AHR Expo Heats Up Chicago        

AHR Expo 2018

February 1, 2018

We started the new year with a jam packed month of expos and networking. Our last show of January was the annual AHR (Air-Conditioning Heating Refrigeration) Expo at McCormick Place where more than 2,000 exhibitors and 65,000 attendees celebrated the 86th show. Please read our highlights below and let us know if there’s anything you saw that we missed!

Higher Comfort, Haier Living
Haier’s residential solutions for AC and heat come in a convenient single outdoor unit that provides different temperatures in a multi-zone ductless system. FlexFit Systems comes in 2, 3, and 4 zone options that allow the user to control the temperature separately for each room. The FlexFit system includes Turbo Mode (heats/cools in half the time), Sleep Mode (improves comfort while using less energy), and Quiet mode among other features.

Fulton Resetting the Standard
Fulton’s Vertical Spiral Rib Tubeless steam boiler has been redesigned and re-imaged since its inception in 1949. The current design has become the industry standard after years of perfecting the industrial steam boiler. The VSRT is the “world’s first fully wetted, refractory-free vertical tubeless boiler.” Providing clean steam, the VSRT is durable and industry favorites in the brewing and distillation, chemical processing, food processing and healthcare markets (to name a few).

If It Drives the Industry, We Found It At the Expo
Franklin Control had their Q-Link Frequency Drive on display at the Expo. Q-Link connects to smart phones via Bluetooth and uses the R³ Filtering algorithm to increase performance and reduce distortion without increased cost. The Q-Link provides a simple and efficient user experience that provides guided start up, in-app support, and automated reports.

Trumpf’s TruTool Team
Trumpf’s versatile portable power tool line is perfect for anyone from a tinsmith to a plumber to a roof constructor. For example, The Nibbler (PN 200) provides maneuverability without force and can cut across 0.137 inches of sheet thickness. The Seam Locker (F 300) has automatic adjustment making closing seams on straight and curved ducts a breeze while working quietly and smoothly, connecting seams in a roll/glide process. The Drill Driver (right) is ergonomically designed and light weight ideal for start holes, drilling, and screwing.

PEX-One Power
Rigid’s trusted tools have been handed down for generations since the early 1920’s. Their battery operated PEX-One was showcased this year and is designed for one-handed installation. PEX-One includes the CS65x wireless monitor for instant drain-line inspection footage.

JCI Glas Combines Form and Function
Johnson Controls partnered with Microsoft to create the GLAS (“innovative thermostat that reimagines how spaces are perceived and controlled”) product with Cortana capabilities. We were excited to see the buzz around the GLAS at this year’s show. “Developing GLAS really allowed our team to think outside of the box, understand consumers and create a customer-back design that is both beautiful in form and also very functional.” – Don Albinger, Vice President and General Manager, building automation systems, Johnson Controls. Running on Microsoft Windows 10, GLAS is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon embedded processor (in tandum with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). With the help of Cortona or mobile app, GLAS can be controlled to adjust temperature, support weather forecasts and other smart assistant skills. The GLAS will be available this spring for purchase starting at $319.

Image courtesy of The Verge

Finding the Right Flow
Milwaukee based company Badger Meter is a leading manufacturer of flow measurement products and control technologies. The Flow Computer (right) provides easy viewing and navigation with higher resolution resulting in user friendly installation and data collection. The Flow Computer works seamlessly with other Badger family meters and presents smooth and stable flow readings. Other notable Badger products include the Portable and Clamp-On Hybrid Ultrasonic Flow Meters.

AHR Gives Back Through Innovation Award
The Expo hosted their traditional Innovation Awards competition where the most inventive and unique products and technologies are put on display. Categories include: building automation; cooling, heating; indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, and software among others. Entry fees are donated to a local charity and this year’s recipient was The Chicago Lighthouse. The organization serves the blind, visually impaired and disabled and Veteran communities. AHR presented them a generous $20,700 donation.

Until Next Year’s Show!
The AHR Expo was a great way to start the year and we were inspired but the designs and products we saw. For a look at our relatable projects, please visit our website or drop us a note at

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