What Watts Water is Doing
For more than 135 years, the brands of Watts Water Technologies, Inc. have provided products compliant with Federal and State mandates. With the recent advent of the various Federal and State Lead Free* mandates, we continue to lead the flow control industry in helping distributors and wholesalers, engineers, and contractors by providing products and tools to meet the new Lead Free* requirements.
California, Vermont, Maryland, Louisiana and the Federal Government have passed laws, some currently in effect, others that will be going into effect on January 1, 2013 and January 4, 2014, that require a significant reduction in the lead content of new piping, fixtures, fittings and valves that convey potable water. Overall, these laws require that the wetted surfaces of new products have a weighted average lead content of equal to or less than 0.25%, and refer to such products as "Lead Free*." We are committed to providing products that comply with these new laws and we have adopted this same terminology for our products.
Investing for Lead Free* Development and Innovation
For over a decade, Watts Water has invested resources in the research and development of Lead Free* materials, products and manufacturing methods to address standards and legislation in different jurisdictions.
In March of 2012, we broke ground for our 30,000+ sq. ft. expansion to our Franklin, NH foundry which will produce Lead Free* products. This expansion, to be built on the property behind the current 44,000 sq. ft. foundry, will house equipment to melt Lead Free* ingot into liquid form that will be used in manufacturing castings to be machined and assembled into valve products. Separating the production areas of traditional and Lead Free* products will ensure there is no risk of cross contamination of traditional and Lead Free* materials.
This multi-million dollar investment and expansion represents our commitment to the continued research, design, development and testing of the highest quality Lead Free* products in the industry. The Franklin plant’s expansion is scheduled to be completed by February 2013.
We have also implemented stringent supplier quality checks to ensure all of our sourced components and finished goods meet the same high standards as our manufactured items. In addition, we have invested in state of the art material testing equipment to ensure all Lead Free* products comply with the requirements of the new laws.
Labeling and Identifying Lead Free* Products
This is a large, administrative product transition for Watts Water, impacting some 10,000 SKU’s. Managing such a change in production/distribution will require skill, planning and communication.
Our brands are implementing new Lead Free* product labeling that will clearly identify our Lead Free* offering. Lead Free* will appear in big bold letters on all levels of product packaging. This is important to ensure end users that the products they are purchasing meet the new standards.
In addition, where both a traditional and Lead Free* version of a product exists, our brands are adding an "LF" prefix to the Lead Free* product’s model number to easily identify it as Lead Free*. All product documentation including specification sheets, installation manuals, brochures and catalogs are also being updated to clearly identify Lead Free* products. Lastly, on many products we are adding an "LF" mark on the body of the product to signify that it is Lead Free*. This will allow for easy identification in the field or after installation.
Experience in Helping our Channels Go Lead Free*
We have gained valuable insight helping hundreds of customers during the Lead Free* transition across California, Vermont and Maryland. We supported them by continuously adapting our inventory planning and logistics to help them adapt to changes in their market.
Our network of manufacturer’s representatives across the country are very knowledgeable in the business. They are ready to serve you in this transition and ensure you have the information you need for success.
Experience in Adopting Leading Technology
In 2009, Watts Water Technologies, Inc. launched its website WeAreLeadFree.net, the first dedicated resource for educating, informing and transitioning distributors, engineers and plumbing professionals in the country to Lead Free*. The site went live early in 2009, leading the industry by nearly a year before California's Lead Free* law went into effect. To date, we’ve had over 60,000+ people come to our site and start their transition to Lead Free*.
What Watts Water is Doing:
- Investing heavily in research and development of Lead Free* materials and products
- Clearly identifying Lead Free* products through new labels and other identifiers
- Ensuring supply chain and/or production process integrity
- Investing in a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art foundry dedicated to Lead Free* production
- Equipping all Watts Water production facilities and distribution centers that manufacture or receive Lead Free* materials from vendors with testing devices to ensure material compliance
- Having our Lead Free* products third party certified for compliance
- Working with our suppliers to ensure compliance with our specifications