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Cybex builds a research centre for safe child seats in Bayreuth – Bavaria. In addition to the existing plants in China and the USA, this will be the first crash test facility in Europe. Luna Journal spoke with the CEO of Cybex – Johannes Schlamminger about the construction project and the resulting advantages for the city of Bayreuth.
Luna Journal: Why did you choose Bayreuth?
Johannes Schlamminger: The headquarters of Cybex is located in Bayreuth. From here we have developed into one of the world’s leading companies in the field of children’s products. Our goal is to continue to grow and thus strengthen the region. The planned research centre should make a significant contribution to this. The product development and design of our child car seats have always taken place in Bayreuth. We want to maintain and expand our competence in the area of child safety.
You are supported by the Bavarian State Government and the City of Bayreuth, also other local politicians are committed to the project. How many employees do you plan to employ for the research center? What skills do your employees need to have? Why would the Crash-Test system also be an enrichment for Bayreuth?
The number of additional employees that we plan to employ for the research center with sled facility is around 50, mainly technical professions such as measuring and material technicians, prototype builders and specialists for FE simulations. The City of Bayreuth benefits from this investment in many ways: Cybex is creating additional jobs in the region, the above-mentioned occupational groups are being retained here or moved to Bayreuth and the competence that exists in the area of child safety in the Upper Franconia region is being further expanded and becomes even more important on an international level.
What do you want to achieve with the research centre?
The aim of the research centre is to further develop and improve child car seats. The insights gained in this facility and implemented in the development of new products will significantly reduce the risk of injury to children transported by car and improve safety.
We also want to analyse injury mechanisms and investigate the effects of accidents on children. This will help us to further develop our child restraint systems.
How are the tests carried out in the new plant? Where do you evaluate the results? What result would be insufficient?
We are guided by internationally applicable guidelines such as those of TÜV or Dekra and the ADAC standards above them. In addition, however, we also have our own standards, which have always clearly exceeded the legal guidelines. The results of the tests carried out in the new plant are evaluated in-house by our experts. As a general rule, any result that does not meet our standards is inadequate.
In the largest tests (e. g. autobild. de, ADAC, Stiftung Warentest, testberichte. de) Cybex child seats often perform in an excellent manner; what is the focus of Cybex’s production of a child seat?
We are intensively involved in the construction of a child seat and the necessary materials, which must guarantee the highest possible level of protection. Even our prototypes are subjected to crash tests in order to detect as early as possible how the products react. A child seat has been tested, checked and inspected countless times before it is launched onto the market.
How can you ensure the safety of your infant carriers?
We already test the prototypes of the infant carriers not only in crash tests but also in so-called usability tests. The strictest and most up-to-date legal norms and internal company standards must be adhered to before an infant carrier goes into production. In addition to the known crash tests, there are a number of other tests that a baby carrier is subjected to. In this way, we ensure the greatest possible safety and functionality of our products.
In addition to safe and functional child seats, the company is also known for its iconic design. How do you combine safe and functional use of the infant carriers with a visually appealing design?
Safety does not mean that a product cannot be beautiful. At Cybex, design and safety go hand in hand and are “thought” with each other. From the very beginning, it was our aim to offer not only maximum safety but also an inspiring design – this is our credo for all products manufactured by Cybex. Accordingly, our D. S. F. innovation principle is at the heart of all our activities: The combination of unique design, unsurpassed safety and quality and intelligent functionality.
The first Cybex child seat was developed in 2005. What has changed in production since then? How does this affect the final product?
Since Cybex´s first child seat, there has indeed been a lot of change and development when it comes to the products. A good example is the improved side impact protection, which was still very simple 10 years ago, but had a great effect under conditions at that time. This function has been optimized over the years. Statutory standards such as UN R129 came into force and ensured that our child seats provide ever greater protection for children.
What innovations are planned by Cybex for 2018?
Throughout the year, we will be presenting numerous innovations in the areas of child safety, pushchairs and children’s furniture. One example is the new Cybex LEMO high chair which combines functionality and design in a completely new way.
You are increasingly working with bloggers and influencers, as you can see on the Cybex Instagram profile. How important are collaborations with influencers and bloggers for the company? Does this mean that more emphasis is placed on the visual design or on the safety of the child seat? Is an assessment of the “amateurs” in this field sufficient for the customers?
These collaborations are very important to us. The influencers and bloggers we work with are not only experts, but also parents who are concerned about the well-being and safety of their children. Of course, the design of a product is important to them, it should fit their lifestyle. But parents would never ignore the safety of their child. That’s why both security and design are important to our influencers and bloggers. In addition, they also cover the functionality of the child seats. The intuitive handling of our products is especially important to our cooperation partners. As far as safety is concerned, we hope that they will never find themselves in the situation of having to test them with their children which would mean that they would be involved in an accident with their child. And we don’t wish that on anyone. We can see how important the tests of influencers and bloggers are in the feedback from our customers. For many of them, their ratings have become almost as important as the results of tests such as Stiftung Warentest and ADAC.
In 2014 Cybex was acquired by the Chinese company Goodbaby. How does this affect the development of the company? What restructuring has been carried out since then?
I would not like to call the cooperation between Goodbaby and Cybex, which has existed since 2014, a classic takeover, but rather a joint venture from which both companies benefit enormously. Owing to this, many advantages have been created for Cybex and thus also for our customers. In addition to the competence of Cybex, we can now also use the knowledge of Goodbaby, a traditional company with more than 25 years of experience, to develop our products. Among other things, this refers to production. Goodbaby has its own production facilities, allowing us to control our seats and pushchairs from manufacture to distribution. In addition, we can draw on a large global knowledge pool when developing new concepts. Goodbaby is now located in Bayreuth, Shanghai and Boston and has numerous experts around the world. This development would not have come to be without Mr. Song, the founder of Goodbaby, but also without Martin Pos, the founder of Cybex and current CEO of Goodbaby.
Since the end of 2015, you have been managing director of Cybex, next to Dr. Raoul Bader. What are your plans for the coming year?
At the opening of the Cybex research centre in Bayreuth, we will expand our product portfolio and move further in the direction of interior design – the presentation of our LEMO High Chair is just one step away. Last but not least, during the course of the year we will be presenting exciting new products to our customers in the areas of child safety and prams. So Cybex definitely remains exciting.
More about Cybex here
Image: Cybex – Johannes Schlamminger