March 17, 2010
Loctite threadlockers in action
Bathroom fittings with highest quality standards
A slight, but unmistakable scent of vanilla pervades the hallway, and the
attention of the visitor is captured by the nostalgic beauty of some antique
Italian motorcycles decorating the room. What seems like the entrance to an
exclusive spa or a fancy hang-out for motorcycle enthusiasts actually leads to
a showroom for water taps and showerheads. But if you associate water taps
and shower heads with the appropriate aisle in the hardware store, you need to
Reflecting on the morality of objects Both Gessi’s and Henkel’s company
philosophies emphasise the importance of beauty. Since its foundation in 1876,
Henkel’s mission statement has remained “to produce products to make life easier,
better and more beautiful”. Beauty, not just the beauty of products, also plays an
extremely important role in the Gessi philosophy, which sometimes reads like an
artistic manifesto and dazzles with sentences like these: “The core value of the
business system is beauty. Beauty does not refer exclusively to the aesthetic value of
the product since it’s a dimension that pervades every aspect of the business.”
The average DIY store customer will probably be astonished to learn that a
manufacturer of water taps believes that “the true added value of a brand is its poetry
content and its respect for the world”. Therefore, the manufacturer has embarked on
a mission to create artistic consumer goods, goods that are meant to “induce a
reflection on the morality of objects”.
Gessi, however, doesn’t only talk the talk; at the plant in Serravalle Sesia, it walks the
walk: “We don’t want to compete with low price manufacturers in China. We deliver
the highest quality, both in design and functionality and it’s working very well for us,”
explains Andrea Renna, the Quality Assurance Director. This is no exaggeration: the
company’s turnover grew by a stunning 23 % in 2007.
Gessi’s coloured light taps are a good example of this dedication to beauty and
functionality. The Rettangolo Color tap lines feature the trademark minimalist
elegance, relying on geometrical shapes: in this case an open rectangle. When water
passes through, a temperature-sensitive LED lights up in different colours – blue,
purple, or red – according to the water temperature.
Loctite has been a partner to Gessi from the very beginning, and Loctite
threadlockers play an important role in the manufacturing process of a large number
of Gessi products. “We use Loctite products for every screw that needs to be secured
and watertight,” explains Andrea Renna. Be it the extraordinary square showerheads
or the huge water taps for industrial kitchens, Loctite always plays a vital part in
ensuring the durability of the fittings.
The plant in Serravalle Sesia, which is just across the road from the showroom, is
another reflection of the company’s emphasis on beauty and design. The production
facility resembles a giant lab styled in the company colours – orange and black.
Every worker wears a shirt or a sweater with the company logo. The preferred means
of transportation within the plant are bicycles. These are, of course, black and orange
and bear the company name as well as the name of the user or the department.
Even though Gessi sells its products to business and private customers all over the
world, the entire production process takes place in the Serravalle Sesia plant.
Producing in a high-wage region like northern Italy is not seen as liability, but as an
integral part of a company philosophy which emphasises quality and a high standard
of human relationships.
Modern times haven’t stopped at Gessi’s doorstep, however. The factory, which is
clean and orderly to the point of sterility, belying all stereotypical perception of Italian
chaos and laissez faire, employs robots and other advanced production technology
wherever possible. The yellow robots in their metal cages with their graceless, yet
effective, movements feature prominently, especially at the beginning of the
“We automate where we can,” says Renna. “But due to the sophistication of our
products, a lot of work has to be done by hand and this will continue to be the case”.
While showing us through the plant, Renna points to red Loctite bottles that can be
seen on top of many of the work benches inside the facility. Gessi handles, soap
dispensers or mirrors all rely on the performance of Loctite 638.
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Corporate Communications Page 2/4
However, the collaboration between Henkel and Gessi transcends the usual supplier-
customer relationship. As companies whose success depends heavily on a
continuous process of innovation and the ability to respond quickly to global market
demands, Gessi and Henkel have entered a relationship that can be best described
as a form of partnership. Quality Assurance Director Renna recalls the case of a
soap dispenser that Gessi sold to Russia. “Because of the temperature differences,
the regular glue we used gave out and broke the glass. We were able to solve the
issue by making use of the flexibility built into certain Loctite products,” says Renna.
“If there is a challenge where can assist, we can take care of it immediately,” says
Massimigliano Moneta, Loctite’s Technical Sales Consultant responsible for Gessi.
Loctite maintains a laboratory in Milan and the response comes within a matter of
days. “Up to now, we have always been able to find a solution, normally by pointing
out an alternative use for one of the products from our range,” says Moneta. Even if
that shouldn’t be the case at some point in the future, there is always the European
Technology Centre in Dublin ready to take on the task of finding a creative adhesive
for a creative customer.
Further material is available at http://www.henkel.com/press
Henkel has been committed to making people's lives easier, better and more beautiful for more than
130 years. A Fortune Global 500 company, Henkel offers strong brands and technologies in three
areas of competence: Home Care, Personal Care and Adhesive Technologies. Each day, more than
50,000 employees worldwide are dedicated to fulfilling Henkel's claim "A Brand like a Friend”. In fiscal
2009, Henkel generated sales of 13,573 million euros and adjusted operating profit of 1,364 million
Christoph Schmidt Peter Kreft
Phone: +49 211 797 - 9933 Phone: +49 211 797 - 1458
Fax: +49 211 798 - 11458 Fax: +49 211 798 - 11458
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Corporate Communications Page 3/4
The following images are available for publication:
Assembly of water taps for hand washbasins with Loctite 638.
Design meets reliability: Rettangolo Color water tap.
Bagno “Small” is ready for use.
Assembly of water taps for kitchen sinks with Loctite 222.
Loctite 2701 is put to use on passive metal surfaces.
Assembly of plated parts with Loctite 2701.
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