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There’s no doubt that climate change is having a considerable impact on weather systems around the world. In geographical regions like LATAM, there’s been an increase in the frequency and severity of storms, and the subsequent amount of rainfall. Traditional rain channel products have proven to be insufficient at handling the increasing volumes of rainfall, and customers have been exploring the solutions offered by our direct competitors or opting to use metal.

“Durman is a recognised leader in non-metallic rain channels and our customers have come to depend on us to provide them with the highest-quality solutions that address contemporary needs,” says Aliaxis LATAM’s Innovation Manager, Rich Schlieker. “We wanted to respond to the new climatic conditions and the needs of our customers. Managing a higher volume of rainfall was essential but the MaxiCanal concept also included differentiated features we learned were important to customers.”

Initiated in 2017, MaxiCanal was one of Aliaxis LATAM’s first projects that adhered to the AIM (Aliaxis Innovation Model) process from idea to launch. A cross-functional team was tasked with developing a clear understanding of the market and the competition, then used this knowledge as a springboard to design and develop a solution we could bring to market.

The process took about three years and culminated in the launch of the PVC MaxiCanal system this year in our original target markets – Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras. The solution offers high hydraulic capacity with maximum flow rates to account for increased rainfall, is easy and safe to install, and features an attractive and robust design.

MaxiCanal has been very well received since its launch, and early sales exceeded initial forecasts. Moreover, the solution also caught the attention of neighbouring countries, so the team is currently in the process of expanding their scope to include Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. In fact, the demand among distributors and retailers to fill shelves with the MaxiCanal, together with the current plan to expand into new markets, has resulted in extended production runs.

As Project Designer María Felicia Chacón points out, there are several key takeaways from the MaxiCanal project beyond the initial success of the product. “From conception to development; it was a very ambitious project,” María says. “We took a creative approach to listening and responding to the voice of the customer, which helped us establish a roadmap for the entire process, and our collaborative mind-set allowed us to bring our ambitions to life. Moving forward, I think the MaxiCanal project will have a positive impact on future innovations at Aliaxis LATAM and will help us reinforce the importance of innovation and the AIM process when it comes to New Product Development.”