First look // iBox universal 2 from hansgrohe

First look // iBox universal 2 from hansgrohe

To mark the launch of the new iBox universal 2 from hansgrohe PHPI hears about one of the first installations.

The original iBox universal basic set from hansgrohe was launched back in 2003. Designed to make fitting and maintaining concealed showers simple, it has subsequently been used in over 11 million units. Drawing on valuable installer feedback, the latest, updated iBox universal 2, was unveiled at this year’s ISH and is now available to purchase across the UK.  

Features of the new solution include built-in flexibility to addresses awkward fitting scenarios, new recyclable construction materials, the removal of the need to trim components and the inclusion of both pre-mounted seals and pre-installed function blocks. 

We met with Tim Bridge, from Tim Bridge Plumbing and Heating in Yorkshire – who has been using the original iBox for over 20 years – as he fitted the first iBox universal 2 to be installed in a UK property, to find out his first impressions.  

Speaking of this initial install, Tim said: “I’ve been using hansgrohe’s iBox since I was 17, so it is great to see the next generation coming through. Ease of installation has kept me returning to this fixing system time and time again as I know it just works.  

“My customers tend to favour a concealed unit as it meets the sleek finish they want to achieve. For me, it shaves valuable time off each installation and the circular shape means it is virtually impossible to install incorrectly.  

“As I have been fitting the original iBox for many years, I have worked out my own methods to make it easy to use. For instance, trimming the front to the required depth and fitting the membrane can take me a matter of minutes.  

“However, the new version irons out even those aspects that may have taken any time, making it even more straightforward to install and fit correctly. And you only need two tools – a screwdriver and an Allen key – to fit it.  

“Right from taking it out of the box, I spotted the upgrades. The iBox universal 2 is neatly packaged as one, so it stays together as you lift it out with no chance of losing anything on a busy renovation site.  Depending on your installation preference you can then simply slide the green back plate off the front and slot it on the back of the iBox 2 plate.  

“The fixing plate, which is screwed inside wall has installation-friendly improvements too. It is great to have a built-in spirit level included to make it easy to ensure you’ve got it horizontal before you finally tighten any screws.”  

Fixing plate
The fixing plate can be tilted by 5 mm increments, so it is straight vertically too, again using the spirit level on the top to guide installers to factor in discrepancies in the wall, before using an Allen key to tighten. The pipes can then be cut to size and installed for water delivery at the sides, top and bottom.  

Tim continued: “I’ve used many other kits over the years that rely on you setting the levels by eye, so this is a great help and makes it much less fiddly, particularly if you are working in a confined space. The Allen bolts are fixed to ensure they don’t fall out too – again ideal when you really don’t have a great deal of space to find something you’ve dropped.  

“Another key feature that stood out is the fact that you can move the sliding sleeve forward and backwards to suit the depth of the wall, and without the need to trim it once in place. Simply adjust the front section to where you need it, add a backer board, and push it back in. The previous hansgrohe iBox required cutting once in place. Although, I had developed a quick method to do this, this is infinitely better and quicker especially for those new to the industry.  

“Finally, the new iBox 2 also includes a fixed waterproof membrane, which can simply be attached to the wall before tiling. Again, this speeds up the install and ensures a watertight finish without any hassle. 

“All that remains is to fit one of hansgrohe’s sleek, new finish sets once tiling is complete and the concealed shower is in. The soft cube finishing plate that will be used with this first installation includes a line across the centre – ideal to get the tiles lined up with so it pleases the eye. The installation I’m working on here has been designed to allow easy access for a wheelchair, and the beauty of this system means that I can connect the iBox universal 2 in a convenient location giving greater flexibility of where the showerhead and control are placed, so it not only looks great but works perfectly for the customer.” 

The new iBox universal 2 can be used with all existing and future concealed finish sets from Hansgrohe, for existing finish sets, you need an adaptor; so, the iBox can remain in place should the bathroom be renovated, or the finish set replaced. 

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