New technology, producing im-provements in all types of appliances -- from faster cooking to quieter dishwashing to more convenient food and beverage storage -- was on view throughout this year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), as both cooking-specialty manufacturers and multiproduct companies showed off their newest developments.
Sharing the K/BIS spotlight with cooking appliances earlier this month in Chicago were a number of new refrigeration units, particularly compact refrigerators in a broad palette of colors. Several companies also introduced their latest-generation dishwashers, with an emphasis on flexible loading and quiet operation, and a few firms also showed off their initial entries into new product categories.
Asko highlighted at K/BIS its fully integrated dishwashers, available now, as well as its front-loading washers.
New exhibitor Avanti Products brought to the show its first home/office bottled-water dispensers, due out in June in both floor-standing and countertop versions. Avanti also showed off a new 24-inch black gas range and a stackable laundry pair that can handle a 12-pound load.
New from BSH Appliances under its Bosch brand was a dishwasher line said by the company to establish a "world record" in sound reduction, with operating sound as low as 46 decibels thanks to a new design that includes anti-vibration technology.
The top-end Bosch Integra dishwasher includes an audible end signal, and the company's 4300 series has been enhanced with a new delicate/ economy cycle. The Bosch dishwasher line includes the firm's first offering in the new biscuit color.
Caldera highlighted its new MagicTouch 2000 cooktop series, with dual 2,500-watt burners at the front of the cooktop. The company's Microcycling technology is said to provide precision cooking by offering exact temperature control.
Dacor showed off its first all-gas Epicure range, available in later summer in both 30- and 36-inch configurations. The firm also had new wall ovens at K/BIS and has added a 14,000-Btu burner on all gas cooktops.
Danby Products begins deliveries in May on its new 25-bottle wine cooler with curved door. Danby also introduced a 4.4-cubic-foot compact refrigerator in white and stainless steel and showed several retro-look topmount refrigerators to gauge retail reaction.
New from Dynamic Cooking Systems were a 6.1-cubic-foot undercounter refrigerator, an infrared heater, and a propane-fueled hibachi barbecue.
In addition to a new countertop Mini-Maid PLS 600 dishwasher, designed exclusively for glassware, Equator spotlighted a prototype 12-cubic-foot round refrigerator with circular shelves and curved, rotating bins that could be on the market by fall. The company also showed a stainless-steel buffet cart with a heated-food area that is expected to be available in 90 days.
Fisher & Paykel highlighted its recently introduced EcoSmart laundry pair, as well as a new kitchen appliance family that includes single and double self-cleaning convection ovens, a 36-inch gas cooktop, and a restyled DishDrawer dishwasher. Due in U.S. stores in the fourth quarter, the units feature brushed stainless-steel surfaces and quilted corners.
FiveStar offered a new 30-inch stainless-steel gas range with one Vari-Flame 400-Btu simmer burner; the company also showed a new grill accessory for its professional-style ranges.
Gaggenau highlighted its combination steam oven, a new four-element ceramic cooktop in black glass and aluminum, and a 48-inch black-glass cooktop in a diamond shape.
Garland showed off new 60- and 72-inch Culinary gas range with two convection ovens, six burners -- including two 18,000-Btu Starfire burners -- and a grill.
Haier America Trading brought a number of concept products to the show to test retail reaction. Among them were colorful vacuum cleaners; compact refrigerators in a variety of colors, including blue, green and rust; a glass-topped chest freezer with removable folding lid; and a full-size top-loading washer and matching dryer.
In-Sink-Erator offered 15 new disposer accessories and parts, including an improved Sink-Top switch and a SilverSaver Stopper, designed to protect silverware from getting caught in the disposer.
LG Electronics spotlighted its new Intellowave programmable microwave oven.
Marvel Industries highlighted its dual-zone Wine Grotto, a 14.9-cubic-foot unit that holds 98 bottles in two separately controlled temperature zones.
First-time K/BIS exhibitor Samsung showed off new microwave ovens, including the Sub-Marine, a 0.7-cubic-foot model with round window in the door. Samsung also previewed two Quiet Jet upright vacuum cleaners with new air-circulation system.
Sharp Electronics showed its six new Platinum Collection microwave ovens, said to have a usable capacity of 2 cubic feet but a narrower footprint because of a space-saving control panel on the door. The company also showed a prototype of its Smart & Easy touchscreen microwave, with an interactive LCD display, and a rainbow of bright new colors for its Half Pint 0.5-cubic-foot microwave oven.
Sub-Zero's K/BIS entries included the Wolf Gourmet range line the company acquired earlier this year.
Thermador offered three versions of speed-cooking ovens including the CJ, a convection/microwave combination model. Thermador also exhibited an expanded built-in oven line and a new 30-inch indoor gas grill.
Viking Range spotlighted the initial models in its new Designer Series, a complete line with a family look due out this fall. The line includes gas and smoothtop electric cooktops, 27- and 30-inch built-in ovens and warming drawers, range hoods, dishwashers and refrigerators. Also new from Viking was a 36-inch commercial-style gas range, available in the second quarter, and new 30- and 36-inch electric cooktops, headed for stores this fall.