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High hopes for new ‘guaranteed leak-free’ aluminium joint system

Jointing specialist Reflok has launched a mechanical jointing system that it says is ‘guaranteed leak-free’ if installed correctly.

The firm contends the system using aluminium pipework in place of conventional copper is set to become the norm for rac applications, thanks to a host of benefits, not least the price.

The system, comprising aluminium pipework and a patent jointing system, has been developed specifically for the needs of refrigeration and accommodate carbon dioxide refrigerant pressures, having been successfully trialled at 132 bar in the field. The system has already been installed in a complete Co-op store in Newport.

The firm says it allows a leak-free joint to be made by technicians with a lower skill level than for conventional brazing. At the same time, its heat-free seal enables work to be done in areas where oxy-acetylene is not allowed.

The product’s developer Jon Shipman, managing director of Reflok, said: “Aluminium is cheaper than copper, it’s less price-volatile – we can offer 12-month price stability which is attractive to contractors – and it is more environmentally friendly in terms of its carbon footprint.

“There is not a great deal you can do wrong with it. The biggest issue with copper previously has been jointing – brazing in the field is virtually impossible.” By contrast, the firm notes, the Reflok connector has never failed in the field. It is also claimed to be able to connect to copper if necessary without any corrosion risk.

Reflok has signed a two-year deal with wholesaler FSW which allows FSW to offer the aluminium pipework and jointing system exclusively through its customer network.

The manufacturer sources its own aluminium to guarantee quality and sells or hires the jointing tools, which retail for around £2,000. The system will only work with Reflok’s aluminium gauge. “That way we can avoid the pitfalls associated with competitors,” he said.

Even with the jointing tool cost included, the installed cost of the Reflok system is cheaper than copper, Mr Shipman said, especially when the faster install time is factored in.

FSW commercial director Mark Henderson added: “It is rare that a product comes along which is so clearly an advantage but without any downside.”

The two firms claim that their development processes have ensured that the system will cast aside any negative perception caused by previous incidences involving mechanical joints.

Mr Shipman said: “We have had a lot of interest from supermarkets already and are talking with BRA about the processes. There is also an approved course with Enterprise Training that we recommend installers take.”

The system has already been used extensively in the US for VRF systems, which share similar long pipe runs to supermarkets,  he added.

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