October 2, 2014

Fisher & Paykel is Moving to Mexico

Fisher & Paykel, the New Zealand appliance manufacturer well known for it’s dishwasher drawers and washing machines is consolidating it’s manufacturing and moving to Reynosa, Mexico, just south of the U.S. border.

The range and DishDrawer factory in Dunedin, New Zealand, the refrigeration plant in Brisbane, Australia and the DCS manufacturing plant in Huntington Beach will be relocated to the new facility in the next 12-18 months. The DCS move is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and individual manufacturing lines will be shifted separately to reduce the impact on warehouse inventory. The U.S. operation will continue to employ sales and marketing, customer services, head office and an engineering staff of around 340 employees. The financial benefit of the DCS move is expected to be $6.6 million per year with a one off cost of $7 million, both at pre-tax level.

“This expansion is designed to streamline our manufacturing costs, and bring increased consistency and efficiency to the company’s production process in the U.S. market, “ said Mike Goadby, North American President for Fisher & Paykel Appliances. “It’s an emotional time for all of us, but this move will make us more competitive in the U.S. and strengthen our distribution efforts through making them more efficient.”

With the Reynosa acquisition and the new North American DishDrawer line announced last year, the financial benefits of the new strategy are expected to be around $50 million per year, at a one off cost of approximately $100 million. The cost of the move will be offset by the sale of surplus property in Australia and New Zealand, which could total approximately $100 million.

You can read more here.

Sears Unveils Kenmore Elite Oasis Washer and Dryer

Laundry Pair Combines High Efficiency with Deep Clean Functionality and SteamCare Technology
Kenmore Elite’s SteamCare technology, harnesses the power of steam by saturating dry clothing with a fine mist of water while simultaneously heating the interior of the appliance. The water and heat work together to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and odors, so consumers can avoid washing an article of clothing that may only need refreshing, saving both water and energy.

The new Oasis washer cleans better than any other model among leading brand top loaders, offering features like gentlewash technology to clean delicate items and Catalyst Cleaning Action to help ensure bright whites. The TimedOxi option, available in a top load model for the first time through Oasis, releases oxygen-based stain fighters at the precise time for powerful stain-fighting performance. Additionally, the washer is certified by the National Sanitization Foundation to eliminate 99.9 percent of certain bacteria found in clothes, sheets and towels.

Kenmore continues to deliver on high efficiency with this newest addition to the Oasis line up, as both models are more efficient than first generation Oasis HE models, surpassing ENERGY STAR standards. Adding to the efficiency, the Save Energy Plus feature conserves up to 20 percent more energy by extending wash times using cold water in cycles that may typically use hot water.

The Oasis washer’s Invizible Agitator sits low in its drum, allowing more space for clothing or bulky items like comforters and winter coats. Transparent, tinted glass doors on both the washer and dryer deliver a unique aesthetic, and consumers interested in second floor installation will be comforted to know that the Kenmore Elite Oasis creates the fewest vibrations in the industry.

The Oasis washer offers Kenmore Canyon Capacity — 4.6 cubic feet of cleaning space that efficiently cleans up to 24 bath towels in a single load. Also available in the Oasis dryer, the exclusive 7.4 cubic feet Canyon Capacity ensures that a full load from the washer will be effectively dried.

TurboDry technology in the Oasis dryer uses a 35 percent larger blower to increase airflow, drying a load of laundry more quickly than it takes to wash one. The Dual Action Drying system also contributes to faster dry times by simultaneously promoting airflow and tumbling.  Gentleheat technology uses an advanced computer to measure air
temperature and moisture more accurately and calculate exactly how long a cycle should run, resetting the temperature as needed to improve fabric care.

The Oasis and Oasis pair will be available in white in March 2008 at for the regular retail price of $1,099. SteamCare and energy efficiency are also available in the HE Steam Laundry pair in white and the designer color, barolo. Prices range from $1,499 to $1,599 for washers and $1,199 to $1,299 for dryers depending on color. Base pedestals retail
for $259.99 each in color and $229.99 each in white.

Is the Washer Eating Your Socks? -Missing Socks Form One of Life’s Little Mysteries

Two socks enter the washer. Two socks exit the dryer.

As household tasks go, what could be simpler? A pair of socks goes from drawer to feet to dirty clothes to washer and dryer and back into the drawer.

Of course, anyone associated with a social group that faintly resembles a family knows the truth. Socks do disappear. Virtually every residence in the free world has a drawer, pile or basket of mismatched socks. Millions – no, billions – of socks drift aimlessly without mates.

“Washing machines and dryers eat socks,” says my wife of 27 years, who oversees the laundry in our seven-person family. There are other theories, of course. Sock heaven is one. A Bermuda Triangle for socks is another.

For whatever reason, our family’s mismatched-sock pile grows and grows, like an expanding cotton-blended Blob. Two or three times a year we try to match socks. Far too often, they remain alone, sentenced to the rag pile, one wipe closer to the garbage.

Today, sock sales in the U.S. are about $4.9 billion annually. Perhaps because I seem responsible for about a $1 million of those sales, I just lose it over mismatched socks. As frustration builds, I erupt, like any normal, sock-wearing person.

Once, when my daughter Allyson was playing competitive soccer, her black game sock came back from the wash inexplicably partnered with one of my black dress socks. When I put them on, the sports sock reached my knee; the dress sock climbed past my ankle. “Who in their right mind would put these two socks together?” I shouted in a rage.

My wife, returning clean clothes to drawers at the time, answered: “If you don’t like how we do socks, you can do the laundry.” By emphasizing “you” and modifying “laundry” with a word unsuitable for print, my wife revealed to me for the first time that she is truly capable of murder.

Since no matches existed for these black socks, they, too, were exiled to our pile.

“I share your pain,” says Gail Hammond-Gibson, who manages the laundry in her Long Island Freeport household of four that includes husband, Bill, daughter, Nowell, 15, and son, Julian, 13.

The family has a bag of lonely, single socks. “The problem is the bag of mismatches is larger than our supply of good socks,” she says.

Although she has no proof, she wonders if socks are made specifically to disappear, or whether there’s a conspiracy between the weavers of socks and appliance manufacturers. “It’s all about buying new socks,” she says.

Hammond-Gibson’s son seems to be the only family member who has a plan for keeping his socks together; he folds the tops of one open end into the other. “At least they get to the washing machine paired up,” mom says.

The youngster is on to something, says Audrey Reed-Granger, a marketing and public relations executive at Whirlpool, a Michigan-based manufacturer of appliances. The journey from hamper to laundry room is fraught with danger for socks.

Contrary to popular opinion, washers and dryers do not eat socks, Reed-Granger says, and she insists there is no conspiracy between the hosiery industry and the appliance manufacturers.

There are logical explanations for single-sock phenomena. First, Reed-Granger says, most socks do not make it to the washer in pairs. “Boys shoot dirty socks into hampers like they’re shooting basketballs,” she says, “so socks end up behind furniture or under the bed.”

Then she asks me if I’ve ever followed my wife as she carries a load of clothes to the washer.

I reluctantly admit that my wife often leaves behind a trail of single socks, T-shirts and unmentionables.

“The logic is based on research by Whirlpool’s Institute of Fabric Science, which studies how consumers use things like washers and dryers. The institute also claims static cling causes socks to divorce. Even when a pair gets through the washer and into the dryer, static cling can split them up. A single sock can be swallowed by a pillow case or a pant leg, which hints of textile cannibalism.

“The laundry room has been unfairly identified as a Bermuda Triangle for socks,” Reed-Granger says. “But, really, it’s not the fault of the room or the machine. It’s you.”

Well, not me. And certainly not Mary Ellen Zimmermann of Kings Park. After 20-plus years of laundry, she knows exactly why socks go single: “They escape to sock heaven.” If you were a sock, she asks, wouldn’t you be looking for greener pastures?

Reed-Granger understands.

“Before joining Whirlpool, I had a lot of missing socks, too, and I thought I was going crazy.”

One solution is using mesh laundry bags, which keep socks together before they reach the laundry room, Reed-Granger says.

Experts like author Linda Cobb, the self-professed “Queen of Clean,” says clips and rings – sold as SockCops and SockPro and designed to link single pairs as they wash and dry – also prevent socks from disappearing. Reed-Granger prefers the mesh bags, because she says such plastic items could loosen and potentially damage the appliances.

To heck with bags and organizing clips, scoff those who launder regularly. Especially those who have large families. Bags, clips and rings are too much work. Plus, deep down, they are true believers in the household legends of sock heaven and sock-munching appliances.

Again, Reed-Granger understands. So much so that she grudgingly reveals there is a rare – an extremely rare – opportunity for a washing machine to gobble up a sock.

Under the lid of the traditional machine is a gap between the tub and the drum, Reed-Granger says. “You have to really, really overload a top-end machine, so when the cycle starts, a small item could be flipped up into that gap and be lost.”

To those who toil under mountains of grimy clothes, all the while haunted by the ghosts of single socks, it finally makes sense. “What did I tell you?” my wife says.