When you hear the phrase ‘timeless aesthetics’, air filters are probably not the first thing that springs to mind. But nevertheless, our products boast utterly outstanding design. Bearing testament to this is the recent recognition of the ENTARON HD 4 in the Red Dot Award’s ‘Product Design 2016’ category. Design and aesthetics can no longer be overlooked even in an industrial environment – our customers expect highly functional, top-quality products which also meet their aesthetic expectations. That is why we make it our task to reflect these expectations in the development process of our air filters. I think that we have done very well in this regard for quite some time, as its highly successful predecessor Europiclon – which passed the three million sales mark in 2013 – was the first MANN+HUMMEL plastic air filter series to be awarded a design prize back in the 1990s.
But back to the ENTARON HD 4, which I can foresee enjoying a similar wealth of success. Launched onto the market earlier in the year, it is my favourite air filter. After all, I share a special relationship with this series: Back when I was new to product management, this development was one of the first projects in this area that I was involved in initiating. It was no easy task, which is precisely why we worked together as part of an international team in order to tackle all of the challenges as best we could. This difficulty just made the result all the more impressive and something that we can all feel proud of.
Since then, different sizes have been developed for the ENTARON HD by MANN+HUMMEL at various national and international locations. We carry out production here in Speyer, so I was able to witness the ‘birth’ of the first products very close up. Of course, it is not just impressive in terms of design; the technical data is outstanding too: Specially developed by our international team for construction and agricultural machines of power up to 110 kW, mobile compressors and gensets, the series boasts a nominal flow rate of 4 to 10 m³/min.
What’s more, we have also been able to make the ENTARON HD particularly compact, efficient and user friendly, with its installation space being up to a third less than that of comparable products while still offering the same power. Its cover, the user-friendly locks and freely positionable raw air connecting pieces all facilitate flexible insertion into a range of machines. Further retrofitting possibilities are also catered for, deftly covering all relevant usage applications. Personally, I feel that this technically flexible concept is one of the filters which will bring MANN+HUMMEL closer to achieving its 2022 strategy target ‘Leadership in Filtration’.
Of course, the primary concerns when developing a new air filter are the technical data and the commercial considerations, but the Red Dot Award shows that we also put a great deal of thought into the optimum design of the air filter. Like the Europiclon before it, we developed the ENTARON HD series in partnership with an industrial designer – this time around it was Scala Design, a company based in Boeblingen in Germany. When it comes to technical products like the ENTARON HD, our development departments’ chief focus is functionality. And that focus pays off! A whole host of patent applications have been submitted just for this series alone. However, a filter also needs to have a certain timeless aesthetic, not least because our customers are increasingly focusing on ensuring that everything under the bonnet is sufficiently stylish. Such consideration of external appearance can also make a difference to an air filter’s sales – so long as it doesn’t make the product more expensive and provided that it continues to meet the requirements of a technical filter.
That is what we managed to achieve with the ENTARON HD 4 in a nutshell: the perfect combination of form and function. Since the external shell is more than simply packaging, we can use it to send out a clear message, positioning ourselves as a unique brand. Our customers should always be able to identify with MANN+HUMMEL, and we also want aesthetics to contribute to promoting our brand values. The latest design, for instance, represents quality and our ability to innovate, while simultaneously securing a powerful recognition value, featuring accents that insiders will be able to recognise in all of our new products. Of course, form also supports function in our design. For example, the orange-coloured grips of the ENTARON HD 4’s clamps contribute to the user’s convenience and safety – as will also be the case in all new series. Details such as these are greatly appreciated by our customers.
What is particularly pleasing about the Red Dot Award is that it came from an independent body, providing a seal of quality that will encourage sales of the product. I find it really fantastic that this has been achieved as a result of successful collaboration within an international team and I am truly proud to have played my part as an initiator.