pipe joining

Apple Valley, Minn. — Uponor North America (Uponor) held a ceremonial “pipe-cutting event” to mark the opening of its $5.5 million, 25,000-square-foot expansion to the Hutchinson, Minn., facility. This new space will increase the company’s PEX-a pipe extrusion production capacity by more than 10 percent, while growing highly skilled jobs in Hutchinson in the coming Read more

Apple Valley, Minn. — Uponor North America (Uponor) held a ceremonial “pipe-cutting event” to mark the opening of its $5.5 million, 25,000-square-foot expansion to the Hutchinson, Minn., facility. This new space will increase the company’s PEX-a pipe extrusion production capacity by more than 10 percent, while growing highly skilled jobs in Hutchinson in the coming years.

Michael Rauterkus, president and CEO, Uponor Group, (center) joins business leaders as he cuts the ceremonial PEX-a pipe to mark the opening of the company’s $5.5 million, 25,000 sq. ft. expansion in Hutchinson, Minn.

The expansion project broke ground in July 2021 with PCL Construction as the general contractor, Tekton Engineers as the structural engineer, Focal Point Partners as the electrical subcontractor, and Legend Companies as the mechanical subcontractor. The renovated space will allow Uponor to move forward with a major investment in next-generation extrusion technology.

Michael Rauterkus, president and CEO, Uponor Group, took part in the event. This was his first trip to visit Uponor facilities across North America since joining the company in August 2021. He toured the Hutchinson production facility, met with team members, and helped cut the ceremonial pipe.

“Today was a special day for Uponor North America,” Rauterkus said during the event. “Seeing this investment become a reality and knowing what is possible from a manufacturing potential, I am certain Uponor will continue to make positive impacts on the Hutchinson area. I am eager to see what happens next with this team.”

“This expansion reinforces our commitment to Hutchinson and the team members who help us deliver for our customers. I want to thank our construction partners for their efforts in designing and building this space, as well as our global partners across Uponor who saw the potential in what our Hutchinson team could achieve with this major investment,” said Jon Sillerud, vice president, Operations, Uponor North America.

When millions of gallons of water are traveling through your piping system every month, it’s bound to put wear and tear on the system. The folks at Model Linen Service in Ogden, Utah, realized that huge volumes of water were doing a number on their copper; so in a new laundry facility building, they incorporated Read more

When millions of gallons of water are traveling through your piping system every month, it’s bound to put wear and tear on the system. The folks at Model Linen Service in Ogden, Utah, realized that huge volumes of water were doing a number on their copper; so in a new laundry facility building, they incorporated stainless pipe instead. 

Viega’s ProPress Stainless fittings, pipe connections, pipe joining, plumbing, Viega ProPress, Press Technology, PVF

Then, in looking at options for connecting the 3” and 4” pipe, they discovered Viega’s ProPress Stainless fittings and thought it could be a better option than threading. 

“ProPress made the day!” said Ryan Thon, Chief Engineer at Model Linen. “I’ve been using copper over the years and just found that I wasn’t getting the life out of it. We get so much water volume through the pipes that it wears out the copper. So we decided to go with the Schedule 40 stainless.” 

 

Model Linen services about 700,000 pounds of linen a week. Their main business in the facility where the ProPress fittings are located is restaurant service items like bar towels and floor mats. Running at capacity, Model Linen needed to expand, so they built a 19,000-square-foot facility bordering the original main plant. 

Viega’s ProPress Stainless fittings, pipe connections, pipe joining, plumbing, Viega ProPress, Press Technology, PVF

When Thon and his crew started on the building in April 2018, circumstances beyond his control meant they had to start threading instead. He said the first quarter of the building was threaded. 

 

“There’s so much time and effort involved with threading Schedule 40 pipe,” he said. “Then [when circumstances changed], I was able to get the press tool and jaws. And I’d say it probably took me the same amount of time to press the other three-quarters of the building with Viega as it did to thread the first quarter! 

“It’s a big facility and it took months of time—but pressing made it so much easier. I’d probably still be threading right now!” Thon said with a laugh. 

Viega’s ProPress Stainless fittings, pipe connections, pipe joining, plumbing, Viega ProPress, Press Technology, PVF

In the building, there is a 4” water main that brings in the cold water. It’s softened and goes into an exchanger. Thon explained that old, dirty water coming from the washers is recycled and feeds through the exchanger to work as a heater. It raises the city water up to about 95 degrees without any heating elements. 

 

“It’s hot water. Why let it go straight into the sewer?” Thon said. “All we’re using is the radiator and pumps to pump it, but we re-water to get our tempered water.” 

From there, half of the tempered water goes into the washers and the other half goes through a heater to make hotter, 165-degree-water. 

Model Linen does a good job in saving as much water and energy as possible. In addition to using the reclaimed hot water to heat the incoming water supply, the washer’s final-rinse hot water is also reused. 

Viega’s ProPress Stainless fittings, pipe connections, pipe joining, plumbing, Viega ProPress, Press Technology, PVF

“At that point with the last rinse, the soap is out and it’s clean, so that water drops into its own trench and recirculates to be used in the first part of the wash cycle with the detergent,” he explained. “It’s a pretty cool process instead of using more clean city water.” 

In total, nearly 100 Viega fittings were used in Model Linen’s new building, ranging in size from 1¼ ” adapters to 4” fittings in various configurations. 

Thon said he’s confident the ProPress Stainless fittings will hold up well to the demands of Model Linen’s system. He said there are not many chemicals that run through the pipes, just a mild softener. 

One of the concerns in piping a laundry facility are issues with water hammer, Thon said. 

“If the washer has a 3” valve open, that’s a lot of water going in quickly; and if it shuts off too quickly, then it shakes the whole system,” he said. “Luckily we have good equipment dialed in well so that they close slowly. There has been no movement with the pipes at all—I was impressed.” 

Thon was so pleased with Viega fittings that they’ll be appearing in Model Linen’s other building a few miles down the road, where all of their hotel linens are serviced. He said he purchased a “whole stack of 3” ProPress Stainless” and was getting ready to tear out all the old copper and put in stainless piping at that facility, too. 

“Pressing these fittings down saved the day,” he said simply. “I’ve been pretty impressed with the whole thing.” 

Lindon, Utah —Aquatherm, the industry leader in polypropylene piping systems, has released an informative new video that provides an overview of polypropylene pipe applications and benefits, as well as the company’s expertise and capabilities. The “Leading the Way in Polypropylene Piping” video includes information about the advantages of polypropylene pipe over steel pipe for commercial Read more

Lindon, UtahAquatherm, the industry leader in polypropylene piping systems, has released an informative new video that provides an overview of polypropylene pipe applications and benefits, as well as the company’s expertise and capabilities.

The “Leading the Way in Polypropylene Piping” video includes information about the advantages of polypropylene pipe over steel pipe for commercial heating and cooling systems, industrial piping, and domestic water systems. The video explains how polypropylene repels water and will never scale or corrode the way metal pipe does, thus ensuring the quality and integrity of mechanical systems and potable water systems.

The video also explains the heat fusion process that joins polypropylene pipe and fittings, and how heat fusion creates a connection that’s as strong or stronger than an as-manufactured section of pipe—with no leak paths.

Also covered are Aquatherm’s Fabrication Services and Scan-to-Fab, both of which can help simplify and compress the timeline of complex projects as well as provide labor savings.

Classes to be held in Colorado and New Hampshire Broomfield, Colo. — Viega, LLC has announced its Winter 2019-20 lineup of courses at its seminar centers in Broomfield, Colo., and Nashua, N.H. The offerings include topics from commercial piping solution to radiant design and LoopCAD. With two fully equipped state- of-the-art seminar centers, Viega is Read more

Classes to be held in Colorado and New Hampshire

Broomfield, Colo. — Viega, LLC has announced its Winter 2019-20 lineup of courses at its seminar centers in Broomfield, Colo., and Nashua, N.H.

The offerings include topics from commercial piping solution to radiant design and LoopCAD. With two fully equipped state- of-the-art seminar centers, Viega is an industry leader in supporting the trades and helping contractors become more versatile, skilled and efficient. To date, more than 40,000 people, from self-employed contractors to employees of large firms, have taken courses at the centers.

The classes are taught by experts with years of experience in the field and offer ample hands-on experience. Attendees leave with skills and knowledge that will show immediate benefits on the job.

Training seminars are listed below:

Radiant Design, Piping and Controls

Jan. 27-29, Nashua, N.H.; March 3-5, Broomfield, Colo.
Covers design theory and practice, piping arrangements and control strategies. Includes hybrid systems, multiple temperature piping arrangements and system component placement.

LoopCAD

Feb. 11-12, Nashua; Jan. 22-23, Broomfield
How to use LoopCAD software for radiant design and layouts. Covers heat loss, drawing layout, material selection and snow melt.

Commercial Piping Solutions

Dec. 3-4 and March 18-19, Nashua; March 3-4, Broomfield

Covers Viega systems and products and their appropriate uses. Includes PureFlow, ProPress and MegaPress; hybrid systems; installation techniques; project savings; hands-on installation and competitive information.

Hydronics 101 & Radiant Systems

March 3-4, Nashua; Jan. 16-17, Broomfield
Provides a basic understanding of how hydronic systems work. Topics include methods of heat transfer, piping materials and components, control strategies and installation methods.

Carbon Steel Press Technology

Jan. 13, Nashua
Covers the use of carbon steel press systems for residential, commercial and industrial piping applications.

Stainless Steel Press Technology

Feb. 20, Nashua
Covers the use of stainless steel press systems for commercial and industrial plumbing, heating and piping applications. Properties and chemical compatibility of 304 and 316 stainless steel will be covered.

Press Technology for Fuel Gas Piping

Feb. 3, Broomfield
Covers the use of carbon steel press systems for fuel gas piping in residential, commercial and industrial applications. Fuel types such as natural gas, LP gas, diesel, fuel oil and kerosene and their implications in NFPA 54 will be covered.

NFPA 13D Fire Sprinkler

Covers NFPA 13D requirements, system design, installation concerns and energy code compliance.

For more information and to register, click here.

A recent Gallup poll found that 63% of Americans are worried about the safety of their drinking water. Except in extreme cases, these concerns are mostly unfounded as America’s drinking water is among the safest in the World. However, these concerns are understandable considering that the quality of our water is subject to threats old Read more

A recent Gallup poll found that 63% of Americans are worried about the safety of their drinking water. Except in extreme cases, these concerns are mostly unfounded as America’s drinking water is among the safest in the World. However, these concerns are understandable considering that the quality of our water is subject to threats old, like millions of lead pipes, and new chemical contamination from things like PFAS.

Protecting North America’s water safety requires a three-step approach: understanding and recognizing modern water quality threats, specifying safe materials, and following correct installation procedure.

Water Quality Threats

Water quality threats are still abundant. A 2018 study identified 163 different substances that have the potential to leach from common piping materials. These substances range from alcohols to hydrocarbons, ketones, esters, metals, peroxides, phthalates, alkyl phenols, organotins, halogenated compounds and vinyl compounds, including some known or suspected as environmental contaminants or carcinogens. Of these, water quality standards only exist for 89 of them. The other 74 are not currently regulated or understood, leaving a gray area on what effects they may have on our water quality and health.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development asscociation, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Replacing lead water pipes with copper piping between the street and homes in Flint, Michigan October 28, 2016. (John M. Galloway)

While additional research may help determine the total effect on water quality and health, these substances are a concern and should be taken into consideration when selecting a piping material.

Specifying with Copper

A reliable way to avoid these threats is to select copper, a time-tested, durable, proven piping material. Copper is safe; it won’t release potentially harmful chemicals into the water, it won’t give off toxic fumes in a fire, and it won’t allow harmful chemicals to permeate through the pipe wall. It is natural—made of 99.9% pure copper—and is accepted by all plumbing codes.

Below, is a brief, step-by-step guide for strong, leak-free solder joints—one of the most common joining methods for copper drinking water systems, provided by the Copper Development Association (CDA). CDA has been instrumental in developing the soldering procedures that are now standard in the copper and plumbing industry, and has since taught these procedures to hundreds of thousands of installers across the country and throughout the world.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development association, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Proper soldering technique when working with copper pipe.

To assist contractors and installers, CDA has produced several do-it-yourself videos to its “Do it Proper with Copper” YouTube video series. Additionally, the Copper Tube Handbook, available on www.copper.org, provides additional step-by-step installation guides for all copper joining methods. CDA recommends the following four steps for properly soldering joints:

Step One: Preheat the Tube

First, heat the interior surfaces of the fitting/component with heat from the tube surface. The preheating of the tube should be undertaken with the appropriately sized torch tip directing the flame perpendicular to the tube, about the same distance from the fitting cup as the length of tube that is inserted into the solder cup (i.e. if the fitting cup is 1-inch deep, preheat the tube approximately 1-inch beyond the face of the joint). While there is no definitive time limit on preheating, the tube should be preheated until the flux at the face of the joint begins to become active (begin showing signs of cleaning the tube/fitting surfaces).

Step Two: Preheat the Fitting/Component

Once the appropriate preheat has been applied to the tube, the flame should be moved back onto the fitting/component surface to the base of the fitting cup. Preheating of the fitting is most effective if the torch is directed from the back of the fitting cup to the face of the solder cup. This torch position directs the greatest amount of heat from the back of the fitting cup towards the face, where the solder will be applied. This allows for the primary flame of the torch to concentrate heat into the fitting/component while allowing the secondary flame to keep the tube surface at temperature.

Step Three: Apply Heat and Solder

The copper tube has excellent thermal conductivity so as it is heated, it will conduct heat throughout the tube length inside the fitting space. In addition, as the tube expands into the fitting cup, it will maintain a small capillary space between the two and help to heat the fitting cup from the inside. On horizontal joints, preheating should focus on the bottom two-thirds of the tube. Heat it until the tube is very close to soldering temperature, as indicated by the soldering flux beginning to bubble and clean the surface.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development association, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Copper Tube Handbook

Next, move the heat to the base of the fitting cup to bring it up to soldering temperature. Point the torch tip from the face of the fitting cup out towards the tube so the cooler part of the flame continues to keep the tube at soldering temperature. Then apply the heat to the base of the fitting cup. On horizontal joints, that should be somewhere off center near the bottom of the joint, before solder is added. If the solder doesn’t begin to melt, continue to preheat. Once the solder begins to melt, the torch should be moved along with the solder, keeping the heat only slightly ahead of where solder is being applied.

Step Four: Cooling and Cleaning

The completed soldered joint should be allowed to cool slowly and naturally. The new, no-lead alloys may not reject heat as quickly as their predecessors due to their lower thermal conductivity. By controlling the amount of heat applied, an individual can ensure the bare minimum required to facilitate full solder melting and flow is used. This allows the solder to solidify and cool to the joint quickly after the heat is removed.

If the proper soldering procedures are followed, particularly in the preheating and heating process, consistent, high-quality solder joints can be achieved between copper tube and fittings/components.

Durable, Reliable Piping Systems

Compared to copper pipes, no other material has the long history of reliable, leak-free installation in a wide variety of systems and settings, protects the water system from contamination, and does so with proven value. Plus, when copper’s long life cycle finally comes to an end, its high recyclability allows it to be reformed into new products with zero loss of performance. The choice is obvious, the choice is copper.

To learn more about copper piping and installation best practices, visit www.copper.org.

Andrew G. Kireta Jr. is vice president of the Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA). Kireta is responsible for the use of copper and copper alloy systems and products in building construction applications, including plumbing, mechanical and architectural systems.