Supermarket refrigeration retrofit marks >B< MaxiPro introduction into South Africa

>B< MaxiPro
Cold Control Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Johannesburg, South Africa
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Conex Bänninger’s flame-free >B< MaxiPro copper pipe jointing system has been used for the first time in South Africa, in a refrigeration retrofit for a busy Johannesburg supermarket.


The four week project was carried out by HVACR specialist Cold Control Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, who were alerted to the innovative press fittings solution by online tool retailer Top Dog Tool Shop.

>B< MaxiPro was developed specifically for the higher pressures associated with air conditioning and refrigeration (ACR) applications and, as a purely mechanical joint, eliminates the need for a hot works permit and a fire watch.

The higher certainty of a leak-free installation also avoids the expense of searching for and repairing leaks, which can be costly.

Some 150 >B< MaxiPro elbows and couplings, in 5/8”and 7/8” sizes, were used on pipework to convert four Multiplex Freon refrigeration systems in the Pick n Pay store to utilise solar thermal cooling technology from Solar Cool SA.

The Solar Cool system uses solar energy to add heat to the refrigerant in the pipework, greatly reducing the workload of the unit’s compressor, dramatically lowering the amount of electricity required to power it.

Mark Hudson, Technical Director with Cold Control, said using >B< MaxiPro for the pipework connections was ‘certainly a hit’ with the installation team.

He said: “As a press fitting, it was much easier in confined spaces than brazing, reducing the chances of burning oneself or the surroundings by being in close proximity to an open flame.

“Also, you are not having to move heavy oxygen and acetylene bottles around a rooftop, potentially causing damage. There is no cool down time necessary before again handling the joints after pressing, plus it is an all-round greener, more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional welding.”

The pipes in the Pick n Pay store hold R407f and R404a refrigerants at 20.7 bar at 110°C.

Mark added: “Utilising the >B< MaxiPro fittings saved us significant time, approximately two thirds of the time that would have been spent on standard brazing. It was extremely efficient reducing our overall time spent on-site.”

As a retrofit, the downtime to the customer was minimal. The 495 metres of pipework was completed and comprehensively pressure tested, with no leakages, before it was cut in to connect it to the Solar Cool set up.

The Cold Control team used ROTHENBERGER press tools and jaws to complete the joints having been recommended to them by Dean Lotter, of Fyrefly (PTY) Ltd, which operates Top Dog Tool Shop.

The team watched online tutorials before completing formal >B< MaxiPro training on site.

Dean Lotter explained that when he was initially approached by Cold Control, which was seeking a press solution, it was ROTHENBERGER that recommended approaching Conex Bänninger.

Dean said that press technology was still ‘a very young concept’ in the South African market but now, as an official partner to both brands, Fyrefly was ‘ready to deliver the >B< MaxiPro solution across the country’.

Nuno Alves Moreira, Business Unit Director for Portugal and the African continent for Conex Bänninger, said: “Wherever >B< MaxiPro has been launched it has quickly become the ACR press fitting of choice.

“I’m confident that others in South Africa will join ‘the press revolution’ and they too will benefit from a system that makes installer’s lives easier, saving time, reducing risk and increasing productivity.”

>B< MaxiPro fittings are manufactured by Conex Bänninger, part of the IBP Group, at its production centres in Europe.

They can be used up to a maximum operating pressure of 48 bar at 121°C, with a permanent maximum operating temperature range of -40°C to 121°C.

To produce a permanent tight connection, the fittings are pressed once over three points, one on each side of the bead and one compressing the O-ring.

Each fitting comes with an industry-standard 12-month warranty, which is extended when the official training programme is undertaken and the installation is completed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines (refer to full terms).

>B< MaxiPro can be used with hard, half hard or annealed copper tube conforming to EN 12735-1 or ASTM-B280. The press system can be used with many refrigerants, including R1234yf, R1234ze, R32, R134a, R404A, R407C, R407F, R410A and R507.

For further details about >B< MaxiPro at Top Dog Tool Shop visit www.topdogtoolshop.co.za/maxipro-landing.