ACO´s commitment to research-led product development
ACO invests heavily in ongoing research and development with leading academic experts, end users and suppliers. Here we talk to Segment Development Manager Michal Bačkovský about what drives this ongoing investment and the benefits of it for specifiers and end users.
Why does ACO invest so much in research?
At ACO we are committed to designing and manufacturing the very best drainage products and systems in the market, and to driving improvements in drainage standards. We want our products to perform at the highest levels for customers and end users, and to do that, we need to evaluate their current performance on an ongoing basis, understand where improvements could be made and have evidence for the benefits these improvements could bring. This is particularly important in hygiene-sensitive environments such as the food and drinks industry, commercial kitchens and hospitals where the design of the drainage has a significant impact on the hygienic performance of a facility and the ongoing cleaning costs associated with it.
We also want to help educate our customers so they can make more informed choices about the drainage they specify so they obtain a high performance drainage system that meets their requirements while minimizing maintenance and operational costs. The research we commission enables us to do this.
Tell us about one of major R&D projects you commissioned recently.
We recently commissioned an independent research study into the cleanability of hygienically designed drainage systems like ACO’s and non-hygienically designed alternatives. The research was undertaken by the renowned Fraunhofer Institute. Focusing on the areas of process engineering and packaging, the Institute is one of many research institutes operated by The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a leading organization for applied research in Europe.
Dr. Marc Mauermann and his team found that ACO’s hygienically designed drainage channel can be fully cleaned in as little as 10 minutes. In contrast, drainage which was not hygienically designed could not be fully cleaned, even after 180 minutes of cleaning.
How does this project benefit end-users?
Our products are already designed in accordance with the best practice design principles of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) but this research gave specifiers and end users hard evidence about the performance of differently designed products. The research findings clearly illustrated the impact which hygienically designed drainage can have on hygienic performance, ongoing operational efficiency and costs.
What are you working on now?
One of our key projects we have just completed is research into the issues that can arise as a result of poor floor-drainage connections. Being conducted in conjunction with flooring specialists SIKA, the findings of this research will also enable us, specifiers and clients to get a better understanding of which flooring materials should be specified for different applications and for different drainage systems.
Detailed information about ACO researches are available at www.buildingdrainage.aco/research