CHICAGO - This year there are nine companies that are winners of the fourth annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) Innovation Awards. In previous years, eight companies were honored, but new this year is the Greenovation Award, which recognizes excellence in green building products and technology in the HVACR industry. All nine companies will be recognized at a special ceremony during the 2006 AHR Expo in Chicago.

The awards presentation will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006, at 11:30 a.m. in the New Product Technology Theater "B" on the show floor.

The AHR Expo Innovation Awards Competition is designed to promote and encourage product innovation by recognizing exceptional achievements. The Innovation Awards are jointly sponsored by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI); and International Exposition Company (IEC), producers and organizers of the AHR Expo.

A panel of judges, made up of ASHRAE members selected for their expertise and knowledge of the industry and its products, reviewed and evaluated all submissions. Product entries were judged for innovation, application, value to user, and market impact in the following areas: heating, cooling, refrigeration, ventilation, indoor air quality, energy management, tools and instruments, software, and green building. The winners of the awards are highlighted below.


Kiyon Inc.

The KAN 254B Wireless BACnet® Router provides wireless connectivity for all types of building control systems, including HVAC, lighting, safety, security, and IT.

The router, which has been available since 2005, is the only product to offer broadband capacity mesh networking that is compatible with BACnet MSTP, BACnet IP, and standard IP, according to John Edler, vice president, Kiyon.

"This unique combination enables two-way data traffic between devices and building management systems, peer-to-peer networking among devices, data bridging across previously isolated building systems, and wireless mobility for building personnel using standard WiFi over the same network," he said.

Installation involves simply connecting power and the BACnet devices: The Kiyon wireless routers automatically discover each router and form the network. The network finds the best path to route the data and automatically reroutes it if needed. Kiyon management software provides a real-time graphical view of network's performance, and individual routers can be moved or replaced without affecting the operation of the rest of the network.

"Our product significantly reduces the need for installing data wiring, is faster to deploy, is more flexible than wired networks, and is more reliable than wireless access points," said Edler.

The end user benefits, he added, because the router results in lower cost network infrastructure; more flexibility to accommodate adds, moves and changes; an opportunity to network equipment previously beyond the reach of the wired infrastructure; ability to set up temporary and emergency networks; and ability to integrate BACnet systems on the same wireless network.


Modine Manufacturing

The PF², which stands for Parallel Flow Plate Fin and is pronounced PF squared, is an all-aluminum brazed heat exchanger that solves the water drainage problem with microchannel heat exchangers by allowing the tubes to be run vertically or horizontally. The PF² was introduced in 2005, and production is scheduled to begin in early 2006.

Craig Grohman, Modine's OEM sales manager, stated that the PF² can function as an evaporator or condenser in residential and commercial applications.

"All other microchannel heat exchangers are based upon what the automotive and truck markets have developed over the years.With PF², both heat exchangers, the condenser and evaporator can be designed into the system, which allows for proper system balance."

The common heat exchanger in the HVACR market is copper tube and aluminum fin or also referred to as round tube plate fin (RTPF).

Grohman stated that the PF² has the following advantages over these heat exchangers: increased heat transfer, reduced size and weight; simplified mounting; improved dehumidification; reduced airside pressure drop; improved corrosion resistance; easily formed and configurable to provide design flexibility, and improved durability and reliability.

The PF²'s improved comfort control and lower noise level should make end users happy, while contractors and engineers will appreciate the product's reduction in size, weight, and refrigerant charge, which will make the system easier to service and install, added Grohman.


Gasmaster Industries Inc.

The GMI 8M tankless boiler/water heater allows high-capacity users to save money with environment-friendly ultra-clean exhaust, compact size, low maintenance, and mounting flexibility with exhaust cool enough for direct venting.

The GMI 8M is an 8 MBtuh capacity, all stainless steel, tankless, condensing boiler/water heater with 98 percent efficiency at high fire.

It can be used in hydronic heating systems, process water heating including potable water heating, and any other application where efficiency, longevity and environmental responsibility are criteria for boiler selection.

Michael Aghtai, executive vice president, Gasmaster Industries, stated that the GMI 8M's natural pulsed combustion design not only makes the unit easy to use and service but also eliminates all needs for special fittings such as flexible connections, special pads, and mufflers. Moreover, its pre-assembled gas train and burner takes the guesswork out of installation.

"The product's superior materials and design makes it very easy to maintain," said Aghtai.

"The advanced control system addresses all issues such as water temperature control, burner control, and safety check points. In addition, the patented design of the GMI 8M allows for operation at the highest efficiency levels of any boiler in the market, which provides the user with low operating costs and rapid return on investment."

The GMI 8 M offers engineers and contractors installation versatility with flexibility in exhaust location as well as compact size (78.5 by 70 by 89 inches, with burner). It is equally suited to new construction and retrofit applications.


ProMark Associates Inc.

The Total Spectrumâ„¢ filter system unites ultraviolet light, photo catalysis, gas phase filters, and media in a patented process. It can completely remove the full spectrum of harmful indoor air pollutants, according to Jeffrey L. Roseberry, president, and Robert Darling, VP of engineering, including bacteria, mold spores, and viruses.

"The Total Spectrum air filtration system is a brand-new approach to indoor air filtration that achieves efficiencies of removal to low levels of chemical pollutants not previously achievable economically," said Roseberry.

"It can produce filtered air that exceeds all current standards for indoor air quality in commercial spaces not dealing with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The system can remove nearly 100 percent of harmful air contaminants and particulate allergens, carcinogens plus a significant amount of bacteria, mold, and viruses."

Total Spectrum provides cost and labor savings because it requires fewer media changes, noted Darling. Most of the contaminants that are filtered through the system are destroyed in the process and result in carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen.

Installation and maintenance are accomplished with little training, so the system is easy to keep operating effectively and efficiently. The system can be installed by any licensed HVAC contractor, and on-site training is included with the sale, together with a service contract.

The Total Spectrum comes equipped with self-monitoring electronics that can be connected to standardized environmental control systems. The customer or contractor can monitor air quality in real time on site or over the Internet. The particulate filters are standard designs available from multiple sources, and the gas phase media requires manual labor with no special skills needed.



The Interchangeable Cooling Engine (I.C.E.) packages an entire light commercial refrigeration system - evaporator, compressor, condenser, and fans - in a compact, easily handled package suitable for beverage vending machines, glass door merchandisers, and display cases. The I.C.E. was previewed as a prototype at the 2005 AHR Expo and is being introduced as a commercial product at this year's expo.

Because it is fully self-contained, the I.C.E. can be installed or exchanged without EPA certification or license. The I.C.E. is the size of a small suitcase, and its design allows lightweight spares to be carried on beverage delivery trucks.

Installation is accomplished by sliding the unit into the merchandiser or fixture and connecting an electrical plug and usually takes less than five minutes. Units using various refrigerants are interchangeable, which means that bottlers can change refrigerants without suffering obsolescence of the merchandiser cabinet.

"The ease and simplicity of swapping systems greatly reduces installation, service, and warranty costs," said John Galyen, VP-OEM sales and marketing of Danfoss's Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Division.

"It is the ideal platform for placing new refrigerants into widely, even globally distributed assets as more widely accepted refrigerant solutions become available."

Refrigeration contractors will benefit, noted Galyen, by having the ability to quickly change out systems on customer premises with minimal disruption of customer business. If the system is charged with CO2, the contractor has the choice to service or to ship a unit needing repair to a central facility.

"If the I.C.E. is returned to the centralized service facility, factory-trained technicians will evaluate and repair the unit when necessary, ensuring low cost, high quality service," said Galyen.


Emerson Climate Technologies

The Intelligent Store's Condition-Based Maintenance software indicates when service should be provided based on the health of the system instead of providing schedule-based preventive maintenance. This allows retailers to perform the right amount of maintenance to keep equipment operating at peak efficiency levels.

The patent-pending software continually collects, analyzes, and monitors data from refrigeration equipment and systems. Electronic notifications are generated to retailers or a third-party provider only when in-store equipment service is required, rather than at system preselected intervals.

The company stated that this is the only software of its kind and that it provides the ability to increase technician productivity by identifying when preventive maintenance is really required. This allows retailers/service providers to schedule fewer PMs (planned maintenance calls).

Remote monitoring software for store systems will allow retailers to determine when and where maintenance dollars should be invested in order to maximize store efficiencies while minimizing maintenance costs.


Ludeca Inc.

The SheaveMaster pulley alignment tool uses a highly accurate fan-line laser and high-strength magnets that self-attach to pulleys and sprockets, replacing imprecise string and straight-edge methods. The benefits of this product include labor savings, speed, and better accuracy of alignments reducing wear and repair expenses.

"SheaveMaster's application is as old as rotating machinery itself," said Ana Maria Delgado, Ludeca's marketing manager. "Since the invention of belt-driven machines, the need to align their drives has existed. This has traditionally been done by laborious and imprecise manual methods."

The value of SheaveMaster lies in transforming pulley alignment from a two-man job into a one-man job, and letting him accomplish the task in half the time to a far greater accuracy. The SheaveMaster allows the user to easily and quickly ascertain and correct angular, offset, and twist misalignment between the pulleys.

Introduced in 2000, the SheaveMaster is a redesign of Ludeca's DotLine Laser® tool. The impact of this product on the market has been gigantic, according to Delgado, in terms of labor savings, speed, and accuracy of alignments, with better-aligned drives resulting in decreased downtime, wear, and repair expenses.


Dais Analytic Corp.

The ConsERVâ„¢ C500 Fixed Plate Enthalpy Core energy recovery ventilation system uses a nanotechnology exchange membrane material to provide highly efficient recovery of both sensible and latent heat. The product, which has been redesigned since it was originally introduced in 2001, can be used in museums, schools, hospitals, and commercial facilities that require mechanical ventilation.

"ConsERV preconditions fresh air brought into a building by using the exhaust air from the building. This allows the user to safely downsize any new HVAC equipment or to add fresh-air ventilation without increasing the size of existing A/C equipment," said Bob Brown, VP of marketing, Dais Analytic Corp.

The ConsERV C500 core uses an ionic membrane, which is uniquely designed to transfer both sensible and latent heat at high effectiveness rates. The core is both ARI 1060 certified and UL recognized. During tests, the ConsERV showed zero leakage between airstreams, as well as an effectiveness equal to or better than traditional wheels.

ConsERV requires minimal maintenance, as it has no moving parts and doesn't require a drain pan. The ConsERV product line is available with or without motors and fans and either as an indoor or rooftop model. The systems can be coupled directly to an air handler or can be decoupled. Brown stated that HVAC personnel should be able to install the ConsERV unit with no additional knowledge or expertise.


VRTX Technologies LLC

"VRTX" water treatment system is a patented chemical-free method of treating cooling tower and condenser water, which relies on kinetic energy, hydrodynamic cavitation, and chemical equilibrium to control scale, corrosion, and biofouling without hazardous chemicals. Installation reduces water usage, operating costs, and environmental impact and improves worker safety.

Gene Dedick, VP of sales and marketing, VRTX Technologies, LLC, stated that this product offers a distinctively different approach to control scale, corrosion, and bacteria. "The VRTX system eliminates the use of chemical additives, reduces blow-down, and improves worker safety, environmental status and compliance, and system efficiency while reducing overall operating cost."

He added that the market impact results show that a typical VRTX-treated cooling tower can prevent over 5 million gallons of potable water per year from being wasted and entering a community's sewer system. "Savings from one cooling tower yields enough water and sewer treatment to support approximately 45 homes," he noted.

The system is easy to implement, as VRTX Technologies provides all the drawings and is involved in the installation and startup process.

Benefits of the system, according to Dedick, include: Annual water savings possible in the millions of gallons, ability to reuse millions of gallons of nonpotable water for various applications, no discharge issues for effluent due to biocides, molybdate, phosphate, etc., no chemicals to be handled by employees, no acid used in the treatment process, no drum disposal or chemical testing issues, no Sara Title III to be reported, and Internal Rates of Return (IRR) in the range of 25 percent to 60 percent.

Sidebar: Honorable Mentions

In addition to the nine winners of the AHR Expo Innovation awards, many companies received honorable mentions. These are listed by category below:

Danfoss Graham, Division of Danfoss Inc.: VLT® HVAC drive
Distech Controls: VAV Controllers with Wireless Communication
EBTRON Inc.: SCN202-T BACnet® VAV Terminal Controller
Johnson Controls Inc.: Metasys BACnet® Field Equipment Controller

Copeland Corporation: Scroll Digitalâ„¢
Lennox International: S-Class 35-50 ton packaged rooftop units
Rheem Manufacturing Co., Air Conditioning Division: Prestige Series Comfort Control System
York Unitary Products Group: Mini Cube with microchannel technology

Big Ass Fans: The Powerfoilâ„¢
Jackson Systems LLC: Comfort Systemsâ„¢ VAV Diffuser
Seiho International Inc.: Seiho Spot Diffuser Mode - PK-K Greenovation (Green Building)
Ashland Specialty Chemical, Drew Industrial: SONOXIDE® Ultrasonic Water Treatment
Robur Corp.: GAHP-W

Bell & Gossett: Check-Trol®
Cleaver-Brooks: UCB Boiler
Robur Corp.: GAHP-AR
York Unitary Products Group: Affinityâ„¢ Modulating Gas Furnace

Sceptor Industries Inc.: OMNI 3000
Testo Inc.: 435 IAQ meter with wireless probes
Trs Systems Inc.: RC2110 Wireless Humidity/Dehumidification Controller

Copeland Corp.: Intelligent Store™ Discus® Compressor
Emerson Flow Controls: Electronic Stepper Regulator (ESR) Valve and Control board

Autodesk Inc.: Autodesk Building Systems
Data-Basics Inc.: TechAnywhere 2.0
HVAC Solution: HVAC Solution

Controlotron Corp.: System 1010E
Digi-Cool Industries Ltd.: DRSA-1100
NEWPORT Electronics Inc.: iServer Virtual Chart Recorder
Setra Systems Inc.: Model 869 Micro-Calâ„¢ Ultra-Low Pressure and Generating Calibrator

Publication date: 01/09/2006