Sanyo's "Ultrarich" Rice Cooker Priced at $1,074

Jul 20, 2007
Yuka Ikematsu, Nikkei Monozukuri
An IH pressure rice cooker is presented by Masayuki Shimozawa, senior manager of the Business Promotion Department of the Home Appliance Division in Sanyo Electric.
An IH pressure rice cooker is presented by Masayuki Shimozawa, senior manager of the Business Promotion Department of the Home Appliance Division in Sanyo Electric.
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Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. announced July 19, 2007, that it will release the "IH pressure rice cooker" series, which adopted high thermal conductive copper for the kettle, September 1, 2007.

The nickname of the cooker is "Takumi Jyundou Odoridaki (Maestro's Pure Cooker Dancing and Boiling)." And the sticker price is "ultrarich" 131,250 yen (USD 1,074) for one of the two types of cookers.

The IH pressure rice cookers are "expected to become strong sellers" in the stagnant rice cooker market, according to Sanyo, which takes a trick with the high-class IH rice cooker series.

The prices of the new series are a little under twice as expensive as the former products, according to the company. The reason of the high price is "the result of further developing original technologies to boil delicious rice." In fact, there are three newly-adopted major technologies.

First, the kettle adopted clad material that is made by rolling pure cooper (the degree of purity is 99.9%) put between stainless steel and aluminum alloy, enabling to heat quickly and enhancing heat-retaining property.

Copper has high thermal conductivity and easily transmits the heat emitted from the stainless steel to the inside of the kettle. Also, copper is added to the fluorine that coats the inside of the kettle to reduce deterioration of thermal conductivity.

The pure copper is 1.5-mm thick, and the weight of the kettle increased 50% compared with the former products. But there is no problem in handling the kettle, according to Sanyo.

Second, the company exercised its ingenuity in the boiling method. It developed an "IH variable pressure boiling method" in 2002 and obtained a patent for it in 2006. And this method was adopted to the new rice cookers.

By repeatedly increasing and decreasing the pressure between 1 atm and 1.2 atm in the boiling process, the rice cooker stirs and evenly heat rice by making it "dance." And the new products adopted this method in the steaming process too.

The flavor sucked up at the steam port is stored in the "flavor circulation unit" in the lid and is showered over the rice in the steaming process. And by increasing and decreasing the pressure once more, the flavor showered over the rice and collected at the bottom of the kettle evenly soaks into the rice.

Third, die-cast aluminum is used for the frame of the body for the first time in the industry, according to the company. The frame is a flat single piece, so it is more sturdy and easier to clean up than the resin used in the former products.

There are two types of new rice cookers, ECJ-XP10 (white and black) and ECJ-V10 (champagne gold), and the sales goals of them are 50,000 units per year, according to the company.