Pipes & valves

Press-fit fits the bill

Valves are an often-overlooked part of a building services system. But in recent years, valve technology has advanced in response to challenges faced by engineers and installers. Darren Baxter of Albion Valves explains


alves have a low profile in the world of building services specification. However, their impact on the efficient and effective operation of hydronic systems should not be underestimated. Without correctly

specified, installed and commissioned valves, today’s heating, cooling and water systems could not operate. Hydronic systems, in which water is the medium that carries heat around

a building, must be kept in constant balance. A poorly-performing hydronic system can mean that heat is not delivered to some areas of a building, for example, causing discomfort for occupants and issues for the facilities management team. What’s more, an imbalanced hydronic system will also use more energy than it should, leading to higher building operating costs. Valve technology has been advancing over the past few years. It has

developed to help engineers and installers meet challenges such as the growing number of high rise developments, minimal spaces for plant rooms and the need to complete projects to ever-tighter deadlines. For specifiers, the humble valve is a product that can help to make design and delivery of efficient systems for buildings much more straightforward. Recent valve evolution includes the pressure independent control valve

(PICV), or the fixed orifice double regulating valve (FODRV). However, one of the most significant advances in valve fitting technology has been the introduction of the press-installation method. Press-fit valves offer a faster, safer and more reliable solution for installers. Press-fit works by joining pipes together using mechanically-pressed fittings. Pressing tools consist of pressing machine and pressing jaws or

Press-fit valves can be used on a variety of pipe materials such as, copper, stainless steel and carbon steel, regardless of the material of the valve

collars. All metallic press-fit systems have a pressing profile on the press fittings which matches the pressing collars. It is essential to ensure that your pressing tool and fittings are compatible.

One of the reasons press-fit has gained a foothold in the sector is that they meet the requirements for fast but accurate work in today’s construction sector. Press-fit technology facilitates connections that can be made in a fraction of the time it takes to weld or solder pipes. The ease of press-fit also means fewer errors are made during the installation process, reducing the likelihood of call-backs to a site. Industry estimates are that press fitting can be completed in around half the time of other installation methods. A further advantage of press-fit is that no hot works are required for

installation, which means better on-site safety. What’s more, less safety equipment is needed to work with press tools, which provides further cost savings. This also means that significantly less training is required to operate a press tool compared to welding, brazing or soldering, making press-fit a labour- and cost-saving solution for projects with large-scale pipe systems. Of course, speed is only one aspect of the installation process. The result must be a robust and reliable hydronic system that supports good HVAC

16 August 2021


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