When you step into your shower, you’re probably thinking more about bathing or relaxing than about benefitting from the technology in your H2Okinetic shower head. But the team of engineers at Delta Faucet have poured untold hours of research into their creation of a shower that conserves water while providing excellent water pressure and a warm drenching feeling. Inspired Living sat down with Paul Patton, a 25-year Delta employee, to look at the technology behind fluidics and how it has become an integral part of design at Delta.
Let’s start by defining the term:
Fluidics (n) – the technology dealing with the use of a flowing liquid or gas in various devices, especially controls, to perform functions usually performed by an electric current in electronic devices
Q: How do you explain fluidics to someone who isn’t an engineer?
A: Think about the device on your car hood that sprays windshield-washing fluid. When you look closely, it has a single opening that creates pressure (like putting your finger over the end of a hose) and delivers a specific droplet size. It oscillates as it comes out to cover your windshield and provide you with better coverage. By using this same fluidics technology, we were able to create this same effect for the shower head and deliver a greater shower experience.
Q: What are some of the challenges of working with water?
A: There many factors that impact the performance of the product that we have no control over, such as pipe size, pressure, point of origin of the water (city or well). There are even inconsistencies of experience across the nation. When you add physics into the equation, things becomes even more difficult. Working with water presents unique challenges, and Delta has found innovative ways to address them.
Q: In what ways is water a great medium for engineering work?
A: Although physics plays a large part in the use of water, it is still a great medium because it is predictable. At the same time, it is challenging because of the limitations that exist.
Q: What are some of the Delta innovations that have come from the engineering team?
A: We have developed Touch2O Technology, H2Okinetic showers, MultiChoice Universal Valves, DIAMOND Seal Technology, etc. We focus on innovations that change the way people interact with water every day.
Q: How many engineers work at Delta, and what sorts of roles do they play?
A: In our R&D department, where most of the technology is developed, we have 12 engineers (mechanical and electrical). Our engineers participate in the upfront research so that they have a clear understanding of insights on what the end user needs or the experience we are working on. With this information, they can then begin the process of developing technology that meets these needs.
Q: How did the idea for H2Okinetic Technology come about?
A: Delta is always looking for ways to improve the performance of showers. In 2001, we started looking at how we could develop a technology that would improve the experience for the end user. We also saw that water conservation was becoming an issue that was going to get more nationwide focus. The challenge was to develop a technology that could deliver both of these goals.
Throughout the years, in many various research projects, we have heard over and over from end users about the performance of shower heads and their inability to deliver two things: pressure and full coverage. We took these complaints to heart and developed the H2Okinetic shower to address these issues. When they were tested, we found that 90 percent of consumers surveyed said H2Okinetic Showers feel like they provide more pressure than a standard shower head.*
We also learned that nine out of 10 consumers surveyed said H2Okinetic Showers feel like they provided more water.** This is due to the way H2Okinetic showers form water into a unique wave pattern that results in a shower that provides more coverage, warmth and intensity.
One additional item that we found in the usage research was that consumers were getting warmer water, and many said that they were actually turning down the hot water. It was another unexpected benefit that the technology delivers.
Q: What fluidics technology does Delta offer that is different from any other company?
A: Our H2Okinetic Technology is patented, which makes it unique to our company.
Q: What are the benefits of using fluidics in H2Okinetic technology?
A: H2Okinetic Technology provides the end user with a warm and luxurious shower that feels like better water pressure and more water (without actually using more water). The water is sculpted to form the droplets and retain heat better, H2Okinetic Technology provides three times more coverage.
Also, because the water moves as it comes out of the fluidics chip, it self-cleans. With this technology, we are able to take a water-saving shower head (less actual flow rate) and make it feel like you are getting more. We also create the droplet to a specific size, because we know how it impacts the overall feel of the water.
Learn more about technologies from Delta, including the H2Okinetic shower head.
*Based on Survey by Marketing Point dated November 7, 2012, for Delta Faucet Company
**Based on Survey by Marketing Point dated March 19, 2012, for Delta Faucet Company