The laundry category took center stage for majap exhibitors at the International Builders' Show (IBS), held here last week at the Orange County Convention Center.
In an effort to capitalize on laundry's newfound favor with consumers (washers were the biggest majap sales gainer in 2005, growing nearly 7 percent in unit volume through November), manufacturers offered up a whole new slew of makes and models.
One of the more unique laundry innovations came from LG Electronics, which, under newly named majap division president Soon Kwon, added a SteamWasher model with remote monitoring capabilities to its LG Tromm front-load platform. LG's proprietary technology uses steam to remove wrinkles and odors from clothing without water or detergent. The company said that its new SteamFresh cycle will reduce ironing and trips to the dry cleaner, while also refreshing clothes between washes.
Whirlpool was first to market with a product that uses steam heat to freshen clothes, although its Personal Valet is a freestanding cabinet with no wash functionality.
The steam generator enables superior performance, higher energy efficiency and water conservation when compared to traditional machines, LG said, while its 1,320 RPM, 4.0-cubic-foot drum makes it one of the largest capacity and fastest-spinning washers in the industry.
The SteamWasher will be available next quarter at a suggested retail price of $1,499 to $1,599.
(Complete coverage of the IBS will appear in the next issue.)