Microelectronic Control of Integrated Showers
Microcontroller opens US Luxury Shower Market
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Electric domestic appliances
Daryl Industries Ltd, based in Wallasey in North West England, design, manufacture and sell luxury market shower related products, including the showers, pipes and associated control devices, cubicles and cabinets. Daryl has manufactured shower systems for over 30 years and recently introduced an integrated mechanical water delivery system. The company, with 170 employees, has its background in mechanical design and development, skilled in designing water flow and temperature controls and water distribution systems, but has no microelectronic experience. The company's 1998 annual turnover was 18 MEur with the company's growth being 15-30% p.a. over the past few years. The company's customers have been predominantly end-users, with recent growth in sales to larger customers such as hotels and building contractors. The products are sold world-wide, with particular success in UK, Australia and Taiwan. The Industry Sector is Electric Domestic Appliances: 2971 in the NACE classification, which is widely recognised within the EU. The product to be improved is a purely mechanically controlled shower system (3 brass taps to control hot, cold and flow,) combined with an elaborate brass flow-diverter that allows head selection, temperature regulation and flow control. This product had major limitations owing to the inflexibility of the device components e.g. the control knob had to be near the relevant brass valve body location. The control methods for temperature and flow are very efficient but the water delivery is limited by the complex brass diverter system, allowing only dual-head use at best. With the maximum potential of the existing product being reached there is no way to push further into more lucrative markets (eg U.S.A). The need is for a state-of-the-art, cost effective product with a technology based lead to provide increased functionality to capture sales in the more diverse luxury markets. The new product is microcontroller based and exploits the advantage of modular design and manufacture, by offering a wide range of systems with various head configurations and positions, built-in safety features and versatile personal pre-sets to allow one button control to access a previously stored shower setting. The microcontroller design uses CAN-Bus architecture to allow this modularity, requiring only two wires to each control and sensor unit. The added values achieved by using microelectronics are: Elimination of costly brass diverters, (with inherent manufacturing problems) Maximum flexibility relating to position of controls relative to solenoid controlled valves, Simple construction, easier assembly (plumbing) and easier operation (using pre-sets), Flexible in-house control and upgrading (additional showerheads incorporated), Modularity allows customisation using CAN bus architecture. Increased sales are anticipated as a result of the flexibility and customisation. The project started in June 1998 taking 8 months to achieve a fully functioning and tested prototype at a cost of 58 KEur. The payback period is estimated to be 13 months and the return on investment is estimated to be more than 9345 % over the 3 year life of the product.
Daryl Industries Ltd
Alfred Rd, Wallasey
England, L44 7HY

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Daryl Industries Ltd with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

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