Pressing pipe has been gaining in popularity, largely due to its substantial advantages in installed cost, ease, speed, and safety over traditional methods of joining pipe. As the technology is adopted morewidely, manufacturers continue to introduce press fittingsfor a variety of pipe materials, including copper, carbonsteel, stainless steel, and PEX.
The number of approved applications also has increased toinclude water, compressed air, fuel oil, gas, and various chemicals. However, until this year, there was no pressing systemapproved for carbon steel gas and fuel oil pipe larger than 2 in.
Earlier this year, Viega LLC, the company which broughtpressing technology to North America in 1999, solved thatproblem with three larger sizes of MegaPressG, the firstpress fitting system for carbon steel pipe approved for use ingas and fuel oil applications in larger pipes.
It’s an expansion of the MegaPressG system, which previously had been available only in sizes up to a 2-in. pipe. Thenew additions include fittings for 2 1/2, 3, and 4-in. pipe.
Constructed of carbon steel with a corrosion-resistantzinc-nickel coating and first-of-its-kind graphite separatorring in larger sizes, MegaPressG is suitable for use with ASTMSchedule 5 to Schedule 40 carbon steel pipe.
The design of the large-diameter fittings took four years,with additional testing of the graphite separator ring needed in order to pass the stringent standards for use in natural gas applications.
Though it might not have seemed so to impatient contractors, Viega moved with all deliberate speed, says Will Dutcher, Product Manager, Metals IPS, Viega.
“Viega is very methodical when it comes to the introduction of new products. We want to release products thatwe’ve tested to be sure they perform in every environment.And doing so can take time,” he says.
And adding MegaPressG fittings up to 4 in. proved to bemore complex than simply enlarging the fittings and othercomponents. There were a number of engineering and material challenges, Dutcher says.
For example, the amount of force needed to press a 4-in.fitting is significantly higher than that for a 2-in. fitting.In order to achieve this pressing force, Viega recommendsusing the RIDGID Press Booster or equivalent alternatives.
Smaller MegaPressG fittings have 304 stainless steel separator rings, which would not work on the larger sizes. Viega scientists tested a number of possible materials beforechoosing a graphite separator ring. The ring can withstandtemperatures up to 1,000°F, an important safety featurethat can prevent leaks during a fire.
Viega also redesigned the component housing in thelarger fittings for a more secure connection. The HNBRsealing element also was re-engineered for effective coverage in the larger sizes.
Prototypes were tested in the field and scrutinized by fo-
cus groups, Dutcher says: “When we are testing a fitting, it’s
getting installed in a real-world scenario and it needs to per-
form in 10°F and up in Vermont in the winter.”
Ultimately, the new fittings exceeded the requirements for
Canadian Standards Association CSA LC 4 certifications.
“The tests for us are baseline, but not where we stop,”
Dutcher says. “Viega likes to go beyond that just for the
confidence in our fittings and to be able to tell customers
that if we say a product is rated to 200 psi, we’ve actually
tested it to 1,000 psi.”
The fittings came just in time for Schreiner Mechanical
of Frankenmuth, Mich., which put them to work piping a
soybean-roasting plant in Gilford, Mich.
In order to feed the 12-million BTU burners that roastthe soybeans, Schreiner created a manifold with 4-in. gaslines. They work their way down to 2-in. lines throughoutthe plant. Thanks to the new Viega fittings, the contractordidn’t have to thread the gas pipes.
“If we’d had to thread this, it would have changed the
whole philosophy on how to do things,” owner Steve Sch-
reiner says. “It would have made things 10 times more dif-
ficult, being 40 ft in the air, so we would have had to change
the installation, plus it would have tripled or quadrupled
the labor intensity. We’re talking about lift rentals and all
things that come into play, plus the costs incurred for that
if we’d done it a different way than pressing. Threaded pipe
would have been absurd.”
Of course, even 4-in. pipe doesn’t meet all specifications,
so will Viega develop fittings up to 6 in.?
“It is something we’re looking into,” Dutcher says. “It’s in-
evitable that when you come out with one size you hear from
your customers, well, when are you going to come out with
the next size?”
However, just like with MegaPressG, designing for 6-in.
pipe poses its own set of challenges. For example, it would
be pushing the current limits of press tools and ring sizes, as
well as battery power. Dutcher hints that Viega is considering
“If we continue to push into those new frontiers of sizes, wehave to keep an open mind that it doesn’t have to be the traditional press for which we’re known, but an innovative solutionthat improves the lives of the installer and end-user,” he says.
In the meantime, Viega is designing its own line of MegaPressG valves, which could launch as early as next year.
“We want customers to have a full Viega system solution so they have one manufacturer they’re working with,”Dutcher said.
For more, visit newequiment.com/21130401
Viega MegaPressG Pressing
System Fills Market Niche
“Until this year, there was no pressing system approved for carbon steel gas and fuel oil
pipe larger than 2 in.”
By Kristen White
COOLANT & LUBRICANT
IP66 | IP67G | IP69K