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2010 Best in Category: Floor Care Electrics

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Electrolux Home Care Products, Inc.

Electrolux UltraSilencer Green

The design for the Electrolux UltraSilencer Green canister vacuum, winner of the 2010 Housewares Design Award for Floor Care Electrics, began with what the company describes as consumer insight, or in this instance consumer “pain points.”

“We know that 40% of canister users hate the loud noise associated with most vacuum cleaners,” explained Richard Chapman, general manager/Electrolux brand at Electrolux Home Care Products. “So that was one of the key benefits we looked to create for this product.”

To eliminate the noise, the company started with what Chapman termed a “super quiet motor,” one that used 9-amps of power compared to the more conventionally employed 12-amp motors. By changing the motor the company also derived a second benefit, reducing energy consumption by 30%. Additional noise reduction was achieved through interior insulation of the body cavity, which serves to dampen motor noise.

The UltraSilencer also employs aesthetic design cues, reflective of the Electrolux design heritage. “This is a very contemporary, European design,” said Chapman.

Aesthetics play an important, though often subliminal role in consumer purchase patterns. Industry insiders note for example, that if consumers touch or handle a given unit, they are approximately 50% more likely to buy that unit.

The UltraSilencer Green, as its name suggests, is also designed to minimize its environmental impact and the company has taken a number of steps toward that end. For example, Chapman noted that Electrolux conducted extensive research to find recycled plastics that would provide the durability necessary to stand up to rigorous consumer use. Chapman noted, for example, that utilizing recycled plastics that lacked sufficient durability, ultimately could shorten a product’s lifecycle and result in a quicker trip to the landfill; a decidedly un-green outcome.

“Our design team in Stockholm spent a lot of time looking at the durability of different recycled plastics,” said Chapman.

The result of that effort is a machine that is constructed of 55% recycled plastic and meets Electrolux standards for quality and durability. The company also extended its “green” effort to the products’ packaging as well, employing 80% recycled cardboard that is not bleached, which further reduces chemical usage in the process. The vac is also equipped with a high-efficiency suction fan unit and floor nozzle, further intended to maximize energy efficiency.

However, Chapman noted that consumers will not inherently select a product strictly on its “green” credentials and still want all the performance features they would expect on any other vacuum. To that end the UltraSilencer Green employs user-friendly features like a 360-degree swivel hose for enhanced maneuverability, a large, 2-dry-quart-capacity dust bag and a washable HEPA filter.

?—By Bill McLoughlin

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