I recently updated my automobile by three model years, and have been astounded at the amount of technological advancement in such a short period time. The newer technology brings me a safer and more comfortable product.
Being in the appliance industry, I am around technology that is constantly bringing a better product for us to present to our clients.
This will be a review of some of that technology and the meaning of the word itself. I went to my dusty Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, and on page 1283 found the definition. I then went to Wikipedia and searched my dusty monitor and found that explanation. I won’t bore you with the full definition, but it is of Greek origin. My interpretation and intended use for this article is “the purpose of technology is to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation, or perform a specific function.” This is what appliances do in our lives daily.
Ventilation technology is moving forward to provide better performance and quieter exhaust systems. ZEPHYR is promoting their multiple design awards winning DCBL Suppression System ™ as nearly inaudible ventilation to match everyday cooking styles. It uses less energy and provides better LED lighting. Vent-A-Hood advertizes being the quietest and wants to prove it with their WhisperTechnology. Vent-A-Hood® also offers the duct free ARS proprietary 4-phase enhanced system for those clients who can not exhaust to the outside.
Cooking technology continues to provide us better and more efficient ways to prepare our food. Convection ovens can be explained as simply as the function of moving air in the oven cavity for the client that is just becoming aware of this technology. The more sophisticated systems offered by some of the leaders in the industry like Wolf, whose Dual Convection System provides faster pre-heat times and more precise temperature control require a more detailed explanation about the technology that is multiple fans and heating elements that operate in sequence or simultaneously with eight modes of use to choose from. Many clients say they don’t use the broil function in their ovens and when asked why, the most common answer is that it doesn’t work well. Technology that is being used by manufactures like Viking and Dacor provide a ceramic or glass shield over the heat producing electric element to intensify and increase the temperature for a better broiled product. Induction burners for the cooking surface is an evolving technology that produces less heat, fast heat up and cool down and lower electrical use. Thermador now offers a product that allows placement of the cooking vessel virtually any where on the surface providing more useable space. Gas cook top burners that will hold a low temperature for simmering are the norm, and gas under a glass surface is available in parts of the world.
Dishwasher technology has brought water consumption down, electrical consumption down and sound levels down. Bosch promotes Green technology – the idea that improves our daily life and our future as well. Water usage has been reduced in their products by more than half since the 1990’s. In the manufacturing process they have reduced the use of fresh water from the public supply and overall consumption in the factories every year.
It is now common to find decibel sound ratings in the low 40″s from many manufactures in the higher spectrum of products. Technology has eliminated phosphates from dishwasher detergents, also a plus for the environment.
Refrigeration technology in recent years has brought air purification systems to prevent food odors from being an annoyance. SubZero provides an antimicrobial air purification system based on technology from the space program. It scrubs the air of mold, bacteria, viruses and ethylene gas. It is incredible the amount of beneficial technology we use in the kitchen and our daily lives that has come from the space program. Viking’s system, Plasmacluster ™ Ion Air Purifier provides the same benefits in their built-in products. Electronic controls provide far more precise temperature settings and maintenance to the setting than in the past. Wine storage units have multiple temp zones and monitoring systems available such as Miele’s RemoteVision™. This optional system uses a proprietary wireless local area network (WLAN) technology to securely transmit vital temperature and performance data to their client service center. If a problem occurs while you are away, you will be notified before you have food loss or a valued wine collection is damaged. ,Similar technology is available from other manufactures as well. The interior usable cubic foot capacity of refrigeration products has increased as insulating materials have improved and outdoor refrigeration that will work in Arizona summers are common. We even have outdoor beer keg, beer dispensers and ice machines. I love that technology!
Technology in the area of service is constantly improving and making the unpleasantness of a home service call less painful. GE uses global positioning systems (GPS) to route their staff of service techs more effectively. If a technician is on a call and doesn’t have the necessary part for a repair, they can determine if it might be on another service truck and route the part to the location quickly, making it a call service. Many brands have diagnostic connections in the product that are hooked directly to the technician’s computer to determine what the repair issue is, and quickly get resolution.
All this technology at a price that, when adjusted for inflation, still makes household appliances a genuine bargain.
Andy Welemin, Account Manager with Westar Kitchen & Bath, has been involved in home products since 1977 and, specifically, in the appliance industry since 1983.
Andy is a member of NKBA and NARI and a past board member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Minnesota andArizona.
You can reach Andy at Awelemin@westar-sw.com