When shopping for a new appliance, you’ll probably hit the Internet for reviews and ideas, search for the best price and performance to choose your best fit. From size and structure to colour and finishing, the selection seems endless. But how do you manufacture all this choice?
On a recent visit to the heart of Germany, APPLiA and Gifam teams had the privilege of touring the BSH production plants of Giengen and Dillingen and embark on a journey into the development and production of cooling appliances and dishwashers.
Our visit began with an overview of the production processes, reflecting the company’s commitment to sustainability and efficiency. We observed the meticulous assembly lines where professional workers alongside advanced robot machinery artfully put together thousands of home appliances across various models, every day.
While product characteristics constitute a central element to the complexity of the production lines, shifting consumer demand is a determining factor to the logistics of manufacturing operations. New technologies, supplier changes, and environmental regulations can further complicate production processes requiring manufacturers to adapt to ever-changing market requirements. Packaging, for instance, is an integral component of the product design. It must provide sufficient damage prevention, optimise spacing, and use sustainable materials with responsible end of life scenarios. During transport, be it by train, ship, truck or plane, every touch point increases risks of product damage which makes it essential to use certain materials in a certain amount for the packaging to absorb shocks and resist varying weather conditions on its journey through the supply chain and up until consumers homes. Trucks are loaded in a way to host 3 to 4 packages a row and packaging rigorously designed accordingly to make sure no centimetre goes unused.
Before appliances are placed on the market, they undergo rigorous testing and quality checks to ensure standards and environmental requirements are met and possible defects and malfunctions are identified. Functionality, performance, durability and safety tests are conducted to check the appliance works as intended. Dishwashers for instance are run for a significant period of time, simulating real-life usage. This allows manufacturers to continue to improve the quality of their products and minimise the need for repairs, overall reducing the environmental impact of appliances and improving customer satisfaction. In 1975, a dishwasher needed 60 litres to run one cycle. Today, with only 6 litres you can still get your platest cleaned and shiny, at a lower cost and environmental footprint. Impressive right?
If there is one thing which stood out from this visit is that sustainability goes well beyond the final product and is instead, an approach applied all across their lifespan. From CO2 reduction in terms of materials and increased recycled content to energy and resource efficiency, packaging and transport logistics, everything is accurately designed to reduce environmental impact while advancing sustainable lifestyles.