Technology, of course, is more than the smartphones and self-driving cars that grab headlines. At its core, technology is simple progress.
A Rogers startup is on the brink of registering some significant yet simple progress in a field that may not be as sexy as the tech that drives Mars rovers but one just as important here at home.
The RinseWell dipper well controller from Recycled Hydro Solutions enables restaurants and other businesses that serve food or drinks to save water. The product, on the verge of going to market, was recognized earlier this month with a 2016 Kitchen Innovations Award from the National Restaurant Association.
Dipper wells are the perpetual-flow sinks used mostly in coffee shops and ice cream parlors to rinse utensils. Their use has been under fire because, well, they use a lot of water, and not efficiently. The patent-pending and discreet RinseWell system fixes that. RHS founder and CEO Chris Gilreath said the system is easy to install and use.
“From the counter-top point of view, it looks and functions like an ordinary dipper well — the ‘secret sauce’ lies underneath,” he said. “The biggest opportunity to save water is when the dipper well is not being used. Health code dictates that nonthermal dipper wells must be constantly running. RinseWell is constantly moving the water, satisfying current health codes.”
When the dipper well is not being used, RinseWell recirculates the water in the well while sanitizing the utensils, he said. RinseWell’s optics even recognize any increase in turbidity of the water — you know, when the water gets cloudy.
“When the water becomes turbid from cleaning and sanitizing the dirty utensils, the controller allows fresh water in to displace the dirty water,” he said. “RinseWell automatically cleans the dipper well on startup and shutdown.”
Last summer, RinseWell was selected as a finalist in the 2015 South by Southwest Eco Startup Showcase. In December it received certification from the National Sanitation Foundation, and in January the Arkansas Department of Health granted RHS approval to beta test the product.
Gilreath, who credited the work of team members Rick Barrows and Jim Lefevre as instrumental in RinseWell’s development, said he is finishing up a licensing agreement with Nemco Food Equipment of Hicksville, Ohio, that will get RinseWell to market.