It was response to demand that inspired Paramount’s Managing Director Steve Martin to launch a new thermally-insulated pool cover earlier this year. In truth, it was four years of inspiration, research, design and development that enabled the Therma-safe covers to become an overnight sensation.“In 2014, we were in our 20th year of selling Aquamatic covers, and within that time, we had made extensive modifications and improvements to suit the UK market,” recalls Steve.“However, one improvement that continued to evade us was finding the right insulation material to produce a thermally insulated cover.”Research has shown that an uncovered pool can lose as much as 5˚c heat in 5 hours. Installing a Thermo-safe cover can reduce heat loss in the same period by up to 85% to as little as 0.65˚c.
The additional consumer list price for a 10 x 5m pool is £1,000 for the Thermo-safe pool cover based on 10-year life expectancy, equating to £100 per annum. For the Thermo-safe Spa version, based on 6 x 3m spa, the additional consumer price is £500 with a payback of up to 23% on energy bills with a heat retention cover.Having undertaken a year-long widespread research on various insulating materials, Steve and Paramount were introduced to Therma-Float® in 2015 that specialises in the development of high-performance insulating materials for offshore workers, mariners and militaries throughout the world. “In particular, we were drawn to their work with life rafts where their product is used to prevent the cold harsh, extreme Atlantic waters penetrating the floor of the raft,” says Steve. “The company was most notably affiliated with the Richard Branson ICO Global Round the world balloon challenge too.“Once we had established the right material and supplier we set about producing a cover for swimming pools,” continues Steve. “On paper, encapsulating both insulation materials within the PVC fabric material seemed straightforward. “However, we were not expecting the complexities of how the two different materials would work against each other; especially when being hydraulically wound up onto a roller drum.”Working closely with the Aquaflex team, Paramount experimented with several fabrication methods until we managed to produce a cover with the correct operational characteristics. Before launching the cover, Paramount made the commercial decision to extensively test the product. In March 2015 they installed the first Thermo-safe pool cover on a 10 x 5m pool built locally by Harlequin Pools. The cover was removed and inspected at six monthly intervals to check for any excess wear or irregularities.
One of the major developments in the industry over the last few years has been in the development of chemistries. This has partly been driven by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and the recent REACH classification that Boric is now considered hazardous, as it may damage fertility and may damage the unborn child. The Lovibond® team of chemists have worked tirelessly to remove all traces of Boric acid in their reagents used for pool and spa water testing. It has now proven possible to achieve what once seemed impossible: reagents that are easy to dose; reagents that are safe; reagents that have a long and stable shelf-life; reagents that are extremely accurate; reagents that provide reproducible results; and reagents that are environmentally friendly and 100% free of Boric Acid in compliance with DIN EN ISO 7393-2.Further developments have occurred in the production of the tablets themselves. The latest machinery has now been installed to ensure each tablet is hermetically sealed, protecting them against challenging environmental conditions. “Maintaining these quality standards means Lovibond® reagents are guaranteed for a minimum of five years, some for as long as 10 years,” points out Tintometer’s Colin Day.“The new aluminium foil blister packaging has now been applied to all the reagents used for pool and spa water testing. These bring added convenience to the user.“With the blister strip, you simply push the tablet through the protective foil, straight into the sample. Simple, time-saving and practical.”
Not exactly a brave new world, but seeing increased adoption across the pool and spa industries are iOS® / AndroidTM apps and Bluetooth. Lovibond’s PoolM8 is a free App to determine the Langelier Index or ‘balanced water’ has been downloaded millions of times around the world, helping operators maintain the quality of the water and share results. Bluetooth® data transfer has also been introduced to the newer series of photometers. The MD 110 range and the PM 630 include connectivity to the AquaLX® app, again available free of charge, which offers the possibility for data management, analysis and export.Lonza, one of the largest manufacturers of calcium hypochlorite since 1928 has developed the hth® Easiflo® simply put, the first chlorine dosing system which, used in combination with hth® Easiflo® briquettes, produces on-site, an on-demand and ready-to-use chlorinated solution to disinfect pool water Based on decades of experience in engineering of water treatment equipment, the hth® Easiflo® has been designed to ensure little maintenance is required. Any insoluble deposits generated by the dissolving of calcium hypochlorite can be easily drained via a flushing system at the base of the unit, ensuring the cleaning procedure is simplified and less frequent. Explains Lonza’s Steve Gallagher: “Installation and operation is simple and does not require extensive amounts of time or manpower. “Operator and plant room safety are ensured by an emergency shut-off valve which limits the risk of overflow spillage of chlorinated solution. A detector on the lid, shuts down the spraying of briquettes when it is opened and prevents the projection of disinfecting solution towards the operator.”The Easiflo® system generates a consistent halogenated solution concentration between 1.2 and 2% available chlorine at 1 bar depending on the selected model, helping to maintain a constant level of chlorine within the pool.