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Panasonic Develops Heat-Pump Drying System for Home-Use Washer-Dryers


WEBWIRE

- The new tilted-drum machine dries clothes quickly without using a heater, achieving significant reductions in energy, water and time -

Osaka, Japan - Panasonic, the leading brand name for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is best known, today unveiled its innovative tilted-drum washer-dryer that uses no heater or water during the dry cycle. Incorporating a heat-pump dryer for the first time in the world, the NA-VR1000 completes a cycle of washing and drying using half the energy, water and time required for our conventional model*. The new model will be available in Japan from November 28, 2005.
Conventional drum-type washer-dryers use heater dryers. During the dry cycle, they consume a large amount of electricity to heat the air and many litters of water to cool the hot air and carry away moisture from the drum.

Panasonic’s heat-pump drying system has revolutionized the dry cycle, completely eliminating the need for a heater and water. The new drying system dries clothes by exchanging heat via heat-pump unit. As it does not let heat or moisture escape outside the dryer drum, it is highly energy efficient. Also, the superior drying and moisture removing capability dries garments more quickly. For example, three dress shirts will dry in 20 minutes (one-third of the time) and a bulky blanket in one and a half hours (one-half of the time), compared to other conventional dryers.

The reduction in the consumption of electricity, water and time provides significant savings of almost 24,000 yen a year.

As the heat-pump drying system pumps warm air at the temperature of about 65 degrees centigrade, it is gentle to garments, preventing shrinkage and damage that can be caused by dryer heat. Furthermore, users can open the door anytime during the dry cycle to take out or add garments - conventional dryer doors are locked as the dryers get hot.

The NA-VR1000 also features the newly-developed “warm water jet and foam washing system.” The warm water jet adds more cleaning power to the foam washing system that is used in the current models. Combined with concentrated detergent foam, it eliminates bacteria and odor more effectively than cold-water washes. Cold-water wash can also be selected according to need. The washing system is included in the tilted-drum washer-dryer models released in China this month.

Loaded with Panasonic’s ideas for high performance, greener environment and user convenience, the NA-VR1000 responds to user needs. According to a survey, consumers give great importance to savings in energy, water and time when buying a drum-type washer-dryer.

Panasonic expects overall demand for washers in Japan to double to 4.5 million units by March 2006. Among them, washer and dryer combination machines will be 630,000 units, up 132 percent from a year ago. This accounts for about 15 percent of the total demand for fully-automatic washers. As consumers become increasingly conscious about environmental soundness and performance of their appliances, the company believes the demand for drum-type washer-dryers will increase.

Mr. Yoshitaka Hayashi, President of Matsushita Home Appliances Company, said, “We believe it’s time for us to bring new value-added products such as this washer-dryer to China and other parts of Asia. We have been building up our home appliance business overseas, especially in those markets. In the past, we mostly produced price-oriented mid-line products there. Two years ago, however, we began introducing our ’V-products’ that can attain top shares in high-volume markets with our ’black-box’ technologies.”

“We have also been expanding the product range with our so-called ’G-products’ that offer advanced features at affordable prices. While our facilities in Japan serve as mother plants, we are building hub factories in Hangzhou, China, and Thailand. In Japan, we continue to develop innovative products and the hub factories will adapt them to meet local needs. Also, they complement each other. We will continue to create and deliver cost-and energy-saving appliances including drum-type washer-dryers as well as air conditioners with automatic filter cleaning system, steam ovens and bottom-freezer-type refrigerators in those markets,” said Mr. Hayashi.

Panasonic also announced two new tilted-drum washer-dryers, the NA-V82 and NA-V62. They use the same washing system as the NA-VR1000 and incorporate direct-drive motors and vibration censors for quieter operation.

* Compared to the previous drum-type washer-dryer NA-V81 for a load of 6 kg.

About Panasonic
Best known by its Panasonic brand name, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of US$81.44 billion for the year ended March 31, 2005. The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, New York (NYSE:MC), Euronext Amsterdam and Frankfurt stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company’s website at http://panasonic.co.jp/global/index.html.



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