In 2003, while attending ISH in Frankfurt, Germany, I saw numerous innovative products that impressed me with their potential to save installation-time. Cutting your labor-hours gives you a distinct advantage over your competition, lowers your job-cost and wins more bids. A number of companies, including Ridgid Tool Co., had press tools for copper potable water (and other) systems from ½-in. up to 4-in.
Upon returning to the USA, I sought out pricing for a Ridgid press-tool and as you might expect, sticker-shock set in. While putting together a bid for a Cheeseburgers in Paradise restaurant, I tallied up the total number of copper solder joints for all of the ½-in. to 2-in. copper fittings and the time required for each solder-joint. When compared to the time for pressing the same fittings and including the higher cost for press-fittings, it was blatantly obvious the cost to purchase was more than justified. Like any innovative product, as time goes by you realize the gains in jobs won far outweighs the upfront cost.
For example, downtime for hotels and other commercial applications when changing out large water heaters that have no isolation valves is dramatically reduced because you can press a valve onto the cut pipe while water is still draining.
ISH 2003 opened my eyes to new and exciting technology that offered breakthroughs in energy conservation: modulating-condensing boilers and ECM circulators. We had to wait a few years before those types of products became available on this side of the pond.
Gasketed PP (polypropylene) combustion venting, widely utilized in European countries, is just now beginning to gain traction here in the states. PVC for combustion venting has been outlawed in Canada — can the U.S. be far behind a similar measure? Plumbing drainage systems on display were also lightweight gasketed plastic. In downtown Frankfurt, a look inside a mechanical contractors van revealed they were utilizing these same timesaving gasketed tubing and fittings.
ISH 2015 did not disappoint where innovative timesaving products are seemingly at every twist and turn while wandering miles of aisles. Manufacturers are fine-tuning products to make them easier to install and programming more intuitive — all of which is designed to allow installers to save time and make more money. What’s not to like?
The PAW innovative system technology for hydronic heating, solar thermal systems and domestic hot water technology grabbed neatly captures exceptional quality and ahead-of-the-curve technology while enabling our jobs as installers to be completed if far less time.
Victor and Joe Waskiewicz head up the U.S.A. division of PAW and together we toured the booth to go over each of the available panels, manifold assemblies and piping strategies that all fit together in modular components. What often takes days to put together for the average installer who cobbles hydronic systems together can be accomplished in just a few hours using the PAW line. Time literally equals money, but contractors are sometimes put off by the upfront cost. Let’s take a look at a PAW 3-zone panel with hydraulic separator.
After collecting the components you have $1,562.48 invested. The PAW panel system cost is $1,559.82. We still need to install both and PAW suggests six hours for our cobbled-together components vs. 90-minutes for their component system installation.
Personally, I think they are being generous allotting only six hours to the cobbled together system. The time spent obtaining all those components, the fuel wasted driving to several supply houses, and if that were a solder-together system, with wiring thrown in you could easily suggest 18-hours vs. 90-minutes. And that assumes no leaks! Let’s say you charge $100 per hour.
The PAW system for this application saves your customer $450 to $1,650 and you win more competitive bids. Given the fact that profits are based on markup of materials while labor carries your overhead, you complete more jobs in the same time while giving a tasty boost to your profits!
As an added bonus, your work utilizes less real estate with friendly appliance-look cabinets instead of looking like the mission-control room at NASA, which is less intimidating to your customers. What’s not to like?
Victor and Joe introduced me to PAW GmbH & Co. owner Marc Pommerening who, after swearing me to secrecy, gave me a tour of their secured private area where products not yet available were on display. Select customers of PAW were provided access for advance orders. A security guard stood sentry each night to ensure no unauthorized entry would take place. Suffice it to say, these new products will be game-changers for the hydronics industry.
After meeting the assembled PAW team and sitting through a team-briefing, it became obvious why PAW holds a majority share of the European market for these types of products. With Victor and Joe at the helm of the U.S. PAW division, I know we are in good hands for inventoried product and service. For information on PAW visit: www.paw.eu/us/products/heating-engineering/produkte_heizungstechnik.php.
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