Multiple considerations for the ‘right’ design

Dart Valley Systems (DVS), a member of the Design in Mental Health Network, has manufactured and supplied electronic water efficiency controls since 1985, and specialises in the design and manufacture of high quality washroom controls, including bath, tap, shower, WC, and urinal controls. As the company explains, in the past 15 years it has also entered the ‘safe en suite’ sanitaryware market, producing ‘a lightweight but extremely strong’ range of en suite products suitable for use in both mental health and acute healthcare settings. Here DVS focuses on the development of its mental healthcare portfolio.

Our high quality, innovative washroom products are designed with the healthcare sector in mind – including for use in the toughest environments, such as in a broad spectrum of mental healthcare facilities, where their robust design will enable them to stand up to abuse and attempts at wilful damage. All products are manufactured using the latest advanced technologies. We pride

The DVS Handheld Programmer.

ourselves, and indeed are especially well- known for, our Safe Ensuite sanitaryware and accessories, and have seen this range go from strength to strength, as more and more private healthcare providers and NHS Trusts install and see the benefits of these products. From anti-shatter moulded resins to integrated, ligature-resistant, water- saving spouts, the products’ reliability and durability is, we believe, unique. In addition to the resin sanitaryware products, the DVS High Security range covers various ligature-resistant solutions suitable for low to high security facilities, including stainless steel shower towers, and deck and wall-mounted taps and bath filling spouts, as well as accessories and various water-saving programmable control options.

Within the healthcare and mental health sectors we have successfully won a host of high profile projects for both NHS Trusts and private healthcare providers across the UK. These include West London NHS Trust, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Cygnet Health Care, The Huntercombe Group, and many more.

All patterns and tools today are 3D generated, which gives us exceptional repeatability


Entry to the sector When DVS first entered this market, we started buying solid surface sanitaryware from different suppliers. However, this proved an expensive process, while the weight of the products caused many issues with logistics and installation. While other manufacturers were all producing solid surface products that were so heavy as to require two people

to lift and install them, DVS required a strong but lightweight solution, so we decided to look into the possibility of composite construction.

With the marine industry on our doorstep,

we contacted Plymouth University, which put us in touch with two experts from the marine industry that could advise and help design and build our sanitaryware; in fact they still advise us and work with us today.

The first product to be launched was the DVS wall-hung basin, quickly followed by the V1 WC pan, both manufactured using a foam core and closed mould technique. These products proved very successful, but they were also very expensive to produce, requiring many hours of manual labour to hand finish.

On the launch of the products we were already working on the ‘next generation’ – the V2 WC pan and basin, and, being keen to achieve WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) approval, had to make minor changes both

inside and out. High manufacturing costs were again an issue, so we strove to see how we could reduce them. With an in-house 3D design team with experience in the moulding industry, we created 3D parts, and were able to build and test a WC and basin before we made patterns and tools using 3D computer-generated models. All patterns and tools today are 3D generated, which gives us exceptional repeatability.

Improved aesthetics A ligature-resistant basin spout.

The two key goals with the V2 products – to improve the aesthetics and secure WRAS approval – were achieved, and indeed the V2 WC pan and basin have proven highly successful. Being both water-efficient and very strong, they have passed the stringent Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) testing

guidelines for safe en suite sanitaryware. While the V2 WC pan would not look out of place in any bathroom, it is ideal for mental health applications. From the same internal design we developed the rest of the WC range – which now includes a wall-hung and disabled variant, all using the same internals, and with a very efficient 4-litre single flush. The WC pan has WRAS approval, and in 2015 the pan was approved by Watermark for use in the Australian market.

A wall-mounted brushed stainless steel tap sensor.

Another key requirement was ligature resistance, and here we listened to, and took into account, feedback from the Ministry of Justice and various mental health establishments; as a result we feel the DVS range of sanitaryware is now fully compliant with all the requirements for use in mental health or MOJ establishments.


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