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Engineering a Washing Machine for everyone


Wivya 1.65 Washing Machine Specification

The washing machine stands at the cornerstone of modern convenience and is a staple in most households in the developed world. Every component from the drum to the control panel, undergoes extensive analysis and optimisation to ensure durability, efficiency, and user-friendliness. Advanced CAD software helps engineers refine designs. Variable-speed motors and advanced insulation materials minimise energy consumption. Embedded sensors monitor load sizes, fabric type, and optimise the wash cycle. Wi-Fi connectivity enables remote control and monitoring via smartphone apps.

However, around 60% of the world’s population wash their clothes by hand. Installation demands, costs, and reliable water and electricity supply are all contributory factors, making the convenience of a washing machine inaccessible to a significant portion of the global population. 

The Washing Machine Project (TWMP), a social enterprise initiative founded by Nav Sawhney, an engineer and social entrepreneur, has addressed this disparity by engineering a hand-cranked washing machine for communities without electricity. This project exemplifies engineering ingenuity and social responsibility, by offering practical solutions to the fundamental need for clean clothes in developing areas. The outcome is a device that is easily assembled, reliable, of high-quality, and functions on less water and washing detergent.

Choosing the right materials

Choosing the right materials is crucial for the longevity and performance of a washing machine. Engineers meticulously select alloys and polymers that can withstand the rigors of constant use and exposure to water and detergents. Innovations in material science have led to the development of lighter yet stronger components, reducing energy consumption and manufacturing costs.

TWMP’s flagship product, the Divya, is crafted for durability and recyclability. It’s the world’s first flatpack washing machine that allows users to wash their clothes without electricity or a connected water source. As a portable unit, built with commercial-grade components and stainless-steel construction, the machine is easier to distribute and to be fixed remotely and has greater potential to be recycled at the end of its life.

The prolonged physical effort that is usually required to hand wash clothes is replaced instead with a simple manual machine that can be used frequently and safely, saving the user up to 75% of the time compared to hand washing clothes. Its minimal design also reduces the need for repairs as it can be assembled with basic tools, making it easy to maintain and mend using local skills and materials.

With a hatch on the outer top of the machine, users can easily put in the clothes and shut with a locking mechanism. It has an internal drum which rotates by turning the outer handle, and a tap for water release.

The data

  • Laundry Capacity: 5kg
  • Water Capacity: 20L
  • Machine Dry weight: 25kg
  • Power: Manual
  • Wash cycle: 40 Minutes (estimate including water draining + rinsing + wait times)
  • Manual turning time: 6 Minutes

From design to manufacturing, the washing machine continues to advance in technology however it’s the humble hand-cranked washing machine developed through The Washing Machine project that truly represents the pinnacle of engineering ingenuity and social responsibility that impacts human lives. It’s a solution that demonstrates the transformative power of engineering and design in addressing a global challenge to create a more equitable world. Projects have been implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Texas, and Kiribati. Partnerships with organisations like RS, provide components and funding to help amplify the projects reach and impact.

The Washing Machine Project – Snowdon Challenge

On Friday 21st June this year, to honour this innovative engineering feat, and to raise critical funds and awareness for the life-changing work of TWMP around the world, RS is arranging a unique challenge up Mount Snowdon (Yr Wydffa), one of Britain’s highest mountains at an elevation of 1,085 meters above sea level.

Snowden Mountain - The Challenge

There will be two teams:

CARRY Team, lead by Mark Watson, a member of RS’s Talent Acquisition team, will hike the 4.5miles up Mount Snowdon via the Llanberis path with one of the innovative washing machines (weighing 30kgs) on his back.

BUILD Team, lead by Nav Sawhney, founder and CEO of TWMP, will simultaneously ascend using the Snowdon Mountain Railway, transporting a flat-packed version of the washing machine. Upon reaching the summit, this team will need to assemble their machine.

Once each team has a fully assembled machine ready at the top, they will walk a further 2 miles along the Ranger path to Lake Llyn-Ffynnon-gwas to collect water, before walking back and conducting a symbolic laundry wash cycle at the summit.

If you would like to donate to this amazing cause, then please give what you can and help make amazing happen for displaced and low-income families and help to create a better world. RS Group will match all donations!

Donate to The Washing Machine Snowden Challenge

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