In the north of Wroclaw, D+H board members Dirk Dingfelder and Christoph Kern were excited to be on-site and to be taking part in the ground-breaking ceremony for the new D+H Poland company headquarters. They began with the traditional turning of the first sod. Then, they rolled a German and Polish newspaper clipping nicely and neatly into a brass tube. This represents the foundation of the building and is simultaneously a symbol for the long-standing success of German-Polish collaboration. The document witnessing the laying of the cornerstone was signed together with the Board of D+H Poland, most notably Managing Director Mariusz Ziemecki.
The goal of the new headquarters is to foster continued success in Poland. It is also served as a showcase for the company. This is because the most innovative solutions from the D+H portfolio are installed in the state-of-the-art headquarters. SHEV controllers, wind and weather sensors as well as window drives from the BDT and CDC series (and other components) are in the planning stages. The construction is to be completed by the end of 2017.
The following is a transcript of the interview with Christoph Kern, the Member of the Board of D+H Mechatronic AG and the CEO of D+H Poland:
What was the main reason to set up the new headquarters in Poland?
We believe in a continued positive development in Poland through a consistent growth strategy. At the same time our current company building in Wroclaw has become too small and we are located in the middle of a residential area so for us it was a logical decision to buy the new property and build the new headquarters.
What kind of benefits and improvements will the new investment bring?
First of all more space for future growth, better logistics by direct location connected to the Widawa interchange of the A8 motorway (and the intersections of the S5 and S8 expressways) and integration of the warehouse outsourcing. In addition we will also create a modern training and information centre for our customers, architects, planners as well as our employees.
How would you characterize an efficient ventilation system in the event of fire?
The most important objective is the protection of human life by way of securing escape and rescue routes in the event of fire. It’s important to know that more than 90% of the fire victims do not die directly from the fire but are suffocated by toxic smoke. Our system detects smoke already in the early period of the fire and insures that windows and flaps in the building are automatically opened so that the toxic smoke is removed or ventilated.
If you could compare Polish and German market of smoke and heat exhaust ventilation systems, what is the main difference between them?
The country’s specific norms and regulations differ from country to country. One of the biggest challenges for us is to fulfill all the required standards in different countries. Although the European Union has agreed that harmonized standards are applied in Europe, many countries such as Poland require additional approvals and that is what we have to solve.
What do you think has to be done to reach the level of Western European markets?
In our opinion the Polish market is in comparison to many other exporting countries and from our point of view is already well-developed. It’s necessary and helpful in the future to put more focus on product quality, service and technology transfer which is especially important in the field of buildings to have more comfort and energy optimization.
Your products are mostly supplied to industrial and commercial buildings. Can they be used in residential sector too?
Yes, our automatic window drives are also used in winter gardens or smart rooms for automatic-controlled ventilation. Proper ventilation can save energy and protect against moisture and mould. Many people are not even aware of these technologies and possibilities. That is why we are working with our marketing to make the natural ventilation better known and to stimulate the market demand in this sector.
How big is the sales volume in Poland compared with other European countries? Are your products sold worldwide?
When it comes to sales, Poland is one of our top 5 countries already. In addition to Poland, the D+H Group has international subsidiaries in Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Portugal and Austria. As a leading provider of smoke extraction and ventilation solutions we have implemented well over 100,000 solutions through our subsidiaries and we have over 130 partners worldwide. D+H technologies, including window drives, control systems, brackets and operation elements are used in households in over 50 countries.