Excessive stabilizer concentration is a well-known pool maintenance problem. But thanks to GACHES CHIMIE, awarded a prize in the Pool Innovations 2018 contest in the “Clean Pool” category”, professionals now have an effective alternative to total or partial pool draining! Deputy director of the pool and water treatment division at GACHES CHIMIE, Karine Bordes, explains this innovation which took ten years research to create!
In addition to the Piscine Global Europe 2018 award your innovation has received several other prizes. Can you briefly outline why your innovation revolutionizes pool maintenance?
Karine Bordes: Our innovation reduces the concentration of stabilizer in the pool. As opposed to what the name of our company could lead you to believe, our innovation is not a chemical! It is actually an enzyme which targets the isocyanuric acid molecule (the stabilizing molecule’s chemical name). It attacks this molecule two to three times to reduce it without generating any harmful by-products. Our tests show a drastic reduction in stabilization in 48 to 72 hours and our enzyme continues to act for around ten days. Currently there is no equivalent pool water maintenance product on the market.
Your innovation acts on excessive stabilizer concentrations in swimming pool. Why is that a problem?
Karine Bordes: Stabilizer build-up blocks the effect of disinfectants which is why pools have to be drained more often. The sector had wanted this product for years! Draining pools can double water consumption!
What target group do you prioritize for your innovation?
Karine Bordes: Basically private owners - although at the outset our pool division was created to meet rising demand from public authorities as they manage stabilizers very accurately day by day and even twice a day so as not to exceed 75 ppm in a public pool. Private owners monitor stabilizer concentrations less frequently as they do not have to comply with the same rules and regulations. So when, usually at the worst possible time (in a heat wave, at the start of the holidays, etc.) their pool cleaner tells them that the water in their pool has turned, it is a shock!
Is excessive stabilizer in pools a recent problem?
Karine Bordes: pool maintenance practices have changed. 20 or 30 years ago, owners drained a third of the water in their pools during winter. This made it easier to control concentrations as a lot of the stabilizer disappeared with the water. As our winters are now less rigorous, this practice has virtually died out in favor of passive wintering. Roller shutters, now increasingly popular, protect pools from freezing. Excessive stabilizer levels have appeared over the years all over the world due to changing maintenance and usage patterns!
Can you tell us what went on behind the scenes as you developed your innovation? What were the main difficulties you encountered before finding the ideal solution?
Karine Bordes: Initially our R&D department looked for a solution using chemicals - our core business. Over ten years, we tested a bunch of products and compounds. Nothing proved satisfactory. And then we discovered this enzyme made by a manufacturer in no way connected to the pool universe.
Although this enzyme was not a chemical, we studied it because it met the needs of the pool sector and that was what we were looking for. We wanted an easy-to-use solution which did not revolutionize pool sector practices. The enzyme fully met all our criteria and we have joined forces with its manufacturer who has granted us exclusive rights to the product.
One year after winning an award at the Pool Innovations 2018 contest, where are you at with marketing your product? What that did the award do for you?
Karine Bordes: There was a tidal wave of interest from Tuesday to Friday at Piscine Global Europe 2018. It was the pool maintenance product everyone was looking for! Many visitors were simply curious and others skeptical. GACHES CHIMIE hiked its visibility and notoriety. All the journalists covering the pool sector were interested in our innovation - we got requests from all over the world!
We spent 2019 developing our business in France - and got extremely positive feedbacks from our customers. Encouraged by other prizes we have since won - including the FFP innovation prize last December - we are now open for international business and have started negotiations with wholesalers in Great Britain, Eastern Europe and North Africa. After the last ten years working flat out, this success rewards all our staff! Three cheers for the whole team!
If, like GACHES CHIMIE, you have developed a remarkable innovation for swimming pools and want to bring it to the attention of sector professionals, the Pool Innovations 2020 contest is ready and waiting to hear from you! Entry registration will start soon!
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