Pegler Yorkshire

Fri, 25 Aug 2017

More HUGE reasons to choose stainless steel press fittings

Following on from her previous post about why stainless steel deserves a leading role in the UK HVAC market, Amy Sedgwick here offers more – and bigger – reasons worthy of consideration by specifiers and contractors of commercial plumbing and HVAC systems…

Press systems in stainless steel up to 108mm have been established within the UK commercial marketplace for a number of years now, but what are the options for installations above this size? 

Areas such as large scale plant rooms have standardised on stainless steel due to requirements for long service life and the ability to cope with challenging atmospheric conditions. In fact, a large proportion of projects switch to welding for sizes above 108mm. 

However, there is now a choice thanks to our latest stainless steel press fittings innovation (and a UK first!) which offers an extended range up to 163.8mm, enabling further installed cost benefits to be realised without compromising on system quality and performance.

Following on from my earlier consideration of the specific benefits of using Pegler Yorkshire’s 444 stainless steel range as part of a VSH XPress or VSH Tectite piping system, here are even more reasons to use press systems over alternative methods.

Ideal for on-site installation

The new sizes of press fitting are ideal for on-site installation, particularly if the building is already operational such as a hospital, school or prison. The ability to install without heat or flame significantly reduces the amount of requirements on-site for post-installation system observation, fire prevention equipment (including trained staff) and surface and finished good removal or protection.

Significant savings on installation costs

Although welding is a ‘tried and trusted’ method of installation, it is not without serious health and safety risks.  HSE recommends cold jointing in BS 9999:2017 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. The main benefit of using VSH XPress at sizes above 108mm is the potential to make significant savings on the installation costs. There is no need to employ a specialist welder fitter, who may charge high hourly rates; there is no waiting time for welding equipment to reach temperature; areas which are tricky to weld (elbows, tees) are now easily installed; and there is no requirement for cooling time or additional observation after the jointing has been completed. 

Improved health and safety

This is before we consider the potential safety hazards that come with welding – some installers suffer health problems as a result of breathing in welding fumes and can become more prone to life-threatening lung infections. Welding fume is also a classified carcinogen, particularly the fumes produced from welding stainless steel (http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/illness.htm). The HSE actively promotes considering a cold jointing method above welding to remove the need for flame (http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/fume-welding.htm).

Ideal for enclosed or smaller spaces

Although installations at these larger sizes tend to often be carried out by specialist off-site fabrication companies who operate out of large premises, it is worth noting that a press connection does not require increased ventilation or open space like welding does which makes it the perfect choice for installing within enclosed spaces or smaller areas.

Improved pipework integrity

The high temperatures applied during the welding process forces the stainless steel to undergo a series of changes which could ultimately have an impact on the structure of the material, and make it susceptible to corrosion in areas of high stress such as joints, corners or poorly finished welds. Good corrosion resistance is not just a critical factor for the lifespan of a piping system, but is also of paramount importance in areas where the pipework regularly hits high temperatures as this exposure can accelerate the corrosion process. Examples of regular high temperature use would be in hygienic environments where pipework is regularly purged for thermal disinfection purposes.

Reduced post installation processes

Welding stainless steel may also require additional post welding processes to be carried out to ensure integrity of the weld and to restore the corrosion resistant layer. This can take the form of pickling baths, pastes and gels, and then potentially an additional process called ‘re-passivisation’ which can also be done through baths, pastes and gels. Both of these processes (if required) require additional time, controlled observation, specialist knowledge and application of dangerous chemicals which presents additional health and safety risks to the installation. After installation has been completed, there will be less flushing time required with a press system as no adhesives or additional products will have been added to the system. A press system is also proven to operate very efficiently with low pressure losses and flow resistance, due to the smooth bore that such a system offers.

Pegler Yorkshire’s XPress press system is WRAS approved and warrantied for up to 25 years with a choice of o rings making it suitable for a wide range of applications. It is available from major UK merchants.

ENDS

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