Sloan Touch-Free Sink Puts Hand Hygiene Within Reach

Feb. 14, 2023
AER-DEC brings a touch-free soap dispenser, water faucet and dryer together on one deck.

The AER-DEC Integrated Sink by Sloan was introduced in 2015 as the future of high-end, sustainable restroom design. Soap, rinse, dry – the three acts of handwashing – without taking any steps. Like the handwashing process itself, the look is clean with no soap dispensers or hand dryers on the walls. The Sloan Touch-Free Soap Dispenser, BASYS Sensor-Activated Faucet and Sloan High-Speed Hand Dryer are all located on the sink deck. Designed to work with the faucet and dryer is the AirBasin.

Because the entire handwash process is in one spot, Morgan Kish, Sloan Product Line Manager for Faucets, Soap Dispensers, Hand Dryers, and Showerheads, said, “You don’t have to be standing in line with your hands dripping.” She said one of the highest liabilities for airports is slips and falls in the bathroom. Reducing the water on the floor helps reduce that liability and improves the user experience.

According to Kish, one of the reasons airports like the AER-DEC is that they can customize the sink. The AirBasin can be customized according to desired size, configuration, mounting and color.

“We can create individual basins, rather than one continuous open trough so everybody kind of gets their own personal space and has that little bit of counter on each side to set their things down,” Kish said.

Based on user feedback, Sloan has made several updates to the AER-DEC. One of them was making the enclosure underneath the sink more accessible.

While maintenance and cleaning staff should have quick and easy access, Kish said, “You don’t want it to look like, if you just pull this open, you get access to everything.”

Although exterior locks are available as an option, she said “we really wanted to avoid doing that as our standard. We do offer it as an option for areas where vandalism is more prevalent.”

When locks have keys, they tend to get misplaced or taken when someone leaves for a new job, she said. Then no one has access to the locked area under the sink.

“At an airport, most of the time, you’ve got ticketed passengers that are using those bathrooms,” she continued. “Most people aren’t trying to mess with the products themselves so we made really beautiful enclosures that were easy to access.”

Style options include stainless steel and a laminated cabinet-style with a more “homey feel.” And, without handles, it doesn’t look like the door is easy to open.

Soap refills also come in different options. One is an entirely encapsulated, closed bottle.

“That’s really important to us – an airless fluid transfer from the soap bottle through the dispenser, all the way out and onto the user’s hands,” Kish said. “When there is a reservoir that you have to refill, that can be a problem because that reservoir – if something gets into it – whether that be from the air or any other liquid being poured in – can contaminate that reservoir.”

She said studies looking at bulk soap dispensers have found that 25 percent of them had enough bacteria that the soap, and what was in it, made people’s hands dirtier than before they washed their hands. “Which is really gross and I hate having to tell people that, but that’s why it’s so important to have a closed soap system,” she said.

When a soap bottle is empty, a new bottle is used. Sloan partners with Gojo to offer refill bottles designed for Sloan.

“It’s got ‘a straw’ that comes up all the way up from the soap dispenser. And basically one-handed, you can just reach under and lock it into place, it clicks in and so it’s really a quick change,” she said. “Cleaning staff has said they’ve been really happy with that soap refill because of how quick and easy it is to do. They like the fact that you can’t accidentally spill it. If you drop it, it doesn’t spill all over.”

Turning to the faucet, Kish said, “Most of the airports have used our BASYS-style faucet, which has access from the top. The crown of the faucet can slide off, and that’s how you can turn the water off, you can access all of the repairable items – anything you need for basic troubleshooting.”

By not having to crawl under the counter to replace a faucet crown or solenoid, for instance, the maintenance or cleaning staff doesn’t necessarily have to close down the whole bathroom.

The AER-DEC Integrated Sink comes with a deck-mounted BASYS-style hand dryer that has a HEPA filter to clean the air coming out of the dryer.

Designed with the sink, Kish said these hand dryers give the best experience. “One of the keys is that you don’t get the blowback. When you’re drying your hands, you’re not going to get a bunch of air and whatnot blowing back at you. We have a patent on the AER-DEC sink design that has a little like inlet. Basically, if you were to be facing the sink and you reached in, it would be right in front of you, lined up with the dryer that redirects the air down, rather than back up at the user.

“So you don’t have to worry about ending up with hands dirtier than when you started. You know that handwash process is going to be really clean and that you’re going to end up in a healthier spot.”