A mechanical, rhythmic sound flows out through the hallways into the next room. Clicks, followed by the hiss of air releasing, creates a kind of diegetic music in the adjacent engineering and marketing workspace.
The sound is coming from a row of dispenser testing machines connected to computers that are recording dispensing data so that our pump performance stay consistent from their first to their last activation.
This is the outer area of the dispensing lab, a space where pumps designs are tested. Past a set of doors, a large space opens up with a large, industrial 3D printer, work desks filled with new projects, and product testing stations along the walls.
It is here the pump technology that can be found in a majority of commercial dispensers in North America is refined.
The OPHARDT advantage
OPHARDT Hygiene has been producing pumps for over half-a-century. The quality of our pumps have long been key to our reputation and business. In the 1960’s, the ingo-man® was the first dispenser of its kind to reliably dispense alcohol-based sanitizer. Having a high-quality pump was an important part of its design.
While always crucial for OPHARDT Hygiene’s success, our pump-focussed business expanded dramatically two decades-ago with our Canadian team’s focus on plastic pumps for downwards dispensing.
The pumps that we produced for the North American market needed to stay faithful to OPHARDT’s standards of quality, innovation, and flexibility. The engineering team in Canada not only designs pumps for OPHARDT products, but also creates custom pump designs for leading commercial hygiene companies. The breadth of work that they do for a diversity of applications keeps the team pushing to discover solutions to new design problems.
The quality of our pumps starts at the design stage. Here we focus on minimizing the amount of parts we use. This helps create more efficient pumps, reduces the number of parts that can fail, improves both manufacturing process and recyclability—but also brings a focus to the design.
Another key way that we maintain high quality is by manufacturing our pump designs in-house. Andrew Jones, who leads the Canadian pump team and goes by A.J., outlines the key advantage we have by having our design and production teams work in the same building:
“It (gives us) fast turnaround as well as easy information transfer. You can review a design with the (worker) who will maintain and run the mold in a few steps in real time. We can (and do) shoot a mold, review the part, make a change, modify a mold, reshoot and look at new parts in the same day. That would take minimum a week and more likely 2 weeks for most people.”
Innovation is in our DNA. Many of our over 500 international patents relate to pump design. This comes out of the hard work our team does to solve the challenges of pumps for very specific needs. Our deep knowledge of patents also allows us to avoid other companies existing patents when we are designing custom pumps. This is a key reason why the largest companies in the hygiene industry turn to us to solve their trickiest dispensing challenges. “(These players) have been very impressed with our design ability,” A.J. relates, “and our ability to think around problems and solve their issues.”
OPHARDT’s biggest differentiator is our flexibility. Our designs are not limited in important ways, A.J. shares:
“Many of our competitors use pumps they did not design and cannot change… We on the other hand can design anything you wish to your requirements providing the exact solution you need.”
Other companies can tweak existing pump designs. Our team is able to create incredible designs from scratch.
We make pumps for the world
All the impressive engineering in modern, commercial dispensers would be rendered useless without high-quality and high-performing pumps. The requirements of these pumps varies from continent to continent, as different markets have different preferences for liquid, foam, or gel products. North America is more closely associated with closed, cartridge systems. In German-speaking countries, refillable dispensers and the Euro bottle design—created in partnership with OPHARDT Hygiene—is common.
Customers come to us needing permanent, semi-permanent, or disposable pumps. They may need pumps for either upwards or downwards dispensing. These pumps may go into cartridge, refillable, or Euro bottle systems. Whether they need fully custom plastic pumps or one of our long-lasting stainless steel pumps, we are able to provide flexible solutions for every market.