Innovation as the foundation for future growth
Innovation is a key factor in Geberit’s success. Therefore, substantial resources were once again invested in the development and the improvement of processes, products and technologies in 2015.
Its innovative strength, which is above average for the sector, is essential to the Group's continuing success. It is founded on Geberit's own, wide-ranging research and development (R&D) activities in our original business areas in sanitary technology, combined with various competencies that have been added as a result of the Sanitec acquisition. During the reporting year, a total of CHF 63.4 million (previous year CHF 55.8 million) or 2.4% of net sales was spent on future products and solutions. Of that total, CHF 58.3 million was attributable to the former Geberit and CHF 5.1 million to the activities of the former Sanitec. Expenditures increased by 13.6% year-on-year, or 4.5% after adjustments for the acquisition. Additionally, as part of the investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets considerable sums were invested in tools and equipment for the production of newly developed products. Over the last financial year, Geberit applied for 24 patents (including 4 for products of the former Sanitec business), bringing the total for the last five years to 108.
At Geberit, all new product developments go through a structured innovation and development process, which ensures that the Group’s creative potential is used to the optimum extent and that the development activities focus on the needs of the market. Customer benefits and a system approach are of central importance here. From 2016, the product developments of the acquired ceramic appliances area will be aligned with this process.
Acoustic insulation, hydraulics, statics, hygiene, fire protection, process and materials technology – Geberit possesses uniquely strong competence in these and other areas, by setting industry standards.
Because of this, the development of sophisticated new products and technologies such as the Geberit Silent-Pro drainage system can be accomplished almost entirely based on Geberits own laboratories.
Comprehensive development activities pay off
A highly sound-insulating drainage system is expected to deliver one thing in particular to the end user: quietness. When correctly installed, Geberit Silent-Pro fully meets this expectation. For around 50 realistic construction situations, the sound levels were ascertained in accordance with DIN 4109 in Geberit's building technology and acoustics laboratory, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer-Institut, and compliance with the strict limit values was confirmed. In order to obtain all the necessary fire protection permits that are recognised Europe-wide, Silent-Pro was also subjected to extensive fire trials at the certified materials testing institute at the University of Stuttgart.
The huge effort paid off: Geberit Silent-Pro – which will be introduced in selected markets during 2016 – enables the Group to offer a high-performance plug-in drainage system. Under normal operating conditions, the material has been shown to have a service life of many decades. The high degree of sound insulation, coupled with the hydraulic properties of the individual fittings, invariably achieve top marks.
New products for greater comfort and better hygiene
The following products were newly launched on the market in 2015:
- The CleanLine shower channel combines a high-quality finish with simple, safe installation while at the same time solving the hygiene problems of many shower channels. As the installation of a floor drain or a shower channel involves more and more trades, Geberit paid particular attention to making installation as simple and reliable as possible. Those efforts paid off, as sales so far have exceeded all expectations.
- Introduced to the public for the first time in March at the ISH in Frankfurt, the official sales launch of the Geberit AquaClean Mera shower toilet took place in September. The new shower toilet has several impressive features: the WhirlSpray shower technology, developed by Geberit, ensures thorough and yet water-saving cleansing. The asymmetrical inner geometry of the rimless WC bowl allows quiet and clean flushing out. Comfort functions such as heatable WC seat, muted orientation light, automatic opening and closing of the WC lid as well as odour extraction unit and intelligent warm air dryer complete the new shower toilet.
- The elegant and small remote flush actuators type 01 and type 10 for cisterns are fitted with a high-performance, compact pneumatic cylinder. The actuations can be easily installed in drywalls or solid walls, at a distance of up to two metres from the cistern. This widens the design scope for the bathroom.
- The compact Geberit sanitary flush unit with new control and sensor technology prevents the spread of bacteria and germ populations in pipes with standing water, by automatically flushing them when required. It therefore prevents hazardous contamination of drinking water systems in hotels, school buildings, sports stadia or hospitals. The devices are operated and programmed using a smartphone or by integration into the building service management system.
For more details on new products in 2015, see the Product Magazine 2015.
Several new product launches are planned for 2016. Among them will be:
- The new Geberit Silent-Pro drainage system, which represents the state of the art for building drainage: perfected plug-in connections, proven high degree of sound insulation, versatile and certified fire protection solutions, simple installation, high-quality materials and unrivalled quality. The outstanding sound insulation is due primarily to three factors: the high inherent weight of the material, increased wall thicknesses at defined points of the fittings and a consistent decoupling from the building structure.
- The new Geberit urinal system enables sanitary planners and plumbers to create the optimal solution for every construction situation. The central elements of the new urinal system are the two rimless urinal ceramics Preda and Selva. Their inner geometry is precisely aligned with the newly-developed spray head and guarantees optimal flushing out even with the smallest flush volumes of 0.5 litres. The easy maintenance systems are extremely economical to maintain and operate.
- The ceramics in the Glow bath range are characterised by their harmonious forms. The bath range, which was designed under the IDO and Porsgrund brands for all Scandinavian markets, comprises ceramics for washbasins, WCs and bidets as well as bathroom furniture.
For more details on new products in 2016, see the magazine Facts & Figures 2016.