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TRES, a history of patents and inventions which made the tapware sector environmentally aware


Following the guidelines instilled in the company by Jaume Tres at its origin, TRES incorporates elements into its products to make efficient use of water. Over its more than 50 years of history, the brand has developed various inventions which have shaped the way we think about tapware and conceive a bathroom. Original TRES patents and inventions which have spread through the market to help improve water consumption everywhere.

The start of a new tapware concept
Introducing a vision and a new way of doing things is always a challenge. Inventiveness has always been present at TRES where continual proposals have been made (and continue to be made) to solve challenges, going far beyond product design. As a result, many of these inventions bore fruit and became valuable patents which modified the way tapware would be designed in the future, and introduced a new concept of tapware onto the market centred around responsible water use.

TRES had already been researching the use of taps, the way we interact with them and how to turn a tap into an ally for saving water, when it launched the first environmentally-friendly tap onto the market in 1994. Presented at the Berlin East fair of the sector, the tap was revolutionary because it was the first to incorporate features that maintained the same level of comfort as always while adding systems to reduce water consumption. All this technology was designed and patented by TRES and became a new way of thinking about tapware which all the brands incorporated as an indispensable improvement from then on.

Innovative inventions to contribute to responsible water use
Until then, single-handle mixer taps for the washbasin only existed with knobs which could be turned right or left to access the cold or hot water. The middle position was most usual and let out mixed water at a warm temperature. This meant turning on the boiler and the corresponding expenditure of energy, which was unnecessary if the user only needed cold water. Moreover, there was no way of regulating the flow in these mixer taps, and we knew that often, the user did not need the full flow from the tap.

In order to make the tap open in the cold water position by default and let the user adjust the outlet flow at their convenience, TRES developed and patented a series of improvements which would mark a before and after in tapware manufacture.

Cold water opening: One of the technological advances patented by TRES was a system of opening in the cold-water position that prevented the boiler from coming on unnecessarily, resulting in energy savings. The technology, innovative at the time, consisted of a specially-designed handle with a rounded neck which obliged the user to lift it up in a tilted fashion so that it always went to the cold water to begin with. Once open, the user could move it towards a hotter temperature if they so desired.

Embedded handle: Another improvement consisted in the handle being fashioned in such a way as to make it practically embedded in the upper part of the tap body, making it practically impossible to lift with the fingers. To open it, the handle first needs to be turned to the right (cold water), from where it can be lifted up.

Flow regulation: One of the most innovative patents was the incorporation of a device able to regulate the outlet flow. The part was hidden at the back of the spout and the amount of water could be varied by turning the threaded rod, without the need for any special tools and using just a coin, for example.

Cold-Tres® cartridge: Another idea was to change the cartridge mechanisms so that the entrance holes for hot and cold water to the spout were offset, instead of being symmetrical in relation to the spout axis, creating a new operational axis. This means that the handle in the central position (the most appealing and common position) always opens the cold water. This system is still used in various of the brand’s washbasin taps.

These patents ended up being used by other brands too, giving recognition to TRES’ pioneering contribution to the tapware sector and to sustainability, a model which is now a widespread reality in the design of any bathroom.