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Views Water in Japan
A Solution to the Global Water Shortage?
Startup DG Takano Develops Resource-Conserving Nozzle

Every summer brings water shortages in Japan, and this has given rise to a host of water-saving products. One major hit in recent years has been the Bubble90 nozzle that can cut water use by 90% while also improving washing performance. It has been widely adopted in the restaurant industry.

A Hit Product from Water Resource-Poor Japan

Surrounded by the ocean and with high levels of precipitation, Japan is thought of as having plenty of water. The truth is, however, that Japan has a very low level of usable fresh water. The average annual water availability—that is, the maximum amount of water available to one person—is about 8,000 cubic meters globally. But in Japan, it is only about 3,400 cubic meters. Per capita water availability in the highly populated greater Tokyo area is especially low—roughly equivalent to that in northern Africa and the Middle East. Japan’s mountainous terrain means that rivers are short, and since precipitation is concentrated in the rainy season and typhoon season, rainwater quickly flows to the sea. (See Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, “Water Resources in Japan, 2015.”)

Because of this, there are water shortages in many parts of Japan almost every summer, and calls are made for people to reduce their water use. Today, about 80% of Japanese are conscious of the need to save water in their daily lives. (See Cabinet Office, “Public Opinion Survey on Water Recycling.”)

The Bubble90 featuring high water efficiency and washing power.

DG Takano is a small factory in Higashiosaka.

This has prompted the development of many outstanding water-saving products in Japan. One recent hit is the Bubble90 water-saving nozzle manufactured by DG Takano Co., Ltd. in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, which claims to reduce the water used in washing under flowing water by 80% to 95% while also improving washing performance—without the use of electricity.

“The secret to high water efficiency without sacrificing washing power is the ‘pulsating flow’ generated by the Bubble90,” says Takano Masaaki, president of DG Takano who developed the nozzle. “Pulsating flows that continuously release water droplets containing air are used in washing semiconductors and similar items. They are also used in luxury warm water bidet toilet seats. However, those devices rely on electricity. With the Bubble90, we’ve developed the world’s first device that generates a pulsating flow by using water pressure only. And we’ve incorporated this technology into a small nozzle that can easily be fitted onto almost any type of faucet.”

President Takano holds a Bubble90 nozzle.

High Water Efficiency and Washing Performance

When regular tap water is used in washing, most of the water never actually hits the object being washed. Increasing the water volume will raise the force of the water pushing against the object but will also greatly increase the amount of water that is wasted. The pulsating flow generated by Bubble90 forcefully releases water droplets in a steady pulse at intervals, thus minimizing the amount of wasted water. At the same time, washing power is increased with the vibrational force of wave-like surges.

High-speed photo of Bubble90’s pulsating flow.

Bubble90 has earned accolades in Japan and other countries for its original technology that generates a pulsating flow without the use of electricity. In 2009, it won the Super Monozukuri Innovative Parts and Components Award in competition against many products from much larger companies. Today it is being used by several major restaurant chains and is in full-time, 24-hour operation in factories.

“Bubble90 is simple to use since it can be easily attached to faucets worldwide. The water flow can also be adjusted, and clogs can be removed with a single push, making it nearly maintenance-free. We’ve received a lot of praise from users for the combination of water conservation, washing power, and ease of use,” says Takano.

↑ See a video of the Bubble90’s pulsating flow, water conservation, and washing power.

  • [2017.02.03]
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