As the going got tough for the major appliance industry, manufacturers got going by introducing a host of new products in advance of next month's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), which returns to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta May 1-3.
Among those launching new platforms is Haier America. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the sales and marketing arm of China's Haier Group in North and South America debuted several innovations at last month's International Housewares Show in Chicago, including a new HyCool compact refrigerator line with eco-friendly refrigerant, and a combination unit that melds a 2.7-cubic-foot fridge featuring Haier's refrigerant-free NuCool technology with a 0.7-cubic-foot, 700-watt microwave oven.
“While the industry and economy are going through difficult times, we are very optimistic and encouraged by our new product launches and record-breaking first quarter performance,” said Haier America CEO Michael Jemal. “Over the past few years we have invested heavily in research and development for more efficient and environmentally friendly appliance solutions.”
Haier describes NuCool as a patented technology that “combines the best attributes of semiconductor and compressor cooling into an enhanced thermoelectric technology” that is capable of maintaining temperatures down to within 5 degrees of freezing.
Also new from Haier is the dorm-friendly “Write Fridge,” which allows consumers to scribble notes and shopping lists directly on its surface with included erasable markers.
Elsewhere, Broan-NuTone has expanded its range-hood portfolio with the new Broan Elite series E640000 and E60000. According to kitchen ventilation marketing manager Brian Wellnitz, the new models were designed to provide consumers with “the professional look they want yet with a modern twist,” including such updated styling cues such as a rounded nose and rotary controls. The company also included its most popular blowers with the hoods “to give consumers a fresh, modern and professional look without compromising high performance,” he said.
The E640000 model is a 10-inch under-cabinet design available in 30-, 36-,42- and 48-inch widths and a 22-inch depth. It comes standard with a 600-cubic-feet-per-minute (CFM) internal blower, although a 1,200 CFM blower is available in the 48-inch model.
The E60000 us an 18-inch wall-mount design with a 24-inch depth. Like its stable mate, the 30- and 36-inch versions come standard with 600 CFM internal blowers, while the 42- and 48-inch E60000s come standard with 1,200 CFM internal blowers. Additional ventilation options are also available, including several external blower options ranging from 280 CFM to 1,500 CFM to address noise and performance requirements.
Both models are offered in a brushed stainless-steel finish and feature bright halogen lighting; commercial-look, dishwasher-safe baffle filters with a removable grease drip rail; variable speed controls; a Heat Sentry monitor that automatically turns the unit on high when excessive heat is detected; and quiet operation at 2 Sones or less at normal speed.
An optional commercial-look back-splash is offered with the E640000 while a pro-style backsplash and decorative 12-inch soffit flue is offered with the E60000. A recirculation kit is also available for kitchens where outdoor venting is not possible.
Other recent rollouts include Liebherr's freestanding HRB 1110 refrigerator and companion HF 851 freezer, the latest addition to its Premium Plus platform of 24-inch, fully integrated refrigeration products featuring the BioFresh extended-preservation system.
According to Liebherr North America VP Marc Perez, the new models were developed in response to “continuous consumer and designer enquiries about a fully-integrated product with BioFresh.” The system helps keep consumables fresher longer.