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Publication numberUS20060005565 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/170,821
Publication dateJan 12, 2006
Filing dateJun 30, 2005
Priority dateJul 6, 2004
Publication number11170821, 170821, US 2006/0005565 A1, US 2006/005565 A1, US 20060005565 A1, US 20060005565A1, US 2006005565 A1, US 2006005565A1, US-A1-20060005565, US-A1-2006005565, US2006/0005565A1, US2006/005565A1, US20060005565 A1, US20060005565A1, US2006005565 A1, US2006005565A1
InventorsKeith Roth, Charles Poe, Michael Exon
Original AssigneeScotsman Ice Systems.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ice making apparatus and baffle assembly
US 20060005565 A1
Abstract
An ice bin for an ice cube-making machine is provided that facilitates access to the inner volume and the ice contained therein. The ice bin has a baffle that is easily assembled and removed from the ice bin without the need for fasteners or tools. The baffle is removably and preferably movably connected to the ice bin, and is preferably pivotally disposed thereabout.
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Claims(20)
1. An ice bin comprising:
at least one wall defining an inner volume and a bin opening; and
a baffle removably disposed about the at least one wall and disposed in proximity to the bin opening, wherein the baffle can be assembled with and removed from the ice bin through manipulation of the baffle only.
2. The ice bin of claim 1, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for assembly is in a first single direction, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for removal is in a second single direction, and wherein the first and second single directions are substantially opposite to each other.
3. The ice bin of claim 1, wherein the baffle is pivotally positioned about the ice bin.
4. The ice bin of claim 3, further comprising a first wall, a second wall, a first pin and a second pin, wherein the first and second pins are disposed along inner faces of each of the first and second walls, and wherein the baffle is pivotally disposed about the first and second pins.
5. The ice bin of claim 4, wherein the baffle has first and second ends, and wherein the first and second ends each have pivot channels that pivotally mate with the first and second pins, respectively.
6. The ice bin of claim 1, further comprising a canopy connected to the at least one wall, wherein the canopy is disposed in proximity to the baffle and assists in positioning the baffle at a desired angle with respect to the bin opening.
7. The ice bin of claim 1, further comprising a canopy connected to the at least one wall, wherein the canopy is disposed in proximity to the baffle and provides resistance to movement of the baffle with respect to the bin opening.
8. The ice bin of claim 1, further comprising a stopper disposed along an inner face of the at least one wall, wherein the stopper restricts movement of the baffle beyond a desired angle of rotation.
9. An ice-making machine comprising:
an evaporator; and
an ice bin in communication with the evaporator for the storage of ice formed by the evaporator, the ice bin having at least one wall and a baffle, the at least one wall defining an inner volume and a bin opening, the baffle being removably disposed about the at least one wall and disposed in proximity to the bin opening, wherein the baffle can be assembled with and removed from the ice bin through manipulation of the baffle only.
10. The ice-making machine of claim 9, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for assembly is in a first single direction, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for removal is in a second single direction, and wherein the first and second single directions are substantially opposite to each other.
11. The ice-making machine of claim 9, wherein the baffle is pivotally positioned about the ice bin.
12. The ice-making machine of claim 11, wherein the ice bin further comprises a first wall, a second wall, a first pin and a second pin, wherein the first and second pins are disposed along inner faces of each of the first and second walls, and wherein the baffle is pivotally disposed about the first and second pins.
13. The ice-making machine of claim 12, wherein the baffle has first and second ends, and wherein the first and second ends each have pivot channels that pivotally mate with the first and second pins, respectively.
14. The ice-making machine of claim 9, further comprising a canopy connected to the at least one wall, wherein the canopy is disposed in proximity to the baffle and assists in positioning the baffle at a desired angle with respect to the bin opening.
15. The ice-making machine of claim 9, further comprising a canopy connected to the at least one wall, wherein the canopy is disposed in proximity to the baffle and provides resistance to movement of the baffle with respect to the bin opening.
16. The ice-making machine of claim 9, further comprising a stopper disposed along an inner face of the at least one wall, wherein the stopper restricts movement of the baffle beyond a desired angle of rotation.
17. A method of providing selective access to an ice bin through a bin opening comprising:
removably disposing a baffle to the ice bin and in proximity to the bin opening, wherein the baffle can be assembled with and removed from the ice bin through manipulation of the baffle only.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for assembly is in a first single direction, wherein the manipulation of the baffle for removal is in a second single direction, and wherein the first and second single directions are substantially opposite to each other.
19. The method of claim 17, further comprising providing selective resistance to movement of the baffle at a desired angle with respect to the bin opening, wherein the movable connection between the baffle and the ice bin is pivotal.
20. The method of claim 17, further comprising restricting movement of the baffle beyond a desired angle of rotation, wherein the movable connection between the baffle and the ice bin is pivotal.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority in co-pending U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/585,633, filed on Jul. 6, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an ice-cube making machine and, in particular, to the support structure for the ice cube-making machine.

2. Discussion of the Background Art

Ice cube-making machines generally comprise an evaporator, a water supply and a refrigerant/warm gas circuit that includes a condenser and a compressor. During the freeze mode, the water supply provides water to the evaporator and the circuit supplies refrigerant to the evaporator to cool the water and form ice cubes. During the harvest mode, the circuit diverts warm compressor discharge gas to the evaporator, thereby warming the evaporator and causing the ice cubes to loosen and be stored in an ice bin or hopper.

Referring to FIG. 1, an ice bin 10 is shown having a baffle 20 that is connected to a support member 30 by a series of fasteners or screws 25. The support member 30 is connected to the ice bin 10 by fasteners or screws 35. The baffle 20 provides selective access to the inner volume of the ice bin 10 for removal of the ice. However, to remove the baffle 20 in order to provide greater access to the inner volume of the ice bin 20, such as, for example, for maintenance and cleaning, the screws 25 and/or the screws 35 must be removed. With older ice bins, especially due to rust from the ice and water, this can be difficult, as well as time consuming.

Thus, there is a need for an ice cube-making machine having a support structure that reduces or eliminates these drawbacks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The ice cube-making machine of the present invention provides an ice bin having at least one wall defining an inner volume and a bin opening, as well as a baffle removably and movably connected to the at least one wall. The baffle is disposed in proximity to the bin opening. The baffle can be connected to and removed from the ice bin through manipulation of the baffle only.

A method of storing ice and providing selective access to that ice is also provided by removably and movably connecting a baffle to an ice bin in proximity to a bin opening. The baffle can be connected to and removed from the ice bin through manipulation of the baffle only.

The manipulation of the baffle for assembly can be in a first single direction. The manipulation of the baffle for removal can be in a second single direction. The first and second single directions may be substantially opposite to each other. The baffle may also be pivotally disposed about the ice bin. The ice bin can have first and second pins disposed along inner faces of the first and second walls of the ice bin. The baffle may be pivotally disposed about the first and second pins.

The baffle can have first and second ends, and the first and second ends may each have pivot channels that pivotally move about the first and second pins. The ice bin may also have a canopy connected to the at least one wall. The canopy can be disposed in proximity to the baffle and can assist in positioning the baffle at a desired angle with respect to the bin opening. The canopy can also provide resistance to movement of the baffle with respect to the bin opening.

The ice bin may also have a stopper disposed along an inner face of a first wall of the at least one wall. The stopper can restrict movement of the baffle beyond a desired angle of rotation. The movable connection between the baffle and the ice bin can be pivotal. The method can also provide selective resistance or detent to the baffle at a desired angle with respect to the bin opening. The method may further provide resistance to movement of the baffle with respect to the bin opening. The method can also cause restriction of movement of the baffle beyond a desired angle of rotation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other and further objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be understood by reference to the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters denote like elements of structure and:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a prior art ice bin and baffle assembly;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an ice bin and baffle assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side cross-sectional view of the ice bin and baffle assembly of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of portion A the ice bin and baffle assembly of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the baffle of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view of the baffle of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 7 is a side view of the baffle of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 2 through 7, an ice bin, usable with an ice-cube making machine (not shown), is shown and generally represented by reference numeral 100. The ice bin 100 has walls 110 that define the inner volume where the ice is stored, and which also define an upper rim 130 that is connected to the other elements of the ice-cube making machine, such as the evaporator (schematically represented in phantom). The ice-making machine of the present invention can include known and unknown ice-making components, such as, for example, a condenser, a compressor, and an interconnection structure, which are remotely or proximately disposed with respect to the ice bin 100.

In this embodiment, walls 110 define a substantially rectangular structure having an angled upper portion further defining a bin opening 120 to provide access to the inner volume of the ice bin 100. However, the present disclosure contemplates ice bin 100 having other shapes, and positions of the bin opening 120, as well as other numbers of walls 110.

Ice bin 100 has a baffle assembly 200. The baffle assembly 200 has a baffle 210, a pivot 250 and a canopy or support member 300. The baffle assembly 200 provides for easy removal of the baffle 210 from the ice bin 100. In the preferred embodiment, baffle 210 is pivotally disposed about the ice bin 100 by pivot 250.

Preferably, pivot 250 is a pair of pivots or knobs that are disposed on opposing walls 110 along the inside on the ice bin 100. The baffle 210 has pivot channels 220 disposed along opposite ends of the baffle that are operably positioned about each of the pivots 250, respectively. The pivot channels 220 are formed along a substantially straight path and use gravity to hold the pivotal connection in place. However, the present disclosure contemplates the use of other shapes for the pivot channels 220. The pivotal connection between pivots 250 and pivot channels 220 allow for a desired degree of rotation of the baffle 210 with respect to the bin opening 230, as well as assembly and removal without the use of fasteners or tools, such as a screwdriver or wrench. As such, the baffle is removable through manipulation of the baffle only.

As shown in FIGS. 5 through 7, pivot channels 220 allow the baffle 210 to be easily slid onto, and off of, the pivots 250. The pivot channels 220 provide a deep enough opening or trough so that the baffle 210 does not become unintentionally dislodged during rotation or if jolted. However, the trough of pivot channels 220 preferably extends along only a portion of the ends of the baffle 210 to facilitate assembly of the baffle to the pivots 250.

The pivot channels 220 are partially defined by a channel wall 230. The channel wall 230 extends a substantial distance along the end of the baffle 210, and preferably extends along the entire end of the rear of the baffle. Each of the channel walls 230 facilitates alignment and assembly of the pivots 250 into the pivot channels 220 by providing a guide for sliding the pivots onto, along and then into the channels. Since the channel walls 230 extend along a substantial portion of the rear of the ends of the baffle 210, the baffle will begin to rotate into position under the force of gravity as the pivots 250 approach the pivot channels 220 during assembly, which further facilitates the assembly process.

The baffle 210 has a baffle wall 240 that preferably has a curved or convex outer shape. The curved shape of baffle wall 240 allows the newly formed ice to push the baffle 210 forward. The forward motion of the baffle 210 is desired to allow the ice build-up to drop after the ice in the lower portion of the ice bin 100 has been removed. The curved shape of the baffle wall 240 facilitates the forward motion of the baffle 210 by reducing the possibility of the ice blocking the forward pivotal motion, as well as facilitating the movement of the ice along the baffle wall.

The baffle wall 240 preferably has edges 245 and 247 or other detent or resistance members or means that extend along the baffle wall. The edges 245 and 247 are disposed adjacent to, and selectively abutting against, the lower portion of the canopy 300. The abutment or contact between edges 245 and 247, as well as that portion of the baffle wall 240 disposed therebetween, and the lower portion of the canopy 300, provide the desired angle for the position of the baffle 210 and also provide resistance during the pivotal movement of the baffle.

The present disclosure contemplates the use of different lengths and shapes of edges 245 and 247, baffle wall 240 disposed between the edges, and/or the lower portion of canopy 300 to provide the desired angular position of baffle 210 and/or the desired resistance to rotation of baffle 210. While the embodiment shown uses edges 245 and 247, baffle wall 240 disposed between the edges and the lower portion of the canopy 300 to provide resistance for the movement of baffle 10, the present disclosure contemplates various shapes, sizes, positionings, structures and/or methods of providing such resistance.

Baffle assembly 200 also has a baffle stopper 260. Baffle stopper 260 restricts forward movement of baffle 210 beyond a desired point so that the access to remove the ice from ice bin 100 is provided and maintained even with the further accumulation of ice. In this embodiment, baffle stopper 260 is a knob or other structure extending from one or both of opposing walls 110 along the inside of ice bin 100. However, the present disclosure contemplates the use of other structures, methods or means for control of the amount of rotation of baffle 210.

While the embodiment shown uses a pivot and channel connection to provide removability without the need of fasteners or tools, the present disclosure also contemplates the use of other structures, methods or means to provide such ease of removability of baffle 210 from ice bin 100. Preferably, such alternative structures, methods or means allow for rotation of baffle 210 through the desired angular range, while reducing or eliminating unintentional removal of the baffle from ice bin 100.

The present invention having been thus described with particular reference to the preferred forms thereof, it will be obvious that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7739879May 24, 2007Jun 22, 2010Hoshizaki America, Inc.Methods and apparatus to reduce or prevent bridging in an ice storage bin
US8087533May 23, 2007Jan 3, 2012Hoshizaki America, Inc.Systems and methods for providing a removable sliding access door for an ice storage bin
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/344
International ClassificationF25C5/18
Cooperative ClassificationF25C5/182
European ClassificationF25C5/18B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 8, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: SCOTSMAN GROUP LLC, ILLINOIS
Free format text: REQUEST FOR CORRECTION OF NOTICE OF RECORDATION OF ASSIGNMENT FOR REEL 022259, FRAME 0941 RECORDED FEBRUARY 13, 2009 TO CORRECT ASSIGNOR S NAME FROM SCOTSMAN ICE SYSTEMS TO SCOTSMAN GROUP INC. D/B/A SCOTSMAN ICE SYSTEMS AND DELETE ALL PROVISIONAL APPLICATION APPILCATION NUMBERS 61062259, 61007735,61007718,60925999, 60829907, 60632759, 60585833, 60528227, 60527956, 60502048, 60479646, 60468782, 60468782, 60453096, 60417468, 60268619, 60233392, 60164787. PLEASE;ASSIGNOR:SCOTSMAN GROUP INC. D/B/A SCOTSMAN ICE SYSTEMS;REEL/FRAME:022659/0854
Effective date: 20090212
Feb 13, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: SCOTSMAN GROUP LLC, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SCOTSMAN ICE SYSTEMS;REEL/FRAME:022259/0941
Effective date: 20090213
Sep 28, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: SCOTSMAN ICE SYSTEMS, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROTH, KEITH;POE, CHARLES R.;EXON, MICHAEL A.;REEL/FRAME:017035/0145;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050812 TO 20050818