Knowledge Base

Top Trends from Water Quality Association (WQA) 2019 Las Vegas

Combating Superbugs with UVC LEDs

Top Trends from Water Quality Association (WQA) 2019 Las Vegas


James Peterson

By James Peterson

Product Manager

The Water Quality Association recently held its annual trade show in Las Vegas, bringing together point of use water system professionals, distributors, and suppliers. Having attended this year’s event, our team observed three important trends in water quality:

Sparkling water grows in POU

More and more domestic and foreign suppliers are coming to this event with POU dispensers that feature sparkling water systems. Interestingly, fewer than six percent of POU dispensers had this option in the U.S. in 2016. Clearly, demand for this feature is growing, and was affirmed in April when Pepsi announced that they would bring new POU sparkling beverage machines to market through their acquisition of Sodastream.

Ice hygiene gives foreign brands an opening in U.S. market

When it comes to ice making for hospitality and light commercial use, foreign brands are striving for more market share in the US, which has long been controlled by a small set of equipment suppliers. Focusing on consumers’ rising concerns around water quality issues and their preference for ‘crunchy’ ice, new market entrants are leveraging expertise in water purification and disinfection to bring modern equipment to this space. Most products focused on earning volume by matching ice making capacity sizes to office, hospitality, and small food service establishments.

Increasing access to bacterial testing catches distributors off-guard

It’s becoming easier and cheaper to test water for bacterial content from a beverage dispenser or point of use purification system. Test kit suppliers and distributors have released quick bacterial tests to help domestic, commercial end users verify the quality of their water which, in turn, can help them evaluate the quality of their chosen purification system. This has caught dispenser distributors and systems installers off-guard in Europe and the U.S. In fact, large cooler operators report that some of their commercial customers have been independently testing installed coolers for microbial hygiene and asking for solutions that eliminate the threat of microorganisms in dispensed water. While operators and distributors can satisfy this demand when it comes to new cooler installations, they must also find a way to address this need in the nearly six million legacy coolers installed across the U.S. and EU.

One way to address this need is by incorporating UVC LED disinfection systems into water coolers. Equipping water coolers with a solution such as the Klaran AKR, for example, would ensure that unit dispenses hygienic water.

Conclusion

Taken together, these trends reveal that companies who provide purification products for domestic, commercial customers are competing to increase their value in the U.S. End users who once had significant trust in their municipal water are moving away from the low-cost hardware store options that serve the U.S. market. As the market grows and water quality incidents rise, major brands and regional water professionals alike have ample opportunities to provide reliable solutions.


Klaran University



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eBook: Improving Value for Water Cooler Distributors

Five Reasons Driving Product Managers to Embrace UVC LED Technology
Klaran University / Knowledge base

Improving Value for Water Cooler Distributors


Klaran UVC LEDs

By Klaran

Water cooler distributors are getting more requests from customers for disinfection and hygiene solutions and are competing for new contracts based on the availability of this feature.

Download this eBook to learn:

  • What is driving the demand for water hygiene
  • How UVC LED systems are suited to meet these demands
  • Options for adding UVC LED water disinfection systems to new or existing coolers

Get the Ebook


Klaran University



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Insights from Appliance and Electronics World Expo (AWE) 2019

Combating Superbugs with UVC LEDs

Insights from Appliance and Electronics World Expo (AWE) 2019


James Peterson

By James Peterson

Product Manager

The Appliance and Electronics World Expo (AWE) is a major annual event in Shanghai, China where domestic and multinational brands showcase their latest offers. Competing for the Chinese consumer market (which continues to grow in available disposable income), many brands use this space to attract consumers by quickly driving innovation to market. Klaran attends these events to monitor new products and messages, and to extract relevant insights on global trends in consumer and commercial water purification.

Domestic and foreign brands alike place a heavy focus and luxury price point on health and purification products in the Chinese market. While attending AWE 2019, we encountered two particularly interesting trends in water purification and hygiene.

Adding Purification to Permanent Installations

As countertop and corded appliances like water purifiers cram more features into smaller packages to fit in homes, both whitegoods and water purification companies are turning their attention to making higher priced products that can be considered permanent installations. For example, companies like Culligan and Haier offer faucets and kitchen fixtures with integrated purification. Chasing this particular buying trend (retail appliance purchase vs. home renovation specification) may reduce price sensitivity to water purification products and secure the value of longer lifetime purification.

Appealing to a New Audience: Mothers with Young Children

Companies now have messaging that targets another group of buyers for these products: mothers with young children. Haier showcased a “mother and baby appliance system” area which contained a suite of premium purification products, while Midea incorporated kid-friendly designs and colors throughout their portfolio. The styling, which included cream and pastel colors, soft edges, and characters licensed from popular children’s movies, was a stark contrast to competitors and other portfolio offerings.

Conclusion

Both of these trends show that water purification companies are competing to increase the value and durability of their products. As these companies reposition their products from “retail appliance sales” to part of a fixture or permanent installation, it’s clear that they’re seeking to be more specific about which buyers resonate best with the messaging and to assure that these higher value products can justify their price points.


Klaran University



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Top Takeaways from British Water Cooler Association Conference 2019

Combating Superbugs with UVC LEDs

Top Takeaways from British Water Cooler Association Conference 2019


James Peterson

By James Peterson

Product Manager

The British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) recently held its annual Conference and Trade Show in the United Kingdom (Europe’s largest market for water coolers), gathering top water cooler distributors and service providers from across Europe for a day of exhibitions and insightful conversations. The Klaran team showcased UVC LED solutions for water disinfection and delivered a presentation on improving dealer profitability with UVC LED reactors. For those who couldn’t attend, we share three top takeaways from this year's event that are critical in the coolers market.

Download this free eBook, "Improving Value for Water Cooler Distributors: Meeting New Water Hygiene Demands and Reducing Unplanned Service Visits by Using UVC LED Reactors."

 

1. UVC Disinfection Systems: A competitive advantage or imperative for winning new placements?

It’s becoming more common for distributors and service providers to see customers requiring UVC disinfection in coolers during contract bidding or renegotiation for cooler placements at larger institutions. Indeed, the need for hygienic water is one of the factors driving innovation in water purification. The growing demand for using UVC systems to deliver hygienic water has become a key factor in winning new placements, making it more important for distributors and service providers to have a competitive UVC offering in their cooler or accessory portfolio. 

2. Expanding options for servicing legacy POU coolers with field upgrades and retrofits

Some service providers are now servicing POU coolers that have been in the field for over 10 years. In many cases, reliable maintenance has kept these units running smoothly, but some of the features on these units are becoming outdated. Moreover, the consumable costs may be stuck at legacy pricing. Catering to legacy POU coolers in the same way that the Klaran AKR can be used for legacy UV retrofits, exhibitors at the BWCA event revealed new offerings for connected flow monitoring, external chillers, and upgraded taps for under counter units.

3. Bacterial Monitoring: Increasing the transparency of hygiene promises

Larger customers and various government agencies are actively monitoring the hygiene of water dispensed from coolers. With easy access to total viable organism test kits, today’s customers have the tools to self-validate the hygiene promises made by distributors and service providers. This reinforces the need for high reliability of existing disinfection solutions, and the need for elective disinfection upgrades to coolers without disinfection solutions. Proposed changes to the EU Drinking Water Directive are poised to increase this point of dispense testing in the future.

Conclusion

The BWCA Conference and Trade Show 2019 provided a variety of insights on the water cooler industry in Europe. As distributors and service providers look to further differentiate themselves and address customers’ ever-evolving needs, it’s clear that UVC LED systems can benefit distributors, service providers, and end-users alike. If you’re considering UVC LED systems for your water cooler or dispenser, contact Klaran today.

Watch our interview at BWCA 2019 with FoodBev Media, where we discuss UVC LED solutions for water disinfection in coolers and dispeners.


Klaran University



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How to Choose the Best UVC LED Disinfection System Provider for Water Treatment

Combating Superbugs with UVC LEDs

How to Choose the Best UVC LED Disinfection System Provider for Water Treatment


Klaran UVC LEDs

By Klaran

More and more companies are switching to UVC LED disinfection systems in order to enhance the UVC stage of water treatment in their appliances and give their brand a new competitive advantage. In doing so, it’s essential to assess the credibility of the system supplier. Based on our experience working with some of the top consumer and commercial appliance manufacturers around the world, here are the most important things to consider that can help you find the best UVC LED disinfection system provider for your water dispenser.

1. Vertically Integrated Provider that Ensures Best Price for Performance

Controlling cost is an important aspect of product management. Wanting a low cost don't mean you want a cheap solution. Rather, you want the best performance at the lowest cost.

When it comes to UVC LED systems for water treatment, some companies just make the LED while others just make the water reactor. As a vertically integrated company, we make both the reactor and UVC LEDs inside the reactor. This gives you a system with the best price for performance.

In addition, we understand the full scope of the UVC LED system. This means we can determine the right number of UVC LEDs that need to be inside the reactor based on your specific needs (e.g. log reduction, flow rate, etc.). 

2. Long-term Stability and Strength of the Supplier

In virtually every industry, the likelihood that your suppliers will be here for the foreseeable future can play a key role in your long-term success. For example, if you’re planning to sign a seven-year agreement with a supplier, you should feel confident that the supplier has the stability to be in business seven years from today.

At Klaran, we have the backing of Asahi Kasei (OTCMKTS: AHKSY)- a diversified, multibillion dollar holding company founded in 1931. With Asahi Kasei’s focus on contributing to life for people around the world through technical innovations, our ability to provide UVC LED solutions that make it easier to access safe water clearly aligns with that focus.

In addition, take a look at the manufacturing capabilities of the supplier. Do they have the resources and capabilities to fulfill large-scale orders of LEDs, or will they only be able to provide you with a few hundred every now and then? It’s no secret that a reliable supply chain can be a competitive advantage.

Similarly, knowing your UVC LED systems are supplied by a company whose quality process adheres to strict guidelines can build confidence in the supplier and the finished product. Not only should the supplier meet your standards, they should be able to show that they consistently meet their own internal quality standards. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we have the certification to show that our operations live up to a well-defined quality standards policy.

3. Validated Performance Claims

As you’re evaluating suppliers, you’re bound to come across a wide range of product performance claims (e.g. 99.99 percent disinfection, 6 log reduction, etc.). How can you tell which ones to believe? One way is to ask suppliers if they have testing data that supports their disinfection performance claims.

At Klaran, we regularly work with third-party testing facilities to show the effectiveness of our UVC LEDs and disinfection systems for eliminating specific types of bacteria commonly found in drinking water around the world. These experiments provide data to validate our product performance claims.

MRSA log reduction as a function of distance and time using Klaran LEDs.
Legionella log reduction as a function of flow rate using Klaran AKR Water Disinfection Reactor.

Based on experiments conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder, for example, we’re able to show how Klaran AKR destroys Legionella at varying flow rates.

Read more about Klaran AKR’s disinfection performance against Legionella, Pseudomonas, E. Coli, and other bacteria by viewing this document.

Another way we’re able to learn about common bacteria and viruses is by studying them at our on-site microbiology lab. Staffed by a professional microbiologist, our lab provides additional opportunities to see how these pathogens behave and react to UVC LED-based disinfection technology.

4. Technical Guidance and Experience-based Insights

As the need for accessing safe drinking water becomes a global phenomenon, we’re seeing more companies around the world switch to UVC LED technology for water treatment in their products. Because there are numerous ways to integrate the UVC stage into consumer and commercial appliances, product design and R&D teams often seek help to avoid common pitfalls in prototyping, testing, and implementation.

Having access to Klaran's award-winning, international team of Application Engineers with extensive knowledge of this technology and the experience applying it in a variety of applications creates more possibilities for how to add UVC LED systems to your products. In turn, this level of technical guidance, support, and experience-based insight can help ensure that you’re using the right solution the right way in your products.

Not only do we make this information accessible via our global team of Application Engineers, we also share our insights through articles, application notes, eBooks, webinars and other resources in the Knowledge Base on our website so that companies can further their understanding of this technology, its applications, and the problems it can solve for their target audience.

5. Global Resources and Knowledge that Facilitate Innovation

Although technological advances make it easier than ever to collaborate with people in all corners of the world, there are still many situations where collaborating in-person is more effective than video or teleconferences.

When your supplier has a global footprint, you won’t need to worry if, say, your team in Germany needs hands-on support for implementing this technology. In our experience, having one of our Application Engineers in Western Europe visit a company in Germany to show their team how to properly conduct a microbiology test ensures everything is set-up correctly and performed under the right conditions from the start.

In addition, not every region of the world is concerned about the same microbial threats in their water. For example, Legionella may be of greater concern in the US than in Japan, while Pseudomonas may be a greater concern in the UK than in the US. Likewise, there are differences in consumer and commercial application settings. Limited counter space in Chinese homes, for example, forces companies to design products that fit in smaller spaces- this situation requires a compact solution for the UVC stage of water treatment.

With resources around the world and an understanding of the nuances of each region, Klaran maintains first-hand knowledge of the unique challenges that consumers face and leverage that knowledge to help our customers design products with the proper UVC LED solutions. 

Conclusion

Knowing what to look for in a UVC LED disinfection system provider can be a challenging task. There are numerous factors to consider, but after working with some of the top consumer and commercial appliance brands, we’ve found that there are several crucial factors that can make all the difference for selecting the right provider. Whether the supplier is strong and stable, tests their products and makes performance data readily available, and offers knowledgeable, experience-based insights for adding UVC LED disinfection systems are essential factors to consider while you evaluate your options. 

If you’re actively considering UVC LED disinfection for water treatment in your appliance, we encourage you to start a conversation with our team by contacting us today.


Klaran University



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