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Washing machine makers focus on performance improvements

Models that boast specialized functions and wider capability are gaining ground.

China suppliers of washing machines are underscoring better performance in their current R&D efforts.

Washing machine
Ningbo Lamo's XQB-70-216 model utilizes fuzzy logic technology.


Among some makers, output of specialized units is on the rise. Such types include models optimized for woolen clothes. Other companies are going the other way via multifunction versions capable of cleaning, drying and wrinkle reduction.

Products that boast anti-bacterial capability, vibration-reduction systems, foam-detection sensors and improved interior tubs are also being offered.

Some large suppliers are developing intelligent washing machines for the high end. Units can utilize S-D core frequency conversion technology to lower operating noise.

Select types even obviate the need for detergent and water. These generate hot air in tubes to penetrate fibers, decompose odor particles and maintain fiber structure to prevent flattening.

Washing machine range
Product gallery
Washing machine range

Makers in China offer washing machines in various configurations, including single- and double-impeller, front- and top-loading, and miniature versions. Stand-alone dryers are likewise available.

Models in a front-loading construction currently enjoy greater popularity than top-loading releases. The former requires about 55 percent less water. Tilt-open drum units are considered the most efficient.

One such type from Zhongshan Galanz Consumer Electric Appliances Co. Ltd is equipped with an LED display, stainless steel tub and 12 preset programs. It can reach 90 C to eliminate bacteria and allows the addition of clothes even when operation has commenced. Various colors are available.

The company also installs drainage and circulation water pumps in select versions to reduce liquid requirements further.

Low-end washing machines are generally semiautomatic impeller types with twin tubs. The major components such as lids, bases and housings are in PP or ABS. These top-loading models have a maximum load capacity of 3 to 8kg and rotary knob controls, and perform two operating cycles. Units employ domestically procured plastic and steel. Prices are $42 to $83.

Some variants incorporate painted steel tubs, lids and cabinets. While rust-resistant, releases do not withstand stains and scratches.

In addition, select suppliers offer miniature washing machines as part of this segment. Often available in portable configurations, models are usually shipped to destinations in Asia and go for $15 to $50.

The lack of advanced technology in these top-loading impeller versions allows most makers to market them. Designs utilize one or two tubs and translucent ABS housings, and come in conventional, egg, basket or kettle contours. Handles are typical.

In the midrange, top-loading products account for nearly all output. They have shells and one tub in painted steel. The latter enhances mold resistance and can withstand higher spin speeds.

Load capacity of 3 to 12kg, presets for delicate and heavy garments, operation-end alarms, rotary knob controls and child-lock systems are standard. Electronic push-button mechanisms, quick-wash functionality and detergent dispensers, on the other hand, are optional. Quotes are between $84 and $100.

A number of midrange units come with multiple temperature settings, electronic touch pads, 30min cycles, automatic water level and balancing capability, detergent dispensers and casters. Some incorporate mesh to prevent rodents from entering. Such models can reach $200.

High-end washing machines are mainly automatic loading types comprised of a stainless steel tub, porcelain-coated steel cabinet, electronic push-button controls and an LCD panel. While fabric sensors may be included, presets for wool and silk fabric, and multiple cleaning, rinse and temperature specifications are standard. Prices start at $210.

Versions that top $300 boast faster spin speeds and wash cycles for a wider selection of fabrics and materials. Automatic sensors determine optimal settings for a given load.

Further, some units are upgraded front-loading models capable of loads greater than 10kg. They can perform water removal and come with one sanitary and 10 regular presets, six cleaning and spin-speed combinations, and three dirt-level, six liquid temperature and four rinse level options. AMT door gaskets, self-cleaning lint filters and inclined water-resistant control panels are typical.

To beef up the selection of upscale front-loading products that enable silver-ion sterilization, a number of large companies are launching versions that utilize blue light generators to activate water and oxygen. The resulting hydroxyl group is said to have decontamination properties superior to those of silver.

Several of these sizable makers are offering units capable of washing, drying and removing wrinkles, with select types boasting anti-bacterial capability. Models can top $500.

ABS and PP are the major materials for housings. These are often purchased domestically. Metal sheets, stainless steel and other inputs are mainly from large providers such as Shanghai Baosteel. Select suppliers procure stainless steel and plastic from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea for better durability.

Motors are the key component for the line as they directly impact performance. Welling, Emerson and other established specialists are the main sources. These enterprises boast output that is superior in terms of power and efficiency to other locally made versions while generating less noise. Switches, timers, controls, LCD panels and wiring are usually obtained within mainland China.

In general, small and midsize suppliers only conduct assembly in-house. Large operations, however, are capable of nearly all production procedures and can often make motors as well.

China's washing machine manufacturers experienced a jump in overseas shipments during 2010. Volume in September reached 1.65 million units, or about 9 percent higher than the previous month and a rise of 11 percent YoY.

This translates to $212 million, up 10 percent from August and 18 percent more than the same period in 2009.

The rise in value comes as export prices are on the upswing. Such amounts averaged $129 per unit, 0.11 percent more than August 2010 and 6 percent higher than September 2009.

Top-loading washing machine
Product gallery

Guangdong Xinbao Electrical Appliances Holdings Co. Ltd

Model: XQB70-6838
MOQ: 150 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: Top-loading construction; 7kg capacity; 24hr preset; 10 water levels, five wash programs, four washing processes

Automatic washing machine

Ningbo Lamo Electric Appliance Co. Ltd

Model: XQB-70-216
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Automatic; two inlet options; top-loading construction; fuzzy logic controls sense load size, and adjust wash cycle and water level

Cold steel housing, stainless steel drum washing machine

Shandong Little Duck Electric Appliance Co. Ltd

Model: WM22411
MOQ: 210 units
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Cold steel housing, stainless steel drum; front-loading construction; 5kg capacity; mechanical timer; 220VAC

Combination washer-dryer machine

Shandong Little Duck Electric Appliance Co. Ltd

Model: WM78612
MOQ: 210 units
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Combination washer-dryer; cold steel housing, stainless steel drum; front-loading construction; 6kg capacity; digital controls; 220VAC, 50Hz; temperature adjustable up to 90 C; 662x575x890mm; 74kg weight; white; carton packaging; CE

Stainless steel tub washing machine

Zhongshan Galanz Consumer Electric Appliances Co. Ltd

Model: XQG60-X112PRE
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Stainless steel tub; front-loading construction; 20-degree tilt-open drum; 12 wash programs; LED display; foam sensor; 1,200rpm maximum spin speed; 1 to 24hr startup time, power-off memory; 0, 30, 40, 60, 90 C; child lock

Stainless steel tub washing machine

Zhongshan Galanz Consumer Electric Appliances Co. Ltd

Model: XQB60-J9
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Stainless steel tub; top-loading construction; four wash programs and water levels; LED display; fuzzy logic controls; 720rpm maximum spin speed; 1 to 24hr startup time, power-off memory; optional hot and cold water inlet

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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