* Ulster University User Experience Report
Our task was to use the most relevant international standards on slip resistance to design and manufacture an innovative Anti-Slip shower tray for use with barefoot, wet and soapy conditions. The Anti-Slip shower tray should be easily cleaned, offer a verifiable positive user experience and have no limitations on use throughout its lifetime.
“We left the meeting wondering just what we had actually agreed to do! The bar had been set high but we kept in mind that Classic Marble (Showers) Ltd has been at the forefront of design and innovation since 1983 and that we had won numerous product innovation awards for bathroom waterproofing products within our Classi® range.”
Manufacturers of shower trays sold within the EU must have their shower trays CE marked in accordance with the EU Construction Products Regulations including EN 14527.
The first challenge that we came across was the realisation that whilst EN 14527 draws attention to the potential for slipping to increase when the surface of shower trays are wet, it does not detail particular tests or technical parameters for shower trays in relation to slip resistance. As soon as we discovered this to be the case, our managing director joined the UK Slip Resistance Group, UKSRG, in order to raise awareness of this fact and to keep himself and the Classic Marble team fully up to date with changing legislation. As a result we found ourselves fulfilling an educational role, as well as developing a new product. Our next challenge was the actual design, so we turned to the aerospace tooling industry for help. This indicates the high level of precision engineering and expertise that the SENSTEC design required.
Our initial research led us to two methods of measuring slip resistance - the Pendulum Test and the Ramp Test, BS 7976-2:2002 and DIN 51097 respectively. We decided to test our product using both standards.
From the outset, we agreed that we should adopt an engineered solution and make the Anti-Slip design an integral part of the mould. This would ensure that Anti-Slip properties would be built in to all of our shower trays. In addition, we decided that the Anti-Slip profile should be made from the same material as the rest of the shower tray surface. This would mean that there would be no limitations of use.
More than two years of continuous Research and Development ensued and it soon became clear why no one had yet successfully completed a project such as this. Prototype tool #1, tray manufacture, test, feedback results… Prototype tool #2, tray manufacture, test, feedback results… the trials went on and on.
Then finally we cracked it after Prototype tool #42!
Or had we? Only rigorous testing would provide the answer.