(NYSE:GE) — GE’s Louisville, Ky. washing machine factory that has been spinning out topload washers since 1953 has added another cycle to its production — “overdrive.” The factory that now employs 928 will keep producing current models at a rapid pace, and has started production of the most energy-efficient, feature-rich, topload washing machine in its history, which added another 150 new U.S. jobs in the process.
Denise Masterson, a first-shift operator at GE Appliances, works on the new topload washer at Appliance Park in Louisville. (Photo: GE)
The popularity of high-efficiency (HE) washing machines that drove the growth of frontload washing machines for the last 10 years has spread to topload configurations, which is now the fastest-growing segment of the washing-machine industry. This makes GE’s investment in new HE topload washing machines a smart business move and welcome news to the local community. In fact, over the last couple of years, sales of HE topload washers, which sell in the higher price points of topload units, have increased, while sales of frontload washers have declined over the same period.
To be categorized as a HE washer, the machines use an impeller instead of an agitator, which allows them to use less water and energy than a traditional washer. “GE’s new HE topload is around 60 percent more water efficient than a traditional topload washer,” said Heather Koyama, GE Appliances topload washing machine product manager. “There is no agitator in an HE washer, so the extra capacity lets the washer hold more clothes. The higher spin speeds allow more moisture to be removed from the clothes, which saves energy in the dryer.”