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.
– 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
– 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