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New GE Laundry Appliance Manufacturing Lines Starts at Appliance Park
Apr 24, 2013
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Two new assembly lines for producing high-efficiency frontload washing machines and dryers have started up in Building 1 at GE's massive Appliance Park in Louisville, KY, U.S.

GE invested more than $100 million in the laundry appliances line.

Laundry appliances have been manufactured in the Appliance Park manufacturing campus for 60 years, but it is the first time GE is producing a frontload washing machine and matching dryer in a U.S. plant. To-date, most GE horizontal-axis (front-load) washing machines have been manufactured by GE partner Wuxi Little Swan in Wuxi, China.

The new production line in Kentucky results in about 200 added jobs.

"The new frontload washer and dryer are examples of what we set out to accomplish with our investment in U.S. design and manufacturing capability...producing great products with features and performance that delight consumers," said GE Appliances President and CEO Chip Blankenship. "Our team is committed to manufacture each unit here in Louisville with the highest quality levels and competitive costs."

The startup of the two laundry lines completes the new product platforms that GE committed to bring to Appliance Park in 2010.

The 2010 announcement said that GE would invest $1 billion to transform its U.S. appliances business and products. Since the announcement, GE Appliances has hired 3,000 new employees in Louisville--2,500 of those were in 2012 alone.

"GE is a prime example of the growth that can come when we combine federal and private investments to develop new technologies, attract new product lines and create more jobs here at home," said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). "With this strong partnership, Louisville will continue to stand at the forefront of the revitalization of American manufacturing."

In 2012, GE opened two refurbished factories in Louisville to house the first of the new product platforms--the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater and French door refrigerator. It also added lines in two existing plants for new dishwasher and washing machine models.

The $1 billion investment also includes investment in:
* cooking products production in Lafayette, GA
* top-freezer refrigerator production in Decatur, AL
* side-by-side refrigerator production in Bloomington, IN

Laundry Appliances Built at the Right Height
GE engineers and industrial designers designed the new laundry appliances to make doing laundry less taxing.

The GE RightHeight Design frontload washer and dryer incorporate the industry's largest openings and the first built-in riser to minimize strenuous bends and long reaches, no matter what the user's height.

Approximately 59% of consumers purchase a washer based on its opening and how easy it is to access, according to research from The Stevenson Company. Appliance makers recommend that users purchase pedestals to raise the height of washers and dryers, but some 60% of consumers forgo this added expense.

The RightHeight Design with Built-in Risers is Energy Star-qualified. The frontload washer and dryer pair will be available in June and will be offered in three finishes:
* white
* ruby red
* metallic carbon finishes

The estimated retail price of both the frontload washer, model GFWR4805FMC, and the frontload dryer, model GFDR485EFMC, is $1,399.

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