DDA Judges Praise Innovative, Time-saving Tools
Mastercool Inc. takes home Dealer Design gold with its Refrigeration Flaring and Swaging Tool
Mastercool Inc. invested more than 10 years of research and design into the Refrigeration Flaring and Swaging Tool, and that attention to detail helped the product bring home the gold in the Electronic and Hand Tools category of the 2016 Dealer Design Awards.
In a highly competitive category, the product stood out for multiple reasons with one judge saying, “I like the concept of this tool and can see it improving the quality of installs, especially in the ever-growing mini-split market.”
The tool, which features a hand-held hydraulic press that accurately flares and swages copper tubing, was introduced to the marketplace in January 2015. Once the die and adapter are secured in the fixture, only a few pumps of the handle are needed to complete a job.
“This tool really takes the work out of swaging and flaring,” said Chris Carroll, sales manager, Mastercool Inc. “The unit is extremely unique in that it forms the copper fitting or flare versus other types that expand the copper. The copper tubing is secured in the holding fixture by the forming die. The hydraulic pump pushes in the forming adapter to fabricate the flare or swage. The end result is a deep fitting that creates a more secure connection.”
The kit can be utilized by HVACR and/or refrigeration technicians to create fittings and flares. It also works with mini splits because it can flare a ¼-inch size.
“The end result is longer copper runs, less brazing, fewer fittings, and a perfect fitting connection on small copper,” said Carroll. “Once contractors see the finished product and get it in their hands, they see the difference with the fitting, and they tend to like that. With smaller copper, guys have a tendency to be more delicate. This tool can effectively work with smaller sizes, which is a big benefit, as is the fact that as it swages it actually forms the copper. The hydroswage expands the copper using more of an extreme pressure while forming the copper is actually more effective. This design produces a fitting that is very similar to something that is made in a factory. The pocket for the swage is very deep, and it forms it.”
Looking forward, Carroll said Mastercool will continue to research and explore different hydraulic product ideas that provide performance at an economical value, and there are other components the company may use to enhance the Refrigeration Flaring and Swaging Tool in the future.
Uniweld Products Inc.’s SmarTech Digital Wireless Manifold was designed to diagnose and service HVACR equipment. Its ease of use and sturdy construction afforded it the silver award in this DDA category.
“A combination of contractor demand and company innovation helped evolve the SmarTech® Digital Manifold hose set to life,” said Matt Foster, sales executive, Uniweld Products Inc. “Uniweld was determined to combine the accuracy of a digital manifold combined with a set of service hoses that meets the needs of HVACR technicians and is easy to use.”
According to one DDA judge, “This item appears to be very well made and incorporates several features designed to improve technicians’ accuracy and results while saving time and improving productivity.”
The product itself is protected by an orange rubber boot for extended durability. The manifold body that is attached to the digital meter is a lightweight aluminum extruded body with double O-Ring piston valves for positive control and access to front hose holders.
The SmarTech app that connects via Bluetooth to the USMAN manifold features system performance reporting, allowing a technician to take a snapshot of the system readings and export it in an email as a CSV or PDF file. The report will include all of the system readings along with the customer and equipment information that was entered by the technician.
Foster said the app can easily be updated in the future as new refrigerants are introduced to the industry.
Customer/contractor input, field observation, and ongoing product development were all important factors in the development of the RG 5200i Roll Grooving Tool from Victaulic Co., which earned the bronze award in the Electronic and Hand Tools category.
The RG-5200i provides the operator instant feedback on the quality of the groove. With data in hand, the operator doesn’t have to measure the circumference of the pipe and the groove manually. For any dimensions out of spec, the tool will display what adjustments are needed. The system also documents and records each groove completed to provide traceability.
A proximity “no-go” zone is setup around the tool, and sensors will detect violations and trigger an immediate shutdown. The operating pedestal requires two-hand activation to prevent unintended starts, and the tool reduces the opportunity for human error by telling the operator instantly whether the groove is within specifications.
Refrigeration Flaring and Swaging Tool
Uniweld Products Inc.
SmarTech Digital Wireless Manifold
RG-5200i Roll Grooving Tool
Publication date: 7/18/2016