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A water-saving idea that sticks

Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:33 pm CST

 

 

When the team at startup Nebia set out to make a more efficient shower head, they knew they wanted to design an elegant product that wouldn’t just save water.

“The idea behind Nebia was to really make a better experience product that was better for the world. It’s a shower that is better designed, feels better, and uses 65% less water,” said Gabriel Parisi-Amon, co-founder and CTO/COO, Nebia.

The problem? How could they assemble the shower head in an equally elegant way to save them manufacturing time and improve throughput?

“We wanted to have a very subtle way of connecting the [shower head] faceplate. The problem we ran into is, we initially used hot melt, which is a nightmare as it turns out. It’s a whole process that you have to tune, you have to dial it in, it’s messy,” said David Schulman, senior engineer at Nebia.

And it’s time consuming, taking up to 30 minutes per head to assemble.

The team turned to Tim Gearhart, a global accounts manager with a 3M preferred converter, to find out what other options existed.

“[It] started off with us trying to identify materials to mount their device,” Tim said. “So we started off with that material testing and evaluation with the support of 3M and 3M’s lab.”

3M was able to send out 3M™ VHB™ Tape samples in a day for the team to try out.

“We wanted something that would work the first time, and every time after that,” David said. “And 3M VHB [Tape] was our answer for that.”

The team liked the product better than glue because it took the time-consuming prep work needed for hot melt out of the equation – and it sealed the product at the same time.

“And we’re also really confident that once it bonds, it’s going to stay,” Gabriel said.

The team was also enthused by the ability to have the product die-cut by the converter so that it perfectly fit their shower heads.

Then there’s the time savings. David said saving 30 minutes per product – a significant portion of their assembly time – “was just really, really important to us.”

Working with 3M helped them achieve their goals in just months, not years.

“A great partner [is] the one that helps you solve those problems,” said Gabriel. “And on top of that, ones that you want to pick up the phone and talk to. You’re excited for the meetings that you have with them, because you know at the end you’re going to be further along in that problem solving.”

Four years after their launch, Nebia has shipped more than 16,000 showers to 55 countries, saving an estimated 100+ million gallons of water.

“I can say, without a doubt, we would not have shipped the product without the help of 3M,” Gabriel said.

Want to learn more? Watch this video about the collaboration between Nebia and 3M. 

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