Action 9: Couple wants design change after oven panel falls off

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NEWTON, N.C. —

When a Newton woman opened her oven, the heavy front panel fell off. Her husband said it fell on her toes like a guillotine.

Tom Winslow likes hiking, but feels this was a real uphill battle.
 
“I look at this as something General Electric should be concerned about,” he said.
 
He said when his wife opened their GE oven, and the front panel fell off, she was lucky she was wearing shoes.
 
“It hurt, but no damage,” he said.
 
Winslow said he couldn’t find any screws. It looked like just some double-sided tape holding it on.
 
Either way, Winslow wondered if GE would think about changing the design.
 
“If it happened to us, it could happen to other people,” he said.
 
Action 9 asked GE what goes into a design change. Action 9 received an email back stating, “I don’t have anything I can send you that isn’t proprietary.”
 
While GE won’t discuss how it tweaks its products, Wingate professor Dennis Harlow has a sense of what goes on in the appliance industry.
 
He was a mechanical engineer for 20 years.
 
He said the company would have to try different tapes and screws, build prototypes to test them rigorously and then send out hundreds of samples for customers to try.
 
It could take more than a year and then the company may find tape is better than screws.
 
“It’s quick to put on,” Harlow said. “It also doesn’t corrode. There’s a stress point when you put screws in. They don’t all get to meet the two surfaces in the same way.”
 
No matter whether GE makes a switch across the board later, it did take care of the Winslows, fixing the oven panel within days.