FRANKFURT, GERMANY — ISH — International Sanitär Heizung Klima — continues to maintain its position as the preeminent plumbing-heating-cooling show in the world. The 2013 edition, the 27th biennial show, drew 190,000 people to Frankfurt’s gigantic 11 building fairgrounds.

The major boiler manufacturers never cease to amaze at ISH. Seeing the leading-edge products that the Germans display makes Americans feel primitive by comparison. It’s common for the Viessmann and Buderus to create packages of equipment that might combine a boiler, solar thermal or PV collectors, domestic hot water tank, and the pumps and controls.

Buderus showed the Logano plus GB145, an oil-condensing boiler with a 3:1 turndown ratio. The boiler comes in 51,000, 75,000 and 102,000 Btuh capacities. Its control unit Logamatic MC100 includes a standard LAN port and only needs to be connected to a router for access to the Internet. This gives users secure access to the heating system from a smartphone or tablet. The controls are designed to handle add-ons, such as a DHW tank or solar thermal system. Buderus also displayed a gas heat pump system combined with solar thermal to produce space heat and DHW that they’ve aimed at the apartment market. The company has a cascading mod-con boiler setup that generates electricity called the Loganova CHP. The division of Bosch Thermotechnologies also introduced a net-plus energy system concept that it has installed in a test house that combines PV, solar thermal, a Logavolt combined heat and power unit, a Logalux hot water storage tank, and a Logavent HRV.

Not to be outdone, Viessmann showed off concepts such as heating with ice (it works off the phase change), both high- and low-temperature fuel cells, and residential-size gas and oil adsorption units. The firm showed the oil-operated Vitolasorp 200-F zeolite adsorption heat pump and the Vitosorp 300-W gas absorption heat pump. The oil-operated Vitolasorp 200-F zeolite adsorption heat pump currently being developed by Viessmann achieves a significant jump in efficiency of up to 25% over condensing technology. Vitolasorp 200-F is a combination of oil condensing boiler and adsorption heat pump in one housing. The adsorption heat pump module covers the basic load of the building heating demand, using free heat from the environment. The integrated oil condensing boiler covers the peak outputs.

The Vitovalor 300-P is a heating system based on a low-temperature fuel cell and is being developed for the European market by Viessmann in conjunction with Panasonic. The system is based on a PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cell with 750 W electric output and 1 kW thermal output and is primarily suitable for use in new construction with low heating demand. Together with the Swiss company Hexis AG, Viessmann is working on the marketability of the Galileo 1000 N fuel cell heating appliance for applications in existing buildings. Based on SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) technology, the high-temperature fuel cell has an electrical output of 1 kW and a thermal output of about 6,100 Btuh. An integrated gas burner delivers up to an additional 68,200 Btuh as needed in order to cover peak loads.

Wilo displayed its Stratos GIGA, a high-efficiency, single-stage inline centrifugal pump. The Stratos GIGA is an inline circulator with ECM technology designed for use in hot water heating systems, air conditioning, closed cooling circuits and industrial process systems. The redesigned hydraulics and permanent magnet motor can achieve better than IE4 efficiencies, reducing motor losses by over 50% compared to NEMA Premium Efficient. The pump boasts heads up to 167-ft. and flows as high as 275-GPM.

Kohler made a splash with its Moxie showerhead, previously released in the U.S., that plays your MP3 collection through the showerhead with a Bluetooth connection. The company also showed several collections that are European-only that would look good in American bathrooms. Its Replay line of integrated vanities and cabinets showed soft, rounded lines on rectangular vanities and cabinets. Replay comes in three neutral shades in Melamine. Fluid is the best way to describe the Stillness bathroom line.

The curvaceous sink sits atop either dark or natural solid oak or a gloss white lacquer for the cabinet front that create a luxury look. Customers can also personalize their furniture with Kohler’s à la carte lacquer offer, choosing from 48 gloss or satin shades. Kohler also showed its Torsion shower doors that include a space-saving in-swing model that’s perfect for tight spaces. The in-swing doors easily slide and pivot inwards along a concealed track. Although there is less door motion, entry space is still sufficiently wide.

German polypropylene-random pipe maker Aquatherm, which has its U.S. headquarters in Lindon, Utah, displayed a range of heat-fused products that goes way beyond the green pipe familiar to most American contractors. Aquatherm produces red pipe for fire sprinkler systems, lilac pipe for rainwater reuse and irrigation, and blue pipe for tougher service, such as chemical transport, district heating, chilled water or geothermal. Its orange pipe may be used in radiant floor heating systems and its gray pipe for potable water and for heating. The orange pipe is PE-RT, which Aquatherm has been producing for about a dozen years. Much of the pipe may be ordered pre-insulated. Fittings are available with transitions to brass screw connections. The company also makes a line of preassembled black plastic radiant heating grids that may be used in radiant walls or ceilings.

Rex Gillespie, vice president of Caleffi North America, showed off the firm’s improvement on the hydraulic separator for hydronic heating systems. The Sep4 Multifunction Hydraulic Separator contains and internal element that works as a dirt separator, a removable magnet on the bottom to separate ferrous particles, and a polymer mesh air separator to eliminate micro-bubbles in the system.

Gillespie noted that the insulation jacket and the magnet pop off and the debris drains out from the bottom of the Sep4, unlike some competitive devices that need to be valved off and partially dismantled in order to be cleaned out. If getting rid of crud is your only object, the company also produces a technopolymer dirt separator with magnet that can be installed on either horizontal or vertical pipes.

Reliance Worldwide Corp., which American contractors would know as the parent of Cash Acme, Cullman, Ala., showed its line of SharkBite push to connect fittings. Reliance has operations all over the world producing thermostatic mixing valves, faucets, showers, pressure-reducing valves, backflow preventers, and radiant floor heating system components. One of the firm’s main missions at ISH was to emphasize that SharkBite is the premier push-to-connect fitting in a world of copycats, and to defend the brand against becoming considered a “Kleenex” generic fitting. Reliance Worldwide President Heath Sharp told CONTRACTOR that too often a contractor goes into a wholesaler and asks for SharkBite but gets handed any old fitting system.

Steibel Eltron, which imports just a fraction of its product line into the U.S., showed equipment such as the LWZ 304/404 SOL, a complete system for energy-efficient houses such as Passivhaus. The appliances not only provide heating, ventilation and DHW, but also have an integral cooling function. The unit incorporates an enlarged DHW cylinder with 235-liter (62-gal.) capacity. The firm displayed the WPL 15 AS and WPL 25 A inverter driven air-to-water heat pump that can produce hot water temperatures as high as 149°F. The units boast COPs up to 3.9 and can produce as much as 40,600 Btuh of thermal energy. The heat pumps can be easily combined with a variety of DHW, system and buffer cylinders from the company. On the small and simple end of the scale, Steibel Eltron showed tankless water heaters that are directly connected to handheld showerheads.

Duravit, which counts four- and five-star hotels as one of its target markets in the U.S., showed the DuraStyle line designed by Matteo Thun & Partners. Thun describes the line with terms such as “simplicity of form” and “visual lightness.” For the hotel and project sector, there is a range of coordinated products for every application and all architectural conditions. The key selling points are utility, hygiene, short cleaning times, quick and easy assembly and a price structure that is in line with project requirements.

The narrow rim around the washbasin and the tapered outer edge that slopes inward are characteristic of DuraStyle. The washbasin and toilet thus appear slender and understated. The characteristic feature of the bathtub is an upward lip on the rear rim that keeps things looking tidy as bathroom products, such as shampoo, can be stored behind it. It also offers support when getting in and out of the bath.

Grundfos expanded the new generation Magna3, which was introduced to the U.S. market at the AHR Expo in Dallas, with a range of additional sizes and designs. New to the program are smaller sizes from a nominal diameter of DN 32, and additional versions for pipe fittings in 1-in. and 1½-in. In addition, the Magna3 will be available starting in autumn 2013 with a differential temperature control with a second temperature sensor. With more than 200 models, a number of additional functions, and exceptional energy efficiency, the circulator covers a wide range of applications. On the other hand, since not every application requires a top-of-the-line circulator, Grundfos presented the new edition Alpha1 with a display in the booth to show the current power consumption. With permanent magnet motor technology and integrated speed control, the circulator provides high efficiency at an attractive price and has already met the requirements of the second stage of the tough European pump efficiency standards.

German toolmaker Rothenberger, which has its U.S. headquarters in the Rockford, Ill., area, showed a radiant floor service tool that one would hope eventually makes it to our shores. The Ropuls Roclean is a hydronic and plumbing pump and sanitizing machine that can pump the sludge out of a radiant floor and pump in chemicals that will kill algae. The company points out that it can also be used to clean and sanitize domestic water systems that may not be used all the time, such as in schools or sports arenas.

Hansgrohe showed off electronic shower controls that mount inside the shower. The Raindance Select E 300 3jet Showerpipe combines the technologies of the individual products featuring Select technology in one system. The ShowerTablet Select 300 doubles as an intelligent shower control unit and as a good-looking shelf. The new multi-functional thermostat offers two functions simultaneously: it controls the water volume and temperature, and it acts as a generously dimensioned shelf space for shower essentials such as shampoo bottles. The 11.8-in. wide surface is made of high-quality safety glass. All the control elements of the ShowerTablet Select 300 are arranged at the front for easy access. The user can immediately see how to turn the water on or off, and how to accurately set the preferred temperature.