Global Supplier Directory
Supplier Solutions
Whitepaper Library
Calendar of Events
Association Locator
Contents Pages
Market Research
Subscription Center

issue: September 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

61st Annual Laundry Appliances Report
Designing Smart Dispensing

 Printable format
 Email this Article

Engineers from GE Consumer & Industrial combined technology from the medical device industry with a specially designed sensor to create an intelligent detergent dispensing system. The technology, built into the new GE Profile SmartDispense washers, automatically distributes detergent using information it gathers from each load. The system uses three independent tanks—two for detergent and one for fabric softener. Three peristaltic pumps deliver the calculated dosage into the cycle.

Jennifer Mintman, product general manager, says the peristaltic pumps are similar to those used in medical applications to deliver accurate doses of medication. “Also, the tubes used to transport the detergent and fabric softener from the storage tanks under the washer to the tub are made of a highly engineered material specifically designed to endure mechanical and chemical stress,” she adds.

Each storage tank has a sensor to detect the level of detergent remaining. When the sensor detects a low level, the washer will display a refill reminder to the user.

According to Mintman, sensing the presence of fluid in the storage tanks proved to be an engineering challenge. “Continuity sensors are typically used to detect the presence of a fluid and make a logical fit for our application,” she explains. “The basic concept is that the sensor places a very small voltage across two metal pins exposed to the inside of a fluid tank. If a fluid is present, a small amount of electricity will flow from one pin to the other through the fluid, which the sensor recognizes.”

The challenge, she says, is that some detergents and fabric softeners are fairly viscous and can fool a traditional continuity sensor by coating the sensor. Therefore, GE engineers spent a lot of time researching and testing the electrolytic properties of every brand of detergent and fabric softener. “A specialized continuity sensor was developed that can determine the difference between a sensor that is submerged and one that is coated, but not submerged with a fluid,” Mintman tells APPLIANCE.

In order to determine the correct dosage, the washing machine calculates the appropriate amount of detergent based on water hardness, fabric or cycle type, detected load size, and input from the user regarding the detergent concentration level. This meant GE engineers had to lean on the expertise of industry partners. “Collaboration with Proctor and Gamble helped GE understand what dosage levels were required based on these variables to accomplish a great wash performance,” Mintman says.


Daily News


Sep 17, 2014: Coway exhibits childcare appliances at Seoul trade show

Sep 17, 2014: Whirlpool gets final CSRC approval for acquisition of Hefei Sanyo

Sep 17, 2014: Appliance/Electronics Store Sales Up 1.2% So far in 2014

Sep 17, 2014: Crowdsourced appliance design becoming a reality in GE Appliances venture FirstBuild

Sep 12, 2014: AHRI Suggests Changes to EPA on Proposed SNAP Amendment

More Daily News>>

RSS Feeds
Appliance Industry
Market Research


March 2014: Market Research - 62nd Annual U.S. Appliance Industry Forecast
February 2014: Appliance Magazine Market Insight: December 2013
January 2014: Market Research - Appliance Historical Statistical Review: 1954-2012
January 2014: Appliance Magazine Market Insight: November 2013

Contact Us | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | Home
UBM Canon © 2014  

Please visit these other UBM Canon sites

UBM Canon Corporate | Design News | Test & Measurement World | Packaging Digest | EDN | Qmed | Plastics Today | Powder Bulk Solids | Canon Trade Shows