They are called Adora – and they are V-ZUG’s popular dishwashers. In the last four years, the product range has been completely redesigned and expanded. An interview with Markus Grämiger, project manager, and Silvio Lehni, product manager.
A dishwasher cleans dirty dishes. What more is there to say? Should a new dishwasher be able to deliver more than that? “Definitely,” says Silvio Lehni, product manager at V-ZUG, “for example, we’ve reduced the water consumption of our appliances to five litres.” Dishwashers from most other manufacturers currently use 20% more than that, around six litres, he explains, so each year the V-ZUG range saves hundreds of litres per appliance. “That’s important to people who want to invest in sustainability.” The sustainability of the Adora range has been boosted by incorporating heat pumps, adds project manager Markus Grämiger. This significantly reduces energy consumption, he continues, because the pump uses energy from the appliance’s water cycle to heat up the incoming fresh water, so the new range uses very little electricity. Product manager Lehni says, “With the Adora appliances we need just half a kilowatt for a wash cycle.”
“We focus on the details”
Silvio Lehni, product manager
Useful every day, great details, more convenience
Minimal consumption of water and electricity are clear benefits offered by the Adora range, but as a premium supplier V-ZUG is not simply leaving it there. The new Adora range offers numerous new features. For example, OptiLift raises the lower basket to hip height when it is pulled out – making bending over to load the dishwasher a thing of the past. This feature must be able to withstand 50,000 lifts, or 15 years of use. These are the service life expectations, explains Markus Grämiger. “We test this. With robots and people.” SteamFinish technology ensures that every last drop of water is dried up, with no stains. It works by generating steam at the end of the wash cycle, and because steam does not contain the substances that water does, so no calcium, minerals or trace elements, the dry dishes are practically blemish free. SoftSlide and SoftClose technologies ensure the Adora baskets slide in and out quietly and gently to protect glasses and crockery. This is possible as the runners for the baskets roll on ball bearings, rather than conventional plastic runners. Product manager Lehni says, “It’s our details which make the difference.” For example, he adds, their profiles are the most durable on the market. Yet they are not stopping there. The new Adora range has an LCD display with touchscreen controls which shows key information about the appliance and the programmes. Lehni raves about it: “Now there’s absolutely no need to look at the operating instructions.” Another new feature is the FunctionLight which indicates the programme status on fully integrated dishwashers. Finally, the Adora appliances have a user interface (UI), so users can check the status and control the machines via Wi-Fi. This could be of interest to appliance managers in the future as many things can be resolved online, for example a pump jamming.
It would mean that service technicians would no longer need to be called out to every single technical problem. In addition to all these features, the new Adora range also has a new quick programme for daily cleansing – which lasts just 47 minutes. No-one can wash up pots and pans this fast, says Lehni. “The programme is particularly useful for families, who generally wash a full load of dishes twice a day.” And for those who are more likely to be washing prosecco glasses than children’s dishes, Adora has a programme that takes just 11 minutes.
“The core team drives innovation”
Markus Grämiger, project manager
Core team: Broad knowledge base, flat organizational structure
Around four years ago, the core team began working on the new dishwasher range: the interdisciplinary team consists of members from different areas of expertise, for example construction, customer service, software development, production, and more. The core team meets weekly to decide on the tasks for the different areas. Project manager Grämiger says that its flat organizational structure facilitates the development of new approaches and solutions – and thus also drives innovation. Of course, he notes, the odd one or two extra discussions might be needed to find a compromise, because the objective is to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible. “We have achieved that and in doing so have brought innovations onto the market – I’m very proud of that.”
Core team members
Markus Grämiger, Project Manager
Trends, roots and tradition
A new dishwasher is more than simply a new version of the same appliance. Grämiger says, “There are always improvements, particularly with respect to the components, for example the pumps, heaters, etc.” Product manager Lehni adds that they are constantly thinking about the future, for example there is still a lot to improve with regard to detergent dispensing. He says they have even talked about waterless dishwashers, which could be a technology of the future, but notes, “That’s still a long way off.” Trends are evidence of changes in society, and they can point in several different directions at once. When this happens, focus is needed. Lehni says, “A Technology Cluster is being established bit by bit at the V-ZUG site with the objective of bringing sustainable innovations to the market and keeping them there.” Outside the company, people often ask him why V-ZUG has maintained its Zug site, saying they thought production had moved away from there a long time ago. “Quite the opposite,” says Lehni, “we are modernizing and future-proofing the Zug factory, and that fills me with pride.” Roots would perhaps be a fitting symbol here – they provide the tree with nutrients, hold it fast and allow it to continue growing.
Markus Grämiger, project manager in the Adora core team
Silvio Lehni, product manager in the Adora core team
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