UK-based Dyson has been problem-solving since the early '90s, creating increasingly more efficient machines to keep things warm, cool or clean -- from houses to hands. Dyson designs beautiful and innovative fans, dryers, heaters and vacuum cleaners, but the company’s latest machine might be one of its very finest.
The Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer was built for a single purpose: to wash and dry hands without ever leaving the sink.
“Using laser-cutting techniques to manipulate marine-grade steel, Dyson engineers have created an intuitive, high-performance tap that can wash and dry hands,” James Dyson, inventor and founder of Dyson, said on his website.
The minimalist Airblade Tap is a steel faucet with two steel wings protruding from either side. An infrared sensor activates the water flow once your hand enters the sink, and to dry your hands, you simply move your hands to either side of the faucet. Dyson claims its air jets of 420 mph will dry your hands in 14 seconds, physically stripping the water off your hands.
“We actually have some very precise, very fast-moving air to make sure that we get that kind of indentation in your hand, it actually scrapes the water off your hand,” Marcus Hartley, head engineer for the Airblade Tap, explained in a video. “You want to push the water down and across into the sink.”
One of the biggest issues Dyson faced in building this product was fitting such a high-speed, high-performance fan into a slick and sleek faucet, with consideration to the other features of the machine, including its unique filter for hygienic airflow and smart infrared sensors that never activate water and air simultaneously.
“The largest challenge that we had with this product was the manufacturing side,” Hartley said. “Each tube is high-grade stainless steel, but we didn’t compromise on the finish or the performance of the machine. The best way of doing this was to laser-cut each part of the system separately and then laser weld them together. We had to employ a lot of time and effort and development into this process, and actually buy our own lasers, to actually achieve the quality and the finish that we wanted.”
In the end, Dyson spent more than seven years and $42 million (£26.9 million) in R&D to create the Airblade Tap, which fits one of the world’s smallest fully integrated 1400W motors for its high-tech hand dryer that reaches 90,000 rpm in 0.7 seconds and uses Helmholtz silencers to keep noise at a minimum.
Not only is the Airblade Tap efficient for washing and drying, but Dyson insists that its all-in-one sink solution is actually extremely cost efficient, too. Dyson says compared to conventional drying solutions, the Airblade Tap can dry 15 people’s hands for the cost of a single paper towel, running up annual costs equal to just one-fifth of a conventional hand dryer. Dyson even offers its own savings calculator on its website, which allows you to look at how much money you can save per year by purchasing this machine – for example, Dyson says I can save $4,257 annually.
Dyson says the Airblade Tap, which is coming to airports and commercial businesses in New York, Miami, Seattle and Orlando in the “next few months,” is covered by 210 unique patents and costs $1,576 (£999) to buy and $75 (£48) per year to run. Check out the video below to see Hartley explain the unique engineering process for the Airblade Tap, and watch the video below that to see a demonstration, courtesy of the Telegraph.