Reply to post: US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

No spin zone: Samsung recalls 3M EXPLODING washing machines


US Washing Machine Arms Race - Big ≠ Better

Part of the problem with this is that American consumers (and European Consumers to a lesser degree) are demanding bigger and bigger drums in washing machines.

The laws of physics come into play. When you have an object being rotated about an axis at a speed, the g-forces increase massively the further away from the centre it is.

So, as you expand the radius of the drum, you increase the forces at play by a huge amount.

You've also got a lot of machines on sale in the US that are ludicrously oversized as consumers have some notion that they need to be able to wash 400 towels at the same time or ALL their bed linen simultaneously. In reality, they never do and you end up with a few pairs of jeans or a normal sized load being flung around this huge drum which will inevitably have issues with balance.

Where as an older machine (even in the US) would typically have a much tighter packed drum, with smaller diameter which is much easier to balance.

Modern machines rely on sensors and software to ensure they don't go out of balance, and this has allowed cheaper machines to be made with much bigger drums. However, if the sensors and software don't work correctly, the machine will go catastrophically out of balance and fall apart.

Also the build quality of these machines is not always totally comparable. I opened our Miele and it has a smaller drum, surrounded by a heavy stainless steel outer rub, huge cast iron weights and shock absorbers that look like something out of an industrial machine or a car and will take stuff up to 1600 RPM without even noticing.

In the past it was only these kinds of machines that dared to push the speeds up that high.

Nowadays, a lot of the other manufacturers are selling the same kind of high speeds, but with plastic tubs outer, far flimsier suspension systems and much weaker internal drums.

Washing machines are probably one of the only appliances in your home that have to contain serious forces. Other than your car, they are the only device that really does need to be built very well to avoid a catastrophic mess like this.

I think people are going to have to accept that unless you buy a very much more expensive machine like those made by Miele or a semi-commercial machine, you can't really safely do some of these kinds of speeds. Those machines have always been eye waveringly expensive for a good reason.

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