At Zip, Australians are manufacturing for Australians – and the world.
“Using quality products made by BlueScope is a no-brainer – especially with COLORBOND® steel which is a recognised, quality name.”
It is probably fair to say that everyone has heard of Zip Water. Aussies of all generations have experienced the convenience of the company’s iconic instant boiling water product. But some people may not be aware of the international success of this outstanding brand.
In the early days, Zip Water was the instant boiling water box mounted on the wall of factories and workshops around the country. Then it expanded to over-sink water heaters for canteens, restaurants and office kitchens.
Today, Zip Water’s flagship product is the HydroTap, which provides homes and workplaces instant boiling, chilled and sparkling water at the touch of a button. The HydroTap is known for its award-winning design appeal and is recognised as the world’s most advanced drinking water technology. Founded as a family-run business in western Sydney, Zip Water has built its business over the last 70 years. From humble beginnings, the company now exports its innovative drinking systems to more than 70 countries.
Zip Water is proud to manufacture its product locally, out of its factory in Condell Park in Sydney’s west, and the innovative brand continues to adapt to the changing reality of our workplaces and homes.
Zip Water Marketing and Strategy Director, Mike Abbott, says, “Zip turns tap water into something special”.
From starting out with a purely commercial customer base, the company now provides a beautiful designer range of taps for households.
“We always have an eye to the needs of our consumers,” explains Mike. “Our very first on-wall boiling water unit replaced the kettle in workplaces – and it is still used widely.”
“We have a history of world-first innovations, starting with the world’s first instant boiling water product, adding chilled and sparkling functionalities over the years,” says Mike.
These are sleek, cleverly designed products, with reliable performance in high demand locations. The company’s products are in iconic buildings all around the world, from Buckingham Palace in London, to the top floor of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
The business recognised the hygiene needs of communal washrooms and designed an innovative range of touch-free washroom facilities. Infrared sensor taps, automatic soap dispensers and hand-dryers, and hands-free flushing systems are Zip Water products installed around Australia.
Australian engineering response to COVID-19.
Necessity has once again proven to be the mother of invention with Zip Water’s latest 2020 innovation. COVID-19 has presented challenges few of us have ever
pondered. But Zip Water identified a need and responded in record-breaking time with a pandemic prototype.
With employers on the look-out for new ways to create COVID-safe workplaces for the new normal, Zip Water created the HydroTap Touch-Free Wave, a contactless version of its HydroTap.
“Research shows that a person will come into contact with 43 different touchpoints on an average workday, including the door to enter the building, the printer and the office coffee machine”, says Mike. “This has left employers scrambling to find new ways to create contactless workplaces to minimise the possibility of transmission. In response we developed the HydroTap Touch-Free Wave.”
Zip Water drew on industry-leading techniques to develop a first-of-its kind solution using in-house proprietary technology to deliver the product in six months, a process that would usually take a year.
“The biggest challenge we faced was fitting four infrared sensors into the tap head, which only has a diameter of 4.5cm, so that they didn’t intersect and confuse commands.
“We were also able to develop an innovative solution to deliver a contactless version of the boiling water safety lock found in all classic HydroTaps. We created the twin sensor activation command so that boiling water is only dispensed once two of the four sensors are engaged, which can only be done through a very intentional motion,” says Mike.
Greater investment in Australia’s domestic manufacturing capability has been highly touted as a key driver for our national economic recovery post COVID-19, particularly as the pandemic highlights’ problems with global supply chains. Zip Water is primed to capitalise on this opportunity.
“Last year we invested $6 million in upgrading our factory in Condell Park. As a result of the investment, we have been able to double our manufacturing capacity to meet growing international demand,” Mike says. “The HydroTap Touch-Free Wave is the latest in a long line of innovations manufactured right here in Condell Park that we are preparing to export the world.”
“We’re proud to employ talented Australians who are the lifeblood of our research, development and manufacturing capability,” says Mike.
Wayne Corby is the Procurement Manager at Zip Water – he handles all the raw material planning and purchasing for Zip Water products. He’s been working in the steel industry for 30 years, and he knows where to go for quality materials.
BlueScope Distribution supplies Zip Water with precut sheets of COLORBOND® steel for on-wall boiling water units and under-cabinet units for the HydroTap.
“COLORBOND® steel doesn’t give us any problems,” he explains. “We bend the sheets here, cut them – we don’t even need to powder coat ourselves anymore. COLORBOND® steel is saving us money and is more efficient.”
Wayne says the culture at Zip Water is to work with suppliers as partners. “We like the proactiveness, security of supply and fair pricing we get from BlueScope Distribution,” he says. “We have an absolutely strong relationship with BlueScope Distribution, and technical support. It is like a partnership because we work together to develop both businesses.”
And of course, Wayne is happy to be working with Australian steel.
“We have to be competitive,” he says, “but we’ll support local suppliers who produce a top quality, cost-effective product. The quality of COLORBOND® steel is extremely good.”
Wayne believes the Zip HydroTap is a superior product in the market and is “untouchable”. He says, “using quality products made by BlueScope is a no-brainer – especially with COLORBOND® steel which is a recognised, quality name.”
The HydroTap is a stand-out for quality and reliability. It makes sense that all component parts are of the highest quality too. Zip Water is certainly a big innovator and always on the lookout for new product opportunities. This culture of innovation, good design, and safety runs deep in the business.
The HydroTap is such a seemingly simple solution for employers grappling to make their workplaces COVID Safe. “The new HydroTap Touch-Free Wave tap is amazing,” says Wayne. “Wave to the left for hot, wave to the right for cold. We are forever innovating.”
Download Case Study: Zip Water