AHR Expo Vendors Provide Plumbers Easier Solutions

Technology hitting the market this quarter is aimed at making jobs faster and easier for contractors.
AHR Expo Vendors Provide Plumbers Easier Solutions
A REHAU employee (right) explains the company’s new EVERLOC+ fitting system to AHR Expo attendees.

Simple is better. Plumbing contractors want to find easier ways to do their jobs that will take less time and allow them to take on more jobs and bring in more revenue.

Technology at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) this week in Las Vegas is helping those contractors with that goal. Many of the new tools on the show floor are giving plumbing contractors a way to easily and quickly do their work, while not sacrificing the quality of it.

“We’re trying to make the job more simple for the contractors out there,” says Chris Carrier, global marketing communications manager for SharkBite, which is a manufacturer of fittings, couplings, gauges, manifolds, pipe, valves and other plumbing tools.

SharkBite, already known for its push-to-connect solutions, is showcasing its new EVOPEX system. It’s a push-to-connect rough-in plumbing solution for new construction, according to the company. “It’s designed to eliminate the need for tools, optimizing installation time and reducing the risk of leaks,” Carrier says.

All contractors have to do is push the pipe — PVC, PEX or metal — into the silver device and it locks in. A tab on the device turns green indicating the seal is tight. “The contractor doesn’t have to worry about using a torch to solder pipes together with this device. It’s faster and just as good.”

A few booths away at the Las Vegas Convention Center, REHAU Inc. debuted its newest technology on Monday in a fun way — by holding competitions. Teams worked together to put together pipe using the company’s EVERLOC+ Compression-Sleeve Fitting System.

EVERLOC+ connections are made using a two-step expansion and compression process, both performed by the EVERLOC+ power tool, which is designed for assembling EVERLOC+ fittings. First, the pipe is expanded, then the sleeve is compressed over the pipe and fitting for a secure connection that is immediately ready for pressure testing.

“The nice thing is that this first fitting you put on is as good as your 1,000th one,” says Jonathan Bittenbender, director of engineering building solutions for REHAU. “There is no learning curve or anything like that. It can be used in any weather and it’ll go together the same way. It eliminates a lot of the variability on a job site for the contractor.”

AN ANSWER FOR SKILLED LABOR

A big advantage for having technology like this is that it’ll help companies deal with the shrinking skilled labor pool that the plumbing industry is facing. “Tools like these that are easy to use and get the job done in great quality are going to help companies deal with the lack of skilled labor,” Carrier says. “Anyone can use some of these tools.”

Bittenbender says REHAU went out and talked with customers and met with contractors while developing the EVERLOC+ system in order to find out what they wanted in a fitting system.

“A lot of contractors are challenged with the variability of their installers that are learning at different levels, so we tried to make the system as lean as possible,” Bittenbender says. “That fitting is the way you do it for all the sizes and you know exactly how to put the fitting together.”

Both the EVERLOC+ system and the EVOPEX are expected to be available at the end of March.

SHOW CONTINUES

The AHR Expo continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will wrap up Wednesday with show hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pacific).



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