Mastering the Art of Facilities Maintenance

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Highlights from ASHRAE’s AHR Expo

Expo floor shot

Expo floor shot

We just Got back from the show tonight, and I wanted to highlight some of the exhibits that I saw there. Since this was my first AHR Expo, I really didn’t know what to expect going into it, and I have to admit that I was impressed with the number of manufacturers that were represented at the show.

Johnson Controls probably wins “the biggest exhibit with the most hype” award, giving out free gadgets with drawings and a giant puzzle for the crowd to work on. They were also the first one to get an email out to me with more information after scanning my badge at the show.

I was a little disappointed with the lack of actual zigbee devices, while the zigbee-bacnet connection was pretty big news. Bacnet has decided to accept the zigbee protocol for wireless solutions, and IEEE (the creators of the zigbee protocol) has also decide to reciprocate. This should allow manufacturers to design hybrid systems that combine the best of wired solutions, with new wireless innovations.

A real example of a company moving forward with wireless is Honeywell, who was there with a large “hype booth” but also had a smaller booth tucked over in the corner exhibiting a new CO monitoring system that uses zigbee wireless sensors with a hybrid CO/ CO2 monitoring system.

Another small vendor with a really great product called Gasflux uses a liquid flux tank attached to an oxy-acetylene rig to create a really clean brazing technique. I’m sure this will catch on with refrigeration mechanics and welders alike.

Green was a big deal this year, as was to be expected- from variable frequency drives, to high efficiency pumps, solar collectors, and heat recovery devices, finding ways to reduce energy costs has become the holy grail of the HVAC industry. The thing that I like about ASHRAE is that they are making real efforts to gauge and measure actual energy savings, and their OPMP certification is a step in the right direction to help facility managers decide on the cost benefits of adopting an energy strategy. (I took the test, I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks if I passed or failed!)

Finally, the big news this year at ASHRAE was globalization- Many Chinese manufacturers were represented, as well as more european manufacturers as well. With efficiency and cost becoming hotter issues, manufacturers that can create small, modular high-efficient equipment at a lower cost will begin to stake out their own segment in the market.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | controls, facilities maintenance, wireless | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AHR Expo this week

I’ll be attending the AHR Expo hosted by ASHRAE this week in Chicago at McCormick Place.

This is my first day working full-time for my new venture Enercient a wireless HVAC monitoring system, so we’re going to the AHR expo to see the latest and greatest in HVAC wireless monitoring and controls.

I’ll be posting to brighkite with pictures and updates, and plan to report on new technologies, equipment and controls that we see at the show.  Maybe we can get some quotes and pics from the showroom floor. I’m also taking the OPMP certification test on Wednesday at the show, so wish me luck.

Later, We’ll be able to do more in-depth reviews and post material covering the show.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | wireless | , , , , , , | Leave a comment