Let's know the operation and characteristics of mechanical slotted systems for air conditioning.
By Luis Henao *
If you do not know the grooved mechanical pipe joining systems, you probably do not know the positive benefits that can result in your final result. The method of joining by slotted pipes has been changing the way the contractor does business in the course of more than 95 years, however, this method of joining pipes is still not fully known, or is misunderstood in certain sectors of the segment of commercial construction See any of the fire protection systems in commercial buildings and you will notice that slotted systems are the preferred joining method, but look at the climate systems, and alternative joining methods will often be found.
For those air conditioning systems that employ alternate joining methods, there is an opportunity to save time and potentially increase profitability by using slotted mechanical systems when possible. Contractors using slotted mechanical systems are able to complete new projects or refurbishment work more quickly, while helping to maintain worker safety and contribute to the overall sustainability objectives of the building. The multiple benefits that are obtained through the use of slotted pipes can easily become a competitive advantage, an advantage absolutely worthy of the attention of a contractor.
Introduction to slotted pipes
The method of joining pipes is an important factor when designing and installing a system. Prior to choosing the joining method, it is important to take into account several factors, including the installation conditions, the project schedule, the available job skills and the tool requirements, as well as taking into account other design and construction considerations.
Each of these elements impacts on which pipe method is the most appropriate. The main methods of joining carbon steel and stainless steel pipes in the commercial air conditioning market are welding, flange, threading and, of course, grooving. As each project has its own particular set of challenges, it is necessary that each one take into account the best possible solution for that application. In the case of air conditioning systems, the opportunities to use slotted systems are numerous, but the concept / methodology and the benefits they can provide are not as widely known.
A grooved pipe joint is made up of four elements: the grooved pipe, the gasket, the coupling segments and the nuts and bolts. Slotted pipe joints can use one of two basic coupling styles: flexible or rigid. The flexible couplings allow a limited amount of angular and longitudinal movement, while the rigid ones have angled bolted locks that produce a rigid connection and do not allow movement between the ends of the tubes. There are benefits in both rigid and flexible styles: rigid couplings can be used wherever immobility is required at the pipe joint, similar to a flanged or welded joint.
Flexible couplings are able to handle thermal expansion and contraction of the pipeline, differential settlement between structures, attenuate vibrations in the pipeline and accommodate seismic movement, and as such, are ideal wherever movement is likely, such as joints around the equipment connections, changes in the direction and expansion / seismic joints of the building.
Construction programs increasingly reduced
Nowadays, the programs and times in the construction projects are increasingly adjusted, reason for which the management of the same and the fulfillment of critical dates are not only a priority, but also critical elements directly related to the success and the profitability of the project. The ease and speed with which grooved mechanical piping systems are installed is the way in which the contractor makes a positive impact on the final result of the project and thus gains a competitive advantage.
Slotted pipe joints are easy to assemble. They do not need flame, heat, or specialized tools, and some manufacturers provide grooved couplings that do not have torque requirements. Standard slotted couplings can be up to five times faster to join than welded joints and up to three times faster than flanged joints.
Although the initial cost of the materials of a grooved mechanical pipe system may be greater than other pipe joining methods, the grooved systems serve to decrease the total cost of installation because they reduce the working time, which turns out to be the main one. variable cost in the field.
Greater security in the works
The grooved pipe is not only easy and quick to install, it is also much safer than any other joining method. Slotted mechanical piping systems are installed without the need for a flame, and this eliminates the fire hazards typically associated with welding. Welding is one of the most dangerous industrial activities, in the sense that they are dangerous because of the risk of fire, electric shock, compressed gases and toxic fumes.
Therefore, when welding, it is necessary to have personal protection for the eyes, hands, feet and body. Welding activities also require fire monitoring during and after work, which can delay the construction program and increase costs.
The safety of the installers in the works is always of the utmost importance; however, it becomes an even more critical aspect in expansion and / or reconditioning projects where there are buildings such as hospitals or schools that can remain open and in operation during the construction stage. Mechanical grooved pipes can reduce risks to workers, as in the case of refurbishment or expansion projects, and building tenants.
Really sustainable projects
The slotted joint technology is based on sustainability; Its inherent qualities make it by nature, respectful with the environment. Slotted mechanical piping systems reduce or eliminate waste, emissions and noise pollution in the workplace considerably, and this in turn leads to a much safer and healthier environment.
A grooved mechanical pipe joint does not require the use of electricity during installation, which reduces the consumption of energy resources. Pipes joined by welding require large amounts of electricity for extended periods of time. In addition, the quality of indoor and outdoor air is preserved because there are no fumes or particles that endanger the worker or the environment. By eliminating these harmful emissions, air pollution is reduced, and with this a more sustainable and safe environment is achieved during construction, maintenance or expansion.
The air conditioning system, one of the main energy consumers within a building, requires regular maintenance to ensure efficient operation of the building. The sustainable nature of grooved mechanical piping systems can help reduce the environmental impact of structures, as well as increase efficiency over the life of the building.
Mechanical pipe joining systems offer an optimal way to efficiently maintain piping systems in structures, and this reduces the postponement of maintenance, promotes operational efficiency and saves money.
Each grooved joint is a point of access to the system, and allows quick and easy routine maintenance, as well as system expansion and subsequent reconditioning. To enter a system in a grooved joint, it is enough for the worker to loosen two nuts and bolts and remove the segments and the gasket. A flanged connection, with its multiple bolts, is tedious and takes more time to disassemble and reassemble compared to slotted joint.
Finally, flexible couplings reduce noise and vibrations transmitted to the pipeline from pumps, chillers and other equipment. This attenuation of the vibration is achieved because the elastomeric packing goes through the ends of the pipe, being in contact with the coupling segment, the wedges of the segments float in the grooves, the ends of the pipe are separated and the iron housing ductile runs with a higher damping coefficient. The use of flexible couplings around equipment connections can eliminate the need for vibration attenuation devices such as rubber bellows and flexible braided connectors.
Many mechanical contractors have made the switch to grooved mechanical piping when it is appropriate for the ease and speed of installation, apart from being much safer for the worker and the people in the surroundings, and provide sustainable benefits of greater duration, all aspects that can positively impact the final result of the contractor.
* Luis Henao is the regional manager of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America of Victaulic.