#WeMeanProgress and #TheQuestforProgress were prominent hashtags and underlying themes at the this year’s Uponor Convention in Las Vegas. “I like the word ‘quest,’ because it represents a journey,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “We are on a never-ending journey to bring solutions for everyday problems to our customers. Uponor is never going to Read More
#WeMeanProgress and #TheQuestforProgress were prominent hashtags and underlying themes at the this year’s Uponor Convention in Las Vegas. “I like the word ‘quest,’ because it represents a journey,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “We are on a never-ending journey to bring solutions for everyday problems to our customers. Uponor is never going to stop striving to get better and better.”
The biennial show continues to get better, and impress. What began in March 2000 as a customer appreciation event for a couple of hundred radiant installers has grown into one of the industry’s largest networking, educational and advocacy events for professionals who install, design and specify PEX in the residential and commercial building markets. Uponor customers, including wholesale distributors, home builders, specifying engineers and plumbing and mechanical contractors, as well as Uponor personnel, independent sales agents and media from both the U.S. and Canada were in attendance.
Today, more than 1,200 participants learned, connected and were entertained. The framework of the show features a one-day, all-in educational experience to not only learn more about Uponor’s direction in North America and across the globe, but also features breakout sessions taught by some of the best in the industry.
A few of the educational break-outs I attended included Milwaukee Tools’ Increasing Productivity Through Innovation, where senior product manager, Alex Boll, showed off some of Milwaukee’s latest products and discussed advancements in batteries, motors and electronics, and how Milwaukee is revolutionizing the industry with innovative, trade-specific solutions.
In addition, it is always a good listen to sit in on anything Robert Bean—the comfort guru—teaches. Bean, president of Indoor Climate Consultants Inc., teaches courses related to the business and engineering of buildings, indoor climates and radiant-based HVAC systems. He shares everything he knows at www.healthyheating.com. The breakout, “Designing with Distinction: Strategies for high-performing radiant systems,” was a welcome addition to this year’s Uponor Convention line-up.
In addition to educational seminars, Uponor features a “mini” trade show with industry partners, with Taco, Milwaukee Tools, Navien, Grundfos, Rinnai, Greyter Water Systems, Trimble, among others.
But front and center of the trade show floor was Uponor’s Phyn Plus, which protects your home from leaks the moment it is connected. It then begins to learn how your family uses water as you go about your routine. Over time it gets smarter, unlocking new capabilities and offering you insights. And in the future, it will help you understand and better manage your water.
The convention was the site of the first official training session for an initial group of 100 professional plumbing installers who qualified to join the Uponor Pro Squad. More than 2,500 additional plumbers will participate in training in coming weeks via online and in-person sessions.
“This training was an exciting and important milestone in the launch of Phyn Plus,” said Dena Mayne, vice president, Marketing & Customer Experience, Uponor North America. “Not only did it mark the official commercialization of the device in North America, but the session also enabled us to help this network of professionals advance the plumbing industry into the digital era by using data and insights to change the way consumers think about the water in their homes.”
One of the newest participants in the Uponor Pro Squad network is plumbing and HVAC contractor Rich Trethewey, the plumbing and heating expert on the national home-improvement show “This Old House” and its two popular spinoffs, “Ask This Old House” and “Inside This Old House.” Trethewey, who attended the training session in Las Vegas, will feature the Phyn Plus device on a This Old House episode scheduled to air in the fall.
While spending most of the immersing myself in keynotes and breakout sessions, one thing was abundantly clear, the future is coming, and in many cases, it is already here.
Duh, the future is coming, no kidding! In any event, things like driverless cars to artificial intelligence and robotics to augmented and virtual reality are here already or not too far off in the distant future.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” said keynote speaker, Jack Uldrich, a leading global futurist, as he was quoting management consultant Peter Drucker. “The world can change quickly and we need to be aware of it,” continued Uldrich, addressing the convention crowd on the ever-evolving construction industry.
What will the future look like? “Predictably unpredictable,” says Uldrich. The key is embracing paradox, learn to unlearn, recognizing failure as a key to one’s success and understanding that an awareness of one’s experience is a key component to true wisdom. Experience doesn’t really mean a thing if you continue to work or view the workplace the same every day, suggests Uldrich. For example, “Reverse mentor someone with less experience than you to help you see the world differently.”
As leaders, says Uldrich, we need to be adaptable and be flexible to change, and it’s time to start thinking about the future. As professionals, we need to—what Uldrich calls—“jump the curve” to understand how the following trends are transforming the economy and altering our future:
• Artificial Intelligence: SmartVid.IO built out its technology which applies sophisticated algorithms to study video footage of construction sites, says Uldrich. For example, if a worker isn’t wearing a hard hat or a set of stairs doesn’t have a safety railing, the system alerts the site supervisor. “The technology is like having a job site inspector who never sleeps. Even if it prevents one accident, the technology more than pays for itself,” said Uldrich.
• Robotics: One innovative application comes from Built Robotics which uses its ability to excavate foundations. “Instead of using equipment operated by human drivers, why not employ a system that can work around the clock without sleeping or taking coffee breaks?” said Uldrich.
• Virtual Reality: “We need to leverage virtual reality to train the next generation of workers,” says Uldrich. Mortenson Construction is already employing Daqri Technologies’ “smart helmet” technology to allow construction workers to overlay digital information onto actual construction site locations. In a hands-free manner, the technology allows pipefitters, electricians, plumbers and other construction professionals to better understand how to most efficiently complete their jobs.
• Prefabrication: Industry leaders are using innovative technology to inspire collaboration and design, says convention breakout speaker, James Benham, CEO, JBKNOWLEDGE. For instance, “Prefab is the future of construction,” says Benham.
Tom Palange, J.C. Cannistraro, has said, more and more projects have creative applications for prefabricated components, and the company is well-positioned to adapt as a result of years of training, planning and process improvements. “We’ve fully embraced the modular movement and have made significant investments in equipment and facilities to maximize our capacity to produce modular bathrooms, piping systems, mechanical rooms, hospital headwalls, pump skids, and more … the possibilities are endless,” says Palange
According to Uldrich, these examples are the not only ones revolutionizing the construction industry. 5G technology, social media, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data will continue to converge and, in the process, transform the construction industry.
The message was clear at this event: in terms of tool innovation, construction disruption and high-performance radiant and water systems, it’s time to start looking to the future and think about “jumping the curve.”
For a recap of the convention, check out this link to the video:
John Guest has always been a trusted name in push-to-connect fittings. But with JG ProLock, they’ve reached for a new level. An advanced thermoplastic fitting usable with copper, PEX, and CPVC, JG ProLock introduces Twist-to-Lock technology for ultimate control. ProLock’s responsive design ensures a secure fit at unprecedented insertion depth – and because it’s safe Read More
John Guest has always been a trusted name in push-to-connect fittings. But with JG ProLock, they’ve reached for a new level.
An advanced thermoplastic fitting usable with copper, PEX, and CPVC, JG ProLock introduces Twist-to-Lock technology for ultimate control. ProLock’s responsive design ensures a secure fit at unprecedented insertion depth – and because it’s safe for behind-wall use, it’s a unique combination of strength and versatility.
- No tools or master installer needed for installation
- Audible click sound and visible alignment arrows assure a secure fit
- 45% more insertion depth than traditional joining solutions
- Certified for ASSE1061 and NSF61(G)
- In compliance with the UPC® (Uniform Plumbing Code), IPC® (International Plumbing Code) and the National Plumbing Code of Canada
- Available for copper, PEX and CPVC tube sizes (CTS) 3/8” through 1”
The best way to see the power of ProLock is to try it yourself. Get your free sample coupler today at JGProLock.com.
As a Mechanical Hub ProStaff member and CEO and of Thompson Family Plumbing & Rooter Inc., I am always searching for the best people to add to my crew and cutting-edge products to add to my inventory to save time, money and make our customers happy. We are a family owned and operated business in Read More
As a Mechanical Hub ProStaff member and CEO and of Thompson Family Plumbing & Rooter Inc., I am always searching for the best people to add to my crew and cutting-edge products to add to my inventory to save time, money and make our customers happy.
We are a family owned and operated business in California that specializes in new construction and residential service work such as drain cleaning, backflow certification, video sewer inspection services, and many more plumbing services. Since 2006, our plumbers have been delivering trusted plumbing residential and commercial services with dedication and the highest quality workmanship.
We were recently hired to do a complete re-pipe installation on a beautiful 100-year old home in Lake Arrowhead, California, and knowing that I was going to need a cost-effective, flexible and dependable piping solution, I looked at several options and chose SharkBite EvoPEX pipe and fittings.
During the process of re-piping this house, we found that the SharkBite EvoPEX system provided many benefits. As a two-man job, it was quick and easy to use, which allowed me to save labor costs. Additionally, you don’t need extra tools or glue to secure the fittings to the pipe. Because the EvoPEX system has a fool-proof green indicator ring, you know exactly when you have proper insertion depth to create a watertight and permanently engaged connection to the pipe. It is a godsend and you don’t have any guesswork. As one of the guys on the job said, “green is in for the win.”
During the installation, we only encountered one issue and that was mainly due to the location of the space which we were installing pipe. The space was tight and pushing the fitting together overhead, well, took a little extra time and some body contorting. In the end, I liked knowing that there was no way the fittings were coming apart, and at one point, I grabbed the pipe to keep me from falling off a ladder. Not that I recommend that as a test to see if the fittings stay connected, but they did.
As far as using SharkBite on the future, I have another project on the books next month that will be using the EvoPEX System. This project is a new installation and I cannot wait to use the product in a more open area as I’m sure the time savings will be extensive for the team.
As with any product I use for the first time, I have suggestions for things that can make EvoPEX even better and maybe should the product have an upgrade, these will be addressed. I wish this project would have had an opportunity to incorporate one of their manifold systems, as I can see the advantages of this product in multiple option sizes and angle variations. Each product has their pros and cons to each application or use, and I feel that this product is good and I will be doing more with it to get a better feel with further testing and installations in the field.
John Thompson is owner, Thompson Family Plumbing and Rooter, INC. of a leading service and repair plumbing company in Hesperia, CA. John and his wife, Devynn’s, focus is to provide superior customer service and maintain top notch plumbing skill. He is continuously pushing the boundaries in his trade and is passionate to encourage his peers to succeed with him. His company has received many worthy acknowledgements and awards from State Senators and Assemblymen for their strong presence and community involvement. Thompson Family Plumbing is constantly working to advance and support their staff and valued customers to maintain their mantra of “Always go the extra mile.”
This Tiny House on wheels may be small, but it is big on features. At a cozy 150 square feet, the home is nothing short of luxurious, with high-tech building systems combined with high-end appliances and furnishings. Designed in collaboration with 30 architects, engineers, and materials specialists, this safe and sustainable home has helped educate Read More
This Tiny House on wheels may be small, but it is big on features. At a cozy 150 square feet, the home is nothing short of luxurious, with high-tech building systems combined with high-end appliances and furnishings. Designed in collaboration with 30 architects, engineers, and materials specialists, this safe and sustainable home has helped educate and inspire over 50,000 people who have toured it since 2015.
The homeowner, Tracey Powell, also happens to be its designer and builder. She and her brother, Trever Powell, wanted to ensure her home was safe, sustainable, durable, functional and technological. When it came to choosing a plumbing system to meet all of her needs, she first did her research, and then called Uponor.
Like many homes in this growing community, Powell’s tiny house is on wheels, and code-compliant for frequent transport. “We were worried that most plumbing connections wouldn’t hold up to vibration and movement during transport,” said Powell. “So thank goodness we found ProPEX® expansion fittings, which are highly leak-resistant and get stronger over time.”
Sustainability was an extremely important aspect of the project, especially when choosing a plumbing system.
“I wanted the quality of my drinking water to be high,” explained Powell. The fact that the ProPEX® expansion fittings don’t need adhesives and glues like other fittings was very important to me. I don’t want chemicals seeping into my water.”
Every inch counts in a tiny home, so Powell was pleased with the flexibility of the ½” Uponor AquaPEX® tubing. The bend-radius made it easy to install quick turns with each change in direction, without having to stop and cut a fitting. Building a tiny house comes with challenges, but Uponor helped tackle these challenges with a little creativity.
“We wanted to prevent the PEX tubing from touching the spray foam insulation, but needed it located as close to the interior conditioned space as possible and in a very narrow wall cavity,” said Powell. “Even though ProPEX resists freezing and condensation, we took extra precautions and used Uponor’s Ecoflex® insulation to protect the PEX tubing—it’s worked out great.”
Because the tiny house includes numerous high-end technologies, there are many plumbing fixtures with metal fittings. Powell was impressed with how easy and seamless it was to connect the ProPEX expansion fittings with the wide-array of metal fittings.
In the future, Powell plans to consult other homeowners in designing their very own tiny houses and wants to help navigate them through best products, practices and processes—and she says an Uponor AquaPEX plumbing system is definitely on her list.
• 150-square-foot tiny home
• Uponor AquaPEX plumbing system
• Distributor: The Granite Group
• Engineer: RW Sullivan
• ½” Uponor AquaPEX
• ProPEX Fittings
The tiny-house craze is huge. Now Viega has a hand in it, too – contributing to a tiny-house competition in California. The team from University of California, Berkeley utilized different Viega products and finished second in the competition, pulling in some other awards as well. The team made good use of the Viega PureFlow Read More
The tiny-house craze is huge. Now Viega has a hand in it, too – contributing to a tiny-house competition in California. The team from University of California, Berkeley utilized different Viega products and finished second in the competition, pulling in some other awards as well.
The team made good use of the Viega PureFlow system, installing PureFlow PEX in red and blue for hot and cold potable water, and also purple for reclaimed water, as well as polymer PureFlow Press Fittings. The PEX in ½” and ¾” was utilized on the project, and the team was also able to use a ManaBloc in the mechanical room.
Laney Siegner was one of the project managers and led the design of the water and wastewater systems.
“The goal was to make it a proof of concept of how little water you can use within a residence and still be comfortable,” Siegner said.
The PureFlow PEX products played a big role in the whole water system, with lots of tubing used not only for hot and cold water output, but to move the greywater through the recycling system.
The idea impressed the judges of the competition, too, since Berkeley’s team won the award for water conservation, as well as for overall sustainability.
Read more here