The ‘Direct Cool’ refrigerator technology accounted for nearly 75% of the total refrigerator sales, particularly given that the direct cool technology is appropriate for the unpredictable power situation in the country. However this technology is perceived to be ‘old age’ and “not new tech”, and this perception brings down the value perception of the product. In contrast, the “frost-free” technology is associated with a premium image and stylish design, and is therefore an aspirational category for most intending buyers.
However, this upgrade, costs the user all the inherent benefits of a direct cool – its efficient cooling system, better preservation of food during load shedding etc.
The Future Factory team aimed to use design to make the direct cool refrigerator a desirable product and to help the brand Godrej reclaim its position as the dominant player in this segment.
This innovation helped reposition the direct cool refrigeration technology, and bring aspiration and premium value to an otherwise jaded product category
A refrigerator equipped with direct cool technology works on the principle of creating a temperature gradient from the freezer (top) to the crisper (bottom). The freezer is equipped with cooling coils, effecting maximum cooling, and the cold air gradually settles down thereby creating a temperature gradient. This gradient is used to define the compartmentalization in the ref. By the very nature of the technology this is an uncontrollable gradient. Also, in creating this new product platform, which would span 3 volumes and more than 5 variants, Godrej’s commitment to the environment played a deep role. Any new product had to meet with all external & internal environmental standards while exceeding the highest levels of present and future energy ratings… and finally & very importantly be available to the consumer at competitive prices.
Direct cool refrigerators work on the principle of cooling by natural convection. Natural convection, unlike forced convection in frost free refrigerators, have the disadvantage of not being controllable.
The team created a revolutionary convection control technology. Convection Control Technology (CCT), enables the user to control cooling 1 in a direct cool refrigerator for the first time, and delivering frost-free like cooling. This offered a new level of customization in a direct cool refrigerator. CCT helped reposition the direct cool refrigeration technology, and bring aspiration and premium value to an otherwise jaded product category. Edge offered an innovative first of its kind stepped freezer, which promises superior cooling.
The design effort, for this challenging segment, has been towards offering a compelling product to consumers. Innovative technology, made visible and believable through design was a key thrust area
The team also worked to create a new construction which allowed for the creation of the largest crisper (vegetable storage) in the market, bringing a high consumer rating to Edge. In addition, Edge was designed with an integrated multi-utility storage for non-refrigerated vegetables, enhancing the usability for a key storage item.
Design also created a unique division of the door shelves optimizing & enhancing space utilization. The range was designed in a modular fashion to offer, 3 volumes & 5 variants in each literage point, to offer relevant choice to the user.
Cooling is a key factor for assessing performance in the refrigerator category, and the team worked hard to deliver enhanced features under this factor to win with consumers. A Unique Step Freezer ensured close proximity of food items to cooling surfaces & helped effect superior cooling, delivering faster ice compared to a normal freezer. It was also possible to deliver better food preservation as the storage is maintained at -19°C.
The breakthrough shape of the step freezer enabled a quick chill zone adjacent to the freezer. This proximity ensured a much lower temperature than a normal chiller tray. This helps chill beverages rapidly.
Edge was declared the only five star direct cool refrigerator designed & delivered at the price point of a lower star rated product. It ran the tag of a 100% green refrigerator, fulfilling Godrej’s commitment to the environment, and its ability to create products designed specifically to consumer needs. In the very first few months of launch, Edge outperformed expectations on sale, helping Godrej win in a critical market segment.
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