Business report > Business and financial review
Innovation as a central brand value
As innovation is a key factor in Geberit’s position as market leader, substantial resources were once again invested in the development of new products and the improvement of existing products and technologies in 2013. In addition to features such as top-class quality, durability and ease of installation, the new products also use water and resources efficiently while guaranteeing the highest possible level of hygiene and optimized acoustic features.
The Group’s innovative power, which is above average in a sector comparison, helps to ensure its sustained success. As successful research and development (R&D) is a prerequisite for success, the Group invested CHF 50.9 million (previous year CHF 49.8 million) or 2.2% of sales in upcoming products. Expenditures increased by 2.2% year-on-year. 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. The company applied for 20 patents in 2013, bringing the total for the last five years to 101.
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.
Decisive know-how in technology and innovation
Design, comfort, drinking water hygiene, fire protection, sound insulation, ecology and sustainability – Geberit has professional answers to all these global topics and trends. Innovations are developed within the team and know-how is combined in all aspects of the product. To support its internationalization efforts, the Group maintains development competence centers of its own in China and the US.
Two examples show the extent of the expertise at Geberit:
- In the area of sound insulation, work is being carried out on minimizing acoustic disturbances with the help of innovative technologies. This expertise is in demand: The Deutsche Institut für Normung e.V. (DIN) has asked Geberit to make a statement on VDI 4100 – the most important standard for enhanced sound insulation in Germany – in order to offer targeted practical support for planners, architects, manufacturers of building products, consultant engineers and surveyors. With this statement, Geberit demonstrates a strong commitment to acoustically sustainable building, supports enhanced sound insulation and increases personal well-being and quality of life.
- Specific simulation programs have been developed in order to analyze the flow behavior as well as the pressure and velocity distribution of the water in individual components. In this way, products such as the → Sovent fitting have been optimized. In many cases, such simulations mean that real prototypes are no longer needed.
New products for technicians and designers
Various new products were launched on the market in 2013:
- With its simple, modern lines and innovative technology, the new → Geberit AquaClean Sela shower toilet launched in April 2013 is a compelling product offering a high level of convenience. In adding this model, Geberit is supplementing its line of shower toilets with a complete solution that has been fundamentally redesigned and fits into nearly any style of bathroom. The spray functionality, which uses aerated water for cleaning, is the main feature of the new shower toilet. Enrichment with air not only gives a pleasant feeling of cleanliness, but also reduces water and energy consumption.
- The company’s → market position in China and Southeast Asia was reinforced with new and innovative products and an expanded product range. The popular Monolith sanitary module launched in 2012 is now available in a range of new attractive colors and patterns. The Alpha concealed cistern, which was launched successfully in India in 2012 and is sold together with the WC ceramic appliance, was also launched in China and Southeast Asia. The cistern – an addition to the existing concealed models in China – has an environmentally compatible dual-flush mechanism that reduces waterconsumption. It is more efficient than traditional pressure flushing valve systems as it needs smaller pipe diameters and less water pressure.
- Following their optical and technical redesign, the → actuator plates Sigma10 and Sigma50 were launched and are setting new design trends.
- The new → sound insulation for the Pluvia roof outlet solves the problem of irritating gurgling sounds in the roof outlet by removing the source of the noise. This adds a unique product to the globally successful Pluvia roof drainage system. This innovative product will cement the market position as an acoustic specialist.
- To ease the daily work of Geberit’s most important customers – plumbers – the tried-and-tested → welding machines for polyethylene pipes were improved further. The result was a reduction in weight without sacrificing robustness, while functionality and operation were improved in many small details and the conversion of the machine from one pipe diameter to another was simplified.
For more details on new products in 2013, see the → Product Magazine 2013.
Several new product launches are planned for 2014:
- The new, flow-optimized → Sovent fittings facilitate an optimal layout of waste water discharge stacks in high-rises. The fitting ensures pressure compensation and increases the discharge rate by 40%, and also permits the use of relatively small-sized discharge stacks even in very high buildings.
- The → flushing system Omega features extra-small actuator plates and a cistern that is available in three installation heights for optimal flexibility. Depending on the room layout, the high-quality actuator plates can be mounted on the cistern either from the front or the top.
- The thin → actuator plate Sigma70 floats a few millimeters in front of the wall and impresses with a refined elegance that has already won international design awards. Thanks to patented servo technology, a gentle press suffices to trigger the dual flush.
- The → Monolith Plus is a further development of the sanitary module for WCs that was successfully introduced in 2010. Extras such as an integrated odor extraction unit and a discreet, indirect LED light for orientation at night set new standards in both comfort and style.
- Another further development of a product already successfully introduced on the market is the attractive → wall drain for showers. This elegant solution can be installed virtually anywhere thanks to its extra-flat trap and is also ideally suited for renovations.
- Drainage pipes made of polyethylene can be connected to one another in a permanent and impermeable manner. This can be achieved using an electrofusion sleeve coupling or an electrofusion coupling with integrated thermal fuse, among others. New tools such as the → electrofusion machine ESG3 and the pipe scraper greatly facilitate the work on the building site or in the workshop.
For more details on new products in 2014, see the → Product Magazine 2014.