Plastic pipe manufacturer Uponor North America has introduced new products for commercial applications in the United States.
The Apple Valley, Minn.-based company is offering a mechanical piping system for commercial HVAC projects and Uponor Construction Services, which supports the design and installation of the company's systems.
The two products were unveiled in a 90-minute virtual event for installers and promoted ahead of the virtual International Builders' Show (IBS X), which had technical problems during its Feb. 9-12 online trade show.
The mechanical system uses pipe made of polypropylene random copolymer with modified crystallinity and temperature resistance (PP-RCT). Uponor says the material has higher temperature and pressure ratings than polypropylene random copolymer (PP-R) pipe as well as lower levels of expansion and contraction.
PP-RCT is suitable for commercial hydronic heating, chilled-water cooling, and distribution piping for radiant heating and cooling applications, including snow melt, turf conditioning and permafrost prevention.
Uponor entered the North American PP-RCT market in September 2019 through a partnership with San Diego-based Pestan North America. The agreement names Uponor as the exclusive distributor of PNA's proprietary PP-RCT in North America.
Uponor now markets about 270 pipe and fitting products in the U.S. in sizes up to 12 inches in diameter. The company plans to expand up to 24 inches. Uponor PP-RCT pipe and fittings come protected by a 10-year warranty.
Uponor says the material is 80 percent lighter than steel pipe, which makes it easier and safer to install compared with metallic pipe systems. The material also offers higher resistance to corrosion, rust and scale buildup and quieter operation than metallic piping materials. In addition, Uponor says contractors will be able to bid projects with more certainty because plastic piping offers more stable pricing vs. market changes for alternative piping materials.
Uponor also set up training and technical support — both online as well as a nationwide network of in-person sales professionals — to help contractors learn about the PP-RCT system. The training covers pipe connections with special heat-fusion equipment through a partnership with fusion equipment manufacturer McElroy Manufacturing.
President Bill Gray said Uponor has the tools to help installers master best practices for both PP-RCT and PEX piping systems and keep their projects on schedule and within budget.
For example, since the partnership with Pestan in 2019, Uponor has provided PP-RCT piping systems and design expertise for several commercial projects. One of the largest to date was a hybrid snow-melt system for a 305-foot pedestrian bridge at a Utah university. The project called for 1,900 feet of Uponor PP-RCT and 36,000 feet of Wirsbo-brand PEX pipe.
With estimated sales of $325 million, Uponor is the 13th-largest pipe, profile and tubing producer in North America, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.