CHICAGO — The National Kitchen & Bath Association's annual show and conference brought together 550 exhibiting companies with 16,091 industry buyers and specifiers here in late April, a 10% percent increase from 2011. Those numbers, provided by show organizers, meant that there was one exhibitor attendee for each buyer, since there were a total of 32,078 confirmed registrations. The show, which formerly occupied two exhibit halls wherever it was — Chicago, Orlando or Las Vegas — was down to two-thirds to three-quarters of one hall in McCormick Place. Clearly the show is still suffering from the downturn in housing.

Outside of Kohler-Moen-Delta-Toto, there were only a handful of exhibitors of interest to the P-H-C trade. American Standard was absent, along with many others.

Moen's MotionSense.

Moen introduced a touchless kitchen faucet collection, MotionSense. The faucet utilizes advanced sensors to detect movement in two sensing zones. With MotionSense, tasks like washing dishes, filling a glass of water and preparing the evening meal are simplified. Faucets with MotionSense can be controlled in three ways: The Wave Sensor at the top of the faucet starts and stops the water flow with a hand movement above the faucet. Second, the Ready Sensor near the base of the faucet identifies when an object — like a cup or a hand — is placed beneath the spout. It runs water for as long as that item remains in range and automatically shuts the flow off as soon as the object is removed from the sensing zone. And, finally, the handle on the side of the faucet works as one would expect and lets the user adjust temperature and flow of water.

Moen is adding a revitalizing “twist” to users’ daily showering routine with the new Twist handheld shower. Twist allows users to switch between the handheld shower’s four spray patterns with one hand: swivel the showerhead around the handle with a push of a Soft Grip thumb pad. Soft Grip is a non-slip surface that is soft to the touch for a comfortable and sturdy feel, yet is durable in design for everyday use. Users can switch between four sprays custom designed to fit the needs of today’s showering consumer:

Immerse — an invigorating, full coverage spray.

Soothe — a relaxing, heavy mist spray.

Drench — a soft, yet heavy, rinse perfect for bathing kids and pets.

Shine — a strong, focused spray ideal for cleaning your bathtub and shower. 

Kohler showed its typical stylish collection, including the Vault kitchen sink series with three top-mount self-trimming models. With the shortened 7-in. apron, the sink may be retrofitted into existing cabinetry while still providing a 9-in.-deep basin. All it takes is removing the false drawer front, making a few cuts to the cabinet face, and sliding the sink into place. The self-trimming design eliminates the need for additional trim work or caulking.

Kohler also debuted the Gilded Meadow pattern on the Conical Bell Vessels bathroom sink. The Gilded Meadow pattern is available in two colors: translucent cashmere and translucent blue, with either gold or platinum accents. The lavatories are 16¼-in. in diameter.

But perhaps the most interesting product doesn’t have water running through it. Kohler Co. launched StereoStik, an audio add-on system for bathroom mirrored cabinets. Designed to work with Kohler 26-in. tall, surface-mounted mirrored cabinets, the panel module mounts on either side of the cabinet. StereoStik features include AM/FM radio with antenna; auxiliary input jack with cable for connecting to a MP3 player; digital display with clock; power from either four C batteries or AC power supply; and left- or right-hand mounting option.

Delta Faucet now offers an expanded selection of showerheads and showering components featuring its H2Okinetic technology to deliver a quality shower experience with only 2.0-GPM. The technology has been added to raincan showerheads, hand showers, body jets and sprays as well as other showerheads within existing bathroom collections. A variety of components are available to coordinate with existing Delta bath suites. The 50101 Body Jet (1.8-GPM @ 80 psi) and the T50050 Body Spray (1.6-GPM @ 80 psi) coordinate with a number of Delta bath collections. The shower components are available in chrome, Brilliance Stainless, Venetian Bronze and Champagne Bronze finishes.

The products are WaterSense labeled. Delta Faucet takes its role as the 2011 WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year seriously and is committed to working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to encourage efficient use of water resources and actively protect the future of our nation’s water supply. Flowing at 2.0 GPM, the round and square raincan showerheads improve water efficiency by 20%. The showerheads are also CALgreen compliant

Liberty Pumps showed it Ascent II macerating toilet system, featuring RazorCut Technology. The bathroom remodeling system pumps waste to existing sewer lines 25-ft. up and 150-ft. laterally. The stainless steel blades on the RazorCut system provide superior cutting. Designed with a removable access cover, the Ascent II is serviceable without removing the macerating unit from the toilet or disconnecting the plumbing. LED lights inform of power on, alarm condition, or low battery. Touchpad buttons allow for manual bypass operation of the unit and alarm silencing. The ADA-height elongated-front toilet is an HET flushing 1.28-gpf.

Toto introduced three new models — the integrated Washlet G500, and Washlets S350e and S300e, enhanced with its innovative new eWater+ technology. The company introduced the first use of electrolyzed water designed to make the toilet bowl easier to clean. Electrolyzed water is a proven disinfectant long used in food preparation and cleaning. To create eWater+, Toto engineers use only the home’s incoming water supply and the company’s patented technological process. eWater+ is applied to the bowl after every flush and once every eight hours during non‐use. It returns to its natural state within two hours. A pre-misting of plain water further enhances bowl cleanliness by sealing the surface against the adherence of matter approximately 80% better than dry porcelain.

Toto's Washlet G500.

Symmons showed a product line ranging from ultra-contemporary, to transitional, to European, to traditional. The transitional Elm Collection, a fusion of traditional accents and modern contours, offers a widespread lavatory faucet, single handle lavatory faucet, two-handle centerset lavatory faucet, tub/shower system, Roman tub and a complete line of accessories. Its look allows it to be incorporated into a traditional or contemporary bath design. Elm is available in polished chrome, radiance satin nickel, and new seasoned bronze.

The ultra-contemporary Duro Collection is available in a widespread lavatory faucet, single handle lavatory faucet and a tub/shower system. The Duro Collection is available in polished chrome and radiance satin nickel. The traditional Allura Collection is available in a two-handle centerset lavatory faucet, widespread lavatory faucet, tub/shower system, Roman tub and a full line of accessories. Allura is available in polished chrome and radiance satin nickel.