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December 2009
APPLIANCE Engineer - The Open Door - Taking Up the Sustainability Challenge

 It’s no surprise to anyone that environmental issues are becoming ever more prominent and important to understand in the world of appliance development and manufacture.

October 2009
APPLIANCE Engineer - The Open Door - Organizational Empathy, from Top to Bottom

September 2009
APPLIANCE Engineer - The Open Door - The Next Breakthrough in Microwaves?

Ingenuity is a crazy thing. Sometimes it leads to innovative products that look good on paper and make engineers giddy, but more often than not, these products get lost on consumers and end up in the niche wasteland. Take the Polara refrigerated oven, which Whirlpool debuted way back in 2002, as an example. The concept—developing an oven that keeps food cool until a preset timer tells it to start cooking—is beyond innovative, but consumers were obviously not ready for it. Or, at $1800, just couldn’t afford it.

August 2009
Appliance Engineer - The Open Door - Innovate…or Die by Not Trying

It’s critical to guard innovation as the engine of recovery once the recession ends.

June 2009
Appliance Engineer - The Open Door - Industrial Design Meets Engineering

Industrial designers and engineers have two very different functions, but both understand the vital role that each plays in the product development process.

May 2009
The Open Door - Are Regulations Pushing Us Over the Edge?

Aside from the economy, regulation has become the most powerful force affecting the appliance industry.

April 2009
Appliance Engineer - The Open Door - Making Green Affordable

The HVAC and water heating industry has made great strides in designing energy-efficient products. As more sophisticated control and sensor technologies become available, so will affordable green products.

February 2009
The Open Door - Energy Efficiency: Our Next and Best Step Forward
As current economic woes shed light on America’s propensity for overconsumption, we are seeing a parallel situation in the nation’s energy supply.

January 2009
Appliance Engineer - Leveling the Playing Field

December 2008
The Open Door - Surviving the Standards Jungle

November 2008
The Open Door - The Real Cost of Green Manufacturing

October 2008
The Open Door - The Human Side of Six Sigma

September 2008
The Open Door - U.S. Must Prepare for Day of Reckoning
Are predatory trade policies putting American manufacturing at risk? One executive thinks so.

August 2008
The Open Door - Balancing Simplicity and Performance

July 2008
The Open Door - What Makes Good Design?

June 2008
The Open Door - The Bigger Laundry Picture

May 2008
The Open Door - The Mess Between Emotion and Function

April 2008
The Open Door - The Technology behind Standby Power

March 2008
The Open Door - Back to School?

February 2008
The Open Door - Mega-Regulations–Again

January 2008
The Open Door - Do Smart Environments Need Smarter Design?

December 2007
The Open Door - A Closer Look at Standby Power

November 2007
The Open Door - How Secure Is Your Job?

October 2007
The Open Door - The Need for a Strong U.S. Manufacturing Base

September 2007
The Open Door - The Objective Is a Safe Product

August 2007
The Open Door - Less Can Mean More

July 2007
The Open Door - Global Regulations and YOUR Trade Associations

June 2007
The Open Door - Get Paid for R&D

May 2007
The Open Door - Regulated Vending in the EU

April 2007
The Open Door - Eliminate Waste and Enhance Value
Although lean thinking is typically applied to manufacturing, lean techniques are applicable anywhere there are processes to improve. A lean company is one that produces just what is needed, when it is needed and where it is needed.

March 2007
The Open Door - Getting the Most from Your Motor Dollar
U.S. appliance manufacturers are focused more than ever on market share, production volume and profits. To that end, working engineers have to focus their efforts on designing appliance systems that add and improve functions and features that meet customer needs and command higher prices and profits.

February 2007
The Open Door - A Matter of Ethics

January 2007
The Open Door - Ingredients for Innovation
Innovation does not need to be a random, elusive event that only happens now and again when creative sparks fly.

December 2006
The Open Door - Design Strategies for Emerging Markets
Design for emerging markets represent billions of potential new customers. However, many companies are failing to deliver success in these markets due to their use of traditional design strategies.

November 2006
The Open Door - Some Thoughts on the Future

October 2006
The Open Door - Washing Performance—Addressing All the Factors

September 2006
The Open Door - Researching Beyond Refrigerants

August 2006
The Open Door - Teaching Youth About Engineering

July 2006
The Open Door - Testing: Emotional or Scientific?

June 2006
The Open Door - Outsourcing Product Design
It’s no secret that manufacturers—both big and small—are looking at all options to increase cost efficiency. And as the industry becomes increasingly global, outsourcing is now hitting all aspects of an appliance company’s operations, including design and engineering.

May 2006
The Open Door - The Need for Prototyping Insight

April 2006
The Open Door - Automating Online Quoting
The conventional wisdom of product development is: “fast, cheap, good—choose any two.” But with the growth of global competition, markets are punishing manufacturers for falling short on any of the three.

March 2006
The Open Door - Embracing Concurrent Engineering
In the early 1980s, the Honda Acura and GM's Saturn were conceived.

February 2006
The Open Door - Nanotech in the Refrigerator?
Nanotechnology is an emerging discipline that uses a new set of tools such as atomic force microscopes and nanoimprint lithography to engineer materials and devices with features that are less than 100 nm in size.

January 2006
The Open Door - A Sustainable Future
Sustainability is currently a "hot topic," having a very broad scope in its definition.

December 2005
The Open Door - Engineering - The Next Level of Lean
Not too many years ago lean manufacturing was considered something only suitable for automotive manufacturers and their suppliers.

November 2005
The Open Door - Building a Supportive Home
You may recall that in September 2003, we published an article as part of our regular series in APPLIANCE magazine entitled Bringing Health Care Home.

October 2005
The Open Door - Ecodesign of Energy Using Products

September 2005
Appliance Engineer: The Open Door - The Global Impact of Regional Legislation

August 2005
The Open Door - Design for Recycling
Design engineers have a tough job—balancing safety, energy efficiency, and cost with the consumer’s passion for the latest and greatest technology.

July 2005
The Open Door - Engineering - Design Vs. Business: Finding a Common Language
Lately, everyone is talking about design. In boardrooms, in the business media, and in MBA classrooms, design is suddenly front and center as crucial to traditional business models, essential in company growth, and priceless to propel a business—small or large—into the future. Yet, for all the talk, there is one glaring problem.

June 2005
The Open Door - What's Next for the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act?
When Congress passed the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act (MDUFMA) in the fall of 2002, the goal of the user fee program was to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources it needed to review the safety and effectiveness of new medical devices in a timely manner. More than 2 years have passed since the inception of MDUFMA, and now many in the medical technology industry are evaluating whether the program is working as originally intended.

May 2005
The Open Door - Impact of RoHS on Materials and Parts Availability
Recent regulations such as the European Union Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) have increased the limitations on material use.

April 2005
The Open Door - A Healthy Opportunity
Changing demographics, the health care crisis, a renewed focus on wellness, the U.S. “Boomer” generation retiring in unprecedented numbers all mean that the home as we know it will be very different in the not too distant future.

March 2005
The Open Door - Understanding the Brazilian Market
Appliance designers must address unique consumer habits that stem from the socio-demographic differences between Latin American countries - while appealing to other key Latin values and cultural traits that are very similar.

February 2005
The Open Door - Designing for the Heart and Mind
A widely accepted theory in new product development is the “consumer-centric” approach—designing products that meet people’s needs and fill their desires. Unfortunately, logical theories don’t always translate well into actual practice.

January 2005
The Open Door - Implementing Toyota’s Product Development System
Most people involved in manufacturing today are well versed in the Toyota Production System—the basis of lean production.

December 2004
The Open Door - The Three-Day Washer
While the fast-paced appliance industry is ever-evolving, some long-extinct “old truths” continue to go unchallenged. And some processes—such as the division-of-church-and-state between design and manufacturing and sales—remain road blocks to success.

November 2004
From The Top - Good Humidity Could Mean Good Business
While the value of interior humidity control has long been understood, it has recently been attracting more attention than ever.

October 2004
The Open Door - The Impact of Global Standards
One would be hard-pressed today to find an industrial sector that is not influenced in some way by activities in other parts of the world. Because standards have a role in nearly every conceivable industry, from appliances to homeland security, the global impact of a standard is carefully considered during its development and implementation.

September 2004
From The Top - Carbon Dioxide Refrigerant Makes a Comeback
Before you assume this is another boring article on new refrigerants, what if I told you that air, water, and other everyday compounds can run your air-conditioner or refrigerator quite well? That’s a thermodynamic fact, and one of those everyday chemicals is so common that it constitutes what we all exhale—carbon dioxide (CO2).

August 2004
The Open Door - Going Natural with Refrigeration Energy
The title of a song—“Everything Old is New Again”—seems to fit the current state of the refrigeration and refrigeration research segment of the appliance industry.

July 2004
From the Top - Preparing for Liquefied Natural Gas
Energy issues are nothing new to the U.S. appliance industry. It has watched as oil and gas prices have soared and efficiency standards have been mandated, and it has wondered if alternative sources energy such as solar power would ever make it. But one alternative energy source to which you may not have given much thought is liquefied natural gas (LNG).

June 2004
The Open Door - Expanding Appliance Possibilities
Since their inception nearly 50 years ago, electric fireplaces have relied mainly on low-tech devices such as crinkled foil, silk ribbons, and fans to mimic a flickering flame effect. However, a new development in the entertainment industry—the Digital Video Disk (DVD) player—has greatly improved the realism of electric fireplace design.

May 2004
From the Top - Antimicrobial Surfaces for Appliances
You may have grown up listening to your mother’s insistent warnings about germs. “Don’t touch that; you don’t know where it’s been” and “wash your hands before you eat” are admonishments that most of us know well. Your mother probably wasn’t a microbiologist, but she was still on to something.

April 2004
The Open Door - Design Considerations of Home Automation
What lies behind the front door of homes is changing dramatically and quickly. The much-talked about digital home of tomorrow is increasingly becoming the digital home of today. A number of technologies, including broadband and wireless access and distribution, are finding wholesome hospitality as consumers progressively go digital in pursuit of enhancing their lives and making their days more manageable.

March 2004
From The Top - The Power of Micro-CHP
There's a new buzzword floating around the industry - Micro-CHP.

February 2004
APPLIANCE Engineer® - The Open Door - Ten Lessons for Controlling Product-Development Costs
Any engineer who has completed a product-development program during his or her career understands the difficulty of meeting cost estimates.

January 2004
From The Top - The Road to Innovation
If you traveled the U.S. interstates this past summer, you may have noticed, as I did, that there seems to be an ever-increasing number of recreational vehicles (RVs) on the road.

December 2003
The Open Door - A Wireless Standard Built for Entertainment
Over the next few years, consumers will become familiar with a new way to wirelessly connect home theater equipment, digital camcorders, and portable devices. It is called WiMedia(TM), and many international leaders in the semiconductor and consumer electronics industries support it.

November 2003
From the Top - Diets: They Are a Changin'
The U.S. faces a potential public health crisis more formidable than anything it has experienced in the past. Today, as many as 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

October 2003
The Open Door - The Creative Economy
We hear that we are in a period of business transformation. It's turbulent and perhaps out of our control. If we look out on the horizon and ask ourselves about alternative scenarios for the future, we can identify key movements that will affect us and for which we can initiate strategies.

September 2003
From the Top - Bringing Health Care Home
When most of us think of retirement, we envision happy days filled with family, friends, and hobbies. We think of a rich, independent life of our own making. But as we age, the likelihood of needing assistance with even basic daily tasks multiplies, as does our odds of living in a nursing home.

August 2003
The Open Door - UL 746: Enhancements to Enclosure Flammability & Ignition Requirements
Last November, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) published the Fifth Edition of UL 746C, Standard for Polymeric Materials - Use in Electrical Equipment Evaluations. The revised standard features significant enhancements to the enclosure flammability requirements, and manufacturers need to understand the changes to determine the impact on the future development of products. The effective date for the changes is June 1, 2004.

July 2003
From the Top - R&D's Rocky Road: Why a New Alternative is Essential
In my May column, I talked about the "innovation crisis" that has hit many technology-based industries.

June 2003
The Open Door - The Threat of Counterfeiting
Widespread use of counterfeit marks undermines the entire North American system of standards, testing, and certification that has been put in place to protect the interests of retailers, regulators, specifiers, product manufacturers, as well as consumers.

May 2003
From the Top - The Innovation Crisis
Frankly, I returned from my 15th (or so) International Appliance Technical Conference (IATC), held March 10-12, in Lafayette, IN, U.S., a bit depressed.

April 2003
The Open Door - Greater Chip Integration Drives Down System Costs
Semiconductor chips that combine microcontroller (MCU) and digital signal processor (DSP) capability, along with flash memory and other peripherals, are rapidly driving advanced features and functions into appliances.

March 2003
From the Top - Engineering to Own the Space(SM)
Your patented new product is just about to hit the market, where it has the potential to transform the industry. But before you start projecting revenue streams and planning for a new manufacturing wing, you may want to consider this: Developing a technology breakthrough is a monumental effort - but it's only half the job.

February 2003
The Open Door - Transition of Blowing Agents Used in Refrigerator-Freezer Foam Insulation
Household refrigerator-freezers are the most popular major appliance in the world. It is estimated that there are approximately 60-million units produced annually, and about 500-million units in service worldwide.

January 2003
From the Top - The Open Source Solution
On Oct. 15, 2002, a group of leading researchers, scientists, web and IT specialists, engineers, and business leaders met in Cambridge, MA, U.S. at the MIT Open Source Building Alliance (OSBA) workshop.

November 2002
From the Top - The Cost of Corrosion
Jane noticed that the temperature in her refrigerator seemed to be rising. Since it was still under warranty, she called and asked for a manufacturer's service representative to investigate. By the time he arrived 2 days later, she had moved the majority of perishable foods into a cooler and emptied the freezer of half-thawed food. The refrigerator had clearly lost its ability to cool.

October 2002
AE: The Open Door - Assessing Your Lean Enterprise Transformation
The world has become very competitive. And competing not only means having an adequate pricing policy, but also having competitive performance in terms of quality and delivery, and being able to customize products to customer needs in short lot volumes.


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