DALLAS, TX — The job of a trade reporter is to seek out new products and talk about the new products’ features and benefits. However, sometimes even the best products need a bit of tweaking to improve their quality and efficiency.

Instead of new products, many of the valve manufacturers at the IAHR Expo were showing off some refinements to their product lines and additions that are designed to make their products more serviceable and, yes, more saleable.

For instance, Aeroquip showed off its new series of ball valves. However, it gave equal time to the valve connections — copper tubing. Called a “copper forming process,” the tubing takes less time to heat up in order for the welding process to begin. Since it is made from copper, “The threaded tubes are less likely to corrode, thus making valves easier to install or replace in the field,” said product manager Keith Gifford.

The copper forming process captivates the valve’s ball, seals, and spring, eliminating potential leaks and providing consistent sealing, said the company. They are helium leak tested to detect volumetric leaks equivalent to less than 0.1 oz of R-22 refrigerant per year.

Copper is 'in'

One of the new features of Alco Controls’ TRAE “Plus” thermostatic expansion valve is its square body. The new straight-through design with copper connections allows for easier flow with less restriction, said the company.

It seems that copper is the big word for valves and valve connections. A-1 Components showed off its Copper Spun MS Magni-Check™ Valve. It is designed for installation with hard or soft solder.

The valve operates like a brass valve and has a built-in stainless steel strainer, designed for maximum reliability. Typical applications include use in compressor discharge lines to prevent the flow from the condenser to the compressor during the “off” cycle and to prevent flow from an operating compressor to one that is idle.

Like other valve manufacturers, Griswold Controls is looking to make ease of service and installation a top priority when it comes to valve connections.

“We think the new end-fitting selection will make the field tech’s job much easier,” said Griswold’s Kristen Ortlinghaus.

The Optimizer Inserts on the Automizer Electronic Ball valve have different size openings for a larger number of Cv’s per valve size. This means that techs can size valves to match the piping size, saving time and, ultimately, money.

Addressing downtime, leakage

Hansen Technologies addressed a problem that winds up costing oem’s a lot of expense and lost productivity — downtime. It has come up with a new repair kit that is designed to save time and money.

“The new plastic ring, spring, and O-ring kit can save repair costs and time,” said Alex Weimerscheimer. “Instead of shutting done the system and replacing a valve, the repair kits can be used.”

What’s one of the biggest problems faced by service techs when working on installation or replacement of valves? Answer: leakage. Henry Technologies has introduced a new line of hermetically sealed, stainless steel valves to address the leakage problem.

“These new valves virtually reduce or eliminate refrigerant leakage,” said Henry’s Paul Schwarz.

Although there wasn’t a lot of newness to the product line at Metrex Valve, engineering manager Scott Burson said his company is constantly “tweaking” its valves to fit unique situations.

“We reconfigure the valves for difficult operations,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mueller Angle Isolation valves from Mueller Industries, Inc. are designed with optimum flow characteristics and positive shutoff for guaranteed isolation and enhanced system performance. That’s important, according to sales manager Bob Haye.

“One of the important features of the Angle Isolation Valve is its design,” he said. “It has a fully backseated stem and seat, which results in a minimal valve pressure drop.”

More bells, whistles

Parker Hanifin Corp. is known for its precise and reliable controls, as evidenced by its “Flo-con” pressure regulators and solenoid valves.

One of the new product offerings from Sporlan Valve Co. is its BQ Valve, a balanced port interchangeable cartridge-style thermostatic expansion valve (TEV). The BQ expands the company’s interchangeable style Q-valve line.

With this valve, the Q-valve line satisfies 2,900 different TEV applications, which are intended to eliminate concerns about numerous old and new refrigerants encountered on daily service calls.

Want a little freedom to make quick work of pump installation and maintenance? Taco Inc. said it has the answer — “Freedom Flanges.”

The new flanges fit all “00” circulators and can be installed or removed with a common adjustable wrench, often freeing service techs from “scraped knuckles” and “jury-rigged tools.”

The hex design of the flanges help save time, said J. Micky McPhillips, and “is a great addition to the company’s valve line.”