Soldering pipes is slowly becoming obsolete. The tried-and-true method of joining pipes was used by mechanical contractors for decades. Because soldering is tedious, dangerous and time-consuming, today’s contractors prefer to use other methods. Contractors are looking for faster methods to meet the demands of the construction market. They are pressing pipe fittings.
Contractors understand that time is money. The faster they complete a job, they can move onto the next one. This goal is achieved by pressing, which brings several benefits to the industry.
It is simple to use
No matter what level of skill the contractor has, the pressing process ensures that watertight seals are always achieved. Simply place the open jaw on the press fitting, and then pull the trigger to engage the battery. The jaw is then tightened around the fitting. Manufacturers now offer new, more technologically advanced pressing tools that can detect the accuracy of a press and determine when a press fitting has been completed. New pressing tools also include sensors that automatically stop the piston from the press tools plumbing when it reaches the ideal force and seal the fitting.
Contractors can quickly get customers serviced and back up, which allows them to move on to the next job. Because of their simplicity, the connection is much easier to make and requires fewer tools and materials. A contractor does not need to drain the system or dry the pipe to press connect a fitting. Water can cause problems when soldering copper pipes. Don’t allow the copper pipe heat up enough to melt the solder. Because press fitting connections do not require a flame, it is unnecessary to have an open flame or a hot work permit at the jobsite. This saves time as well as increases worker safety.
All types of copper tubing, stainless steel tubing and PEX pipe fittings are possible to be pressed. All of these pipe materials can be pressed with the same technique. The only difference is in the fitting profiles. When pressing each fitting’s unique profile, it is crucial to choose the right tool based upon the fitting’s requirements and compatible jaws/rings.
Repetitive use of manual tools can cause muscle, tendons, and ligament damage, which can lead to tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Poor ergonomics can lead to fatigue and discomfort, as well as workers’ compensation costs and a decrease productivity.
There are two types of standard pressing tools. The smaller, inline version can press copper and stainless-steel tubing up to 1-1/4 inches. Because the inline version doesn’t require an operator to extend their arm or shoulder for extended periods, it is a great option to manage fatigue while pressing elevated pipes.
The second version is larger and can press copper, stainless-steel or black iron tubing up to 4 inches. It is crucial to consider the weight of the pistol grip pressing tools when choosing a tool.
When selecting a pressing tool, plumbers, pipefitters, and mechanical and hydraulic contractors should consider the following:
Compatibility between the jaws and the tools that will be used.
For maximum user safety and comfort, the tool weight, ergonomic grip and rotation are all important.
Brand, type, and application of the press fittings. These factors will affect the combination of the jaw and tool. A compatibility chart will be available from most strong tool manufacturers to indicate which sizes and fittings the tools can be used with.
- The Auto-Sense technology prevents workers from ripping off the fitting or pipe.
- Warranty on the tools.
- Self-diagnostic features.
Workers can re-configure their pistons by pressing the button.
Service and maintenance requirements. Ask about any additional features that the tool may offer to reduce time in the field. Without a backup plan, every minute that a tool is not in use is an opportunity cost.
The industry is quickly seeing the benefits of pressed tools that make soldering piping obsolete. This makes pipe joining easier, more productive, and less likely to injure. Before you decide to try the practice, make sure to do your research and take your time. If you have any questions, contact a trusted manufacturer to assist with the purchase process.