A passion for problem solving

Weinheim, Januar 22, 2016. At the home of Freudenberg brand Vileda, smart minds invest a lot of time in the development and improvement of innovative household products. This work involves colleagues from diverse departments around the world, including marketing, packaging and sales. They all work closely together on new ideas, because everyone has his or her own way of looking at a new product. Nevertheless, they all share a common goal: solving the customer’s problems. Uwe Dingert has worked as a product developer at Freudenberg for nearly 30 years, over 20 of them in household products. Today, he is seen as a kind of guru at Vileda.

Dingert has accompanied the development of many products, from the earliest concept stages onwards, and both colleagues and customers benefit from his wealth of experience. He regularly tackles both large and small challenges with passion and commitment, meticulously searches for the solution to a problem and does not give up until he finds it. "I'm addicted to that moment when an idea finally clicks and I know I've found the solution", said Dingert before frankly confessing, "I have my best ideas when I'm in bed in the morning or in the shower." Customer feedback is right at the forefront of his work. "It is important for me to understand precisely where the problem lies and what difficulty our customers are having with an existing product. Only then can I begin apply my experience to the search for an optimal solution."

Whether the task is to develop an entirely new product, improve an existing article or even apply an unusual technology – the development process is a constant source of fun and regularly brings him a new patent. His name is already attached to more than 60 basic patents. The hard work pays off. One-third of Vileda's total turnover is derived from products that have been introduced to the market within the last four years.

Dingert started working for Freudenberg in 1987 in the central R&D department (today known as Corporate Research & Development). The then plastics technology student was hired on the spot after completing an internship and his thesis. Shortly afterwards, he moved to sealing and vibration control technology at Reichelsheim, where he was responsible for process and development technology in the plastic and new products department. When in 1993 Vileda was looking for an expert who could handle both plastics and metals, he did not hesitate. "Back then, Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions was still a small nucleus", said Dingert of the Freudenberg Business Group that has subsequently grown to around 3,000 employees and generates annual revenues of 760 million Euros.

The first two products Dingert and his team were involved with were the 2-in-1 window wiper and the super sweeper. "Both products have remained virtually unchanged since the mid-1990s, which of course makes me a little proud", he commented. Other products to which he has turned his hand over the years include the mop, the UltraMat, the EasyWring & Clean and the latest Vileda Steam Mop. "Over the last 20 years, the products have become increasingly complex", Dingert explained. The challenge each time is to develop a well-balanced product that satisfies both customer and cost requirements and is also suitable for production in large quantities.

Such solutions will become ever more technologically sophisticated in the future. For example, many new products employ complicated electronics, a task Dingert is particularly happy to tackle. A year ago, he added so-called frontend issues to his remit and currently manages a number of teams working on new technological developments. In assessing a new product, there is one device that has often served him particularly well: a magnifying glass. "When it comes to solving problems, nothing beats taking a really close look."

About Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions

Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions is one of the leading Global Suppliers of Branded Cleaning Systems and Home Products, with a Market leading position in almost all of the countries it operates. In 2014 its 3000 employees helped to generate more than 760 Mio of sales, through its strong portfolio of Brands, including Vileda®, O'Cedar ®, swash®, Gala® and Marigold®. The company`s excellent market position in each of its core product categories, has been built over time through strong customer focus, deep consumer understanding, and innovative and high quality products.

About the Freudenberg Group

Freudenberg is a global technology group that strengthens its customers and society long-term through forward-looking innovations. Together with its partners, customers and the world of science, the Freudenberg Group develops leading-edge technologies, and excellent products, solutions and services for more than 30 market segments and for thousands of applications: seals, vibration control components, nonwovens, filters, specialty chemicals, medical and mechatronic products, IT services and the most modern cleaning products.

Innovation strength, strong customer orientation, diversity and team spirit are the cornerstones of our Group. Commitment to excellence, reliability and pro-active, responsible action belong to the company's core values lived for more than 165 years.

In 2014, the Freudenberg Group employed over 40,000 people in some 60 countries worldwide and generated sales of more than 7 billion Euros (including pro-rata consolidation of 50:50 joint ventures). For more information, please visit www.freudenberg.com