2019 AHR in Review: Solid Show, Traffic Nightmares

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The 2019 AHR Show in Atlanta is in the rearview mirror. Before I get into the meat of the show, I wanted to touch upon some of the “infrastructure” surrounding the show. First, most of the activities surrounding the Georgia World Congress Center are fairly concentrated, and that causes traffic problems at peak traffic times. But I can’t express enough how with a great offering such as Uber and Lyft are, they weren’t a very efficient means of getting around, at least in this city. Most of the GPS coordinates were off, causing long waits or canceled trips. And, to my surprise, many drivers weren’t even familiar with the downtown area, as they were not even from around the area. Not all, but enough for me notice.

I stayed in an AIrBnb for the first time, and although the accommodations were nice, I was told by a driver that I was on the edge of the bad part of town. Not really something you want to hear upon arriving. I really hope everyone’s experience of the city was a good one. Just think, Atlanta sets the stage for one of the biggest events I n the world in a couple of weeks — the Super Bowl!

The AHR Show

The Expo drew more than 65,000 attendees, with 1,809 exhibitors total, 496 international exhibitors from 35 countries and 107 first time exhibitors. I thought the show itself was very good. Well organized, fairly easy to get to and from the two exhibits halls via a connector, once you knew where it was located. It seemed that a lot of the booths had girth, size, and were well presented and represented.

Taco’s John White, Jr. (l) presents the Taco Comfort Solutions 2019 Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award to Dan Foley.

Eric Aune tests the VR experience in the REHAU booth at AHR.

The show opened up on Monday, and the Mechanical Hub crew was busy before the opening bell. Eric Aune and his wife Heather were getting the scoop, shooting video on Milwaukee Tool’s new M18 Threader. Look for more information and videos here and on our YouTube channels coming soon. Tim Ward was visiting with our friends at Uponor, learning more about its Copper Press Adapter. Finally, I was visiting with Taco, watching good friend Dan Foley receive the Taco Comfort Solutions 2019 Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award. Congrats, Dan!

John Mesenbrink checks out the VR experience in the Bosch Thermotechnology booth.

Some trends worth noticing was the ever-emphasis on energy efficiency, lowering GHG emissions, virtual reality, and interconnected devices, combining Alexa with thermostats, for example, piggybacking off of the CES Show earlier this year, and some products at last year’s Builder’s Show.

Lochinvar had a big announcement, telling the media it has partnered with Danish company, EC Power, to offer a cogeneration system, which pulls waste heat into water storage tank. Using an internal combustion natural gas engine, Micro CHP (< 50 kW/hr), is designed to be an efficient and easy-to-install system intended for light commercial use. Using natural gas as a fuel, a commercial facility with a cogeneration system like the XRGI25 can produce both energy-efficient heat for domestic hot water and electricity to reduce energy consumption from external power sources.

Some pre- and post-show events were held at the nearby aquarium. #breakfastwithbelugas

Xylem Bell & Gossett introduced its new line of double suction centrifugal pumps designed specifically for HVAC systems. The Series e-HSC features advanced hydraulics for powerful performance and best-in-class efficiency, along with a compact design for easier installation and maintenance.

In the end, some would say that the best part of the AHR Show—other than being the largest HVAC event of the year—is connecting with industry peers and catching up with good friends. There were plenty of pre-show/after-show parties, including Taco, Rheem, Bell & Gossett, Emerson, Burnham/U.S. Boilers, Mestek, Weil-McLain and Viega. Thanks to all for their hospitality.

In the end, it’s all about the relationships. Tim Ward winds down after the show with the crew from Bradford White.