This month, Express had the opportunity to interview one of our customers who is making an amazing impact toward the availability of safe drinking water in the world. Every year, 1.9 million children under the age of 5 die from waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. These diseases then contribute to malnutrition, stunting, and cognitive impairment. Eric Kouskalis, Director of Programs with Dispensers for Safe Water (DSW), works with a team of 65 people in Kenya, Uganda, and the United States to implement and maintain Chlorine Dispenser Systems throughout 3,000 communities in Kenya, serving over 600,000 people. Over the last three years this project has been running, it became apparent that the team needed to develop a system to accurately gather data on the chlorine systems they managed. As the number of systems continues to grow, it is important that each chlorine station be maintained to contain the proper amount of chlorine, so he implemented a new tracking system with aluminum tags manufactured by Express.
Chlorine Dispenser Systems can reduce childhood waterborne diseases by 41% alone. The chlorine systems introduced by DSW have been installed at local water points like springs and boreholes. They also provide maintenance to the systems and community education through demonstrations. Community demonstrations discuss the dangers of unsafe water and promoting the benefits of using chlorine to treat the water.
At first, Eric and his team tried to use PVC stickers with QR codes that contained the names of the communities and GPS locations of water points to identify the chlorine systems. This proved to be unreliable as the PVC stickers peeled off easily and lacked the durability needed for the intense sunlight and rainstorms. Eric moved forward with a new project, reaching out to Express Identification Products for the design of his Aluminum Tags, printed with a QR code. Manufactured on photo anodized aluminum, these new aluminum tags provide DSW exceptional durability and resistance to extreme heat sunlight, abrasion, and prolonged weather exposure in Kenya and Uganda. The aluminum tags have a photographic image is sealed within the surface of the aluminum, beneath the anodic layer of aluminum oxide that offers extra protection.
More simply put, the ink cannot be scratched or rubbed off because it is absorbed into the aluminum and not simply printed on top. These aluminum tags also include holes and are riveted on to the Chlorine Dispensers so they cannot be removed by curious visitors or peel off during extreme weather.
Since 1983, Express Identification Products has specialized in the manufacture of custom labels and tags built to withstand every type of environment. Express has the ability to provide an extensive range of materials, colors, sizes, and premium 3M adhesives along with intricate graphics, data, and layouts, and all products are made to last the lifetime of the products they identify. Since all products are completely customizable, Eric and his team had the ability to customize his layout for the aluminum tags to meet his exact needs.
In order to maintain the Chlorine Systems, each system is assigned a number that corresponds to the number that appears on the tag, which matches the number encoded in to the QR code. The QR code on the aluminum tags are easily scanned by the maintenance staff with their smartphones and this ensures that each visit to a specific dispenser is correctly logged into the database, showing the date and location of the system maintained.
The most influential way the Aluminum Tags help DSW is by ensuring that accurate records are kept in order to more effectively serve the thousands of communities they work in. With plans to scale-up the dispenser program to reach millions of people over the next five years, an accurate database becomes even more important. Express is proud of DSW’s initiative and values the partnership that will continue to make an impact in the developing world.
If Express Identification Products can help you with your next project, please contact us by phone at 800-382-2323, by email at CustomerService@ExpressCorp.com, or by visiting us online at www.ExpressCorp.com
 (n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2013, from Water.org: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/children/
 Poverty-action.org/safewater. (n.d.). The Chlorine Dispenser System.
 Express Identification Products. (n.d.). Aluminum Barcode Tags. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from ExpressCorp: http://www.expresscorp.com/Product/Aluminum-Barcode-Tags