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viega [not] bagging press sleeves (4 Posts)
viega [not] bagging press sleevesdon't know if this is old news although I couldn't find any references when searching.
I've been using the viega press sleeves for water and heat connections for about 4 years I think.
They had a good rebate on the 1/2 and 3/4" tool set and I think I got the pair for $100.
It might have been $200 but pretty cheap compared to what they want these days.
Like many folks on the wall from the posts I did find searching on the topic, if you are going to use a crimp system, this is perhaps the most convenient and reliable.
So I got a job with a bunch of 3/8" connections and I decided it was time to branch out and maybe get a 3/8 and 1" tool to finish filling the box I got with my first purchase that has the blow molded spots just waiting for them.
After I got over the sticker shock of what they wanted for a 1" crimper ($339 was the best I found - but obviously I got a good deal on the pair in the box so I was spoiled) since I don't find the system prevalent among the plumbing distributors in southern new england or on the internet, I thought I'd cal veiga and just make sure they weren't phasing out these crimps and joining the more universally available crimp world.
I didn't know at the time I started looking into this yesterday, because my regular counters don't carry viega, that they have started selling loaded fittings, i.e. with the shields already in place. So it seems like they are committed to the format, but there is a caveat here.
They are no longer going to sell press sleeves separately.
Of course I invested in this system when that was all you could get. And like many folks in the industry I know, I mix and match crimps and fittings. I know that means that you don't get a 'warranty' but all my work is in house - I'm the warranty - and 5 years of nary a drip has me feeling reasonably secure in this approach, not to mention that I see this approach taken in the field by industry professionals as well. This was mentioned on another thread here 3 or 4 years ago and the poster said something to the effect that viega would throw a hissy fit, but the sleeves and fittings are interchangeable. I use them on my older polybeautiful installs as well on the rare occasions I need to make a join (with PB fittings of course)
Well Viega is fighting back. guess they want to sell fittings and only selling them loaded is how they think they are going to do it.
When I spoke to the local sales manager for our area he acted like - everybody has know this for a year and a half. this is old news. The factory is selling out all the sleeves they have on the shelf but when they are gone you won't get any more.
So I head on down to local supplier to buy a decade supply of press sleeves while i wait for this to sort itself out or the patent to expire so somebody might make generics and the supplier wants to know why I want to buy 2000 rings. So I figured he knew they aren't going to sell them anymore. The sales manager told me everybody knew. He says no, they told us when they came out with these loaded fittings that they are going to continue to support loose sleeves as well. And to add irony to their lack of knowledge as a distributor of what viega was up to, the viega regional sales manager used to work for them.
Now I know viega wants to sell fittings and if they want to take their ball and bat and go home relative to us early adopters who don't feel like paying 3 times as much for a loaded fitting, well, that's their option.
When put on the spot by a couple plumbers round here I got worked up about this, some folks at viega say they aren't 'discontinuing' these rings for a couple of years and that makes sense because some of their valves aren't even available loaded yet. But the person I talked to said they are only selling what is on the shelf. Maybe those two representations are not incompatible in that they may believe that the stock they have on the shelf serves two years of demand, but they are out of 1" sleeves at the factory so no more will be available to distributors according to the woman I talked to. That is pretty important information for me when I was about to drop $350 bucks on a 1" crimper.
And, of course, I wonder how long that stock is going to last when everybody figures out the jig is up. In appreciation of the help, comradeship, and thoughtless . . . eer I mean thoughtful . . . critique I've found on heating help over the years, wanted to make sure this audience is at least in the loop in case you want to start hoarding.
If anyone has any other info, and the folks I talked to were smoking crack or something even though they answered the phone at Viega, by all means chime in.
one plumber I know said he had seen a vanguard sleeve that looked similar to the viega sleeve at a trade show. I did find a picture online of a sleeve that has numerous inspection holes around the top rim of the thimble as opposed to the single hole high on the side of the viega sleeve, however this picture was virtually free floating out there on google. can't find these for sale anywhere. and couldn't find them when searching vanguardth. if they exist somewhere might be an alternative.
FittingsIt's easier to stock the fittings with the sleeve pre-installed. It's not a conspiracy. The fittings also have an indicator that's removed after pressing. I don't find the pricing very different and there's convenience in not having technicians loose the sleeves, or wonder if you've ordered the right amount of sleeves vs. the fittings.
never said it was a conspiracy . . .just poor corporate communication.
i can see why some find the loaded fittings attractive regardless of price difference, but a nonloaded 1/2" elbow cost me 60 cents and two sleeves adds 50 cents.
the cheapest I can find a loaded elbow is $3.20 thats almost 3 times as much. I see advantages to the loading but not at those multiples.
the new plastic loaded fittings are cheaper, $1.54 for 1/2" elbow. This suggests that viega is making a pretty good mark-up on the metal in the loaded metal fittings costing twice as much. And the viega rep suggested he wouldn't use the plastic fittings in heating service even though they are theoretically rated for it.
I'm not opposed to plastic. It solves corrosion issues and I've noted some erosion on fittings in service in acid water at one of our properties over time that has made me wonder when they were going to get around to plastic again after the PB debacle. But if the loaded plastic from viega is half the price of the loaded brass then an unloaded plastic fitting on the generic market would be less as well. given how cheap the metal ones are already, the potential for savings compared to viega's loaded fittings is going to be less but still noticeable, maybe more on the order of 50 cents instead of 2 bucks.
so you count up the fittings on a big job and the labor savings and quality control, these fittings might be worth it, but of course I would still like to have spare press sleeves around anyway for oddball fittings and the like not to mention that I'd probably not be an early adopter of plastic in heating service.
If the loaded fittings are easier and labor saving then they shouldn't be discontinuing the sleeves -- you can't stock all the fittings loaded, they don't even make their whole line loaded yet, and inevitably you may end up with some custom fittings or undersink valves or manifolds or . . . where you prefer another manufacturer but you would like to keep the crimping uniform.
It is one thing if viega says they are discontinuing the shields because nobody buys them, but the distributor that i use says lots of guys continue to use the shields as well as loaded fittings and he doesn't like the idea of not having them available and above all this was not communicated to him by the viega sales manager who used to work with him. in fact he understood just the opposite, that the stand alone sleeves would continue to be available.
that ain't exactly good corporate communication if you ask me.
it's one thing to have a sales meeting and encourage people to market the loaded fittings. cool, that's what I would do if I were viega. but this thing about discontinuing the sleeves and not telling anyone is a different kind of a hedge.
I'm already sensitive to this kind of thing with Bostitch where they make nails I want and then discontinue them. and if I had know I would have put 10 cases on the shelf to last me but I got back a year later and can't buy the nails which often were the reason I got into their products in the first place.
No Lead rules effect priceIt is the new metal formula not the loaded sleeves that raised the cost. BTW we are not suppose to discuss specific pricing on here. I prefer Viega but also use Uponor.Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.
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