CHICAGO — Last year was a notable one for Testo Inc. as the test and measurement manufacturing company celebrated its 60th anniversary. However, 2018 promises to be just as momentous as Testo US will reach its 35th anniversary milestone. Last year, to mark the occasion, the company rebranded its test and measuring instruments from its classic black-on-black display to black and orange, while this year, it plans to release several new products.

The new Testo 440 Air Velocity & IAQ Meter was highlighted on the show floor. It combines the benefits of a compact handheld device with intuitive measurement menus and a comprehensive selection of air velocity and IAQ probes.

“This is a brand-new product this year,” said Michael Ficacci, head of central marketing, Testo. “We’ve had a Testo 435 air meter for years, but this gives you more functionality. It’s a pretty cool device, so you don’t have a ton of separate meters. It connects wirelessly with Bluetooth, but it also works wired. We think the airflow guys are really going to love this.”

The 440 features clearly structured measurement menus for volume flow, K-factor, degree of turbulence, heating and cooling load, mold indication, and even data logging. The Bluetooth smart probes offer greater measuring convenience and eliminate the tangle and clutter of cables. A universal handle for all probes means more applications with less equipment. The meter also has internal memory for up to 7,500 measurement reports, a USB interface for data export, and an optional printout of all measuring values.

Not far from the Air Velocity & IAQ Meter, Testo displayed its 420 Air Flow Capture Hood. The California Energy Commission (CEC)-compliant airflow capture hood with Bluetooth provides an accurate, lightweight, and convenient solution for measuring volume flows at supplies and returns. Handling the instrument is easy, as the 24-by-24-inch hood weighs less than 6.4 pounds with the base. A large, tiltable, and removable backlit display makes readings easy to see while a flow straightener allows for more precise measurement at turbulent outlets.

“We came out with this about a year and a half ago, and we sold a lot of them last year,” Ficacci said. “It’s simple, and easy to use. We hope that people partner this with the 440 Air Velocity & IAQ Meter for all their needs.”

Another product Testo highlighted at the expo was its 310 Residential Combustion Analyzer and its companion, the 320 LX Heavy Duty Residential/Light Commercial Combustion Analyzer. The Testo 310 measures O2; CO up to 4,000 ppm; draft, pressure, and temperature; and calculates CO2. It features an integrated NOx filter to eliminate cross-sensitivity (error) from NOx gases and a built-in condensate trap to protect sensors. The instrument also has full diagnostics at startup to ensure proper operation. Meanwhile, the Testo 320 LX also measures O2; CO up to 4,000 ppm; draft, differential pressure, and differential temperature; and calculates CO2. It features optional CO and gas leak detection probes and the integrated NOx filter. Continuous temperature compensation reduces measurement error during temperature changes.

“We’ve had this for years and haven’t touched it because people love it,” Ficacci said. “We did make a few small changes when we came out with a light commercial series, the 320. But, basically, it’s exactly the same.”

Lastly, the manufacturer showed off its 770 Hook-clamp Digital Multimeter (DMM), which is ideally suited for electrical work in HVAC applications. Testo’s unique hooking clamp can be used to separate, then grab wires. The easy hook-off retractable post releases the wires when testing is complete.

“This one has some really neat functions,” Ficacci noted. “No. 1 is the design. Most clamps open one way, some open different ways, but this is the only one that goes down and makes it easy for you to grab wires and separate them. That way, you’re not digging your hands in there. It allows you to work safely in tight spaces.”

The meter automatically detects AC/DC for volts or amps to select the correct range and features real-time power measurement in watts.

“These are the kinds of products we’re banking on to take us into 2018,” Ficacci said. “Hopefully, they take off like they’re supposed to. We know we have a die-hard Testo following. We know there are people who, if they buy our digital manifolds or they buy our combustion analyzers, then they’re going to buy our electrical, they’re going to buy our airflow. The problem is we want to get to the younger crowd — to the guys who are going to buy these smart probes and use their phones. And of course, we’re trying to get more market share. Those are our two big initiatives this year.”

Ficacci said the company is actively employing creative marketing and social media strategies.

“We knew we could get the kids with the smart probes, but we’re finding the 40- to 50-year-old guys are saying ‘Aha, well maybe I don’t need to use my digital manifold all the time — I can use the smart probe to diagnose,’ he said. “So, we’re using print and other advertisements focused on bringing in that older generation.”

Ficacci said Testo had a great experience at the expo and is looking forward to next year.

“It’s important to us from a branding standpoint to show that Testo is alive and well, and we’re growing,” he said. “It’s also important to show that we have new, exciting products coming out. With those new, exciting products, you have to have a footprint here. Last year, in Las Vegas, we had a 20-by-10-foot space. This year, we decided on a 20-by-20-foot island to get a little more visibility for branding. It’s been great. We got great traffic, great leads, and great conversations.”  

Publication date: 2/26/2018