The Marathon® Motors UlteMAX™ Motor from Regal Beloit Corp. earned the gold in the HVAC Commercial Equipment category of The NEWS’ 2017 Dealer Design Awards.

“The UlteMAX motor’s design shows that its engineers truly understand the importance form factor has to manufacturers and customers,” said Vickie Blakey, marketing manager, advanced technologies, Regal Beloit Corp. “Along with its reduced length of under 5 inches, compared to the 14-16 inch standard radial motor, its overall footprint reduction means it’s 50 percent lighter than conventional radial motors. With this compact, flat, lightweight design, there is no longer a need to design around the motor, and it can be intentionally hidden inside a much smaller system, requiring less space when installed. The motor’s product profile provides flexible mounting options, on-site customization, and future upgrades.”

Two years of research and design went into crafting the motor with Blakey believing that understanding and responding to customer feedback is critical to the Regal design team.

“This is what led them to realize it was time to look at air-handling motors differently,” she said. “Information was gathered through repeated client meetings in a ‘voice of the customer’ format. It was determined that traditional radial and external rotor motors in the marketplace today inherently present constraints of size, weight, efficiency, and the need to stock many designs to meet different customer specifications. Regal’s consideration and recognition of these obstacles ultimately led to a breakthrough new motor concept: the axial integral horsepower UlteMAX motor.”

A DDA judge said he would expect this to be popular with manufacturers due to its size, weight, and energy savings potential.

The motor’s design utilizes three different electronic pods. The first is the user interface pod. The second is the rectifier, or input pod, which connects the 460-V three-phase power with the drive of the motor. The inverter pod is the third pod and converts AC power to DC power, thereby providing power to the motor’s stator. The pods provide easy access and serviceability to the motor should any of the pods require replacement. 

Blakey said the UlteMAX motor’s features and applications will continue to be enhanced and developed based on customer feedback. A fourth pod space on the motor is available to allow for future capabilities.


Aaon Inc.’s V3 Series Energy Recovery Wheel (ERW) Vertical Air Handling Units provide energy-efficient 100 percent outside air ventilation.

The units are easy to install because of their compact footprints and are easy to maintain because of their large service access. These features, among others, helped the V3 Series capture silver honors in the HVAC Commercial Equipment category.

Available from 450-10,000 cfm with overlapping cabinet sizes for application flexibility, the V3 Series with ERW includes variable-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM)-driven direct-drive backward-curved plenum supply and exhaust fans and double wall rigid polyurethane foam-injected panel construction with lockable hinged service access doors.

Five years of research and development went into the design of the ERW, and Eric Taylor, marketing manager, Aaon, said the company used sales representative feedback, contractor and service technician feedback, customer and owner feedback, market research, and component performance testing before launching the product.

“The V3 Series ERW unit is designed with a slide-out energy recovery wheel,” said Taylor. “An additional length of wire is factory-installed, so the energy recovery wheel can slide out for cleaning. The energy recovery wheel is made up of pie-shaped pieces that can be taken out individually for cleaning. The motor of the energy recovery wheel is located on the access side of the unit, so it can be serviced easily.”

Dave McCurry, service manager, NexGen Mechanical, Warwick, Rhode Island, said he has been extremely satisfied with the performance of the ERW unit in the field.

“We have had great experience with it,” he said. “We were recently working on an assisted living unit, and we needed to work with a unit that just wouldn’t fit in the space. We tried many manufacturers, but no one could make a custom energy recovery ventilator that fit the space. Aaon found a way with this unit. My sales representative came to me and showed me this product I wasn’t familiar with. Aaon made it to fit the room, and it shipped in two pieces. It was easy to install, and it just snapped together in two pieces. It saved us money and time.”

Taylor said Aaon plans to expand the features and options of the V3 Series with ERW to meet the demands of its customers. Aaon also plans to offer the energy recovery wheel in the similar horizontal configuration of this air-handling unit product, the H3 Series.


The following praise from one DDA judge highlights exactly why the Landmark High-Efficiency Heat Pump, 2 to 10 ton packaged units from Lennox Intl. Inc. won the bronze award in this category.

“The high-efficiency heat pump design coupled with dual-fuel options allow this unit to make the most of optimum conditions while still meeting heating requirements during low outdoor temps. It features a well-thought-out design for maintenance and service.”

The Landmark rooftop line-up includes 2-ton up to 10-ton units and offers efficiencies of up to 16.5 SEER, 14.8 IEER, and 13 EER. Dual-fuel and electric-resistance heating options are offered with efficiencies of up to 8.5 HSPF and 3.9 coefficient of performance (COP). Units qualify for up to Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Tier 2 utility rebates and energy incentives. Dual-fuel models, available in 2- to 10-ton sizes, enable the system to automatically switch between electric and gas heating based on the balance point of which heating is the most efficient. This option helps buildings reduce operating costs without compromising comfort. Demand defrost control, available on 2- to 5-ton models, helps maximize system efficiency by activating defrost cycles only when ice forms on the outside coil.

Anthony Hoang, product manager, Lennox Intl. Inc., said the company expects the Landmark family to continue to grow in popularity — not only with contractors but with end users, as well.

“The innovative technology applied in this new family of products enables compliance with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2018 and 2023 efficiency standards,” he said. “Lennox will continue to offer choices of features and efficiency levels and will either use all or some of these technologies for our continuing development of top-end product families. As Lennox positions our Landmark line for 2023, we will continue to conduct market research with contractors, technicians, and installers in order to understand what will make servicing these systems easier and more efficient.”  

Publication date: 7/24/2016

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