Dyson engineers have a talent for transformation. The idea of the bagless vacuum was born from the cyclonic separation system James Dyson had seen at a local sawmill. Our hand drying technology has its roots in industrial ‘air knives’ used to dry machine parts on Dyson production lines. The invention of our bladeless fans, too, began life far from the homes and offices you'll find them today.
Coanda nozzles are traditionally used to remove debris from industrial equipment by blowing it away. The one that caught our attention just happened to be removing seeds from the production line of a baked goods manufacturer.
Dyson engineers began to wonder if the principle of the Coanda effect – whereby flowing air or liquid is attracted to a nearby surface – could be applied for a different purpose. Desk fans had changed little since their invention in 1860, and adapting the Coanda nozzle would remove the need for awkward-to-clean, potentially dangerous blades.
"The problem was Coanda nozzles used compressed air lines, so to replicate the effect we were initially using the same power you'd find in an industrial setting," explains Kevin Simmonds, senior design engineer. "The noise and discomfort from the velocity of the airflow meant it could never work as a personal cooling fan."
"If you enjoy actually inventing things, Dyson is the place to be. If you like drawing all day, it's probably not," adds Kevin. "The joy is in the detail. The testing and the perfecting until a breakthrough eventually comes, or a new discovery leads you somewhere completely unexpected."
Many more prototypes and improvements have followed Kevin's first bladeless fan prototype, but the angle of the airfoil-shaped ramp in our Air Multiplier™ machines remains exactly the same today – at a precisely optimised 16°.