Our product philosophy
When we develop our durable and efficient products, we think of everything: Our appliances must be useful to our customers, but their impact on the environment must also be minimised. Our aim is to achieve the right balance between quality of results, operating convenience and environmental compatibility. In line with our motto – 'Immer besser', or 'Forever better' – we always strive to find the best possible solution for our customers and for the environment.
Durable appliances: a choice that makes environmental sense
Miele is the only manufacturer in the industry to test its products to last up to 20 years. For a washing machine, this service life corresponds to approximately 10,000 operating hours. But does it make environmental sense to keep using an appliance for so long? After all, modern appliances often consume much less energy than their predecessors from 20 years ago. The results of a 2014 study conducted by the Institute for Applied Ecology on behalf of Miele showed that it is better for the environment to use an appliance that was the most efficient in its class at the time of purchase for as long as possible. Only in the case of very old tumble dryers and refrigerators/freezers may it be worthwhile to replace the appliances before they reach the end of their service life, as huge increases in efficiency have been achieved in these product groups in recent years.
Environmentally compatible and innovative
Even in the very early stages of product development, we work to maximise environmental compatibility. We use an environmental checklist to ensure that all legal requirements and our strict internal environmental standards are fulfilled. We also develop new, more sustainable business models. One example is our automatic detergent dispensing system TwinDos, which reduces detergent consumption by up to 30 percent. We use customer surveys and user tests to ensure that our new developments meet the needs of our customers.
Warendorf Technical Centre
This place is all about plastics: the aim of the new technical centre in Warendorf (opening autumn 2019) is to further develop technologies and manufacturing processes, optimise materials and analyse markets. Miele produces most of the plastic parts for its household appliances at the Warendorf location, from vacuum cleaner housings to complex assembly parts such as washing machine doors. The new technical centre – covering an area of 1,000 square metres – is set to push innovation in plastics processing. Miele is investing around three million euros in this project to that end.
The Warendorf plant boasts a high level of competence in plastics processing. Plastic parts for household appliances have been developed and produced here since 1974. There are now 50 injection moulding machines in use, as well as other processes such as bonding, welding and joining. “We have the opportunity to try out a lot of different things in our new technical centre,” says plant manager Markus Hüskes, highlighting part of the overall concept.
The plastics specialists also look into production technologies from other industries with the aim of transferring the technologies into household appliance production. The technical centre offers space and facilities for the necessary research and experimentation. There are also joint projects with universities, research institutes, suppliers, recycling companies as well as the regular exchanges with the other Miele production sites in Gütersloh, Bielefeld and Uničov.
The importance of plastics in industrial production continues to grow. “The quality, load-bearing capacity and service life of plastics can now compete with metal in many applications, with even precision parts now being a possibility,” explains plant manager Hüskes. The recyclability of plastics is also very good – as long as the material is processed in its pure form. Recyclates themselves are more difficult to use, “but there have been a lot of developments in that area as well,” says Hüskes. The plant’s own plastic waste is also set to be integrated more closely into the production process. “We’re well on our way to a circular economy.”
The highest standards of safety
The safety of our products is our top priority at Miele. It helps that we produce many of our components ourselves: Our in-house production depth – the proportion of components we produce ourselves – is as high as 50 percent for some of our products. This approach means that we retain greater control over the design and quality of the various components we use. Independent bodies such as VDE, DEKRA, or TÜV, test our products for compliance with safety requirements. In addition to laws and standards, in-house Miele standards apply in all areas, and in some cases set even higher requirements with respect to product safety. Miele Professional appliances offer special programmes – with features such as high rinse temperatures and long temperature holding times – to suit the specific hygiene requirements of establishments such as retirement homes, hospitals, or hotels. As a certified medical product manufacturer, Miele meets all statutory hygiene standards.
Repair-friendly appliances, outstanding customer service
Miele domestic appliances are renowned for their reliability. Nevertheless, over the course of an appliance life, faults may occur that require the assistance of the Customer Service Team. In order to keep costs low in such cases, the appliances are designed to be 'repair-friendly'. Our service technicians undergo rigorous training and complete their service calls in fully equipped service vans. In the comparative 'Kundenmonitor Deutschland' study, Miele Service came in No. 1 in its branch again in 2018 – unbeaten over a period of 25 years.