More capacious drums and less bulky motors, diversified programmes depending on the use: from the structure, hardware and software point of view, washing machines live a constant evolution. The target? Offering a product precisely suiting users’ needs.
The washing machine is undoubtedly the household appliance that has most revolutionised modern living habits since its introduction, in the second post-war period, and since its massive diffusion in the economic boom years.
Today it is considered integral part of our daily life, indispensable ally in the execution of housework and optimizer of time and resources. Over the years, research and development have shared in improving its performances and functions, transforming it into a more and more efficient, versatile and clever, as well, appliance.
Washing and energy saving performances have exponentially improved, in addition to user friendliness and reliability, nowadays indispensable characteristics for whatever model.
Forefront technologies and up-to-date design are necessary to deal with the demands by more and more exacting customers; besides, the need of washing a growing quantity of garments at home, coupled with the introduction of numerous customized programmes, has allowed developing an increasingly performing machine, able to offer a higher loading capacity within standard overall dimensions. The reduction of technical component footprint has permitted it, too, like the inverter motor, which has smaller sizes than a standard one and has therefore allowed optimizing the available space.
While the washing machine structure has been modified to make room for more capacious drums, also the hardware has undergone notable changes: they have created new washing programmes to wash special clothes, customized programmes dedicated to different linen typologies or able to achieve excellent results in a shorter and shorter time.
Consumers needs, you know, are different, someone must wash large loads of laundry and others just need to refresh frequently only few clothes, others wash bulky clothes and still other users especially delicate or sports clothes. Manufacturers’ challenge for washing machines, too, as it happens for other household appliances, is precisely to succeed in interpreting rising requirements at best, if possible anticipating them, to give birth to state-of-art products compliant with new lifestyles and constantly evolving consumption habits.
Towards a more and more developed technology
Time saving and washing quality: these are the two parameters on which focus most research and development investments by producers, because the time at disposal to do housework is shorter and shorter, while the performance level requested to the household appliances equipping our homes is constantly rising.
The consequence is the proliferation of fast and customized programmes, as confirms Chiara Nazzaro, Marketing Manager Italia Candy Hoover Group “Consumers wish washing machines provided with programmes allowing saving time but cleaning well. The Mix Power System+ technology, coupled with the Perfect Rapid 59’ programme, allows washing in less than one hour at 40° with the same efficacy provided by a 60° washing. Today Perfect Rapid 59’ is the most effective rapid programme available on the market, in A washing class. Concerning this, the technologic evolution of Mix Power System+ becomes an effective benefit for consumers, to wash in less time without, however, giving up washing performances. Another extraordinary innovation is simply-Fi by Candy, which paves the way to a new manner of living the household appliance, with which interacting in simple and intuitive way by exploiting the Wi-Fi technology able to offer a constant interaction with the user who will be able to monitor it constantly, to manage from remote and to customize it through the apposite app”.
A mix between advanced technology and smart programming of washing functions and typologies that characterizes also Samsung products, as highlights Roberto Micheletti, Product Manager Washing Machine & Dishwashing of Samsung Electronics Italia “We have released a technology able to cold-wash with the programme performances at 40 °C, thanks to the active foam that acts at the beginning of the washing cycle. With the new Fast Eco-washing programme of the Series 6000 for 8 and 9 kg, moreover, it is possible to wash up to 5 kg in 59’ only, this allows washing the daily laundry of a family composed by 4 people. Another innovation is represented by the state-of-art Digital Inverter motor, which assures utmost energy efficiency with low energy consumptions, meanwhile reducing the wear risk. It is anyway Samsung Crystal Blue Series 9000 the most performing washing machine of our production: the external detergent drawer, in fact, disappears and, thanks to the Auto-Dispense system integrated inside, the right quantity of detergent and fabric softener is automatically dispensed up to one month of washing cycles and without having to recharge it. It is the new patented Samsung “Auto Optimal WashTM” programme that grants the ideal washing by exploiting 4 sensors that automatically dose necessary detergent, softener and water according to the load and the filth level of garments, to attain the best possible cycle, every time, without wasting water and detergents”.
Smeg research focused on the motor, too, not only to optimize performances but also to increase the washing machine silence level, one of the most important parameters for the household appliance choice because in the past the noise was cause of dissatisfaction for users: “All new High Tech Smeg washing machines are equipped with an inverter motor that grants higher reliability and duration in time, best efficiency, consumption reduction and absolute silence. Besides, the direct motion technology with electronic control assures the best efficiency at whatever rotation rate of the drum and higher silence and safety for the washing of delicate garments, thanks also to the notable vibration reduction”.
Silence is one of the targets reached also by Whirlpool research and development, as highlights Alessandra Romagna, Senior Category Manager Free Standing South Europe “Precisely this year Whirlpool has launched on the market the brand-new range of Supreme Care washing machines, a perfect combination between state-of-the art technologies and an innovative design. Technology that has reached the maximum silence on the market, thanks to the ZEN Technology motor directly connected with the drum and 20-year granted. In addition to silence, also the best garment care with the Soft Move technology, characterized by the specific drum motions for any fabric typology, by the colours 15 °C option that assures perfect results both at 15 °C and at 40 °C, and finally by the exclusive Fresh Care technology with delicate drum motions at the cycle end to minimize wrinkles”.
Often, innovation does not concern only the mechanical or structural parts of the washing machine but it involves also all other aspects and components that share in the final outcome.
An optimal washing is in fact determined by several factors, the German Miele, represented by the Brand Manager Susanna Salvaterra, explains us how technology can help in the selection of the most correct washing typology: “The last novelty that goes towards the direction of the absolute simplification and of the maximum result quality is Twindos: an exclusive detergent dosing system in 2 phases that creates the best liquid detergent, tailor-made for each laundry. Starting from 2 chemical components, which are loaded in the appropriate compartment three times a year, from time to time the washing machine creates the customized detergent for your laundry. In this way, Miele allows generating the best liquid cleanser and the user’s only task is to press a simple button, the machine does everything alone and results are impeccable, both on white and coloured garments”.
Functional design for new furnishing elements
In the past, washing machines were hidden behind doors or inside niches, in the attempt of camouflaging them, leaving them trapped in narrow or service spaces, as if they were not worthy occupying an important role in our houses.
Over the last few years, however, the aesthetical research has produced finer and finer, as well as functional, washing machines, appliances with pure and elegant lines, able to suit whatever environment without damaging the aesthetics of the whole.
Utmost attention, then, also to design, provided that it is functional, useful and never redundant or too invasive, concepts expressed by Chiara Nazzaro from Candy Hoover Group “The new range has been studied by paying particular attention to the functional design: lines are sinuous and stylish, the large porthole has a cushy handle for a comfortable grip and the modern display allows selecting and visualizing, in clearly and intuitive way, temperature, spin-drying and washing options, with top customization. Nowadays the washing machine is no longer a household appliance only but it has become a real piece of furniture: increasingly big and high portholes for finer washing machines, more comfortably loaded, even wider and shiner LED displays and valuable finishes are the current trends, together with chrome-plating and more ergonomic handles that maintain the shape linearity and essentiality”.
A design that often rhymes with technology, an attractive shape that expresses an innovative function, an element that immediately catches the attention and then simplifies the machine use, Roberto Micheletti from Samsung Electronics Italia confirms “The essential and elegant lines match the most innovative technologies and a wide porthole in the series of Samsung Crystal Blue washing machines, therefore all consists of a simple touch: for the first time, the entire washing machine control occurs by grazing the colour Full touch screen 5’’ display. Consumers are constantly in search of washing machines that are not simply household appliances, with this target Samsung has implemented the Crystal Blue series 9000, precisely characterized by refined design, able to conquer any home space bringing style and elegance: pushbuttons and handle disappear to make room for an essential surface where stands out the large porthole embellished by the Blue Crystal finish, the diameter of the new porthole has been enlarged to facilitate loading and unloading of the linen, while the centre of gravity of the drum has been heightened for better ergonomics, finally the drum interior, lit by LED light, has been redesigned with a “bubble” surface that takes care of the laundry”.
The porthole is often the element that characterizes and defines the washing machine aesthetics, for Smeg, too. “One of the main characteristics in the design of High Tech washing machines is the wide porthole consistent with the rest of the machine that, reaching 34 cm of diameter, facilitates the laundry loading and unloading operations with the highest use practicality. Besides, the large and luminous LED and LCD displays allow selecting the washing temperature, visualizing the progress light of the programme in operation and its duration”.
When we talk about aesthetics, it is clear that choices can be various and tastes very different, as well as it may be interesting proposing two different stylish lines by character and detail, leaving final customers the possibility of deciding according to their tastes. “Miele proposes the new models in 2 design lines – reminds Susanna Salvaterra – ChromeEdition, characterized by classic design with chrome-plated door frame and portholes in washing machines and dryers, as well as straight or inclined ergonomic control panels and WhiteEdition with bombed dynamic front, white round design doors and control panel and door with chrome-plated finishes”.
Design for Whirlpool rhymes instead with user-friendliness. “Today it is essential that design can communicate with consumers, provide a unique interactive experience where innovation and user-friendliness are the key distinguishing elements. Whirlpool relies on its Global Consumer Design to devise and to propose consumers forefront solutions, with high aesthetical impact, able to match aesthetic and functional requirements wisely: household appliances with essential lines but able to exploit the space at best without any visual impact. The washing machine Supreme Care Premium +, thanks to its stylish smoked porthole and to the comfortable pedestal that facilitates the loading operations of the washing machine, has been awarded with the important international prize IF Design Award 2015: award that recognizes design innovation in the household appliance sector”.
Biggest space, small footprint
In a metropolitan context characterized by smaller and smaller living spaces and by environments with ever decreasing surfaces, the dimensional aspect of elements assumes a more and more significant role. That is the reason why their effective capacity becomes decisive in the household appliance choice, that is to say the working volume for the accomplishment of the functions for which they have been manufactured.
An essential characteristic – the loading capacity – that often determines the washing machine choice both in the front-loading and in the top-loading model.
According to Chiara Nazzaro “With the Next range, Hoover will reach the umpteenth record in loading capacity with standard sizes coupled with the “All in One” technology that allows washing at full load, coupling different fabrics and colours in just 59’ and, making use of one of the most silent motors, up to 13 kg of laundry. Exactly to solve the space problem, we have just launched, in the GrandÓvita range, the models 6+4 in 42 cm, and 8+5 in 45 cm only: these novelties will allow the company to preserve and to improve the results achieved in this segment.
Top-loading washing machines have always been an excellent solution for those affected by space problems, even if in the last period we have registered a drop of this segment mainly due to the higher focus that companies have dedicated to other “save-spacing” products, like washing machines in 33 cm or Aquamatic, feather in the cap of Candy Group. This does not mean that top-loading machines are a declining product, on the contrary: in the next few months will land on the Italian market interesting “made in Candy” innovations, aimed at enlivening the segment, underlining that top-loading machines can be chosen not only to solve a space problem but also because they have new functions and features that simplify consumers’ life”.
The winning formula is then the perfect mix of design, innovative technologies and loading capacity, according to Samsung, in fact, “High-capacity models generate higher value– explains Roberto Micheletti – because consumers can find in these products energy saving, silent motors and excellent washing performances, with the possibility of washing also bulky garments, contrary to the common opinion that deems 8-10 kg washing machines just as family products, actually they suit all requirements and provide excellent performances while reducing the average cycle number”.
A synthesis shared by Whirlpool, too, that, with Alessandra Romagna, underlines also a further detail in view of the function simplification “In line with consumers’ needs of attaining the best possible performances from their washing machine and of achieving higher loading capacity specifications, the new Whirlpool Supreme Care range presents a loading capacity that, starting from 8 kg, can reach 12 kg”.
To be indispensable while protecting the environment
Minor water and energy consumption, attention to resources, immediate economic saving without altering washing results, in short: energy efficiency and excellent performances because the environment lives a delicate balance and all that uses water and energy must necessarily take it into account.
“State-of-art models are A+++ certified- reminds Chiara Nazzaro – but the Next range by Hoover increases the energy saving by a further 20%. The latest motors, like the Perfect Silence Inverter motor, grants record silence (only 48 decibels and even lower consumptions). We have also widened the programme range, completing it with possibilities of faster washing cycles at lower temperatures. Candy has also developed the Mix Power System+ technology, to wash at 20° as well as at 40° in 59′ only, besides our models are equipped with a weight control system, KG Detector, which allows using only the necessary water volume for the loaded laundry, thus avoiding any waste form”.
Money and time saving as tangible parameters able to influence consumers’ choices, innovative technologies and sophisticated programmes to wash in less time and with better results.
Demand and offer meet at Miele, too, in the opinion of Susanna Salvaterra “Our washing machines are all in A+++ energy efficiency class and the new models are equipped with the new Powerwash washing system: thanks to a sophisticated system with double pump, you exploit water and detergent at best, granting a perfect result, besides, with the QuickPowerWash programme, in a Miele washing machine the laundry is clean in less than one hour”.
Samsung washing machines as well are studied to satisfy the requirements of consumers asking for products able to offer excellent performances, while saving energy, to the market, Roberto Micheletti explains how: “Energy efficiency and excellent performances are granted by the Eco-washing technology that, at the beginning of the washing cycle, introduces some air bubbles able to dissolve the detergent perfectly, increasing its efficacy and making it able to penetrate quickly and deeply the fabric fibres already at low temperatures. Thanks to Eco-washing, it is possible to achieve surprising results in terms of efficiency, with the additional 50% energy saving in addition to the A+++ class”.
Washing machine and forefront technology go hand in hand for Whirlpool, too: “In the new Supreme Care washing machines by Whirlpool – ends Alessandra Romagna – thanks to the Precision Clean technology, the washing cycle is managed by water jets and detergent for a delicate deep cleaning. In the rinsing phase, water jets replace the traditional rinsing by filling, for a uniform cleaning and zero detergent residues. This directly results in water saving; as a matter of fact, jets directly penetrate the fibres making the washing more effective, improving efficiency and reducing the necessary water quantity. Besides, with Precision Dose the 6th Sense technology can dispense the right necessary detergent quantity for the washing cycle according to the load quantity, with a maximum saving of 12 litres of detergent per year. These washing machines can boast the best energy class: up to A+++ with the 60% energy saving”.
Increasingly smart and intuitive appliances, then, able to recognize the load type and to adjust the use of the right water quantity accordingly, as in the Smeg High Tech line, which proposes some models that reach the A+++ -50% energy class, and which allows the highest electrical energy saving without damaging performances. Introducing half load only, the machine recognizes the need of using less water, then optimizing consumptions.
All this was made possible by the technological innovation that has characterized these machines, today able to self-regulate in all situations, facilitating washing operations and sharing, at the same time, in preserving the environment and its “finite” resources.