Save water, and help maintain user and drinking water hygiene with contactless sensor fittings from SCHELL

10-minute read

SCHELL maintains a broad portfolio of high-quality, contactless fittings for a wide range of commercial and (semi-)public applications. With a sensor fitting, the flow of water is triggered by a contactless infrared sensor that does not need to be touched with the hands to start the water jet. SCHELL sensor fittings can execute stagnation flushes automatically. Many models can also be networked with the SCHELL SWS Water Management System, so as to help maintain drinking water hygiene. This functionality offers several benefits for users of contactless fittings and building operators alike.

Technical properties and hygiene

SCHELL sensor fittings are well thought-out from start to finish, with the selection of high-quality, standardised materials providing a solid foundation for their design. The contactless operation improves user hygiene. With their optional automated stagnation flushes, the sensor fittings help to maintain drinking water hygiene. 

Technical properties of contactless fittings from SCHELL

Many of SCHELL’s high-quality fittings are equipped with an infrared sensor, which therefore allows them to start the flow of water without physical contact. This contactless control means that SCHELL sensor fittings offer a maximum level of hygiene for users, since contact infections are avoided while operating the fitting. In addition, all of the fittings are also designed to be particularly easy to clean. Their top-quality chrome finish is appealingly attractive and the materials in the fitting parts having contact with water comply in full with drinking water legislation.

Many wash basin taps also feature optional, automated stagnation flushes that can help with maintaining drinking water quality. These fittings can trigger stagnation flushes independently every 24 hours or 24 hours after the last usage. The sensor naturally requires a power source – the minimal energy need to operate contactless fittings is supplied either from integrated batteries or by a mains power cable (320 V). Any technician looking to install these fittings needn’t worry about the electronic components they use. SCHELL takes care to ensure that installation is as straightforward as possible – by using clear labelling and anti-rotation mechanisms on products, for example.

With contactless fittings from SCHELL, the water flow time can be set so that only a previously defined, adequate quantity of water is then used to flush a WC or to wet the hands at the wash basin. Limiting the detection range also ensures that the tap sensor triggers the flow of water only when it is actually required and not, for example, when already wet hands are being soaped up in the vicinity of the basin. Thanks to the intelligent setting of flow times and detection ranges, sensor fittings offer advantages in relation to water consumption. This achieves water savings of up to 70 percent compared with a conventional single-lever fitting. As one example, the MODUS E contactless wash basin tap features an individually configurable sensor range of about 2 to 17 cm. As with many other sensor fittings from SCHELL, the tap is also equipped with innovative technology that offers anti-scalding protection.

Benefits of contactless fittings: User hygiene

Contactless fittings let users keep their hands away from potentially dirty surfaces and therefore minimise the risk of infection. After all, figures from the WHO show that up to 80 percent of germs are spread by hands touching contaminated surfaces. All sensor fittings from SCHELL can be triggered without any manual contact with the fitting and are therefore especially hygienic. This is especially beneficial in public, semi-public and commercial sanitary facilities that are used by a large number of people, and helps to maintain user hygiene at a high level. The option for contactless operation is not only a topic of interest during the influenza season but is increasingly being expected as standard by patrons of public buildings.

Benefits of contactless fittings: Drinking water hygiene

Electronic SCHELL sensor fittings can execute stagnation flushes automatically and therefore help to maintain drinking water hygiene. Many of the contactless fittings from the SCHELL portfolio can also be networked with the SCHELL SWS Water Management System, and therefore also execute centrally controlled, automated stagnation flushes. Once fittings are networked with SCHELL SWS, they can be placed into groups, to use automated, simultaneous stagnation flushes for the purpose of simulating the specified normal operation of the building. A major advantage of this approach is that, even following prolonged interruptions in use or even the closure of a building, recommissioning is not required, because the simulation means no actual ‘interruption’ of specified normal operation has occurred. In this way, sensor fittings can help to prevent the excessive spread of Legionella in the pipe system.

Use in (semi-)public and commercial applications

The following section introduces some example uses for contactless fittings in (semi-)public and public applications. SCHELL sensor fittings are suitable for many different kinds of budgets and a broad spectrum of applications.

Contactless fittings – example: The entry-level MODUS series

A low-cost model with a well thought-out design is offered by the MODUS E sensor fitting from SCHELL’s MODUS series. This contactless fitting has been designed to be vandal-proof and features a security device to protect against the deliberate blocking of the IR sensor – such as with chewing gum. The fitting also offers the option of automated stagnation flushes, so as to provide support for maintaining the quality of drinking water. MODUS E fulfils a very wide range of requirements and is the low-price alternative among the SCHELL sensor fittings. Thanks to this fitting, even carefully costed development projects can still enjoy the benefits of contactless fittings.

Contactless fittings – example: GRANDIS E in the office kitchenette

In terms of operation, the SCHELL GRANDIS E kitchen tap brings together the best of two worlds and gives users the choice of either. With a single-lever mixer, it offers a familiar level of user comfort – in office kitchenettes, for example – with manually adjustable water flow and temperature. Yet its infrared sensor also offers the advantage of contactless actuation, with water flowing at a predefined water temperature. The sensor range is restricted to 3 cm, so as to prevent accidental triggering – such as when placing an item of crockery into the sink. This keeps operation of the GRANDIS E hygienic and convenient. Thanks to its option for automatic stagnation flushes, the GRANDIS E also helps to maintain drinking water hygiene. 

Contactless fittings – example: VITUS in healthcare facilities

Sensor fittings from SCHELL also help support drinking water hygiene in sanitary facilities that are utilised by vulnerable groups of users – such as in nursing facilities, nursery schools, clinics and hospitals. In hospital environments, many tapping points still use ‘hospital elbow taps’ with a long lever. In these environments, medical professionals can benefit from sensor fittings that are triggered without contact. One example is the VITUS VW-E-T exposed wash basin tap, which features infrared sensor control and is also suitable for networking with the SCHELL SWS Water Management System. One best-practice example for the use of SCHELL fittings in a hospital environment is Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, whose theatre facilities on Benjamin Franklin Campus were renovated to meet stringent hygiene standards. In this case, the building operators also decided to implement the SCHELL SWS Water Management System, so as to provide support for maintaining drinking water hygiene.

Economical and cost-effective

Thanks to their well thought-out design, contactless fittings from the SCHELL portfolio help to save both energy and water. Installing SCHELL sensor fittings brings long-term benefits for building operators. Thanks to the considerable savings on water and energy, switching over to contactless fittings offers a rapid ROI. 

Sensor fittings from SCHELL offer long-term savings on energy and water

One significant advantage of contactless fittings is that the water only flows when it is truly needed – such as for wetting the hands or rinsing off soap, for example. Compared with conventional single-lever mixers, contactless fittings can cut water consumption by up to 70 percent without compromising on user comfort. A sensor fitting from SCHELL also consumes very little energy in standby mode, requiring only 0.3 W to be ready for operation at any time. More information on this topic is provided in the interview with Guido Wurm, SCHELL’s Project Manager for Digital Products.

Sensor fittings from SCHELL are durable and well-designed

All SCHELL sensor fittings are specifically designed to be truly durable. The fittings consist of a high-quality brass body and are constructed to ensure that they can hold up to constant use in public sanitary facilities. And if repairs should become necessary, SCHELL can always offer the right spare part, whatever the product. In most cases, this avoids replacing the entire fitting, which saves time and materials.

Sensor fittings from SCHELL help to achieve building certification

SCHELL’s smart development of contactless fittings includes their highly functional, multiple award-winning product design. As we know from experience, a more appealing design is less likely to be targeted by vandalism. The long-lasting, economical SCHELL sensor fittings can also make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable building certification according to BREEAM or LEED. Within the plumbing sector, SCHELL has taken a leading role as one of the first companies to have its products comprehensively tested with the aim of supporting developers looking to achieve building certification.

Automated stagnation flushes: water management with SWS

A regular and complete exchange of water across the entire piping system is essential for maintaining drinking water quality in (semi-)public and commercial applications, such as offices or hospitals. If specified normal operation cannot be achieved by the regular use of tapping points, then simultaneous, automated stagnation flushes can be used to simulate normal operation, and therefore ensure the necessary exchange of water. 

By using SMART.SWS, the supplementary online service for SWS, building operators and facility managers can log in remotely to check current drinking water installation data and make any settings that may be required, such as adjustments to stagnation flushes. 


The high-quality and versatile sensor fittings from SCHELL present themselves as an ideal choice, because of their positive properties that accommodate so many aspects.

Thanks to their contactless actuation with the IR sensor, the fittings firstly offer benefits in terms of user hygiene.

Secondly, their premium technical characteristics and the option of networking with the SWS Water Management System provide support for maintaining drinking water hygiene

As a third benefit, the SCHELL portfolio includes sensor fittings for a wide variety of applications. For semi-public and public use, they can be installed both in office kitchenettes and healthcare facilities, for example, or utilised in construction projects that are running on tight budgets. 

Lastly, SCHELL sensor fittings are sustainable and economical. Compared with single-lever mixers, their sensor technology helps to cut water use by up to 70 percent and therefore also save energy. Options for (SWS-controlled) automated stagnation flushes also save time and reduce personnel costs. In addition, the fittings can also help to secure building certification according to BREEAM or LEED. 

Choosing contactless fittings from SCHELL is therefore a wise choice for planners, HVAC/sanitation fitters and building operators when planning new projects as well as renovations focused on building energy optimisation.

Questions about contactless fittings from SCHELL? Please get in touch!

SCHELL will be happy to help you select the right sensor fittings. This can be done at any stage of planning or construction, or when you are looking to upgrade your existing installation by replacing fittings with contactless models. With the SCHELL Product Finder, it’s easy to compare various contactless fittings in our range with one another and check their suitability for your intended installation application or scenario. If you have any questions about contactless fittings from SCHELL, please get in touch and we look forward to hearing from you.

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