A global leader in the development and production of drinking water filtration products for over 30-years, their product range includes pitchers, taps, dispensers, coolers and filter faucet mounts.
The customer, a leading brand in at-home water filtration, manufactures water pitchers and refrigerator dispensers that use a replaceable activated carbon filter to improve the quality of the water for drinking. They required a low-cost self-powered indicator that estimates the filter life and reminds the user when the filter should be replaced. This ensures the end user is drinking high-quality, filtered water and making timely filter purchases, increasing sales revenues.
They required two sophisticated filter life indicators to be seamlessly integrated into their products, one into their pitcher, the second into their in-fridge dispenser. At the same time, the design had to minimize any cost impact to make sure it was viable commercially.
Working in close collaboration with the customer, concepts were presented that made sure all benefits were realised, and a detailed set of product specification requirements could be created. A time-based filter life indicator that is simple to integrate in production, and intuitive to use by the end-user.
Both the horizontal indicator (for pitchers) and the vertical indicator (for dispensers) use in-built electronics that utilize 3 LEDs on a traffic light system:
• green = good;
• amber = near end of life;
• red = replace filter
The LEDs should only be visible when activated, making them unobtrusive and helping to retain the overall aesthetic of the product, as well as maximising battery life.
The designs should also incorporate a water-resistant reset button for the user to reset the timer when the filter has been replaced. The next phase was to create suitable housings. This relied on our industrial design experience, plus in-house engineering and manufacturing capability. Finally, the required electronics were embedded, and the final designs went through a comprehensive DFM review to ensure they were manufacturable to the desired cost.
Throughout the NPD stage (New Product Development) and the NPI stage (New Product Introduction in the factory), we worked closely with the customer to ensure they hit their market entry date with enough stock on hand.
Consumers have benefited as they know when to replace their filter, meaning their water filter is always functioning at its optimum, resulting in consistent high-quality drinking water and improved customer satisfaction.
The customer is happy because they are selling more replacement filters. Additionally, one of the key drivers in the customer’s decision to integrate a filter life indicator was to expand their product line and create new business opportunities.
Because of this project, the customer has been able to reposition their products in the premium sector of the market, an area they had not been able to before, and as a result generate further enhanced revenues. The filter life indicator has also added an additional feature to the customer’s standard products, something they have been able to use as a selling point in their marketing to differentiate themselves from their competitors.