Thermomix® TM5 from Vorwerk: The digital transformation of cooking
Mixing, grinding, chopping, blending, beating, stirring, kneading, cooking, steaming, weighing, controlled heating and emulsifying – the Thermomix® from Vorwerk is a true all-rounder. The versatile kitchen aid has been a success for many years because it makes cooking easier, faster and more practical. The digitalization of cooking with the latest Thermomix® TM5 model, featuring a touch display, Guided Cooking function, Thermomix® App and the almost inexhaustible variety of recipes and tips on the recipe portal Cookidoo® and in the Thermomix® Community, has finally turned the practical helper into a lifestyle object. The cooking trend of the 21st century is also reflected in the sales figures: In 2015, a Thermomix® was sold every 25 seconds worldwide and the Thermomix® Division at Vorwerk recorded a growth in sales of almost 50% to almost 1.4 billion euros. (Source: Vorwerk Annual Report 2015)
So many functions in such a small space, coupled with the highest demands on quality, durability and design – this also means extreme demands on the materials used: full function at all times at temperatures from 0°C to 120°C, no matter where in the world the Thermomix® is used – from the Arctic Circle to tropical metropolises, in single households as well as in the stressful everyday life of professional kitchens. Contact with all kinds of food, from apple cider vinegar to citric acid, must not be a problem for the plastics used. And of course, all materials must be physiologically safe, BPA-free and approved for worldwide use in contact with food.
In Vorwerk’s test laboratories, the Thermomix® is subjected to the toughest tests during product development and, of course, also during production, because Vorwerk stands for quality and sets itself the highest standards. For the plastics used, this means above all: high demands on strength, toughness and long-term resistance.
Meeting these diverse requirements reliably is anything but child’s play, even for seasoned development professionals, and so Vorwerk relies on the advice of experienced materials experts during product development, including the BARLOG Group, whose site in Overath is only a good half-hour’s drive away from the Vorwerk development center in Wuppertal.
In close cooperation with the laboratory, product developers and the manufacturing department, BARLOG already assisted in the selection of materials during the development of the Thermomix® TM5 and developed, among other things, customer-specific modified thermoplastic elastomers from its KEBAFLEX range for various seals. These mostly in
Concealed working design elements are largely responsible for protecting the sensitive functional and electronic components inside the device from dirt and damage and thus make a particular contribution to reliability and durability. As unnoticed as they usually perform their service, they nevertheless place high demands on the material used: long-term resistance, flexibility under all operating conditions, chemical resistance and good sliding and wear behavior – to name just the most important.
And since there are many moving parts in the Thermomix® that have to withstand several thousand cooking processes without damage over the long life of the appliance, customized KEBAFORM plain bearing types are used for sliding and closing elements, for example. Based on POM copolymers, BARLOG has also tailored its products to the special requirements of heavy-duty kitchen use.
For components subject to high mechanical and thermal stress, Vorwerk and BARLOG rely on high-performance polyamides from EMS-Grivory. The transparent Varoma lid, for example, is made of the amorphous polyamide Grilamid TR, making it impact-resistant, temperature- and chemical-resistant and BPA-free. Grivory HT is used for the mixing bowl lid and other components subject to mechanical stress. The glass-fiber-reinforced, partially aromatic polyamide is dimensionally stable, resistant to chemicals and hydrolysis, and offers extreme strength and rigidity even at high temperatures. Colored in the customer’s color and with a high-gloss surface, however, the material must not only shine with performance, but is also a design object – a combination of properties that requires special effort in component design, mold design and process control.
In order to be able to meet the high demands in a short time, BARLOG was involved in the development process from the very beginning and supported the Vorwerk developers from the idea to series production, e.g. with service life calculations, laboratory tests, FE analyses, injection molding simulations, the production of injection-molded prototypes, advice on mold design, process optimization and training of the production teams.
The entry of digital transformation into today’s kitchens is thus made possible by very tangible engineering services: high-performance plastics, customized and turned into an innovative product using all the means of modern product development. Customer proximity, know-how and the focus on individual solutions are the success factors of BARLOG Plastics GmbH.