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Towards a Durability Test for Washing-Machines

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Towards a Durability Test for Washing-Machines

Rainer Stamminger et al. Resour Conserv Recycl.

Abstract

Durability plays a key role in enhancing resource conservation and contributing to waste minimization. The washing-machine product group represents a relevant case study for the development of a durability test and as a potential trigger to systematically address durability in the design of products. We developed a procedure to test the durability performance of washing-machines as a main objective of this research. The research method consisted of an analysis of available durability standards and procedures to test products and components, followed by an analysis of relevant references related to frequent failures. Finally, we defined the criteria and the conditions for a repeatable, relatively fast and relevant endurance test. The durability test considered the whole product tested under conditions of stress. A series of spinning cycles with fixed imbalanced loads was run on two washing-machines to observe failures and performance changes during the test. Even though no hard failures occurred, results clearly showed that not all washing-machines can sustain such a test without abrasion or performance deterioration. However, the attempt to reproduce the stress induced on a washing-machine by carrying out a high number of pure spinning cycles with fixed loads did not allow equal testing conditions: the actions of the control procedure regarding imbalanced loads differ from machine to machine. The outcomes of this research can be used as grounds to develop standardised durability tests and to, hence, contribute to the development of future product policy measures.

Keywords: Durability; Ecodesign; Material efficiency; Sustainable resources; Washing-machine.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Spin speed profile for measuring the imbalance twice and taking decisions after each measurement (own Figure).
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Typical spinning profile with a first water extraction phase followed by a third imbalance measurement and decision about the actual spinning profile (own Figure).
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Representation of the durability test procedure.
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Spin speed profiles of WM A, recorded during the extra spinning programme for various fixed imbalanced weights.
Fig. 5
Fig. 5
Spin speed profiles of WM B, recorded during the extra spinning programme for various fixed imbalanced weights.
Fig. 6
Fig. 6
Spinning profile parameters: maximum spin speed and spinning duration for WM A from cycle 1–500. Regular gaps between the data indicate the execution of the washing cycle every 100 spinning cycles.
Fig. 7
Fig. 7
Spinning profile parameters: maximum spin speed and spinning duration for WM B from cycle 1–500. Regular gaps between the data indicate the execution of the washing cycle every 100 spinning cycles.
Fig. 8
Fig. 8
Profiles of water intake, energy used and spin speed for the six washing cycles for WM A.
Fig. 9
Fig. 9
Profiles of water intake, energy used and spin speed for the six washing cycles for WM B.

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