By: Jordan Kahlenberg
It’s 8 AM on a Monday morning and you’ve just sat down at your desk. To help ease into the work week, you enjoy a hot cup of coffee and pick up your favorite stormwater industry magazine for some light reading. As you sip and flip the pages, you come across several advertisements touting the wonders of products old and new. You notice an ad from a familiar company and see that they are introducing a brand new stormwater treatment technology with some appealing features. “Sounds great!” you say to yourself as you drop the magazine and place a call to learn more and specify the product on your latest project.
While you are asking the rep about the product’s particulars such as treatment capacity and design flexibility, you might wonder to yourself “How did they come up with this?” It’s a worthwhile thought. How do scientists and engineers take the seed of an idea and bake it into full-blown commercial manifestation?
In the case of Imbrium Systems and our stormwater treatment technologies, the whole process of invention and product development is fueled by questions. Seemingly endless questions! Early on they sound like “Where is water quality headed? What is the market need? What are the technology shortcomings? What has worked? What has failed?” In the prototyping stage the flavor might shift to “Is this approach practical? Is the treatment performance sufficient? Are the pollutant capacities adequate? Can it be easily maintained?” In the commercial manufacturing planning stage questions shift to “Is this cost effective? Are components available in various regions in all needed sizes? What are the best packaging and shipping solutions?”
For much of the process, our engineers may feel less like engineers and more like detectives, as we ferret out and scrutinize every bolt, every measurement, every component position to ensure that a new device will assemble in the field as it does on paper. We question everything and look at every angle, even if only to eliminate a possibility. Some questions lead to dead ends while others lead to more questions, and a few lead to ordering take-out while we work through a problem after hours.
We ask questions about our customers. Imbrium Systems is here to protect watersheds and serve the needs of our customers, so we strive to understand their priorities and how best to satisfy their design requirements. We ask questions about the current state and likely direction of stormwater regulations. Regulatory requirements when present provide a benchmark for performance and maintenance expectations, so by keeping an eye on where regulations are headed, we can develop products which meet our customer’s needs now and in the future.
We also ask questions of ourselves. “What do we do well? Where are we challenged? How do we improve?” By taking a deeper internal look, we get a history refresher and a better understanding of where we are, so that we can more clearly see where we are going.
These are just a small sampling of what gets asked in our quest to continue to deliver valuable, industry leading, performance verified new stormwater treatment products and services.
From idea conception for a new technology, performance evaluations and eventually verification testing, quality control, to installation of components at the job site, to provisions for maintaining a treatment system for optimum long-term performance, questions build the framework for the Imbrium team and our licensees to bring it all to life. Be on the lookout for what’s new at Imbrium Systems!