At the AHR Expo, Uponor unveiled several new offerings designed to position the manufacturer as a full-service piping provider.
In addition to piping and design services, Uponor has begun offering construction services, an announcement that was rolled out at the show.
“What this means is we’re now offering professional services from that time of inception of a project to the end of a project,” said Steven Thai, communication manager at Uponor North America. “As we know, building has now become not just ‘We need this many units.’ There’s an impact piece of why this building is being built, and this is Uponor’s response to that: being able to meet with the engineering firms, architectural firms to determine how do you use the least amount of pipe? How do you deliver effective water pressure, but with the least amount of water? We’re going to bring that expertise in-house with engineers and designers.”
Once a client chooses their Uponor products, the project will go through a design phase for 2-D, 3-D, or BIM design — or all three, depending on the needs of the customer. Uponor will help determine whether there’s a need for prefabrication or additional onsite partners; oversee troubleshooting and installation, and provide someone onsite to assist with that; and, once the system is up and running, transfer control over to the mechanical contractor who’s going to operate the systems.
“You’re looking at about a 25 percent savings from a traditional consulting firm by working directly with the manufacturer,” Thai said.
Across the booth, Thai pointed out a wall display of larger-sized plastic pipes — and another step forward in the market for Uponor.
“This is our most exciting thing that’s happened since we moved to North America in the mid-’80s: releasing a new category of piping,” he said. In August 2019, Uponor North America signed an exclusive agreement with Pestan North America (PNA), naming Uponor the exclusive distributor of PNA’s proprietary PP-RCT (polypropylene, random copolymer, with modified crystallinity and temperature resistance) products throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Beginning this year, Uponor will market more than 270 of PNA’s products, extending
its line of products to offer hybrid systems including PEX and PP-RCT.
Products will range from ½-inch to 12 inches in diameter and up to 24 inches for special product requests. PP-RCT is used in an array of commercial plumbing and hydronic projects.
“This allows us to now be a full polymer solution, building hybridized systems between PP-RCT and PEX for potable water or hydronic heating and cooling, depending on what you need,” Thai said. “It’s the ability to enter the hydronic space at larger dimension.”
On a smaller scale (literally), Uponor has expanded its line of reducing tees, aiming to take time out of a hydronics contractor’s daily work.
On average, 10 percent of the fittings installed in a project are composed in the field. Taking the time to create these tees increases labor costs and undercuts installation efficiencies, something Uponor is working to solve through its new series of ProPEX® engineered polymer (EP) reducing tees. Designed for residential and commercial plumbing and hydronic applications, Uponor’s new reducing tees aim to streamline installations by eliminating unnecessary connections when joining pipes of various diameters. A single reducing tee will do the job of a composed tee made of several different components (tee, rings, and reducing couplings), cutting the time and labor needed to make the connection.
“For a 2-inch to a 1-inch, you were looking at about four reducing downs before you were to get to this 1-inch [without using an Uponor reducing tee],” said Thai. “You’re basically moving from seven connections to three connections. If you’re making four or five of these a day, that could be an hour’s worth of time, and it’s an hour more for labor costs to the contractor; it’s an hour more that a plumber has to spend there instead of moving on to another job. This saves them cents, and it saves them time.”
The new series consists of 10 different reducing tees in a variety of outlet configurations, from ½- to 2-inch diameter — the sizes most in demand, based on recent field research by Uponor. Made of a highly durable engineered polymer, the fittings will resist corrosion, withstand thousands of pounds of force, and handle the high temperatures found on many commercial projects.
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