Designing for the Care market… with care

Problem

A Heber customer, an “Independent Living” bathroom specialist, was unable to accurately control the outlet water temperature of an electric care home shower.

The product development had been sub-contracted to a far-east supplier, but the prototype showers were unable to hold the water temperature within the tight requirements set out by the BEAB “Care” standard.

Under increasing commercial pressure to release a product to market, they turned to Heber for help.

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Solution

The first task undertaken, was a review of the design of the electronics and software to date, the conclusion? That the hardware developed for the shower had the capability to achieve the required temperature control, but that the software was fundamentally flawed. The software was too simplistic, the designers had failed to understand or write software adequately for the complex range of transients that the shower might encounter.

Heber recommended that the hardware design remain unchanged, but that the software needed some development. The customer looked at our recommendations and after some extensive prototype testing themselves they concluded that new software was required. They asked us to to undertake the new software development from first principles. To help reduce development time Heber invested time in modelling and simulating the shower behaviour. This was followed by real-life testing, with performance safely monitored in real time using our unique “Magic Eye” technology. The final solution involved a software control loop that contained three feedback input terms and two feedforward terms that anticipate the response of the shower to certain conditions, such as drops in water pressure.

Conclusion

As a result of Heber’s experience and intelligent software control, the  customers product met BEAB’s requirements in full and on time.

Choosing a development partner can be difficult. When starting a development that involves  electricity and water, increase your chances of success by contacting us today.

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