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issue: October 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Laundry Appliances Engineering
Designed for Humans

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Whirlpool India used advanced feasibility studies to optimize the ergonomics of a new washer design.

Whirlpool India used human modeling and feasibility studies from Delmia Corporation in the development of new washing machines.

Whirlpool India used advanced feasibility studies to optimize the ergonomics of a new washer design.
When Whirlpool began developing a line of automatic washing machines to be built at its facility in Pondicherry, India, it turned to Delmia Corporation to provide V5 Human modeling and DPM Assembly Process Planning solutions. Delmia, of Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S., is a digital manufacturing brand of Dassault Systèmes company.
Whirlpool design engineers and Delmia ergonomic specialists conducted a detailed analysis using V5 Human software. The flexibility of Delmia’s Human population and anthropometric data (data used to estimate body composition) let Whirlpool test the design using a digital manikin with attributes for the average Indian consumer. The software analyzed four proposed washing machine models on the criteria of maximum accessibility, vision and comfort.

Following the success of the ergonomic study, Whirlpool contacted Delmia to conduct maintainability studies using V5 DPM Assembly on two horizontal-axis washing machine models for India.

“The consumer goods market in India has become highly competitive,” says B. Venkatesan, senior manager of Whirlpool India’s Regional Testing Center. “In response, we’ve implemented a customer-centric strategy that focuses on making sure our products are appropriate for the Indian consumer.”

Whirlpool’s goal was to educate its large network of service personnel before the washing machines were launched. It wanted to ensure that the machines were easy to service, that maintenance manuals were self-explanatory and that service personnel in India would be able to efficiently maintain and service the models.
According to Whirlpool, the software allowed it to ascertain the optimum assembly and disassembly process to be followed when servicing the new washing machine models.

“Delmia DPM Assembly helped tremendously in simplifying our approach to the service training process,” said S. Ramamurthi, general manager of Whirlpool India’s Regional Testing Center. “Even the instructions for our service engineers have been simplified. For example, we used to have to provide a lot of instructions for a simple snap removal, but now those have been replaced with a simple visual indicating how to lock and unlock the snap without stressing or breaking the parts during servicing.”

Additionally, the software’s automatic documentation generation feature enabled Whirlpool to leverage the completed analysis and use it to communicate more effectively with service personnel. Whirlpool created digital user manuals using 3-D graphics and DPM Assembly process output. The manuals were distributed throughout India prior to the launch of the washing machine, taking concurrent engineering a step further.

“Our work with Whirlpool India demonstrates the impact of product lifecycle management in consumer goods,” says Bertrand Saint-Martin, vice president of Asia Pacific operations for Delmia. “In a segment where time-to-market is critical, conducting digital assembly validation, serviceability and end user ergonomic simulation much earlier in the product life cycle has resulted in an optimized product design as well as significant time savings.”

“In these two projects, we have clearly seen the advantages of using Delmia’s digital manufacturing solutions,” adds Ramamurthi of Whirlpool. “Delmia software has enabled us to fulfill our customer-centered approach.”


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