Globe Union: Universal Shower Valve Body Design for the Gerber Treysta Valve
Globe Union is a world leader in the global kitchen and bath market. As an innovator in state-of-the-art kitchen and bath fixtures—including designs for faucets, bath accessories, shower heads, porcelain fixtures, and hardware—Globe Union has continually improved the quality and uniqueness of its products since 1979. At this time, the Global Union portfolio of brands include Lenz, Gerber, Prima, Reflexion, and Bathrooms to Love.
In late 2016, the Globe Union team contacted Prodigy to develop a universal shower valve body design for the purpose of upgrading their shower offerings. At the time, the aesthetics of their offerings had fallen behind the times compared to those of their competitors—such as Delta, Moen, and Kohler. Globe Union was in the process of upgrading its designs and wanted to create a universal shower valve body to fit multiple shower heads and shower handles across its family of highly differentiated brands.
What Is a Shower Valve Body?
A shower valve body is the internal component of a shower valve that controls the flow and temperature of the water. The valve body packages the internal workings of the valve, including the hot/cold water mixing mechanism. As an essential part of a modern shower system, the shower valve body ensures that water pressure and temperature are consistent and safe.
In the process of upgrading its shower valve body design—while boosting its overall compatibility—Globe Union outlined the following goals for the project:
Boost interchangeability: Globe Union wanted a shower valve body that was compatible with different shower systems across its highly differentiated family of brands.
Increase manufacturing efficiency: Globe Union wanted to manufacture the shower valve body efficiently to reduce costs.
Add “out-of-the-box” installation-friendly features: Especially when it comes to the growing PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing market, Globe Union wanted to develop its first products with installation-friendly features.
Increase quality and durability: To maintain its reputation for high quality products—while keeping warranty claims low—Globe Union wanted its universal shower valve body design to offer the highest levels of durability and reliability.
One of the most exciting elements of this project involved the design and development of interchangeable components for its entire family of brands. Through interchangeable components, Globe Union could simplify its manufacturing and assembly processes and increase manufacturing efficiency—which would free up capital to improve materials quality, durability, and aesthetics.
In achieving these goals, Prodigy carried out a front-end development effort from the ground up. The process involved the following project phases:
Phase 1: Client Stakeholder Review Meetings
Prodigy conducted intensive meetings with Globe Union representatives from sales, marketing, engineering, service, manufacturing, and quality. From these meetings, we created a comprehensive set of product requirements. Prodigy also procured and tore down seven competitor shower valves and produced a report highlighting their differences, strengths, and weaknesses.
Phase 2: Brainstorming and Ideation
Prodigy executed a brainstorming and ideation phase. The brainstorming process allowed us to generate multiple concepts ranging from “mild” to “wild.” We shared the concepts with the Globe Union team and ranked them with a decision matrix to determine which designs would move forward.
Phase 3: Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation
Prodigy leveraged CREO software to rapidly design shower valve prototypes, which we provided to Globe Union stakeholders and customers for evaluation. Prodigy also accompanied Globe Union on a “road show” where key customers provided detailed feedback on the prototypes.
Based on customer feedback, we revised certain requirements for the designs. Ultimately, we compiled all of the results and incorporated the feedback while developing the next round of designs and prototypes.
Phase 4: Offshore Engineering Team in Asia
Next, we transferred the main detail design activities to Globe Union’s offshore engineering team in Asia. Remaining on the project in an advisory capacity, Prodigy continued to attend weekly meetings—mostly late at night due to the time difference.
By continuing to work closely with the Asia design team and providing feedback and solution ideas, Prodigy helped overcome design and manufacturing challenges as soon as they arose. During this phase, Prodigy sent a technical lead to China to evaluate the manufacturing facilities and help finalize the product design direction.
Phase 5: Qualification Testing
In the last phase, Globe Union sent production intent prototypes to Prodigy for qualification testing. We developed a test plan, test procedures, and test fixtures to determine the performance of the valves in various areas under varying conditions.
To establish a benchmark for comparison, we included competitor valves in the tests, scoring them side-by-side with the Globe Union valves. Last, we organized the test results into formal reports and delivered them to Globe Union along with all test fixtures at the end of the phase.
Prodigy achieved all of the goals and parameters outlined for the Globe Union universal shower valve design project. Sold as the Gerber Treysta Valve, customers continually celebrate the valve for providing the flexibility to fit the unique requirements of each installation—saving money while reducing the time of installation.
With its ability to easily install next to a stud in PEX applications, the Treysta Valve also features vertical inlets, an easy-access mounting system, and integrated depth indexing features on the plaster guard—offering maximum installation flexibility. Plus, a state-of-the-art pressure test cap allows for easy air and water testing.
After a long ramp-up in production capability, Globe Union introduced the shower valve to the market in 2019, to critical acclaim. Builder Magazine named the product one of the Top 100 2019 Kitchen and Bath products.