Managing Director of Research and Development P&G Germany
People all over the world turn to us because Braun products make life better. They trust in our brand when it counts the most: Whether they want beautiful hair or a cool beard for a group photo or a rst date, immaculate legs on a special day or a close shave for that important job interview.
Men and women all over the world know that Braun products are reliable. They love and trust the brand – even if they’re unaware of the engineering, innovation, and dedication built into each of our electronic devices. Our expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines is the key to the high level of quality people expect when they buy a Braun product.
Join us on a fascinating tour of the Braun Innovation Center in Germany.
Welcome to Kronberg, Germany – the Braun global head- quarters for research and development (R&D). More than 400 scientists and engineers from over 70 countries are at work here. Their mission: To create innovative devices that will improve the everyday lives of people worldwide.
More than 80 % of our employees have a college degree. Many of them hold PhDs with disciplines ranging from mechanical engineering, biology, chemistry, via mathematics and physics to material science or industrial de- sign. The professionals in Kronberg are part of a global, company-wide network of 9,000 R&D experts working for such well-known brands as Gillette, Pampers, Olay, SKII, Pantene Pro-V and Head & Shoulders. In addition, R&D cooperates with external experts from universities and research institutes all over the world.
The R&D headquarters are part of Kronberg Campus, comprising eight buildings that cover around 113,000 square meters. This is where some of our company’s most critical manufacturing processes are carried out. For example, all the cutting parts for Braun electrical shavers are manufactured in Kronberg. And from here it is only a short drive to the small town of Walldürn, where our German manufacturing facility is located. In total, nearly 1,000 men and women are employed here to produce our electronic devices – and it goes without saying that each and every one meets particularly high quality standards.
Understanding men’s and women’s hearts, bodies, and minds.
At Braun our consumers come first and foremost in everything we do. Our starting point is how men and women experience Braun products, and we are continuously searching for ideas that improve their daily lives.
This is why we have a special research facility in Kronberg equipped with bathrooms so we can realistically recreate what happens in everyday homes. Thousands of people visit this research facility each year to help us realize completely novel ideas, ensuring that the people who ultimately use our products are part of the development process every step of the way. This proximity to the R&D labs enables us to test technologies and prototypes at a very early stage. In fact, most of our test devices do not look like the final product at all – they merely help us understand if an idea is technically feasible or not.
At the same time, Braun scientists all over the world go to visit consumers in their homes. As human beings we do many things intuitively – and this is certainly true when it comes to men and shaving, for example. Detailed research into the actual use and habits, as well as the individual’s wants and needs are thus crucial if we are to be truly innovative. And we use many of the very latest research methods to make our new products as efficient as possible. These include projective techniques that allow us to better understand the feelings, emotions, and attitudes of the consumers, while our connections to academia let us closely follow trends and developments in such relevant fields as dermatology.
Coming up with an innovative idea is one thing; turning it into technology that meets users’ expectations worldwide is quite another. But here at Braun, this is exactly the kind of challenge that our scientists and engineers love, since it allows them to fully unleash their creativity and technical expertise. What follows is an attempt to identify all the possible (and sometimes impossible) technical approaches to overcome this challenge. Naturally, during each step of the process, Braun experts work closely with multidisciplinary specialists both inside and outside the company.
In many cases a prototype is put together in the lab to find out if a technical idea lives up to its promises. In this way, Braun experts methodically zero in on the best technical approach for a new product. Once this has been identified, the product is re ned to perfection – including making sure that the device can be manufactured on a larger scale without compromising quality. Since 2000, Braun has registered more than 2,500 patents globally – unmistakable evidence of the company’s drive for innovation.
The strength of pure.
Prof. Oliver Grabes, Head of Braun Design and Professor of Design at the University of Wuppertal, sums it up neatly: “Many people think that design is just about the look of a product. This has always been different at Braun. For us, design is an integral part of the product development process, and involves people from all possible disciplines. Braun has a very strong design heritage that made the brand world famous. It’s important for us that people recognize Braun products only by looking at them and using them. So we use certain visual elements across a variety of products to identify the brand and clearly distinguish it from others.”
Braun design has been an inspiration to many people all over the world. Many modern art museums have included Braun products in their collections, and there is a huge community of collectors of Braun products. Even Apple co-founder Steve Jobs cites Braun as a source of inspiration in his autobiography. Bearing in mind this approach to product development and the role played by design, it comes as no surprise that Braun has won more than 250 international design awards.
It’s a long way from the drawing board to the store shelves. Because manufacturing precision is crucial for delivering top quality products. Each of our shavers and epilators consists of several hundred carefully assembled components.
And it is only after thorough testing that our products go on the market. In this way, we make sure they live up to our own expectations, and – more importantly – to those of the men and women who buy our products around the world. Braun design has been an inspiration to many people all over the world. Many modern art museums have included Braun products in their collections, and there is a huge community of collectors of Braun products. Even Apple co-founder Steve Jobs cites Braun as a source of inspiration in his autobiography. Bearing in mind this approach to product development and the role played by design, it comes as no surprise that Braun has won more than 250 international design awards.
The highest precision is required throughout: Braun shaving foils, for instance, are very thin – a mere 58 μm, which is about half the diameter of a human hair. To guarantee the high levels of quality and precision, all the cutting elements in our shavers are manufactured at the Kronberg plant, located alongside our R&D experts.
Living up to the highest standards.
At Braun, we have a different take on developing electromechanical devices. In fact, it is the same approach used for the development of medical devices. Professional quality management ensures that insights gained from consumer tests are taken into account whenever we develop new products.
Is the new product efficient, safe, robust, and durable? We check our devices for their performance, operational capability at different temperatures, water tightness, and resistance to chemicals – to name just a few examples. In order to meet the highest of demands, a Braun product may have to pass more than 60 quality management tests during the development stage.