Prime Cuts: Water works

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When I turn on the tap I expect clean, drinking water to flow out. I never really spare a thought to the complex network of pipes involved in getting the water in my sink. But if you do think about it, it’s a sophisticated network and a luxury that not everyone in the world has.

For instance, many countries in the Middle East rely on water tankers to deliver drinking water on a commercial ‘paid for’ basis. These tankers are filled using old-fashioned, hand-operated valves in Kuwait’s water filling stations.

But this is all about to change with the new Aquaflow system.

Designed and developed by Radius Creative for Weststone, Aquaflow is a low voltage, low maintenance and secure dispensing system. Basically, the tanker driver drives up to the unit, inserts a smart card and types in the amount of gallons required to fill their tanker. Water is then dispensed into the tanker to an accuracy of less than 0.5 per cent.

An aluminium prototype of the Aquaflow

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– The Aquaflow technology includes a flow sensor, solenoid valve and removable electronics pack containing a card reader, circuit board, keypad, LCD display, stop/start switches etc, all housed in a sealed case manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminium. The electronics incorporate components manufactured to military specifications to ensure reliability

– Radius started the project with conceptual sketchwork (hand drawn) as well as several models using Google’s SketchUp program

– Following this, a series of card models were produced by hand to evaluate the aesthetic. The designers tried to work in a ‘petrol pump’ style aesthetic as the unit would operate in a similar manner

– Once the form was decided on, they moved to engineering and developed the product in Solidworks. Full 2D drawings were also produced

Aquaflow is manufactured in the UK

– Following a thorough assembly evaluation, a prototype was laser cut and CNC folded from aluminium to evaluate the assembly and fit of all parts

– An assembly jig was also designed to help assemble valves and the pipework

– A few minor tweaks to the SolidWorks model were needed to ease assembly of the unit before commencing final manufacture

– The unit is now in full blown manufacture in the UK, producing hundreds of units for use across the Middle East

How the system will look once installed at various water filling stations in the Middle East