As everything in our world seems to be more and more complex, it is still often the simple items that are most effective. This was the case with the Refrigeration Equipment category ofThe Newssecond annual Dealer Design Awards. The first place winner was ICO Flex System (Tampa, Fla.). The company's Advanced Refrigeration Conduit product can replace the traditional copper tubing used to transfer refrigerant between the condenser and air handler.

"Simplicity is the cornerstone of ICO product development," said Michael St. James, owner and president of ICO.

Another simple concept, Armafix Clamp from Cooper B-Line (Highland, Ill.), was impressive enough to have the judges give it second place in the contest.

The judges were also impressed with the Serenity Cubelet Ice Machine from Hoshizaki America Inc. (Peach City, Ga.). The auger-driven ice machine took third place.

GOLD: The Advanced Refrigeration Conduit helps reduce installation time.

Gold Winner

The Advanced Refrigeration Conduit (ARC) ( is made up of a pair of custom brass fittings that are brazed onto the liquid and suction ports of the condenser and air handler and a highly specialized hose designed to safely carry today's refrigerants.

"The ICO Flex System is designed for residential HVAC applications," said St. James. "ICO products are revolutionary because they offer speedy installations, increased strength, and, most significantly, flexibility."

The product reduces installation time since the only components that require brazing are the brass fittings. ICO recommends that this be performed at the contractor's shop before the unit is transported to the jobsite. This one-piece design also helps eliminate leaks.

To complete the installation, roll out and cut the required length of ARC. Connect the condenser and air handler units and secure with the stainless steel clamps provided in the kit. Finish by completing the manufacturer's recommended installation and startup procedures.

"Installation time has been reduced to minutes rather than hours," St. James said.

St. James also believes the strength and flexibility of the product helps it differentiate itself from other competitive products. "ARC is three times stronger than the copper tubing it replaces," he said. "The contractor choosing the ICO Flex System can do so with confidence knowing that our products are designed to withstand extreme variations in summer heat and winter cold as well as the forces of earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes."

SILVER: The Armafix Clamp from Cooper B-Line is “a solution for a continuous insulated piping system.”

Silver Winner

"Simplicity wins."

That was the comment of one judge when talking about the Armafix Clamp from Cooper B-Line ( The product is billed as, "a solution for a continuous insulated piping system."

The Armafix Clamp eliminates the gap at the "point of support" and in turn provides labor savings. Made from closed-cell foam insulation that is sized by tube size and insulation thickness, the product is designed with "non-crush" urethane inserts and an aluminum shield. It is for use with strut and pipe hangers.

Contractors simply need to place Armafix around tubing/piping and then either use strut clamps to clamp to support or place in hanger. Once supported, glue foam insulation to insert on either side of support and insulation is complete.

"These are completely compatible with all closed-cell foam insulation products," said Cooper B-Line product manager Bill Lampen.

Most important to contractors, the complete seal means there will be no callbacks to fix condensation drips, according to Lampen. Also, there will be a reduced overall cost of materials needed to provide a complete seal at hanger location.

BRONZE: The Serenity is an auger ice machine that utilizes a remote condenser and compressor to produce up to 1,000 pounds of cubelet ice per 24 hours.

Bronze Winner

Less noise, high efficiency, and smaller size were a few of the reasons the Serenity Cubelet Ice Machine ( took third place. The product is an auger ice machine that utilizes a remote condenser and compressor to produce up to 1,000 pounds of cubelet ice per 24 hours. The Serenity Cubelet operates with pressure controls and does not require wiring between the ice machine and condensing unit. In addition, Serenity's space-saving design (30 by 11 by 26 inches) makes for an ideal installation on top of a beverage dispenser.

"The quality of ice will also dispense easily in this application," said Hoshizaki America marketing manager Julie Strain. "This is the only ice machine available with a true remote condenser."

The unit's compressor is located in the outside condenser, which allows for less noise and efficient operation at the point of use, while eliminating heat dispersion into the work area. The design also results in a smaller ice machine, which allows easier access to the beverage dispenser for cleaning.

"Nice-looking unit. Looks like it has easy-service access panels," said one judge.

The Serenity Series was designed to operate without wires. Technicians can access the ice machine from the front or back and there are no wires between the condenser and unit head. The Serenity Series features the Hoshizaki CleanCycle 12 Flush/Rinse System, which keeps the evaporator barrel clean by performing a 15-minute flush and rinse every 12 hours.

Honorable Mention

Receiving honorable mention from the judges were the Turbocor TT300 oil-free compressor from Danfoss ( and Turbocor Compressors Inc. (; ServiceMate Diagnostic Module from Heatcraft Refrigeration (; and Master Controller with Reverse Cycle Defrost from Master-Bilt (

Publication date: 07/18/2005