Design Explained – Mesh Safety Nets in Our Water Boilers

When designing our products, we choose our materials very carefully. We also consider how these materials are put together, with an eye towards functionality, practicality, ease of use, and maintenance. We’ve designed a mesh Safety Net into our water boilers, and this small component protects the dispensing mechanism in a smart way.

The Safety Net is a small, basket-shaped piece of metal mesh, fixed to the bottom of the inner containers of our water boilers upside-down. It prevents pieces of limescale or other debris from entering the dispensing mechanism, which pumps water so it can be dispensed. Limescale, which is generally comprised of calcium and other minerals naturally found in water, can build up inside the water boiler through normal use. Over time, limescale flakes off into small pieces that can get into the dispensing mechanism of the water boiler, preventing the machine from working properly. The machine makes a “grinding” sound when water is dispensed and eventually breaks. The mesh Safety Net acts as a filter that blocks rogue flakes of limescale from entering the water boilers’ dispensing mechanisms, and as a result, protects it.

Aside from making sure the filter is always in place when in use, we recommend treating your water boiler with our Citric Acid Cleaner once every three months. Doing so will remove limescale even before they flake off. Simply dissolve one packet of the Citric Acid Cleaner in a cup of warm water. Pour the mixture into your empty water boiler and fill the inner container with water. Close the lid and turn the machine onto the cleaning cycle, as per the instruction manual. Once the cycle finishes – usually about an hour later – unplug the machine and empty out the water. The final step is to rinse and dispense resulting in your water boiler becoming just like new! Check out our instructional video and if you ever lose your Safety Net, remember that a replacement can always be purchased from our Parts & Accessories store!

Stay tuned for next month’s Design Explained, where we talk about more smart and innovative features built into our products!

Design Explained – Our SlickSteel® Interiors and Nonstick Coatings

Which is better? Nonstick coated or not coated?

At Zojirushi, we know they’re both great!

This month we’re excited to share the design and engineering behind our nonstick and SlickSteel® bottle, mug, and food jar interiors. Both interiors are easy to clean. Both interiors have been proven durable. And both interiors are hygienic and repel stains. So why have two types of interior finishes?

Well, as usual, we believe in customer-centric design, and offer our products in both nonstick and SlickSteel® finishes to satisfy your requests.

As cleanability is important to our customers, many Zojirushi products are nonstick coated. Our nonstick coating is made using PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, a polymer that is applied in a two-step process with a primer and a topcoat. It is nonreactive, inert, ultra-smooth, hydrophobic, and resistant to abrasions, corrosion, and heat. It’s ideal for use in containers that hold food or beverages, since it doesn’t stain or absorb odors. In Japan, our nonstick interior mugs are highly prized for their durability and cleanability, since they are primarily used for holding coffee and tea, which tend to leave odors and stains. Some of our newer bottles, such as the Stainless Mug SM-TA and Stainless Bottle SJ-JS, even utilize double-layer nonstick coating, to provide additional protection against salt-containing beverages such as sports drinks, as materials like salt will corrode stainless steel.

The SlickSteel® interior finish was introduced for our customers who prefer to avoid PTFE nonstick. We’ve electro-polished the interior, resulting in a surface that resists corrosion and repels stains without the use of nonstick coating. Electropolishing works using the principal of electrolysis, whereby the stainless steel is immersed in an ionized, electrolytic solution which is subjected to an electrical current. The reaction that results from the charged solution removes the microscopic peaks and fills the microscopic valleys in the stainless steel, creating an ultra-smooth surface made without any mechanical smoothing, grinding, or buffing.

Because eating out of Food Jars would require a utensil to be used, we use our SlickSteel® interior in all of them so that the nonstick coating is not scratched. Some of the other products with SlickSteel® interior are the Stainless Bottle SV-GWE50, our Stainless Mugs in models SM-JHE, SM-KHE, SM-SHE and our Travel Mug SM-YAE48 Both of our Stainless Tumblers in models SM-DA and SM-DD are SlickSteel® finished.

No matter what your preference is, both of our interior finishes showcase the same smart design and expert engineering you’ve come to expect from Zojirushi. Feel free to call our friendly customer service with any additional questions and of course, to help you select your next mug, bottle, or food jar!

Design Explained – Our Innovative Lids

Lids. Yes, we’re starting off 2019 talking about our lids.

Happy 2019, and we hope that you find this new series about how our smartly engineered product components work as interesting as we do! And lest you think we are a bunch of engineers sitting around geeking out about our products (which, we happily are!), we were inspired to write this series because of the many questions that you, our fans and enthusiasts, ask us.

One of the most frequently asked questions comes from those of you who use our bottles, lunch jars and food jars – the items that typically have screw-off lids. Upon first glance, many of our customers aren’t sure why our lids have multiple pieces, after all…isn’t one lid just like any other?

Of course not! We have designed our screw-off lids to cleverly solve a few problems, without requiring you to learn a new technology or to deal with lots of difficult processes. Let’s deconstruct the lid first.

It looks like a lot of pieces, but each one fits seamlessly and serves a purpose.

It looks like a lot of pieces, but each one fits seamlessly and serves a purpose. The Lid Cover and Lid Cover Gasket top the show. The Stopper Cover protects the inner stopper system, which is comprised of the Stopper, Valve Packing and Stopper Gasket, all of which help to prevent leaks. The Valve Packing helps manage pressure inside the main body that can be created when hot foods or drinks are stored in the container. The Lid Cover at the very top is removable to allow access to the Valve Packing when needed, and the extra space within the lid also creates an insulated barrier so that the temperature of the food or drink inside the main body is maintained.

Pressure release valve helps to release built-up pressure

The components of the inner stopper system are meant to seal the main body shut, and the Valve Packing manages the pressure inside of the container. Sometimes, when the containers are filled with hot foods or beverages, pressure can build up inside and seal the lid tightly onto the main body. This is great when you’re making Steel Cut Oatmeal To-Go in Your Food Jar, but not so great when you have to open that food jar! Rather than forcing the lid off, and potentially scalding yourself, we’ve designed the lid so that you simply take off the Lid Cover, insert a toothpick into one of the two small holes in the  Stopper, and release some of the pressure inside of the main body. This works the similar to the way pressure is released from a pressure cooker. Then, just screw the lid off and enjoy!

Removable mouth ring for drinking comfort

The Mouth Ring and Mouth Ring Gasket below the lid components are for drinking comfort, and the lid fits securely into this area. Additionally, the lid covers the area that touches your lips, keeping it clean. We’ve even heard that it’s great when your bottle rolls out of your bag onto the sandy beach, and the lid stays on to keep the drinking area clean of sand!

Most lids disassemble for thorough cleaning

Lids, because they come into contact with foods and beverages, can foster bacterial growth if they aren’t cleaned well and dried thoroughly. We’ve thought of that, too, and designed the lid to easily disassemble. Each component can be removed for thorough and hygienic cleaning.

Check out how convenient these smartly designed lids are – and of course, enjoy your fresh foods and beverages in our vacuum-insulated bottles, food jars and lunch jars. Our friendly Customer Service Representatives are available to answer any questions…especially the really geeky ones our product designers love!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Lina!

Customer service is one of our key values, and we’re excited to spend some time getting to know Lina this month!

Lina has been a Customer Service Manager with Zojirushi for almost two years and she brings freshness and passion to her role.

Lina, can you tell us a little bit about your role as a Customer Service Manager?

My primary job is to make sure that I help customers with their Zojirushi product, whether they need support finding the right product to fit their needs or whether they have questions after they’ve bought their product, like how to use certain features or what recipes would be great, or even finding replacement parts. I have to be a product expert to do my job well, so I also learn about each product, give input to R&D and help with warranty and repair requests.

Sounds like you have a lot going on! How did you get into this role?

I grew up with Zojirushi products. Since before I even knew the name, I can remember seeing the elephant on all our household products. I’m proud to work for a company I believe in and can recommend to everyone.

Zojirushi products are stocked in the customer service area that allow representatives to walk through processes with customers over the phone

We’ve heard that from everyone we’ve interviewed this year… that Zojirushi is a great company to work for and that our corporate values are embodied throughout the organization. How do you see our values and our corporate philosophy of Creating a Quality of Life translate into your role?

I believe our values of quality and attention to detail make this company. We get customers calling in about rice cookers and bread machines they have had for 20 years which are still working in great condition! I have seen all the thought and effort that goes in to the design of new products to allow for the best aesthetics and functionality. We try our best to assist customers to ensure they are satisfied with their products whether it be by troubleshooting any issues they may have or providing them with step by step instructions on how to operate their products. We have actual units we use that allow us to ‘walk through’ with the customers so we see the exact same thing they see and can better assist them. We really pay attention and I think that makes all the difference.

Along with our values, our corporate tagline is Inspirations from Everyday Life. How do you see everyday inspirations reflected in Zojirushi products?

There is an increasing awareness and interest in gluten free breads and various grains for cooking in the rice cooker. Our newest bread machines reflect this and are designed to bake gluten free breads. Our newest rice cooker has a quinoa setting. We also just released a water boiler with an all-stainless steel interior. We are always developing our products to suit the needs and requests of our customers.

Daikon Pork Layered Hot Pot

You’re so passionate about our products! Do you have a favorite product or favorite recipe you’d like to share with us?

Vacuum mugs!!! I cannot live without mine. I fill it with coffee, tea or water and it helps keep me hydrated and caffeinated in the most stylish way. The mugs are so minimalistic, light, and durable. I never realized how much I would love and need it until I actually used it. Best gift to get for anyone.

And I love the Daikon Pork Layered Hot Pot. It is a beautiful dish to look at and tastes even better!! Give it a try! The Japanese have a saying that ‘you eat with your eyes first’ and this is definitely a sight to behold!

That does sound delicious! We love hearing about everyone’s recommendations. Since Zojirushi is a Japanese company, do you have any insight into the culture you’d like to share?

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Zojirushi Headquarters and Factory in Japan. It was truly a wonderful learning experience. What always impresses me about the Japanese is their dedication to their craft. They focus on one thing and really perfect it. And trust me when I tell you EVERYTHING tastes better in Japan! It’s always a fun and delicious experience when I visit there.

We can’t wait to visit Japan, either, and hope that you enjoyed learning about Lina and her perspective. Stay tuned for our next Voices of Zojirushi!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Marilyn!

We hope you’re enjoying our Voices of Zojirushi series. We’ve enjoyed sharing perspectives from Jesse, Seitaro, Saori, Nao, Amy and Manny with you.

This month, we visit with Marilyn, our North American Marketing Manager. She works closely with the Vice President of Marketing on everything from product research and development to campaigns and promotions to advertising and public relations.

Marilyn’s unique background–born in Los Angeles, moved to Tokyo when she was eight years old, and returned to Southern California as an adult–gives us such interesting insight into her career at Zojirushi.

Marilyn, start off by telling us what inspired you to work at Zojirushi?

As with most Japanese Americans, I grew up using Zojirushi products and was familiar with their reputation, so it was a no-brainer for me. What keeps me at Zojirushi though, is knowing that the products I help develop bring joy and convenience to others. I love it when new people I meet can’t wait to tell me how much they love their Zojirushi products!

Marilyn’s Tuff Mug has been through the ringer, but still works like a  champ

That’s got to be the best feeling. Since you help to develop and market Zojirushi products, how do you believe our corporate philosophy of Creating a Quality of Life influences you?

When developing products or creating marketing materials, I think of our customers a lot. How would this product benefit our customers? How can I make this product better, so it’s easier to use, easier to clean, or more useful? What would our customers like to read in our newsletters or on our website? By thinking of these Hows, Whats and Whys, I hope to make the lives of everybody who interact with us and our products in any way, better.

For example, as a manufacturer of household appliances, safety is one of the most important qualities at Zojirushi. How can we design the cord so the unit isn’t pulled off the counter accidentally? What can we do to prevent burns? How can we make it child-proof? What happens when someone struggles to open a lid or cook something better? These are the questions asked every day at Zojirushi and implemented into our products.

Since you’re so close to the products, tell us about your favorite product and one you’d like to see created in the future?

My favorite Zojirushi product is the Tuff Mug I’ve been using since I started working for Zojirushi in 2002. It’s scratched, beat-up and dented, but still works amazingly well. Newer mugs have better design features like a disassembling lid and are much lighter, but there’s something about this mug that I just can’t get rid of it (including the lipstick stain on the lid because the lid doesn’t disassemble)!

And as someone working in product R&D, I have lots of great ideas under my sleeve, but I wouldn’t mind taking a step backwards and having a glass-lined vacuum bottle in our lineup. I remember a day in elementary school when I dropped my glass-lined vacuum bottle and it shattered, spilling barley tea all over the place, but glass is so much easier to clean and keep sanitary.

Marilyn enjoys cooking takoyaki with friends who join her in turning batter into balls

We do love our Zojirushi bottles! We know barley tea was your drink of choice in elementary school, but what can you tell us about your favorite dish now, especially one that’s made using a Zojirushi appliance?

Takoyaki. Growing up in Tokyo, I would’ve never thought of making takoyaki at home (it’s more of a Western Japan thing), but it’s so fun to make when we have guests over. I also enjoy using the griddle to make French toast and hash browns on Sundays.

Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your thoughts with us today. Any last thoughts?

If there’s one thing about Zojirushi I would say, it’s this: Dedication. The dedication each employee has for this brand always amazes me. Everybody works hard to make the best product they can think of, help customers as much as possible, or try to provide the best Zojirushi experience for every single customer. It keeps us fresh and inspired!

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We hope you enjoyed meeting Marilyn, and stay tuned for our next voice, next month!