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Product Development Stories

Auto Door Design

Vol.1The refrigerator with Auto Drawer in 2007 met customer desire for effortless use.

About 15 years ago, customers who had purchased Hitachi refrigerators observed that the freezer and veggie drawers were heavy and difficult to open. This was a sign of new user needs emerging with the move to larger refrigerators. We started working on a solution and developed Auto Drawer, driven by a motor and gears. Auto Drawer debuted on our new Made in Japan Multi Door model released in 2007 in Japan.

Kazuaki Aoki, Senior Manager, Design Department 1, Hitachi Global Life Solutions, Inc.

This function opened drawers automatically at the touch of a button. Auto Drawer required just one-tenth* the force to open a drawer compared to previous models.

The core technology of the revolutionary electric drive unit - which combined a motor and a gear shaft, developed for drawers, along with the electric-powered closer- was applicable to more features than we initially imagined. We transferred the technology from Auto Drawer to Auto Door. And we expanded its application from the Made in Japan models to the Side by Side Refrigerator and the French Bottom Freezer Refrigerator.

2007 photo of the first model with Auto Drawer

Made in Japan Refrigerator R-W5700 (Japanese market)

The move to larger refrigerators is a worldwide trend. To this day, we continue to develop large-sized refrigerators that are easy to use, based on the breakthrough development of an electric-powered opening and closing unit that adds both convenience and safety.

* When comparing the previous equivalent model, the R-SF54VM (535 L), with the R-W5700 (565 L). The R-W5700 first went on sale in 2007.

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