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Miele Celebrates 90 Years in Commercial Laundry Appliances
May 23, 2014
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Miele (Gütersloh, Germany) celebrated its 90th year as a designer and manufacturer of commercial laundry appliances.

1924: Miele started making wooden-tub home washers in 1924, and the company saw demand for larger-capacity washing machines for laundries, hotels, hospitals, and other large establishments. Miele's Gütersloh plant began producing a coal-and gas-fired drum washer. The previously common wooden-tub washers with a paddle-type agitator were replaced with an electrically driven horizontal-axis metal drum. For the first time, it was no longer necessary to pour hot water into the tub—water was heated in a side container that formed an integral part of the machine. The drum was constructed using sheet copper, with perforations created from the inside-out, so the perforation edges would not be in contact with the clothing being washed.

Early models had a load capacity of 8 kg of laundry but ensuing models reached capacities of 30 kg and offered steam-heating.

1930s: With a worldwide economic crisis underway, Miele's focus was on drum-type washing machines meeting demanding standards. Models had male names—Hanno, Helmut, or Hektor—and "convinced with their solid design, heavy copper drums and enameled base."

End of the 1940s: Miele presented a flexible drum partition for washing machines, allowing various textile types to be washed separately but gently, including curtains, drapes, crocheted tablecloths, and other delicate fabrics.

1950: Miele launched its first flatwork ironers for commercial laundries, followed in 1958 by the first commercial tumble dryers. Dryers for launderettes and in-house laundries were fitted with coin payment systems.

Miele became a well-established name in shipboard laundries. The company built washing machines and tumble dryers according to specifications issued by Lloyd's and the American Bureau of Shipping. Ships such as the Esso tanker Düsseldorf were equipped with Miele laundries.

1963: With clients looking for simplicity, Miele introduces a single-knob control.

The alternative for problematic laundry in hospitals, pediatric clinics, old folks’ homes, and nursing homes was punchcard controls. This ensured correct was temperatures and controlled chemo-thermal disinfection. The company also launched a washer-extractor with a capacity of 66 kg of dry laundry.

1977: Miele launched the Little Giants, high-speed washer-extractors and tumble dryers with load capacity between 5 and 6 kg. These commercial units were no larger than domestic appliances but much faster and more ruggedly built. They were designed for guesthouses, small hotels, and small businesses like bakeries and hair salons. By this time the company was making the drum and suds container from stainless steel.

1980s: In 1986, Miele took over the Cordes company, manufacturer of commercial flatwork ironers based in the German city of Oelde. In 1989, Miele launches its first barrier washer-extractor for processing infectious laundry according to the strict German health and safety guidelines. Separate loading and unloading hatches were arranged at right angles to each other.

1990: Miele dryers were equipped with new Air Recycling technology, which returns about 60% of waste air back into the drying process, saving about 15% of the energy used and speeding up drying by 15%.

1991: The aqueous wash system called WetCare, developed with the Wiesbaden textile chemistry specialist Kreussler, facilitates washing textiles which had hitherto been considered problematic or even not washable. This was made possible using low temperatures and an extremely gentle drum rhythm. The company also introduced new washer-extractors with Multitronic controls, allowing customized wash cycles. Miele was now able to forecast the remaining cycle time from as early as the first rinse cycle.

Multitronic later gave way to Profitronic controls and then, in 2004, to Profitronic M, providing 199 program slots.

2009/2010: Professional dryers are heated cost-effectively using heat-pump technology.

2012/2013: Hot water now provides a further alternative heating method for Professional dryers, with the promise of huge energy savings.

2014: Miele Professional celebrates 90 years of commercial laundry care together with its customers.

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