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smart design for a market leader // review


joint product development of engineers and designers leads to significant turnover increases


the sauer group is a leading manufacturer of high pressure compressors and compression technology in the application fields navy and shipping. to expand the position in the third business sector »industry« as well, the company from kiel hired the office mehnert corporate design and started an extensive product development campaign with their help. It has been the aim to define a consistent product design for the compressors and improve the ergonomics of the equipment.


j.p. sauer & sohn maschinenbau gmbh was founded in 1884 in kiel under the name of wilhelm poppe. Being a technology leader in the field of high-pressure compressors and compaction technology today the sauer group develops and produces modern compressors for all applications in industry, shipping and navy. In the field of defence technology the sauer group is market leader. to expand and strengthen the sector »industry, sauer & sohn started an extensive product development campaign in 2003 and ordered the design office mehnert corporate design from berlin for for concept, design, construction and prototyping.


The main task was to develop a new soundproofing hood for a new high-pressure compressor series upto 420 bar. Previously the compressors have mainly been integrated into navy machinery. with the new high-pressure compressor tornado a new market segment should be developed for mainly industrial applications. To reach this aim it was clearly necessary to revise the terms of their machine designs and their ergonomics.





discover new market segments


in a joint workshop the requirements for the new product series were first defined. the focus was on an effective passive noise protection of plants, which should reduce the resulting noise pollution from 83 db to 70 db. additionally the optimization of the ergonomics and service friendliness of the compressor has been a central goal. After the first design studies the designers created design solutions in a continuous development process, discussing various technical detail solutions with the engineers of Sauer & Sohn followed by intense testing phases for different prototypes for the sound saving canopy. the new high-pressure compressor series is used for air and gas compression. the vertical arrangement of the compressor allows a very compact design. the construction of the soundproofing canopy enables a fast and convenient maintenance work through the concept of movable side elements.



»the team of mehnert corporate design has very intensively studied our technology and fully integrated itself into our construction process. with mcd we have gained an external partner, that we trust and who understands us. therefore we will continue working together.« so the head of technology j.p. sauer & sohn maschinenbau gmbh, roland tittel.



image(left side): roland tittel, head of technology j.p. sauer & sohn maschinenbau gmbh // image (center): the high-performance compressor tornado has been awarded with the iF product design award 2006 and nominated for the design award of the federal republic of Germany of 2007. // Image (right side): accurately fitting components are assebled in the studio. on specially designed lifting points the compressors can be lifted by lift trucks or forklifts.





convincing evolution


»we did not only want to change color and shape of our new product series. Instead of that we integrated the team of mehnert corporate design from the very beginning into the process of contruction. Until today a very procreative collaboration developed and we could see a convincing evolution in the new compressor series tornado regarding functionality, compact construction and ergonomics.«, says roland tittel, head of technology at sauer & sohn in kiel. In order to develop a consistent form language and a coherent corporate design for the product family appearance, both companies agreed on a framework contract for their further cooperations. In that way the tornado design principle could be transfered to other products such as the current development of the sound saving canopies for the series WP4331, WP4341 and WP4351. »The basis for the development of a `corporate product design´ is always a strong design principle that needs to be transferable« says the owner of mehnert corporate design.



»within the product development tornado we were able to accompany the whole project from the product analysis to the implementation in the series. giving us their full confidence in the project mmanagement has created an ideal basis for the genesis of an excellent product.« kurt mehnert, owner of the mehnert corporate design gmbh & co. kg 




image (left side): creating a product family with equal components provides the possibility to descover further sales markets with an innovative product  

// image (right side): kurt mehnert, owner of mehnert corporate design gmbh & co . kg





sales promoting design

at the hannover trade fair 2007 sauer & sohn was happy to present three new products with tornado, WP4341 and WP6000. »the new design has significantly professionalized our trade fair appearance. It is the same with a high-quality buffet: it needs to be topped up correctly, to make sure the customer likes it. you do not drink a good red wine from a toothbrush cup indeed.





designer should be involved early 

it is almost the same with our high-performance compressors, that previously were already a technological leading. but with the new design, our quality becomes visible. the success is visible too in particular in the continuously rising sales figures since 2005 of this product segment«, summarises roland tittel. the successful project work was also confirmed from another sources: the design design for the tornado won the iF product design award 2006 and was nominated for the design award of the federal republic of Germany of 2007. »the cooperation between engineers and designers should start as early as possible. in order to develop better products and at the same time to save time and costs«, agree both, roland tittel and prof. kurt mehnert, owner of mehnert corporate design. roland tittel adds: »I can only recommend, to integrate external designers quickly into production and internal processes, to make sure taht he gets an optimal insight into the product technology. Having long briefing talks not on the green table does not lead to a faster solution. with mehnert corporate design we have found a partner who understands us.«(ro)



image (left side): also the WP4341 provides ergonomic maintenance, easy access and convenient work // image (right side): insights into the design workspace: the new WP4341



article from the trade magazine »Indukom B2B market communication«.

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