The is the second post highlighting the shoddy design of burying the coin catch somewhere in the bowels of the unit within the last couple of weeks. I didn't even know there was such a thing on a washer or a dryer--I simply thought the lint catcher was it. Every time I run my dryer, I hear the sounds of a coin trapped somewhere deep inside the unit. But given your experiences, I'm also going to opt for the appliance to keep the change.
This doevtails with quality vs. perceived quality. Quality is conformance to specifications. A 'good' design conforms to design specifications. To say this is a poor design because you can't service the machine is an opinion. If the design specification was for the least expensive assembly cost, coupled with common parts across a product line, but didn't include being consumer friendly to empty the coin-catcher, or filter; success has been achieved.
For the record, I am also frustrated by appliances and machinery that are designed for assembly, vs. designed to be serviced. The first time I heard that a car engine had to be dropped to change a spark plug I thought it was a joke. When I read a story that Volvo was going to change the hood latch so that only a service technician could open it - not the owner - I thought that I would never consider buying any car with such a restriction.
You share an interesting perspective GlennA and unfortunately you are correct if success is measured by achieving the design specification rather than how well the product meets the needs of the consumer. This is a major reason why I never make an appliance purchase without reading consumer reviews first and waiting for the product to have been on the market for awhile because these problems inevitably surface. Unfortunately the writer of this article didn't have much choice in his purchase given his circumstances. In a perfect world the consumer would not be the test ground for a product's serviceability (especially for pm!) but unfortunately that is often not the case.
GlennA, you're right, and I never really thought of it that way. As engineers we have a good design if it matches the specification, not if it works properly for the end user. The specification is typically written by the Marketing people and we hope that they know what the customer really needs. I frequently demonstrate the product as it goes through the design phases so that Marketing can see exactly what it is that the device will do, since they may not have carefully though through the user interface. If I find an issue I'll demonstrate the design as specified and then demonstrate the design with the altered specification so we can agree upon the approach. Agency approvals are now requiring that usability studies be performed to make certain that a well designed product isn't simply a product that meets specifications.
I'm surprised--maybe I shouldn't be--at how many Made by Monkeys posts are about problems with washing machines or clothes dryers. You would think by now all these issues would be resolved by basic design principles. My 12-year-old low-end GE traps coins in the lint filter, or they just fall on the bottom of the inside drum where they can be easily removed. No coins or other loose objects ever go anywhere else. I'm still amazed--and I think I should be--at how many machines with filters that need cleaning are not designed to make this possible, let alone easy, without disassembling everything. All I can say is, keep 'em coming: I learn a lot about repair and maintenance, as well as which models to avoid. I'll certainly avoid this one.
We allow unsupervised guests to use the laundry facilities and they do not usually empty the beach sand, coins, car keys, cell phones,etc... from their pockets prior to washing.
I was quite surprised to find in a rather high end, well reviewed appliance that something I had previously checked weekly through a simple plug in the front panel was now akin to removing the seats and dashboard in my car to refill the wiper reserve. Also since this officially requires a service call to maintain the warranty, it could become rather expensive. That's likely going to be the case when the washer finally jams solid with coins and sand.
It's a very pretty machine with all of sorts of nifty features and user interface but Maytag seems to have missed the point that someone will have do some sort of simple routine, maintenance to use their product. I'm surprised that the dryer lint filter is still removable.
@Tekochip: Useability studies would be a great way to get to the truth and find out whether the product has been designed to meet the "real" user requirements, not the ones merely translated via marketing. The problem is useability studies add time and cost to the development cycle, which in the realities of today's market, likely isn't viable for most companies and for most product development cycles.
Beth, I think you've nailed it: the profit margins on consumer white goods are not high to begin with, and must be kept low by foregoing things like market research, focus groups, or usability studies. OTOH, what I have trouble getting past is the lack of rocket science/design in many of these basic machines, plus the fact that it's all been done before, and often much better, a zillion times over several decades. So where and how do the dumb changes come into what was a better, older design?
Those little changes are likely due to time and cost. Tweak something to make a part smaller or less expensive or perhaps eliminate a part altogether and don't do the proper testing, and voila, you've introduced a spate of new problems that don't surface until the product is well into its lifecycle.
Maytag produced a "pretty' machine with a nice user interface control that "wows" you in the showroom. I bought one... "Job done, next customer please. Are you interested in our extended service contract? "
I think they ( and many other companies ) have misplaced the concept of designing a product that should be functional and user maintainable for years ( if not decades, My grandmothers' 40 year old Maytag was running fine when she passed away. My sister took it home. ) Instead of their previous business of durable, dependable, household goods, they have focussed on the quick turn, design for this year and we'll sell a different version next year, product line. This might work well if you sell smartphones, computers, HDTVs,etc.. But we're talking washing machines.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.