The Evolution of Push-fit

PBPSA member company RWC/John Guest, takes a look at how innovations in push-fit technology continue to positively impact the industry, despite recent challenges.

Innovation, transformation, change - however you choose to describe it, making dramatic improvements to materials, products, and installation techniques can help us move towards a new, better world.

Article: HVP September 2022_p.55

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But we know that for innovation to make an impact, it needs to begin with a true understanding of our customers. What are the challenges they face daily? What is the market lacking in terms of products and solutions? How can we solve these to help make our customers’ lives easier?

To truly build a new, better world that’s sustainable and efficient, manufacturers need to keep pushing and making changes to their products and processes.

RWC’s John Guest invented the first plastic push-fit concept for compressed air in 1973, which has revolutionised the way connections are made in many industries, including plumbing and heating, where the technology is known as ]G Speedfit.

From an increase in the expectation to complete jobs more efficiently, to a focus on sustainability and skill shortages across the industry, there are many reasons push-fit continues to make an impact.

The growing importance of Push-fit

During the pandemic, many people invested more money into their homes, from redesigning bedrooms and gardens, to extensive kitchen and bathroom renovations. Push-fit connectors can help make plumbing and heating works more efficient, enabling installers to keep up with this increased demand.

In addition, push-fit connectors and pipes are typically made from plastic, which can be less noisy in-situ than some traditional materials that can respond differently to vibration within the system.

For professional plumbing and heating installers, push-fit is more trusted than ever before. The efficiency that push-fit allows means professionals can be more productive, take on more jobs, and save money on expensive installation tools. Since they don’t require using a flame to solder joints or the use of flux and glues, push-fit connections can be safer for plumbers and reduce the risk of damaging the surroundings.

Between skilled workers retiring and not enough people joining the industry, there is a growing shortage of plumbing and heating professionals. This is why innovations, like push-fit, are more important than ever.

The technology has been designed to be simple to put together, enabling straightforward installations, so more tradespeople can be assigned simple jobs, without the need to learn new, complex techniques.

On top of skill shortages, the industry is under growing pressure to make sustainable improvements. Between the government’s ‘Build Back Better’ strategy and homeowners being more fuel conscious, every product and process needs to be evaluated to see if it’s a sustainable solution.

One of the products currently considered a greener alternative to our current central heating systems is underfloor heating (UFH), which is compatible with push-fit connectors.

Plastic push-fit solutions are more efficient to manufacture and transport than other materials, and are more resistant to the biofilm that can gather in pipework, meaning they need less regular cleaning and are also more efficient over a longer period of time.

Changing the game for newbuild housing

Push-fit has been impacting many industries, but it’s proved a revelation for the domestic sector, particularly newbuilds.
As installing push-fit connectors doesn’t require hot works or a naked flame, it means no additional permits are required because the work doesn’t impact on the environment where it takes place.

With sustainability at the forefront of the minds of homeowners, plumbing and heating installers, and the government, it’s no surprise that the UFH market is set to grow. And, with it, there will be an increase in push-fit connectors in homes as plastic fittings are exclusively used in the installation of UFH and connection of the flexible plastic pipe systems to manifolds. For example, the push-fit concept is integral to RWC’s JG Underfloor range of UFH solutions, helping installations happen quickly and efficiently.

Looking forward

To truly work towards a new, better world, we can’t settle. That’s why manufacturers, such as RWC, are constantly looking to evolve their products and their processes. There are skilled people working in research and development, and product management to bring the latest advancement into reality.

We will continue to innovate in the plumbing and heating sector; within the many other industries we have already made a difference, as well as new ones we are yet to explore. With push-fit, the sky is the limit.

John Guest Speedfit