The pressing question for installers

As yet more installers opt for the benefits of flame-free press systems, it has never been more vital that the proper installation process is followed. And of critical importance is matching the right jaw set to the correct fitting profile. Dan Wild, UK and Ireland Business Unit Director for Conex Bänninger, explains further.

There is no doubt that press is becoming increasingly dominant as the pipe jointing system of choice. Installers have been quick to pick up on the advantages it has over brazing: the faster install time, security of the joint, increased productivity, and the elimination of flame on site.

Also, with the additional benefit of not having to carry heavy gas bottles up and down flights of stairs, all you need to complete the job is just the press tool, fittings and tube. Once converted to press, away from brazing, installers don’t go back.

With any ‘new’ technology some formal training is needed to ensure the right processes are in place, each year we are training hundreds of heating and plumbing engineers in how to use our >B< Press system.

One frequent topic raised by installers is around which jaw set to use with which fitting and what are the consequences if a mistake is made?

Luckily, errors are rare. But if they do occur, not only will you have an unhappy customer, you may find yourself spending valuable time putting it right.

To achieve a properly pressed joint, it is critically important that the right profile jaw is used, one that is specific to and matches the fitting type.

Failure to do this will cause the joint to be incorrectly pressed. This will result in either over-pressing or under-pressing. In both cases it is likely to lead to a leaky fitting. Not only that, the manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee on the fitting will be void.

Best profile

The way to identify which profile jaws are needed for the fitting profile being used varies across different tool suppliers, but installers should look for the marking on the jaw itself and match that to the particular fitting profile.

Some jaws have a product code, while others are identified by the profile marking.

Installers must refer to the Tool Compatibility Chart listed in the particular manufacturer’s technical brochure or, alternatively, which can be found on the supplier’s website. Only fully compatible jaws should be used.

Conex Bänninger >B< Press fittings (sizes 12 to 54mm), for example, are installed using B or V profile jaws.

>B< Press fittings, which are for hot and cold drinking water applications, have the advantage of a ‘leak before press’ indicator. This is designed to show a small leak at low pressure if any joint has been missed or incorrectly pressed. This provides installers with a ‘safety net’ and also benefits end-users, as the possibility of faulty joints is minimised.

With the use of press becoming ever-more prevalent in our industry, there is a wealth of training available that can be accessed in different ways.

This can be provided at locations where the contractor or installer is working, at an ‘away day’ at a company’s training centre, or via the internet utilising online presentations, video and technical brochures.

Experienced trainers

On-site training is a popular choice for installers using Conex Bänninger products and is led by experienced trainers, with additional support provided by our technical department.

We have recently launched our Certified Installer scheme in response to construction sites across the UK increasingly requesting that the trades working there have received appropriate training in the products they are installing.

Through the scheme, in just an hour installers can learn all about press fittings and the correct tools to use to create a permanent leak-free press joint and also get hands-on experience of press tools and jaws.

The successful candidate is awarded a personalised Installer Card showing the date of completed training and an expiry date, along with a photo of the card carrier.

The Installer card is valid for five years, after which the tradesperson must attend for a training top-up.

We have also invested in a new training facility at our international headquarters at Pensnett in the West Midlands. To book onto a free training course with Conex Bänninger, installers should email: training@ibpgroup.com.