Data-Basics employees (from left) Art Divell, Shauna Eastwood, and Albert Winemiller show off some of the company's design software at the AHR Expo.
CHICAGO — The makers of design, business management, and dispatching software are not letting the high-tech world leave contractors behind.

Many software companies displayed new products at the 2003 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), all designed to make doing business a little easier.

Data-Basics Inc. (Cleveland) introduced JMorph™, which “creates a secure, flexible environment for the development and deployment of Web service applications,” according to Tim Carcione, sales engineer, Data-Basics.

“Since JMorph applications can be run from any computer, it provides a practical, cost-effective means of Web-enabling your technicians, clients, vendors, subcontractors and mobile workforce. JMorph applications are quick to load and easy to use, while providing client-side Windows™ functionality not available on other Net-native applications.”

Carcione listed some other JMorph features, including distributed processing and automatic load balancing.

“This translates into enhanced sales opportunities and a major competitive advantage for contractors and service firms,” he said.

Design Master Software Inc. (Shoreline, Wash.) describes its Design Master HVAC software as a complete duct design tool. “It starts with load calculations, moves through the duct and diffuser layout, then sizes the ductwork, and ends by drawing the double line,” said Bob Robison, Design Master Software vice president, marketing.

“Other features include sections and 3-D, diffuser schedules, and duct pressure calculations,” he said. “The entire duct design process is combined into a single tool and runs in the familiar AutoCAD platform.”

Elite Software (Bryan, Texas) announced a new release of its Rhvac computer program. Rhvac8 implements the new ACCA Manual J 8th edition (MJ8) calculation procedures. New building materials have been added in this update and duct gains and losses have been made “more accurate,” the company said.

“The special feature of Rhvac is that it is the only MJ8 program on the market that can automatically determine adequate exposure diversity status and recommend whether the peak or averaging method of MJ8 should be used,” stated Bill Smith, president of Elite Software.

Ben Davis, president of HVAC Solution, describes the reporting features of the HVAC Solution 2.0.
FieldServer Technologies(Milpitas, Calif.) used a piece of hardware to show off its own software capabilities with the FS-S2011 Scanner, which provides a gateway for BACnet, LonWorks, and Metasys to OPC.

The new Model FS-S2011 BACnet/LonWorks/Metasys OPC Gateway enables BACnet, LonWorks, or Metasys to interface to OPC.

“In a single, comprehensive package, the FS Scanner provides the hardware and software necessary for this translation,” said Steve Ferree, FieldServer Technologies’ vice president of marketing. “In addition to the LonWorks connector, the FS-S2011 includes a serial (RS-232 or RS-485) and Ethernet connector. Configuration files can be downloaded via the serial or Ethernet ports. All the necessary software and instructions for configuration are provided with the FS-S2011.”

FieldServer Technologies also offers fee-based configuration services. The FieldServer combined with an extensive driver library “makes the perfect package to achieve interoperability,” said Ferree. Drives included in this library are Modbus, LonWorks, BACnet, Metasys, DH+, Profibus, plus drivers for fire alarm panels, controllers, and other devices.

HVAC Solution (American Fork, Utah) is scheduled to release its new HVAC Solution 2.0 in the spring of 2003. This version will automatically complete “even more” of the design tasks that HVAC professionals perform manually, resulting in substantial design time savings, elimination of calculation errors, and increased profits, the company said.

HVAC Solution 2.0 is designed to generate detailed system reports. “This feature allows the engineer to quickly produce detailed calculation reports, executive summary reports, and electrical coordination reports, enhancing the flow and accessibility of detailed project information to the project team and the client,” said Ben Davis, P.E., president of HVAC Solution.

HVAC Solution 2.0’s enhanced exporting features allow schematics to be exported directly to a dxf format. The dxf format includes automatic layering and retention of equipment block relationships, which allows the engineer to manipulate and use the schematic more effectively in drawing programs like AutoCAD, Bentley Microstation, and MS Visio.

HVAC Version 2.0 will include additional equipment components allowing users to build complete systems including control valves, balancing valves, pressure relief valves, pressure reducing valves, backflow preventers, strainers, indicators, sensors, and fire smoke dampers. Version 2.0 will also include new equipment selection features that allows for automatic selection of plate and frame heat exchangers.

Bill Wright demonstrates the portability of Wrightsoft's design software using a tablet PC.
Teletrac(Garden Grove, Calif.) announced the availability of Trailer and Asset Tracking Units, new devices designed to increase the security of commercial vehicle trailers and mobile assets, as well as providing inventory management. The units, which are installed in a piece of equipment or a truck trailer, report location information to the operator or owner if they have started to move, or have been stopped for a preset time period, enabling fleet owners to locate and recover stolen vehicles and equipment.

“Today, security is top of mind for all types of companies,” said Tim VanCleve, Teletrac’s chief operating officer. “Teletrac’s new Asset Tracking Units not only track the location of truck trailers and valuable cargo, but they also increase driver safety.”

Wrightsoft (Lexington, Mass.) took its show on the road by demonstrating the capabilities of its design software on a portable tablet PC. “We got a lot of strong enthusiasm from our contractor customers passing through the booth this week,” said Bill Wright, Wrightsoft’s president. “The tablet PC plus our software is really exciting to the progressive sales-oriented guys. In particular, some guys from Arizona really jumped on it. Two of them say they’re buying their own tablet PC for themselves right away.”

Wright added that he picked the Acer tablet “because it’s lightweight (3 pounds), easy to use (10.4-inch screen), can convert back and forth to a full laptop, can hook up to anything (ethernet, wireless ethernet, infrared, modem, etc.) and is reasonably priced.”

We tried it with the Infrared linking to a 3-pound portable printer, and it worked just fine.

“So it’s realistic for a field salesman to walk the house, and fill in the blanks and floor plan as he goes, and then beam the proposal right into the printer, on the customer’s kitchen counter. We think it’s a real winner.”

Publication date: 02/17/2003