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Interview with SCHOTT on CERAN cooktop panels

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After we wrote about Eco friendly and beautiful CERAN cooktop panels, we wanted to follow up with the interview in an effort to answer several questions you sent, and look a bit deeper into this fascinating product. Courtesy of Mr. Carlos Mendia, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Home Tech, North America, here it goes.

American consumer isn't quite familiar with either SCHOTT or CERAN, please give us some background on the company and product.
SCHOTT is a technology-driven, international group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions through special materials and high-tech solutions. Its main areas of focus are the household appliance industry, pharmaceutical packaging, optics and opto-electronics, information technology, consumer electronics, lighting, automotive engineering and solar energy.

The company’s 17,000 employees, of which 2,500 are in the US, work in 41 countries, close to our customers, worldwide.

CERAN is the industry leading glass-ceramic material. Glass-ceramics were invented by SCHOTT and mass-production began in 1972. Since then SCHOTT has continuously innovated, maintaining its worldwide market leadership.

CERAN cooktop panels are Eco-friendly and have a host of other excellent qualities, still the vast majority of manufacturers use something else. Why? Is that high cost, ignorance or 'it will still do it' attitude?
Being at the forefront of innovation, SCHOTT has developed a process that does not use heavy metals in the manufacturing process. The company is guided by its mission of constantly improving living and working conditions through expert solutions, and is constantly looking for ways to achieve this. Although we can’t speak on behalf of any other manufacturer, SCHOTT is a proprietary manufacturing process.

How do you achieve the standards and quality without relying on heavy metals?
Through SCHOTT’s extensive manufacturing expertise in the field of glass-ceramics, the company was able to develop a production technique that achieved the same high-quality results, without the use of heavy metals. This is a proprietary process that SCHOTT has developed in house. This is a much more complex and costlier system than just using hazardous heavy metals.

Which appliance manufacturers currently make cooktops with CERAN panels for US market? Europe? Which ones are planning if any?
All Whirlpool Brands with glass ceramic including freestanding, slide-in and induction and electric cooktops, including Whirlpool, Maytag, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid and Amana. Available in Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, HH Gregg, Best Buy and local appliance dealers.

All Wolf cooking appliances with glass ceramic including electric and induction cooktops, which can be found at authorized Wolf dealers.

All Dacor cooking appliances with glass ceramic found at authorized Dacor dealers.

All GE induction products including GE Profile induction line available in home Depot and local appliance dealers and GE Monogram induction line available in local authorized Monogram dealers.

Is CERAN manufactured in US or is there a plan to manufacture it here sometime in a future?
The base materials are produced in Germany and then processed here in the US. Domestically, SCHOTT employs 130+ people directly related to CERAN.

CERAN colors are quite stunning, will SCHOTT introduce more in a future?
SCHOTT is currently looking at market and design trends. We’ve already explored other colors, and if we see a clear signal that the market wants something, we’ll work to make it.

We see cooktops utilizing CERAN made in classic rectangular shape. Is this a limitation due to the process or CERAN structure, or other shapes are possible?
Other shapes would be possible, however, due to the manufacturing process of glass-ceramics, a rectangular shape has the highest yields. That and we haven’t seen too many appliances that are in any other shape other than rectangles.

Can CERAN be used for a rangetop on a cooking range?
Yes, CERAN can be used for all electric cooking methods, including induction. Whether it’s integrated into a freestanding range, a slide-in range, or a drop-in.

Besides CERAN, CERAN Flash Color and CERAN Cleartrans lines, is there more SCHOTT is planning?
SCHOTT is always innovating, not only trying to meet market trends, but be at the forefront of them. Our R+D departments in the US and Germany continuously work to improve not only the manufacturing process, but also the form and the function of the cooktops. We’re guided by the idea that there should be no sacrifice of function over form, but that the aesthetic qualities of the cooktop are essential in an innovative product.

Posted in Insider Interviews at May 4, 2008 10:45 AM

 
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