Success story from Ultimate Ears and Swiss Schoeller Textil
1 and 1 is 3! A unique success story from Ultimate Ears and Schoeller Textil AG, the two innovative partners
With the invention of “Custom Earphones,” Ultimate Ears revolutionised artists’ stage performances. Today, the California-based company develops and markets innovative wireless mobile speakers for a young and active target group. In addition to their prize-winning design, the UE speakers are waterproof and shock-resistant and can be continously updated with new features via the app. The revolutionary fabric, used in its manufacture, has been developed by Schoeller Textil AG, the innovative Swiss company
In 2012, while on a world- wide search for a new, high- quality, hard-wearing material, Ultimate Ears came across Schoeller Textil AG. “We design speakers for young people with an active lifestyle so our aim was to develop a speaker which was sturdy and mobile and at the same time met the highest aesthetic demands,” says Diego Gabathuler, “after a very intensive search, we finally found what we wanted at Schoeller Textil. We had already heard about the innovative strength of the textile and technology specialists and were able to get a detailed picture for ourselves at an initial meeting with a tour of the plant.”
When two innovative partners such as Ultimate Ears and Schoeller Textil get together, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Ultimate Ears has a unique range of technical skills in the areas of audio engineering, wireless technology, user interfaces, energy management and visual design. Schoeller Textil, in turn, has consistently set new standards in recent years in the areas of innovative textiles and finishing technologies.
With keen interest, the Ultimate Ears delegation toured the Schoeller production halls. They were amazed to find an extensive research laboratory, with production development and fully-integrated textile production in compliance with the stringent ecological bluesign® system and under the most modern working conditions, starting with the initial idea of the final fabric, research, manufacturing and quality control are all carried out in Sevelen.
This was the beginning of a unique success story. The considerable demands made of the speaker fabric were sturdiness, water tightness, “sound quality”, haptics and – by no means the least important – optic design. With regard to durability, protection, waterproofing and abrasion resistance, Schoeller has been a driving force and leader in recent years. Tackling the matter of the sound properties of a fabric meant breaking new ground, but it was an exciting challenge that Schoeller was delighted to take up. What the two companies, Ultimate Ears and Schoeller, have in common is the drive to do the apparently impossible.
A crash-resistant mesh fabric with a high level of air permeability, previously used for motorbike jackets, was chosen, and it served as the basis for the further joint development. The look appealed, but greater spacing was required in the mesh structure, and it all had to be reproduced in polyester. Innumerable sound tests followed, international colour concepts were drawn up, unusual prints samples and light-fastness tested. All very high demands and time-consuming detailed work for the EU Boom prototypes, but it paid off with the selective launch in the USA, Switzerland and Australia/New Zealand in May 2013. The UE BOOM was an instant sensation and, within just a few months, it had become the biggest-selling product in the category. With the unique 360° design and the high-quality Schoeller fabric, it became possible for the first time to carry music in every direction and kick-off an impromptu party about anywhere. The innovative Schoeller fabric also permitted the use of colours and various prints for limited editions in cooperation with artists.