The idea of the ÅBÄCKEN water nozzle came about from inspiration. With an eye on battling water scarcity, in 2018, IKEA collaborated with Altered, a Swedish innovation company that provides low-effort but high-impact solutions for making life more sustainable for the many people. Altered has a brass nozzle that offers a water-saving solution through spray and mist modes.
The agreement allowed IKEA to use Altered's patented technique and jointly develop an affordable water-saving nozzle that can be fitted to all standard taps, enabling customers to reduce water use by over 90 per cent. At that time, the still-in-development nozzle was called MISTELN and could be fitted to all traditional taps.
One of the main aims of this partnership was to create a nozzle at a price point that would make it accessible to the many people. Typically, such nozzles are made of metal and could cost upwards of 30 Euros. But IKEA wanted it available for everyone across the globe.
So, the team looked at various materials to create this nozzle and zeroed down on plastic to create what is now called the ÅBÄCKEN water nozzle. But it was not as easy as it seemed. "It was a logical step to try to do it in plastic because if we could use a certain amount of recycled plastics, we could achieve a low cost, with the right functionality. However, due to the model's size, it is extremely compact. It has a lot of technology inside. We ended up with a quite difficult and complex construction, and after we got the first prototypes, we were not happy with things like the spray pattern," says Rene.
So, the team had to start again and re-evaluate the construction of the nozzle.
For this, they connected with an IKEA supplier in Spain, who has a long history of providing taps’ parts. This supplier specializes in ceramic cartridges for the taps. So, it became a three partners alliance, and the latest nozzle was created. IKEA has patented the ÅBÄCKEN nozzle.
The water nozzle uses approximately 40 per cent recycled plastic material and 60 per cent virgin materials (mainly ceramic materials and engineered plastics) for all parts, including the five adapters and the aerator key tool.
The water nozzle's design enables a long life span, with a 3-year guarantee, in-line with the guarantee on IKEA hand held and head showers. Also, engineered plastic tend to be cheaper, more suitable for mass production and often more environmentally friendly than, say, stainless steel options.