Hobart has now switched all production of its Ecomax warewashers from Italy to Germany in what it regards as one of the most significant steps it has taken since launching a dealer-only equipment range nine years ago.
The first German-made Ecomax units were unveiled to distributors at Hobart’s Peterborough HQ yesterday, with senior management on hand to explain the benefits of the change.
Contractual reasons had prevented Hobart shifting the manufacturing of Ecomax to Germany until just recently. But from now on they will be made on the same production line as other Hobart warewashing lines, including Bar Aid and Premax, as we first revealed here earlier this year.
Tim Bender, UK sales director at Hobart, said the new Ecomax machines have already been sold into other European markets for some time, and therefore their pedigree was tried and tested.
He added that the move would help it differentiate itself from rival brands, such as Maidaid, whose machines were produced at the same Italian factory, particularly as the new designs feature “similar” components to other Hobart warewashers already made in Germany. “These machines are specifically designed to fit into the range at the right place,” he said.
The new Ecomax line-up includes two glasswashers, one front-loading dishwasher, a passthrough dishwasher and two rack conveyor models.
Key design changes versus the previous Italian models include improved touch controls, more accurate rinse aid dosing equipment, hinged electronic boxes for easier access, and an integrated water softener available with front-loading and passthrough dishwashers.
“In response to customer feedback we have been able to answer a demand for warewashing equipment that is even more robust and reliable while still offering excellent value-for-money,” said Stuart Bester, business manager at Hobart Independent.
“Germany is admired the world over for its engineering prowess. This factor will significantly extend the working life of the equipment — delivering marked benefits for caterers along the way.”
Bester said that the new Ecomax models would be available from January, but distributors that place orders in December could secure special net prices.
The launch also provided an opportunity for Hobart to reinforce its approach to working with the distribution channel.
David Riley, director of warewash UK, said Hobart UK now does 38% of its business through the channel, while Hobart Independent — which he founded — has kept its promise of never selling outside the dealer network since day one. He said Hobart Independent, which also sells the Bar Aid range, had grown 30% in the past year.
Riley also revealed that the turnover Hobart does with its top 50 dealers is now worth more than £10m a year.