Innovation as the foundation for future growth
Geberit’s innovative strength, which is above average for the sector, is founded on its own, wide-ranging research and development (R&D) activities. In the reporting year, a total of CHF 78 million (previous year CHF 75 million) – or 2.3% of net sales – was invested in the development and improvement of products, processes and technologies. 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. In the reporting year, 41 patents were applied for, which is above the long-term average. In the last five years, Geberit has applied for a total of 185 patents.
The scientists and engineers at Geberit have the very latest technologies and infrastructures at their disposal for their development projects. In the reporting year, various systems and sanitary facilities were modernised and expanded, namely in the fields of sound insulation, statics and virtual engineering. In the last of the fields mentioned, the possibilities for simulating production processes in the area of ceramics, among others, were expanded. Great emphasis continues to be placed on the rapid and cost-effective production of prototypes. The existing 3D printing capacities for this purpose, which are probably unique in the industry, were added to with a silicone printing unit. A total of around 18,000 components for prototypes were manufactured using the 3D printing process in the reporting year. Furthermore, an injection moulding machine was purchased exclusively for the manufacture of prototypes.
All product developments go through an established innovation and development process, which ensures that the Group’s creative potential and know-how are used to the optimum extent and that development activities focus on the needs of the market. Customer benefits, quality, a system approach and sustainability as well as the consistent strengthening of the brand are of central importance here.
New products for our markets worldwide
Among others, the following products were newly launched on the market in 2021:
- With FlowFit, Geberit introduced a new piping system for drinking water and heating applications. FlowFit consists of two components: newly developed connection technology and proven, lightweight pipes made of plastic and aluminium (or all-plastic pipes for heating applications). The pressfittings in the connection technology not only set new standards in terms of easy and reliable installation, but also in terms of their flow characteristics. With over 400 different fittings in eight different pipe dimensions, the supply system is suitable for all installation tasks inside buildings. The development of FlowFit all the way through to series production was one of the most financially significant development projects in the history of Geberit.
- The integrated bathroom series Geberit ONE launched in 2019 was expanded with numerous components and configuration options. At the washplace, additional washbasin models in various widths and depths were included in the range, together with matching cabinets, trap types and taps. Furthermore, an intuitively operable light control was developed for mirror cabinets.
- In order to prevent drinking water from stagnating in pipes, leading to the rapid multiplication of germs and bacteria, the Geberit portfolio has included sanitary flush units for many years. These electronically controlled devices ensure that drinking water installations are regularly flushed. Sanitary flush units integrated in the concealed cistern were launched in the reporting year. This means an additional drainage connection is no longer necessary for the installation.
- Developed for markets in Asia and Africa, the robust, easy-to-install Alpha concealed cistern 12 cm offers high levels of operational reliability at a low price. Depending on the installation situation, the actuator plate for flush actuation can be mounted on the top or front of the cistern on this model.
- The end user app for Geberit AquaClean shower toilets has been enhanced with the addition of a remote maintenance option. As part of a pilot scheme in Switzerland, Geberit is for the first time giving customers the chance to call up a rapid diagnosis in the event of a malfunction – and even request a rectification of the malfunction – via remote maintenance.
Several new product launches are planned for 2022. The most important products are as follows:
- The new dual-flush unit type 212 for concealed cisterns offers diverse setting options and meets all requirements and standards worldwide. The flush valve is backwards-compatible and replaces the current flush valves seen in the Sigma, Delta and Omega concealed cisterns. It makes a significant contribution to the resource-saving use of drinking water, with optimal flushing out of the WC ceramic appliance achieved with only a minimal flush volume.
- The premium bathroom series Geberit ONE is being supplemented by a number of components which will considerably increase the configuration options. The focal point is the washplace for which newly developed, space-saving drains and traps will be available. These will be accompanied by new washbasin variants with a larger projection and either a horizontal or vertical drain. The expansion of the range is rounded off by additional bathroom furniture.
- During the installation of discharge stacks, plumbers sometimes come across situations where the connections in the floor and ceiling are not lined up precisely with each other. With the Silent-db20 Offset fitting, Geberit has developed a solution that can be used to compensate for such axial offsets easily, thus significantly reducing the time needed for installation.
- The Geberit Control App makes life easier for service technicians, facility managers and plumbers alike. In future, it will make it possible to operate and program all WC and urinal flush controls, washbasin taps and sanitary flush units. To date, each device had to be configured individually with a remote control. Using the app, it is now possible to group together all controls installed in a room and operate them together via Bluetooth.
- With the shower toilet Geberit AquaClean Cama, Geberit offers an inexpensive basic model which is primarily intended for use in rental apartments. Installation and commissioning do not require structural measures or the assistance of a craftsman. The device can be commissioned by the end user in just a few simple steps and also uninstalled again to suit requirements.