New Plumbing Installation Innovations Boost Contractors’ Productivity

New and updated tools unveiled at the AHR Expo are expected to bring added efficiency to the plumbing industry

New Plumbing Installation Innovations Boost Contractors’ Productivity

Alex Boll, a senior product manager for Milwaukee Tool, demonstrates the company’s new M18 FUEL Threader, the industry’s first cordless pipe threader, while another Milwaukee Tool official speaks with an AHR Expo attendee in the background.

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Streamlining operations and improving productivity for contractors has been a big push in the plumbing industry the last several years. That’s why more manufacturers have been introducing and expanding press and push-to-connect tools.

“You look at today’s environment with some of the shortages on skilled labor in the trades, and if a contractor can put a press tool in a new employee’s hands and have them be productive within the first week of them joining the company, that’s great,” says Alex Boll, a senior product manager at Milwaukee Tool.

Milwaukee Tool is one of several manufacturers at the AHR Expo in Atlanta this week unveiling new equipment that increases plumbing contractors’ production on job sites. The company revealed its new M18 FUEL Threader (a cordless pipe threader), the M18 Brushless Threaded Rod Cutter, and the MegaPress XL Compatible Jaws and Rings that fit directly into the M18 FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tools to press Viega MegaPress XL fittings without extensions.

“To be able to do key installation tools like a pipe threader and a ring kit that are core to work these guys do every single day and what their reputation relies on, it really shows the dedication of Milwaukee Tool to the core trades,” Boll says.

Manufacturers Uponor, Anvil International and SharkBite are also excited about where the industry has been headed the last several years.

“Uponor started out in the single-family market in the early ‘90s and it has only progressed,” says Daniel Worm, associate product manager, commercial plumbing, for Uponor. “We started pushing into the commercial market in 2008 and it’s worked really well for us. Now it’s used in anything from single-family homes to industrial applications, health care, multi-family, education, whatever it might be.”

Anvil International’s AnvilPress Copper press fittings and coupling systems make it simple for plumbers to get jobs done faster.

“In the end, it comes down to productivity for plumbing contractors,” says Jeff Shaffer, director of marketing for Anvil. “We want to help the contractors make their jobs more productive, so they can get on a job, do the work, and get out of there and onto that next job as quickly as possible.”

The AnvilPress Copper and associated components, which won one of the AHR Expo’s Innovation Awards, are designed with patented Visual Indicator technology that provides 200 percent more sealing surface than typical fittings for leak prevention. The system is built with a double-fold sealing characteristic and a replaceable O-ring seal design. Its visual indicator and burr-stop membrane solve the top two causes of leaks: improperly pressed fittings and burrs on the tube that damage the O-ring during installation.

In the end, for all of these manufacturers, it comes down to one goal for all the contractors: Being more efficient.

“Our goals are to make the trade more productive,” says Chris Carrier, director of marketing for SharkBite. “When plumbing firms bring on new people they need to train them, but the more efficient we can make it, the less chance there is for errors, which means less chance for leaks on these installations.” 

Carrier says he’s happy with how the market has moved along and excited for future technology both from his own company and for others.

“We’re trying to make it so plumbers can do more during the day, so it increases their productivity,” Carrier says. “Time for them is money.”



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