In the toilet business for more than 120 years, Hervy prepares to launch a series of new products that will greatly reduce water usage as they effectively deploy recycled water, Jeffrey Matthews reports.
Hervy has been manufacturing toilets since 1884. Right from the beginning, the company focused on making attractive, high-quality products characterized by the most modern and ecologically friendly processes.
“Hervy was the first company in Brazil to gradually introduce products that use less and less water per flush,” says Fernando Jacinto, the company’s exports salesman. “Now we’re about to launch some new products.”
More recently, the São Paulo-based company has focused on the water-usage issue. Specifically, Hervy is in the final stages of developing a new line that will cut down on water used for each flush and recycle water from household showers. At the same time, the new products will reduce noise. “This ‘Silent’ system combines siphon engineering and electronics,” describes Jacinto. “The pressure gauge is an electronic element fundamental to reduced water usage. It employs a system of assisted pressure to cut water use. We’re very optimistic about this new product, as it can satisfy a global demand.”
Hervy has been hard at work on a project that will complement the Silent line. It’s collaborating with companies in the United Kingdom and New Zealand to develop a system that uses water from showers. The system can be used independently of the Silent toilet line, but Hervy plans to present them together to show off its innovative technology.
The water recycling system, in its final developmental stages, takes water from a home’s bathtub or shower, passes it through a filtering system and then channels it into a tank that fills toilet basins. New apartment buildings represent at least one major application. “In fact, the system is more geared to use in apartment buildings rather than houses,” describes Jacinto. “In an apartment building, the plumbing network needs to be pressurized to channel the water, and that would be a bit expensive for an individual home.”He adds that a launch date and trade name are yet to be determined.
NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES
In the meantime, Hervy is focusing its sales efforts on the Acqua line of toilets. First introduced in 2008, the line includes the company’s most efficient toilets: the Nina, Twister and Contemporary. The company will add to this its Premium and Topazio lines.
The Nina toilets provide low-water use, but they also offer innovative anti-bacterial glazes. The glazes line the toilet interior, making it much easier to clean and, in turn, much more sanitary and hygienic. The version sold in Brazil has a dual flush system to meet the country’s water-use rules. The export version only uses 1.28 gallons per flush.
In addition, the company has many different lines of products including above-counter lavatories and sinks that match toilet styles. Some lines also include bidets.
One thing that all the lines have in common is Hervy’s dedication to water-usage reduction and environmental protection. “We seek to address the impact our products have on our planet,” says Jacinto. “As such, we constantly strive to improve our production methods, our logistics system, product function, as well as the lives of the people that our products connect us with, because we are serious about the role we play in the world we live in.”That conscientiousness extends to educational brochures and distribution of the company’s “ecobags.”
But that has been the company approach from the very beginning. Hervy was founded in 1884 in São Paulo by Italian immigrant Antonio Agu, who bought a pottery business and converted it into a ceramics factory. He also built a train station close to his factory, as well as worker houses. A town cropped up around these facilities and eventually grew big enough to split off from São Paulo. It eventually became known as Osasco, named after Agu’s Italian hometown.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Hervy was the first ceramics company in Brazil to introduce a clean system of production that used electric kilns instead of burning oil. The innovation not only resulted in less pollution but also improved product quality and longevity.
The company’s ongoing focus on environmentally benign products and water-use reduction led to a series of firsts in the Brazilian market: the company became the first to offer double-flush toilets and high-efficiency toilets that use only 1.28 gallons per flush, a reduction of 20 percent over the average use in the Brazilian market.
Products are manufactured at a facility built in the 1990s, in the town of Taubate, in São Paulo state. The plant measures 35,000 square meters (376,737 square feet), and is built on a property measuring 250,000 square meters, giving the plant ample room to store products and space to expand the production floor when demand requires.
This new plant is located between Brazil’s two biggest cities (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and situated close to the port of Santos, which fosters easier product exportation. The original plant in Osasco is now used as a distribution center for the São Paulo metropolitan area.
The Taubate factory houses equipment that can make 700 pieces at a time, a system that provides high quality and great agility in the production process. The plant has the capacity to produce 200,000 pieces per month, as it employs three state-of-the- art industrial kilns produced by Drayton, a British company, to fire the pieces.
Most of Hervy’s production is fully automated, which boosts output and quality. The company also has engineers who developed the highly efficient drainage and piping systems that fostered water-usage reduction. Finally, Hervy’s designers make sure products have a modern and sophisticated appearance that appeal to customers around the world.
Hervy is the oldest brand of toilets in Brazil, and has long had a strong presence in the southern and southeastern parts of the country. The company is now rapidly expanding its presence in other parts of the county, such as the booming northeastern region, as well as abroad.
Brazil’s economy has continued to grow, even through the financial and economic crises that shook much of the rest of the world. Demand has also expanded. As the country will host the World Cup soccer championship in 2014 and the summer Olympics in 2016, its construction continues growing.
Hervy is also an exporter, selling its products in many different regions of the world, including neighboring Latin American and Middle East countries, where water use is a particularly important issue. The company now seeks to venture into the United States and Canada. “Our Nina and Twister products are classified as high-efficiency toilets by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” informs Jacinto.
The company plans to continue international expansion abroad as demand and opportunity permit.