GIT SECURITY Spoke with Dorma CEO Thomas Wagner

17.03.2015 - What started with the super-flat ­Matrix Air electronic fitting is being continued by Dorma with five further new products - among them glass locks and patch fittings for glass ass...

What started with the super-flat ­Matrix Air electronic fitting is being continued by Dorma with five further new products - among them glass locks and patch fittings for glass assemblies, horizontally sliding walls and folding doors. The presentation of the new solutions during the ‚Bau' trade fair in Munich was the start of their market introduction worldwide. ­Matthias Erler of GIT SECURITY spoke with Dorma CEO Thomas Wagner about the latest innovation offensive of the company.

GIT SECURITY: Mr Wagner, you introduced six new products at the beginning of this year - and you did it at the ‚Bau' in Munich, right in front of the eyes of the building fraternity, so to speak. Before we go into the details: what is so special about these new products - what is the multiplier?

Thomas Wagner: That can best be explained by looking at our definition of the word ‚innovation': we consider everything to be innovative that brings the customer some benefit - and we devote all our entrepreneurial effort to that. The matter of innovation doesn't just apply to our Dorma products: we also apply it to the entire value chain - from advising our customers, presentation of the solution, in our Design Centers and Showrooms right through to the quality of our packaging, installation processes and service. But this approach to innovation, influenced to a large degree by customer benefit, also means that we prefer to present complete solutions rather than individual components.

... as you did at the Bau event in Munich.

Thomas Wagner: Yes. Not just new products, but six solutions providing customer benefit were at the forefront of our presentation. Incidentally, the Bau event was just the start of the introduction of these solutions in which we have invested heavily over the past three years. They are intended to cement our positioning in the long term as a provider of premium quality, the highest functionality, the most modern technology and sophisticated design. We make our customers happy in this way, and we distance ourselves from our competitors.

Let's single out a few of these solutions - perhaps the Matrix Air super-flat electronic fitting first of all - we already reported on this in GIT SECURITY as it was introduced at the Security event in Essen.   

Thomas Wagner: What you immediately notice is its special design. Matrix Air was given the gold iF Design Award and really is the flattest electronic latch currently on the market. But even more important for us is the exceptionally positive feedback that we have received from our customers and the market in general. That motivates us a lot for the market launch that we have just begun.

Aside from the benefits for users, what will particularly interest specifiers and installers?

Thomas Wagner: A really important advantage here is the battery operation that of course removes the need for any cables. And the way in which the battery has been integrated is special too - it's in the handle. It is this step forward that makes the flat design possible at all. Access rights can be set up with just a few finger movements using a drag-and-drop technique on a mobile terminal. Installation and access control programming are very simple. And an important feature under real conditions is the telescope ability of the electronic cylinders: this enables them to be adapted to different door thicknesses. This increases the flexibility of the product, our sales and installation partners can keep a smaller amount of stock on the shelves and the whole process from placing the order to installation and commissioning is simplified and accelerated. We are convinced that this will be well received by the installers.

The ‚Mundus' locks and patch fittings for glass doors are also new?

Thomas Wagner: The high quality and functional design of this product is also immediately noticeable. No screws are visible. Importantly there are various different collections available in this range, which will make it especially interesting for interior designers and architects. An adjustment system enables us to fit this hardware to glass doors between 8 mm and 22 mm thick without the need to change pads, gaskets and liners. The system is infinitely variable within this range, does not need spacers and fitting has become both quicker and simpler. We have received a German Design Award for this product too.
Apart from the six innovations that are already market-ready and available, you presented a prototype in Munich of a specially flat direct drive for revolving doors. What is so special here and when will it be on the market? 

Thomas Wagner: This system is based on a gear-less direct drive; it works without any reduction gearbox and with no belts or chains. This sort of rotary drive system is often used in robot technology, for example. It is very energy-efficient, can be controlled very precisely and only needs a very small and shallow space. That opens up new design opportunities for architects. We are already getting excellent feedback on the study that we showed in Munich, and this drive will be available in 2016.  

Mr Wagner, you operate a very special sort of innovation management at Dorma - in particular in the form of internal ‚MIND processes' that you introduced in 2011. Could you explain to us what that means exactly and how it has had an effect on the products that have been recently launched?

Thomas Wagner: The abbreviation ‚MIND' stands for ‚Management of Innovation from Need to Demand'. The associated process is based on directing our innovations toward the needs of our customers and the market. This includes the planning, control and supervision of all innovation projects and their market introduction. So it's not just about having a nice product, but also the organization of sales worldwide, including the marketing campaign and promotion activities. Mind means that we always begin with the question of what motivates customers and how we can improve the product for them. This influences the following phases of product development right through to market introduction. Our aim is to reduce the time to market, and then in turn to accelerate feedback from our customers and commercial partners. Their feedback is immediately made available for improvement of the process.

You have recently set up a so-called ‚ramp-up factory', a pre-production factory, where products grow, so to speak, from the R&D germination phase to being ripe for production. How does that work in practice and what has your experience been so far?

Thomas Wagner: That is also part of our innovation initiative. New materials and technology require new tools and machines and they alter the production and assembly processes. With our ramp-up factory we have created here at our head office in Ennepetal our own specific department in which we can develop and prepare smooth operating processes from start to finish. That increases effectiveness and quality, saves costs and time and further shortens the time to market. This ramp-up factory in which we can simulate and adjust the entire work sequence is separate from the main production area. Our experience has been very good: the preparation time has been significantly reduced, and the quality has been further improved.

There is also a new design center in Ennepetal?

Thomas Wagner: We currently operate two Design Centers, one each in New York and Dubai, as well as numerous new showrooms, among them one in Shanghai. We are now building what will be our largest Design Center worldwide in Ennepetal - it alone will bear the name ‚Design & Innovation Center' and not just be a flagship store and showroom but also a place to meet. There will be large events for architects, specifiers, installers and customers - and for this it will be fitted with large multimedia displays. The Center should also be a place where we can discuss in depth subjects such as people flow in buildings, building automation and the digitization of our world. We want to make a statement by choosing Ennepetal as our most important location: it is a clear recognition of our origins and history for our customers, partners and employees. As well as our Design & Innovation Center we are also building our European Technology Center for Mechatronics and Electronics at the same location.

After this innovation offensive at the beginning of the year, will you be beating the drum again later in 2015?

Thomas Wagner: The next products are already in the pipeline: our presentation at the Bau event was, as I mentioned earlier, just the beginning. Also in our massive investment program for the period 2015 to 2017 is a new European Logistics and Spare Parts Center in Wuppertal. Additionally we are expanding our factory in Zusmarshausen to be our European door factory - it will be opened in Spring. In general, we can say that innovations are not fast-moving items for us. We will be concentrating in the near future on the market introduction of our new solutions. And for that we will use our close relations with our customers, our commercial partners and the markets.

An Overview of the Individual Products

  • Mundus: Glass door locks and patch fittings that offer many design opportunities.
  • HSW Easy Safe: Horizontal sliding wall that, thanks to proven clamp and glue technology, now also supports laminated safety glass.
  • HSW Flex Therm: Horizontal sliding wall that makes thermal isolation easy thanks to a new lock bar system.
  • FFT Flex Green: The widest folding door on the market.
  • Matrix Air: The flattest electronic fitting currently on the market with an electronic cylinder that can be telescoped to fit the door thickness.
  • Muto: Multi-functional manual sliding door system.
  • Archimedes: The novel drive technology for revolving doors (prototype)


Dorma GmbH & Co. KG

Dorma-Platz 1
58256 Ennepetal