ATLANTA, GA — It seems like just yesterday we were here during a balmy January, enjoying another International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). But it was actually five years ago. Let’s hope that this year’s attendees at the exposition, held at the Georgia World Congress Center Jan. 29-31, are treated to the same kind of fair weather as last time.

The AHR Expo is considered to be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition in the hvacr industry. Every year, thousands of contractors, engineers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers, and others in the hvacr industry walk the aisles at the show, looking for new products and new ways to do business.

The expo is cosponsored by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), and honorary sponsor Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). In addition, 14 other associations are now partnering with the exposition for the first time, making it the event of the year.

Once again, the show is expected to be sold out. Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co. (IEC), which produces and manages the AHR Expo, states that most of the available 395,000 sq ft had been reserved by more than 1,250 hvacr manufacturers from around the world, making it the second largest AHR Expo ever.

Something For Everyone

With so many manufacturers participating, contractors attending the show should be able to find something that will tickle their fancy.

Mark Handzel, national sales manager, Fluid Handling Unit of ITT Industries, Morton Grove, IL, says that this is the only venue in North America where contractors can experience such a vast array of new products and trends from all the leading industry suppliers. “This is the only event where they can see over 1,000 exhibitors and have access to such a wide variety of educational and training opportunities, all in one place,” says Handzel.

ITT Industries has exhibited at numerous AHR Expos over the years, and the company expects many contractors will stop by its booth to check out new products. “Contractors work with our products every day, but they never have the opportunity to look inside our pumps,” says Handzel. “That’s why they love to come in the booth and look at our cutaway product displays that very clearly demonstrate how these pumps operate.”

Another long-time exhibitor is Magnetek, New Berlin, WI. Jim Wilson, regional drives specialist, says that contractors can’t afford to not come to the show, because of the sheer amount of new technology and ideas represented. “Where else can they be exposed to so much information in such a short span of time?”

Wilson adds that in this age of high-tech specialization of products, there are money- and time-saving opportunities lurking in virtually every booth. “In our case, we have products that pay for themselves in reduced energy consumption, which creates work for the contractor and saves the user money.”

Magnetek plans to showcase its ac drives and answer the questions: How can you extend the life of motors, bearings, couplings, belts, and other components by using ac drives? How is it possible to provide closed loop control of temperature or flow without a complex control system?

Because the show can be overwhelming, both Handzel and Wilson recommend that contractors do a little homework first. “Make a written or mental list of several important topics you want to learn about,” says Wilson. “Develop a physical plan for cruising the booths and only spend time on the ones on your list. Be sure to leave some time (and your mind) open for new ideas or products you may encounter. Rather than try to get the whole story on a single product or issue, have the vendor come see you after the show.”

New Events

This year there’s something new at the AHR Expo: Free educational seminars that will be offered by the various associations that are sponsoring the show. These seminars are available to anyone attending the show.

The 10 educational sessions are promising to deliver objective content that informs and educates AHR Expo attendees. Attendees are allowed to participate in as many presentations throughout the three-day event as their schedule permits. The session topics are:

Residential Mechanical Ventilation, presented by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Condition-ing Institute of Canada (HRAI) on Monday, Jan. 29, and Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Residential Integrated Combo Systems, presented by HRAI on Jan. 29 and 30.

Benefits of Evaporative Cooling Systems Vs. Air Cooled Systems, presented by the Cooling Technology Institute (CTI) on Jan. 29.

Is it the Fan or is it the System? Learn to Identify the Difference, presented by the Air Movement and Control Association Inter-national, Inc. (AMCA), on Jan. 30.

ACR 2000 Presentation, sponsored by National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) on Jan. 30.

Future Direction of Steam and Hot Water Boilers, presented by the American Boiler Manu-facturers Association (ABMA) on Jan. 29.

A Guide to the Building Automation Industry at AHR Expo 2001, sponsored by AHR Expo on Jan. 29 and 30. This seminar, presented by Ken Sinclair,, and David J. Branson, Compliance Services Group, Inc., will give a quick overview of this year’s industry trends and new developments attendees will find at the show.

Automation Industry Update for Integration, Protocols, and the Web Evolution, sponsored by the AHR Expo on Jan. 29, also hosted by Sinclair and Branson, will focus on the state of the industry, protocol acceptance and convergence, and the evolving integration effort.

Integration Design-Contracting, The Net Effect and Componentization, sponsored by the AHR Expo on Jan. 30, will discuss the effect of the Internet on the industry, open protocols, and Internet/ Intranet extensions, which are leading the industry to less “in control” relationships

An Open Forum for Automation and the Future, sponsored by the AHR Expo on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Previous Highlights Return

And what would an AHR Expo be without the two special-interest areas: Building Automation and Control Showcase and the Software Center? These special-interest areas offer attendees the opportunity to test drive hundreds of new products and discuss their applications with the companies marketing and engineering teams. The clearly designated special-interest areas will feature 153 companies.

In the Building Automation and Control Showcase, approximately 116 companies will exhibit their facility management systems, integrated climate control systems, and/or network integration products. The showcase features the newest products and technologies to make buildings smarter, more efficient, and more comfortable.

In the Software Center, approximately 37 companies will showcase their software for hvacr accounting and business management, contracts, energy analysis, equipment selection, and just about anything else you can think of for the hvacr industry.

Also returning this year are testing sessions given by North American Technician Excellence, Inc. (NATE). Starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 30 in the Georgia World Congress Center, the NATE-sponsored exams will provide technicians with certification testing for five industry specialties: air conditioning, air distribution, gas heating, heat pumps, and oil heating. The test session is 4 hrs long.

On-site registration is Jan. 30 at 8:45 a.m. Techs can also register through the Atlanta-area chapters of the Air Conditioning Contrac-tors of America (ACCA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association (PHCC-NA), and Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES). These associations are also promoting this testing opportunity to their members.

For more information on the show, contact AHR Expo at 203-221-9232; 203-221-9260 (fax); or (website).

Publication date: 01/15/2001