Yet another milestone: Hansgrohe SE opens a new research and development lab
“The lab is an expression of our power of innovation”
Hansgrohe SE continues to focus on and invest in their manufacturing & research facilities in Germany. At the end of April, the company inaugurated a new research and development lab at the headquarters located in Schiltach, South West Germany. “Innovative environments generate innovative solutions”, says Richard Grohe, Deputy Chairman of Executive Board at Hansgrohe SE. This is why the new R&D lab was built on the existing factory premises. “Proximity to production facilities guarantees more efficient processes”, he adds. The Black Forest based mixer and shower manufacturer invested a total of EUR 4.5 million and the building was completed in a year.
With the new lab, the company has concentrated all areas of R&D under one roof, in a facility of around 1,600 square metres of space. “We now have significantly more test beds with water, where a larger number of staff members can work at the same time”, reports Richard Grohe. Hansgrohe thoroughly tests all its newly developed products in the R&D lab before they are mass-produced: they are tested for durability, they have to withstand rapid changes in temperature as well as high and changing levels of pressure, and finally, they are also tested to ensure they comply with all the different legal standards in place around the world. After all, products manufactured by Hansgrohe are available in 143 countries. The Deputy Chairman continues, “Every year our staff compiles 600 test reports and issues 350 product approvals following extensive testing – an impressive achievement. The lab is an expression of our power of innovation.”
An example of one of our innovations is the new burst pressure testing unit. Hansgrohe engineers developed it together with an external partner. This unit can conduct six different tests, including a high-pressure test that can measure up to 200 bar. In addition, these tests can all be conducted while taking into account factors such as temperature and climate. “Here we test how our components and parts perform under pressure, coupled with high temperatures. The old testing machine required us to do many things manually. Now we can set all the parameters, such as pressure rise ramps and pressure increases, digitally,” explains Michael Kluh, manager of the R&D lab. Every part of the mixer or shower through which water flows is subjected to rigorous testing in this unit prior to being marketed.
Keeping an eye on sustainability
The new building also contributes to the conservation and protection of resources and the environment. With the help of the most advanced heat pump technology, and despite the large range of water temperatures used, we succeed in recovering between 10 and 70 degrees Celsius of warmth – while recycling the water at the same time. That reduces the amount of fresh water used, the wastewater produced and energy consumed. “From now on, we expect to save 30,000 cubic metres of water a year,” says Richard Grohe.
In 2015, Hansgrohe SE invested some EUR 55 million in its German sites. Its largest investment, EUR 30 million, was for the expansion of its logistics centre in Offenburg. It will be completed by late 2016. The new plastics technology centre at the Offenburg production facility already went into operation in January of this year. “We are committed to staying true to our roots while securing future growth,” says the Deputy Chairman. “These investments will ensure that we continue to be one of the leading innovators in technology and design when it comes to mixers and showers.” In 2015, Hansgrohe achieved record sales of EUR 964 million and the current iF company ranking lists it among the world’s 10 best companies in the field of design.