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issue: January 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Web Exclusive: Miele's Dishwasher Milestone
Miele Ships 10 Millionth Unit On 75th Dishwasher Anniversary

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The ten-millionth dishwasher has left the production line at Miele, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Miele's introduction of the dishwasher in Europe.

The ten-millionth dishwasher has left the production line at Miele, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Miele's introduction of the dishwasher in Europe.

In 1929, Miele, based in Gütersloh, Germany, introduced Europe’s first electric dishwasher. The 1929 model, with a round metal tub, has evolved into a high-tech appliance.

"The current appliances feature especially sophisticated technological finesse where electronic sensors determine programs," noted Dr. Markus Miele, great-grandson of Carl Miele, who founded the company and started dishwasher production in Europe.

Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann founded Miele & Cie in 1899 and developed the dishwasher in 1929.

Dishwasher Technology Circa 1929

The 1929 dishwasher was operated manually. After crockery and cutlery was loaded, hot water was poured into the tub for the wash cycle. Beneath the tub was an electric motor with a drive shaft for a propeller inside the tub. When the motor was started the propeller swirled water around the tub, cleaning the crockery.


After the first wash cycle, with detergent, the user drained the tub and repeated the process to rinse the dishes. The hotter the water in the second cycle, the less drying was required at the end of the program. This machine had the capacity to clean the crockery of a family of up to eight people.

The real technological breakthrough came in 1960 with Miele's launch of the G 10 fully automatic home dishwasher. The unit was loaded from the front and had rotating spray arms. The three wash programs were controlled fully automatically, from pre-wash to main wash, rinsing and drying. Integrated heating with thermostatic control ensured washing temperatures were maintained.

Another significant technological step came in 1978 with the world premiere of electronic sensor touch controls. Miele attributes electronic controls to greatly simplifying dishwasher operation and with making enormous reductions in consumption possible. All Miele dishwashers have been produced with fully electronic controls since 1999.

As a result of advanced sensor technology, Miele says, it's units now use latest technological developments even make programs possible to automatically adjust to the dish load and the degree of soiling. Miele's Eco sensor was its first to measure water turbidity.

From 1960, when the first fully automatic dishwashers left the Miele plant in Bielefeld, until January 2004, ten million dishwashers were produced. This plant, Miele's second-biggest, currently produces about 2,200 appliances daily.

Manufacturing Process

A Miele dishwasher today is made up of no fewer than 340 individual parts. Miele explains that the various steps in production must be closely coordinated, and during production man and machine work virtually hand-in-hand. This enables dishwasher production times of only three hours.

The manufacture of dishwashers begins with the drawing, pressing, and welding of the inner cabinets, followed by the application of bitumous felt matting and seals in pre-assembly operations.

The work-in-progress is then transferred to the final assembly line. Here, componentry is fitted and finished appliances undergo functionality and safety testing. Finally, the dishwashers are sent to the finishing and shipping operations.

Finished products go from Bielefeld directly to the high-bay distribution warehouse at Miele’s Gütersloh headquarters, and from there are shipped out all over the world.

Photos: Miele


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