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Frost & Sullivan selected A. O. Smith Corporation as the recipient of the 2006 Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation in the U.S. water heater market. The company's new Vertex residential water heater product line has successfully catered to a growing market requirement and is an innovation in a highly mature market.
The Vertex design surpasses competitors in energy and cost effectiveness and incorporates original design features to meet continuous hot water requirements. With consumers increasingly buying luxury items such as whirlpool bathtubs and body spray systems, there is an increased need for sophisticated residential water heaters. The Vertex line supplies this need with its ability to heat water more efficiently and provide a steady flow of hot water in high-volume residential applications.
Most standard gas water heaters have efficiency ratings of .60 (EF). In terms of thermal efficiency, conventional models are typically 75-78% efficient and tankless models around 80%. With the innovative Vertex design, homeowners can expect 90% thermal efficiency.
“The innovation behind the Vertex water heater allows for efficient heat transfer and a steady flow of hot water,” said Jorge Moreno, a Frost & Sullivan research analyst. “The design also enables the transfer of more heat to the water and the escape of flue gases at a lower temperature.”
Conventional gas water heaters usually employ a burner beneath the tank that heats the water, while electric water heaters come with a heating element submerged in the tank. The Vertex line, however, makes use of a burner and helical heat exchanger inside the tank, resulting in a highly efficient method of heating water.
Before A. O. Smith developed its proprietary technology to coat heat exchangers with glass, manufacturers could only use a stainless steel heat exchanger. The glass-coated model reduces cost drastically for both manufacturers and customers. Moreover, the greater surface area on the heat exchanger enables even a standard-sized unit to heat greater quantities of water.
“The only other company in the water heater market with a similar design in terms of internal mechanics is American Water Heater Company," said Moreno. “In 2006, A. O. Smith acquired this company, consequently, no other competitor offers condensing coil-type water heaters to the residential market.”
Vertex's design combines the benefits of the large capacity afforded by standard tank systems as well as the greater supply of hot water provided by tankless models. Vertex also helps homeowners eliminate the costly and complicated process of upgrading exhaust piping to stainless steel in order to accommodate the higher flue temperatures.
“Vertex water heaters offer high value to homeowners without the need to replace existing configurations of their heaters,” said Wong. “A. O. Smith's vision and understanding of the market has enabled it to deliver a new product that is less costly to produce, more efficient, and provides the higher volumes of hot water consumers want and need.”
Each year Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in new products and technologies within its industry. The recipient company has shown innovation by launching a broad line of emerging products and technologies.