Mission possible

Red Dot, iF Design, Digital Trends Home or International Design Excellence Award – the world of home appliances sparkles with prestigious awards for exceptional appliance designs. During their development, ambitious glass solutions are often part of the equation.

Photo: Whirlpool

Red Dot, iF Design, Digital Trends Home or International Design Excellence Award – the world of home appliances sparkles with prestigious awards for exceptional appliance designs. During their development, ambitious glass solutions are often part of the equation.

White is not always white. This fact is made quite clear when Gregor Grosse spreads printed glass samples next to one another in front of him. “Every customer has a preference for a special white when it comes to their home appliances. And for the glass fronts needed, they must match perfectly for an entire appliance family. Because for every uniformly designed kitchen front, and especially when appliances are standing side-by-side, our eyes pick up immediately on even the smallest of variances,” explains Grosse, responsible for Global Business Development and an innovation manager for flat glass at SCHOTT. We are not talking about having a few white (or even black) nuances available, but rather something in the vicinity of 3,000 active color tones. “It is our job to ensure that home appliance manufacturers always get their desired color tone for every glass front they need and it has to be so over a period of several years.”

To accurately imprint flat glass, whether it is for a customer‘s individual color preference, uniformly across a large area or very precisely fine structures like lines and logos, for metal or mirror impressions – these are the process capabilities SCHOTT Flat Glass utilizes to support the development teams in the home appliance industry with their design concepts. And more often than not, the manufacturers pick up awards for their home appliance solutions with glass components and know-how from SCHOTT. Take Whirlpool for example: The American home appliance manufacturer equipped its KitchenAid dishwasher with a viewing window. The idea: At the end of the wash cycle, an internal light comes on, providing a view of the dishes. The design can be combined with other kitchen appliances from the same series. The concept received “Best Design” from the Digital Trends Home Award 2015. However, “a great design must also have a perfect technical functionality,” asserts Mark Delp, responsible for sales and marketing Home Appliance at SCHOTT North America, when discussing the special challenges. His team was involved early on in the research phase and developed a special insulated glass unit, which reinforced the impermeability of the new design solution over several rinse cycles. “Before an appliance is actually ready for the market, there are a lot of hurdles that must be overcome,” admits Grosse. “When it comes to the glass components of an appliance‘s design creation, we are constantly pushing the limits even if the implementation initially appears to be difficult”, he assures.  R&D departments and product managers from a home appliance manufacturer can draw from a rich pool to get the functional and design features they need.  Joint innovation workshops provide new glass design impetus. Our motto: “We will do what we can to achieve it”.

Miele fridge-freezer “Blackboard” edition with a glass door that can be written on. Photo: Miele
TTK Prestiges’ hobtop gas cooker convinces through a brilliant white glass panel. Photo: TTK Prestige

“We test, reject, improve and achieve some-thing new in the end,” is how Benoit Kolheb, manager New Product Development at SCHOTT VTF (France) and Betiana Cartechini, Business De-velopment manager at SCHOTT Italvetro (Italy), describe how they work together with customers.  The results are home appliances with precisely colored and coordinated design fronts – “family design” – satin-finished surfaces, glass with metal impressions or mirror effects. What also really counts in today’s ‘wants‘ are control panels which are shy tech – solutions which quietly work in the background – or which are touch operational; these are the megatrends. SCHOTT offers several options here, which help set them-selves apart from the competition.

With glass solutions from SCHOTT, home appliance manufacturers regularly win design prizes: in 2014 Bosch Hausgeräte GmbH took home iF Awards and other famous design awards for its Series 8 built-in appliance; Whirlpool received a Red Dot Award 2014 for its appliance line “Hotpoint”; Arçelik was recognized with a Red Dot Award 2014 for its appliance line “Patricia Urquiola”; meanwhile, TTK Prestige bagged Silver at the US International Design Excellence Awards in 2016 and the Red Dot Design Award 2017 for its “Hobtop gas stove”. Summed up Grosse, “Positive customer feedback alone is not what motivates our team to come up with something innovative, but also the recognition from curators of the world’s most well-known design awards. We always look forward to the next exciting challenges we are given!”

The Series 8 built-in appliances from Bosch feature white or black glass fronts. Photo: Bosch Hausgeräte
An insulated glass unit in the KitchenAid dishwasher ensures a view into the inside. Photo: KitchenAid

March 9th, 2017

Contact

Irene Schwarz
SCHOTT Flat Glass

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