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LG bets big with innovative two-tub washer

[Close Up]Eight years in the making, new design already selling well

Aug 24,2015
Workers at the LG Electronics consumer electronics plant in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, assemble the front-loading washer component for the Tromm Twin Wash, which features two tubs. Provided by the company
CHANGWON, South Gyeongsang - Several rows of assembly lines that snap, bolt and press parts for washing machines were humming and whirring at the LG Electronics factory in Changwon, South Gyeongsang.

For the appliance maker’s latest innovation, a special two-phased assembly processes is employed. While parts for the front-loading element are assembled on the first and second floors of the factory, a supplementary tub called a mini washer is made on the sidelines of the first floor of the 627,000-square-meter (6.7 million-square-foot) plant.

And that’s how the appliance giant manufactures the Tromm Twin Wash, the latest premium washer lineup for which LG has high hopes.

The Tromm Twin Wash consists of a front-load washing machine with a smaller washer underneath. The dual tubs, LG believes, generates great value by allowing users to wash two separate loads at once. The company said that the product will let users save time by allowing a separate load of delicate fabrics or light-colored clothes to be washed simultaneously with a regular load.

As the innovative design might indicate, the Tromm Twin Wash requires a more complex manufacturing process.

The exterior panel, called a cabinet assembly, is pressed and molded into a “C” shape in a press machine. The machine can process one cabinet every seven to eight seconds.

The panel is then lifted up to the second floor, where the washing machine assembly line stretches on for 140 meters.

There, the cabinet parts are combined with core parts, such as the motor and transmission. With the key internal parts installed, machines then attach door parts and the top cover.

Song Hyun-wook from the factory’s manufacturing team said that the assembly line can manufacture one unit every 15 seconds.

The completed washing machines then go on to the testing line, where workers check the operations of the washing with different fabrics of diverse weights.

Meanwhile, workers on the first floor assemble the mini washers that will later be installed underneath the main front-load washers.

Instead of outsourcing the labor overseas, LG Electronics chose to make the Tromm Twin Wash at the Changwon factory, in a bid to ensure the quality of the machines.

It took eight years for LG to develop such a dual system, a process that involved a total of 150 engineers and workers.

After debuting at the end of July, the premium washer has been well-received in the domestic market, according to the company.

“Although it was a preorder period at the end of July, the volume of sales was five times larger than existing lineups that have a similar capacity of 21 kilograms,” the company said.

In addition, LG expects sales of the Tromm Twin Wash to account for 10 percent of its overall washing machine sales and 50 percent of washing machines with capacity greater than 17 kilograms.

The electronics powerhouse plans to begin selling the Tromm Twin Wash worldwide in the latter half of the year.

The manufacturer has high expectations for Black Friday in November.

“We have shipped the Tromm Twin Wash in bulk to meet demand during Black Friday,” said Simon Jeon, senior vice president of home appliance and air conditioning soultion divison at LG.

LG Electronics first unveiled the Twin Wash system at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The company said that the idea for a dual washing system was based on surveys and suggestions from washing machine research institutes in the United States, Europe, Japan and India for the past five years.

LG expects the new washer to strengthen its position as the No. 1 washing machine manufacturer.

For the seventh consecutive year, LG Electronics was named the top washing machine brand worldwide in 2014, accounting for 12.4 percent of all washing machines sold.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]



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