There are many drivers currently acting to cause appurtenance manufacturers to consider polymeric materials in replacement of the more traditional brass and copper for potable water applications, leading to new products and even new product platforms.
Those who can quickly and effectively bring these new products to market, with the assurance that they will perform in service, have a distinct competitive advantage.
Polymeric materials can confer many advantages in potable water applications. They can also represent a significant design challenge as both their short- and long-term performance properties are significantly different than more traditional metal materials. These properties, particularly long-term properties, can be significantly impacted by exposure to potable water. Products that perform well in short-term performance tests can fail in service if this is not addressed in the product development phase. Therefore, it is critical for a successful product launch to consider performance of these materials in the application and validate the final product design.
The key is to integrate new material validation into the product development phase through a process that ensures validated products are brought to market quickly and efficiently. The key steps in this process are:
Knowing the specific technical requirements of the application is critical to defining the Product Development requirements.
It is essential to assess and define the critical performance elements to ensure the product will not fail in the application. What is the specific environment to which the material will be exposed? There can be a significant difference in long-term material performance in different applications. A material that may have been successful in an intermittent exposure application, such as a faucet or shower, may not be suitable for more continuous end-use applications. Jana has specific expertise in potable water end-use environments that enables us to work closely with your product development team to ensure that the critical factors for development are identified and well defined at the outset of the project. This ensures that your development starts off on the right track.
It is critical to know if new materials should even be considered for your specific design and application.
Through over a decade of research in this area, Jana has developed proprietary screening methodologies that are intended to enable a quick preliminary assessment of new polymeric materials to determine their potential suitability for use in potable water applications and provide a preliminary categorization of the types of applications for which the materials would potentially be suitable. The methodology allows for quick, cost-effective preliminary assessment of new polymeric materials. Coupled with the Application Analysis, it provides a strong basis for moving forward with a specific material in a specific design.
For polymeric materials the database of initial material engineering properties generally exists.
There is, however, very little information regarding the long-term properties of the materials on exposure to potable water. The design engineer is left to assess this performance at the prototype stage, which can lead to design delays and increased development costs. As new materials being considered for potable water applications are typically applicable across multiple platforms, development of a Long-Term Property Characterization Database for these materials is often a cost-effective means of accelerating the development process. This database provides the missing long-term Engineering Performance data required for design engineers for use during the design process to provide the highest level of success in final product validation. While it is possible to move from Material Quick Screening to Prototype Screening, the development over time of long-term material databases strengthens the product development process.
The last thing you want is to have an apparently successful product development and launch stopped through failure of the product in final validation.
Jana has an explicit Prototype Screening Process that has been developed and refined through the last decade to provide assurance through the design phase that the ultimate design will perform as intended. Building on the knowledge developed in the Application Analysis and the Material Quick Screening, a rapid screening process is developed to confirm that the selected materials are performing as projected. This process consists of 1: Identifying all possible failure modes, 2: Conducting Accelerated Testing and Modeling Long-Term Performance and 3: Verifying the Models. The approach is structured to ensure that the specific design and manufacturing process has not compromised the material performance, giving you confidence in moving forward through the design phase.
Product design is an evolutionary process with many changes often occurring as the development progresses.
Even apparently subtle changes can impact the performance of the final product. With Prototype Screening, the performance of the materials in the product and application are well characterized and provide valuable guidance in assessing the impact of any changes. Final Product Validation programs are, therefore, targeted to be able to quickly assess performance of the final design and ensure a successful product introduction.
Once your product is in the field there is the potential to gain critical information in ensuring the product is performing as designed, ensuring clients are satisfied with product performance, and guidance for product refinement and evolution. Jana works with our Clients to establish programs that support the successful introduction of the product and efficiently gain this critical information. Jana also has the specific tools and expertise to support you in troubleshooting issues in new product introduction.