Touch controls are seen mostly in higher-end dishwashers, cooktops, and other household appliance applications, but a growing number of applications indicate that the technology is becoming more widespread. Two major appliance OEMs recently showcased innovative display technologies at the K/BIS show in Las Vegas.
Dacor is expanding the use of the TiltVue control panel in its cooking appliance line. The control panel tilts out 50° for easy viewing when in use.
Dacor Controls Cooking
One OEM was Dacor of Diamond Bar, CA, U.S., which displayed a 30-in. version of its Epicure dual-fuel range with the TiltVue control panel. The control swivels up for easier viewing while in-use.
“The TiltVue control panel is spring-loaded to incline 50° and lock into place for easy operation from a comfortable standing position,” explains George Simadiris, Dacor’s vice president of engineering. The panel folds down flat when not in use with a single touch.
The control panel’s soft 10-key touchpad enables precise temperature management and has a dual timer, a temperature-hold function, and an LCD display. Menu-driven systems enable multiple functions without making the panel look cluttered.
“The latest control panels and displays provide the flexibility of extensive customization in both menu and aesthetic selections,” Simadiris says. “Designed to be more user-friendly, consumers have to toggle through fewer options to complete a task.”
And tasks there are plenty of. Users can program their favorite recipes in the controller and pull them up with a few touches later on. The unit also features a one-to-two-step “on” feature for every function.
Dacor is also integrating customization capabilities in its control. “Consumers want the freedom to customize the controllers to fit their families’ individual life-styles. The Discovery controller allows users to customize the controller background color, which can then completely change the overall appearance of the appliance,” Simadiris says.
Viking’s Vanishing Control Panel
Major appliance maker Viking Range of Greenwood, MS, U.S., is also offering advanced control options in its Designer series Ultra-Premium ovens. The 27- and 30-in. built-in ovens have a digital touch control panel that displays cooking options and personalized recipe functions, then disappears when not in use. The lighting that displays when the panel is in use shuts off, creating the effect of having it vanish and displaying only a plain, black panel.
“Today’s electronic touch control panels and displays allow appliance manufacturers to offer a greater number of features and functions while providing a unique and customized look for displays,” says Matthew Hicks, product manager for Viking. “Our research has shown that consumers like the look, feel, and functionality of touch controls and displays but want them to remain easy to use. Electronic controls and displays are capable of performing numerous functions and can be preprogrammed with a multitude of varied features.”
Expanding feature sets and providing customizable cooking are two of the reasons more appliance OEMs are integrating touch sensor controls. A sleek, high-end look is also a major benefit. Touch controls will likely see integration across a wider variety of price points in the future.