Top 26 HVAC and Controls Manufacturers You Don’t Want to Miss at AHR

We distribute products by more than 50 manufacturers, and one of our favorite things is running into our partners out at industry events. It’s one of the reasons we’re looking forward to the big AHR bi-annual Chicago show coming up shortly.

ahr people

This year we noticed that many of our top-selling and most innovative manufacturers will be present in a big way – on the expo floor and in the session rooms talking about new products and interesting HVAC ideas. There will be tons to see at McCormick Place January 22-24 but here’s a short list of the manufacturers we suggest you definitely do not miss.

Acuity Brands ; Session: How will we create value from our new-found edge data and bring it back to the hive to discover new ways of providing comfort, health and satisfaction in our buildings?

BELIMO Americas Booth 4136; Session: Belimo Sensor Technology – Setting the Stage to Create the Future

Bell & Gossett Booth 4917

Distech Controls Booth 3900

DENT Instruments Booth 4123

Dwyer Instruments, Inc. Booth 4732; Session: Overcoming Errors Associated with System Variations When Using Insertion Flowmeters

Fireye Inc. Booth 6323

IoTium Booth 4061; Session: Protecting the BAS. Secure the Data. Isolate Every Stream.

Honeywell Booths 4923, 3921 and 4923

Johnson Controls, Inc. Booths 5349, 5364, 5559 and 5562; Sessions: Pushing the Energy Efficiency Envelope with YORK Water-Cooled Centrifugal Chillers ; The Latest Innovation in Home/Building Thermostats

KMC Controls Booth 4036

Kodaro Booth 4036

McDonnell & Miller Booth 4917

Measurlogic, Inc. Booth 4312

Metasys Building Automation System by Johnson Controls Booth 5364 and 5349

Optigo Networks Inc. Booth 4153; Session: Live Site Monitoring: Track Your BACnet Network Health

Phoenix Contact Booth 4254

Robertshaw Booth 4365; Session: Robertshaw Connect – Connected Environment

Senva Sensors Booth 3856

Siemens Industry, Inc. Booth 4125

Sierra Monitor Corporation Booth 4244; Session: Top 5 Benefits of Leveraging the Cloud with BACnet

Tridium Booth 3820; Session: Building Automation 101: Interoperability, Integration and IoT

Veris Industries Booth 7520

Viconics Technologies Inc. Booth 4134

WATTS Booth 2131

Weiss Instruments, Inc. Booth 4662

We know that many more manufacturers will be at AHR as attendees. We’re planning plenty of one-on-one meetings and hoping for chance run-ins as we walk the show floor. If you want to set up something concrete, let’s talk in the next couple weeks. Fill out the info on this form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Let’s Talk

Niagara 4.4 Now Available from Tridium

niagara 4.4 release

This just in from TridiumNiagara 4.4 is now available. According to the company’s product marketing team, this fourth update to the Niagara 4 framework adds new analytics features and HTML5 capabilities.

Specific new features and enhancements include:

  • Single Sign On (SSO) using SAML 2.0
  • New HTML5 scheduler and alarm console
  • Updated Haystack dictionary
  • Performance enhancements
  • Legacy JACE® stability enhancements
  • Updated analytics features

Documentation from Tridium:

*Niagara Community login required.

If you have questions about getting started with Niagara 4.4 or if it might be time to meet with your building customers about upgrading their building management frameworks, let’s talk. We have Niagara technical experts on staff in every territory we service.

Heads Up on Training to kick off your new year

We sent this out as an email earlier this morning. If you’d like to be on our list, subscribe here.

Niagara 4 Certification

There’s still time to register for our upcoming Niagara 4 certification class with our esteemed trainer Jeff Hunter. Jeff will host the class January 29-February 2 in Pleasant Hill. The focus is on real-world applications of the Tridium integration framework with one-on-one instruction. Each student works on his or her own computer to connect wired and wirelessly to state-of-the-art equipment.

Register now


SkySpark Essentials

You’ve no-doubt heard about SkySpark and building analytics. You’re probably either considering the investment (admittedly a large one), or completely ruling it out for now. Either is honestly a reasonable place to be. Here’s something that might help tip the scales – we’re hosting a SkySpark Essentials course.

For non-programmers who want to learn more about the business uses of the platform through a deeper understanding how it works and what it is capable of, this is a low-barrier opportunity. If you have a programmer on staff, there is a track for them too, a useful overview of Axon programming critical to make the platform work like you need it to.

Register today

See you there?

We’ll be at AHR in a couple weeks talking about these and other aspects of our operational technology product offerings. If you’ll be there, let’s set up a time to talk.

Let’s talk

Product Spotlight: EasyIO FS and FW Controllers

Wi-Fi solutions for VAV, FCU, RTU and more


Released in September, the EasyIO FW series enables remote commissioning with no licenses, no fees and no installation of tools required. It is an ideal product line for contractors who want to offer something different than the usual suspects, while also positioning buildings to advance with the IoT without up-ending the workflow of the ground crews.


  • Live wiresheets
  • Live programming
  • BACnet IP, BACnet MS/TP compliant
  • VAV, RT, FCU controller models
  • Built-in router with ability to mix wired and wireless models to extend range
  • Built-in dashboard using Sedona Framework, fully configurable
  • Haystack ready
  • Can be BACnet MS/TP client for up to 4 devices


  • School buildings or similar, where it is common to see multiple units on the same roof
  • VAV retrofits where Wi-Fi can create a competitive environment

Controlco reps have been advocates of this line for some time now and we’re beginning to offer individual training instruction to contractor customers who want to get up to speed quickly.


Part Number Features Data Sheet
EasyIO-FW-14 8 UI; 4 AO Download
EasyIO-FW-8 4 UI; 4 AO Download
EasyIO-FW-8V 4 UI; 4 AO; Differential pressure sensor; VAV control libraries Download
EasyIO-FABundle-V *Special* bundle pricing available for FW-8V with EasyIO Belimo VAV 5Nm 0-10V DC Actuator. Limited time. This bundle is ideal for new installs. On retrofits, the standalone FW-8V is all you need.

With this wireless upgrade, EasyIO has also expanded its capabilities with the FS 32, an incredibly powerful controller built on an open framework. It’s getting great reviews in the field. Details on that product here:

Part Number Features Data Sheet
EasyIO-FS-32 1 x 10/100 Ethernet port; 16 UI; 8 UO; 8 DO; BACnet, TCOM, Modbus & HTML5 web server Download

Let’s Talk


Speaking of training…we’ve got a new class for you

Controlco training logo

Controlco’s training facility in California’s Bay Area will play host to a unique SkySpark training course Feb. 26-28. There’s a couple reasons you don’t want to miss this. First, there aren’t many opportunities to take a SkySpark Essentials course on the West Coast, and who doesn’t want to be in California in February?

Second, Kodaro‘s team of analytics programmers have broken out the course so that both programmers and non-programmers can explore the platform. Non-programmers have the option of taking the two-day course which still gives an in-depth understanding of the platform and the tools that make it this industry’s most capable building analytics engine, but you’ll be done before any mention of Axon (which is the programming language that SkySpark is built on).

SkySpark-ImageProgrammers can take the three-day course to get a full introduction to Axon from an instructor who works in the language every day.

Kodaro hosted its first SkySpark Essentials course for an exclusive group of its building analytics customers. It went so well that they’re opening it up to everyone and we strongly think you should join them. SkySpark is an incredible tool, but it’s not one you can just plug-and-play. Gaining a working knowledge of what it’s good for and how it actually works will be invaluable to your career as more building owners look to mechanical contractors and systems integrators for building analytics expertise.

Register for the class that makes the most sense to you.

Or, contact a Controlco sales rep to talk more about why SkySpark should be on your 2018 wish-list.


For New BAS Software Platforms, Introductory Training is Key to Success

things are looking up

Before the Thanksgiving holiday we hosted what we hope were the first two in an ongoing series of FIN for a Spin classes. As controls and integration frameworks advance with the ever-buzzing “IoT,” we’re finding that in-person demo opportunities like that are great ways to introduce customers to new products before any money or purchase orders change hands.

From FIN’s perspective, these user trainings are helpful because users need to have success with their platform – if a controls contractor convinces his boss to use the platform on a project and then the project isn’t successful, the platform, and likely the controls guy, gets a bad rap. There can be lots of reasons why a project with a new software tool fail, but it shouldn’t come crashing down because a user can’t utilize a product to its full potential. In fact, that’s how FIN’s whole model is set up, they piece it out by introductory training, evaluation kit, add-ons and engineering tools. You can’t even buy the thing off the shelf. Which, again, is good because contractors and integrators have enough daily tasks to manage without piling on things like “learn a new programming language” or “figure out what magic bubbles do.”

At Controlco, we figure we’re all in this next phase of building automation together. Each platform is a little different, with unique dashboards, variable capabilities and unpredictable product features like “magic bubbles.” If you’ve been curious about FIN, let us know and we’ll happily set up a hands-on demo day in your area. And lunch will be on us.

Controlco Tech Support at Work with The S4 Group


Parts distribution is so much more than selling controls these days. While management systems are getting more complex, it’s easy enough for anyone to buy a replacement valve or sensor on Amazon. At Controlco Automation Distributors, we make it a point to provide something extra.

Don’t get us wrong, we still rep tons of parts but for all of the product lines we represent, we offer a high level of technical support to get you through the job, to get you called back on the next job, and to help you keep relationships with contractors and building operators long into the future.

It’s the main reason we’re so comfortable offering new products to the building controls industry – products like the Tosibox lock and key series, the Optigo Connect line for fiber networking, FINStack, Kodaro and SkySpark to make it easier to implement analytics at the enterprise – because we know how to help you through installation and implementation.

The same is true for The S4 Group: Open BACnet N2 router. They’re designed to help buildings with legacy Johnson Controls and Metasys systems to prepare for the IoT transition without huge capital injection. But connecting old systems to new systems can be complicated. Here we’ll outline one example of how Controlco helped a contractor with an S4 Group: Open BACnet N2 router set point problem as one example of how we enable contractors and systems integrators to adopt new technologies and find success on the job site.

Recently a customer of The S4 Group: Open BACnet N2 Router contacted us during his Niagara integration. The Johnson VAV controllers we not able to schedule from Unoccupied to Occupied and the Occupied status also wasn’t working in the Niagara interface or The S4 Group: Open Management Console.

The points in the N2 router were labeled one way and the HVAC Pro command points were labeled another way. The customer needed to know what the points should be and how to change them. Complicating matters, the customer was at the end of his project. He needed to complete the job and the system wasn’t cooperating.

Within 24 hours, Controlco’s technical support lead got The S4 Group’s managing partner involved and began troubleshooting the issue. The three gathered via video conference for a remote access session through the system. They were able to determine that various site-specific issues were happening in the communication between The S4 Group: Open BACnet N2 Router and Niagara.

By a few months later, the project entered into the commissioning phase after a couple of changes were made to the source file in The S4 Group: Open BACnet N2 router so the building controls contractors could read and write to all of the points needed in the Johnson controller.

“After getting tech support [from Controlco and The S4 Group] I was able to recreate the issue and fix it reliably multiple times,” the contractor reported at the end of the job.

It would have been easier to simply sell the product and let the contractor into the wild without a person to call on. But we prefer that jobs get done right.