HANNOVER, Germany - R-410A looks like the refrigerant of choice for manufacturers of split-system air conditioning systems that dominate much of the international market beyond North America, where 410A already has a strong foothold. In Europe, the refrigerant seems to be gaining a foothold in a wider range of A/C applications.

A stroll through the air conditioning sector of the most recent International Trade Fair for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation (IKK) showed a clear dominance of the R-410A over another HFC, R-407C, which had been favored for several years.

The switch is significant. A more rapid phaseout of HCFCs (such as R-22) in Europe caused air conditioning manufacturers to initially move to 407C because its properties are so close to 22's. A second switch in such short order to R-410A, almost as soon as the refrigerant became viable, would seem to indicate that the international market agrees with the North American assessment that favors R-410A's SEER potential and virtually nonexistent glide.

In terms of new technologies, Trane (www.trane.com) introduced its "Jupiter" and "Mercury" air conditioning units, which are designed to protect increasingly complex electronic equipment. Both models can be operated as cooling or heating units, with additional humidifiers or as self-contained air conditioning units. Both cold-water-cooled and direct air-cooled condensers are available.

Jupiter can meet precise climate control demands even at its nominal refrigerating capacity of 5 kW, according to the company. Computer rooms and networks are prime locations for the units, as well as medium to large office spaces. Mercury's performance range of 20 to 120 kW makes it a good fit for high-tech centers, such as computer centers and laboratories.

Korean company LG Electronics showed single-split wall mounts, multi-split wall mounts, ceiling and floor models, ceiling cassettes, ceiling-concealed duct models, floor standing types, window units, and single packaged types.

Eco-Clima (www.eco-clima.com) promoted split systems "produced in Bulgaria with compressors and design of Mitsubishi electric." The primary focus was on purity; the units are treated with antibacterial and antifungal additives.

The R-410A swing was underscored by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (www.mhi.co.jp), which featured single- and multi-inverter heat pumps, both of which run on that refrigerant. The units include an "enzyme" filter and a "light-clean" filter.

Sanyo (www.sanyo.com), showing products through its operations in Italy, was also in the 410A fold.

Samsung (www.samsung.com) showcased a digital variable multi air conditioning system operated with a variable-capacity compressor and multiple evaporators. It was promoted as the next-generation modular system with possible applications in multistory buildings.

Clima Piu Air Conditioning of Italy (www.climapiu.it) featured wall-mounted, ultra-compact units. The company noted that the units are available with 407C, as well as refrigerants in the 410 family.

Argoclima S.p.A. (www.argoclima.it) also got in the 410A swing of things, with hydronic terminal units that may be connected to hydronic systems and chillers.

A Few A/C Twists

Several other aspects of air conditioning caught the attention of attendees.IPS Ventilationof Denmark (www.ips-ventilation.com) was one of several companies showing textile ductwork with

slot diffusers.

The venting dangles from ceilings in a variety of colors that makes as much a fashion statement as it provides comfort cooling.

A product that has long had a profile in the United States was offered for European consideration. MovinCool, offered in Europe by Denso Europe B.V. out of the Netherlands (www.movincool-europe.com), highlighted temporary spot cooling in laboratories, industry, and sports events.

In Europe, such sports include soccer and car racing. The company sponsored a car at MotoGP, an international Grand Prix racing event that was held Nov. 1-2 in Valencia, Spain.

Publication date: 01/26/2004