Using copper piping for plumbing has been a mainstay since at least the 1940s. A marked improvement from old plumbing systems which may have contained lead components, copper is safe and durable. It’s also kind of a pain in the you-know-what. I mean that on multiple different levels: it’s time-consuming to install and it’s expensive compared to iron or PEX or CPVC. Historically, copper piping has been installed by using an open flame to sweat and solder sections together. That’s been changing though, with more plumbers opting to press fittings together with specialized tools. The new Milwaukee Press Tool, #2922-22, is the latest generation of these modern workhorses. In this installment of Tool News Nirvana, we’ll learn more about it and how it could improve your job site.
The Milwaukee Press Tool of the Future
As discussed briefly in the opener, sweating and soldering copper pipe has historically been somewhat challenging and potentially dangerous. Typically, the plumber has to use a propane or MAP gas torch to heat up the joint prior to introducing solder. This poses two problems. First, the presence of an open flame increases the risk of fire, especially as most plumbing is in close proximity to flammable materials like studs. Second, it can be tough to gauge how well the solder has been absorbed into a joint, making quality control difficult.
Within the past 30 or so years though, the tool industry has responded to these difficulties by developing battery-powered presses. So, instead of using flame and solder to create a tight joint, brute compressive force is now used. Basically, these press tools have a small, motor-driven hydraulic pump, which in turn drives a hydraulic piston either in or out. The piston engages, via rollers, with the jaws, which causes them to clamp down on and compress the fitting. This new Milwaukee press tool develops between 3 and 4 tons of compressive force, and other similar tools used in other industries can generate 12 or even 15 tons of force. It’s a lot of squeeze in the palm of your hand…I mean, just imagine the Moscow Mules you could make with these things!
An Intelligent Way to Press Fittings
Milwaukee has had cordless press tools on the market for more than 7 years now. They’ve also introduced accessories that make them compatible with popular fitting styles from most major manufacturers. With the new #2922-22 M18 Force Logic Press Tool though, they’ve added some serious brainpower in the form of One-Key™ connectivity. Now, the tool has some features that add to usability and quality control.
Prior to every press cycle, the tool performs a self-diagnostic check, where it confirms that it has enough battery power to complete a press. It also features a full open/close auto-cycle, with a complete connection being indicated by a green light. What makes this tool special, though, is the tracking functionality. Through One-Key™, the tool can automatically store and report data about each press that it makes. This makes it easy to keep a record of your work and provide any needed quality control data to plumbing inspectors. Also, due to the mesh-network that One-Key™ provides, the tool can be tracked across the job site or even disabled if necessary.
The M18 Force Logic Press Tool Kit w/ One-Key & 1/2″-2″ CTS Jaws features a powerful, efficient brushless motor. It supports over 20 types of fitting systems, making it adaptable for varied job sites. Due to the robust design of its internal components, the calibration interval is extended out to 50,000 cycles. Finally, since it’s an M18 tool, it can share batteries and chargers with the rest of the 200+ tools in that system.
The M18 Force Logic Press Tool Kit is available now.