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Little Swan/Midea Build Foundation for Entering U.S. Market
May 28, 2014
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GE Appliances and China-based washing machine maker Little Swan have been working cooperatively to "promote development and sale of large-capacity front-loading" washers in the United States.

Little Swan, which is the Laundry Division of appliance maker Midea and goes by the acronym WET, has long served as a contract manufacturer of GE Appliances front-load washing machines sold in the United States. However, GE has opened its own United States plants to make front-load washers; it is not clear to what extent WET will continue to supply GE with front load washers.

With certification from Underwriter Laboratories Inc. (UL) for its Phase III series controller, WET said it now has a foundation for Midea and Little Swan to bring products in the American market.

WET said that controllers it used to make GE-branded front-load washers were developed by GE or developed and manufactured by Emerson.

Because of this exclusive supply agreement, and seeking a lower-cost alternative, Midea made the decision to develop its own washing machine controller to meet UL and GE ETP911 criteria.

Midea/WET managed to develop their controller in a matter of a year. The controller earned certification to UL1998 and UL60730 and passed an E1-E5 design review by a GE electronics team.

The certificated products have not started volume production and will be sold in GE's North America market. Each electronic control panel costs about RMB 100 (approx. US$16) less than the previous control panel, representing a profit of about RMB 10,000,000 per year for Midea.

To maximize user safety, the WET design integrates software fault detection processes and a double protection circuit, which help it achieve compliance with the safety certification requirements of UL-CLASS B.

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