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A few weeks back, I attended the Milwaukee show in Wisconsin along with the rest of the tool-writing press. There were tons of great new things rolling around — however, the one that got very little attention and should have is the new M12 2432-22 Pex tool.

I’ll admit that when I heard about Milwaukee’s partnership with Uponor a while back, I was completely unenthused. I shouldn’t have been. As any number of articles and press releases have stated, the M12 Pex tool aims at replacing the Manual Pex tubing tool and beats the hell out of the old 18v unit that Uponor currently has. It’s smaller and runs on the M12 system, which will get you loads of tubing joints on one charge. In short, it’s sweet.

They way it works is very simple. The nose fits into the end of the pex tube and, with a push of the button, the tubing expands to accept the coupling. Depending on the ambient temperature, you have about 10 to 45 seconds to shove a fitting into the newly-expanded hole; the pex will shrink to form a very secure seal around the new fitting. Installing a fitting takes less than a minute, and about half of that is just waiting for the pex to do its thing — not too shabby.

What you don’t hear is why this should be scary to other tool manufacturers.

What Milwaukee has done here is look at one of the most successful makers of a plumbing tubing product (in this case Uponor) that is going into millions of build sites and then custom-tailored a tool to completely take any hassle out of the install process.

“Sure, tool companies make tools like this all the time,” you say. True — but what some folks might be missing is that this is going to work all the way through the supply chain. Now Uponor doesn’t have to make the old ghetto-fabulous 18v model, which saves them time and cash in development when they can simply recommend that you get the Milwaukee model in their documentation. Installers and DIYers alike can purchase a tool custom-built to work absolutely perfectly with their product — and it does: We hand our hands on it. Plus, Milwaukee has the throughput and R&D to back up whatever Uponor may come up with in the future.

This is the very essence of a strategic partnership. It’s not just a tool that’s designed to work with a product. It’s a tool designed with the manufacturer of that product to merge in lockstep with the process and make everyone involved in that process happier with the end result — and it’s supported at both ends by both Uponor and Milwaukee.

It will run you $400 and be available very soon, so it’s pretty much a contractor-level investment. We’ll update you with more information when it becomes available. What’s clear to us now is that Milwaukee is pulling focus very tightly into certain areas and making very elegant solutions to pro-level difficulties.

M12 2432-22 Pex Tool [Milwaukee]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 

13 Responses to Milwaukee’s M12 Pex Tool And Why You Should Care

  1. Dan Richards says:

    I don’t know why I’m surprised this tool is $400. Maybe because I’m still not taking 12v tools seriously in my mind somewhere. I kinda expected this to cost the same as renting a PEX tool to buy the bare tool, no kit no box no batteries.

    I love PEX, re-did my buddy’s whole ranch in red and blue last year, it was definitely the easiest plumbing job I’ve ever done that was more serious than replacing a showerhead. Of course, there’s not a lot of copper in a ranch but that made the project really approachable for us. We’d seen PEX on the TV but it was our first time using it and aside from a few boogered up ends as we got going there were no issues.

  2. fred says:

    Most of the PEX tubing that I’ve seen in Home Centers has been the variety that uses crimped Oetiker, swaged or most recently shark bite style fittings. We have used Oetiker and swaged fittings in the past but have yet to try the shark-bite system. I’ve seen the Zurn/Qest variety of swaging tools and fittings quite a bit – but never the Wirsbo-Uponor product in either HD or Lowes. I’m a fan of and prefer to install the Uponor product – not only because they offer professional training but it has a long track record of good service in Europe. Their fittings do not require you to use a go-no-go gauge to insure proper make-up – or a “full-cycle crimp-up tool that you might use to insure an Oetiker Clamp is properly made-up. Their hand tool expansion cones used to have one flaw in that if not carefully used would leave an internal ridge in the PEX. This was solved a while back with a rotating mechanism that insures a smooth expansion. The Uponor tools, however, are not cheap

    http://www.pexsupply.com/pex/control/category/~category_id=26/~refine=200026+10023

    and this Milwaukee tool would actually seem to offer a cheaper alternative. Since we have standardized on the M12 line for our compact tools – I plan on buying this tool and giving it a trial.

  3. Mr.Miz says:

    I paid around 500 bucks to have the plumbing for my bathroom run about 10 feet away from the manifold. They used PEX and I have done some PEX work myself with the zurn crimp types. It’s incredibly easy however if the crimp tools get off even a little you start having problems. This tool will greatly simplify plumbing especially for people like me who just need to make it easy and save as much on labor as possible.

  4. Brau says:

    Re-plumbed my entire house in PEX. Love it! The cost of a top-line crimper tool was easy to offset when I’m wasn’t paying a plumber by the hour. I made one mistake though; my brain still thinks in rigid copper so when I spec’d out the job I ended up buying a ton of 90′s and couplers that I never needed.

  5. I appreciate the strong comments on the Milwaukee-Uponor strategic partnership and the pair of tools that constitute their first co-production.

    If you ever want to dig into PEX and Uponor any deeper, I would be happy to assist. Thank you.

  6. shopmonger says:

    Pex is the new and best way to go in most longer run situations. I love it for its versatility. Also fro Air lines in a shop..(yes i know that it may not be rated …but shut up already it works just like pvc) I think for pros this is a great new tool and it willl go with other 12v lines that plummers can use also. I still use sharkbite in most of my stuff because they are easy, but crimping i agree with fred is the way to go…

    Shopmonger

  7. DW says:

    Don’t use PVC for compressed air. When it fails, it fails violently. Be it from a small manufacturing flaw that snuck by or some trauma the pipe incurred while in place or while installed. PVC is brittle and not worth the risk.

  8. Shopmonger says:

    DW – not true….I have had it in many shops, it has failed, like when we pushed and engine too close toe the wall, but it punctures and then releases air, just like a cylinder does not explode when punctured…… I had one shop that i did and they had thier lines up for 25 years, no leaks and no issues… Please use high grade schedule PVC but these old wives tails are just bunk…please don’t spread them…….

    ShopMonger

  9. fred says:

    @Shopmonger

    What we are willing to do in our own shops may not be what we do in a commercial setting – and that may depend on both national codes (e.g. ASME) and local law.

  10. Shopmonger says:

    Fred, so true, but for example this is legal for air lines in California in commercial applications. I have used these to setup many shops and other commercial application such as Injection Molding Companies, where we run hundreds of feet of air lines with PVC, i agree please check your local codes before doing so, but there is no reason to fear that application, and the notion of explosion or catastrophic failure is absurd, i have even seen one crushed bu a crazy forklift operator, and it still just punctures and leaked, so we shut off that section, put in a slice, and turned the air back on. But as stated above, Pex is the new best friend of riggers, shop creators and builders….

    ShopMonger

  11. Mr.Miz says:

    PEX air lines!! Sounds like some of you need to load pictures on Flickr so we can see your setup!

  12. fred says:

    @DW

    Thanks for the link.
    If you want to read more about competing PEX systems – you might take a look at our industry’s journal – Reeves

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