I'd like to hear from some consumer electronics designers on this topic; My 5+ year old Kenmore Eltie needed the control panel replaced, most likely because of >cheap< silver ink flex. I know from direct experieince that the cycle life of switches using silver ink is limited. Can't solder it to fix it either. Given the very low cost of kapton flex in volume, I find this unforgiveable.
My 25 year old Jennair has had the control panel rebuilt a half dozen times. Parts are no longer available & my next home project will be to remodel the ktichen & replace it (ugh). At least I will end up with a gas stove again but I am sure I will have the same issues with .. control panels!
It is apparent that the quality of appliances being made today has taken a serious nosedive. Appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves etc. used to last 25-30 years or more. So much for the term "durable goods". The dramatic and seemingly sudden reduction in life of appliances in general, would be a fantastic opportunity for one or more companies to build a lasting quality line of these products, as discontent customers of current offerings would beat a path to your door. It appears an industry wide cost reduction program were put in place at the expense of a multitude of dissatisfied customers. I will keep my older appliances going as long as possible and hopefully better quality products will emerge before I have to bite the bullet and replace them.
Beth has a point. I had an extreme version of an old refrigerator once. I lived in a house built in the 1920s. The house was charming, but the kitchen was very small. The only refrigerator that fit the micro refrigerator space was tiny. The freezer compartment was actually inside the fridge.
The unit was very reliable, but it wasn't much fun.
In theory, I have to agree with you, Lauren. But who isn't seduced by the new gadgetry and sleek look of new appliances compared with the old. You can't remodel a kitchen and keep the aging stuff around without a major overhaul appearing dated. That said, there is the question to be asked about why these new models don't perform well or don't last longer. I think your point about keeping them around as long as there are spare parts is sound, but my guess is those part reserves dry up in no time so we all cave into our urges for those shiny new appliances every 10 years!
After reading about the constantly failing new appliances it makes the most sense to keep the old ones around. Finding replacement parts for the old appliances make sense, but I wonder if they are easy to get a hold of.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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