When engineering PVC fittings, the manufacturer can either use an injection molding or create a fabricated fitting. Generally speaking, injection molds are used to construct fittings up to 12” in diameter. Any fittings over 12” in diameter are usually fabricated from sections of pipe or other parts. The larger fittings are fabricated because their size exceeds injection molding equipment capacities. Less common fittings may also be fabricated because their low demand does not constitute the creation of a mold.
So why do fabricated fittings cost more than an injection molded fitting? For starters, they are larger or less commonly used fittings. Furthermore, fabricated fittings are more tedious and time consuming to produce; the manufacturer must weld, cut, or bend existing PVC parts and pipe to create the new fitting.
Although some manufacturers opt to fabricate fittings because it’s more cost-effective for them than creating a mold, other manufacturers, like Spears, have began creating molds for larger fittings. In fact, molded fittings are often preferred over fabricated by contractors, builders, and engineers because their dimensions tend to more accurate since they are created from one solid piece and use the same mold over and over again.
If you’re unsure whether or not the part is fabricated, generally the part number is a good indication. Fabricated fittings usually have an “F” at the end of the part number, while molded fittings do not. For example, the part number of a 5” schedule 40 PVC fabricated wye is 475-050F. However, certain valves also have an “F” at the end of the part number to denote that the valve is threaded. The product description should specify that the part is fabricated. To be completely sure, you can always give us a call and verify.