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The Rise of Push & Press

12-02-2016


The Rise of Push & Press

Push and press fittings continue to make their presence felt in the plumbing market. Bill Barlow, UK Business Unit Director for Conex Bänninger, discusses the rise of the sector’s new solutions and the importance for building merchants to take note of this trend.

It often takes time for new technologies to be championed within an industry. Press fittings have been present in the plumbing market since the 1950s and push since the 1980s, both took time to gain acceptance.

However, the recent popularity surge of these pipe fitting solutions was inevitable – flame free, they take less time to install, carry extended guarantees and in certain instances may be more reliable than their braze and solder fitting alternatives.

Of course, brazing and soldering still serves as an essential method for installers, engineers and merchants, especially when working on bigger jobs. That said, it is imperative that push and press fit products are not ignored when they bring such opportunities to installers.

Now that the plumbing industry has caught on, it is up to us, as manufacturers, to make sure merchants do not miss out on this business potential of press and push fittings. Let’s look into each fitting solution in more detail to illustrate the benefits to installers, engineers and merchants.

Firstly, a key benefit of push-fit fittings, like the Conex Bänninger push-fit ranges, are their time saving qualities, giving installers further opportunities to complete more jobs in a day. There are a host of other advantages too, such as: health and safety, minimising licensing issues, reducing inventory costs, side-stepping logistical constraints and the fact that many push-fit products can be easily de-mounted.

As we know, whilst still a valued method, braze and solder fittings can take some time to install. The process involves finding an appropriate vantage point and setting up the soldering iron and blowtorch before the work can even begin. Once cutting, measuring and deburring of the pipes has been undertaken, the actual jointing takes just seconds to finish when using a push-fit fitting.

Another perk of push-fit for installers is that the fitting can be easily de-mounted if an error has occurred during installation or removal is required. This isn’t the case for press fittings or where most traditional methods are concerned. Importantly, if removal is required, there is no need for additional materials or new pipework - the installer need only remove the existing fitting with a specially designed release tool and replace with a new one. Once the new fitting has been connected the job is complete.

Growth in demand for push-fit solutions is in part due to their unique design features, allowing connections of multiple tubes. This allows installers to use just one fitting in conjunction with a wide array of materials, including copper, PB, PE-X, MLP (multi-layer tubes)and carbon steel.

Similar to push, press fit technologies, like the complete range of Conex Bänninger >B< Press fittings, have also grown in popularity because there is no need to use braze or solder and they are a very clean, fast and safe method. In addition, installers don’t have to worry about carbon deposits or flux, so there’s less risk of corrosion or subsequent issues arising relating to system flushing. There’s also no localised annealing from high-temperature working and the pipework does not need to be dry for effective jointing.

The security aspect is often cited as a key reason why installers opt for press. This is further reinforced by the Conex Bänninger 3-point press option, which is increasingly being chosen over two-point press variants for this very reason. Both solutions will do the job, but the 3-point press is often seen as an extra layer of protection, ensuring a leak free, secure and permanent joint is achieved.

Unlike push fit, press is a permanent solution. Once a joint has been pressed it can not be undone, so remedying a problem fitting would require an installer to cut the pipe and install a new fitting– work which cannot be charged twice.

However, Conex Bänninger’s >B< Press 3-point press design - of which a new stainless steel range was recently introduced - has a design which helps ensure that the pipe is parallel to the fitting before contact is made with the O-ring.  This greatly reduces the chance of damaging the O-ring during assembly.

The 3-point press fit also presents an opportunity for merchants to stock and sell an additional 3-point pressing set, otherwise installation is not possible. For added peace of mind and a more secure fitting, it’s increasingly being seen as the correct decision by installers.

Finally, a shared advantage that push and press fittings have over braze and solder is health and safety, something that is at the forefront of the plumbing industry as both are flame-free solutions. This means that they can be applied in any environment, regardless of how tight the working space might be or if in close proximity to flame sensitive materials. Such issues are especially pertinent when working near electrical wiring, for example. A braze or solder method in these conditions is often highly dangerous.  

As stated earlier, this is not to say that braze and solder fittings aren’t still important to merchants and installers alike, they are. However, push and press are only going to grow in popularity, so now is the time to make the most of the opportunity of stocking push and press fitting in store.