Why Making Water Work is the Job That Never Sleeps

When a homeowner turns on a faucet, they know that water will come out, just like they also know there will be enough of it to shower, cook, and even water the lawn. While access to water has grown to be such a reliable process, it hasn’t always been this way. Our current water infrastructure is a huge contributor to the reliable transportation of this resource but the real star players are the water professionals who design, invest in, plan, sell, install, and repair everything from the water source to the water meter.

Making water work is a huge responsibility and one that is not taken lightly. With stakes being so high and products built to last, very high standards have been put into place for the industry. While access to water is often taken for granted, water professionals consider this a compliment and as a way to always strive to do better.

The majority of the parts that make up the water infrastructure are designed to last for up to a century within the soil. Therefore, one of the ways in which the water infrastructure can be improved is by improving the parts it is comprised of. This can be done by upgrading existing products or creating new ones that make the process even more reliable and efficient. That’s where A.Y. McDonald’s Innovation Center steps in.

As a leading manufacturer since 1856 in the plumbing, pump, water works, and high pressure gas industries, we are always looking for ways to listen to the customer and stay relevant. And while most 163-year-old companies would be scared of change, A.Y. McDonald embraces it. This is why, as of recent years, we have been devoting more resources to innovation in order to keep our mature company not only as an industry leader but as a thought leader as well. Complete with a talented team of experts and housed offsite, A.Y. McDonald’s Innovation Center opened its doors in April 2016.

While following through on the creation of an innovation center was the easy part; the hard part has been introducing these new innovative products into the marketplace. Since the installation of inferior water works parts can directly affect the quality of water to the end consumer, there is no room for mistakes. With stakes so high and access to this resource so important, there is a natural hesitancy to upgrade from a product that has already been utilized for decades – even when it is obvious that this product is no longer the best solution for the job.

With all roadblocks aside, there have been three innovative products launched during the Innovation Center’s short existence so far. One such product is the Telescoping Curb Box. With an adjustability range superior to any other curb box available in the industry, users can take full advantage of the following features and benefits:

  • 1 1/4” upper section
  • Adjusts a full 36”
  • Constructed of non-corrosive materials, solving hot corrosive soil issues
  • Lightweight composite material reduces shipping expenses/damages
  • Greater extension range offers reduction of inventory without reduction in sales
  • Repairable top section with repair parts available
  • Comes with an optional adjustable stainless steel rod and interchangeable bases
  • Converts easily from Minneapolis to Arch Base

Another A.Y. McDonald product born through innovation is the patent pending Fast Connect Fitting. Behaving similar to a standard three part coupling but with one-third the amount of rotations required to install, the secret to this product lies within the assembly itself and its dual thread design. The following attributes contribute to this product’s quick installation and leak free joint:

  • Available in CTS sizes 3/4”, 3/4” x 1”, and 1”
  • Consists of just two brass components, two compression gasket assemblies, and one plastic spacer
  • Includes less threads per inch than any other A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. fitting
  • Consists of a tighten-to-stop feature
  • Can be used in place of a standard three piece coupling
  • Can be used when CTS PE pipe is required and when coupling two pieces of copper
  • No-Lead Brass product

The Adjustable Height Meter Setter is yet another innovative product to come from our Innovation Center. While allowing the end user to stock one setter for various depths, they can continue the job at hand even when the grade level changes. This product is seen as the ideal choice based on the following features:

  • Compatible with 5/8”, 5/8” x ¾”, ¾” meter sizes
  • Height can be adjusted from 9” to 12” on one model and 18” to 30” on another model
  • Available with all standard inlet/outlet valve meter options
  • Inlet/outlet end connection options include ¾” CTS, MNPT, Double Purpose (FNPT/Flare), Flare, and 1” CTS
  • Includes a rigid cross tube to keep the service in alignment
  • Designed to maintain a constant ‘meter to grade level’ depth

A.Y. McDonald functions and thrives on making the ‘customer the boss’ – a mantra that holds strong every day within our organization. The Innovation Center is just another example of how we listen to the bosses’ needs and go above and beyond to meet them, evident in innovative products such as the Telescoping Curb Box, Fast Connect Fitting, and Adjustable Height Meter Setter. However, by listening to the customer even further, we are able to understand the industry’s hesitancy and our own responsibility to further improve how communities make water work. With products that exceed the high standards placed upon water works parts, the customer (and the homeowner) shouldn’t be scared to embrace the change that A.Y. McDonald’s innovative products will enforce on their water infrastructure!

Innovation runs on people, which means that our best inventions come straight from you or our own employees. If you have an innovative idea, make sure to pass it along by emailing us at innovations@aymcdonald.com. Depending on how far the idea gets through our process, you may be recognized and rewarded.