ATLANTA — The Fieldpiece booth commanded a lot of attention on the show floor at this year’s AHR Expo in Atlanta. Those who didn’t have time to wait in line to find out why may be wondering, “What was all the rage about?”

“Basically this,” said Tina French, marketing manager for Fieldpiece, as she grabbed the SM480V. “It’s our new digital manifold.”

Read more about
AHR Expo 2019
in the Feb. 18 issue

Years of research, which included feedback from HVACR professionals, went into designing the SMAN™ Refrigerant Manifolds with Micron Gauge. Both the SM380V and the SM480V feature a rugged casing, a reinforced hook, a hermetically sealed sight glass, wireless capabilities, data logging, and a tightness test.

French said when it comes to feedback, the company generally hears comments on the little things.

“We’ll hear things like ‘Your backlight only stays on for 15 seconds … and I need it on for 30,’” she said.

And that’s exactly why the SMAN manifolds are customizable. Users can adjust the auto power off duration as well as the backlight duration. They can set high- and low-vacuum alarms and select each unit of measurement individually.

Additionally, both the SM380V and the SM480V are compatible with the Job Link® System app, which allows users to streamline and simplify their calls. Measurements can be viewed on mobile devices up to 350 feet away when connected to the app. Work can be documented and reports can be generated all from a smartphone or tablet.

That’s the big trend, according to French — the switch to wireless.

“I think people are finally realizing [its value],” said French. “It’s like when the cellphone came out and people thought, ‘What do I need that for?’ It’s the same thing with wireless; people think, ‘Oh, I have this, and it works just fine or analog works just fine.’”

As more people begin to replace their broken — or sometimes still working — tools with the new ones, wireless is becoming more of a standard than a luxury.

“And the thing that I’ve been hearing from our customers — and this would be true in any industry, not just ours — is that using the app helps them sell the customers,” said French. “The customer feels comfortable; they have all this data.”

It can be difficult for homeowners or building owners to find a contractor they trust. Using apps allows them to see the history. That way, when a service tech comes out for regular maintenance visits, they have something to actually show the customer. Either everything is good, or it’s not.

“If they come back and something’s off, they can go ‘Look, miss, last time I was here, everything was good; now, things aren’t running efficiently … they have the history,” said French. “The contractor ends up getting more business because the customer is more comfortable. You tend to find one [contractor] that you trust and you stick with them — the rest of them, you don’t know.”

Publication date: 2/18/2019

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