Inventor develops award-winning product with a little help from TEX Plastics

How do you run a PRV discharge from a pressurised water cylinder to a foul waste or soil pipe without letting foul odours escape?

1st September 2016

When experienced and respected plumber Russell Armstrong set about solving this problem, he thought there must be a product out there. There wasn’t and he then set out on his journey of inventing the solution through to launching an award winning product.

Where do start if you’ve got a great idea?

Russell wanted to work with UK companies and if possible Derbyshire based, he formulated his ideas and soon discovered Tex Plastics was on his doorstep. Tex Plastics have a wealth of experience in water heaters and creating solutions for pressurised water systems. Which meant Russell felt confident they would understand the purpose of the product he’d invented.

Working with Russell the prototypes were created and refined

With the aid of 3D printing technology Russell’s  first prototype was produced. Almost every component in hotun® is bespoke design. The development of the product, from a spring and diaphragm to the bolt assembly all uniquely designed specifically for the product. Russell can proudly claim that the product is entirely manufactured in the UK and many parts produced locally, and assembled in his home region of Derbyshire, by the Midlands based injection moulding specialists Tex Plastics.

Over the coming months Tex Plastics assisted Russell in developing the design of hotun™

hotun™ is a  tundish that can be fitted to an unvented hot water heater or boiler pressure relief valve discharge  to act as a visible means of discharge, an air break to drain, and when connected to a foul waste or soil pipe, will stop odours coming back into the building.  It reduces plumbing installation time and piping required. 

Tex helped Russell go through each stage of the development process

This was to ensure the product was fit for purpose and ultimately, the production of the unit would be as efficient as possible and minimise quality related issues. This lead to Russell starting up a company called RaTech UK Ltd. Russell’s new business venture has registered an application to patent his design which is now going through the approval process. 

Tooling made in a lower cost region

To give Russell the best commercial start to his project and minimise capital outlay, Tex Plastics arranged to work with injection mould toolmakers in a lower cost base country. Because this process was managed by expert plastic component manufacturers, which meant there was very little risk but great cost savings.

The first units were moulded and tested

Once completed, the first units were precision moulded and tested and Russell now has the product he dreamed of and is already looking at other parts and developments to lead him into other possible market sectors with his product.

“From inception, I knew exactly what was needed in terms of the product. I had prototyped (in a very simplistic way) 3D printed models and had proven my design did what I wanted it to do, however, I then needed to turn that prototype into being capable of being injection moulded. I found Tex Plastics after a Google search and discovered they were based literally a few miles from my own home. They gave me some crucial first development advice and from there, I went onto producing the necessary CAD drawings. The CAD development company and Tex Plastics worked closely together and we gradually pulled together further prototype models, which, once proven led us to instructing Tex Plastics to produce the necessary tooling required. 

Throughout the whole process, Tex Plastics have been hands on with helping me through the development, I have been very impressed with the team. It was just by chance that I came across Tex Plastics when I did, but I am so gratefull that I did and I do not think I could have chosen a better company to work with to help me with my first ever product.”

 Russell Armstrong, Managing Director  RA Tech UK Ltd 

The video below illustrates how the hotun® works

Tex Plastics helped Russell achieve is vision

Input in the design helped adopt best moulding principles and ultra thin product moulding hit the hotun usability requirements. Selection of an advanced polymer enhanced aesthetics & reduced finishing costs. Whilst different fixing techniques meant plastic component assembly costs were reduced.

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