tracking software can solve those issues.”
One of the solutions GPS Insight will be highlighting at the Expo is GPS Insight Standard, which is a new tracking option for small businesses. “The product helps small HVAC business owners and fleet managers who are looking for cost-effective and simple, yet powerful, GPS tracking. The equipment offers real-time and historical visibility, which helps reduce costs and risk and increases revenue. The solution is designed for quick implementation, ease of use, high automation, and actionable info,” said Driscoll.
Uponor has been exhibiting at the AHR Expo for more than 10 years. There are three primary reasons the company returns year after year, said Jon Orton, director of marketing operations, Uponor. “First, it’s the biggest show in our industry. This allows us to build our brand and increase product awareness in commercial plumbing and HVAC applications on a national level. Second, it gives us the opportunity to really listen to our customers’ needs in the plumbing and HVAC markets and help them solve their unique business challenges. Third, and most importantly, it helps us develop new relationships and strengthen current relationships with our industry partners and customers.”
At this year’s Expo, Uponor will be launching its new 2 ½- and 3-inch PEX pipe and ProPEX® fitting system along with the new Milwaukee® M18™ FORCELOGIC™ ProPEX expansion tool.
“This product offering will provide our commercial customers with a large, comprehensive PEX pipe and ProPEX expansion fitting offering, giving designers and installers the ability to specify and install even more hydronic piping and commercial plumbing applications with PEX,” said Mark Hudoba, director of heating and cooling, Uponor.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Contractors are not the only ones who enjoy attending the Expo — mechanical engineers have echoed a resounding sentiment that, without fail, the AHR Expo provides a unique, valuable, and not-to-be-missed experience each year.
“I’ve attended every show since 2010. Despite ebbs and flows in my business, I’ve made a point of attending because of the benefit in seeing people and their products in person,” said Warren Austin III, owner of Geo-Energy Services LLC. “I’ve written new business from attending AHR Expo in the past, and it’s one of the most important events I participate in all year.”
Austin noted a majority of his business comes from networking connections, so he understands how the exchanges he has at the AHR Expo will directly affect his company’s bottom line. “Nothing has helped my business grow like referrals have, and the majority of leads have come from attending this show. I also take the opportunity every year to look for new products in areas I don’t know as much about, and there’s just no other opportunity for me to do this at a similar scope and size.”
“The show has helped me grow in my professional development by just being able to see where the industry is headed and notice trends through the significant variety of products on display from one year to the next,” said Sarah Medepalli, mechanical engineer, ICF Intl. “It’s so important to have a good handle on what is coming down the pipeline.”
Another way to see what’s coming down the pipeline is to visit the AHR Expo’s New Product and Technology Theater, which will feature dozens of exhibitors offering brief presentations about their new products. In addition, nearly 50 free seminars will be offered, covering a variety of topics in order to help HVACR professionals get the information they need to improve their businesses, perform their jobs more effectively, and stay abreast of new technology and trends driving the industry. Conducted by experts representing top industry organizations, these sessions typically last one to two hours, so attendees can learn something new in the classroom and still have plenty of time to spend visiting the exhibits.
The Building Automation and Control (BAC) Showcase will also return this year, giving attendees the opportunity to learn about the latest building automation and controls technologies. Numerous manufacturers from around the world will be highlighting their latest BAC products and technologies, with many of these companies located in one convenient area on the exhibit floor. The Software Center will also return, featuring both off-the-shelf and customized HVACR-related software solutions.
For more information regarding the AHR Expo, including exhibitor listings and educational opportunities, visit www.ahrexpo.com.
Publication date: 1/11/2016