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With new features and a modest, but positive increase in participation, the 2011 edition of The Big 5 Show in Dubai rang a note of much-needed optimism.

| | Dec 30, 2011 | 1:48 pm
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With new features and a modest, but positive increase in participation, the 2011 edition of The Big 5 Show in Dubai rang a note of much-needed optimism.

Though a bit muted, there was the usual buzz around The Big 5 Show that one has come to expect of the event held in Dubai annually for over 30 years. The 49,000 participants – a modest increase of six per cent on the previous year’s figures – collectively and individually contributed to the festive, yet professional ambience. The days of the Show – November 21 to 24 – saw Dubai’s International Conference and Exhibition Centre, the venue, milling with construction industry exhibitors and visitors, which in itself was a healthy sign in these economically anaemic times. The auxiliary shows – Middle East Concrete, PMV Live and FM Expo, along with the newly introduced product zones helped make it a well-rounded event. Adding heft to it was the return of The Platinum Club, with big players in the construction industry boasting of superior financial clout, reportedly dealing in 100 million Greenbacks. According to the organisers of the show, dmg :: events, this year recorded a 25% increase in the number of buyers compared to 2010, with a leap from 499 to 628.

With the launch of the Green Build Congress and over 130 free-to-attend product and educational seminars, sustainability, once again, occupied centre space, both literally and metaphorically. Its centrality was reinforced by the region’s 40 most influential industry leaders addressing an audience of 250 delegates from the building and construction industry. As another first, the Gaia Awards, which honours companies for their contribution towards reducing the impact of construction on the environment, was open even to non-exhibitors. This reflected not only the inclusive nature of the event, but also a strong desire to co-opt all the players in the industry in the cause and campaign of sustainability.

The aptly named Gaia Awards – Gaia is the ancient Greek name for the Earth – drove home the irrevocable fact that the industry cannot divorce itself from the planet’s sustainability. Enocean Technology by Nuuon Trading bagged the gold, with the jury judging it as a world- and sector-leading technology with innovative and energy-efficient features, generating high level benefits to other building systems. Re-500 by Carlisle HVAC/Trimac and the Bladeroom Modular Datacentre by Bladeroom Group Red Engineering were the Silver winners, while the Bronze went to Leaking Detection System by Enolgas Bonomi SPA, Converted ISO Marine Containers by Smart Box Industries, Cocomosaic Tiles by Cocomosaic Indonesia and Waterpro SWS Home by Waterpro.

Climate Control Middle East, as always, had its ear to the ground, and sensed a mood of fraternal bonhomie on the show floor, which featured both product-specific sections and 32 national pavilions.


Al Sahoo, which covers the entire gamut of the GCC countries with 35 years of presence in the region, is a regular at the Big 5 Show, and boasts of a strong network throughout the MEP sector. It represents Aquatherm in the GCC region. The leading manufacturer of polypropylene (PP-R) pipe systems for the potable water and heating sector in the world,Aquatherm was founded in 1973 to develop, produce and install warm-water floor heatings. In 1980, it developed the Fusiotherm-plastic pipe system for potable water and heating installations. It now reportedly has more than 74 marketing partners worldwide. Tarek Hourani, the Operations Manager, Al Sahoo, informed Climate Control Middle East that the company had shifted its focus to a cost-effective, energy-saving solution for chilled water applications.Hourani was understandably excited about Aquatherm launching the 630 mm dimension of its pipe systems, Fusiotherm and Climatherm, which were developed in response to the demand for pipe systems with bigger flow volume in industrial plants, factories and big construction projects, like hotel buildings, universities and stadia.Hourani said the Climatherm pipe system included all the components for chilled and hot fluid installations, and was manufactured from 100% corrosion-resistant and completely stabilised raw material. “It has been developed especially for applications outside the potable water installation,” he revealed.

Fusiotherm, the other big product, has reportedly proved its technical suitability in worldwide applications for 25 years, and lays claim to being one of the most extensive and better plastic pipe systems in the market. “The programme contains five different types of pipes – from cold water pipes to patented fibre-composite pipes,” Hourani said. “Most of our other products are on display at the show,” he added and drew attention to innovative faser composite multi-layered pipes, which, he said are able to achieve much less linear expansion, making it almost equivalent to metal systems.

“We are at the Big 5 to reaffirm our presence,” Hourani explained. “It’s more of a branding and public relations exercise for us, rather than sales. We are here to showcase our big dimensions.” Setting his sights on future, he said: “In 2012, we are looking to maintain our innovative technology and meeting the demands of clients for cost reduction by continuing to innovate and create new technology that meets the requirements of applications.”

Apparently, the Al Sahoo stall elicited an appreciable level of interest at the Big 5. “It’s because we are offering products that offer traditional metal systems at a lower cost,” Hourani said. “Clients and contractors are drawn to us. We don’t compromise on our performance.” Expressing his honest assessment of the event, he said: “I wouldn’t say the buzz is back at this year’s Big 5. Things are only limping back.”


German manufacturers of automation systems, Beckhoff, as relatively new players in the Middle East, with a footprint in Egypt, were at the Show to introduce their products and solutions for industrial and building automation to MEP contractors, consultants and property developers. “We are taking part in the Big 5 Show for the first time since 2007,” informed Tharun Thomas, Sales Manager, Beckhoff Automation. “Our presence at the Big 5 is more of a marketing exercise. We want to showcase our solutions. Our integrated building automation concept includes lighting, HVAC, room automation, facade, home automation, remote maintenance, logging of energy data and operating and monitoring.”Cx 5000 and DC 919 are Beckhoff’s new products. Beckhoff claims to be employed in a wide range of applications worldwide, and especially the Middle East.They include:

  • Oil and gas applications
  • Green building solutions
  • Water and waste water applications
  • Robotic car parking systems
  • Pumping stations
  • District cooling
  • Substation monitoring
  • Pipeline monitoring & leak detection
  • Process and plant automation
  • HVAC control systems
  • Building management systems
  • Home automation
  • Lighting control

With DEKRA-certified CoolDry reflective roof coating as its sole product, Cooldry, coming all the way from Germany, was a debut participant at the Show. Claiming to be waterproof and capable of reflecting 90% of solar energy (heat, light and UV-light), the coating apparently keeps the roofs at the same temperature as the outside temperature. This translates into a reduction of roof temperature and room temperature, thus cutting air conditioning costs by up to 50%. In addition, Cooldry claims that the coating protects the roof.“It has excellent adhesion to almost any surface, can be applied in two coats without dilution and is suitable for virtually any substrate,” explained Dirk Weissenborn, Sales Director, CoolDry, Germany. “It also ends up sealing the roof against rain. The biggest impact is during the cold season – people can switch off the air conditioning sooner. We are very strong in southeast Europe, where it tends to get very sunny.”Weissenborn reported that the product had garnered a lot of interest from visitors to the Show and said that the company, which already had Al Jeel AlHader Trading as its Saudi distributor, was looking for distributors in the UAE. “We are trying to develop our base in the UAE and other markets in the Gulf,” Weissenborn said.


“We aren’t here looking for orders; people know us – they know what we do,” said an upbeat-sounding David Stevenson, Managing Director of Belimo Automation, at his booth – a bigger one this time around.Belimo’s presence at The Big 5 Show was apparently to share the same space as its customers and distributors, who had converged at the canopy from different countries. It was Belimo’s sixth appearance at the event, which explained the relaxed air of confidence Stevenson exuded.Backing this was an impressive array of the company’s complete product range of air and water motorised control solutions at the stand. “Although the region has experienced a difficult couple of years, we have continued to grow and expand,” Stevenson informed. “At the end of Q3 2011, we achieved 24% growth, and doubled our figures in Saudi Arabia.” He credited the noticeable improvement in business mainly to Belimo opening a new sales office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, another factor being an increase in projects from Qatar. But despite a slowdown in the UAE, the company managed to achieve “satisfactory” sales in the country, Stevenson conceded, but added that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were going to be the areas of interest for the company.“One of our main focuses at present is to promote Belimo’s range of water solutions, which are on display at the show,” Stevenson revealed. The products on display were the new 30Nm EF spring return damper actuator and the new VAV Compact Controller, featuring the innovative D3 differential pressure sensor system. Using heat transmission measurement, it is touted to precisely regulate small volumetric air flows. Furthermore, the minimal amount of air flow required through the sensor is said to protect it against future contamination, thus maintaining accuracy.

Belimo has been manufacturing electric actuators for air dampers and valve technology in HVAC systems since 1975. Its other products on display were: The Belimo MP-Bus, which reportedly allows up to eight different Belimo MP actuators to be grouped together and connected to any higher-level system. Among the water products on display were the new, electronically controlled Electronic Pressure Independent Control Valve (EPIV). Also at the show was the extended range of globe valves and the butterfly valve products.

“We are already rather big when it comes to air products, but we are looking to increase our water range of products,” Stevenson said, and added, “The buzz is certainly not back at the Big 5. But we have been busy. The quality of visitors to our stand has been good. The people who are dropping by are doing so for a reason. They are serious customers.”

It appears that Belimo may not be at the Big 5 Show in Dubai next year because it is strategising to register its presence at the event every alternate year. “We will be exhibiting for the second time at The Big 5 in Jeddah, instead,” Stevenson said. “We may also be at Project Qatar. But we still need to concentrate on the UAE – it’s good business for us.”


A first-timer at The Big 5, Utmost is the exclusive dealer of Bostik UK’s Idenden range of HVAC products and Bostik Australia’s 4-hour, fire-rated, polyurethane joint sealant – Fireban 1. The company exclusively distributes both products in the UAE. Another product it distributes is the Lead Line gypsum board made by RPP in the US. The Utmost Group of Companies is part of the Suhail Bahwan Group, one of Oman’s foremost business houses.“For 2012, we are concentrating on penetrating more markets, creating visibility for ourselves and reaching out to more of our target audience than ever before,” said Santanu De, Deputy General Manager, Business Development, Utmost Building Material, explaining to Climate Control Middle East about the reason for its debut participation in the event. “We have had a lot of interesting inquiries, mainly from the UAE, but also from those outside our usual target audience. We’re satisfied with the response.”Bostik has had its own stand at the Big 5 Show in Dubai for the last couple of years. “The idea is to let the public know that Idenden products are available in the UAE under Utmost’s distribution,” said Steve Leek, Export & Inter-Company Sales Manager, Bostik. “We’ve been in the GCC for 25 years and Idenden is well established.”Bostik acquired Idenden, one of the leading brands in the specialist insulation industry sector, 10 years ago. As part of the Bostik range, it reportedly offers one of the widest and most comprehensive ranges of adhesion, sealing and protection products.

“There’s been good interest from the region as well as Iraq and Iran, and it may lead to good business,” said Leek. “We got to meet distributors from neighbouring countries. We intend to have a manufacturing unit in the region in the near future to service the area.”

Leek’s verdict about the 2011 edition of The Big 5 event he said “I wouldn’t say the buzz is back at this year’s Big 5. Things are only limping back.”


There was an air of jubilation at the Carlisle stand. Trimac is Carlisle’s representative in the Middle East, and since Carlisle/Trimac had bagged Silver at the Gaia Awards, it had every reason to look upbeat.Boasting of being innovative, Carlisle has provided products for the HVAC industry since 1965. Its products include Hardcast Duct Sealants and Adhesives, Dynair Airflow Hardware and the Nexus 4 Bolt Flange Closure System.“We are a pioneer in sealants,” said John Guthrie, Manager of Direct Sales, Carlisle HVAC Products. “We have set new standards with the SPRAY-SEAL Mobile Duct Sealant Delivery System and the ISAAC Robotic System. SPRAY-SEAL is a duct sealant specially formulated for spray applications, and can help in labour and cost savings of over 50%. We have started to market SPRAY-SEAL in the GCC region.”Guthrie explained that the sealant gets into a groove and seals it. “It’s a better way of applying duct sealant, as it helps save energy,” he said, and added: “ISAAC, which stands for the Inspection, Sealing and Advanced Cleaning Robotic Solution, is another new product. It enables efficient remediation of existing HVAC systems. It has been precision machine- created specifically for the inspection and repair of ductwork. It is capable of hard-to-reach remediation that would otherwise result in more costly renovations. It’s a robotic vehicle integrated with a digital video recorder that is specially designed to inspect, clean, coat and seal ductwork of all types from the inside and can provide video footage of interior conditions.”

Among Carlisle’s relatively newer products at the show were RS-100 and RE-500. RS-100, which is designed to seal ductwork from inside, is a water-based robotically applied spray sealant engineered to seal joints and seams from the inside of the HVAC ductwork. RE-500, on the other hand, is used for sealing insulated ductwork, and is a robotically applied insulation encapsulant. In fact, it was for Re-500 that Carlisle/Trimac bagged the Silver. “It is ideal for critical projects, such as hospitals and schools,” Guthrie explained. “Its semi-gloss finish prevents debris accumulation that could lead to mould growth and provides better air efficiency.”

Carlisle, which is participating at The Big 5 for the first time since 2007, is looking for distributors and contractors for its products and services. “We recognise that building owners are looking at solutions/opportunities to save money in a down economy,” Guthrie explained. “HVACR contractors are looking to get into new markets, new businesses and to supply to building owners.


Though active in the Middle East for a decade, Klingenburg was taking part in the Big 5 Show for the first time. With over 32 years of global experience in the design and manufacturing of comfort and process-oriented energy recovery and humidity control products for ventilation systems, it claimed that its products significantly contributed to energy saving and CO2 emission reduction.“We are manufacturers for HVAC OEMs, and being at The Big 5 Show is more of a branding and marketing exercise for us,” said Robert Green, Sales Director Export, Klingenburg, Germany. “We are showcasing the GS TwinCool. It is a patent pending design. We are geared for smaller air volumes. The concept, along with the internal components, will be shown at the ASHRAE show (AHR Expo) in Chicago 2012.”Klingenburg’s other products include the Rotary Heat Exchanger, the Counterflow Plate Heat Exchanger, the Crossflow Plate Heat Exchanger and the Humidifier. The GS Type plate heat exchanger, the company claims, is an effective air-to-air transfer device. According to Klingenburg, thanks to the TwinCool Concept, the need for energy consuming post heaters can be sidestepped.“It leads to a reduction of dehumidification costs and power consumption for the cooling coil, resulting in large savings on energy consumption,” Green explained, and added, “It could be used to enhance LEED, Green Building and carbon footprint status of buildings. It can also be easily adapted to existing air conditioning systems and ceiling void units.”

Green admitted that though visitors didn’t exactly come flocking to the Klingenburg stand, it attracted “the right type of visitors.”

“The feedback has been very positive. We have managed to enhance our relationships with consultants and MEP contractors in the region,” he said, with a note of satisfaction.


Representing Hitachi Equipment, GAMI/GIBCA are the sole agents for most of Hitachi’s products. This year at The Big 5, it was showcasing its air-cooled water chiller, which is now manufactured in the UAE under the Hitachi licence and technology, under the brand name Cool Wave.Also on display were the low-and high-static Fan Coil Units (FCUs), designed and manufactured in the UAE and modular Air Handling Units (AHUs) and modular mono-block AHUs. GAMI/GIBCA also have their own brand, Cool Wave.“Our strategy is to be a good quality manufacturer and supplier for the whole of the Middle East market,” declared Eugene Papaioannou, Factory General Manager.“We are manufacturing AHUs ourselves; these products are unique,” added Manu Chandran, the Technical Manager. “The products are manufactured under licence from Hitachi, with whom we have a technical collaboration. We manufacture condenser coils and sheet metal parts in Abu Dhabi. The rest are brought in from Japan. Because of the new factory that opened last year, we are participating in the Big 5 again, after 2007, because now we can showcase our own new products.”

Chandran admitted that the market wasn’t too good locally. “But we are participating to announce our presence. It is good exposure for us,” he revealed.


With the MENA region as its focus, Honeywell, launched its Frogen refrigerant at this year’s Big 5 Show. It had, however, lined up all its industrial gases on display at the show.Zuresh Nedungadi, Business Development Manager (ME & Africa), Prime Co, Middle East, who was holding fort at the stand, explained that his company – Honeywell’s distributor in the Middle East – was looking to promote Honeywell refrigerants more aggressively. “We are bulk gas suppliers, and Honeywell is one of the brands we distribute,” he informed.With its presence in the region over two decades, Prime Co lays claim to being a major distributor for industrial gases and refrigerants, supplying a broad range of industrial and specialty gases for a wide variety of applications. It was awarded the Quality System Certificate ISO 9001:2008 issued by the GCAS Quality Management System.Revealing that Honeywell is a high-end product, whereas, Prime Co generally deals in medium-end products, Nedungadi outlined his company’s new strategy vis-à-vis Honeywell: “We are emphasising more on Honeywell products in this show. It is going to be and will remain a key player in the region. We will have a great role in rebuilding Iraq and Libya in terms of Honeywell refrigerants. Syria and Egypt also look promising. We are concentrating on appointing distributors for most of the Gulf region.”

Nedungadi said that though his company had participated in various shows elsewhere, it was returning to The Big 5 after some years, and had set up its stall this year to reach out to specific customers. “The response at this show has been fantastic!” he said.


Stand 3A 118 looked busy, with Hira Industries, manufacturer of rubber moulded and extruded products for insulation solutions, among other things, keen to reassert its presence at the Show. Its Aeroduct Industries, based in Dubai, is involved in the manufacturing of HVAC ducting accessories. Currently, the product line includes the complete range of flexible duct connectors, flexible ducts, insulation fasteners and perforated base hangers.Dr Laurențiu Pestrițu, the company’s Product Manager (Insulation) for Middle East, India and Africa, informed Climate Control Middle East that Aerofoam XLPE-CLAD and Aerofoam NBR-CLAD were the company’s new products, and had been launched worldwide. “The Aerofoam range has been positioned as ‘the environment-friendly insulation’,” he informed. “They are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, have low thermal conductivity and have passed a wide range of fire and smoke tests.”Delineating on Aerofoam NBR-CLAD, Pestrițu explained: “It is closed-cell rubber foam with silver cladding. It has high UV resistance and physical durability, making it suitable for outdoor applications. The main scope of the product is to replace aluminium cladding.” Pestrițu claimed that it was easy to install and reduced installation time by up to 50%.While the other new product, Aerofoam XLPE-CLAD, too, comes with high UV resistance, physical durability and installation-friendly features, cutting installation time by half, it is a cross-linked, closed-cell polyethylene foam with multi-layer cladding, which can be used in hospitals, the food & beverage industry, pharmaceutical industry, as well as the chemical and petrochemical industry. “The products can replace costly and ‘complex-processible’ aluminium and stainless steel sheet facings,” Pestrițu informed.

During the show, Pestrițu also made a presentation on ‘Fundamentals of insulation’ at the Seminar platform. Relevant to the theme of sustainability, the gist of the presentation was: On an average, buildings account for 25% to 40% of total worldwide energy consumption, of which 50% is consumed by heating and air conditioning. Efforts are being made to manufacture equipment which is energy efficient and adheres to ASHRAE guidelines. It is, therefore, important to use proper insulation methods to ensure that the equipment used performs to the best conditions which it is designed for. The presentation highlighted the importance of insulation in buildings and its advantages in energy savings, using the closed cell polyethylene insulation.


The JGB camp was all fired up at the show, as it was taking part for the first time jointly with its five principals. JGB International specialises in the supply of industrial products in oilfield, HVAC, electromechanical, insulation, water and other industrial segments. “We have participated in the Big 5 Show with our biggest five brand names – PureAir Filtration, USA; BioAir Solutions, USA; Temet Oy, Finland; Kruger Ventilation Industries, Singapore; and Filtrotecnica Italiana, Italy,” said Rami Al Khalil, General Manager, JGB International.PureAir Filtration, which specialises in custom-design solutions for a wide range of vapour phase air purification and contaminant-control applications, was represented by Kevin Jameson, its President. He told Climate Control Middle East that his company was showcasing chemical filtration systems for the removal of corrosive gases from the air, odour controls for kitchen and toilet extract, as also enhancement for indoor air quality in some cases, combined with other technologies like bipolar Ioniser. “As for new products, we have launched our CM2 second generation air corrosivity monitor, which gives precise measurements and real-time monitoring of gases to detect the existence of corrosion gases, as also our chemical carbon media for gas phase filtration,” Jameson said, and claimed that PureAir provided the longest lasting and most economical solutions in the market for gas phase filtration, using superior media with high efficiency removal of corrosive gases.”With the Oil & Gas sector as his company’s focus, he said that it was also looking to get into the areas of wastewater odour control and emergency chlorine dry scrubbers.“This was a good participation; we met with many companies who had ongoing projects needing our products,” said Jameson.

BioAir Solutions, which launched its Eco Filter Green Product, said that it was a BioTrickling Filter used for odour removal in waste water plants and sewage water pumping stations. The company was also, metaphorically speaking, ‘testing the waters’ for its Rental Solution for pilot units.

The EcoFilter is a technology that uses two types of bacteria in one synthetic engineered media. They work together along with TSE water spray on the media to remove the odours, specially H2S and other volatile organic compounds in the odorous air. This, according to the company, is innovative technology that gives guaranteed high odour removal rates, besides efficiency improvement.

Esa Ojala, Regional Sales Manager of Temet Oy, Finland, revealed that his company was showcasing its blast protection doors and blast protection valves for ventilation purposes in special civilian shelters and military facilities, as also the NPC special filters. “We have launched our HV Blast Proof Damper for the petrochemical industry,” Ojala said. “We are focusing on civilian shelters and military shelters markets, but also trying to get into the petrochemical market.”

Al Khalil, speaking on behalf of JGB’s principal, Filtrotecnica, Italy, said that the company was showing its Inertial Filter for Heavy Sand Removal, besides other products like Cyclone Filters, Decommissioning Filters and Bag in Bag out Filters. Out of these, the Inertial filter product with improved design for better performance in sand removal and the Electrostatic Filter for odour removal and improving indoor air quality were new products being launched.

Al Khalil informed Climate Control Middle East that Filtrotecnica was focusing on the Oil & Gas, air conditioning and ventilation sectors and was also trying to make inroads into city commercial projects.

Al Khalil termed the level of interest for all the five brands as “excellent!”


Warren Controls, with its technology partner, Digital Process Systems, was a strong presence at the event.“We are close to the launch of our new product – a new valve called Monitrol,” informed Al Gunnarson, Vice President Sales/Marketing, Warren Controls. “The first prototype is being featured at The Big 5. The actual launch will be sometime in the second quarter of 2012.”Describing Monitrol as an innovative way of addressing district cooling, Gunnarson said that the product had been developed jointly with Warren Controls and Digital Process Systems. He further enumerated its features: “Monitrol is a turn-key fluid control system, which includes a globe-style control valve, a variety of built-in sensors for flow, pressure and temperature, a high-precision electric actuator, along with control logic and an easy-to-use touch screen interface. It can manage up to three variables (sensors) simultaneously with its control logic. It operates differently than a PICV, but accomplishes the same goals better and more efficiently.”Fadi Alameddine, Managing Director, Digital Process Systems, speaking about his company’s presence at the event said, “We have been very active in the last five to six years in the Middle East. We thought it would be opportune to participate in The Big 5 Show.”

New partnerships

Middle East Concrete, PMV Live and FM Expo are now operating under The Big 5 portfolio of events and will keep running alongside The Big 5 in the future, the event organisers informed. Developed to cater to industry demand, they will provide dedicated zones for buyers, which will focus on those products and services most relevant to each industry sector, it added. The next Big 5 Show will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from March 10 to 13, 2012.

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