We need solutions which are more human-centered. You have to emphasise with the users on their needs, their feelings, and their hopes. When you empathise with them, you get to know from their own perspective, where is the challenge. So, you redefine the challenge and from there you go to ideation.”
Co-founder of ECO Genius Innovative Environmental Solutions
We are seeing an uptick in the challenges but with those challenges come solutions and they are coming through much more quicker than ever before.”
CEO and Founder, Make Water Famous
We are innovative
"Our proud history of innovation stretches back over 100 years. But today we’re working to get great ideas to market faster than ever before by collaborating with customers to co-create the solutions society needs.”
Chief Growth Officer
As challenges around access to water, sanitation and clean energy intensify, our customers’ demand for innovative water and clean energy solutions is growing rapidly.
And because this is only likely to accelerate further, we’re working increasingly closely with customers in the building, infrastructure, industrial and agricultural sectors. Together we devise, prototype, develop and launch products, solutions, and services, with an accent on bringing great new ideas that delight our customers to market much faster.
We aim to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers to understand the different challenges they face in their local markets and across the sectors they work in. Customer intimacy and communication are central to our innovation efforts.
Increased R&D spend
By 2025 we plan to increase our R&D spend to €65 million. In 2022, we invested €32 million.
Time to market
Working closely with customers means we’re getting great new products to market faster. Our India business has proven particularly adept at turning ideas into solutions at pace, with 20% of its revenues coming from new products in 2022.
Sales of new products
We aim to earn 10% of our revenue from new products less than five years old by 2025. Between 2021 and 2022, the percentage of sales from recent products rose steeply from 4.3% to 6.2%, representing close to €260 million in additional sales.
A great history of innovation
Where innovation is concerned, we’re building on a powerful legacy that stretches back 100 years with products like the first ever push-button toilet cistern launched by Philmac in the 1930s. Today we continue to enjoy a reputation for fantastic innovation with solutions such as drain water heat recovery units to help reduce people’s energy consumption and bio-attributed PVC in wastewater evacuation systems – just some of the great new ideas we brought to market in 2022.
What’s changed is the speed at which we are turning ideas into higher value solutions.
Our strategic goal is for new solutions to account for 10% of total sales each year by 2025 and we are well on the way to achieving that target. New-to-market products accounted for 6.2% of sales in 2022 compared with 4.3% in 2021 and 2% in 2020.
Our Global Innovation team runs regular ideation competition to boost idea-sharing within a collaborative work environment across the Group. In Europe, it resulted in the first ever range of hot and cold-water balancing valves to prevent the spread of deadly bacteria like legionella in hospitals. The local teams are concurrently co-creating with customers, meeting their needs like never before.
Because our local teams know their customers’ evolving needs intimately, they are at the forefront of our innovation and product development work. In 2022, we intensified our continuous training programmes around capturing the voice of the customer. This ensures that we can help customers succeed by developing solutions that fit with market demand.
Our teams are empowered to work closely with customers to identify future needs, share ideas and co-create new solutions. It could be by joining forces to deliver advanced piping systems for water and energy, producing highly engineered plastic valves and fittings to replace traditional products, working on light-weight components that are less carbon intensive to produce, rolling out advanced irrigation systems or new ways to treat, store, preserve and monitor water.
Besides this intense local focus, we are always looking to export ideas from one market to another, where they can be swiftly adapted and refined by our teams on the ground to meet different local needs. Our Indian business, for example, developed its very successful anti-microbial water tank using technology first developed for use in pipes by colleagues in Latin America. The new tanks were developed and brought to market in just under a year.
Our three innovation hubs go from strength to strength and play a vital role in collaborating with customers on new ideas. Increasingly, we are using AI, data analytics and digital collaboration to share ideas across the business.
Our Paris research hub, focusing on water solutions, has relocated to new premises with extra space for customer co-creation work. Our team at our Bengaluru research hub, specialising in digitalisation and advanced engineering, continues to grow and now comprises over 40 highly skilled young scientists with an average age of 29 years. Our Toronto research hub, where we concentrate on materials know-how, is set to move to a new, much bigger and more capable centre in 2023.
Meanwhile, Aliaxis Next is exploring the water solutions of the future – identifying, investing in, and incubating promising start-ups to leverage disruptive digital and data-based technologies that will address water challenges later in this decade and beyond.
Innovation is the key to maintaining the trust and support of our customers, to unlocking new markets and to making a reality of our strategy.
To achieve our growth ambitions and our goal to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges around access to water, sanitation and clean energy, we will be investing far more in our R&D than we have in the past.
We plan to increase our annual R&D spending to €65 million by 2025; three times more than we spent in 2020. In 2022, R&D investment increased to €32 million, putting us well on course to meet our Growth with Purpose target.
How we deliver
Discover how we are accelerating the pace of change
The science and engineering at our core
Our three main Research hubs work closely with customers to create the solutions they want, and society needs.Read more
Discover our Paris Research hub
“At our Elancourt research centre we act for water, humanity and nature. Our customer engagement strategy helps define innovation from ideation to industrialisation, and in every innovation, we make sustainability a key criterion.” Pascal Chapon, Director of Paris Research HubWatch video
A growing role in healthcare
We see a growing role for our innovative solutions in the healthcare segment.Read more
3D printing - testing the potential
3D printing has the potential to revolutionise manufacturing. Our North American operation is putting it to the test.Read more
Aliaxis BIM – a digital modelling system with a difference
Find out how one customer describes using our Building Information Management system to model a residential development in Colombia.Watch video
High rise, low noise
Address Harbour Point is a stunning luxury residential development on Dubai Creek Harbour with two towers rising to 65 and 53 storeys. We worked with developers to install our dBlue drainage solution – a three-layer pipe system with acoustic pipe clamps that reduces noise levels to just 18dB(A).
Taking a new eco range to market
In France, we’ve developed a stylish new range of 9 kitchen and bathroom products made of 90% recycled material. The range – including shower and sink syphons, plug and cistern fittings - is being marketed in partnership with retailer Leroy Merlin that fully shares our commitment to the circular economy.
From concrete to slim
Inspired by Lego bricks, an innovative team in India has developed a durable and hygienic alternative to traditional concrete water tanks. The 2,000 litre slim tanks are made of carefully selected plastic materials and can be linked together in sequence (like those famous bricks) to meet local demand.
North America: IPEX launches new Bionax® pressure pipe
A new PVCO pressure pipe for sewer forcemain applications has been launched in Canada by IPEX brand. Our Bionax® range is already used for transporting drinking water. But, with excellent fatigue resistance, it’s ideal for sewar applications and has already been deployed on several projects.
To enhance customers’ experience we’ll triple R&D spending between 2020 and 2025. Last year, sales of products fewer than 5 years old rose from 4.3% to 6.2%, representing €260 million in additional sales. The 2025 target is 10%.
Big savings from re-granulated waste
In Germany we’re using re-granulated polyethylene to make Akafusion products, which are water collectors on roofs of large areas and data centres, with further applications in the pipeline. Re-granulate can only be used in unpressurised systems, but the potential annual savings are significant at between €60,000 and €80,000.
Hot water – at less cost
A new system to heat water could help households to make savings on energy bills.Read more