How flame-free HVACR fittings can deliver safety, health and cost benefits compared to traditional brazing.
The provision of safe and comfortable indoor environments is a major objective for developers and building owners in the Middle East.
Not only do they want occupants to enjoy their spaces but they also want peace of mind that the property’s heating, cooling and water systems are robust and reliable, with the ability to operate effectively. The use of efficient systems plays a vital role in optimising health, wellbeing and value in our spaces.
A key factor of these systems, and one not to be overlooked, is the strength, durability and reliability of the pipework joints. Systems that are thoughtfully selected and professionally installed to the manufacturer’s instruction, play an essential part in helping to deliver and maintain a high-quality working, living or leisure experience.
Currently, most pipework installations require a heat source for jointing, carried out through a process known as brazing. In this metal-joining process, two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint. Evidently. the presence of a naked flame can cause fires and property damage on site. Aside from the increased risk of fire accidents, it can also cause other health and safety concerns.
The construction industry, however, is moving towards providing solutions that support increased health, safety and savings along the supply chain. One such solution is press fitting products, which do not require a heat source, so naturally, they reduce the risk of fires, but they also help achieve higher joint integrity and an overall stronger and safer system.
In my experience with Conex Bänninger press fitting offers a safer alternative to brazing. A major advantage of press fittings is that they use a mechanical press tool. This eliminates fire risk and also the need for acquiring hot works permits, which can be a time-consuming process. Furthermore, additional time is saved because there is no waiting for a joint to cool following its completion.
The lack of flame ensures increased health and safety for engineers and installers on site. There are obvious health risks associated with the use of fire, such as burning and smoke inhalation. Moreover, there are no hazardous fumes given off in the pressing process, unlike with brazing, which uses gas canisters. These unwieldy canisters also present additional fire risks, costs and transportation needs.
The lack of fire risk allows installers to work more safely in tight spaces, such as ceiling voids. In cases where a building is already occupied, public access can still be maintained, which is beneficial, for example, on commercial premises, where office employees can continue to work without disruption and with only minimal restrictions.
In addition, the use of the electro-mechanical press tool and jaws used in press fitting helps to create a secure and permanent joint. High-quality press fittings work by using a secure three-point press system to produce a permanent, tight connection.
Once initial preparation work is done, it takes just five seconds to complete the joint, allowing the installer to quickly proceed to the next one. Each new joint is the same as the previous. This process ensures joint quality and integrity by offering repeatability.
The faster speed of installation and consistency in time taken for each joint enables project planners and managers to plan more effectively. This increases productivity and can help to reduce labour costs.
Availability of labour is not a problem in the region, as there is a large pool of workers to draw from. However, traditional brazing requires specialist skills that are more difficult to source, potentially impacting a project’s delivery.
The skills required for the more modern press technology can be quickly and easily learned. Furthermore, it requires a much shorter period of training and ensures the installer or ACR engineer has all the skills they need to begin using this system from day one.
Furthermore, with a growing focus on sustainability in the region, the use of flame-free copper press fittings provides a secure, ‘greener’ jointing.
Copper is a 100% recyclable material, while other materials may degrade, it maintains its core properties and delivers increased durability, helping to meet regional and global sustainable development goals. It is also anti-microbial, and when used in network installations, it actually can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as legionella.
This is a particularly important advantage for healthcare establishments, such as hospitals and care homes or spaces where food is prepared, since these environments require extra caution in regard to health and safety measures.
Ultimately, press technology has the edge over traditional brazing in many ways. Not only does it deliver benefits for the developer and contractor with improved productivity, enhanced safety and reduced labour costs but It is also kinder to the environment and can contribute to organisational and societal sustainability goals. Using press fittings is a way to create spaces that increase focus on health and wellbeing, without compromising on quality or value.
For more information, go to www.conexbanninger.com