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“The chal­lenge was clear”

In a washing machine, the drying process also has to work prop­erly to ensure that the dishes come out squeaky clean. This created multiple chal­lenges when Miele’s new 7000th gener­a­tion was devel­oped. Miele product devel­oper Horst Lintel­mann tells us how the team mastered them and discusses what role the blower played.

Mr Lintel­mann, at Miele you super­vise the AKT 2 project. What does it involve?

AKT is a sub-project of our latest Gener­a­tion 7000 dish­washers. It’s all about the “active conden­sa­tion drying” func­tion, which ensures that the spick-and-span dishes come out of the machine dry. The blower plays one of the main roles in this func­tion.

What must the blower be able to do?

It has to dry the dishes in the dish­washer spot­lessly. It also has to have a service life of at least 20 years because we have this goal for our entire product range. It should be easy to install. In this specific case, the blower had to fit into an extremely small space, which, in turn, presented a real chal­lenge in terms of acoustics and hydraulics.

How have you addressed this?

Actu­ally, we produce the essen­tial compo­nents of our devices ourselves: for example, the “heart” of our dish­washer, the circu­lating pump, and its “brain”, the control system. There are excep­tions where it makes sense to use the exten­sive know-how of one of our part­ners, like with ebm-papst for the blower. We have been doing close devel­op­ment work with the Land­shut site since 2005.

Miele product devel­oper Horst Lintel­mann | Photo: Miele

How did the collab­o­ra­tion with ebm-papst go?

First of all, we can rely on our partner to ensure a long product service life. Then we rely on close coor­di­na­tion in all areas. As the blower was devel­oped espe­cially for us, we were able to enjoy a certain amount of freedom. However, the time for the product devel­op­ment itself was tight, which is why the entire team had to rely on open commu­ni­ca­tion and fast response times. At our regular meet­ings in agile teams, it was most impor­tant to remain flex­ible so that we could react to unex­pected devel­op­ments. This was the only way we were able to always read­just things in a timely manner within this tight time period.

Where did you have to make adjust­ments?

In the middle of devel­op­ment, it became clear that mounting the blower in the tight instal­la­tion space would be extremely demanding. The chal­lenge was clear: the blower must not transmit any vibra­tions to adja­cent compo­nents. ebm-papst simu­lated on a computer how the component’s struc­ture would distort if a load were applied after instal­la­tion. Together, we thought about solu­tions and alter­na­tives, i.e. plan B and C. It was impor­tant to leave alter­na­tive methods open so that we were always able to react to further unex­pected devel­op­ments.

How was the blower made easier to install?

There is now an addi­tional mechan­ical plastic rib on the housing so that the blower is posi­tioned at the correct angle on the produc­tion belt, shaving off a few seconds of time with each compo­nent and, there­fore, saving on produc­tion costs. Another contour on the blower can be easily connected to the coun­ter­part in the machine. It can be quickly installed just by pressing it in.

The new Miele Gener­a­tion 7000 has another addi­tional drying step. What does that involve?

It’s “AutoOpen drying”: a built-in auto­matic door opening. At the end of the program, the door opens a little so that mois­ture can escape from the unit. The blower supports the drying func­tion and ensures that air is blown out through a gap above the open door and below the worktop. The worktop is preheated and is not damaged. If, contrary to expec­ta­tions, conden­sate does emerge, it is dried imme­di­ately. You can imagine this as a dryer that is posi­tioned below the worktop. The air cushion is gener­ated by the blower. We have a unique selling point here and are sparing our customers the worry that their kitchen furni­ture will be damaged by mois­ture.

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