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To give innovation a language, Industrial design for the Wilo SE

The News, the magazine for family businesses
Issue 1-2 / 2019

An innovative design can support a company on its way to a global player. A good example of this is the Wilo SE.

by Prof. Kurt Mehnert, Mehnert Corporate Design GmbH & Co.KG

Since 1999, Mehnert has been responsible for the design of a significant part of the product range of Wilo SE, a leading manufacturer of pump systems for water supply and air conditioning. The holistic process of industrial design not only includes product strategy and design, but also the development of modern user interfaces as well as packaging systems and product information.


The pumps of the Wilo SE initially consisted primarily of the housing and the motor. However, with the development of intelligent electronic controls, the pumps were soon able to adapt to a wide variety of application situations, thus increasing their efficiency and thus environmental friendliness. The increasingly complex controls have been combined in a new essential component: the terminal box.

Milestone set

Mehnert Corporate Design set new standards for design and usability by giving the terminal box a clear, intuitive interface. For the first time, all control elements were consistently placed facing the user, so that the engine and pump housing discreetly stepped into the background. Wilo SE presented this innovative design with the Wilo Stratos high-efficiency pump at the ISH 2001.

Based on this milestone, a comprehensive Corporate Product Design Guideline was developed and implemented for the entire existing, several hundred products and future product portfolio. The new product philosophy helped to define Wilo's way into the future.

The high efficiency pump Wilo Stratos was first presented in 2001.

In this picture the Wilo Stratos is to be seen with the awards Red Dot Award, Focus Open, Design Plus and IF Award.

New design: The successor Stratos MAXO was presented in 2017.

On this picture you can see the Wilo Stratos Maxo with the awards Design Plus and IF-Award.

Design develops the future

After almost 20 years of running the Wilo Stratos, the further development of the high-efficiency pumps with the Stratos MAXO takes the next big step. It is the world's first smart pump, setting new standards with the latest sensor technology, efficiency and ease-of-use, and with the monitoring principle of increasing digitization and connectivity. The central user interface is now formally in the foreground, allowing intuitive control and easy access to all information. Thus, a kind of "black stage" was created that combines clarity with high quality and emphasizes the Wilo green anchored in the brand core in the button operation succinctly.

This new control unit now takes over the clear positioning of the CI color and thus replaces the traditional red button. The user intervenes - pictorially speaking - through the black stage (the monitoring principle) into the mechanical processes. At the same time, the Wilo Green emphasizes the claim of sustainability of Wilo SE and stands as a brand color for the smooth interaction with the user, according to the claim "Pioneering for You". The design is rounded off by the new silver logo that underlines the value of the Wilo brand.
As the example of the Stratos product family shows, product design can give a voice to technological innovation and make a significant contribution to positioning companies successfully on the market.