Smart Solutions

Danforth Cuts Material, Labor Costs Using Viega MegaPress System for Black Pipe

Using black iron pipe for Buffalo General Hospital’s expansion project saved John W. Danforth Company material costs, while the new Viega MegaPress® carbon steel pipe joining system helped them make clean, consistent black iron pipe connections. Rich Mueller, Danforth’s project manager, said Danforth saved money in two different ways by installing Viega MegaPress. “First, we saved on the cost of the black pipe compared to the copper. And second, we saved on labor by using pressing instead of threading the black pipe.”

Buffalo General Hospital is a 501-bed, acute care medical center located in downtown Buffalo, NY. It recently expanded its medical imaging capabilities, adding MRI and CAT scan equipment in the basement level of its facility. The hospital selected Danforth to handle the piping for its new heating and chilled water system. Danforth installed 200 feet of two-inch black iron pipe and around 20 reheat coils.

Viega MegaPress Saves Time

Scott Metro, Danforth’s general foreman, explained that the project involved transporting steam to a set of heat exchangers to make hot water. The installers made the hot water connection off the heat exchangers and ran it to all the components of the system, such as the pumps and an air separator.

“Normally, it would have been an all-copper job using pipe that was two inches and under,” Metro said. “The Viega rep introduced us to Viega MegaPress, and we really liked it. The materials savings helped us out enormously.”

Viega MegaPress systems are the only carbon steel press fittings for use in both water and gas applications. Available in sizes from one half to two inches, Viega MegaPress allows installers to make secure, consistent black iron pipe connections in less than seven seconds.

“The speed aspect of Viega MegaPress over threading is definitely a plus,” Metro said. “A while ago, we did a shutdown at a different hospital where we had to thread one-and-one-half-inch black pipe that was up in the air. We would have sped up the process if we could have pressed it. The job was spread out over two weekends. If we had used the Viega MegaPress system, we probably could have finished everything in just one weekend.”

Clean Process, Easy Installation

As much time as Danforth saved by installing Viega MegaPress, Metro believes that the most convincing reason to choose the new carbon steel fitting system is cleanliness.

“You can’t be clean enough when working in a hospital,” Metro said. “Pressing eliminates the oil mess, because there’s no need to thread the pipe. With threading, oil can drip onto the floors when you’re carrying the pipe. You have to stuff rags in the pipe ends to keep the oil inside. There’s no need for that with Viega MegaPress.”

Safety and ease of installation were two more reasons Danforth chose the Viega MegaPress system. Some of the pipes were located 16 feet above the floor, making them difficult to reach.

“First, we saved on the cost of the black pipe compared to the copper. And second, we saved on labor by using [the Viega MegaPress] instead of threading the black pipe.”

— Rich Mueller, project manager, John W. Danforth Company

Viega MegaPress system. Some of the pipes were located 16 feet above the floor, making them difficult to reach.

“There were multiple layers of pipe up there,” Metro said. “When you’re up that high with pipe wrenches, you tend to work a bit slower. Some fitters aren’t physically built to pull on those big wrenches. With pressing, it doesn’t matter how strong you are. You just pull the trigger on the pressing tool and the connection is done.”

For Mueller, the biggest benefit of installing Viega MegaPress is the ability to connect black iron pipe without draining the system completely.

“In the past, we’d have to try to solder the pipe with a stream of water coming through it,” Mueller said. “With pressing, after you make your cut, you just slide an open Viega valve on and let the water flow into a garbage can. You make the connection with the pressing tool and shut off the valve. Then you can finish the rest of the work.”

The flameless aspect of Viega press technology also made a huge difference to Mueller and his team, because Viega MegaPress can be joined without flame. “The tool does the same exact connection for every joint,” Mueller said. “You don’t have to worry about over-tightening and cracking the fittings or cutting a thread too deep or too shallow.”

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