Sustainable Engineering |
image of James Dyson

“Others might label our machines as ‘green’. To me, the very notion of it smacks of marketing hype.”

There will always be machines. But when they work better – more efficiently – then they needn't be at odds with sustainability. This lean mindset is what got me hooked on engineering – when I discovered the flaw with vacuum bags and came up with something less wasteful and more efficient. That is the beauty of lean engineering – by its very nature, it does more with less.

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image of James Dyson


less bags in landfill

Fewer bags in landfill

Rather than relying on bags, high speed centrifugal forces separate dust and debris from the air, collecting it in a clear bin. There are no bags to throw away and no filters to replace.

James Dyson wanted to come up with something more efficient. It was about improving performance – creating a machine that wouldn't lose suction. Using cyclone technology he invented the world’s first bagless vacuum.

Research Design and Development

Research Design and Development

Dyson seeks out bright and enthusiastic engineers and gives them responsibility from the offset. Fearless and free is what we want: that’s where revolutionary ideas come from.

Expansive minds. Expanding laboratories.

Expansive minds. Expanding laboratories.

Dyson has Research, Design and Development (RDD) laboratories in Malmesbury (UK), Malaysia and Singapore. It's these laboratories where new inventions are developed and tested. They’re home to over 1,600 engineers and scientists, including James Dyson himself. In Malaysia we recently developed a new RDD zone and, in Malmesbury, plans are under way for a £250 million expansion.

The inner engineer

The inner engineer

Not everyone at Dyson is an engineer. But everyone is encouraged to think like one – challenging assumptions and tackling problems others ignore.

Our guest lecture programme brings the brightest brains in science and engineering to Dyson. Street art lessons and photography and inventing competitions also keep the creative juices pumping.

On day one everyone takes apart and rebuilds a Dyson vacuum, to learn about the technology.

Careers at Dyson
James Dyson and Jake Dyson

Dyson DNA

Dyson has always been a family concern. While James was perfecting the world’s first cyclonic vacuum, his wife Deirdre kept the family solvent – teaching, growing food and making clothes for their children. Emily, Sam and Jake are all involved in Dyson today, working to determine our future course.

Unlike public companies driven by pleasing shareholders, family ownership allows longer-term investment in new patentable technology. Fifty years, not fifty weeks.

Jake Dyson’s lean lighting

Demonstrating that lean engineering is in the blood, Jake Dyson has applied the philosophy to the field of LED lighting.

Ariel™ lighting uses heat pipe technology, originally developed for cooling of satellites, which contributes to its low energy consumption and prolongs product life.

image of Dysons Digital Motor

Our secret weapon: lean, mean motors

The Dyson digital motor is small, power-efficient and much lighter than a conventional motor. For example, the Dyson digital motor V6 weighs just 218 grams yet generates 425 Watts of power.

The more power-efficient our machines, the less energy they use. And the lighter and smaller they are, the less packaging and transport energy is required.

Image of DDM being manufactured

How do you build a precision motor every six seconds?

Not even dexterous human hands can assemble the high tech components crammed into the Dyson digital V6 motor. Such is the precision required to guarantee performance. So we brought in the robots – all 50 of them – each working within micron accuracy at high speed. The fully automated assembly line in Singapore is now able to produce six million Dyson digital motors a year and has been awarded ISO 14001 certification for Environmental Management.

DDM V4 manufacturing
image of a Dyson Mk2 hand dryer

Conventional hand dryers. A lot of hot air.

Conventional hand dryers heat unfiltered air and blow it onto wet hands, gradually turning moisture into vapour. Typically it’s too slow – some can take up to 43 seconds.

Airblade™ technology scrapes hands dry with 430mph sheets of unheated air, It dries hands in as little as 10 seconds, with no energy-hungry heating element – so far less energy is consumed.

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image of a cordless blueprint

Doing more with less

The less material we use, the less of a drain on resources and the less energy intensive processing required. It also means a lighter, more user-friendly design.

So our engineers experiment with many different materials and designs: start with the bare minimum, then gradually build up.

Stringent testing and finite strength analysis ensure durability is never sacrificed.

Learn more about Digital Slim™ vacuums
Dyson Fans

Less material

Instead of relying on rotating blades to “chop” the air, Air Multiplier™ technology harnesses the Coandă effect to draw in surrounding air and generate a smooth, powerful, high-velocity airflow. With no blades and grills, there are fewer components to manufacture and less material to ship around the world.

Learn more about Dyson Cool™ fans

Less energy

In the new generation of Air Multiplier™ fans, airways have been refined to significantly reduce turbulence. The motor no longer needs to work so hard to generate the same power – resulting in an 18% reduction in carbon emissions, as well as up to 75% lower noise levels compared to previous generations.

image of the Dyson 360 Eye™

Automatic Efficiency

The ultimate in lean machines: a robot that does the job for you. But only if it works efficiently. To create the Dyson 360 Eye™ robot vacuum, we melded cutting-edge robotics with our energy efficient digital motor battery technology.

Learn more about Dyson 360 Eye™ robot
testing the durability of vacuum bin

Built to last

From design through to material selection and after-sales service, our philosophy is to keep Dyson machines working. Prototypes are subjected to months of repetitive and rigorous testing. It takes 120 engineers 50,000 hours and 550 tests to be satisfied that they are robust enough.

That’s why we offer a no quibble warranty on our machines.

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2nd life and recycling

Dyson machines contain high quality materials, almost all of which can be reused and recycled. We operate service workshops where machines are refurbished and sold as discounted certified machines. And to encourage end-of-life recycling, we offer trade-in promotions – accepting any make of vacuum and offering new, more efficient Dyson technology.

Lean from source to ship to shop

Supply chains are complex and Dyson's is no different. In order to produce the 26,000 machines that roll off our production lines each week, we work with several hundred companies all over the world. Yet we monitor each of them. They must all sign up to our stringent ethical code of conduct and our Corporate Social Responsibility team drop by to ensure standards are being met.

Precision tooling

Component manufacture is an energy and material-intensive operation. Dyson plants are getting more efficient through the use of hot runner systems, reducing resin wastage. Our tooling suppliers are also developing more multi-cavity tools, allowing for the production of multiple parts in one mould, reducing material and energy use.

Spray Painting

Spray painting

By improving the positioning of robotic arms, our engineers achieved a 30 second faster cycle time for the painting of our new Air Multiplier™ fan – as well as a reduction in reject rates. This cuts waste and enables our high temperature curing ovens to be used for a shorter time.

Efficient assembly

With one Dyson vacuum cleaner made every 3.3 seconds, assembly needs to be highly efficient. Components are synchronized to arrive just on time. And tests have been simplified without compromising quality.

Packaging scrutiny

Dyson packaging engineers have found a way to tight-pack our machines with recycled corrugated cardboard, minimizing environmental impact.


As our machines get smaller and our packaging gets smarter, we can fit more into a shipping container. We also load directly into containers without the use of pallets. Consequently our container utilisation is up from 70% in 2005 to 97% in 2013, reducing transport emissions.

Supplier Responsibility

Supplier Responsibility

As a customer, Dyson is demanding. We only want to work with those who, like us, solve problems and relentlessly look for improvement. This extends to the conditions in which Dyson machines are made. Dyson requires suppliers to work to international standards governing Health and Safety, Labour and Environment.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility team works with suppliers every week to ensure that workers are treated fairly, workplaces are safe and that any environmental impacts are managed and mitigated. If suppliers fail, we look for another.

Safe machines

Safe machines

All Dyson machines comply with RoHS, the European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic equipment. Examples of materials restricted by RoHS include lead, mercury and cadmium.

Dyson is also compliant with the European Regulation on the Registration of Chemicals known as REACH.

Download environmental policy
Others look ‘green’, ours are 'lean'

Others look ‘green’

Just because a box is branded with green foliage, it doesn't mean there’s anything meaningful inside. Over the last 20 years, the wattage of many European vacuum cleaners crept up beyond 2000 watts. In 2014, European Ecodesign Legislation brought in a 1,600 watt limit. In 2017 this will drop to 900 watts.

Ours are ‘lean’

Dyson was the only vacuum cleaner manufacturer to campaign for lower motor wattage as part of this legislation – and we have never used a vacuum motor bigger than 1400 watts. In fact, since 2008 we’ve been using motors half the power, like DC24 and DC50. We’ve also invested heavily in developing energy efficient, low watt motors.

Energy Label

What Europe’s Energy Label doesn’t tell you

The Energy Label was supposed to guide people towards high-performing, energy efficient vacuums. However, what many people don’t know is that the ratings don’t reflect real use because the tests are performed on empty vacuums in laboratory conditions. Vacuums don’t stay empty – and as bagged vacuums fill with dust, they lose suction, requiring more energy to clean.

The label doesn't include the impact of consumables, like bags and filters. In Europe alone, 126 million vacuum bags a year need to be disposed of in landfill or incinerators.

To find a truly efficient vacuum look beyond the label.

James Dyson Foundation

Wanted: lean engineers to save the world

Engineers tackle 21st Century challenges, like health, population and climate change. However, engineering suffers from an image problem compared to the ‘safe’ professions like law, medicine and finance.

The James Dyson Foundation is a registered charity that aims to buck this trend.

It visits schools and universities around the world, running workshops and championing design engineering. Every year, the James Dyson Award celebrates the most promising student inventions.

Learn about the James Dyson Foundation
James Dyson Foundation

James Dyson Award Winner Safety Net - Dan Watson (2012)

Overfishing is a global issue, particularly when juvenile fish are caught by industrial vessels. Safety Net proposes a solution. A series of LED-illuminated rings are fitted into the trawler net to allow young and unmarketable fish to escape. They use a kinetic energy harvesting system that ensures that the lights shine brightly, without relying on batteries.

James Dyson Award Winner Airdrop – Edward Linacre (2011)

Airdrop was a response to the huge drought gripping Australia in 2010. Edward observed how the Namib desert beetle lives off the dew it collects on its back. This inspired Edward to investigate low-tech atmospheric water harvesting solutions. And so came Airdrop.

Further Reading

Further reading

‘Lean Machine’ tells the story of sustainable engineering at Dyson.

Download Lean machine