Summary: Tom visits American Standard's Design Center and factory to learn how the Champion 4 toilet is made. Find out how the toilets are tested to make sure they do the job every single time!
TOM: Hi, I'm Tom Kraeutler, host of The Money Pit. I'm in Piscataway, New Jersey, at American Standard Designs Center to learn what takes to build a Champion. Gray Uhl is American Standard Designs Director and this is the Champion 4. Gray, how do we get a Champion 4 toilet, what goes into this and how do you know what consumers want?
GRAY: We start with a lot of research. We talked to plumbers, we talked to building owners and we talked to consumers and users about the product and what they tell us is they want design, but they really want performance.
TOM: They want a toilet that really works, so how do we get there?
GRAY: When we go to create it, it begins in the model shop and I'd like to show that to you.
TOM: Let's go.
GRAY: This is our model shop, where products go from inspiration to innovation.
TOM: This is pretty cool. Gray, what is this and what does it do?
GRAY: This is a CNC machine. It's a computer-controlled router bit that uses robotics to cut a very precise mold.
TOM: Basically, this is cutting the mold for the Champion 4 Toilet?
GRAY: It is. It's the plaster mold.
TOM: Is this the computer that drives the CNC machine?
GRAY: We create all our products on the computer, we also create the molds on the computer. Yes, this file is telling the CNC machine what to do.
TOM: You can actually see the path that the bit is following as it actually carves out the mold.
TOM: Now, American Standard does a lot of testing on the toilets. What are we seeing being tested right here?
GRAY: Here, we're testing the whole system for the life of the toilet.
TOM: Now what is the life of the toilet?
GRAY: We define it as a family of four, each person flushing five times a day over a 40-year period.
TOM: 40 years? This is testing the entire system, but what about the individual components like the trip levers?
GRAY: Those, we test individually. In the case of the trip lever, we have a rig where it will test a number of trip levers repeatedly for thousands of times, to see if there's a wear point or any breakage.
TOM: Speaking of wear, what about the glaze? Cleanliness is really important when you own a toilet. How do you make sure that the glaze is going to stand up?
GRAY: We're sure. On our Champion 4, that's got the EverClean Anti-Microbial Glaze and for that, any sort of microbes that lands on it die because of the glaze. To make sure that holds up for over the 40 years, we have a scrubber test where we have a simulation of a sample, where we'll scrub it back and forth for thousands of times.
TOM: This really tests the reliability of every component of the Champion 4, but what about the actual performance? Is that tested here as well?
GRAY: We do. We do that on our toilet test stand, that's over there.
TOM: Let's take a look.