Rethinking the filter-bag vacuum cleaner,
we imagined enveloping the mechanical parts in a sheet of cloth.
For Panasonic, creating a lighter vacuum cleaner was not enough. We wanted to reduce the weight without sacrificing any functionality. So we had to rethink everything: the inner layout, the material used for the outside, and even the construction method.
Neatly covered in a handsome fabric, this product is designed not only to be physically lighter, but also to lighten the mental burden of housework.
The material suggested the form.
We needed to reduce the body weight from 5 kg to 2 kg. Achieving that kind of weight reduction meant not just modifying the internal layout, but also making the external walls extremely thin. The trouble was, thinner walls are naturally weaker. We needed to reconcile two contradictory requirements. Our breakthrough came when we hit on the idea of using PPFRP*.
Looking at a sheet of unprocessed PPFRP, we imagined simply enveloping the vacuum cleaner’s innards in a single sheet of fabric. That image inspired the final form of the product.
* PPFRP stands for polypropylene fiber-reinforced plastic, an advanced material woven from special fibers.
Using this fabric, we managed to combine lightness with strength.
The beauty of unadorned simplicity
Consisting of plastic reinforced with fibers, PPFRP can be woven in all sorts of ways, just like cloth. In its basic form, however, it doesn’t look quite pretty enough to be used for the outer covering of a vacuum cleaner.
Still, we were confident that this material had potential. So we teamed up with a textile manufacturer, and rethought the whole process, from creating the thread to weaving the fabric. Working closely with the factory team, we cycled through a process of trial and error. Finally, we achieved success with a new version of PPFRP that is lightweight, tough and good-looking too.
Since our new PPFRP looks so good, we carefully designed the body to show off the material itself. Its white color is the color of the unprocessed thread. Left pure and unadorned, this glossy white material has an essential quality of cleanliness that is absolutely right for a vacuum cleaner.
Tradition meets ultra-modernity.
We also took great care with the weaving, selecting a twill weave to bring out the organic warmth and richness typical of traditional Japanese craftwork. A twill weave also has the advantage of distributing weight uniformly through both warp and weft when pulled, so it makes the fabric even stronger.
The weave is clearly visible in the finished product, making it feel both traditional and ultra-modern. The material conveys a sense of its craftwork heritage, making this a household tool you could grow attached to and treasure for many years.
Ergonomically beautiful, too
Ease of use was another area where we weren’t prepared to compromise. Besides reducing the weight of the body, we made the hose and the nozzle lighter, and radically rearranged the layout of the internal components. The result is a vacuum cleaner that’s easy to carry around and easy to maneuver—even within the confines of a small Japanese home.
In the latest model, even the extension tool is made of PPFRP. It’s so light it’s translucent. The design is also beautifully ergonomic, carefully calculated not just to be lightweight, but also to eliminate the stooping and bending required when using conventional models.
Making you feel better, and making life better for you
Asked to name their most hated household chores, most people would put vacuuming high on the list.
Panasonic wants to change all that. We’ve carefully observed users’ needs, and designed ergonomic vacuum cleaners that make vacuuming a pleasure. Now, keeping your home dust-free can be more satisfying and comfortable than ever before.
Lifestyles are going to keep on changing at a rapid pace. Staying abreast of these changes, Panasonic will continue to come up with thoughtfully-designed products delivering what users really need.