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AHR Expo 2018 – Quick Review

The 2018 AHR Expo was held January 22nd thru the 24th, in Chicago at McCormack Place. AHR Expo is the crème-de-la-crème for International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerating with an impressive focus on the big stuff; industrial, commercial, all the way down to residential.

This AHR Expo was extremely well-run. I have spent my career working shows: Comdex with 250,000 attendees for 15 years in a row, PC Expo in New York with 150,000 attendees at Jacob Javits Center, and a host of others with attendance numbers in the six figures. It is not easy to pull one of these off and this one was run well. Of course, there are lines for Starbucks and lunch time restaurants; we had a hotel reservation mix-up, but all in all they pulled it off nicely.

2018 AHR Expo by the Numbers

  • Total Attendance (including exhibitor personnel) – 72,075, up from 68,615 (2017)
  • Total Visitor Attendance – 49,995, up from 48,568 (2017)
  • Exhibiting Companies – 2,155, up from 2,118 (2015)
  • Exhibit Space (SF) – 534,080, versus 500,159 (2017)
  • Countries Represented – 169, compared to 165 (2017)


This year’s show was the largest collection of OEMs; engineers; contractors; manufacturers; distributors; commercial, industrial and institutional facility operators, and educators I’ve ever see in one place. Because AHR is not focused on the residential market and consequently has a high degree of solution complexity, the need for prospective clients to see, feel, and discuss (in person) the many aspects of these technologies exist; and you get it here. All the exhibitors, and it’s a Who’s Who of this industry, bring their A team and no technology dive is too deep to be accommodated; even the biggest of the units are on display.

Innovation pervades every nook and cranny of this industry from machine to tool to fuel, but the predominance of Green initiatives and IoT technology clearly won the day. If this is your marketplace / industry, this show is a great investment.

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