Boise, ID, September 25, 2017: Idaho entrepreneurs, Dave Erlebach and Devin Limb, acquire intellectual property and patents from failed mechanical fittings company, Reflok, of Meridian Idaho. The former company manufactured specialized fittings for joining pipe that is used in the variable refrigerant flow (VRF) market. The acquisition comes at a time when the North American VRF market is set to grow by double digit numbers in 2017. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the “global VRF market was valued at $11.08 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $24.09 billion by 2022”. The acquisition of IP and Patents has led to the creation of Tufflok LLC, which will serve the North American VRF market in mechanical attached fittings (MAF).
First developed in Japan, VRF technology has been in use around the world since the 1980’s and is only recently gaining ground in the U.S. VRF systems are highly sought after for their energy efficiency, low carbon footprint and long-term cost savings. Systems utilize R-410-A refrigerant to combat ozone depletion while also providing installations with the capability to both heat and cool different parts of a building simultaneously. VRF systems operate with a ductless system, utilizing refrigerant via tubing systems that is routed to individual units within a building.
In every case, copper tubing must be brazed during installation to connect a VRF system – requiring hot work permits, highly trained and experienced pipefitters, and little room for error when brazing joints. It’s estimated that over 90% of failed VRF compressors is due to improper brazing techniques. With a depleting workforce of experienced pipefitters, increasing demand to reduce fire risk and damage to system integrity, the only solution is mechanically attached fittings (MAFs).
MAFs have been used for years by the U.S. Navy on ships and submarines and have shown to reduce cost and time by staggering numbers. One DOD case study showed that by using MAFs instead of brazing, crews can install over twice as many fittings in a single shift. Reflok was the leading MAF manufacturer until failed management practices and lack of foresight led to their eventual demise. Reflok’s drop of the proverbial ball has led to a large market without a category leader.
Not ones to let an opportunity go by, Dave and Devin have taken their industry experience, entrepreneurial prowess and love for problem solving by creating Tufflok – the new category king of mechanical fittings. “The problem is brazing – every time a system is brazed, a system has to be purged. This leads to longer install times, increases in the likelihood of oxidation within the VRF system and ultimately leads to higher costs for the end user. We have fallen in love with the problem and have the world’s greatest solution – Tufflok fittings.” Said owner of Tufflok, Devin Limb.
What Dave and Devin have done is rescue a highly desired product by building their own team and standards while supplying the VRF market with Tufflok fittings and tools that are 100% compatible with contractors still using old Reflok material. Tufflok’s close relationship and proximity to their manufacturers gives them a quality assurance advantage that few others have. Tufflok can also be considerably more agile and attentive to individual customer needs and customer solutions than the competition. Tufflok is bringing higher standards to manufacturing, quality control, research and design, and training for contractors. Said Tufflok CEO, Ryan Chris, “By ensuring our product, processes, quality control, manufacturing and installers are held to the highest standards, we guarantee the end-user is getting the absolute best experience possible. “
Tufflok, LLC., based in Meridian, Idaho, is the leading manufacturer of mechanical attached fittings in North America. Tufflok LLC specializes in and serves the VRF distributor community. For more information about Tufflok visit www.tufflok.com