We always notice the small things here at Dyson Medic. And even though often of little significance on the outside, small details are sometimes indicators of things to come.
Take the HEPA filter for example.
The one fitted to Airblade hand dryer models AB01, AB02, AB03, AB04, AB06, AB07 and AB14 models.
As with many things by Dyson, it was manufactured in Malaysia.
The part number is now 925985-02 (changed from 920336-01) and it used to look like this:
It came with a Torx spanner and a little instruction book, and had Dyson’s name emblazoned all over it. The underside was of a firm fibre construction as might be typical of a HEPA filter.
In recent months, Dyson have declined to supply the after-market, Dyson spare part sellers and machine refurbishers with Dyson spares for Airblade hand dryers. Not that that really creates more than a mild inconvenience of course, as those in the trade look to the after-market for solutions or grey import, but I digress.
The only official way to get an Airblade filter is to call them up, give them a serial number (assuming you have one – many machines do not), endure many tiresome questions about where you bought your Airblade, get told its “near the end of its life” (Want to buy a new one sir? Kerching!), and wait ages on the phone while some girl “registers” it (really, they make you go through all this data-napping just to buy a damn filter). Eventually – almost reluctantly – if you can endure all that, they might mail you one out in exchange for some currency.
Of course, you can avoid all that claptrap by just getting one from >>here<<, but that isn’t the point of the article.
But some changes happened at Dyson that made us curious. New deliveries of the Airblade filters (the ones they try to stop the trade buying) reveal that changes are afoot. They now look like this.
The branding has disappeared. They no longer come with the Torx spanner or instruction book.
The underside has changed too.
Whilst it looks similar to before, it too has changed. Rather than the hard fibre type stuff as before, the new underside has an outer section of squidgy foam type material. It probably is no more than cost-cutting, and must work OK, but it isn’t the only telling change.
Look at this.
Now, someone that went to school might have wrote “Made in the UK” rather than “Made In U.K.” [sic]. But again, the missing definite article, the capital “I” and the abbreviation stops are small arguable details. The double space less so. It suggests to us a non-native English speaker wrote that.
Dyson moved manufacture of components out to Malaysia sometime around 2003 resulting in the loss of 800 jobs in the UK. Have they moved them back? Not that we know of.
European Union rules as of last year say the ‘Made in’ location is to be based on the most expensive element in a product. That means for example, that handbags designed and made in England with Italian leather by Mulberry, for example, might have to be labelled ‘Made in Italy’.
It may be in this case that the filter is still made in Malaysia, but if the box is made here, and happens to cost more than the filter does to make, that would warrant a “Made In U.K.” [sic] label. So are they really made in the UK? We don’t really know. It would be nice to think so, but I’d not put money on it.
A cynic might suggest that having some stuff labelled “Made in the UK” [or similar] is putting good PR in the bag for later use. Indeed, the recent return of the legal domicile of the Dyson company itself back to the UK is also thought by many to be an advance move to avoid a PR crisis similar to what Starbucks, Amazon and Google suffered.
However, a more interesting question is why Dyson chose to remove its branding from its Airblade filters? It has done the same with the AB08/AB12 filter (965280-01). Does this mean these filters are used by other manufacturers in other products perhaps? Are there air conditioning machines and air purifiers or similar that are using these filters? Or does it just shave a few pennies off manufacturing cost on a part clients seldom see? If you know, we’d like to know.
We’d also like to know if these filters are now really made in the UK (and if so, by whom?), or if they are simply labelled such due to silly EU rules. Again, if you know, do tell us using the comment box below.
You can also use the comment box for any comment on this article, and do please use the social media buttons to spread Dyson Medic to the farthest corners of the interwebs.
Dyson Medic: Proud to be British!