Anti-Tangle Turbine: Self-Directed Project Bringing Innovation to a 30 Year-Old IndustryShare open/close
Along with dirt, dust and food crumbs, hair is one of the most commonly vacuumed items. But unlike smaller bits of debris, hair can cause major headaches for consumers and the vacuum itself. In the process of being swept up, loose hairs become tangled. As anyone who has ever tried to vacuum a rug or carpet can attest, tangled hair is difficult to clean out of a vacuum dustbin (and not to mention, gross).
But that’s not the only problem – these hairballs can get caught in the brush or grille of the dustbin and cause the vacuum to lose suction power. In other words, hairs can make the whole cleaning process more time consuming and less effective.
Not surprisingly, many companies are working to solve this very common consumer complaint. Most of them focus on the brush, the first point of contact, to find a way to keep hairs tangle-free. Samsung, also, came up with an Anti-Tangle tool for its vacuum brushes.
Usually, when hairs are picked up, some end up wrapped around the rotating brush, making it less effective. To solve this problem, Samsung engineers created a brush made out of rubber, which bounces off dust from the surface, making it easier for the vacuum to pick up dust. They also designed the brush to adhere to the floor and evenly distribute suction power, and with the brush’s new air-flow structure, dirt, dust and hair are directed straight into the dustbin without clogging. But that’s not all.
The Anti-Tangle Turbine
Dongjin Cho, an engineer at Samsung’s Kitchen & Cleaning Advanced R&D Lab, was looking at a gross fist of hair stuck around the protruding grille of the dustbin. While the majority of his teammates were fixated on building a better brush, he had decided to dedicate an hour every day to take a step back from his daily job, take a holistic approach, and hopefully find some inspiration. What if he could eliminate these dustbin-generated hairballs? Or rather, how could he eliminate them? It was then that he remembered an article about aerodynamics of a turbine engine for airplanes.
When you want to untangle unwanted pieces of hair, you can physically scrape them off the grille, but you could also blow wind to prevent them from being there in the first place. Cho designed a turbine to blow air in the opposite direction of the overall airflow.
The genius thing about it? This turbine wouldn’t need a separate, dedicated motor. The suction power from a vacuum motor, at 35,000 RPM, would generate a wind strong enough to power a turbine, which with a set of wings to channel outer air outward, blowing away the hair and dust that previously would have clogged the grille. The grille would be flat, instead of sticking out, so that it wouldn’t wind up excess hair in the process. The new turbine, leveraging the centrifugal force – similar to the force of a tornado – already created by the cyclone system would now also help power an anti-tangle gust.
With a conventional grille, the air fan rotates and creates suction power, which can cause dust and hair to get stuck in the grille. With the anti-tangle turbine grille, there is a second fan that creates air flow in the reverse direction and therefore pushes away dirt and debris, including hair, and prevents it from being sucked into the grille or the dustbin.
The anti-tangle turbine, after many divergents, was engineered to generate more than 10,000 spins per minute. Though a faster spin would have increased efficiency, the lower-engineered RPM helped reduce the level of noise. That means debris, including hair, wouldn’t get trapped in the cyclone system or end up sticking to the turbine grille without creating an overwhelming buzz.
All in all it’s a simple everyday solution, less than an inch-thick, which would eliminate clogged hair in the dustbin, ultimately improving cleaning efficiency.
Tangled hair has long made cleaning unnecessarily difficult, but the solution has remained elusive. Samsung’s engineers took a different approach. In taking a step back to think creatively about the problem as a whole, a self-directed project, Samsung’s Anti-Tangle Turbine and Anti-Tangle Tool were born. The innovative solutions – for both the brush and the grill of the dustbin – deliver a powerful vacuum that’s more convenient and more effective.
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