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Press-fit technology ready to move from heating to 'revolutionise' cooling

Conex Bänninger head predicts boom in press-fit techniques, fuelled by time-savings and lack of hot works

The man who helped to develop press-fitting pipework systems for the heating sector 25 years ago says the cooling industry is ready for a significant take-up of the technology.

Mano Bakhtiari, md of Conex Bänninger , said that the ability to produce pipe joints of a consistent quality within 5 seconds would drive the cooling sector to make the cultural shift away from brazing.

He said: “This is not about getting rid of the engineers of today, this is about giving them additional skills - we call it smart skilling. We believe it is an opportunity to lead the industry into new techniques. Brazing has a failure rate of 2 per cent and at best, it is a variable process, it is not predictable, whereas press fit takes 5 seconds and is predictable. Brazing provides a one-year warranty, whereas ours is 5 years.”

With several manufacturers either entering the cooling sector with press-fit kits, or making plans to, he predicted a ‘revolution’ in the way cooling systems are joined.

He said: “We think that 50 per cent of the installation market in RAC could be press-fit in five years. We have addressed the issues faced by earlier brazeless jointing systems - we have addressed the failure rate and the cost.” 

The Stourbridge-based manufacturer, which is rolling out its cooling-focused >B< MaxiPro system to contractors and end-users, believes the systems will prove a huge advantage to engineers and their customers.

The Conex system uses dedicated clamping tools provided by specialist Rothenberger to create a three-point press around an O-ring, for a permanent joint for refrigerant pipe in pressures up to 48 bar. The patent three-point press offers a series of benefits, including a 5-year guarantee of the joint and a 19kN consistent clamping force - the only manufacturer to have this, the firm claims.

The firm also believes that the lack of hot works will be increasingly influential for press-fit systems.

UK Business Unit Manager Bill Barlow said: ”We had an engineer telling us that he had to apply for a new hot works permit for brazing every morning, then he was required to do a fire watch for two hours at the end of each day. This enables engineers to reduce their hours on site.”

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