How we foster a culture of innovation
Innovation is one of our strategic priorities, both on a global scale and at company level. In a quite conservative business sector, innovation remains the main driver to support our organic growth and develop unique solutions to meet our customers’ needs.
On track to meet our innovation goals
We invest about 1 % of our yearly sales in innovation, which takes place in one of our three R&D centres and our companies. This drives our main ambition: 20 % of our revenue should come from products less than five years old.
An integrated R&D organisation with a global network
Our three major R&D centres are exclusively dedicated to innovation:
- Redco (Belgium) for fibre cement materials, clay and concrete tiles, and paints.
- The Promat Research and Technology Centre (Belgium) for passive fire protection and high-performance insulation.
- The Technical Development Centre (France) for gypsum products.
On top of that, we rely on six affiliated application and development centres to accelerate our innovations.
Constant focus on customer needs
The history of Etex is characterised by technical inventions and cutting-edge engineering. In recent years, we have further increased our focus on the governance and customer orientation of our R&D centres. We conduct this thorough market research, risks and opportunities analysis in order to align marketing and innovation.
Innovation embedded in our culture and processes
Many of our internal processes are tailored to our innovation ambitions:
- Our annual Innovation Awards showcase the best commercial and industrial innovations.
- Our Intellectual Property Service Centre protects our patents and fosters new innovations.
- Our collaborative intranet is designed to share best practices and generate new ideas.
Here are some examples:
Manufactured by Siniat UK, this revolutionary external sheathing board is moisture-, mould- and fire-resistant. The gypsum core is covered with a coated fiberglass mat on the front, back and long edges. For buildings that are exposed to severe weather conditions, Weather Defence is a fast, safe and sustainable means of protection.
Revoque Seco plasterboards from Durlock Argentina, Gyplac Colombia and Gypsum Drywall offer builders many practical benefits. A new adhesive replaces the traditional plastering, thus allowing faster and easier installation than ever before. The boards also optimise acoustic and thermal comfort, while reducing waste and providing a top-quality finish.
Promat’s SlimVac vacuum insulation panels (VIPs), with a core of microporous insulation, are covered in an impermeable outer envelope, heat sealed under vacuum. This gives this ‘superinsulation’ a great thermal performance and, as a result, optimum insulation properties.
Cedral Click, developed and manufactured by Eternit Belgium, is the first fibre cement product with a tongue-and-groove interlocking. The quick and easy installation makes it an ideal solution for both new-build and refurbishment projects where time constraints are a factor.