Cordless stick vacuum cleaners have made hoovering a lot more convenient, but they have a drawback: the need to empty dustbins frequently due to their small capacity.
A team of engineers at LG Electronics worked to solve this problem for years and recently came up with an answer -- a new charging system integrated with automatic dustbin removal technology. Every time a user docks the vacuum cleaner in its stand to charge, the dustbin is automatically emptied.
“Regardless of nationality, age and gender, a common wish among users of vacuum cleaners is to have someone else do the cleaning,” said Yoo Byung-do, who led the planning for the stick vacuum cleaner product at LG. “The acts of cleaning are pretty much the same in Korea and elsewhere, and users put the top priority on convenience.”
And so came the LG CordZero A9 Kompressor+ with the “All-in-one Tower” charging stand.
When the CordZero A9 Kompressor+ is docked for recharging, the contents of the dustbin are automatically sucked into the charging station and collected in an attached dust bag.
Of course, this dust bag has a limited capacity and requires manual maintenance. The company recommends emptying it every three months based on average household use.
Released in the South Korean market in March with hassle-free cleaning as its motto, the package is scheduled to hit the global market in the second half of this year.
The team embarked on the research in 2018. The most difficult part was the opening and closing of the dustbin lid, explained Moon Si-hwan, an engineer on the handy stick development team. “Four robotic arms, though they look simple, do the job of opening and closing the lid of the dustbin, when it’s docked in the stand,” he said.
“The most challenging part was to ensure that the robotic arms do not wear out and the dustbin lid is closed properly so that no dust particles leak out.”
To ensure perfect suctioning, the team analyzed dust during the research period.
“We collected bags of dust particles in handy stick cleaners used in ordinary Korean homes to learn about different types of dust, their properties and average amounts of dust from ordinary houses,” Yoo said.
“The dust analysis was essential to deciding on the optimal size of the dust bag filled inside the stand, and making sure dust particles are not leaked during the process of suctioning from the bin to the bags,” said Song Ki-yong, who is in charge of sales engineering.
The All-in-one Tower auto emptying charger is equipped with a UVC light-emitting diode bulb that limits the growth of germs and bacteria inside the dust bag.
“It was also challenging to find an optimal position of the UVC-LED lamp with an optimal angle to properly sterilize the inside of the dust bag,” Song added. “This is one of the core technologies that can’t be copied by competitors.”
The global vacuum cleaner market is estimated to be worth about 20 trillion won ($17.95 billion), with some 3,000 manufacturers vying for market share.
It has seen an average growth of 6 percent each year between 2015 to 2020, with the cordless cleaner sector having rapidly expanded by around 20 percent, according to market researcher Euromonitor.
The Korean company was not the first to introduce wireless cleaners, but it is definitely the first to provide a dustbin that can be emptied without human hands.
By last year LG had rolled out its previous CordZero A9 and A9K models in 12 countries, including the United States, and it plans to release the latest automatic dustbin removal system in those markets this year.
LG customers who already own an A9 or A9K vacuum cleaner could consider buying the tower as it is compatible with and accommodates all the company’s existing products.
“Our goal is to develop new products upgraded from predecessors all the time,” said Yoo. “It is easier to make entirely new products than make something based on previous models while introducing new technologies.”
By Song Su-hyun (email@example.com