Copper Tube Ain't Copper Tube

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30 September 2015

Copper plumbing tube is one of those products that we practically take for granted – Understandable, considering most of the tube we use is hidden behind walls where we never see it, and well, copper plumbing has been around for as long as most of us can remember. And it lasts. Take the original plumbing in your 65-year-old home that has outlived Grandpa; you can put money on the fact that the piping is copper.

Despite the fact that copper plumbing tube works so well for so long, the tube-making process is much more complex than one might imagine and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Kembla applies its 100 years of experience and stringent quality control systems to ensure every length of copper tube is manufactured to Australia’s quality standards.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about other brands of copper tube in the Australian market today. Recent tests of 62 samples from 6 manufactures found that 92% did not meet the requirements of Australian Standards. Installing these brands of copper tube can result in costly consequences that increase risk and liability for plumbers, builders, developers, designers and merchants.

The consequences of installing copper tube that does not meet AS1432 and AS1571 Standards:


Outside diameter under


Increases the velocity of the system

No capillary action when soldering resulting in an incomplete seal, and reduced joint strength

Press-fit fittings will have a lower pull out strength

Outside diameter over


Affect the capillary action of brazing (no solder flow)

Tube may not fit within fittings

May have difficulty bending tube

Wall thickness under

minimum limit

Lowers the burst pressure of the tube.

Will effect length of service if in a corrosive environment

Wall thickness over

maximum limit

Increases the velocity of the system –impacts on lifespan of the tube and connected tapware

Marking and identification

not to standard

May affect traceability to manufacturer

May affect certification of an installation

Cleanliness failed

Can foul refrigerants or medical gas

Potential for explosive combinations

Can interfere with pumps and compressors

Incorrect Hardness

Can affect ease of use, especially when bending or forming the tube

Contributing factor to tube collapse during pressing of Press-Fit fittings

Chemical Analysis

Low phosphorous can lead to cracking during brazing

High levels of impurities (e.g. lead, iron, antimony) will affect the workability/ductility of the tube

High Eccentricity

Can affect ability to bend tube

Can prevent effective joints using press-fit fittings

Contributing factor to tube collapse during pressing of Press-fit fittings

The Kembla Difference

MM Kembla’s manufacturing processes and quality systems are built upon 100 years of experience in manufacturing copper tube in Port Kembla, Australia. You can trust that Kembla Copper Tube is the most reliable product in the Australian market, owing to Kembla’s:
• Comprehensive ISO 9001 certified quality management system that ensures consistent quality of every length of copper tube, E.g. Chemical, concentricity and wall thickness.
• Quality standards and testing that go above and beyond Australian Standards requirements, E.g. Sampling rate and traceability.
• In-house chemical composition analysis to ensure our tube contains minimum 99.90% copper content.
• Accessibility of product, with state representation and warehousing locations across Australia.
• Technical support that is second to none; providing on-site service, investigative analysis and reports, laboratory analysis, test certificates , technical literature, advice, design manuals and more, all as part of the Kembla service.