Title: Durability testing procedure for washing machines – approach and first learnings
Publisher: European Council for an energy efficient economy
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC105807
ISBN: 978-91-983878-1-0
ISSN: 2001-7960
URI: http://www.eceee.org/summerstudy/
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Durable products allow to reduce the consumption of raw materials long-term and to contribute to waste minimization. Thus, durability plays a key role to enhance circular economy and resource conservation, for example in the category of electrical and electronic equipment. However, it was observed that the average lifetime of these products has decreased over recent years. We identified the washing machine product group as a relevant case study for the development of a durability test, and as a potential trigger to systematically address durability in the design of products. The main objective of this research was to develop a procedure to test minimum durability performance of washing machines, on which limitations and potentials for future improvements would be highlighted. The procedure was developed to potentially be used in policy. The durability test was developed considering the whole product tested under overstressed conditions. A series of spinning cycles with fixed unbalanced loads was run on two washing machines, to observe failures and performance changes during the test. Even though no hard failures occurred, results clearly showed that not all of the washing machines are able to sustain such a test without abrasion, or performance deterioration. The proposed test allowed to have results in a relatively short amount of efforts and time, which makes it compatible with policy constraints. However, the attempt to mimic the stress induced on a washing machine by doing a high number of pure spinning cycles with fixed loads did not allow equal testing conditions: The actions of the control procedure regarding unbalance loads differ from machine to machine. Therefore, future developments will need to replace the series of spinning cycles with various washing programmes, and the fixed unbalanced loads with real loads, paying attention to limit the time required by the test. The outcomes of this research can be used as a basis to develop standardized durability tests and to hence contribute to the development of future product’s policy measures.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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