The full flight didn’t allow for an upgrade, but we’ll take an on-time take-off and a tailwind that helped us arrive 1/2 hour earlier than expected any day. In fact, it seemed like our flight from LAX to ORL was the shortest 4 1/2 hour flight ever.
Unfortunately, getting to The Hard Rock Hotel seemed to take longer than the flight because of a gps system from Enterprise RAC that was working on about a 3 mile delay. But we made it to the room and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Palm in the lobby of the hotel.
Getting to the convention center on Monday morning from the hotel was uneventful and quick. Walking into the main hall reminded us of the last few shows, but it seemed like there was a good turnout of attendees and the convention center floor (approximately 354,000 square feet) was full of vendors. In fact, there were slated to be about 40,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors. About 200 of the vendors had not displayed before.
Many of the majors were there, LG, Gree, GE, Amana. And there were so many parts dealers, it was hard to decipher one from another.
I don’t know how so many vendors can sell copper piping, ducts, vents, covers, and other small parts. But they seemed to be busy. It also seemed like everyone and their mothers who manufacture air conditioners were also selling portables and ductless mini-splits. Again, reminding me of the last few AHR shows.
However, most were involved heavily in the R410A way of life than the older R22 of old. And the transition to it had been a large undertaking.
Missing from the show were a few major manufacturers like Trane and Fedders and the most impressive booths were Gree’s and LG’s.
Although a pretty standard setup, they were definitely showing a large variety of products. Gree seems to manufacture product for about 25% of the industry (including Soleus and Hitachi) and LG seems to change their acronym every year (from Lucky Goldstar, to Life’s Good, to their current Life’s Green) to keep with the times.
GE had a small booth displaying a re-vamped ductless system, but their pricing is still too high for the economy we’ve been in for the past couple of years. Amana had a small booth as well, but nothing on display to really write home about.
All in all, it didn’t seem like there where a whole lot of new products or innovations at this year’s AHR Expo. Although solar has been talked about a lot as of late, I still feel that we’re at least 3-5 years away from truly solar-powered products that are small enough, powerful enough, and cheap enough to replace our standard energy-eating air conditioning and heating products. In fact, one of the only solar products we saw, was a solar charging station pictured below.
There was some talk about the 7 companies with new innovations(Delphi, AIC Wireless, Danfoss, Daikan AC, Samsung, Muller Industries, AEC Design Group, and DuraSystems Barriers), but mostly they improved upon something as opposed to reinventing the wheel. It’s time our industry really had a breakthrough product that uses very little to no energy, or is so cheap to manufacture, it’d turn the ac business on it’s head.
Unfortunately, those innovations haven’t come to fruition yet.
One company that is slated to begin production on a DC solar-powered ductless mini-split unit later this year didn’t even take part in the show. We expected to at least see their booth and get more information about their truly unique product, but unfortunately, there was none to be had.
We were invited to a private party hosted by Airwell Fedders on Monday night where they were showing their latest wares, but unfortunately, we were underwhelmed. Yes, they had a builder model ac on display, another couple of wall units, an outdoor condenser and the usual portable unit, all complete with R410A.
But we weren’t blown away by anything we saw or Anything the reps discussed. And for a company crawling out of the black cloud of bankruptcy and under new ownership, they definitely missed their mark for 2010. At least, they should have shown their new CRAC System discussed here!
In the end, we realized we could have stayed home and just replayed the video of the past few years of AHR shows in our heads and wouldn’t have missed a thing.