Calomax: Designing touch-free drinks dispensers

Calomax has come up with an innovative solution to the potential cross-contamination brought about by COVID-19 in the workplace.

Calomax has been designing and manufacturing the beverage equipment behind the office worker or nurse’s humble cup of tea for as long as anyone can remember, and like everyone else, we certainly cannot remember a time like the one we find ourselves in at the moment.

For those employees fortunate enough to be back in the workplace, it’s a slightly modified workplace they find themselves in. Employers are trying their very best to make their workplace as safe as possible, whilst trying to keep everything as ‘normal’ as possible. Being able to make that humble cup of tea or hot drink is part of that normal.

As they use their own water boiler, it quickly became apparent that the handle they were all touching to make a drink was a potential point of transmission for COVID-19. You could argue that so are door handles, pens and pieces of paper, but these risks are more easily mitigated. An initial design was drafted up for a replacement handle with the same operational geometry as the tried and tested original, but which allowed a cup or mug to open the tap and dispense the hot water; the prototype worked. The Calomax staff used it in their kitchen for 3 weeks and the only downside they could identify was that it hindered access to the boiler for maintenance.

For a company that prides itself on designing maintenance-friendly products, this didn’t fit well. At the same time, they asked a few customers for their feedback and they liked the idea but wanted something that would easily modify the existing handle; no tools, no downtime required. So the design, which had evolved into a removable ‘paddle’ which hooked over a fixed handle, evolved again into a removable adaptor that hooked over the existing handle. This had the advantage of keeping all the critical tap handle geometry and materials unchanged, of easily removing the adaptor to allow for maintenance.

It might only be a very small contribution to the very big problem of keeping the workplace safe, but it’s a contribution they have been very happy to be able to make.

The adaptors fit all of their Eclipse style handles and older models if the handle is replaced.

Check out Calomax BIM content available on bimstore by clicking here.

More information on the adaptors is available on their website ( and as with most of their products; the NHS and other public sector organisations receive a special discount.

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