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RLS Fittings Provide the Perfect Solution for the Smithsonian Institute


When irreplaceable historical artifacts and national treasures are at risk, the use of an open flame nearby is just too dangerous. So RLS press fittings were the obvious choice for a project at a Smithsonian Institute building, rather than brazing.

Welch & Rushe, a full-service mechanical contractor based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was recently hired to replace an old climate control system for one of its longtime customers, the Smithsonian Institute. The project involved a storage vault that housed books dating back to the 1500s, making them too fragile to move and too risky to be exposed to an open flame during brazing.

Lead installer Zach Bailey recommended RLS press fittings as a flame-free alternative to the conventional process of brazing when joining HVAC lines. Zach and his team were familiar with the RLS press-to-connect process, and knew each fitting could be installed safely in a matter of seconds, resulting in a permanent mechanical joint every time.

In addition, because the RLS fittings do not require the use of a flame, there was no need for any fire precautions, including fire spotters or fire safety equipment. The RLS flame-free solution also eliminated the need to pull hot work permits, and removed the need to nitrogen purge.

The Welch & Rushe team used more than 40 fittings to install a water-cooled Samsung system for the project at the Smithsonian vault. The couplings were installed in under one minute each with pressing process. The work was completed without a torch and without compromising the quality of installation, while also protecting the vault’s fragile artifacts from the hazards of an open flame.