Laurastar, a maker of ironing systems, has launched a range of products utilizing steam technology developed by Cambridge Consultants that are said to be industry firsts and reduce ironing times by up to 50 percent.
According to Laurastar, its MAGIC i-S5 and STEAMUP i-G5 irons incorporate a number of world firsts including automatic steam and an automatic blower system built into the ironing board.
"These technological innovations reconfirm our position as leaders in ironing technology. We are now well positioned to see growth and increased revenue as these breakthrough products stimulate existing markets and open up new markets for the company," Jan Beekman, Laurastar's COO said.
Laurastar's new automatic steam function works by delivering twice heated steam automatically, at a pressure of 3.5 bar, the instant the iron detects forward motion. However, the steam shuts off as soon as the iron stops moving or is used in a reverse motion. This smart steam feature reportedly removes creases and sets the fabric in a single ergonomic action.
The inclusion of a ventilation system built into the ironing board is said to allow the iron to ride across fabrics on a wave of air which further helps prevent creasing and eliminate steam marks. The company says the direction of the blower can be reversed so that clothes, such as trousers, can be held to the board to achieve a more precise crease.
In developing the new technology within the iron, Cambridge considered a range of sensing technologies. Instead of utilizing optics and accelerometers that were unable to deliver the real-time performance required, Cambridge decided on a sensing arrangement based on two half-bridge strain gauges built into the iron's handle.
According to the company, when coupled with a purpose designed control system, the iron is able to rapidly detect movement, starting or shutting off steam production within a millisecond. To the user, there is no apparent time delay between moving the iron and the steam turning on or off. The real-time control system is said to give the iron a sense of intelligence to know exactly how it is about to be used and to safely deliver steam at the appropriate moment.
"This project shows how the use of advanced electronics can open up markets across a range of consumer goods," said Eric Wilkinson, Cambridge Consultants' director responsible for the project. "In just under a year, we have worked with Laurastar to set the new industry standard for ironing. I believe we have created a product that leaves you wondering why all irons don't work this way."
The new range of ironing systems, which will be launched in April 2005, will retail for between 269 euros (approx. U.S. $355) and 999 euros (approx. $1,320).
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