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Parker Hannifin Corp. addressed two of today’s most pressing HVACR issues ― a labor shortage and pandemic-fueled concerns about indoor air quality (IAQ) ― during the recent AHR Expo.

The company’s easy-to-use ZoomLock Max and ZoomLock Push fittings were on prominent display at its booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center and attracted steady interest from expo visitors.

The ZoomLock technology, for refrigeration, air-conditioning, and transportation applications, helps technicians make quick, leak-free copper tubing connections without brazing, thus reducing installation costs and making the work cleaner and safer.

Parker Hannifin ZoomLock Push.

EASIER FITTINGS: Parker’s ZoomLock Push products are available as couplings, 90° elbows, and more. (Staff photo)

“The whole goal here is to make it faster and more trouble-free, so that installs can be accomplished in a timely fashion” and contractors can avoid call-backs, said Dustin Searcy, a marketing manager at Parker’s Sporlan division, during the Expo. “And everybody’s happy at the end of the day.”

ZoomLock Push allows for removable connections that are made by simply snapping the components together without the use of tools. ZoomLock Max has tiny teeth within each fitting that grip the tubing, and it requires the use of a power crimping tool with jaws that can be changed to match the diameters of the various fittings.

Both systems are rated at a maximum operating pressure of 700 psi and a maximum operating temperature of 250 F. The fittings come in a variety of diameters, and couplings, 90° elbows, and flare adapters are available in both styles. ZoomLock Push also features ball valves, while ZoomLock Max also offers caps, reducers, tees, and 45° elbows.

The ZoomLock technology, said Searcy, is one example of how Parker-Sporlan is focused is on making technicians’ jobs faster and easier, as a way of compensating for the shortage of trained workers in the industry. Technicians aren’t being replaced as fast as they’re retiring, Searcy said. Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), a trade association that represents wholesalers and manufacturers, estimates a current nationwide shortage of 122,000 HVAC workers.

“It’s a concern for everybody. And we know that as we come out with new products, we want to make the experience trouble-free, intuitive, and something that they can accomplish,” said Searcy. “Get the job done more quickly.”

Another product that’s gained attention, two years into the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, is Parker’s Crystal-Aire uv, a high-efficiency air purifier that uses ultraviolet light in the C band (UV-C), which is germicidal, to clean the air. The unit is equipped with four UV-C lamps and a HEPA filter; it stands 48 inches high by 20 inches wide by 19 inches long.

Parker Hannifin product manager Tim Rosiek said the Crystal-Aire uv is designed for classrooms, offices, workplace break rooms, medical and dental clinics, and other rooms that see a lot of occupant turnover.

The maximum room size for which the Crystal-Aire uv can effectively clean the air, at one air change per hour (ACH), is 48,000 cubic feet (or a 4,800-square-foot room, assuming 10-foot ceilings).

Rosiek said development of the Crystal-Aire uv began shortly after the pandemic hit the U.S. and that product was brought to market in April 2021.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in the educational sector,” he said.

Other products from Parker that were on display included:

  • A new modulating three-way valve model (the MTW-7) for air-conditioning uses. “It’s often used in dedicated outdoor air systems and commercial HVAC systems where they’re trying to bring in dehumidified air into the space, control humidity very closely,” Searcy said.
  • The NX thermostatic expansion valve, which is designed to accommodate the new A2L refrigerants, for refrigeration in food-service applications.
  • The cold-room controller (CRC), a microprocessor-based system designed to control evaporator temperatures in walk-in coolers and freezers. The CRC offers wireless remote monitoring capability.