Technology

James Dyson

Billionaire entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson is at the forefront of innovation

Profile


British inventor and industrial designer James Dyson is the founder and chief engineer of high-tech home appliances manufacturer Dyson, which offers scores of consumer products such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, hand dryers and personal grooming products. The firm pulled in profits of £797 million in 2020, with revenue rising 5.7 per cent to £5.7 billion from the year before. Singapore is the firm’s global headquarters and centre of its sales, engineering and manufacturing operations.

Dyson came to fame when he invented the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner in 1983, being frustrated by his old machine’s poor suction power when its bag was clogged with dust. His new machine worked on the principle of cyclonic separation, removing particulates via a high-speed rotating airflow, without the use of filters.

Today, Dyson works with over 1,000 engineers worldwide and produces devices used in over 65 countries. Innovation remains a mainstay of the brand; it recently launched a cordless vacuum cleaner that uses laser technology to detect hidden dust as small as 10 microns. Dyson also launched the James Dyson Foundation in 2011, encouraging young people from around the world to pursue a career in engineering.

Dyson was also in the news for purchasing a three-storey penthouse unit atop Wallich Residence for S$73.8 million in 2019, as well as a good class bungalow in Cluny Road for S$50 million that same year. He sold the former after about a year, with the 21,000sqft apartment purchased by Indonesian billionaire Leo Koguan.


“It’s about looking very carefully at every aspect of the design process and refining it many times. I was trained at the Royal College of Art, so design has always been important to me.” 
 
“Of course, I have to believe in function over form, because you lose interest in something that’s easy on the eye if it doesn’t do the job, but I still consider design to be an integral part of what we do. It is part of the engineering process, rather than a separate function, and how a product works dictates how it looks.” 


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It took five years and 5,127 prototypes before Dyson perfected his bagless vacuum cleaner design. Another blockbuster product, the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, took 100 engineers £50 million and four years to develop. 

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