The fabric care system „Refresh-Butler“ is a multi-functional device for gentle, easy care of a great variety of different types of textiles. Functions include refreshing (neutralizing of odors), anti-creasing, sanitizing (elimination of germs and bacteria) as well as drying of wet clothes.
For the energy-saving as well as gentle drying of the clothes, a heat pump is integrated into the fabric care system. Due to evaporation, the process air absorbs water from the clothes in the drying room. The process air then flows into the evaporator of the heat pump where it is cooled down below the dew point so the water steam condenses. Afterwards, the cold dehumidified process air flows through the condenser and is heated up. The air flows back into the drying room and the cycle starts over again.
The Competence Center Thermal Energy Systems and Process Engineering developed a mathematical-physical simulation model that helped to design the heat pump and to investigate the drying process theoretically. As a result it is possible to determine the ideal configuration of the heat pump for the drying process without different complex and costly functional prototypes having to be constructed.
In order to further increase the energy efficiency, the drying process was examined in experimental studies in the laboratory. As a consequence, optimization measures that improve the heat and material transmission between the textile and the process heat were derived and implemented.
The results of this project helped V-ZUG AG to extend their technological leadership in the field of innovative and energy efficient household appliances.