Last month, we filmed a video that went into depth about how the Active Pour Tap will deliver you the best experience yet. We mentioned that we’d worked hard to select the perfect materials, but you may be wondering what they are exactly and what does that mean for you when experiencing the new Active Pour Tap. Well, join us as we run through the materials that it’s made of in more detail.
Food Grade ABS
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, now that’s a mouthful. ABS is amorphous (as opposed to being crystalline) and so has no true melting point which means we can mould it exactly as we want. It has high tolerance, control and precision, which is what we need for the incredibly precise engineering components that go into a tap like this. It also means it’s got high polish which means lower friction. The higher the polish, the lower the coefficient of friction, which means the beer is less likely to stick to the surface and flows like a dream.
To be defined as food grade, materials need to be non-toxic and safe for consumption (no potential for nasty bits in your beer). That doesn’t mean just the materials themselves, but also any material coatings, processes and our whole supply chain! For example, some companies use grease for their plastic moulds, but we don’t in order to make it safe for you when you’re tapping. There are some pretty strict standards that our Head of Quality, Mark holds us to on every single material and design decision.
Nickel- plated Zamak 5
It’s not a spaceship, and we’re not sure what happened to Zamak 1-4, but what we are sure of is that Zamak 5 is an incredibly useful material. Zamak 5 is used as the metal die cast shaft which is the 'driving engine' of the tap (the rotating bit where the handle connects to actuate the valves). Very few metals allow you to die cast (mould) metal into a small and detailed shape, but as Zamak 5 is essentially a form of zinc it is quite soft and has quite a low melting temperature, so it can be squeezed into a precise little mould, but it's also a strong material.
So why nickel plated? Well the good thing about Zamak 5 is that it can be moulded, but through the highest level of testing we knew we needed something in contact with the beer that wouldn’t corrode. That’s why we turned to nickel, protecting the Zamak 5, it allows all the benefits of a malleable zinc alloy, while making sure none of that lovely beer or CO2 affects the design.
Glass Fibre Reinforced PBT
Polybutylene terephthalate, that’ll get you a fair few points in scrabble. PBT is a really strong semi crystalline polymer, it’s used where parts of the Active Pour Tap will come under pressure the most. PBT is a strong polymer already but to improve its strength, we reinforced it with Glass Fibre, short strands of glass, which help us both control the shrinkage of the PBT when it cools and helps the material be as strong as possible. Where do we need a bit more strength? There are 4 key locations in the Active Pour Tap where we use PBT, from rods connected to the shaft down to spring return hooks in the system.
We hope you’ve enjoyed nerding out over the tap materials with us, we live and breathe them so love getting into the details! Watch this space as we’ll go even deeper into what makes the Active Pour Tap great in the near future.