June 23, 2017

Archives for August 2008

Miele Earns Robb Report “Best of Best” for Washer

German appliance manufacturer Miele reports that their super large capacity Honeycomb Care™ laundry system has been awarded the top honor in the Robb Report’s “Best of the Best” issue featuring the “Best” products for affluent lifestyles.

The Robb Report “Best of the Best” issue is currently in its 20th year of compiling the finest examples of technology, exclusivity and overall quality in the luxury market. “Miele has always been known for its top-of-the-line washers and dryers, but because the products are geared to a mostly European audience, they traditionally have been sized for smaller loads,” said Bruce Wallin, Editorial Director, Robb Report. “The new Miele appliances represent a rare breed that combines the best of both worlds: large-capacity washers and dryers that are gentle on your clothes.”

From Miele directly:

The Miele Honeycomb Care™ laundry collection easily and safely launders a wide range of clothing including woolens, silks and other delicate fabrics once washed by hand or sent to a dry cleaner. MasterCare™ technology, available on the top-of-the-line W 4840 model, adds an enhanced program selection to optimize the care and cleaning of outerwear, comforters, dress shirts and much more. Consumers no longer have to know the temperature or spin speed – Miele’s Honeycomb Care™ laundry is programmed by clothing type – so a user selects the type and the machine already knows how to effectively clean them.

Miele has achieved more than 10 patents for the Honeycomb Care™ system’s technological advancements – increasing its longevity, cleaning performance, energy savings and quiet, stable operation. A few of these patented features include: the Honeycomb Drum™ that is proven to extend the life of clothing four times longer than other washers; a new aerodynamic lint filter on the super large capacity dryer that reduces the total dry time by keeping a continuous airflow; and, the optional appliance stand / storage drawer with a patented shelf for setting laundry baskets at the perfect height for sorting and folding.

Recall: Coffee Makers by Sears Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

Name of Product: Kenmore and Kenmore Elite Coffee Makers

Units: About 145,000

Retailers: Sears, Roebuck and Co., the great indoors and Kmart Corp., of Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Hazard: The wiring in the coffee maker can overheat, posing burn and fire hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Sears has received 20 reports of coffee makers overheating, including 12 fires, causing damage to counter tops, cabinet damage, and plastic melting on the floor. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves 12-cup Kenmore coffee makers sold in black, white, and red with the following model numbers: 100.80006 (black), 100.81006 (white), and 100.82006 (red). The recall also involves 12-cup Kenmore Elite coffee makers with thermal carafe (model number 100.90007) and 14-cup Kenmore Elite coffee makers (model number 100.90006). The model number can be found on the bottom of the unit. There is a Kenmore or Kenmore Elite logo on the front bottom of the maker.

Sold at: Sears, Sears Hardware, the great indoors, and Kmart stores nationwide, as well as Sears.com and Kmart.com, from August 2007 through April 2008 for between $30 and $100.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the coffee makers and take them to their nearest Sears or Kmart store to obtain a free replacement coffee maker.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Sears at (800) 978-7615 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Saturday, or visit the following Web sites: www.sears.com, www.kmart.com, or www.thegreatindoors.com

Time For a New Lawn Mower?

The End of Season sales are a good time to replace that old mower you’ve been dragging out all summer.  Newer models are more energy efficient and the gas models burn cleaner too.  Before you head out to your local home store, take a few minutes to brush up on your lawn mower knowledge.

One of your first decisions is whether you want a gas or electric mower.  Gas mowers are powerful and can handle long, dense grass.  There are many different models available.  On the downside, they require oil, air filter and spark plug changes.  They use a pull start and are often quite noisy.  You need to have a ready supply of gasoline.  Electric mowers are quiet with no fuel or exhaust emissions and require little maintenance other than sharpening the blades.  They start with a simple switch or push button and are generally lightweight.  The negatives of electric mowers include the limits of mowing within 100 feet of an electrical outlet- the length of the cord.  Cordless machines require a rechargeable battery with a limited run time, on average, of 45 minutes.

Both gas and electric mowers come with the option of being push or self-propelled.  Self-propelled mowers are easy to use, they move automatically when you pull a lever and stop when the  lever is released.  ( A safety feature to keep it from running away from you as they do in bad comedies.)  They come in a variety of models, but are more expensive than push mowers.  Push mowers will give you a workout and burn calories.  They are tough to use on hills or yards larger than 1/4 acre.

Side-discharge mowers leave lawn clippings to be raked.  Bag equipped models collect the clippings but add to the weight being pushed.  Mulchers finely chop the clippings and leave them behind to fertilize the grass.

One last tip: measure your gates to be sure the new mower can get into your yard.

Win a New GE Profile Washer/Dryer Pair

Visit Times Square on August 26th, 2008 for a free demonstration of GE’s newest washer/dryer pair. Between 8 a.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET, be sure to enter this event’s sweepstakes for a chance to win your own GE Profile frontload laundry pair with a SmartDispense pedestal and dryer storage pedestal.

The Washer:

Uses H2ition to sense the right amount of water and temperature for each load (ENERGY STAR® qualified)
Communicates electronically with the dryer to preset dry cycles and help save time
Stain Inspector ™ provides more than 40 different preprogrammed stain treatments
Offers SmartDispense technology, which when used with the optional pedestal can store and dispense 6 months worth of detergent and fabric softener

The Dryer:

Uses a reverse tumble to offer the fastest, most even drying
Includes a built-in dryer rack and hanger clip for more drying options
Has a 7.5 cubic foot capacity

LG Launches Recycling Program

Once you’ve picked out the perfect new DVD player or television, you need to plan for the disposal of your old ones.  If your outgoing model was made by LG, that task might just have gotten a bit easier. 

 “The LG Electronics Recycling Program provides consumers with a free and convenient way of recycling their used, unwanted, obsolete or damaged LG consumer electronic products by dropping them off at a designated Waste Management eCycling Center. Waste Management currently has 160 designated drop-off sites across the United States and plans to have at least one drop-off site in each State by September 2008; the number of sites will continue to be expanded over time.”

 

 “Products covered by the LG Electronics Recycling Program include LG, Zenith and GoldStar brands of televisions, monitors, audio equipment, video cassette players and recorders, DVD players and recorders, combination TV/VCR and TV/DVD units, set top boxes and accessories associated with those products. Consumers may drop off up to 5 LG-branded items at a time. There is no fee to consumers for the covered LG-brand products; other brands will be accepted, but a fee may be charged by Waste Management for non-LG brands.”

You can find out more here:

 http://www.lgusa.com/green/locationlist.xls or http://www.wm.com/lg

 Waste Management Customer Service: toll free 1-877-439-2795

LG Customer Service: toll free 1-866-372-2928

Haier Moves Higher

Never heard of Haier? We think you’ll be hearing from them a lot in the next few years.

Small Appliance Design

In today’s economy, with consumers watching their spending, manufacturers of countertop appliances are evaluating how these conveniences are used in our homes and what will spur us to buy their brand when a new one is needed. We all want to feel we are getting all we can for our dollar.

With this in mind, many manufacturers aim to make a statement with their products to justify the price. The first step often is to start asking questions. What colors and materials are popular? How do you present controls that are functional and user-friendly? Is there a technology used in one kind of appliance that can be successfully transferred to another? Does it make sense to bring in a design firm, or have consultations with parts and materials suppliers? How could a new design bring down manufacturing costs? How can consumer opinions be vetted during the design process?
“The most important points we consider when making a new product design are the needs and wants of the customer, for example, ease-of-use and new features,” says Jo Gruetzke, director, industrial design USA, BSH Home Appliances Corp.
In the never-ending search for new product ideas, sometimes a company can draw upon a brand’s history. That’s certainly an option for the company that has a lineup of several iconic brands, as does Jarden Consumer Solutions (Boca Raton, FL, U.S.; www.jarden.com). Jarden brands include Mr. Coffee, Oster, Rival, Holmes, Sunbeam, and many others.

Another less obvious example of a nod to history is found in the company’s Sunbeam clothes iron line. Last September, Jarden introduced a hot-storage case for irons. “We got the idea for the storage case from a copy of a 1910 print ad displayed in a Jarden executive’s office,” remembers Lisa Knierim, senior director, global appliances. “The ad showed a Sunbeam Princess iron, complete with a stainless-steel storage case. One day, we suddenly realized that the box met a real consumer need. A hot iron could be put in the box immediately after ironing with no need to cool down, ensuring the iron is safely stored away from children and pets.”

Starting from this original concept, the company explored how it could develop a modern version that was safe, convenient, and flexible. It designed a heat-resistant, translucent hard-plastic case with silicone parts where the iron’s sole plate rests. Incorporated in the design is a cord storage area, while an interlocking handle and lock keep the iron secure when the case is closed. The case can be installed on a wall or door with included mounting brackets, or placed on a flat surface.

“The environmental or green movement certainly seems to have been the hot topic of 2007,” says A.J. Riedel, senior partner of Riedel Marketing Group. The rising cost of fuel, energy concerns in states such as California, and former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” all have pushed the issues of global warming and the environment to the forefront for many consumers.

Not surprisingly, houseware products with environmental claims abound. Energy efficiency is sometimes trumpeted, particularly when a product sports an Energy Star label. In the case of air purifiers, Stockholm-based Blueair (www.blueair.com) reports that its ECO10 Energy Star–qualified portable unit runs on just 10 W, making it nearly 10 times more energy-efficient than the minimum performance for Energy Star. Most savings are made possible by using an electronically controlled fan motor. The purifier’s HEPASilent filtration system, with low pressure drop and high efficiency, makes it possible to use low-pressure fans and still get good performance. Other environmental advantages the company points to include an easily recyclable powder-coated metal housing, nontoxic polypropylene filters, a long lifetime, and no ozone generation.

How does a company differentiate its cordless vacuums, products that are often seen as low-cost commodities? The question is an important one to multibrand OEM TTI Floor Care North America Inc. (Glenwillow, OH, U.S.; www.ttifloorcare.com).

One answer has been to mix contemporary style with rechargeable vacuum functionality in its Dirt Devil Designer Series by Karim Rashid. The line was launched in late 2006 with the Kone hand vacuum. Since then, the line has added the Kurv hand vacuum and the Kruz hard floor cleaner. Newest are the Brum, a rechargeable broom that vacuums as it sweeps hard floors, and the Kwik, a desk utility vacuum that includes a detail brush and crevice tool.

A more-technology-driven tack is being taken on the just-released Dirt Devil 15.6-V AccuCharge vacuums. The units are engineered to incorporate a microprocessor and software that regulate battery charging. The result is significant energy savings and extended battery life. The new capability was achieved without requiring much of a premium from consumers: The stick vacuum will have a suggested retail price of $59.99, and the hand vacuum $44.99.

“Cordless vacuums include a wall adaptor that charges the battery,” explains Mike Mullins, TTI engineer. “Due to cost constraints, no energy management is usually included. The main problem here is that, when the vacuum battery is charged, the adaptor continues to send power. The extra power is expended as heat. Not only is this wasteful, but the heat is detrimental to the chemicals in the battery. This shortens the battery life.

“We have taken a different route by including a microcomputer and custom software. They regulate the current draw, so that the battery doesn’t overheat. When the battery is fully charged, the power is reduced to a trickle mode to maintain the vacuum’s charge and readiness. This technology enables energy savings of more than 70% for the life of the vacuum. Because of this energy savings, we were able to work with Energy Star to incorporate cordless vacuums into their ratings. Our Accu Charge models are the first to get the Energy Star approval rating, which is widely accepted by consumers.”

It seems that appliance manufacturers are paying attention to their consumers and that if you find yourself in the market for a new coffeemaker, mixer or hand-held vacuum, you will find some new features to try out. You can read more about designing and manufacturing for today’s market here.

Recall: Atico International USA Personal Blenders Due to Laceration Hazard

Name of Product: Signature Gourmet™ and Crofton® Personal Blenders

Units: About 124,000

Importers: Atico International USA Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (for the Crofton® model) and East West Distributing Co., of Deerfield Ill. (for the Signature Gourmet™ model)

Hazard: While placing the cup on or off the base of the blender, the blender can be inadvertently turned on, activating the blade. This can pose a serious laceration hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 14 reports of lacerations, including 11 that required medical treatment and stitches.

Description: This recall involves the Signature Gourmet™ (item number W14A3691) and the Crofton® (model number SB-19) personal blenders. The blenders are white and have 3 components parts – a base containing a power button, a blade assembly, and a blending cup. Signature Gourmet™ or Crofton® is printed on the front of the base of the unit. “SB-19” or “W14A3691” is located on a label at the bottom of the unit.

Sold at: The Signature Gourmet™ blenders were sold at Walgreens stores nationwide from July 2006 through March 2008 for about $16. The Crofton® blenders were sold at Aldi stores nationwide from May 2007 through March 2008 for about $13.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled blenders immediately and call Atico International USA for instructions on returning the product for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should call Atico International USA toll-free at (877) 546-4835 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at www.aticousa.com