November 1, 2014

Chocolate Vacuums – It’s Not What You Think

Are you shopping for a new vacuum? Of course power, durablity, ease of use, and cost are issues to be addressed, but, hey, what about color? Isn’t the color of your vacuum of primary concern? Well, Electrolux seems to think we should at least have some fashionable choices when it come to our vacuums.

Designers at Electrolux, AEG’s parent company, identified Chocolate Brown as 2011′s “icon color” – the hottest color for cars, fashion, and everything in-between. The new AEG brand UltraOne vacuum cleaners that launch in May 2011 will be offered in Chocolate Brown as well as Deep Blue and Clear Blue.

“The fashion industry, car shows, and interior design expos are a great source of inspiration,” Elisabeth Piper-Mäkitalo, Senior Graphic Designer at Electrolux.

One design detail carried over from the previous UltraOne collection is the scale-like, carbon-fiber “squircle” pattern on its rear side panel. The squircle design – a circle and square hybrid – was added to enhance the vacuum’s appearance. It’s a pattern that is also seen as a design element in car interiors and lamps.

All the new colors are metallic intended to convey a technical feel but also a soft and fashionable quality. Electrolux expects that similar colors will be used in 2011 fashion, cosmetics, and automobiles.

When developing the 2011 look for the UltraOne floor care appliance line, designers took to heart the status the vacuums had earned since its launch – appliance reviewers have given it top rankings in at least 11 markets.

“We naturally wanted to give it a unique range of colors to set it apart from the crowd—a powerful yet fashionable statement,” said Piper-Mäkitalo. “The UltraOne has striking lines – you can really feel its raw energy. We wanted to accentuate this power by adding a bold new palette of colors. When you think about it, there isn‘t that much difference between the colors used in makeup, nail polish and mascara, and today‘s cars. Flake and metallic are found in both worlds. This gives us a range of colors that are both traditionally masculine and feminine: unisex, if you will.”

The design team developed several new colors: Watermelon Red, Deep Blue (available in UK), Ice White, Antique Grey, Clear Blue (available in UK), Cassis, “and, finally, what we call the Icon Color: Chocolate Brown,” Piper-Mäkitalo said. “Brown and metallic feel very right for 2011.”

Appliance Prices Are Going Up

Top appliance makers Whirlpool and Electrolux are raising prices to pass soaring raw material costs on to customers, but their attempts may not pass muster with bargain-hungry shoppers.

According to Reuters, both companies reported quarterly profits that fell short of estimates as they grapple with tepid demand in major markets like the United States and Europe.
Many analysts questioned the timing of the move, especially since consumers in the developed world continue to look for incentives to buy expensive goods like appliances.

Korean manufacturer Samsung has not announced increases and appears to be planning to hold existing prices. Still, Whirlpool’s chief executive, Jeff Fettig, insisted it was not “economically feasible” for Whirlpool to remain indefinitely in the promotional mindset it adopted for the holiday season and last year in general. “For 2011, we expect positive but uneven demand levels around the world,” Fettig said, adding the company still hoped to expand operating margins in the year through price increases and boosts in productivity.

LG Electronics does plan an increase as well. The planned price increase matches moves announced earlier by Whirlpool and Electrolux.

Whirlpool has shut plants, cut jobs and moved some manufacturing to lower cost centers like Mexico. It has also started using common parts across its lineup of dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.

Electrolux, which sells under its own name as well as the Zanussi and Frigidaire brands, is planning to raise prices by 8 percent to 10 percent in North America starting in April and gradually in Europe and other markets. The move comes as manufacturers around the globe plot price increases to offset higher materials costs and regain ground lost in the recession. Electrolux Chief Executive Keith McLoughlin said the rise in raw materials’ costs had been across the board.

Electrolux Front Load Washer and Dryer Giveaway

The Holiday celebrations are winding down and the clean-up begins – tablecloths, napkins, bedding for all the extra guests. If your old washer has spun its last load, here’s your chance: Woman’s Day is giving away a Electrolux 27″ Front Load Washer and Large Capacity Dryer set.

It’s gentle on the environment and your clothes, with wash cycles that are 83 percent more energy-efficient and use 56 percent less water. Color options include Red Hot Red; Turquoise Sky; Silver Sands and Island White. Retails price is about $3,600.

There’s no purchase required to enter, but entries must be made by January 9, 2010. Click here to enter and read more.

Recall: Electrolux ICON and Kenmore PRO Gas Ranges Due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Hazard

Name of Product: Electrolux ICON and Kenmore Pro 30” Gas Ranges

Units: About 900

Manufacturer: Electrolux Home Products Inc., of Augusta, Ga.

Hazard: An incorrect part allows more fuel to pass to the range’s oven than can be burned efficiently, causing incomplete combustion and the release of carbon monoxide. This poses a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Electrolux has received four reports of incidents involving carbon monoxide being released from the recalled gas range. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The following Electrolux ICON and Kenmore PRO 30” free-standing gas range model and serial numbers are included in this recall. For Electrolux ICON, the model and serial numbers are located on the back of the range. For the Kenmore PRO, the model and serial numbers are located near the base of the range just below the bottom right portion of the oven door and also on the back of the range. Not all serial numbers within these ranges are included in the recall.

Brand Model Serial Number Range
Electrolux ICON Gas Range E30GF74HPS NF83000000 – NF93633000
Kenmore PRO 30” Gas Range 790.76913800
790.76913801

Sold at: Appliance retailers nationwide from August 2008 through October 2009 for between $2,500 and $3,500.

Manufactured in: Canada

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the range’s oven and contact Electrolux for the Electrolux ICON or Sears for the Kenmore PRO to schedule a free repair. Consumers can continue to use the cooktop (top burners) and the broiler as well as any clock and/or timer functions.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Electrolux toll-free at (888) 360-8557 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., or visit the firm’s Web site at www.gasrangeorifice.com. Consumers with Kenmore PRO brand ranges should call Sears toll-free at (800) 733-2299 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday.

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting CPSC.gov

Cash For Clunkers – Appliance Clunkers

Here’s some good news if you’ve got an old household appliance you’ve been wanting to replace. The government’s $300 million dollar incentive plan will help you pay for it. The plan is meant to help the appliance industry by giving a boost to slow appliance sales nationwide, but the relatively small amount of cash will not make a big impact on major appliance appliance dealers such as Whirlpool, GE, and Electrolux. There are also some potentially confusing details to be worked out:

The Wall Street Journal says unlike the clunkers plan, the program allows each state to pick qualifying models and tailor rebate amounts. Ohio might decide one washing machine qualifies for a $100 rebate, while California picks another for $125.

Manufacturers and retailers said they are reluctant to ramp up production or order new stocks until it is clear what models qualify. The Department of Energy, which designed the program, wants states to focus on just 10 categories of appliances carrying the federal Energy Star seal of approval for efficiency.

But other details are still uncertain. States could ask to include up to 46 other types of products, ranging from light bulbs to computers. While rebates are expected to range between $50 and $200, qualifying models and precise rebate amounts won’t be provided until late this year or early next.

Some of the nation’s biggest appliance makers are lobbying to make the plan rules uniform nationwide. They said the unknowns and the varying rules by state will make the program harder to explain to shoppers, in turn making it tougher to win sales.

The program “will provide consumers a unique opportunity to save money on energy-efficient appliances,” said Dave McCalpin, chief marketing officer for GE Appliances. He said Fairfield, Conn.-based GE is working with state governments to adopt rebate programs that rely on Energy Star ratings.

Some states are considering standards that exceed Energy Star requirements, a move GE opposes. “We believe it is very important that rebate programs are consistent across the country,” Mr. McCalpin said.

The stricter proposals underscore criticisms that the Energy Star program is not tough enough in raising energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency is looking at revising the program’s standards. If it does so after the states set their rules, the rebates could end up subsidizing some appliances that are not as energy efficient as they could be.

The Dishwasher of the Future – Washing With Air

One of the big questions facing those of us who are trying to conserve water, is whether to wash dishes by hand or use the dishwasher. In most cases, the dishwasher uses less water, but for those folks who are still concerned, Hwang Jin Wook’s modern dishwasher prototype should intrigue you.

Hwang Jin Wook’s modern dishwasher concept developed for Electrolux uses air to clean the dishes by blowing away food bits. High-pressure air is used to clean the dishes. Steam is used to degrease the dishes and Ultraviolet rays are used to sterilize the dishes. Very little water is used to create steam but the water is recycled so essential water is never wasted.

It sounds like a great idea, but there is a small problem – the dishwasher cleans only two dishes at a time. This is a problem for most of us since a meal usually involves at least a pot or two and some utensils. Although now the unit is designed with single, young users in mind, expanding it to include family use will have a much greater impact on water conservation.

This is a great idea, can it be refined for mainstream use? We’ll wait and see.

You can read more here.

Electrolux in Antarctica

I’ve seen many documentaries about scientists in Antarctica. I’ve seen one that focused on the staff of maintenance workers it takes to keep an outpost running smoothly. The base camps were large campgrounds of barrack-like buildings and with scientists, engineers, and crew, can at times host a large number of people.

On one show, the kitchen staff pointed out that although the outside was cold enough to keep food frozen, storing food outside attracts animals, and the temperatures are really too old for optimal storage. There is also a large amount of laundry to be washed. Electrolux had a plan.

At the Princess Elizabeth Station in Antarctica, you’ll find a high-tech living facility that has all of the home appliances that make life easier for those of us living in warmer climates, including six washing machines, six tumble dryers, ‘A+’ refrigerators, frost-free chest freezers, double ovens, ranges, microwaves and an ‘AAA’ dishwasher.

Due to its continued focus on designing energy efficient home appliances, Electrolux was approached to design the set of appliances for the station. Some of the appliances are even specifically designed for the scientists: the washing machines have larger doors to fit “bulky polar outdoor gear” and the freezers can freeze food for up to a year at -18 degrees Celsius.

According to cnet.com, the appliances are also run entirely on renewable energy: 90 percent of the energy is supplied to the station via wind turbines, and the rest is supplied by solar panels. Preheated water is used in the washing machines to save energy and elaborate waste and water management systems are used as well, contributing to the astonishing 95 percent of waste that the facility is able to recycle.

The Princess Elisabeth Station will focus on researching global warming and climate change, as well as CO2 emissions. On keeping the series of appliances in line with the principles driving the research, Station Manager Johan Berte remarks, “We want to show the world that if you can build a zero emissions facility in the forbidding climate of Antarctica, you can build them anywhere!”

You can read the whole story of Belgium’s Princess Elizabeth Station HERE.

Win a New Electrolux Range or Wall Oven

Kelly Ripa, spokeswoman for Electrolux, is searching for the perfect turkey.  To that end, Electrolux is holding a Perfect Turkey contest.  Just submit your entry here detailing your turkey success story, or possibly better, your tail of woe.  The winner will receive a new Electrolux wall oven or range with the “Perfect Turkey” button – just in time for the holidays.