A washing machine that can be stopped mid-cycle, won’t make socks disappear and has 40% more capacity than usual is due to go on sale next summer.
Monotub’s Titan could do for washing machines what the Dyson did for vacuum cleaners. It is the same size as standard machines, but instead of a stainless steel drum it has a removable polypropylene basket – so washing cannot get left inside.
The basket rests inside a flush-finish cavity angled up towards the front of the machine at 20* to the horizontal, allowing more space. A filter at the bottom of the cavity stops odd items of clothing or loose change from reaching the machine’s working parts. The cavity’s is almost as wide as the machine itself, allowing the Titan to take a 7kg load, compared to the usual 5kg.
The machine uses a sprinkle rather than soak system. `This is more efficient as it saturates the clothes, then fills a reservoir of water,’ said Brian Austin, Monotub’s chief executive. `If only one sock is washed, then only that sock is saturated. Other people have been using fuzzy logic [a mathematical process allowing computers to deal with imprecise concepts such as `very hot’] to achieve the same thing.’
Austin would not reveal how the sprinkle system works. `We don’t want to show our hand yet,’ he said. `We’re a year away from getting it into the shops.’
The company has four patent applications in progress but is also using standard washing machine parts such as electrical motors and suspensions.
Titan’s inventor, marine engineer turned accountant Martin Myerscough, has spent six years and £750,000 developing the machine.
The company believes it can make a profit selling 12,000 Titans at £500-600 a year. The UK buys 400,000 washing machines a year.
The Titan will be made in Halifax under contract by tumble dryer manufacturer Crosslee.