I’m sure you all notice that by day three at American trade shows the foot traffic peters out, and early booth break-downs are the norm. Not at ISH. On this my last day at the Frankfurt show, aisles were still full and hallways connecting the exhibit buildings were stocked with slow-moving crowds still looking to enjoy the event.
Thursday began for me with a press event hosted by Germany-based Viessmann. It was translated into English through the use of handy headphones (it felt like attending a U.N. committee meeting). Here I learned about the company’s financial status (solid), hopes for the future (many), and latest product offerings (amazing).
The most amazing thing introduced by the panel were it’s latest innovations, such as co-generational heating systems that use fuel-cell technology, and gas, wall-mounted systems featuring sterling motors. However these products are just now being field-tested and won’t be available until at least 2011! It was simply unfounded for me to hear such an open announcement of the future of heating (Viessmann actually announced that these prototype units will be the follow-up technology to today’s condensing units). We Americans keep things close to the chest, so to hear such an announcement was simply exciting … something to watch.
“We see major developments in the heating sector,” the panel said to explain why they were making such announcements. “We’re not telling you to wait, we’re saying we’re not going to stop.” [Note: There were some tough questions for the panel from the European journalists attending this event "
Meanwhile, Back At Messe "Yesterday was the Bath Experience, but today is all Heating Halles, beginning with Halle 6 where the air was, shall we say, more manly. Yes, there was a perfume of the working man in these aisles, for this was where the installation exhibits were located and the European plumbers were in full force.
Plastic pipe booths far outnumbered copper ones, and there were plenty of tool demonstrations to keep attendees busy. In terms of entertainment, however, Uponor’s booth won the award for uniqueness. They featured a unicyclist juggler who performed to music often found in dance clubs (he was very impressive). And the sheer size of the company’s booth was just crazy! “Uponor On Tour” took up a significant portion of the show floor, and wrapped around a hospitality area where visitors could grab a beer and some finger foods.
There were also new products at the Uponor booth, including radiant cooling ceiling panels called The Comfort-Panel. “Kühlt, Heist, Passt!” the literature boasts (“Cools, Heats, Fits!”). I’m afraid I can’t translate much past that, except that these look like drop-ceiling panels yet are filled with all the connections needed to create a radiantly cooled room.
Something else new from Uponor was press technology for its multi-layer composite pipe. No beveling or calibrating, it joints up to 30 percent faster than conventional methods. This means less tools plumbers need in their toolbox, and a quick/secure fit for pipe and fitting.
Let’s talk about “wärmepumpen” for a moment now. Heat pumps were very prominent at ISH, as they were at this year’s ASHRAE show in Chicago. Companies concentrated on maximizing heat, cooling and power from the earth, regardless of the water’s excellence. Brine water heat pumps especially caught my eye. Some of the murkiest, low-quality water can still be used to both heat and cool buildings "
Speaking of solar, Atmova is a Swiss manufacturer of copper alloy roof panels that combine esthetics and modern heat extraction. The tiles were beautiful "