No.16 Development of the Touch-Switch Broom Faucet  with 4 Functions

The water broom faucet (brand name: Mizuhoki Faucet) for the kitchen, which has a large showerhead that makes it easy to clean up, has now been improved. Along with the “eco-single” lever that can conserve water by preventing unplanned use of hot water, a touch switch and aerating function have been added, improving water savings from 29% to 41%. This Green Story goes behind the scenes of these new developments, included in the latest model of the Crasso system kitchen series scheduled to be released in March 2014. As usual, the development team had to overcome an array of challenges.

Kazufumi Araki

Kitchen & Lavatory Faucet Development Section, Faucets & Appliances Development Department, Faucets & Appliances Division

Araki joined Toto Ltd. in 1992. In 2000, he moved to the Faucet Division and began developing faucets for the bathroom. Since 2012, he has been in charge of developing faucets for the kitchen, the touch switch system and the aerating function of the broom faucet.

Chapter 1

The Company Wouldn't Give Us the OK Until We Pushed the Lever  More than 100,000 Times!

The touch-switch faucet turns on and off even with the back of the hand.

Our mission was to add a new water-conserving function to the broom faucet for the kitchen, which has earned a very good reputation, while maintaining its beautiful design. We started working on the touch switch, which conserves water very effectively. We conducted research and discovered that we turn kitchen faucets on and off extremely often - more than 100,000 times!

There was no small-size waterproof switch designed with that level of durability in mind, so we decided to create one ourselves. How could we make sure it's waterproof? How could we achieve appropriate lever comfort? How could we arrange the wiring in the device? We solved these challenges and created a prototype, but the company wouldn’t give us the go-ahead unless we demonstrated proof of its durability. So all the members of our team pushed the prototype lever uncountable times. We conducted an exacting on-the-spot inspection during which each of us, in alternate shifts, pushed again and again for 30 full minutes, counting the number of times the switch clicked. But our ordeal was not complete until we conducted a rigid series of durability tests on the wiring hose that connects the touch switch and the drive, by bending and stretching it tens of thousands of times into various shapes and movements.

The wired hose used in the Water Broom Faucet

A lot of discussion and brainstorming went into the material selection and the arrangement of wires in the wired hose.

As soon as the touch-switch system passed muster, we began to design aerated water technology, which was another tough challenge. The key feature of the broom faucet was the splendid touch and feel of the water spreading onto the skin. How could we improve the ratio of aeration in the water without causing a deterioration in washing performance and operational efficiency? To investigate this, we created many prototypes with slight differences in the aeration ratio and measured the time it took to wash dishes with ketchup remains on them. Imagine how much ketchup we had used before we finally determined the most appropriate aeration ratio.

Aerated water with enlarged droplets is a feature of the Aerated Water Broom Faucet.

Water that spreads evenly onto dishes or the skin improves efficiency.

In addition, we had to design a 28mm diameter slim faucet that included the following functions: the broom faucet, touch switch and aeration technology. Therefore, we needed to reduce the size of the aeration technology device. Prototypes that simply reduced the size didn’t work at all. Whenever uneven flow, split flow or back flow occurred, we had to start the design process over again. Many times, I was desperate for the company to give up on either the touch switch or aeration technology. In the end, however, our grueling efforts bore fruit in the form of the new, innovative broom faucet, which reduces water consumption by about 41% compared with a conventional single-lever faucet. I wanted to create a faucet that would be appreciated by many people, and one of my dreams has come true with the Aerated Broom Faucet.

The development team had enormous challenges in designing a slim touch-switch system with a diameter of 28mm.

Every part was downsized as much as possible to allow installation inside the faucet.

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