75 years ago, a development by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann, who had founded their company Miele & Cie. in 1899, revolutionised households: The introduction of Europe's first electric dishwasher marked the beginning of the end of washing dishes by hand. Although a matter of course in modern kitchens, the dishwasher had some trouble becoming established on the market in its early years.
The breakthrough finally came in 1960 when the domestic appliance manufacturer Miele launched the G 10 fully automatic domestic dishwasher. Since then, technology has been continuously optimised, making it "˜Forever better' in keeping with the company's maxim. Numerous Miele firsts on dishwashers have been patented and have proved to be groundbreaking for the industry.
The forefather of the electric dishwasher bore little resemblance to today's hi-tech models. The tub of the first electric dishwasher was round and the appliance was loaded from the top. Plates, cups, glasses and cutlery were arranged in baskets and placed in the dishwasher. Hot water had to be poured in manually. Beneath the tub was an electric motor with a drive shaft for a propeller inside the tub. As soon as the motor was started, the propeller swirled water around the tub, cleaning the crockery. The first wash cycle with detergent was followed by a second cycle. The hotter the water in the second cycle, the less drying was required at the end of the programme. Europe's first electric dishwasher contributed towards making daily household chores easier.
The next development followed in 1960 when Miele launched the first fully automatic dishwasher, which was loaded from the front and had rotating spray arms. The three wash programmes were controlled fully automatically from pre-wash to main wash, rinsing and drying. The integrated heating with thermostatic controls ensured washing temperatures were maintained.
Dishwasher development made tremendous progress in the following years. In addition to new washing programmes and improved technology, the design was also changed. This meant that the stability of the appliances, sound and heat insulation could be improved. In 1978, the first appliances with microprocessors and sensor touch controls were introduced. Electronic controls simplified operation, enabled the development of more dishwashing programmes and ensured very good consumption values, so that today every appliance is awarded an "˜A' for energy efficiency. Since 1999, all Miele dishwashers have been equipped with fully electronic controls. In 1987, the patented cutlery tray was introduced as a third washing level.
The current appliances feature especially sophisticated technology where electronic sensors determine programmes. The Eco sensor to measure the turbidity of the water was the first step towards developing dishwashers with automatic programmes. The latest development are appliances with the "˜3 in 1' function for tablets which in addition to detergent also contain rinse aid and also a substitute for salt.
Ten million appliances
In its 75th year of existence, Miele can look back on another anniversary: Since 1960, ten million fully automatic dishwashers have been manufactured at the Miele plant in Bielefeld. Currently, approx. 2,200 appliances leave the modern assembly lines of the second-biggest factory in the Miele Group every day.
A Miele dishwasher is made up of no fewer than 340 individual parts. Here, the various steps in production must be closely co-ordinated, and during the manufacturing process, man and machine work virtually "˜hand in hand'. Only in this way is a smooth workflow guaranteed and short production times of only three hours possible. That is all the time it takes to make a new dishwasher. Finished products then go from Bielefeld directly to the high-bay distribution warehouse at Miele's G¼tersloh headquarters "“ and from there are sent out all over the world.
The manufacture of dishwashers begins with the drawing, pressing and welding of the inner cabinets, followed by the application of bitumous felt matting and seals in pre-assembly before work in progress is transferred to the final assembly line. Here, all componentry is fitted and finished appliances are checked to see if they are in proper working order before being sent for finishing and shipping. Only appliances which have passed the functional end-of-line test with flying colours are sent to customers.
From a press release by Miele