Double interview with the product managers of SANHA.

As a manufacturer of fittings, SANHA has already built up a vast portfolio of different series. With the new size 2 5/8", the RefHP series has been expanded once more. These copper-iron soldering fittings were specially developed for use in high-pressure cooling systems. Valérie Matthys (27) and Mathias Van den Broeck (30) together form the young and dynamic heart of the product management team within SANHA. In this double interview they explain what makes the RefHP fittings so unique.

What is your role within SANHA?

Mathias: "I have been working for the SANHA group as Product Manager since 2012. Valérie completed the product management team two years ago. We manage the complete product portfolio, perform market and product analyses, provide solid training and we monitor all projects centrally as a link between the market, our development departments, production, marketing and sales. Since the beginning of last year, I am also responsible as Business Development Manager for the SANHA group.”

Which target group and applications are intended with the RefHP soldering fittings?

Mathias: "The RefHP series consists of solder fittings made of copper-iron. In the alloy, iron was added to the copper to make the material harder and more robust, allowing higher pressures to be achieved than standard copper. The fittings have been specially developed for use in high pressure (CO2) cooling systems up to 130 bar. With this series, we want to appeal mainly to the refrigeration industry. In particular, we focus with this series on installers and manufacturers of commercial and industrial refrigeration systems. We also see strong growth in this market towards CO2 systems and applications at 80 and 90 bar.”

Is there a reason why CO2 refrigeration systems are becoming more and more popular?

Valérie: "There are several explanations for this. CO2 is very attractive from an energy point of view compared to conventional refrigerants. Huge energy savings can be achieved. CO2 also provides stable performance with high heat output and no temperature fluctuations. There is also the phasing out of F-gases. F-gases have a very high GWP value (Global Warming Potential) and therefore have a major (negative) influence on global warming. The use of gases with a high GWP value will be banned from 2020 and further phase-outs will follow in the coming years. CO2 has a GWP of 1 and therefore offers an ideal, green 'future-proof' solution."

Why was the dimension 2 5/8'' introduced, as this is quite an investment?

Mathias: "SANHA came on the market 5 years ago with the RefHP soldering fittings as an alternative to K65. In the meantime, these fittings have become an established value that we supply to almost all major supermarket chains and OEM unit manufacturers. Previously the portfolio was already expanded with the size 2 1/8", especially at the request of manufacturers of refrigeration units. Originally, we thought this was a niche market, but the size appears to be very popular. The installations are getting bigger and bigger and the demand for more cooling capacity is increasing, which automatically led to the demand for the specific size 2 5/8". With these installations there is otherwise a need for two supply lines of 2 1/8". With the new products in the range, this cooling capacity can be met with one line."

Valérie: "Fortunately, thanks to our own development team and production here in Ternat, we were able to respond very quickly to this market demand. It is not an easy measure to produce because of the enormous wall thickness. Thanks to our own mechanical engineering we are able to provide the necessary power in the machines. We see that competitors do not have that possibility and therefore offer alternatives in brass. Soldering brass unfortunately has disadvantages compared to copper-iron. Brass needs to be heated more slowly and carefully, which saves 25% of the time when using our RefHP fittings. Brass must also be soldered with a higher silver content than copper iron, making it more expensive."

Mathias: "In order to provide the customer with a complete solution, installation pipes are of course required in addition to fittings. We immediately contacted the various pipe suppliers and they too were able to implement this project in a very short period of time."

Why would installers choose RefHP soldering fittings instead of TIG welding?

Mathias: "The advantages of soldering over TIG welding are considerable. First and foremost, there is the time-saving aspect. Soldering is much easier than TIG welding and is 2.5 times faster. There is also the cost-saving aspect. TIG-welders are much more expensive in hourly wages than employees who can solder. Because soldering is faster, the total labour cost per hour is also much lower. On top of that comes the annual expensive and time-consuming training that TIG-welders have to follow. Finally, many companies do not employ TIG welders, which forces them to work with subcontractors. These costs disappear with the use of our RefHP soldering fittings."

What makes RefHP special compared to similar fittings of competitors?

Valérie: "Where K65 fittings are compatible with the Wieland K65 tube, our RefHP fittings are compatible with all copper-iron tube types available on the market. This offers the customer extra flexibility. We guarantee a perfect connection with both HALCOR - TALOS XS, Wieland - K65 and HME - CL12 pipes. In addition, we also offer the largest range. Our range has all kinds of special sizes and shapes, such as reduction elbows, extensions, reduction T-pieces to ¼" for measuring tools, you name it, SANHA has it."

If you have any questions for Valérie & Mathias, please contact them: