Plumbing Technology and Training

  December 27, 2007

The novelty of high-tech, infrared sensors on plumbing fixtures and dispensers in restrooms has reshaped the training requirements for maintenance workers. Touchless valves tend to require less maintenance because they operate with a sensor, generating their own operating power with small turbines driven by the flushing water. This advance saves maintenance resources in the form of battery-replacement labor.

One obvious question is, if the products reduce routine housekeeping maintenance work, is it offset by another form of maintenance related to the new technologies? The answer is, yes and no.

Some waterless systems require new, and in some cases increased, maintenance. Waterless urinals, for example, operate on a new design and require invasive manual cleaning of internal surfaces. These systems also have a filter/sediment trap that workers must remove, and this procedure is new. Also, a liquid within the unit provides the seal but also requires maintenance. If a user pours a foreign, hot fluid into the unit, maintenance requires a more complicated procedure, which in turn requires new training.

On the other hand, new technologies – particularly touchless fixtures – use design features that provide predictive and more targeted maintenance diagnostics, in addition to other benefits. These systems come with troubleshooting guides that define the various messages each fixture might send.
These products can indicate low product levels, a low battery, and other potential problems. This new feature requires training on the diagnostic tool.

While this is not complicated, it is necessary in order for an engineer and the organization to fully benefit from the technology advances.


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