— Around The Home
Siemens' "vacuumTechnology" fridge sucks at keeping food cold
Siemen’s KG38QAL30 Freshness Center features a vacuum drawer to keep food fresher, longer
Siemens got the ball rolling at the 2013 IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin today, using the first press conference of the event to unveil a new model that features “vacuumTechnology.” There are no prizes for guessing that this involves using a vacuum to keep food fresher, longer.
Measuring 1.9 m (6.2 ft) tall, Siemens' KG38QAL30 Freshness Center sports a "stainless steel look" exterior and three different storage zones. The topmost door opens up on the conventional cooling area, while the freezer and ice-maker are at the bottom. In between, there’s the vitaFresh section, which is itself broken into two sections: the crisper drawer at the top and the vacuum drawer underneath.
Both drawers in the vitaFresh section cool food to close to 0° C, with the crisper drawer featuring automatic humidity control and intended for fresh fruit and vegetables. The vacuum drawer is intended for food that spoils easily, such as raw meat and fish and is hermetically sealed with a special handle.
After closing, a pump can be activated with the press of a button to remove air from the sealed drawer and reduce the air pressure by 300 millibars. Siemens' claims that the system can keep food fresh up to five times longer than non-vacuum cooled food. It also eliminates the need for defrosting.
Siemens also had a number of appliances adorned with QR codes at the show. These work with the company’s app to provide augmented reality (AR) help for various tasks, such as refilling the salt in the dishwasher or replacing the filter on a range hood. QR codes aren’t likely to match most people’s décor, so the company plans to integrate a design element into its appliances that would work in their place.
There’s no date on when such AR appliances might be released, but the KG38QAL30 Freshness Center with vacuumTechnology will be available shortly in Germany and the Netherlands for the recommended retail price of €1,499 (US$1,975). Siemens is waiting to see how it is received before deciding on a wider release.
About the Author
Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.
All articles by Darren Quick
The pressure is reduced by 300 millibars? That's about 4.4 PSI, leaving roughly 10 PSI in the drawer. I'm supposed to be impressed? That still leaves most of the oxygen that's the main problem, while adding the risk of drawing out moisture from the food. All for just US$3K !!
Save your money, folks.
for years i've been tracking refrigeration and preservation technology.
you have a few things that are non-chemical
1) low oxygen (removing 02) from the air, or removing the air itself
2) low heat achieved passively by evaporation ( zeo-fridge )
3) low heat achieved using recycled heat ( adsorption fridge ...side note, patented by Albert Einstein and others ) . this same concept is also utilized in combined heat power and refrigeration technology where the heat used to create power and cooking is used to power a small refrigerator ( this has been designed into 'for africa' and developing country refrigeration models )
4) thermoacoustic driven chillers ---- heat goes into closed internal cavity, and pressure wave driven across and 'stack' inside the cavity creates vibration of a membrane that produces electricity when moved. considered highly efficient means of removing heat
**5) make it small . mini fridges and other designs that minimized the amount of time and area of which the fridge is 'open'. vaccine refrigeration designs have become very efficient as the 'dispenser' can open the fridge and dispense the vaccine---without exposing almost any of the internal air or components of the refrigerator .
when you look at this tech in this article, removing the air itself to create a vacuum , rather than simply removing the 02 has problems. it's energy intensive. worse though, is that air tight seals tend to wear down relatively quickly , especially if they are built into an opening that is designed to be easy to open and close often. also, if the vaccum is too strong, you are going to wear down the doors by putting too much opening force on them. if it is too weak, it simply won't work well.
Wouldn't filling it with dry nitrogen be more effective?
A lot more practical would be to integrate a hotbox and water heater powered by the waste heat from the heat pump.
Too little oxygen risks botulism as I understand it.
It just seems to me that the new generation of more complex standard appliances will only make money for support organizations and provide very little in the way of added value for the consumer.
Internet connected toasters, refrigerators and stoves? Vacuum boxes? Common. This is way too complicated for a device that consumers expect to run trouble free for a decade or more.
CO2 from burning natural gas. Heat from which is used in the defrost cycle is far better then a poor vacuum.
Heavier then air CO2 will fill and remain in a well like storage and can be topped off (displacing the air at the top) as necessary.
I have been toying with hand pump and lever design for bread, fruit, and vegi. keeper boxes looks like i'll be beaten to the punch once again!
Hitachi have that for years, and we've been using that for better part of five years.
Now tell me this is impressive how? It is impressive because Siemens came up with this so late?
BTW, Hitachi fridge with this feature costs less than USD 1500
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