Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm
Bradley Corp.’s washfountain first arrived on the scene in 1921. A large bowl with multiple spray heads that allowed several users to wash their hands simultaneously, it was an innovation for its time.
Nearly 100 years later, the newest iteration in the company’s commercial product line – an integrated three-in-one handwashing system with smart technology – hardly resembles your great-grandfather’s washfountain.
Recently introduced to the commercial washroom industry, the Verge with WashBar Technology stores soap, water and a dryer in one unit and uses smart technology for a touchless hand-washing process.
The product is a response to the splashy experience common to commercial restrooms.
“You tend to have a paper towel or hand dryer that’s on the wall off to the side from the sink,” said Will Haas, product manager for Bradley Corp. “So people with wet hands drip that water on the floor to get to the paper towel or hand dryer. In the case of the hand dryer on the wall, the water gets blown all over the floor and walls. We wanted to get the dryer in the sink and make sure all the water is going down the drain, where it should go, instead of on the floor, on the walls or even on the user, their shoes, their pants, etc.”
The product was also aimed at reducing the expense, maintenance and environmental impact of using paper towels, and mitigating safety concerns related to having water on the floor. Haas said the WashBar also increases accessibility for users in wheelchairs and expedites traffic flow.
While Bradley has produced the three-in-one concept for nearly a decade, the company has refined its packaging over the years. The newest version is the first time all components have been in a single, compact metal casting.
The product has garnered attention since its release, winning multiple design awards this year.
“It lends itself to a more intuitive experience when you integrate it into one casting,” Haas said. “…It was definitely inspired from the architectural and design community as far as overall look and aesthetic, yet kept the user and intuitiveness in mind.”
The product also features advanced software technology that allows the facility manager to adjust the soap type to foam or liquid, as well as the dryer speed. The dryer is able to dry hands in 12 to 15 seconds.
For the user, the WashBar technology is designed so there are no false activations. If a user is using the faucet, for example, the dryer won’t go off. The fountain can also be put to sleep for cleaning purposes.
LED lighting and icons on the bar are used to guide the user through the hand-washing process. The LED is blue to indicate the function is ready to use and turns green when in use.
The product was originally designed for office buildings, restaurants and higher-end retail spaces, Haas said, but it’s since taken off in more settings, like schools, airports, train stations and salons.
“I think it’s a combination of the functionality of the product, the look of the product and the pain point that it solves,” Haas said. “It’s a trifecta. And it seems to resonate with so many more applications. In general, it’s really a good fit for any public handwashing space, wherever hand dryers are acceptable.”