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Not specifically relating to product development, Boyd says, “An impending trend is the changing knowledge base of our industry’s technicians and installing contractors. The average age of our existing contractor group is 57, with an average retirement age of 62.” Weil-McLain is working closely with its channel partners by providing education to improve technical skills needed to install and maintain equipment, as well as application knowledge to ensure the correct type of product selection. On the product side, Boyd adds, “We continue to develop equipment that is more plug-and-play capable — easier to install and troubleshoot, resulting in higher field productivity and reliability.”
At the end of the day, home and business owners are looking for comfort, security, low operating costs and convenience, and manufacturers are looking to meet those needs in the best way possible.
What are those ways? We asked manufacturers: what innovations and advances in production timing, energy efficiency and product performance have you brought to market? What new technologies have you introduced or plan to introduce in the next year?
“AERCO launched the Benchmark Platinum series, which optimizes your system by self-correcting problematic environmental fluctuations that often arise in the real world. Advanced technology ensures your system operates optimally increasing uptime reliability, reducing unscheduled maintenance costs and delivering maximum efficiency and savings.”
– Peter Rimassa, senior director of Heating Solutions at AERCO
“The SSB Boilers — specifically the SSB 1000 TL Boiler — is an innovative product that operates at 96.8 percent thermal efficiency. It can bolt together with another boiler of the same size without additional plumbing or hardware, which allows you to double the capacity. You can connect up to four of the SSB 1000 TL boilers, and up to eight of the SSB 800 or SSB 1000 SA boilers to reach 8,000,000 BTUs. Considering it’s one of the most flexible installations for boilers on the market, it’s a great advancement for Bosch.”
– Justin Stephens, product manager at Bosch Thermotechnology
“Laars Heating Systems has extended the breadth of high efficiency offerings including the Mascot FT condensing wall-hung units from 80 to 199 MBH, NeoTherm line from 80 to 1,200 MBH and the MagnaTherm from 1,600 to 4,000 MBH in size. On the Bradford White side, these products are available respectively as the Brute FT, the Brute BNTV or BNTH, and the Brute MagnaTech. Additionally, our new R&D lab in Rochester, New Hampshire has been outfitted with the latest in combustion and reliability test equipment to further enhance safety, reliability and regulatory compliance.”
– Carl Pinto, director of marketing at Bradford White Corp.
“The recently released larger capacity MAC & MAH high efficiency boilers, from Utica Boilers, features a control system called AI (artificial intelligence). The AI control can determine the fuel being supplied to the boiler LP or natural gas and automatically commissions the boiler. The control continuously calibrates combustion by adjusting air/fuel ratios. The proper gas air mixture optimizes combustion resulting in fuel savings and reduced maintenance costs. The combi model, MAC-205, features an industry leading flow rate of 5.0 GPM at a 70 F temperature rise.”
– Joe Langlois, marketing manager for ECR International
“Energy Kinetics’ technological advances have been the result of working directly with installing and servicing heating contractors and responding to requests to more effectively meet marketplace needs. Energy Kinetics’ Ascent Combi boiler brings to market a much more efficient and whisper quiet boiler with substantially more domestic hot water than tankless coil boilers. Smart Learning adjusts to household schedules for additional energy savings without sacrificing comfort. Energy Kinetics has also introduced the Display Energy Manager boiler control with Energy Recovery, which features simple self-guided setup, and auto-tuning with SmartBoost to adapt to each zone to provide the best efficiency and comfort. These simple and dependable controls and our proven pressure vessels with wide open water and flue passes show conclusively that there’s no reason to sacrifice reliability for efficiency. As our heating systems are smaller and lighter than traditional cast iron boilers, they install faster and easier with the additional benefit of a proven long service life.”
– Jay McCay, national sales manager at Energy Kinetics
“Riello’s advances in proven and reliable wall-hung boiler technologies include the patented Riello electronic Active Combustion Control (ACC) that ensures precise setup and continuous high performance. Riello also offers the innovative RiCLOUD smart remote wireless control, a significant advance in the wall-hung boiler category in North America. Using Wi-Fi connection and a Riello app, a trusted contractor can access Riello boiler codes and parameters from anywhere. The Riello electronically advanced control can manage systems with up to eight zones. Other innovations include a built-in cascade control for a system with up to six commercial boilers. Riello cascade venting is also generating a buzz in the marketplace. The commercial Condexa PRO hard-wired remote-control interface unit (via BAC net and LAN communication) replaces the need for an expensive BMS as it controls the functionality of each boiler and multiple zones. Riello wall-hung products score high marks for reliability and versatility.”
– Mike Thomas, CEO of Evergreen Products International
“The entire boiler industry is seeing a transition from standard efficiency boilers to high efficiency products. Navien is definitely leading the effort with all its products rated at 95 percent efficiencies or higher. The traditional floor mounted standard efficiency, especially cast-iron boilers, are being replaced by high efficiency, wall-mounted boilers, which save space. Navien has always been all about high efficiency and innovation. In 2018, Navien will launch its new NFB series featuring a patented fire-tube stainless steel heat exchanger and innovative controls. They are designed for residential and light commercial applications with four sizes — NFB-175, NFB-200, NFB301C and NFB399C — each offering ease of installation and service, advanced controls, an industry-leading heat exchanger and simplified integration with IoT. Other features include 10:1 turn down ratio, 95 percent AFUE, flexibility of venting and remote access via mobile applications.”
– John Kopf, boiler product manager at Navien
“We recently released our NRCB combination boiler, which is currently the only product that can simultaneously provide domestic water and home heating with minimal performance loss at a 95 percent AFUE.”
– Andrew Tran, marketing manager at Noritz
“Currently, we have been incorporating new burners into our boilers allowing us to confidently have 10:1 turndown modulation. These new gas trains also significantly reduce the time and skill needed to convert our boilers from natural gas to LP. We are always working in our laboratories with new technologies in close cooperation with most reputed and longstanding industry suppliers. Our newest game changer is the GF200 combi furnace. Basically, it is two appliances in one, saving installation time and homeowner space. It is 97.1 percent AFUE-rated. It produces 5.0 GPM at 70 F Delta-T domestic hot water, provides 20-80MBH forced air heat and is capable to run up to 3.5 ton of 2-stage air conditioning. It incorporates an EON variable speed blower combined with a PID control to provide the most amount of comfort of any forced air system all while providing the best efficiency. This unit is easy to install and easy to service.”
– Steve “Wheels” Wieland, regional sales manager at NTI Boilers
“At Raypak, we’re driving innovation with increased high efficiency offerings. Our XVers condensing fire-tube boiler features maximum efficiency providing up to 15:1 turndown for optimum load tracking and variable-speed boiler pump control to save on pump energy. In fact, we’re actively working on additional capacities to expand our XVers line. In addition, we’re responding to operator demand designing new products with improved connectivity and control features. We are adding more preventive maintenance warnings, diagnostics and self-correcting features for all new products to benefit operators, contractors and installers.”
– Peachie Maher Hytowitz, product manager, Commercial Products at Raypak
“With the introduction of the Rinnai M-Series Condensing Boiler, our customers can now enjoy 4.2 gallons of DHW with the 90, 120 and 160 MBTU units. The M-Series Condensing Boiler boosts to be highly energy efficient with turndown ratios as high as 6.8, providing the right amount of heat to the home given the weather conditions. The modulating pump provides better temperature control and matches the gas load needed for more efficient gas and electricity consumption. The boiler features flexible venting options with 3-inch/5-inch concentric venting for single penetration through the wall — with all adapters included — standard PP two-pipe venting and room air and 2-inch PVC for longer vent runs. All M-Series Condensing Boilers include adapters for multiple venting options.”
– Rahul Goyal, product director for Rinnai
“All new condensing boilers and combi boilers from U.S. Boiler Co. have 10:1 firing rate turndown. Our water tube condensing boilers have been designed to operate with minimum natural gas pressure (down to 2.5-inch w.c.). We also added a valve panel to complement the existing circulator panel in our Sage Zone Control product line. These controls work with our modulating boiler control systems to reduce fuel consumption and heating temperatures by ‘heat matching’ to zone sizes starting at low fire.”
– Dave Hansen, product marketing manager, U.S. Boiler Co.
“Weil-McLain continues to expand its Unity control across several boiler lines (covering 70-2,000 MBH), providing a consistent user interface to ease learning, setup and diagnostics. The advanced Unity control features an express setup wizard option, with 10 preset applications to choose from. It also has the ability to cascade 8 boilers together and ZoneStacking up to 24 programmable zones with no external panel required. In commercial applications, our SmartSequencing feature uniquely maximizes energy across all boilers on a system, greatly reducing energy costs.”
– Michael Boyd, product manager at Weil-McLain
The manufacturers are clearly staying competitive with all the great offerings they have in the marketplace. But it’s not just about the product itself. Click here to keep reading.