In 1978, James Dyson, unhappy with a top of the range vacuum cleaner constantly clogging with dust and losing suction, ripped up the bag and set about developing a vacuum cleaner of his own. After five years and tinkering with 5,127 prototypes, Dyson eventually perfected the multi-cyclone technology. The patented design uses centrifugal force to separate the dirt, dust and debris from the air without losing suction and without a bag. Rejected by many well-known companies, banks and venture capitalists, it was in Japan, the home of consumer electronics, that Dyson was able to licence his technology. Subsequently, Dyson designed and oversaw the manufacture of the G-Force, which was launched in 1986.
Income from G-Force royalties enabled Dyson and a small team to continue developing his cyclone technology, working from a garden workshop. In May 1993, Dyson started manufacturing the vacuum cleaner under his own name, beginning with the Dyson DCO1. Despite a few setbacks, DCO1 emerged as the UK’s best-selling vacuum cleaner within a span of eighteen months.
Ever since prototype 0001, James Dyson, who now works with 350 like-minded engineers, has continued to question everything; looking for a better and different approach to household appliances.
Sean Robinson, Dyson’s RDD and Operations Director says, “We chose Malaysia for the assembly of our machines because of its global standing as a nation of manufacturing excellence. Our research and development engineers have close ties to their colleagues in Malaysia and vice-versa. Dyson currently produces millions of vacuum cleaners each year using the latest manufacturing technologies and processes.”
Meticulous testing is fundamental to Dyson. Test engineers in both the UK and Malaysia conduct 30,000 hours of testing every month and recently new test facilities were opened in Johor Bahru. Over 150 different mechanical test rigs are used by test technicians to replicate and exaggerate the usage of vacuum cleaners in the home.
DC15 The BallTM is Dyson’s latest vacuum cleaner and marks the biggest step forward since DCO1. Traditional uprights are rigid, cumbersome and tiring to use. With The BallTM, Dyson engineers have placed the body of the machine on top of a ball, housing the motor – its centre of gravity. This gives the machine great manoeuvrability; cleaning is more efficient as it quickly zig-zags around furniture. DC15 took three years to develop and the company has filed 182 patents for this model, which are still pending.