Commercialisation Of ShowerPowerBooster

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The Wright Choice  micro pump is marketed in the UK as the ShowerPowerBooster. Fully automatic booster pumps, are now standard across the range.

The pump and motor was originally used by me in my home to pump water in the primary circuit of a solar thermal system with non-approved connective pipework.

A fully commercialised ShowerPowerBooster was only achieved by a long process of incremental changes. This blog discusses the steps I required for commercialisation and gives just a brief synopsis which could form the basis of a more in depth talk to others.

You can approach organisations which claim to have expertise to get you the moulds and magic to make what you need but had I gone this way I would have paid between $20,000 to $40,000 for a mould which ultimately cost me £870. Getting the mould through one of the many commercial organisations which offer services to entrepreneurs is only a first step in a journey and I would not recommend you go this way.

WRightChoice ShowerPowerBooster

WRightChoice ShowerPowerBooster

You can buy the pump direct from the UK manufacturer at by clicking this link.

Many others would have taken the product in a different direction but from the start I wanted a product which:-

1.0 Maintained essential hydraulic characteristics
2.0 Was brass (legal requirement)
3.0 Used compression joints (DIY freindly)
4.0 Was resiliant
5.0 Allowed compatibility between models.

Size of Pump
The current pumps will not cavitate, will not overheat, will run dry without damage, and can run against a closed valve. They will not suck water out of a vent pipe. With 15,000 pumps in service today all these factors are important.

The prototype was sized to compete with 200 watt UK shower boosters (and bigger), we rated our pumps for the UK market at 12-15 watts to accord with the needs of the UK market.

The initial prototypes and early sales used power packs to achieve 12 watts without issue. I decided to increase the power from 12 watts to 15 watts. This resulted in a product recall of 250 pumps as we started to have failures due to over heating. We returned to 12 watts and the problem disappeared with zero failures due to overheating since 2013.

If our current model of the ShowerPowerBooster leaks then it can only do so if you hit it with a hammer or deliberately break it.

The early pumps had spring loaded clips to hold on the pumps and we were only selling to people who wanted to buy them in Norfolk. This idea for spring clips came from Flowflex but it is only in field testing that it was found that the clips leaked and hence the first of the product recalls (20 customers). We change to crimped ‘O’ clips and no more leaks. Sorted the problem 100%.

Reports of the PVC pipe connections bulging in pressurised system caused a precautionary change to braided PVC – problem solved.

We found that some pump volutes could be snapped if abused during fitting. A design flaw was noted in the volute which caused stress concentration. I paid for the volute mould to be redesigned – problem solved.

In seeking a version of the pump to cater for solar thermal (higher temperatures), In September 2014 we changed to Silex Silicone tubing. In Spring 2015 some of our pumps with the new tubing leaked with 5 reported leaks in quick succession. We ceased production of ShowerPowerBoosters.

Flowflex and I looked for solutions.I undertook customer visits to inspect a sample of 100 pumps for distress. Non of customers I visited had pumps which seemed in distress. Flowflex found a tube which they felt would not leak and restarted production. The new tube did not leak. We thought there would be further leaks but there were no further reports of leaks from Silex Tube .

Flowflex elected to produce a semi-rigid joint and dispense with flexible tubing and this is utilised in the current models.

Making SPB more DIY
Making the joints compression joints was proven to be the right choice however I decided to make things even easier by changing the joints to compression slip joints.

Without a stop to fix the insertion length many customers over inserted the pipes

I reversed the decision to make the SPB fitting a slip joint.

First Deliveries and Problems
We were assembling the pumps in Norfolk 2013 with Flowflex overseeing suppliers.

In Spring 2013 we had deliveries of fittings however the Chinese supplier had not read the drawings properly and Flowflex had to drill out the samples to make them usable.

We had further deliveries of pumps modified with the larger tube but on 15th September 2013 the ShowerPowerBooster was shown on BBC Dragons Den and we run out of pumps to sell.

On the 29th October 2013 manufacturing of 2,000 brass fittings commenced in China with 250 to be sent by air freight.

The upgrade to the product was assisted by  a government assisted ‘Ready Steady Go’ grant brokered by NWES, leading to rapid product development in 2014.

On October 3rd 2014 the ‘negative head’ pump was invented and instructions given to Phil Matthews of Anglian Electronics to not only make flow switches capable of dealing with both positive and negative head standard, but to increase the temperature rating of the automatic pump circuit board from 85 deg C to 120 Deg C.

The magnets within the flow rotors are rated to 85 degrees centigrade.

In November 2014, Flowflex obtained WRAS approval on the product which was not part of the assistance package but nice to get.