issue: September 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine
Engineering: Laundry Appliances
Miele: Steel Innovating
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Miele's Honeycomb Drum Awarded German Steel Industry's Innovation Prize
Germany's Stahl-Informations-Zentrum (Steel
Information Centre) awarded Miele the steel industry's innovation
prize for its honeycomb washing machine drum. The drum was
developed in Gutersloh, Germany, with a honeycomb pattern
designed for gentle laundry care.
The jury stated that "the domestic appliance manufacturer
Miele & Cie. KG has used the exemplary ductility of stainless
steel to introduce a new honeycomb-structured drum surface,
created in a special shaping process. This honeycomb drum,
which features far fewer, smaller, and intelligently arranged
perforations, reduces the strain on laundry during both the
wash and spin cycles, even at break-neck speeds."
Almost 700 applications were evaluated in four categories
for the innovation awards. The jury awarded the honeycomb
drum second prize in the "products" category. Dr. Markus Miele,
managing director and co-proprietor, and Wolfgang Hellhake,
head of Miele's product engineering department, accepted the
prize at an event in Dusseldorf.
Miele says chromium steel is a particularly suitable material
for washing machines as it offers numerous benefits. Most
importantly, it is resistant to chemicals in washing detergents
and does not corrode, and its ductility allows it to be shaped
to produce a sculptured surface and a high degree of rigidity.
Thanks to the shaping properties of the material, Miele
can produce a drum with a slightly sculptured, honeycomb surface.
Drum perforations are situated at the points where hexagons
meet. Instead of the previous 4,000 perforations, Miele's
new honeycomb drum has just less than 700. At 2.1mm, these
perforations are even smaller in diam than on earlier models
(2.3mm). The new drum surface structure, and the reduced number
of smaller holes, are designed to give the washer particularly
gentle laundry care in both the wash and spin cycles.
In drum production, Miele has long made use of potential
of stretching chromium steel. Miele inner drums are expanded
into shape using special tools that increase the diameter
of the initial cylinder from 460 to 480mm. Miele says that
expanding, introduced at the beginning of the 1970s, gives
added rigidity to the drum, increasing its durability.
The sculptured honeycomb structure, produced in a special
patented shaping process, also increases drum rigidity.
Miele explains that the concave hexagons and the reduced
number of holes on the drum help create a thin film of water
between the laundry load and the drum body. This acts as a
cushion to protect laundry and reduce mechanical action on
textiles in wash and spin cycles. The honeycomb drum is said
to cause significantly less fabric strength loss compared
at a spin speed of 1,800 rpm, the honeycomb drum on
Miele's flagship washer, the WÊ2597 Softtronic,
dewaters more gently than ever before.
gentle laundry care of the technology was the subject
of a report from German laundry-care research institute
WfK, which says: "After 15 wash cycles with pre-damaged
standard cotton fibers, the Miele Softtronic appliance
produced much better results than comparable machines.
After spinning in the Miele Softtronic, no hole pattern
was left on laundry, which lay loosely in the drum."
continuous improvements to the washing-machine drum,
Miele has always remained a step ahead of the competition.
Three milestones (from left to right):
Innovative: the first expanded drum. Since the beginning
of the Seventies, Miele has been using expansion technology
to shape its drums. Special tools are used to stretch
the drum from a diameter of 460 to 480Êmm. Expanding
gives added rigidity to the drum, increasing its durability.