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.
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.