With effect from 1st June 2006, CeramTec AG Innovative Ceramic Engineering
has taken over the seal disc and cartridge production for sanitary fittings
from Ideal Standard GmbH & Co OHG in Wittlich. With this investment, the
Mechanical Systems Division of CeramTec AG has added cartridge production
for sanitary fittings to its manufacturing competencies.
The Mechanical Systems Division at the CeramTec plant in Lauf is market
leader for ceramic seal and regulator discs. With this forward integration
as a result of the acquisition, the division expands its manufacturing
competencies from production of ceramic seal discs to the production of
complete cartridges. By doing so, CeramTec continues to hold a leading
position as a supplier to fitting manufacturers.
A cartridge forms the core of a sanitary fitting. Driven by the lever of the
fitting, it regulates the amount and temperature of the water running from the
A cartridge is made up of approx. 20 individual components — made of
plastic, metal and rubber, one ceramic seal disc and one regulator disc.
These cartridges are then installed into the fitting and allow it to operate.
A suitable cartridge must be developed and installed depending on the shape
and requirements of the fitting.
The crucial components of a cartridge are the seal and regulator discs which
are adjacent to each other inside the cartridge and which remain in contact
as they are rotated. These ceramic discs vary in their geometry and holes
depending on the fitting and cartridge. Most however have 2 inflow holes for
hot and cold water as well as a combined water hole, through which the mixed
hot and cold water flows out. Depending on how the disc holes are rotated
via the fitting lever, the appropriate aperture angle is attained and more
or less water flows through and more or less water is mixed together, and so
the temperature of the water running out. Seal and regulator discs fulfil
several functions simultaneously: They maintain water temperature and make
the faucet watertight, preventing dripping. Secondly, they must be able to
be rotated together effortlessly, so that the faucet can be operated without
difficulty. Thirdly, they must withstand any solid particles in the water –
such as sand or calcium – so that their polished surfaces remain level
and therefore watertight. Fittings and cartridges are tested in the
laboratory, where they are turned on and off under various water
temperatures 1.5 million times. This corresponds to 50 years of usage in a
household consisting of 4 people. The fitting remains watertight and operates
as it did on the first day.