Two continents with the strongest impact on the design of home appliances worldwide: America and Europe. Both of them over the years came quite close if it comes to the outlook for the devices, but there are still a difference between them. What are they and why it is so important to remember about them while designing or adjusting appliances to market on the new continent? Read our article and boost your design and market entering processes.
The very first, and probably the most important differences might be observed if it comes to power distribution systems. It may seem, basing on similar conductors, cables, insulators, surge arresters, regulators and transformers, that both systems are quite similar, and these assumptions are no far from being the truth. However, there are differences that should be observed.
The first difference is the shape of the plug, which forces us to create different power adaptors, the second one is a voltage of the current. American system seems to provide more benefits with its system: the physical shape of power adaptor is harder to crash, it also more reliably clear faults. At the same time, Europe’s system detects high-impedance faults more easily.
It is worth to remember about this difference while designing products — those targeted at America should have additional protection from, mentioned earlier, high-impedance faults. At the same time, European devices should be more resistant to small, but appearing more often faults.
It is also worth to compare law regulations in both continents. Europe is preventing from producing devices that are not energy-efficient, America is probably the opposite (or almost there).
The second important thing, that is often overlooked by designer, are local ways and images of “perfect” kitchen or perfect “living room”. For example, the traditional image of the kitchen is way different in Europe than in America. In the old continent, the space for the kitchen is most often smaller and in a separate room, due to preventing the smell from going “out of it”. At the same time, Americans used to prepare and eat food in one space, which means that space is not only bigger but also, most of the times, connected with the living room, without separate space for dining (which is the norm in Europe).
How does that affect home appliances? The ones produced for the European market are usually smaller and well fitted to small space, very ergonomic.
Also, habits of the people are important while thinking of design of home appliances. An interesting example is a basic difference between Europeans and Americans: the ones from the second continent are doing shopping less often, but they are definitely bigger than the usual shopping in Europe. It means that Americans store more food, for a longer period of times at home. It affects directly the size of fridges in America, which are usually twice as big as the European ones.
Talking about fridges — you will usually find a fridge with build-in ice machine, while in Europe this kind of solution is not popular at all!