Dry response

Wilson’s world

David Wilson is editor of Engineeringtalk and Electronicstalk and associate editor of The Engineer

Eighteen months ago, I invested in a rather splendid Bosch washer dryer and it has proved to be a most valuable piece of equipment. In the winter months, when the weather is perfectly ghastly, it’s a joy to be able to stuff it full of dirty clothes and take them out clean and dry a couple of hours later.

In the summer, however, I rarely use the dryer. Instead, I take my clothes out to the back yard and hang them out on the washing line. Not only is it cheaper, it’s also more environmentally friendly.

On some occasions, though, it starts to rain while my wash is hanging out there. In those instances, I usually bring it in and place it back into the washer dryer to finish it off. But last week, I got a bit of a shock. After half an hour in the dryer, the laundry was still as wet as it was when I put it in. Clearly something was wrong.

Fortunately, because the machine is less than two years’ old, it was still under warranty, so I phoned the number on the Bosch website to see if someone might help.

The response I got from the Bosch customer support folks was nothing less than exemplary. After less than two minutes on the phone I was directed to an individual who booked an appointment the very next day for a member of their service team to address the problem.

I must admit that I was rather bowled over by the efficiency of the outfit. And when the washing machine engineer turned up promptly first thing in the morning, I was even more impressed.

It didn’t take him long to figure out what was wrong. After checking out that the heater was working, he deduced that the problem lay with the lack of air flowing across it during the drying cycle, causing it to be shut off prematurely.

The reason for this lack of airflow, it appeared, was that some extraneous matter had been trapped in the duct beneath the dryer motor. So the engineer removed the motor and used a coat hanger to fish the detritus from the duct beneath it. There wasn’t a lot of the stuff, to be sure — just enough to cause a problem.

With the material removed, the washing machine engineer put the machine through a short cycle to check that it was operational. Much to my delight, it was.

After he had departed, I couldn’t help but reflect on the uncommon service that I had received from the company. If only all companies behaved in that way, life would be a lot easier. Clearly, customer support was Bosch’s number-one priority.

By the same token, I had to question whether the engineers who designed my washer dryer deserve the same praise. After all, they must have been aware that this sort of problem might occur. So why didn’t they design in a simple filter to trap such extraneous material? One that could be easily removed and cleaned by the owner of the machine, rather than by a washing machine engineer armed with a coat hanger.

David Wilson

The Wilson’s world blog also forms part of the Engineeringtalk, Electronicstalk and Manufacturingtalk newsletters. To subscribe, go here for Engineeringtalk, here for Electronicstalk and here for Manufacturingtalk