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Business Innovation

thermaline: 150 years of kitchen innovation and Swiss design

2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the origins of the thermaline, Electrolux Professional´s premium cooking range. This celebrated Swiss design is since 1871 delivered around the globe from the factory in Sursee, Switzerland, where long tradition and state-of-the-art technologies meet.

High performance and reliability, innovative solutions for high efficiency and savings, easy-to use appliances are the key success factors of thermaline, and it is a story that dating back to 1871, and it continues today.

The locksmith and the inventor – how it all began

It all started back in 1871 with the production of a new-fangled portable stove. There are two names linked to the foundation of the company. First up is Franz Xaver Weltert: a locksmith by trade who turned his hand to the production of a unique ‘mobile oven’ in 1871. Essentially, it was a stove in a frame rack but could be thought of as the first kind of modular cooking solution that we know today.

His business expanded in Sursee, adding a foundry and a ceramics process to manufacture both ovens and furnaces before adding electric stoves in 1923.

Meanwhile, aspiring Swiss inventor Samuel Blumer had started investigating how electrical energy could be converted into thermal energy and set up a small factory in Schwanden in 1904. Producing household irons and electric stoves, he secured investors to restructure the business that became Therma AG and started producing stoves for commercial kitchens in 1927.

Boomtime for Therma

By the early 1930s, the Therma name dominated the Swiss household appliance market and started exporting its products further afield to France, Italy, Denmark and Norway.
With the ambition of combining the companies´ know-how and experience to produce premium commercial appliances with innovative design, the acquisition of Therma by the Electrolux Group was sealed in 1978. As a result, thermaline was born and by 1980, the first oven with conventional heating and option to switch to hot air hit the market.

In 2014 thermaline Made to Measure line received the Red Dot Award for Product Design – a prize that has established itself as one of the most sought-after quality marks for excellent design worldwide. It was created to offer every top chef a partner for life, meeting the requirements of five-star hotels and fine dining restaurants with the latest professional technology and ultimate kitchen design.

Production with state-of-the-art technology reducing both energy and CO2 emissions

The Sursee facility is powered by an innovative geothermal system, a closed heat exchange pipe system of 40 kilometers in 400 poles. The pumps draw heat from the ground in winter and discharge heat from the building into the ground in summer. The geothermal system reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 92% (500 tons corresponding to 2,500 trees) reflecting Electrolux Professional’s emphasis on sustainability.

The laser, welding and grinding robots provide unprecedented precision and flexibility in the application. They eliminate time-consuming manual operations and significantly improve the quality of our equipment.

Today, there are 180 Electrolux Professional employees at the Sursee site, which manufactures a range of made-to-measure commercial cooking solutions and braising pans.