Most appliance manufacturers don't let media into their testing facilities, but GE gave me access to its one earlier this week. Here's what I saw.
GE Appliances' headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky is massive. Known as Appliance Park, the 750-acre facility has its own railway track, its own zip code and a giant conveyor belt that ferries appliances from building to building. Inside, GE manufactures large appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. As the appliance headquarters, it's also the home to GE's executive and public relations staff, as well as its appliance research and development team. It's here where GE conducts all kinds of intensive tests to ensure its appliances behave as expected and are safe for consumers.
At Appliance Park, there's a lab to test everything, from the the hinges on a refrigerator door, to how well a microwave can withstand radio frequency interference, to the reliability of an algorithm to air-fry tater tots. In an anechoic chamber, engineers blast appliances with all kinds of radio frequencies to make sure your phone (or any of your other high-tech gadgets) don't mess with the appliances' connectivity capabilities. In another building, a lab engineers nicknamed "the Door Slam," robotic arms open and close refrigerator doors hundreds of thousands of times.
In the Consumer Information Testing lab, food scientists cook their way to finding the perfect algorithms for GE's connected ovens. Every single thing that goes in to broil, bake or roast gets a major analysis: how brown those cookies got, how much moisture that beef tenderloin lost, how hot the oven got and when. All these are critical pieces of information that the GE team collects before it decides on a cooking mode, or rolls out an update.
To learn all about those labs and see more of what we found inside this Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory of appliances, check out the video above.
Correction, 10:23 a.m.: Changed General Electric to GE in the headline, to differentiate between General Electric Corp. and the brand GE Appliances, which is owned by Chinese company Haier.