Whirlpool, a global leader in home appliances with over 100 years of history, held a product launch event on 8 April 2020 in China. The event, "Healthy Sterilizing Product Family", showed off a full line of home appliances that include refrigerators, laundry and kitchen appliances. Whirlpool China also joined two authoritative organisations, All View Cloud (AVC) and China Household Electric Appliance Research Institute (CHEARI), in releasing the "2020 Health Trends Whitepaper", which sets the industry benchmark for home appliances. Jason Ai, Vice President of Whirlpool Global and President of Whirlpool China, communicated to the International Plastics News for Asia the highlights of these two important occasions.
Mr. Jason Ai, Vice President-Whirlpool Global and President-Whirlpool China
How do Whirlpool products combine health and technology?
Mr. Ai: Based on the continuous accumulation of experience from our "Enjoy Health" strategy, Whirlpool’s brand strategy has been upgraded into “Whirlpool for Healthy Living”. In early February, "Whirlpool Healthy Sterilising Product Family" was launched comprehensively and timely, covering washing machines of aseptic disinfection, refrigerators of bacteriostatic preservation, dishwashers of high temperature sterilisation, and other kitchen appliances, which are all powered by Whirlpool’s core healthy technologies. And especially during the pandemic, these products can help solve the current concerns of consumers, relieve their anxiety in caring for their families, keep harmonious interpersonal relationship and provide a better life at home. There are several aspects to these brand launch.
The first aspect is Whirlpool Innovation and R&D System. The Whirlpool Group has set up R&D centres in various countries around the world, including the United States, Brazil, Italy, Germany, India and China, with resources and achievements of all R&D centres shared, and with thousands of researchers from the seven main R&D centres contributing to the growth of the Global Innovation Platform. The R&D centre in Hefei China is one of these centres. With Italian industrial design GCD, India simulation technology, American industrial design and other R&D strengths from the Global Innovation Platform, the product R&D cycle has been greatly shortened, with products powered by global properties, the product R&D leadership is driven by the Whirlpool Hefei Global R&D Centre. Relying on the Global Innovation Platform of the Global R&D Centre, Whirlpool China fully integrates into the Whirlpool global innovation system and actively promotes independent R&D. In 2019, the global platform projects led by Whirlpool China R&D Centre has been launched.
Whirlpool products are recipient of iF Design Award
Another aspect pertains to the launch of the new products. The Whirlpool product launch event held on April 8, "Whirlpool Healthy Sterilizing Product Family", is a reflection of what we bring to the consumers and serves as the best statement for “Whirlpool for Healthy Living” which embodies Whirlpool’s core product power. The product family includes Lingdu Pro Refrigerator with three independent systems and all-zone attemperation technology, Whirlpool Fresh Care+ Dryer bearing the Woolmark logo, Whirlpool Essential Washing Machine, winner of iF DESIGN AWARD 2020, and finally, the W11 Collection of Dishwasher. These products have been powered by the unique functions, design and engineering strengths of Whirlpool health technologies, which not only can adapt to diversified and refined market demands, but can also build a comprehensive defense line of family health with products in family or package.
Intelligent home appliances have been gradually accepted by consumers and the future trend is home appliances interconnection. What new technologies or products will Whirlpool have to realise intelligent home appliance interconnection?
Mr. Ai: We have invested more on IoT and AI. Research and development have been carried in single machine intelligence, voice recognition, image recognition and home appliance intelligence application scenarios. In recent years, a large number of smart models of washing machines, refrigerators and kitchen appliances have been launched, providing consumers with better experience and promoting the upgrading of consumer preferences. The company has not only realised the access to the main home appliance intelligent APP platforms and intelligent voice control platforms, but also continued the construction of Whirlpool's own cloud platform, striving to improve consumer experience.
The Emperor Washing Machine is the star product of Whirlpool in 2019. What other new products have been featured in the 2020 product launch?
Mr. Ai: In my opinion, there are two products that need special emphasis, and these are also the flagship products launched in April this year: Emperor H Washing and Drying Machine (Hybrid Sterilising Version) and Essential Washing Machine, winner of iF DESIGN AWARD, a combination of excellent appearance and function at affordable price. These two collections of products have the function of "Smart Ozone Sterilisation". We also developed the procedure of "high temperature cooking and washing", which raises the washing temperature to 90℃, increases the frequency of beating in the tube by 50%, and raises the washing speed by 25%. To further remove bacteria and detergent residues, we also raised the rinse water level by 14% for better cleaning, less residue and more efficient sterilisation.
The use of specialty materials for home appliances has gained acceptance.
The Emperor H Washing and Drying Machine (Hybrid Sterilising Version) is a version of Emperor H Washing and Drying Machine that is powered by ozone technology. In the “Smart Ozone Sterilisation" program, the drum is injected with moderate ozone instead of water, which is especially suitable for mobile phones, wallets, plush toys and other unwashable items to achieve full sterilisation, mite removal, and odour removal so as to wholly ensure the health and safety of the family.
The new Whirlpool Essential Collection of Washing and Drying Machine is powered by Whirlpool’s exclusive feather-shaped inner drum with laser seamless welding technology of higher precision, smooth and fine surface, and bionic wave design imitating the natural sagging radian of feathers, which can keep clothes in small displacement during rolling, raise cleaning efficiency while effectively reducing the wear and deformation during washing.
Removal of bacteria and mites during the process has been guaranteed. The effect on bacteria and mites removal is tested by China Household Electrical Appliances Testing Institute, the authoritative orgnisation. It has been found that the bacteria removal rate can go as high as 99.9% while mite removal rate is 97.11%. This indicates that the infection or allergy problems brought about by bacteria, mites, or bad odour can be effectively prevented.
In March 2019, Midea Group and BASF signed the Innovation Strategic Cooperation Agreement in which the two parties agreed to focus on the innovation and application of new technologies, new materials and new processes in the field of smart home appliances. What do you think are the importance of new materials and new processes to the home appliance industry?
Mr. Ai: As a main factor of modern design, material has an important and far-reaching influence to the design and function of household appliances. Household appliance enterprises should fully consider the different positioning and properties of materials and the preferences of users and groups, and reasonably select materials according to the structure and form of products, so as to embody the aesthetic perception of the products’ design. Furthermore, it can meet the intelligent, personalised and emotional demands of consumers for home appliance products, deepen and reinforce each other, then further enhance the value of home appliance products in today’s lifestyle.
Whirlpool has launched smart appliances for improved consumer experience.
Based on the launched Dongling and Dongling PRO cross gate series refrigerators, Whirlpool has launched a Plus version by using platinum liner and interior, which is the first in the industry, and has gotten FCM European Union Safety Certification. Heavy metals, toxic chemicals, chemical substances transferring volume and other indicators of component materials all meet EU TUV Certification; and the platinum material has both good quality and aesthetic appearance. The newly developed Smart Ozone Preservation system can release ozone, reduce odour, prevent inner bacterial reproduction, improve air quality and create a better food storage environment. Three independent systems enable the three compartments of refrigeration, freezing and attemperation to all have independent evaporators, fans and air circulation system so as to eliminate the odour problem. With independent evaporator, air circulation and moisture control program, the refrigerated compartment can effectively keep stable humidity, prevent food from getting dry quickly, and extend the preservation time; the bottom cooling system reduces the marginal installation space from original size > 10cm to 2cm, which can achieve perfect integration with the home decoration.
Whirlpool continuously introduces advanced production technology, selects environment-friendly materials, reduces energy and resource consumption, upgrades environmental protection standard, and improves clean production level. The company increases its use of specialty materials at each park, adds optimisation measure such as UV photocatalytic oxidation equipment and activated carbon adsorption for centralised collection of production waste gas. It also uses water-based paint and other environment-friendly materials in motor production process to reduce VOC generation and emission. In the environmental credit evaluation of key provincial enterprises of Hefei, the company has been awarded as the Environmental and Credible Enterprise, becoming the first batch of enterprises in Green List in Hefei.
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