[IFA 2012] Trends in home appliances at IFA 20128:20 pm am July 4, 2012
Leading brands from the consumer electronics and electrical home appliance industries will combine to create a comprehensive display for the fifth time on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from 31 August to 5 September at IFA 2012. Not only do today’s home appliances make life in the home easier and better, they also reflect such lifestyle trends as healthy cooking, wellness, the efficient use of energy and conservation of resources. Simple controls, intelligent technology and, of course, excellent design, are the outstanding characteristics of the latest electrical home appliances and small appliances from leading manufacturers.
Focus on comfort, lifestyle, health and efficiency
The new home appliances emphasise the trend towards an easier lifestyle and healthy eating.
Simplified, ergonomic controls, achieved through the use of intelligent electronic controls and sensors – interlinked throughout the home if required – form the basis for diversity and reliability. Washing machines with a wide range of specialised programmes that can remove even the most stubborn stains, highly efficient dishwashers that clean carefully and perfectly, without wasting a drop of water, and dryers using the most effective heat pump technology and self-cleaning condensers all offer unparalleled economy.
Cooking is as popular as ever and can be enjoyed with friends or with larger groups of people. Induction hotplates, high speed ovens with numerous combinations of functions and cooking programmes or versatile steamers are the perfect “tools” for home cooking, all tested and demonstrated by leading chefs. Careful preparation and processing retains the full nutritional value of the food, thereby guaranteeing outstanding flavour and healthy eating.
The current range of refrigerators and fridge/freezer combinations is designed to reduce energy consumption to a minimum while at the same time offering many additional features such as zero-degree zones, humidity regulators, air filters, separate storage areas and integrated ice cube makers. Many of them are eye-catching and attractive design objects in their own right.
This also applies to the small electrical appliances, a range of products distinguished by brilliant styling and the use of the finest materials. These small electrical appliances are versatile aids in the preparation of food, and energy efficiency has an increasingly important part to play. The latest kettles and coffee machines are designed to reduce energy consumption too.
The individual and varied options for preparing coffee and other hot drinks are a continuing success story. With innovative, fully automated coffee makers, pad and capsule machines or the perfect built-in solution for the kitchen, this sector of the hot drinks market can offer the right unit to suit everyone’s requirements.
Personal care & beauty appliances are another expanding area. Sales of the many different kinds of hair care and hair styling products are booming, along with those for oral and body care.
In the floor care sector robot vacuum cleaners are capturing a growing share of the market, with constantly improved performance. They can be left to clean floors throughout the home on their own, making the user’s life even easier.
Energy efficiency technology still holds vast potential
Despite manufacturers constantly improving energy efficiency with new home appliance designs in recent years this successful technology still holds vast potential. The energy savings achieved to date are impressive and the industry has long taken on a pioneering role. A comparison with models produced some 15 years ago shows that the energy saved by ultra-efficient new appliances is between 50 and 70 per cent. In terms of water consumption the same applies to washing machines and dishwashers. A high degree of energy efficiency is an absolute must for the latest brand appliances. At the same time it is important for customers to not have to sacrifice other performance features. Taking an appliance’s entire life cycle into account, there are three reasons for replacing an out-of-date model with a new one. It saves energy costs, is more efficient and protects the environment.
Clever use of energy can potentially save further costs. Smart grids make it possible for intelligent appliances to exploit flexible electricity rates. Such grids facilitate automatic data communication between the utility company and the consumer, and for example would start a washing machine or dishwasher’s washing cycle when electricity is cheapest. This would take place whenever a high amount of regenerative energy is fed into the grid, or at night, when electricity demand is low, saving consumers money and helping to avoid costly peak energy use. From a technical point of view this future scenario poses no problem for most home appliances manufacturers and individual pilot projects involving energy suppliers are already under way. However, there is still much to be done before mass market applications become a reality. Standards must be established to ensure system components from different appliance manufacturers and energy suppliers can communicate. Progress must also be made with the necessary infrastructure, i.e. building smart grids and installing intelligent household electricity meters. Energy suppliers must also provide attractive, load-based electricity rates, as consumers will only invest in smart appliances if they see financial benefits.