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Fotile's innovation brings happiness to millions of families around world

By ZHUANG QIANGE and PANG BO | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-11 09:43
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Xu Hui, general manager at Fotile's dishwasher product line, leads her staffers in developing innovative dishwashers. CHINA DAILY

Xu Hui, general manager of Fotile's dishwasher product line, had almost lost hope of developing a dishwasher that would function as a sink, as well as wash dishes, fruits and vegetables.

One day while driving, Xu suddenly thought of the turbocharged engine of a car, and inspired by it, began to develop an "open double pump" system to be used in the company's successful sink dishwasher.

As early as in 2011, researchers in Fotile were the first to realize that foreign dishwashers were not suitable for Chinese kitchens, so they embarked on a path of independently researching and developing Chinese dishwashers.

Founded in 1996, Fotile offers solutions for various kitchen scenarios — cooking, cleaning and electric appliances — and is the No 1 dishwasher maker in the country.

Mao Zhongqun, chairman and president of Fotile, set a target for the product research and development team: "To be a high-end brand and a leading enterprise, we must persist in innovation and make original and inventive innovations."

In 2011, Xu and her team members started five years of hard exploration, visiting more than 1,000 families in 40 cities spanning 100,000 kilometers, hosting 274 special seminars and crafting 150-odd designs, before finalizing the sink dishwasher in 2015. They won more than 100 patents for this.

The year 2015 marked the first year of real progress for Chinese dishwashers, and Fotile is said to have "reinvented" the dishwasher in China.

New creation

Xu said that with the development of dishwashers in China, Fotile has always been a pioneer, a leader and a senior expert in the industry.

She added that if China was "the crown of the global home-appliances market," then the pearls in that crown were long dominated by foreign brands.

Siemens refrigerators, Daikin air conditioners and Sony TVs had lured the previous generation of Chinese consumers.

In China's home appliances industry, there is no other category as special as dishwashers, she said, noting that although imported products dominated the market since their entry in the late 1980s, the enthusiasm of Chinese users for home-built dishwashers has not waned.

When Fotile created the sink dishwasher in 2015, it changed the domestic dishwasher landscape, ushering in a new era for Chinese brands that surpassed the market share of foreign brands, and driving domestic dishwasher makers to achieve nearly 10-fold growth in just five years, said Zhu Keli, founding president of the National Research Institute of New Economics.

Since 2016, Xu has led her team to embark on a new path of inventions.

The first problem facing the R&D team was that the conditions for cavitation effect were harsh, with stringent requirements for the velocity, flow rate and temperature of water flow. Meanwhile, it was imperative to balance the cleaning effectiveness of water flow, as less water flow would not guarantee thorough cleaning while more might cause harm to tableware.

In order to find the water balance for cleaning effectiveness, a large number of tests were done. It is said that its R&D engineer Shi Zhengzan ate more than 1,000 portions of pot rice during the tests to provide cleaning samples, and his weight soared by more than 20 kilograms.

In 2020, Xu and her colleagues successfully put the technology of cavitation effect into a dishwasher and named it high-pressure hydrojet technology.

New technology

In 2018, when Fotile launched its K3 series of sink dishwashers, it also brought out a 1.0 version of high-energy bubble washing.

This high-pressure hydro-jet technology uses high-frequency vibration to form thousands of invisible bubbles in water, and the impact of bubble explosion can quickly peel off stains and pesticide residues in dishes, or fruits and vegetables, opening up a new path unlike those of the foreign brands.

In 2020, Fotile's researchers were inspired by submarines' underwater cleaning technology and created the 2.0 version of high-energy bubble washing, largely elevating the cleaning effect by generating cavitation effect with high-speed water flow.

They upgraded the 2.0 version to the 3.0 version by applying a principle from bionics.

For 28 years, Fotile has invested at least 5 percent of its sales revenue in R&D every year, Xu said.

The National Research Center for Industrial Information Security Development and the Electronic Intellectual Property Center of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a report that "with its leading innovative technology, Fotile is leading the technological innovation and development of dishwashers in China".

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