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"50% of new RAC installations will be braze-free in five years" says pipe specialist

Conex Bänninger head sees boom in ’press-fit’ 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 shift towards the braze-free 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% 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 kit, 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 by tooling 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 the 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.”

Read about more about the new system in this month's RAC on p22 here.


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