If you have the questions we have the answers right here.

Electrofusion Control Units
A range of electrical units used for joining pipes of all diameters commonly used in the gas and water industries.

Is a control box with a high I.P. code better than one with a mid number code?

Not necessarily, I.P. codes are generally applied to fixed objects, for example a high I.P. rating would be required for example by a permanently fixed box contaning power supplies for exterior lights, this would switch high levels of electrical power, and be fixed to an exterior wall or column exposed to all types of weather, whereas, a control box is only used irregularly and being easily transportable, can be moved undercover should local weather conditions dictate, additionally it is unlikely to be used in heavy rain or floods.

An I.P. rating of IP 55 (number 5 protection against objects as fine as dust with a limited level of intrusion, and number 5 protection against low pressure water sprayed in all directions,) should be ample for a portable control box.

In the technical data, what does the I.P. number mean?

The I.P. code is a 2 digit number, the first digit is a number between 0 to 6 and is the level of protection against intrusion of a solid (non liquid,) form afforded by the particular product, for example number 0 means no protection or unguarded, number 1 means protection against objects up to 50mm in size for example a hand and so on down to number 6 which means total protection from ingress of any solid form including dust.

The second digit is a number from 0 to 8 and is the level of protection against the entry of a liquid afforded by the object, for example number 0 means there is no protection, number 1 means protection against vertically falling water drops and so on down to number 8 which means total protection from intrusion after long term submersion in water under pressure.

Some fittings have 2 barcodes what is the other barcode?

The other barcode has traceability information regarding the raw material used and the place of manufacture of the fitting. The traceability barcode has a maximum of 26 characters. The fitting data barcode has a maximum of 24 characters.

What does the barcode do?

The barcode contains information in a format that can be understood by the control box after it has been scanned by a reader wand or scanner, the information is used by the control box to set the fusion time and record other data for example the fitting brand, size etc. The fitting data barcode has a maximum of 24 characters.

Why do my fitting connector plugs not fit the connector terminals on the fittings I am using?

Depending upon the brand of e/f fittings, the connector terminals could be either 4.0mm diameter or 4.7mm diameter, sets of fitting plug adapters are available to allow both sizes to be fused.

Can I purchase a control box that will fuse 40 and 80 volt fittings?

Yes, the Proxima Taurus range with 2 output connector chords will fuse both types of fitting.

I have an 80 volt only control box, can I use it with 40 volt fittings?

No an 80 volt control box should only be used with 80 volt fittings, in addition the fitting connector plugs will be larger and not connect securely to a 40 volt fitting.

Can I fit an extention cable to the power supply.

Yes providing the minimum size of the extension cable conductor wires is the same as the fixed power cable. The maximum length of an extention cable should be no longer than 10 metres.

If I unscrewed the control panel cover and left it open would that help?

At no time should the control box be opened except in a workshop by trained persons.

What can I do to cool down a control box that has overheated?

Disconnect the control box from the power supply and leave it in a cool place, out of direct sunlight if possible preferably with an airflow.

How can I prevent my fusion box from overheating?

Allow the control box an adequately cool down period between fusion cycles, avoid disconnecting the control box from the fitting, but disconnecting from the power supply till the end of the cooling time will help cooling, disconnect the control box from the power supply when not in use, avoid leaving the control box in direct sunlight or near to the exhaust when using a generator. Where a heat radiator is fixed to the enclosure, ensure that it is not obstructed or the fins are clogged with mud.

What makes a control box overheat?

The internal power transformer and regulators naturally produce heat when operating, the longer the box is supplying power, the warmer it becomes, also the more power it is supplying, for example when fusing a larger diameter coupler will also effect the temperature, in addition the local air temperature also has an effect.

Why does a control box temporarily shut down when it gets hot?

The control circuits inside the enclosure start to work erratically when the temperature of the components reaches around 70 degrees, to prevent bad fusion control or excessive/insufficient power being supplied to the fusion, internal safety features prevent the fusion cycle operating.

If I unscrewed the control panel cover and left it open would that help?

At no time should the control box be opened except in a workshop by trained persons.

Positioning Clamps
Our positioning clamps are designed to hold two or more pipes in place during the electrofusion process to avoid any movement caused by heat expansion or physical disturbance.

What can I do with excessive curvature?

Using 2 clamps or holding carriages each side of the fitting on a single base can help greatly in making a good joint.

How does a clamp work?

A positioning clamp holds the pipes each side of the joint assembly in a fixed position, therefore any movement or twisting on one side of the pipe is transmitted to the other side without disturbing the joint while it is in the cooling and solidification stage. A clamp will also help in assembling a joint made between lengths of curved pipe that have been stored on a coil of drum.

Using a clamp with curved pipe can help manage the curvature and hold the pipe and fittings in alignment.

Why is it advisable always to use a positioning clamp?

At the time of fusion between the pipe and fitting when heating power is being applied and for a time afterwards. The material forming the joint is a molten liquid, as the material starts to cool and solidify into a solid it should not be disturbed or the resulting joint may be imperfect.

Pipe Preparation Tools
Tools used for surface preparation prior to electrofusion jointing including surface scraping.

How should I use a re rounding clamp?

Fit the clamp to the out of round pipe near to the end that is to be assembled into the fitting, leave in position for a long as possible (minimum 10 minutes,) remove the re rounding clamp, scrape and prepare the pipe, assemble the joint as quickly and safely as possible, when fully assembled fit, joint into positioning clamp.

I do not have a re rounding clamp, can I force the fitting onto the pipe by hitting it with a hammer rather that obtaining a clamp?

No, using undue force can damage the fitting, also forced contact between the fitting and pipe can pull the thermal heating wire out of the inner wall of the fitting, this can result in a short circuit or other damaging occurance when the fusion cycle is started.

I have some pipe which is not round and it is very difficult to push into the fitting, can I use a rotary scraping tool?

Out of round (oval,) pipe should be treated with a re rounding clamp to temporarily return it to the correct shape before using a scraping tool and then assemble it into a fitting.

What must I do if, after being scraped the pipe is still too large to assemble into the fitting?

Providing you are certain that the pipe is being prevented from assembling into the fitting because it is slightly oversize and not because it is out of round (ovality,) then take a second pass with the scraping tool.

The pipe diameter will have been reduced by 0.8mm after the second pass.

How thick is the swarf (shavings) removed by a scraping tool?

The thickness of the swarf is the same as the depth of the cut of the tool, we set Caldervale Technology branded tools to remove a nominal depth of 0.2mm of material.

As the majority of scraping tools (except hand scraping tool,) rotate around the pipe, the diameter of the pipe being scraped reduces by 0.4mm for every pass of the tool.

Why is it important not to remove too much pipe?

Removing excessive pipe wall makes it undersize, this can prevent correct pressure build up inside the joint at the time of fusion, eventually producing a poor quality joint.

Why should I buy a rotary scraping tool when a hand scraping tool is much cheaper?

A hand scraping tool cannot control the depth of cut of the scraping operation, it is difficult to use underneath an already installed pipe leaving patches of un-scraped or flat areas which is a major cause of failed welds.

Why should I always scrape off the outer surface of the pipe before assembling it into a fitting and fusing it.

Failure to carry our adequate preparation will cause dirt, chemicals and other impurities to enter the fusion zone which can produce a poor quality joint.

Squeeze Tools
We manufacture both mechanical and hydraulic squeeze tools used to reduce the flow of liquids and gases in plastic pipes.

Can buffer stop plates of other pipe sizes or sdr rating be fitted to a squeeze tool?

Yes but they will probably be a special order.

Can I use a standard re rounding clamp to return the pipe to its original shape?

Using a standard nut cracker model re rounding clamp would probably work for pipes up to 50mm, for pipe sizes 63mm and greater it is necessary to use a Caldervale Technology after squeeze pipe reforming clamp.

Can I squeeze off pipe more than once at the same point?

This would be a decision of the pipe manfacturer, the likely answer would be no.

Do you offer a squeeze tool to close 125mm x sdr11 pipe?

Yes the 125mm Iron man squeeze tool with hydraulic power.

Why is the 125mm mechanical squeeze tool not suitable for use with 125mm x sdr 11 rated pipe?

We consider the 125mm x sdr11 pipe to be very difficult to close without power assistance.

Is all p/e pipe suitable for squeeze off?

Where there is any doubt about the suitability of a particular pipe, always contact the pipe manufacturer before starting.

What will happen if I set the buffer stop plates for the wrong pipe size or SDR rating?

Insufficient closure or over closure can occur if the buffer plates are set to the wrong pipe diameter or SDR rating.

What prevents a pipe temporarily closed with a hydraulic powered squeeze tool from leaking at the closure point if the hydraulic

All hydraulic squeeze tools are supplied with anti leak pins which should be screwed down to maintain the squeeze operation independent of the jack.

Are squeeze tools guaranteed to give 100% closure?

Caldervale Technology squeeze tools should give a good level of pipe closure, however where 100% closure is required against an open end, then a double squeeze using 2 squeeze tools approximately 6 pipe diameters apart should be used, to release any build up between the 2 squeeze tools a drain can be connected.

Where a section of pipe is to be removed for example to install a branch tee in a pipeline then a double squeeze off with 2 squeeze tools either side should be considered.

What will happen if I set a tool to the wrong sdr rating?

Insufficient squeeze or over squeeze dependent upon which way round the mistake was made.

How does the sdr rating effect the squeeze off tool?

For the same size pipe, sdr 11 pipe will require a larger amount of pressure to close than sdr 17 pipe as the walls are thicker, sdr 17 pipe will require longer travel of the closure squeeze bars on the tool as the distance between the inner pipe walls is greater.

What is the difference between sdr 11 and 17 pipe.

The sdr rating is the relationship between the thickness of the pipe wall and the pipe diameter, this means that sdr 11 pipe will have a thicker pipewall than sdr 17 pipe, this will usually mean that

(i) sdr 11 pipe has a higher pressure rating than sdr 17 pipe.

(ii) sdr 17 pipe has a bigger internal diameter (bore.)

Butt Welding Machines

How can I weld a Tee, Stub Flange or Elbow on a Gator machine?

The final pipe clamp can be removed from the chassis with a spanner and Allen socket wrench to allow the additional space needed.

Can I join different coloured pipes together?

There is no reason why this cannot be done providing the material, diameter and wall thickness are compatible, however it is not recommended.

What material can I join with a Gator?

In polyethylene, medium density MDPE 80, in high density HDPE 100 & PEX for any other material contact our technical department on (+44) 01246 264400

What range of pipe sizes will the different machines accommodate?

The Gator180 will join pipes within the range 63mm to 180mm. The Gator250 will join pipes within the range 250mm to 63mm, The Gator315 will join pipes within the range 315mm to 90mm and the Gator400 will join pipes within the range 400mm to 200mm.

Can I join pipes with different wall thicknesses or different SDR values?

Not recommended

How many reducing liners shells can be stacked at one time?

For gas pipe installation work, it is not recommended to use any more than 2 sets 

To save time can I release the pipe clamps before the cooling time is complete?

It is not recommended to make any changes to the pipe clamps prior to the completion of the cooling cycle as the machine will flag up and record a failed joint

How many complete joints will the memory of the machine hold?

The machines will retain many thousands of joint records, but it is recommended that the memory should be regularly backed up to a data stick or Caldersafe data recording system

How can I view the weld data or print it out?

Previous weld data can be viewed via the controller screen, or printed out using a separately purchased printer (available from your local Gator dealer,) alternatively the weld data can be transferred to a data stick or by Bluetooth using an internal module and a mobile telephone and being transmitted to an external receiver through the Caldersafe Mobile app. where it can be viewed though the Caldersafe data viewer

Why must I make a “dummy” joint at the start of each day?

This is proven to be good practise as dust and other materials can settle on the heater plate when it is not in use and affect the first joint if it is not cut out, there is an option in the computer which forces the machine to make a dummy joint at the start of each day or if the heater plate drops below a preset temperature value, when this occurs it is recorded as a “dummy” joint and not as a weld failure in the machine data memory

Can I make a joint with pipe contaminated with mud, dirt, oil etc.

No contamination from dirt/dust/pollen/oil even touch are the main causes of joint failure. The pipe should be relatively clean (inside and out) before starting a joint. The butt fusion machine should be ideally sat on a board and in a shelter to prevent wind chill/rain. The trimmed faces should not be touched or wiped. Pipe shavings should be pulled downwards out of the machine to minimise contamination.

What if the pipes are not cut straight is that a problem?

The straighter the pipe is cut the less trimming is required. The trim cycle can be repeated for badly cut pipe. For pipes with very square cut neat ends minimum trim is required.

When can I finish the trim cycle?

As soon as a continuous ribbon is being produced on both pipe ends the trim cycle can be concluded at the discretion of the operator.

How often is a service or calibration recommended?

By default we recommend the machine is serviced every 3000 welds or 12 months whichever comes sooner. However these values can be changed depending on local conditions or even turned off. A countdown to the next service is displayed on screen.

How long does a butt fusion joint take?

It depends on the diameter, wall thickness and joining standard. The more plastic there is to join the longer the cooling cycle will generally be. Trimming depends on how well the pipe has been cut. For example, 250mm pipe assuming the heater is already at temperature the process start to finish might take approx. 20 mins (including approx. 15mins of cool time).

How strong is a butt fused joint?

For the technically minded, the joint interface at temperature allows the polymer strings to cross and knit to become a homogenous continuous piece of plastic. As there is a bead produced simultaneously on the inside and outside of the pipe, and therefore an increase in wall thickness, the joint should be stronger than the original pipe wall.

What should I clean the heater plates with?

Dummy joints should be made before commencing to weld each day, to clean the heater surface plates. Plain alcohol wipes can be used (when the heater is cool) but this is not recommended. The plates should not be touched and kept covered by the heater guards.

Who do I call when there is a problem?

Technical support at Fusion Equipment Ltd on (+44) 01246 264400 or your local supplier

Do you offer training?

 Yes although there is normally a charge for this service, please contact (+44) 01246 264400 or your local supplier.

Where can I get my machine repaired or serviced?

Please contact (+44) 01246 264400 for the location of your local service centre.

What size generator do you recommend?

Recommended minimum generator sizes can be found on the website and in the machine handbook under machine specifications.

How long will a machine last?

Some of our machines are still in regular use despite being over 20yrs old. Machines can easily last 10 years or more if well maintained.

What is the difference between an automatic, semi-automatic and manual butt fusion machine.

The definition can vary. A manual machine generally requires the operator to set trimming, joining and cooling pressures as well as removing the heater. The chassis can be controlled by a hand pump although these days most have an electro/hydraulic pump unit. A data logger can be bought to monitor key points of the time/pressure joint. An automatic machine simply requires the heater to be ejected automatically and the pipes to be brought together within the joining standards time. Gator goes much further by taking operator best practice such as automatically feathering off during the trim cycle, continuously monitoring time, pressure and movement to get a consistent reliable joint every time. Cooling times for example cannot be cut short, pipe slippage would be flagged up and the time for the heater to be removed and pipe ends being brought together is generally under 2 seconds rather than 10 seconds for a manual machine minimising contamination.

What can I do when the heater plate surfaces eventually become marked with pipe rings?

The heater surface plates can be replaced as they are exchangeable with new or refurbished ones, it is not necessary to take the complete unit out of service for long periods.