ACR Show hailed a success by exhibitors: quality visitors with money to spend

There was a notable increase in the quality of visitors to this year’s ACR Show – held at the NEC, Birmingham, in February – with exhibitors reporting multiple leads and orders. The ACR Show is the UK’s only dedicated event for the refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation, heating and heat pump sectors.

The decision to include H&V companies was a hit, with nearly 30% of visitors expressing an interest in ventilation equipment and over a quarter in heating. An interest in heat pumps accounted for half the visitor number.

The demand for air conditioning and refrigeration equipment was as strong as ever. Some 70% of visitors said that air conditioning equipment was an area of product interest. More than half of visitors were there to see refrigeration equipment; 41% refrigerants and a quarter, refrigerated display equipment.

And they had money to spend too; nearly 40% of visitors had a budget of £200,000 or more.

Global air conditioning giant Gree is currently challenging the status quo in the UK HVACR market with the launch of Gree UK Limited and their stand attracted a lot of interest.
On the first day of the show, Sales Director, Tim Mitchell said: “Today has certainly been productive for us; it appears that decision makers are at the show and are specifically seeking us out.”
FujitsuFujitsu Sales & Marketing Director, Ian Carroll, said: “We were very pleased with how The ACR Show went. This year, we welcomed a record number of visitors to the Fujitsu stand. Our new product ranges were well received and the show presented a good opportunity for customers to meet the team.”
The show also featured an extensive seminar programme in three seminar theatres: the Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Theatre sponsored by GREE; the Refrigeration & Cooling Theatre, sponsored by Opteon Refrigerants from Chemours and the Training & Careers Theatre, sponsored by Toshiba Carrier. Sessions included: Major issues of interest in BIM; Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery for commercial applications; New developments in Refrigerants and more.

National skills competition

Training & Careers was a key theme this year, with the introduction of a dedicated theatre and national skills competition taking place. The new CPD accredited Training & Careers Theatre covered topics including TM44 inspections – reasons and benefits; the new Building Controls Professional Assessment and how it is helping to raise standards in the controls sector; the Index SEI that is destined to replace COP (Coefficient of Performance); the heat pump market and the effects of the government ditching green incentives; the PURR report; major issues of interest in BIM; energy efficiency from an engineer’s perspective and much more besides.

Silvia Romano, a member of the European partnership for Energy and the Environment secretariat addressed delegates in the Training & Careers theatre on the second day of the show. The EPEE represents the European heating, cooling, refrigeration and heat pump industry is committed to supporting the implementation of the EU F-Gas Regulation and its ambitious phase-down objectives.

The ACR Show also hosted the national SkillFRIDGE competition for the first time. The competition provides a potential launchpad for apprentices in the sector to compete internationally at vocational skills competition, WorldSkills. In August 2015 Team UK had great success with Chris Baillie (BA Refrigeration Ltd, and South East Regional College, Belfast) gaining silver medal and runner up at the WorldSkills competition in Sao Paulo Brazil.

“The national skillFRIDGE competition allows apprentices studying level 3 RAC to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence in a pressurised environment,” said national SkillFRIDGE competition manager and lead assessor, Mark Forsyth.

The final required the six competitors demonstrate recognised industry skills and deliver on three main objectives. As such competitors had to demonstrate a core ability to follow instructions and solve problems in order to produce a ‘cold space’ at specified temperature and at the same time ensure an energy efficient refrigeration system.

The winner was Ashley Wilson, an RAC level 3 student at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Northern Ireland and an apprentice for A1 refrigeration Ltd.

Ashley faced tough competition from Chris Hoy (South Eastern Regional College NI), Kaine Finlay (Eastleigh College), Scott Thomson (Glasgow Kelvin College), Adam Hussain (College North West London) and James Hughes (The Manchester College).

Ashley said: “I am very proud to have won SkillFRIDGE, and honoured to have been given the opportunity to experience a great event like this, it really helps you think more about the workplace”.

The ACR Show, organised by Datateam Business Media Ltd, was backed by leading trade associations, including the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), which also held its annual conference at the show; the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA); Refcom; the Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA), British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), Association of European Component Manufacturers (ASERCOM) and the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA).

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