When it comes to portable submersible utility pumps—devices that effectively remove standing water from undesired locations—Wayne Water Systems of Harrison, Ohio seems to have raised the bar considerably with their new innovation, the WaterBUGTM.
Unlike anything else on the market, the WaterBUG allows consumers to select between top or side hose connection and discharge, making a single cost-effective device equally suitable for tight spaces like utility closets or big open areas like pools or basements. In addition, the WaterBUG also delivers unmatched water removal capability—pumping down to a towel-dryable 1/16” of an inch, as well as a highly effective multiring suction strainer to filter out grit and debris. However, what captures the attention of consumers in the aisles of their local home improvement center or hardware store is the color of the WaterBUG.
“Suddenly, in the midst of a sea of black pumps, here’s an eyecatching, bright yellow one—it telegraphs instantly that something is different,” explained Marketing Manager Jana Bartlett. “Then homeowners see the list of innovative features on our packaging, and realize that yes, indeed it is—not only are they holding a pump that can dry half as close to the ground, they only have to buy one pump that becomes the perfect go-to for nearly any pumping situation they would likely ever be up against, now or in the future.” Retailers, she said, seem to love the bright color as much as consumers—especially the fact that it helps the WaterBUG “jump off the shelves.”
However, the road to the product innovation was far from a simple one, according to Vice President of Engineering Don Williams and Senior Project Engineer Joshua Wilds.
While Wayne Water Systems’ cross-functional teamwork and in-house engineering expertise allowed them to readily design and build in the groundbreaking features, the development of the WaterBUG proved to be a little more challenging on the materials end.
“We were no strangers to specifying materials for products with demanding mechanical and flame retardant requirements for safety, impact resistance, and durability, ” explained Wilds. “However, since the WaterBUG was likely to be spending a lot of time outdoors, it needed to be UV resistant also, which was a new challenge for us. Further, this was the first time we worked with a color, much less such a specific one—PMS 123, the category color Wayne Water Systems uses on boxes and displays. After a false start or two with standard Polypropylenes, it was clear that we needed a little materials assistance.”
Fortunately, one of their long-term molders knew of RTP Company.
“I got on a call with them and I could tell right away how extensive their knowledge was around plastics and with applications like ours. They were also very quick to get us information, samples or whatever we needed, and very effective at keeping UL testing schedules on track,” said Wilds.
“RTP Company came into this project fairly late in a tight development cycle and was so responsive that they actually helped us make up time we had previously lost and launch the WaterBUG on time and on budget,” added Williams. “Not to mention their material met all the physical requirements—from flame retardance to UV-resistance to perfect color matching, all at a cost-effective price.”
With the WaterBUG so new to the market, full sales figures are not yet available, but homeowners have given it a nearly perfect 4.9 stars on Amazon.com, and the syndicated home improvement show Money Pit selected WaterBUG as one of their top products at the 2016 National Hardware Show.
“Now that we know about RTP Company’s capabilities, it definitely opens up even more possibilities for future product innovations,” said Williams. “Just think how much more effective we can be together if we involve them earlier in the process!”