Whirlpool Corp. has taken a step forward in refrigeration technology with the introduction of its new SlimTech insulation.
By using vacuum insulated structure (VIS) technology versus polyurethane foam, SlimTech insulation can reduce the wall thickness by up to 66%, allowing for up to 25% more capacity inside the refrigerator, reports the manufacturer.
“For the past 112 years, we have shaped the landscape of modern home appliances in the kitchen and the laundry room, developing products that have improved life at home for millions of consumers from the introduction of the first electric wringer washer and first home dishwasher,” says Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool Corp. chairman and CEO. “SlimTech insulation is yet another turning point for the industry, and this launch is just the beginning of how we will utilize this technology.”
The proprietary material used in SlimTech insulation technology also has the potential to be recycled, and Whirlpool Corp. is working to map out a path to reclaiming the material at a refrigerator's end of use.
"For years, low recyclability due to polyurethane foam has created a significant barrier to making refrigerators more sustainable and reducing environmental impact," says Pamela Klyn, Whirlpool Corp. executive vice president of corporate relations and sustainability. "This is an extremely important leap forward on the journey to a more circular approach to home appliances. Implementation of SlimTech insulation marks the beginning of the end for foam-insulated refrigerators."
Beyond adding refrigerator capacity and increasing the potential for sustainability, SlimTech insulation technology also can reduce thermal conductivity, keep food fresh for longer by reducing temperature swings from door openings, enable more interior customization via metal interiors, and deliver quieter refrigeration.
SlimTech insulation technology will make its debut in 2024 on the doors of select JennAir luxury 30-inch SlimTech Insulation Column refrigerators, and will roll out more broadly across KitchenAid refrigerators in the future.