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Progress creates flexibility enabling progress Dornbracht presents world innovations in electroplating technology.

Iserlohn/Milan After successfully completing trial runs, Dornbracht is set to launch a completely new and internationally unique concept in surface refinishing in April 2010. True to the central idea of a thoroughly modular production process, the large central electroplating system that has become the industry norm is being replaced by smaller, highly flexible units: four different 'electroplating philosophies' underpin the most important value-added process for the manufacture of high-quality designer fittings.

New electroplating philosophies: Gavaroline and Varioline

Depending on the complexity and batch size of the items being manufactured, two new production lines are now being used in addition to the Gavaros, the extremely successful electroplating robots: one Gavaroline and two Variolines. The modular construction of the three lines in a newly constructed multi-functional hall gives Dornbracht a wholly new level of flexibility in the handling of innovative technologies. Single items, special orders and small quantities will continue to be finished in the manual electroplating system.

The new lines are item-specific systems. As managing director Matthias Dornbracht says, the company continues to follow its main priority that all manufacturing and organizational units should be secondary to design: "Not a single radius, nor a single edge is to be changed for the sake of increasing the number of items manufactured in a time unit."

The principle of modularization

The Gavaroline is capable of coating increasingly complex geometric shapes such as the fittings series Lulu and MEM. The system was developed by Dornbracht in cooperation with the robotic systems specialist Carat Robotic Innovation GmbH. The electroplating Gavaro robot, which is capable of coating complex items on a process-dependent basis, has been in use for four years and served as the innovation's platform. The kinematic robots were outfitted with a frame that enables several components to pass through the electrolytic solutions in a single run.

The Gavaroline consists of three modules. Each module contains two robots with six axles that enable them to cover a large movement range. This helps to keep liquid spillages to a minimum. The Variolines, by contrast, are designed for a moving frame system for large quantities of correspondingly lower complexity such as the series Meta.02 and Madison.

The modular principle enables Dornbracht to create anything from large batch sizes to single items. It also enables the company to respond very quickly to, for instance, legal requirements or technological developments. This includes meeting potential new environmental standards, Matthias Dornbracht explained: "This enables us to implement technical progress in two-year stages. Out with the old module, in with the new one." Ultimately this flexibility in manufacturing technology pays for itself, even though modularity initially costs more than central systems do.

Moving into the new multi-functional hall

The new electroplating system is situated in a new manufacturing hall spanning 3,400 sq. m. designed following the terrible fire on the company’s premises in July 2009, and was built in just two months. This new building was also based on the principle of modularity. Matthias Dornbracht: “If we wish to achieve maximum flexibility in the manufacturing process, then this logic also has to be evident in the buildings.” Specifically, the challenge in planning the new hall was making it free of any fixed pillars or supports that could one day get in the way. Even more important: no process-specific elements were to be connected with the building. Accordingly, a separate supply module was designed for the Gavaroline and Variolines which, like the drainage and ventilation technology, is not directly connected to the hall technology.

Further information on Dornbracht and Dornbracht products as well as digital press releases are available in the internet at or from the Dornbracht Press Office: Meiré und Meiré, Stephanie Eckerskorn / Aline Wenderoth, Lichtstr. 26-28, 50825 Cologne, T. +49(0)221 57770-416 / -402, Email: / Your contact at Dornbracht: Melanie Prüsch / Anke Siebold, Köbbingser Mühle 6, 58640 Iserlohn, T. +49(0)2371 433-2119 / -2118, Email: /