A beginner’s guide to Press-Fit Tools

A Beginner’s Guide to Press-fit Tools

Picking your way through the Minefield of Pressing Tools

Press systems are a newer way of carrying out fittings compared to more traditional solder and screwed methods. They can offer time and cost savings as well as many other benefits. Our beginner’s guide to press-fit tools provides a great overview to get you started.

Press-fitting systems use hydraulic press technology to provide a high-quality and easy to fit joint method. While this helps save a considerable amount of time on jobs, it can be difficult for first-timers to know where to start with more manufacturers coming on board. We have provided a guide to answering all the questions a press-fitting novice might have.

Multipipe press-fit tools

What are you installing?

When beginning to think about press-fit tools, the first question you need to ask yourself: What will I be installing?

With more systems coming onto the market, selecting the right pipe type is key.

For more traditional methods, you’ll have manufacturers of metal press systems. Still, plastic composite systems like Multipipe MLC is gaining popularity. These hybrid pipes are a great alternative to conventional methods, which might struggle on specific jobs where flexibility and hygiene are key to a quality installation. But still offer benefits of a metal system like lower expansion rates and 100% oxygen barrier.

Choosing the right type of pipe

All pipework systems in the UK are made to a BS EN standard, but depending on the manufacturer, these standards might differ.

The most common British standard for plastic pipes – BS EN 7291
BS EN 21003 – is the multilayer (MLC) standard
BS EN 1057 – is the Copper tube standards

These standards dictate the manufacturing process, pipe dimensions and wall thickness, all of which are hugely important in selecting the right pressing jaws. To press a joint onto these systems, you’ll need a set of compatible jaws as different pipe and fitting manufacturers use different jaw profiles.

Selecting the right jaw profiles

These profiles manufactured to the pipe dimensions and the set of ridges inside the profile help to press down on the sleeve to get a watertight joint. You cannot mix jaw profiles of different manufacturers. There are common types of profiles used by several manufacturers which would give you the best flexibility across different pipe types. But there are also a lot of individual company profiles so making sure you have the right jaws is key to a good join.

Here are some key examples;

U/TH– Profile
The Universal profile for MLC pipe systems for most MLC providers including Multipipe (we use U profile)

U Profile:

U profile press-fit jaws

TH Profile:

TH profile press-fit jaws

M/V profile – Used for most copper press systems on the market

V Profile:

M/V profile press-fit jaws

M Profile:

These are cross-sections of the most popular jaws and they show the subtle differences across the profiles when they are pressed.

A Pressing Matter – the Difference in Tool Strength

The last consideration in our guide to press-fit tools, is the pressing strength of the tool. Most press tool manufacturers have a small and a larger gun, but what exactly is the difference? The answer is that it’s mainly the strength of the hydraulic press.

Usually, the bigger the gun = the bigger the hydraulic press. Compact guns typically press up to 28/32mm pipes, with larger guns up to 108/110mm.

This means you need to consider what sizes of pipe you need to press. Some fitting manufacturers require specific press strengths for their systems, so be sure to factor this in. Our Multipipe MLC press system requires a 15KN press tool for sizes up to 32mm and a 32KN press tool for up to 110mm pressing.

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If you’ve any more questions about press-fit tools, our technical team are always here to help you out. Get in touch with us via WhatsApp (07858 138 228), email (info@multipipe.co.uk) or phone (01245 227630).

How MLCP Press-Fit Compares To Plastic Push-Fit

How MLCP Press-Fit Compares To Plastic Push-Fit

When it comes to plumbing solutions, there are many options available on the market. Two popular choices are press-fit and push-fit piping. In our blog, learn how MLCP press-fit compares to plastic push-fit plumbing.

What is MLCP?

Multilayer Composite Pipes (MLCP) is a type of piping that is made up of multiple layers of different materials. The inner layer is typically made of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), which is a flexible and durable material. The outer layer is made of aluminum, which provides strength and stability to the pipe. The layers are bonded together using a special adhesive, creating a strong and reliable pipe.

Over the last few years, we’ve helped numerous installers to move to MLCP, resulting in faster, cleaner, more secure, and more profitable installations. Find out more about Multipipe’s MLCP here.

What is Push-Fit Piping?

Push-fit piping, also known as push-to-connect or push-fit fittings, is a type of piping that uses a push-fit connection system. This means that the pipes are connected by simply pushing them together, without the need for any tools or adhesives. Push-fit piping is typically made of plastic, such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP).

mlcp press-fit

In March 2023, leading insurance company Zurich, shared they were seeing an increasing number of leaks relating solvent-related pipe leaks. One claim involved almost £800,000 worth of damage!

Paul Redington, a Regional Major Loss Manager at Zurich has said: “Plastic pipework is here to stay but Zurich and our forensic experts Hawkins are seeing an increasing number of escape of water losses involving its use. We are concerned that plastic push-fit systems for example require less skill and training to install, and if not fitted-properly can leak, causing significant loss and disruption.”

Now that we’ve covered the basics of MLCP and push-fit piping, let’s take a closer look at how they compare in terms of various factors.

Here’s how MLCP press-fit compares to plastic push-fit plumbing:

Secondary Circulation Systems

Any pipe manufacturer under BS7291 that covers all plastic push-fit ranges is not suitable for a secondary recirculation system and, if fitted, can cause leaks, and at worse can lead to full bore detachments causing serious leaks and damage. The pipe manufacturers for these pipes will not cover your system if it is used on this type of water.

However, because of how our pipework is made, MLCP can be used with recirculation systems as Multipipe MLCP is made to a different standard than plastic pipe. Find out more about secondary recirculation systems here.

Installation 

Plastic push-fit, as you will know, is very widely available. The ease of application is often seen as an advantage; no specialist tooling other than a cheap pipe cutter is needed to make a joint. However, we see this as deskilling of the plumbing industry and potentially harmful, as this can lead to issues in water hygiene like Legionnaires’ disease.

In fact, there are no laws stopping any general public from purchasing the material to do their own plumbing. Which when you consider insurance companies are reporting the highest level of water escape, this could become a harmful and costly problem.

MLC helps by ensuring specialist tooling is required, and Multipipe would only sell our products to the plumbing and heating trade, trying where we can to regulate this unregulated industry. This is why we can offer a 25-year insurance back warranty with our products.

Full Bore Detachment

Because plastic push-fit relies on fitment on the outside using a grab ring that “bites into the pipe”, if anything happens to the outer layer, the fitting can slip and has been known to lead to a full detachment of the fitting. This can lead to over 10 litres per minute of water entering the property, which very quickly can lead to irreversible damage.

Multipipe’s press-fit system has been manufactured to the highest quality with multiple safety points, including leak path before the press, and inspection windows. This ensures when pressed, you will have decades of leak-free issues.

More Secure Fittings

Compared to traditional push-fit piping, MLCP secure fittings can’t be knocked or blown off. This extra security not only benefits your customer, who will get to enjoy their new plumbing with greater assurance about its quality and longevity, but can also benefit you as the installer. You will spend less time having to explain why fittings and joints have come loose and repairing these joints, meaning your workmanship won’t be questioned by customers and your brand will be seen as a more professional and quality driven.

Durability

Once bent, MLCP completely keeps its shape, lessening the need for fastening points in comparison to push-fit piping. Again, this leads to a reduction in installation time. But what you are really saving is money. With less need for fastening points, you won’t have to buy as many fittings to complete the installation, increasing the efficiency of both yours, and your client’s budget.

Low Heat Expansion

Some push-fit systems expand 8 times more than MLC at normal system temperatures, meaning the pipework can move after installation causing noise and stress on the fitting.

Thanks to the specialist technology used to create the temperature resistant PE-RT, MLCP has a low heat expansion, performing comparatively to that of metal piping with the advantages of versatile plastic pipe. The low heat expansion makes MLCP incredibly durable – so much so that we give it a 25-year guarantee, with 50 years upon application.

Sealed For Hygiene

Most push-fit systems seal with an O-ring on the outside of the pipe, which under normal site conditions can get damaged or dirty.

Multipipe’s MLCP is sealed from inside the pipe, making it far more resistant to damage and reducing the potential for leaks in the system. WRAS approved, MLCP is ideal for transporting drinking water hygienically, making it a popular choice for health industry applications such as hospitals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while traditional products are good enough for the job, you want to stand out amongst your competition. Using the best, most innovative products will ensure that you are able to complete jobs quickly and efficiently.

At Multipipe, we care passionately about raising UK plumbers’ operational standards and our societies’ perception of the trade. That’s why we supply quality products like MLCP.

To find out more about MLCP, click HERE. If you’re interested in purchasing MLCP or training on our systems, email our sales team on sales@multipipe.co.uk or call our friendly team on 01245 227630.