It’s not just a tap you know!
By Jeff Williams, Category Manager at Ideal Standard:
On the surface, two taps made by two different companies may look and, initially perform very similarly to each other. However, in reality, every piece of brassware has an associated design and manufacturing history which can have a huge impact on the end result. With this in mind, at Ideal Standard, our plants engineer millions of taps every year, subscribing to the ethos that our products can only be as good as the materials and processes behind them.
We base our brassware operations out of Germany and Bulgaria. Germany is, of course, world-famous for its manufacturing expertise, and our site there is renowned for producing well engineered products from brass. At the same time, the country sets the bar for standards across Europe for the quality of metals which come into contact with drinking water. Because of this, our output for all of our products across the board falls in line with these requirements, benefiting all of our markets. In Bulgaria, we have a unique story. We smelt our own brass ingot from copper and zinc which are delivered to the site daily. The ingot we create is rigorously tested to make sure it meets our internal specification.
Our manufacturing processes comprise a mixture of expert craftsmanship and automated technology to ensure we get the best end product possible. Our grinding machine is robotic but the polishing is done by hand. Once the taps been polished, the inspections begin. Anything which fails at this stage is recycled back into brass.
The products are then sent to be chrome plated, a process which can take several hours. Every one of our taps is washed, prepared, degreased and then dipped in baths of nickel and chrome. Once they’ve been plated a second inspection takes place. Following this comes assembly, and 100% integrity checks, before finally being packaged up ready to be sent out.
Our attention to detail and the high standards in our manufacturing processes mean that we can be confident our brassware is of the highest quality. It’s true to say you could go out today and buy a cheap tap, which once installed for a customer would perform well for a few years. But taps go through so much on a daily basis. They’re products with many moving parts facing lots of local variance. For example, much of the UK population live in hard water areas which causes all kinds of problems with lime scale deposits, plus there’s the challenge of very differing hot and cold-water pressures to factor in.
Both quality of materials we use as well as the care we put into our manufacturing processes means that that an Ideal Standard tap is never just a tap. For more information, visit: www.ideal-standard.co.uk