Find out more about our products, how they work and what value they can bring to your project. Here we take a more in-depth look at press as well as other jointing methods, advisory notes, tooling, new products and related topics.
Improved on-site safety, enhanced joint performance as well as the speed and ease-of-use are all major benefits of press fittings, and are the reasons why they are becoming the more popular choice for professionals.
Conex Bänninger has an established history in press fittings introducing the precursor to today’s >B< Press fitting over 30 years ago. Since then the range has expanded offering a comprehensive range of uses and applications, with the most recent addition being >B< MaxiPro, the revolutionary press fitting for air conditioning and refrigeration applications.
As with all our products, quality comes as standard and is achieved through the precision of manufacturing through our own facilities, guaranteeing unrivaled levels of workmanship and safety.
>B< Press is easy to use and is fitted safely and permanently in seconds, whether you are connecting copper stainless steel or carbon materials. The range of applications in which >B< Press can be used are considerable, and include drinking water, gas, heating, chilled water, refrigeration and air-conditioning, waste and vacuum systems, compressed air, as well as industrial systems and ship-building.
The >B< Press range is available in a range of sizes and provides a myriad of installation solutions with a variety of fitting types; including couplers, 90° elbows, 45° elbows, reducers, threaded options and union connectors.
With just one tool, a jaw and no additional fitting accessories, no standing time or preparations for a flame fitting, press is the user-friendly option. In addition, when you put aside mobilisation and common tasks for both press-fit and traditional brazing fittings (such as tube preparation and set up) using >B< Press has significantly proven to reduce the time taken on a typical project.
With >B< Press there are no additional consumables required, for example, weld gasses are not required for installing >B< Press.
When working with >B< Press, there is often no requirement for a hot works permit, which can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain, especially if they are required on a regular basis. A hot works permit may require site attendance one hour after the last braze has taken place, and liaison with the fire, health and safety departments in order to reinstate any alarms that may have been isolated for the duration of the permit.
Once pressed, the joint is extremely secure. Press fittings benefit from a >B< Profile 3-point press – one press each side of the bead, and one compressing the O-ring. The investment made in the tooling required for >B< Press is more than remunerated in the time saved for installation and increased productivity.
The >B< Press O-ring is an important part of the fitting, ensuring the highest level of safety and durability. The >B< Press O-ring is made with a black EPDM and allows >B< Press to be used with different applications.
The >B< Press range has been designed to safeguard the O-ring. A lead-in edge aids installation by guiding the tube and avoiding damage to the O-ring, which will last the full life of the fitting body if undamaged.
The >B< Press fitting is designed to leak at initial low test pressures so that any unpressed joints can be identified, avoiding the risk of system failure and damage. The pressing indicator again saves on installation time by eliminating the need to go through time-consuming checks.
Using open flame in confined spaces is hazardous and can be difficult to ensure a secure joint because of difficult to reach areas of the joint. >B< Press is not only quicker, but you can be confident of a permanent, secure joint first time, every time.
The anti-microbial properties of copper have been known for centuries but have now been scientifically proven in rigorous clinical trials across the globe. Copper, as part of a network design is capable of contributing towards killing pathogenic microbes by 99.9%. At the same time, stainless steel assists in the creation of long-lasting hygiene and the prevention of the formation of any medium on which bacteria can grow.
Fitting >B< Press is simple with a mechanical press tool and compatible jaw.
Each of the press fitting ranges is tested for safety in accordance with the relevant application standards.
Braze and solder are techniques that have been around for many years and are consequently still two of the most common techniques used in HVAC. Brazing has historically been the professional’s choice, largely because of the integrity of the joint, but the speed and joint security of press is usurping that position.
In smaller projects such as one-off bathroom or kitchen fits, or even smaller new build projects, brazing makes economic sense. With no extra tooling outlays, most installers will keep braze or solder fittings handy in their toolbox.
There are also those applications for which brazing is the perfect choice for joining copper tube. The temperatures and pressures required in a medical gas piping system require an extremely strong, secure joint, and whilst a soldered joint is more than adequate, a brazed joint is the preferred method for medical applications. For refrigeration, especially supermarket refrigeration, where the use of more eco-friendly refrigerants brings operating pressures of up to 120 bar, the strength of a braze joint is a good choice.
Braze and solder are very similar joining techniques, but whereas a braze joint is made at a temperature above 840°C/450°C, the filler in a solder joint melts at 840°C/450°C (90ºC to 450ºc). Brazing, in addition to having a higher joining temperature, typically has a higher joint strength than a soldered joint. Brazing is suitable for most metals, whilst soldering is suitable for copper, copper alloys and aluminum.
Brazing can handle the higher temperatures and pressures required in certain applications. Soldering is a weaker joint, but for many applications is more suitable. In certain situations, temperature has to be considered. If brazing is too hot and damaging, solder is used, and can more than handle the temperatures and pressures used in typical plumbing systems.
For HVAC systems, and in refrigeration, where the temperatures and pressures of refrigerant piping systems exceed that of the rated pressure for solder joints, brazing is a definite.
One of the issues with brazing is the formation of copper oxide on the inside of the pipe. When you look at a brazed joint on the outside of a copper tube, it looks black. This is caused by copper oxide forming in the presence of copper and oxygen when you apply the heat at the temperatures required for brazing.
If there is air on the inside of the tube, the same blackening will occur, and small particles can break off into the system after it is placed in service. To avoid this, fitting technicians are trained to braze only when the pipe and fittings are filled with nitrogen.
Nitrogen purging allows a continuous flow of nitrogen at a very low rate through the system. No oxygen inside means that oxidisation cannot take place, and the copper tube remains shiny on the inside.
The simple answer is every time you braze or solder. To get a free flow of the brazing or solder filler metal, you need to remove oxides from the base material and prevent oxidation during the heating process. This is what the flux is for, unless you are joining copper to copper, in which case you need only a small amount if there is going to be a prolonged heating time.
The minimum amount possible is used, and you would only flux the outside of the copper tube you are joining.
If you are using silver solder to connect copper to steel, always use an acid-based flux. If brazing with a copper-phosphorous brazing rod, you don’t strictly have to use flux when working with copper tube, although a small amount is recommended. Always remember to wipe the flux off once the joint has cooled otherwise it will corrode the pipe.
Torch: Because you braze at higher temperatures than with soldering, an oxygen-acetylene torch is recommended because it gets hotter than a MAPP gas or propane torch. A turbo torch can be used for small to medium sized jobs.
Brazing rods: The braze, or filler is what is melted to join the metals together, and is made up from different alloys, depending on the use or application involved. For joining copper tube, you would use brazing rods made from a BCuP (copper-phosphorous alloy) or a Bag (silver alloy) which may contain a silver content of anywhere between 24% and 93%. The brazing temperatures of these alloys are roughly between 621°C/1150°F and 843°C/1550°C.
Some of the other more common types of filler metals used are:
• Copper-zinc (brass)
• Copper-tin (bronze)
• Nickel alloy
• Amorphous brazing foil using nickel, iron, copper, silicon, boron, phosphorus, etc.
Steel wool: Useful to clean the tube. Although the higher temperatures used in copper brazing burn away impurities, it’s a good idea to eliminate the risk of carbon residues contaminating the system.
Push-fit fittings are made from a range of materials suitable for making joints with PE-X, PB, carbon steel or copper pipe and are the quickest and easiest way to make a new installation or a repair.
In addition to the basic fittings like couplers and tees, there are a number of push fittings in most ranges today, making them a quick and easy solution for installations like shower valves, pipes and water heaters. These are also durable joints that can sit inside a concealed wall or ceiling installation.
In addition to choosing the best jointing solution for the job, it is important to consider investing in the best possible fittings on the market. Copper and brass solutions are often preferred as their strength and durability cannot always be matched by plastic alternatives.