SEBO was founded in Germany in 1976 by Claus Stein who was a chief designer at Vorwerk, an industrial vacuum cleaner company. Claus Stein intended to design a heavy duty domestic leaner – using the engineering expertise of his parent company.
The first SEBO vacuum cleaner was launched in 1978. It was designed for a commercial market. The first domestic machine was the X1 launched in 1990. “In fact, it was designed to be a commercial vacuum cleaner but it was light and had plenty of features which were novel to the floorcare market. At the time it was the most expensive machine in the customer market,” reminisces Justin Binks, director of SEBO UK.
Still a family-run private enterprise, SEBO is a global leader in the commercial vacuum cleaner market. The company now sells more domestic models than commercial vacuum cleaners. Its products are sold throughout the world, including Eastern Europe and the Middle East. “The company’s aim is to make ‘honest’ machines – reliable, durable, user friendly and offering a very good performance. This is the reason for our success and these aims remain our guiding principles,” says Justin Binks.
Although the company is well known for its uprights, seven years ago it introduced its first range of cylinders.
Its range of upright cleaners consists of the X ‘classic’ range, which features a computerised system that senses the type of flooring on which the cleaner is operating and adjusts it performance, and the Felix range. Its USP is the steerable neck. It is aimed at customers who need a light and manoeuvrable machine.
SEBO cylinders include K machines which are light and compact and have a soft bumper which protects the furniture. They also feature an ergonomic grip handle on the telescopic tube for ease of manoeuvring.
The Airbelet D-range, was introduced last year to complement the K models with greater capacity. The cleaners in this range are equipped with a 6-litre bag, a 12m cable and a 2100 W motor. They have already received a Which? Best buy title and a IF design award in Germany.
“Our cylinders have a unique cable rewind system (designed and manufactured by us), that works at a controlled speed and stops the plug a foot away from the machine.”
The company uses John Lewis and independents, and to some extent multiples like Currys and Comet, as its main distribution channels. “The independent sector is very important for us as our machines have to be demonstrated to the customers,” explains Mr Binks. The company continues investing in retail training and maintains six sales reps on the road, covering the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland.
The company is very proud of its environmental credentials. Manufactured in Germany, using locally-sourced materials and components, SEBO vacuum cleaners incorporate recycled plastic. The SEBO factory is completely self-sustaining with regards to electricity and even makes contributions to the national grid when supply exceeds demand. A combined heat and power system recovers virtually 100% of its primary energy source. As well as producing the electricity required to run machinery, the warm air created by its generator is used to heat the warehouse while engine coolant is pumped through the office radiators. Rain water is collected from the roof, filtered and stored for use in production and within the factory washrooms. The factory and offices are designed to use natural light as much as possible.
The products are designed to fit into the smallest possible cartons. Most packaging is made from unbleached recycled cardboard with waste paper from the offices being shredded and re-used for packing.
A peace of mind
All SEBO domestic vacuum cleaners come with a five-year parts and labour guarantee reflecting the company’s confidence in its products. It’s perhaps not surprising that the company has a number of high profile customers such as the White House, the Kremlin and Winsor Castle. With such credentials SEBO vacuum cleaners should fit well into the independent’s portfolio.