AHR Expo sees big crowds, bigger innovation
Manufacturing had some major innovations at the show designed to deliver increased performance, better energy management and a quicker return on investment.
With huge crowds and scores of product innovations, the 2011 AHR Expo in Las Vegas delivered another sign that the two-year slump in manufacturing sector growth was coming to an end.
Many of the estimated 54,000 attendees at the 2011 Expo were forced to remain in Las Vegas a day longer than expected when the February 1 blizzard cancelled travel plans to the Midwest and East Coast. That gave the attendees more time to study the offerings.
While much of the innovation was in the commercial and residential building sector, manufacturing had some major innovations at the show designed to deliver increased performance, better energy management and a quicker return on investment. Some of the companies displaying that innovation at AHR included:
Recent Fluke surveys of HVAC contractors and owners show expectations of continued technological advance in system controls, driven by energy efficiency and requirements for workforce productivity.
“We’ve been seeing this trend for a couple of years now at AHR,” says Brian Stowell, Fluke service and installation tools marketing manager. We’ve always seen interest in multimeters and electrical testers, but now, attendees want to know how they can monitor energy consumption or scan their building for air leaks.”
New Fluke tools at 2011 AHR include the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester, which provides instant diagnostics on mechanical equipment. Professionals who service compressors, motors, fans, pumps, blowers and chillers can now connect the 810 sensors, enter the equipment specs, and immediately find out whether the vibration levels are within tolerance, or whether there’s a problem, and if so, what kind.
The new line of SD Card Real-Time Datalogging Instruments from General Tools & Instruments provides data logging and data processing for handheld diagnostic instrumentation. The 15 instruments in this line measure numerous environmental and industrial parameters, including temperature (up to 12 channels), pressure, humidity, air velocity, vibration, water quality (pH, TDS, DO) and sound level, in real time and on internal SD cards directly in Excel format.
The exclusive North American representative for Tour & Andersson (TA) products showed off the TA-SCOPE at the AHR Expo. The TA-SCOPE is a wireless handheld device that allows contractors to verify, measure and maintain complex hydronic systems quickly and efficiently, contributing to lower energy costs with added accuracy and ease in the hydronic balancing process. Diagnostic capabilities remove the need for estimation, making the TA-SCOPE the best choice for setup and troubleshooting throughout the life of the system.
“The TA-SCOPE is a technological advancement that delivers on our customers’ continued desire for more efficient and creative solutions to their challenges,” said Rodney McWhirteryoung, balancing manager for Victaulic. “Professionals benefit from a simplified and more accurate balancing process. Owners benefit from hydronic systems that provide comfortable temperatures using the absolute minimum energy needed, ultimately reducing energy costs.”
The Venta globe valve is the next generation of Schneider Electric’s VB-7000 series bronze globe valves. It incorporates the existing line’s features and delivers new innovations. They include:
- Ultra-tight seal design provides tighter close off with near zero leakage (ANSI V rating) for greater energy savings
- Double the differential pressure rating (87 psi) to take on the most demanding applications
- 100:1 rangeability for higher performance and more precise temperature control
- Stronger stem design
The company’s Cooling and Heating Solutions unit showed the P-Series Hyper-Heating heat pump to provide heating in extremely low temperatures.
The H2i outdoor units provide 100% of rated heating capacity at ambient temperatures down to five degrees Fahrenheit and, at minus four degrees Fahrenheit, the system operates at 87% of rated heating capacity; and at minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit, the system operates at 70% of rated heating capacity.
Featuring high reliability and rugged construction, the H2i P-Series heat pumps offer a variety of features designed to take the worry out of temperature control such as automatic restart in the case of power outages and automatic cool/heat changeover. The P-Series models are compatible with a variety of styles of indoor units, including wall-mounted, ceiling-suspended, ceilingcassette and ducted indoor units, making for a wide range of installation possibilities.
The diagnostic tool company has expanded its line with the addition of three new handheld diagnostic tools: the RIDGID micro LM-100 laser distance meter, the RIDGID micro CD-100 combustible gas detector and the RIDGID micro IR-100 non-contact infrared thermometer.
The micro LM-100 laser distance meter provides simple, quick and accurate distance readings up to 164 feet. Direct and indirect measurements can be taken in seconds.
The RIDGID micro CD-100 combustible gas detector provides simple and fast readings to quickly identify the presence of combustible gases. The adjustable sensitivity settings allow for quick, precise leak locating even in low-levels.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.