The last installment in this three-part series discusses the R&D initiatives in the line.
Suppliers of sanitaryware in Guangdong province are taking a multipronged approach to raising product value and appeal further. One of the R&D priorities is developing integrated designs, which allows companies to offer a complete solution. This is also seen as boosting the hub’s status as a one-stop sourcing center for the line.
Some of the latest sanitary rooms come equipped with a toilet, basin, shower, cabinet and even bathtub. Several bathrooms combine the last as well.
Businesses riding this trend are modifying manufacturing processes and techniques to enable assembly of integrated products. They leverage the province’s rich supply chain for individual or stand-alone sanitaryware to enrich selections. Many see the strategy as a surefire way to raise prices, and eventually margins. Such value-added releases can be quoted 20 higher.
In response to growing environmental concern worldwide, manufacturers are emphasizing water conservation in both design and features. For example, most toilets now adopt the dual-flush configuration, which decreases water consumption by 3 to 5L. In bathtubs, improvements in curvatures are said to reduce water use.
Water-saving designs are particularly highlighted in ceramic products, specifically toilets, urinals, basins and bathtubs. Makers in such categories are setting their sights on lowering the water absorption rate to less than 0.2 percent. Some businesses employ gaolin or increase the baking temperature to 1,200 to 1,350 C.
Still in pursuit of the “green” trend, Guangdong manufacturers are exploring alternative materials to reduce dependence on natural resources, specifically land. This is prompting suppliers to turn away from ceramic, especially in the basin and bathtub segments. In the latter, for example, more enterprises are adopting acrylic. Some are experimenting with artificial stones. In the basins sector, makers are expanding the material options, adding tempered glass, and natural and artificial stones to the range.
This strategy allows companies to explore other production techniques and opens the industry to newcomers because the investment required is lower.
As regards design, manufacturers are shifting back to traditional and simple styles from the complicated variants that have been popular in the past two years. As such, models with automatic functions such as those for water cleaning still abound but are less emphasized.
This trend is reflected even in the hues used. Colorful models are giving way to white, milky white and similarly subdued versions.