Plumbing Trends: Automatic Fixtures
It only takes an hour for germs to multiply by a factor of 16 on a sink handle.
Consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about “touch points” in washrooms and their susceptibility to cross contamination or catching the latest bug.
All of these factors, plus the rising need to monitor water use, has manufacturers designing for touch-free bathrooms - and gaining in market share. But it's not just high-traffic commercial or industrial areas that can benefit from automatic fixtures, says Vincent J. McNeill, executive vice president global business for Technical Concepts, an emerging manufacturer of touch-free technology.
“We believe there is real movement toward bringing automatic fixtures to the home,” McNeill told us at this year's Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. “With $200 million being spent in homes for fixtures, less than 1 percent is automatic. But that leaves us a big future.”
At the Las Vegas show, Technical Concepts showcased its new Radiusä technology, a touch-free device that delivers accurate sensitivity and advanced componentry that can turn any faucet style or design into an automatic fixture. Its device houses all of the electronics control and dry cam valve in a compact and easy-to-install unit underneath the sink. This helps curb corrosion - increasing its life and easing maintenance.
The patented technology uses capacitance sensing instead of infrared, which has had its obstacles in the past with light and temperature. The faucet is connected with a single sensor wire, and because of its all-metal construction, the faucet is conductive, making the entire faucet and spout an omni-directional sensor. The user places his or her hands within 2 to 3 inches from the faucet and water is directed to turn on. In short, no more waving of hands in front of or trying to find the “sweet spot” of the sensor eye.
Technical Concepts will provide Radius to faucet manufacturers, who in turn will select from their product lines the faucets to offer the automatic option to consumers. This opens the market to style and design, where once infrared sensor faucets were limited in form to assuage functionality.
“The form factor is not an obstacle with Radius,” says Robert Shaw, a development project manager with Technical Concepts. “Automatic fixtures can now break into the residential marketplace by offering homeowners a limitless style choice.”
For more information on Radius or Technical Concepts, visit www.touchfreeradius.com.