Changing the way we cook
It took a year and a half of research work and another year of development process to launch the unique IQcook hobs in Gorenje’s markets across the globe. Due to the exceptional innovativeness of the new cooker operating system, only a small development team was acquainted with the project during the research and pre-development stage.
“We locked ourselves in the development lab for days at a time, where we would test, change, re-test, correct, and so on, until we arrived at the absolute best solutions,” says Marko Kreča, head of the electro department at the competence centre for cooking appliance development in Velenje. “It’s been a long while since I’ve seen so much mathematics on one hand, and so much food tasting on the other, as in this project.”
Unlike the oven which is a closed environment, thermal conditions on a cooking hob can vary significantly. “We’re actually working in an uncontrolled environment and therefore, setting up automated processes is all the more challenging. However, our team didn’t shy away from the challenge, and never gave up when faced with numerous unknowns, complications, and obstacles,” explains cooking appliance development team member Dražen Djukić.
Hours and hours of cooking and testing
In order to simplify the cooking process and make cooking tasks easier, the team started with complex research and development procedures. At first, they had to figure out the logic of automated cooking. The basic idea was to establish wireless communication between the sensors in the induction hob and the sensor in the lid which was developed especially for this purpose. Complex program algorithms in the appliance make sure the cooperation between the sensors is safe and that it leads to the desired results.
Good news here is that any type of cookware that is suitable for induction hobs can be used on the IQcook hob. Also, a wide range of lids can be used, which is a key advantage of Gorenje’s product, making it truly unique; at the same time, this was one of the key challenges for the development team. The other key advantage of Gorenje’s new hob is the controlled steam cooking feature, using a minimum of water and without using an extra steamer insert. To control the steam cooking process, the sensors perceive numerous parameters that are then processed by the hob. Operation of the appliance was tested for a total of over 3,000 hours.
More than 20 experts involved
A multidisciplinary team of more than 20 experts on cooking appliance development, electronics development, de-sign, technology, quality management, marketing, and product management worked intensively on the many solutions to which they can proudly point to as the first in the home appliance industry. With the IQcook project, the Gorenje expert team introduced some new approaches to cooking appliance development, and generated a huge amount of new ideas for products which they in-tend to develop in the future. “The IQcook system saves time and energy, because the food is cooked largely automatically. We’ll certainly devote a great deal of attention to procedures for optimum and automated food preparation, while even more tests will be conducted – with ‘real food”, adds Kreča.
The hob offers five preset cooking modes. Three cooking modes (steam cooking, cooking with a large amount of water, and slow cooking) and two frying/grilling modes (deep frying and grilling) allow automatic cooking of a wide range of dishes. After selecting the most suitable cooking mode, the sensor installed on the pan lid is activated with a simple touch. Operation of the two IQ sensors built into the cooking hob and attached to the pan lid, respectively, to check the progress in the pan, is monitored by the cooking hob electronics. Intelligent technology provides automatic operation and completely eliminates the need for direct, ongoing supervision of the cooking process.
Completely controlled cooking processes
Accidentally placing the wrong lid on the pan during cooking causes the IQ sensor technology to notice and notify you with an audio signal. The cooking process proceeds without interruption. IQ sensors are built into each cooking zone of the hob to allow the use of the revolutionary IQcook function on all four zones simultaneously. Operating in the preset mode for cooking with large amounts of water (e.g. soup, pasta), the hob brings the contents of the pot to the boil, then maintains boiling temperature (choose between light, moderate, and heavy boil) through communication with the IQ sensors.
Three patent applications were filed for the product, for the following solutions:
- construction of the sensor and method of attaching the sensor to the lid,
- sensing when the water in the pan has evaporated,
- sensing the presence of a lid with sensor on the selected cooking zone.