Anyone with any ironing experience knows only too well : ultimately, the iron soleplate gets dirty and has trouble gliding. In the early 2000s, Groupe SEB’s Strategic Marketing team for Linen Care realized that a self-cleaning soleplate would be an ideal solution to this problem and incited their R&D colleagues to explore the matter. It took almost 6 years of research, in partnership with a CNRS* team in Lyon, to develop the technical solution (since patented) : an ultra-thin palladium coating on the iron soleplate. At a high temperature, the catalytic properties of the palladium coating are activated to destroy fibers which have accumulated on the soleplate.
In the fall of 2008, the Group therefore launched the 1st iron with a self-cleaning soleplate on the market known as Ultimate Autoclean (Calor/ Tefal). It was an immediate success, boosted by a TV advertising campaign and the commitment of the sales force for in-store demonstrations. In France, for example, in the space of 4 months, Ultimate Autoclean rose to the rank of bestselling top-of-the-range iron in specialized department stores and after one year Calor had gained 14 points in market share on this same segment. This success was gradually confirmed as the iron was rolled out to markets worldwide, namely in Europe, Turkey, Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, etc. To date, no competitor has managed to offer an equivalent solution and Groupe SEB is preparing new projects to fully exploit this groundbreaking soleplate.
* French National Center for Scientific Research