Initial Product Assessment for Group 26

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Contents

Intended Use of Product

The power washer’s intended use is to spray water at a fast velocity with the goal of cleaning a surface. The power washer can clean various surfaces such as wood, plastic, cement, and brick. They are often used for cleaning driveways, the sides of a house, and cleaning a fence prior to painting. The product is intended for both professional and home use. The applications it has on constructions sites and maneuverability makes it useful for small business work. Its low price keeps it in range for regular homeowners to buy as well. Its small size keeps it out of bigger scale construction work where more powerful machines are needed. This product can be used to spray dirt of a brick wall or driveway. It can also used to clean the siding of a house in a fast and efficient manner. The multiple spray settings ranging from fast straight streams, to a gentler shower allow the user to even clean windows. The highly pressurized streams quickly remove dirt and grime from the smallest crevices.

How the Product Works

The product works by compressing water expelling it at high velocities. The gas-powered engine runs the compressor. Chemical energy is used to power the engine that in turn uses mechanical energy to power the compressor. The chemical energy in gasoline is converted into mechanical energy by the engine. It does this by causing the gas to react with a spark causing it to expand rapidly. In order to make room for the expanding gas the pistons are pushed up and down rapidly causing the motor to operate. This reaction also produces thermal or heat energy as a byproduct. The mechanical energy is used in the compressor to send the water out of the machine at high speeds.

Current Functionality

The component of the power washer we are focusing on is the engine. There is no proper way to tell if the engine is in working condition as is by itself. However, from empirical observation, it seems as though it should be a functional engine; we are able to hand crank it, a sign that indicates that nothing inside of it is broken. Without being able to turn the engine over it is impossible for us to tell if anything else is in working condition.

Product Complexity

This product is on the lower end of a spectrum of complexity. For comparison’s sake, with a hand crank system having a value of one and a multi-piston or turbine engine a ten, this engine is at about a three. The engine has relatively few parts and even fewer moving parts, having only one piston. A good estimate of the total amount of components the engine has is about thirty. Included components are a pair of valves, a piston, rod and shaft, engine block, header, gasket, and air filter and fuel components. The individual components are fairly simple, primarily being basic-shaped chunks of metal.

Materials

Visible materials include steel, plastic and ceramics. Materials which are present but not visible most likely include copper, graphite, and silicon.

Satisfaction with Product

If we had to use this product, we would be happy with it as it is fairly comfortable and easy to use. Its size, in addition to having wheels and a gas-powered engine, makes it highly mobile and maneuverable. The spray gun and its hose can be disconnected from the pressure washer for easy storage, with a bin specifically designed to hold the hose attached on the back of the product. Use of the pressure washer is very simple: after starting the engine, users can simply shoot using the trigger on the spray gun, adjusting the spray via the nozzle and pressure through a knob to suit the particular user’s needs. This product needs regular, although simple, maintenance. Before using it, users have to check gas and oil levels and the air cleaner, remedying problems when needed. Once a year, users will have to clean the fuel tank, replace the spark plug, and replace the air filter

Alternatives

The prices of comparable pressure washers all ranged around the same price of 1,400-1,600 dollars. The advantages of this particular pressure washer are that it is a smaller and lighter unit, resulting in easier handling. Some of the disadvantages of this pressure washer are that it is weaker than comparable products, having only 5hp compared to a 9-10hp engine, and that it has a smaller fuel tank capacity. Having a weaker engine means that it’s not able to attain the amount of power other pressure washers can reach.