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issue: May 2009 APPLIANCE Magazine

International Report - Europe
Efficient Detergent Dispensing


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Paul Roggema, Europe correspondent

APPLIANCE was in Paris, where one of the most innovative washers on the retail floor is the new top-loading Dose-e.

Paris, one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, has much to offer, including electronics and appliances retailer Darty. Normally you have to go into the Paris suburbs to buy white goods, but this store offers its treasures right in the city center. Here you’ll find the new Dose-e washer, which is sold under the French brand name Brandt and is made by Spanish-French OEM FagorBrandt.

The machine has a fully automatic liquid detergent dosing system, and the detergent level is clearly visible on the outside using a thermometer-shaped reservoir. Automatic dosing is not new (Miele has a product with a similar function), but Dose-e is the first one to be fully integrated inside the machine.

As APPLIANCE readers know, users tend to overdose detergent, and with this system doing the dispensing automatically, the average user will use 30–50% less detergent. It saves the user detergent costs and is good for the environment.

Marketing manager for washing Patricia Piazza tells APPLIANCE magazine that FagorBrandt spent four years developing the appliance. “First, there are a lot of programming parameters: water hardness, detergent concentration (there are three levels in liquid detergents), laundry dirtiness, laundry weight, and, of course, program type and water temperature. You have to determine all combinations, and it took us a lot of testing.

“Second, there is the new pump; it has to work with all kinds of detergents and may not clog of course, not even with infrequent use,” she adds. “Third, there are space aspects: the top loader is very compact, only 40 cm wide, and there is not a lot of room inside the casing because it has a large, 7-kg drum. Unlike a dishwasher, you cannot measure the laundry dirtiness to adapt your programs; there are many more aspects [to consider], such as stain removal; the user has to select from three levels (light, normal, and intensive).”

The system can even ascertain if the user has selected a powder detergent instead of liquid. “A sensor detects this and switches accordingly,” Piazza explains. “Powders tend to better suit higher temperatures (60°C and up) but most washing is done at 40°C anyhow, where liquid detergents perform just as well and are even better in keeping colors.”

Piazza says that the Brandt brand promises useful innovation and environmentally friendly appliances. “With Dose-e, you can combine ease of use, environmental aspects, and cost savings. Regarding design, we wanted a highly recognizable system: the dispenser is very visible and you can immediately see how much detergent is left.”

The washer was developed at the FagorBrandt facility in Lyon, France, and is manufactured at the facility, which offers close proximity to the other countries where top-loading washers are sold, such as Spain, Italy, Germany, and Eastern European countries. The Lyon plant, with 73,000 m2 of factory space, has a capacity of 600,000 appliances annually and produces under brand names such as Brandt, Fagor, Sauter, Vedette, Ocean, and SanGiorgio.

“France has always been a top-loader country, since the start of the automatic washer,” Piazza explains. “This washer type is also quite popular in Eastern Europe, because of the small kitchens there. We also offer top-loading dryers and washer-dryer combinations (single-drum). Of course, we will offer Dose-e in our front-loaders too, for most of our brands; we developed this for the company as a whole.”

Piazza says the 2005 merger of Spanish OEM Fagor and French OEM Brandt has been successful and much of the integration work is completed. Purchasing departments have been merged. R&D units and marketing teams are working closely together.

“Still, you have the typical European differences in brands and consumer taste: Brandt is not sold in Spain,” Piazza says. “For Fagor in Spain we offer a cold washing program, as more than 25% of people in Spain are used to washing with cold water.”

 

Paul Roggema is based in Amsterdam and travels extensively to report on the appliance industry throughout Western and Eastern Europe. Read more of his Europe Reports at: ApplianceMagazine.com/europe

 

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