This year’s Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), which was held at the San Diego Convention Center from October 13 through October 17, was unquestionably the largest show in the event’s 80-year history. The event set all-time records in terms of attendance (19,929), exhibitors (1,017) and floor space (268,405 square feet); all of which bettered previous records by more than 5%.

In terms of the scientific instrument industry, most of the several dozen vendors who were exhibiting noted that foot traffic on the exhibition floor was fairly good. The only weakness of the show was the fact that there was no grouping or organization of exhibitors on the floor by category. This resulted in attendees who, for example, were only interested in water analysis instrumentation having to search for those vendors among more than 1,000 booths in order to find them all.

While not typically a hotbed for radical new instrument introductions, there were a handful of new instruments being shown at WEFTEC. Myron L displayed its range of updated handheld electrochemical instruments that were introduced this summer, including the Ultrameter II, PoolPro and TechPro II. The new instruments offer pH, conductivity, TDS (total dissolved solids) and temperature measurement, along with combinations of resistivity, mineral/salt concentration and ORP (oxidation reduction potential) measurement and are priced from $300 up to $1,800.

IQ Scientific, another major vendor of handheld electrochemical instruments, had a mockup of a new instrument to be officially introduced in 2008 whose major improvement will be the incorporation of Bluetooth wireless technology. YSI just introduced its Professional Plus line of handheld electrochemical instruments, which range in price from $1,000 to $1,800, and will be rolled out gradually over the next few months. Hach had its usual large booth and showed off a wide range of products, including recently introduced instruments that were shown at ISA (see IBO 10/15/07).

In the realm of online instrumentation, Thermo Fisher Scientific displayed its new 2109XP fluoride monitor, which is based on ion selective electrode (ISE) technology and was developed in response to drinking water utilities, which can save money in optimizing the level of added fluoride. Also new at the show was an online ammonia monitor from ATi, which is priced in the $3,000 to $4,000 range, and is almost exactly the same as the company’s ISE-based online chlorine monitor.

The Water Environment Federation has reason to be optimistic about continued growth in show attendance as WEFTEC 2008 is scheduled to be held in Chicago, Illinois, where the meeting had set its previous record attendee mark in 2002.

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