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Motor Motor

Summary

  • Failure mode Poor quality of the brushes/armature windings can lead to reduced power or failure.
  • Durability feature Use better quality motors or brushless motors to prolong life.
  • Cost

Good practices

  • Good practicesCompliance with specified tests
  • Good practicesHigh quality motors with long brushes and good quality windings
  • Good practicesBrushless motors
  • Good practicesDocumented quality control

Bad practices

  • Bad practicesNo testing of machine motor
  • Bad practicesPoor quality brushes and windings
  • Bad practicesNo documented quality control inspection

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

Motor failures typically occur later in life due to wear and tear, however some warranty claims are beginning to make this an early life failure if users inappropriately load or use the machine.

Later in lifetime

  • Wear and tear.
  • Users overloading or unevenly balancing the load in the drum.

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.

Resetting thermal-override; specified to at least 1,300 wash cycles

  • Quality control procedures to be in place and documented for the motors as supplied parts to the washing machine manufacturer as per requirements below.
  • Resetting thermal-override switch to be fitted to prevent motor burn-out.
  • Motor to be specified to last at least 1,300 wash cycles. *
  • Motor to be easily accessible through an access panel or through the rear panel to allow replacement without use of special tools.
  • Replacement motors to be available in the UK at reasonable cost (less than 25% of machine cost) for at least 5 years after the machine is last manufactured.

Repairable motor; load sensor; specified to at least 1,800 cycles 

  • The machine should indicate a self-diagnostic fault code on the display that shows which components (including PCBs) have failed. Any fault codes to be made freely and publically available to the repair sector.
  • Machine to provide unbalanced load sensors and automatic correction or visible warning to user to redistribute the load.
  • Motor to be specified to last at least 1,800 wash cycles

Brushless motor; specified to at least 2,300 wash cycles

  • Brushless motor to be used.

  • Motor to be specified to last at least 2,300 wash cycles

Testing to demonstrate performance

Ask for clear evidence of requirements listed, e.g.:  technical specifications, drawings, photographs; test data (ideally from an independent test house), quality control data.

* Motor to be tested on 10 randomly selected production machines without failure or reduced performance in 100% of cases. To be tested for the full number of test cycles specified, on a 40 degree cotton wash cycle, with a mixed clothing load of 50% of the maximum and to encompass the highest spin speed. Details of the actual test method is to be  declared.

  • Thermal switch to comply with EN 60335-1 Annex D.

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

Thermal Override Auto Reset Switch

This should already be present under safety requirements for appliances and hence should not add cost.

Low cost

Better motors

Numerous types of AC and DC motors are available, with various components. The motor is the single most expensive electro-mechanical item on a washing machine and higher quality, with better brushes and windings for example, will add a few pounds to the overall cost.   

Testing

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

High cost

Brushless motors

The latest electronically controlled motors as used on some washing machines, while very reliable and long-lasting, will add considerable cost.