Our Passion for Iron
Development story of the “Multi-Direction Soleplate”
Panasonic Iron Development Team - Imagination and Realization
Panasonic’s iron business started in 1927 from our founder Konosuke Matsushita’s passion for “better products at lower prices”. 90 years ago, when irons were still too expensive for ordinary families, we succeeded in selling fine irons at reasonable prices thanks to technological innovations and mass production, which contributed to the popularization of irons. Our tradition is based on imagination and realization. Here is the development story of our innovative “Multi-Direction Soleplate”.
Challenge to Long History of Ironing
In 2010, our iron development team took on a big challenge. In the long history of irons, the design of the soleplate had barely changed, so the project leader at that time, who had an extraordinary amount of love and passion for irons, ordered members to create an innovative and unprecedented design for better usability.
Simple But Effective Idea “Multi-Direction Soleplate”
Their idea was to make the soleplate tapered at both ends so that it can move in both directions. This idea actually existed from before, but successive leaders were hesitant that it would not sell. However, the leader at that time made a decision, and said, “It is OK to fail”.
Tackling Technical Issues
To realize this design, the challenge was the structure of the power supply unit at one end for the cordless type. Cordless irons need to be set on a powerbase to reheat, so a connecting part with the base must be attached to one end. However, to sharpen both sides, it was difficult to have secure enough space for the component.
The team examined the size and layout of each component and the final usability over and over again. They almost gave up on the idea, but a large number of slight adjustments were made to achieve sharp ends and a smooth connection to the powerbase.
Our “Multi-Direction Soleplate” has successfully created a new innovation flow in the global iron market. We have further refined the design, and released the WL41 in 2019. The Panasonic iron development team continues to develop new irons with innovations in the pursuit of improved usability.