Uwe Dingert has been a product developer at Freudenberg for 30 years, more than two decades of which have been spent at Vileda. He has accompanied many products from the very first pencil stroke. His favorite moment is always when an idea clicks.
"The best ideas come to me in bed in the morning or under the shower."
What should really be on Uwe Dingert’s office door are the words “problem solver”. Because he has a passion for regularly taking on large and small challenges, meticulously searching for the solution and not giving up until he finds it.
He has been doing that now for almost 30 years, making him a true veteran at Vileda. His wealth of experience benefits colleagues and customers alike. “I am addicted to the moment when an idea clicks into place and I have the solution”, Dingert explains. “The best ideas”, he admits, “come to me in bed in the morning or under the shower.” Whether it’s a completely new product or improving tried-and-tested or unusual technology, he loves tinkering. And he does it with success, as proved by the fact that he already has more than 60 basic patents to his name.
It all began in 1987 in Freudenberg’s central R&D department, known today as Corporate Research & Development. At the time, Dingert was a student of plastics technology. He was hired on the spot after completing his internship and thesis. Shortly afterwards, he moved to sealing and vibration control at Reichelsheim, where he was responsible for process engineering and development.
In 1993, Vileda was looking for someone familiar with plastics and metals. Dingert didn’t hesitate. “At that time, Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions was just a small nucleus”, he explains. Over the course of the next decade, he was involved in building up the development department. Whereas ideas had previously been discussed in an unstructured manner, he worked on developing tangible methods and innovation processes.
The first two products he and his team worked on were the 2-in- 1 window wiper and the Super Sweeper. “I was involved from the first pencil stroke”, Dingert recalled. “Both products have remained on the shelves virtually unchanged since the mid-nineties, and that naturally makes me proud.” Among his other innovations were the wet mop, UltraMat, Easy Wring & Clean and the current Vileda Steam Mop.
“Over the past 20 years, the products have become ever more complex”, he explains. The challenge is to develop a balanced product that meets the customer’s requirements, is economical and suitable for production in large quantities. Customer feedback plays a central role in his work: “I want to understand where the problem lies and what difficulty our customers are having with a product. This is the only way I can empathize with the situation and start looking for an optimal solution.”
Because many new products work using sophisticated electronics, Vileda solutions are becoming technologically more complex. Uwe Dingert loves getting to grips with such tasks. For the past year, he has been concerned with front-end issues and managing different teams working on new technological developments. When assessing a product, there is one item Dingert frequently pulls out of the desk drawer: a magnifying glass. “With tricky topics, you need to get up really close.”