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Door / hinges Door / hinges

Summary

  • Failure mode Low quality materials and misuse can lead to damage to door hinges and door/latch failure.
  • Durability feature Use strong materials and secure fixings will to prevent failures.
  • Cost

Good practices

  • Good practicesAppropriate testing of door hinge and latch
  • Good practicesStrong materials e.g. cast aluminium alloy hinges
  • Good practicesWidely spaced hinges
  • Good practicesHinge spindle attaches to steel insert in the plastic trim

Bad practices

  • Bad practicesNo testing of door
  • Bad practicesWeak materials e.g. pressed steel or zinc alloy hinges
  • Bad practicesNarrow central hinge
  • Bad practicesHinge spindle attached directly into the plastic mount/bush of door trim

Key facts

  • Around 40% of washing machines purchased in 2012 were to replace a product under 6 years old.
  • 80% of customers want guarantees of 2 years or longer on major appliances.
  • Design reviews identified cost savings of £550k per 100,000 units could be achieved.
  • Consumer research indicates reliability as the most important product attribute for washing machines.

Icon key

  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost

Key failure modes

Early life

The door hinge can be made of cheap pressed steel or brittle zinc alloy, often attached directly into a plastic mount on the door trim.

Weak hinges and mounts/bushes can cause the door to drop or fail at any time, e.g. due to a person leaning on the door. 

Later in lifetime

In the longer term damage can be caused by people leaning on the door or placing wet washing on it, causing a fatigue crack or distortion of the bush/mount on the door trim.

Damaged hinges can also lead to excess stress on the door latch and  premature failure.

Specification for improved performance

The specification below provides the recommended improvements needed to improve product durability. They are ranked from bronze to gold based on the effectiveness of the change in improving durability, with bronze being the minimum and gold being the maximum.

Simple and strong attachments; specified for 1300 cycles

  • Quality control procedures to be in place and documented for the door and all fittings as supplied to the machine manufacturer and as per requirements below.
  • Hinges and mounts to use strong polymers or metal alloys and door moulding to have good strength and rigidity through use of strong polymers (e.g. ABS /PP) and reinforcement (e.g. interlocking ribs).
  • The door, hinge and latch mechanism to be attached with standard screws to allow easy tightening and replacement.
  • Hinge and latch mechanism spindle mounts on the door trim should be bushed with a suitable nylon insert. 
  • Hinge/door assembly and latch mechanism to be specified to last at least 1,300 cycles *
  • Spare parts to be readily available in the UK for at least 5 years after the machine is last manufactured

Corrosion protection on steel parts; specified for 1,800 cycles

  • All steel parts (e.g. hinges, latch, spindles) to be corrosion protected (stainless or galvanised).
  • Hinge/door assembly and latch mechanism to be specified to last at least 1,800 cycles.

Specified for 2,300 cycles

  • Hinge/door assembly and latch mechanism to be specified to last for at least 2,300 cycles. 

Testing to demonstrate performance

Look for potential weaknesses in the door/hinge/latch by leaning on the door and opening closing it. Ask for clear evidence of the requirements listed above, e.g.: technical specifications, drawings, photographs; test data (ideally from an independent test house), quality control data.

* Door to be tested on 10 randomly selected production machines without cracking/damage, deflecting (beyond 2mm in any direction) or otherwise failing in 100% of cases. Load test to involve a vertical downward weight of 25kg being applied to the top of the open door for 1 min (i.e. vertically at its highest point). Door to be opened and slammed shut once per cycle. Specific test details to be provided and may be informed by BS 6222

Cost implications

Improved reliability of components can reduce early returns and improve brand reputation which, in turn, can lower business costs and increase long-term sales.

To calculate overall cost savings for your business, use the WRAP cost/benefit analysis tool (currently in draft form and available on request).

Saving

Neutral

Low cost

Stronger door and hinges

Use of stronger door mouldings with stronger e.g. steel mounts/inserts and stronger and more corrosion resistant hinges (e.g. cast aluminium alloys) will add a small amount to cost of the unit, tens of pence or potentially several pounds if new mouldings are required. 

Testing

A simulated test as described, although accelerated, will require a significant number of man hours, hence adding cost per unit.  

High cost