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At Electrolux, we are always looking for new solutions to ensure and improve food “integrity within our refrigerators, this being of paramount importance to our consumers. Considering this multidisciplinary topic, that is covering also chemical and microbial food safety aspects, functional barriers seem a great solution to prevent migration of unwanted substances on to the food.
With this challenge, we are looking for a solution that could be applied to plastic components in our fridges to avoid contaminant's migration into food while ensuring compliance to food contact tests. Said solution must act as a functional barrier having a reference thickness of 100μm (or below) and should be applied in different forms (e.g. coating, layer, surface treatment) to our components.
Low-water sustainable washing
Water scarcity is an issue in many regions today, and global demand for water is set to increase by as much as 30% by 2050. Within Electrolux, we actively promote the development of long-term solutions to reduce water consumption, including a sustainable use of water in our washing machines, where water is used both during the cleaning phase and the rinsing one.
We are looking for in-flow treatment solutions that may reduce the water consumption, with a particular focus to the rinsing phase. Said solution, which should be sized for the integration in a standard household, must not lead to side effects like bio-film and bacteria formation, bad odours, lint deposition and residuals of softener. Moreover, it should be user-friendly, sustainable and it should assure the same rinsing efficiency of the current process, both in terms of soiling and detergent removal.
Energy harvesting device
In household appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers, sensors or small actuators placed in the rotating part of the appliances could give localized measures highly correlated to the laundry process or act locally, respectively. Mechanical and fluid-dynamical phenomena happening in washers and dryers could be used to capture some of that energy and use it to power small devices.
We are searching for solutions to be embedded in our household appliances, capable of collecting and converting mechanical actions and vibrations that occur in the drum into electrical energy (from hundreds of mW up to few W). This energy could then be used to power sensors for detecting the status (e.g. load humidity level in tumble dryers) of the laundry or to power actuator devices for acting locally. The proposed solutions may immediately use the harvested electrical energy or store it in dedicated components (e.g. supercapacitor or thin-film battery) to be used at a later time. Said solutions must be waterproof, resist to chemicals and particles during washing or drying cycles. Moreover, they must be cost-effective, simple and sustainable for mass production without compromising the overall functionality of the machine.
Energy harvesting device
Enervibe, in collaboration with E-Peas, provides kinetic energy harvesters that converts vibrations to electricity, to power IoT devices and sensor
Home hygiene solutions
Recently, the topic of hygiene has gained public attention with the spread of Covid-19, but at Electrolux this has always been a relevant focus area in developing our products and technologies.
With this challenge, our goal is to investigate innovative solutions for hygiene in a domestic context of "the new normal". In particular, we are interested in co-developing or applying new user-friendly innovations to maintain hygiene within a household environment. The proposed solution shall be applicable to our reference products, should be cost-effective, simple and environmentally-friendly. Showing the effectiveness of the system through a visual feature is a desirable and appreciated add-on. Please note that solutions based on additives or, in general, on the use of chemicals should not be submitted to this challenge and will be rejected.
Digital ergonomic evaluation
Proper ergonomics is fundamental for the wellbeing of the employees and we are always aiming to reinforce and improve it with the use of new solutions.
We are looking for an easy-to-use tool that processes images/videos acquired with a smartphone to model the human body and, therefore, perform a fast and accurate ergonomic risk assessment, using a standardized methodology (e.g. Rapid Entire Body Assessment - REBA).
Augmented quality control
Digital and innovative technologies are nowadays key opportunities to improve our processes, including our quality controls.
Therefore, we are searching for an innovative and dynamic system that can support and guide our quality operations, live on the assembly line. The solution should make sure that our operators will not forget any task and should highlight some tasks that are necessary only in certain given conditions. The desirable solution would guide the operator towards the correct process not only leveraging camera control, but also on the basis of historical and statistical data, providing as a final result a guided, smart and dynamic procedure.
Circular packaging system
Sustainability commitments are guiding our operations and business, including our search for new environmentally-friendly models and processes. In this respect, Returnable Packaging is a challenging focus area that could allow us to be more sustainable and efficient at the same time, while saving money and resources.
With this challenge, we are searching for a partner that could provide and validate with us a returnable packaging solution for finished goods, considering technical, business, business model and logistics constraints that characterize our industry.
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