Each year, WWA’s coveted Leading Edge award recognizes leaders in aquatic design who raise the standard for interactive aquatic play among water parks and resorts worldwide.
A common trait among award recipients is an ability to cleverly incorporate into their designs emerging technologies that unlock new and creative opportunities to improve guest experience and engagement.
The SplashValve, a powerful UL-listed alternative to distributed effect pumps, water switches and solenoid valves, is one of those emerging technologies, poised to help award-winning designers push the envelope and bring new, exciting and innovative products to the aquatic play landscape in 2023.
Fast Acting Proportional Flow Control: Two Conventional Aquatic Technologies in One
Aquatic designers today use distributed effect pumps, often variable speed pumps, to achieve gradual proportional flow in fountains and other water features. However, until recently, only by coupling VFD pumps with water switches could designers also create fast-acting on/off effects, ideal for programming fountains or interactive features that require quick, responsive water effects.
But gone are the days in which designers have to combine these two costly and notoriously fickle components to achieve both fast-acting effects and proportional flow. With the DMX-controlled SplashValve, one device captures all the benefits of VFD pumps, fast-acting water switches and both technologies combined.
The SplashValve works not by stopping or mitigating its supply pump’s rate of flow, but by simply diverting the water between effect and bypass, and in turn maintaining a constant flow of pressure throughout the system in which it’s installed.
This principle phenomenon allows fountain designers to add as many SplashValves to a common manifold as their supply pump will support and throttle the flow height of each one without affecting the flow heights of all the others. The capacity of the SplashValve to divert water as a means of controlling nozzle effect height while maintaining near-constant manifold pressure is what allows designers to achieve proportional flow without having to use distributed variable speed pumps.
Furthermore, the SplashValve’s diverter mechanism is magnetically coupled with an extremely fast-acting actuator. This allows it to switch between full effect (on), full bypass (off), and any flow height in between in less than a quarter of a second, making the water switch virtually obsolete in 2023.
Aquatic Play Products the SplashValve is Slated to Disrupt in 2023
1. The Guest Controlled “Water Blaster”
Guest activated spray features like “water blasters” or “water cannons” are an increasingly common fixture of spray parks and waterparks that emphasize light-hearted cooperative and competitive play. These products, however, are often limited in what they allow guests to do.
By embedding a SplashValve at the nozzle, product designers can iterate on the traditional blaster activator which typically limit guests to two options: water “on” or water “off”. Using the SplashValve in their designs, designers can more easily create blasters or geyser fixtures that incorporate “proportional activators” like hand wheels, cranks or pedal systems without having to use VFD pumps. With the capacity to switch between flow heights in less than a quarter of a second, activators used in combination with SplashValves also become more responsive and less latent.
2. Collaborative or Gamified Play Features
Gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts in order to make them more engaging and interactive. In recent years, gamification has become an increasingly popular trend among waterparks, splash pads, spray parks and other aquatic play spaces. As a low power, low voltage and highly versatile device, the SplashValve can greatly simplify the development of even the most complex gamified features and applications.
SplashValves, for instance, can be easily programmed to work in conjunction with strategically-placed activators in a waterpark or splash pad, that when activated in a certain manner or in tandem with others can produce an exciting pay-off – a plume of water or captivating dancing fountain effect.
Requiring only a single supply feed, the infrastructure required to create this kind of water park or splash pad game using SplashValves can be very simple, composed of just a single manifold and basic flow-through system.
3. Themed Play Features and Fixtures
Themed rides and attractions have long been a fixture of waterparks, splash pads and spray parks. Colorful characters, storytelling and thrilling special effects are a proven way to drive guest attendance and engagement. With the advent of digital technology, LED lighting and advanced motion control and mechatronics, theming is being used more frequently and effectively than ever before.
The SplashValve offers a simple way for today’s designers to add new dimensions to their narratives and themed fixtures. Existing themed foam structures, slides and other features, for instance, that shoot and spray water can be easily fitted with SplashValves to add new proportional or fast-acting water effects to their repertoire.
Furthermore, using SplashValves, themed rides like tunnel slides, which often feature LED screens and synchronized effect lighting, can be made even more exciting. SplashValves, for instance, can help designers to more easily incorporate well-timed special effects designed to emphasize key storytelling moments, making rider experiences that much more thrilling and immersive.
SplashBotix – The Ultimate Partner to Product Designers and Creatives
As a key partner to aquatics designers, SplashBotix offers more than just the SplashValve to those looking to bring new innovations to the aquatic play market.
Prototyping and Mockups
The SplashBotix test pool is the perfect platform for testing, programming and iterating on new play concepts and ideas. Reach out today and we’ll work with you to quickly bring a minimum viable product or concept to life.
Submersible Fountain Movers and Mechatronics
A subsidiary of ARM Automation, a systems integrator of industrial automation technology for more than 30 years, SplashBotix also develops mechatronics and movers that enable new ways to drive guest engagement and experience.
With more than 15 years’ experience working with leaders in themed entertainment and as experts in industrial controls, software and DMX, SplashBotix helps designers program new and exciting gamified aquatic features and effects.