Mouldy door seals can lead to machines being returned or disposed of early.
This problem is caused by a combination of factors including: complex seal shape (bellows which trap dirt and are hard to clean), poor cleaning instructions / inadequate cleaning, over-dosing of detergents and low temperature washes.
In the longer term the door seal may split or otherwise leak. Door seals are made of silicone rubber which is generally very durable if to the correct specification.
Faults can be caused by inadequate material thickness, stress concentrations and inadequate flex as the drum rotates and vibrates.
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.
Door seal dark grey colour; strong, simple ‘smooth’ design (easy cleaning); specified to last 1300 cycles; easy seal replacement
Anti-bacterial door seal; specified to last 1,800 cycles
Service wash cycle indication; specified to last 2,300 cycles
Look for a smooth door seal profile (good) and any thin/flimsy seal materials (bad)
Ask for clear evidence of requirements listed above to be provided to the buyer: technical specifications, drawings, photographs; test data / quality control data.
* Seal to be tested on 10 randomly selected production machines, without cracking, separation, leaking or other failure in 100% of cases. Test to be for the full number of test cycles specified, on a 40 degree cotton cycle, with a load of 50% of the maximum weight and to encompass the highest spin speed. Details of the actual test method is to be declared.
Use per week is assumed to be 4.9 times (EU preparatory study LOT 14)
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).
Anti-mould / anti-bacterial door seal
Door seals are relatively cheap and antibacterial coatings are now widely used, hence treated seals should be available at a very low cost.
‘Easy Peel’ Sticker
High volume printed stickers are typically a few pence per unit and hence should be a very low cost.
More durable seal
A higher specification seal, for example one that has higher material strength and improved durability, is expected to increase the cost by a few tens of pence where a suitable ‘off the shelf’ item is available.
A simulated test as described, although accelerated, will require test rigs and a significant number of man hours, hence adding cost per unit.
More durable seal
Where an existing seal is not available and new tooling is required, this could add further cost depending on the quantities produced.