In early summer, the British company Dyson introduced two new products to the American market – a cordless vacuum cleaner and a humidifier with a water disinfection system using ultraviolet light. about their features you can read on s. 84 and 96, and much more, we learned firsthand from Dyson design engineer Matt Kelly, who was personally involved in the development of key technologies used in the new. Matt is so smiley, charming and, most importantly, young, that it’s clear that, firstly, being an engineer and inventor is fun and interesting, and secondly, that Dyson products are born in young, “unconserved” heads like this. Maybe this is the “secret of the company”?
Polina STRIZHAK interviewed.
Matt Kelley, a Dyson development engineer
“BT: Matt, what’s that black notebook you don’t part with??
– Oh, it’s full of secrets…every Dyson development engineer has one. Here are all thoughts, ideas, formulations – how to make common things more convenient and of higher quality. We have to write everything down. Very stimulating, very stimulating. But I can’t show you what’s in there. Almost a state secret!
“BT”: For all their advantages, Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners are unaffordable for the vast majority of American buyers. We understand that the devices have their target audience, but do you think there is a way to keep the quality at the same level, but make the devices more affordable?? Do the company’s engineers have such tasks?
– We understand that our products are not cheap, but they last a long time, and by buying them a person invests in his comfort for many years: they are guaranteed to work well, and even if something goes wrong, the buyer will always get quick and qualified assistance both by phone and in person. Dyson invests huge sums in research and development – £3 million every week, with plans to spend £1.5 billion next year. This is done in order to create not just good technology, but really very high quality and truly innovative, such as a vacuum cleaner with a V6 motor with digital control, very small, very light and very fast. So there’s no goal to make products cheaper, there’s a goal to work on quality day in and day out.
“BT: Matt, a question about the Dyson Award, created to encourage young inventors and funded by the James Dyson Foundation. What kind of invention would you prioritize: just a very original and unusual, socially relevant, or a good business idea??
– I wouldn’t separate the one from the other: an inventor can, of course, design for the sake of the process, but more often than not, he’s inspired by something, he has an idea, and it can correlate with business, with a community project, with anything. Personally I like most of all inventions which relate well to our lives, when a simple and elegant solution to an everyday problem seems to lie on the surface, but only one person – the inventor – has enough intuition, knowledge and imagination to see it, take it out of the world of ideas and make it a reality. For example, the MIITO water boilers use induction. Simply? Yes, very! The induction technology has long been known! But its use in a device for boiling water helps solve a big domestic and environmental problem: we use electric kettles, they have a huge power consumption, and we boil water as much as we do not need, which means that we constantly consume unnecessary electricity and waste unnecessary water. The future belongs to devices that offer simple, logical, efficient and unconventional solutions for everyday life. Like Dyson products, by the way. For example, the fans haven’t changed for almost 100 years. Design with blades reigned supreme on the market until our Air Multiplier technology appeared. And then we thought – where else can it be used? And decided to make a humidifier.
“BT: How did you come to work at Dyson?? We invented something?
– No, not yet. I’m more of an engineer than an inventor, although you can’t quite separate the two. The Dyson company not only employs inventors – then nothing would work, because it is necessary to bring all the concepts “to mind”, it is a team effort, sometimes quite routine. And you have to be prepared for the fact that nothing can come out of an idea, that not all technologies are good and not all projects become successful. And to work at Dyson, you only need to have a good technical education, to be an expert. Dyson creates hundreds of jobs every year, a huge proportion of which are for engineers, designers, technicians.
“BT”: Inexpensive analogues of Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans have appeared on the American market. What from a technical standpoint can these manufacturers save money on? What would be the difference for the consumer between a Dyson product and these surrogates?
– We are very strict about not violating our patents, we have high-tech expensive production, so, of course, to reproduce our technology, even approximately unreal. In addition, we test our products – there are specially trained people who break them … to eliminate weaknesses. For example, the new humidifier-fan is tested to last 41,000 thousand hours, which is 12 years if used 20 weeks a year as a humidifier. You can explain for a long time what the difference is, how consumers will be disappointed if they buy a fake, but I would suggest to protect yourself this way: come to any store where there is a Dyson, take our equipment in your hands, try it in action, compare it with a cheap analogue. You do not have to be an engineer to feel the ergonomics, efficiency of Dyson devices and the gap that separates our appliances from surrogates. I would treat such things with humor – after all, since we are being counterfeited, it says a lot, if it were not for consumers, who inevitably suffer by falling into the traps of not too decent manufacturers.