Towards a durability test for washing-machines

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Abstract

Durability plays a key role in enhancing resource conservation and contributing to waste minimization. The washing-machine product group represents 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. We developed a procedure to test the durability performance of washing-machines as a main objective of this research. The research method consisted of an analysis of available durability standards and procedures to test products and components, followed by an analysis of relevant references related to frequent failures. Finally, we defined the criteria and the conditions for a repeatable, relatively fast and relevant endurance test. The durability test considered the whole product tested under conditions of stress. A series of spinning cycles with fixed imbalanced 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 washing-machines can sustain such a test without abrasion or performance deterioration. However, the attempt to reproduce the stress induced on a washing-machine by carrying out a high number of pure spinning cycles with fixed loads did not allow equal testing conditions: the actions of the control procedure regarding imbalanced loads differ from machine to machine. The outcomes of this research can be used as grounds to develop standardised durability tests and to, hence, contribute to the development of future product policy measures.

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Stamminger, R., Tecchio, P., Ardente, F., Mathieux, F., & Niestrath, P. (2018). Towards a durability test for washing-machines. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 131, 206–215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.11.014

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