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Publication numberUS20060213852 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/378,282
Publication dateSep 28, 2006
Filing dateMar 20, 2006
Priority dateMar 25, 2005
Also published asDE102006013745A1
Publication number11378282, 378282, US 2006/0213852 A1, US 2006/213852 A1, US 20060213852 A1, US 20060213852A1, US 2006213852 A1, US 2006213852A1, US-A1-20060213852, US-A1-2006213852, US2006/0213852A1, US2006/213852A1, US20060213852 A1, US20060213852A1, US2006213852 A1, US2006213852A1
InventorsYong Kwon
Original AssigneeLg Electronics Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Beverage refrigerator
US 20060213852 A1
Abstract
A beverage refrigerator includes: a refrigerator body having a predetermined storage space surrounded by an evaporator; one or more beverage carriages, each of which is pushed into and drawn out of the storage space like a drawer, and on each of which beverages are stored; and as many doors as the beverage carriages, each of which has a first end hingedly assembled with a corresponding beverage carriage and a second end pivotable about the first end, so as to selectively open and close the storage space.
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Claims(14)
1. A beverage refrigerator comprising:
a refrigerator body having a predetermined storage space surrounded by an evaporator;
one or more beverage carriages, each of which is pushed into and drawn out of the storage space like a drawer, and on each of which beverages are stored; and
as many doors as the beverage carriages, each of which has a first end hingedly assembled with a corresponding beverage carriage and a second end pivotable about the first end, so as to selectively open and close the storage space.
2. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an inner case, by which the storage space is formed to have a shape of a hexahedron having an open front side, wherein the evaporator is disposed on a backside of the inner case and surrounds an upper side, a lower side, both lateral sides, and a backside of the storage space.
3. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 1, further comprising at least one partition member detachably assembled on one of the beverage carriages, so as to partition and support the beverages stored in the beverage carriage.
4. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 3, wherein each of the beverage carriages is mounted on a corresponding slider which moves forward and backward along guide rails provided at opposed portions of the lateral sides of the storage space.
5. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 4, wherein each of the doors has a lower end hingedly assembled with a front end of a corresponding slider and an upper end pivotable about the lower end.
6. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 5, wherein, when the storage space is completely opened, a rear surface of the door and an upper surface of the slider are located on one same plane.
7. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 6, further comprising at least one elastic member which provides an elastic force to a corresponding door in order to rotate the door toward a position at which the door closes the storage space.
8. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 7, wherein the elastic member comprises a torsion spring provided at a rotation shaft which serves a center of rotation for the door with respect to the slider.
9. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 7, wherein the elastic member comprises a coil spring having opposite ends held by a backside of the door and one side of the slider.
10. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 7, further comprising a locking means for preventing the door from being unintentionally rotated by an elastic force of the elastic member to close the storage space after the storage space is completely opened.
11. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 10, wherein the locking means comprises a locking protuberance and a locking groove formed at corresponding portions of the slider and the door, respectively.
12. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 7, wherein the elastic member provides elastic force to the door in both directions based on a middle position between a position at which the door completely closes the storage space and a position at which the door completely opens the storage space.
13. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 1, wherein a machine room for housing various elements constituting a cooling cycle is formed at an upper part of the refrigerator body.
14. The beverage refrigerator as claimed in claim 1, wherein the refrigerator body is designed to have a height equal to a height of other pieces of furniture disposed adjacent to the refrigerator body.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a refrigerator, and more particularly to a beverage refrigerator for storing cans or bottles containing beverages or drinks.

2. Description of the Prior Art

As used herein, a beverage refrigerator refers to a small refrigerator which is used in hotel rooms or offices, etc., in order to store beverages.

FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional beverage refrigerator.

As shown, a refrigerator body 10 has a storage space 20 for storing beverages, which is defined in the refrigerator body 10. An evaporator 30 is disposed at one side in the storage space 20. The storage space 20 is directly cooled by the evaporator 30.

Shelves 40 are disposed in the storage space 20, to partition the storage space 20 into several compartments, thereby improving the efficiency in use of the storage space 20.

A door 50 is rotatably assembled with one side of the refrigerator body 10 by means of a door hinge 60. The door 50 selectively opens and closes the storage space 20.

The refrigerator body 10 has a machine room 70 arranged at a rear lower part of the refrigerator body 10. The machine room 70 houses various elements constituting a cooling cycle.

However, the conventional beverage refrigerator as described above has the following problems:

As described above, the storage space 20 is directly cooled by the evaporator 30. However, the evaporator 30 is disposed at one side in the storage space 20. Therefore, the temperature of the beverages stored in the storage space 20 may become different according to the distance from the evaporator 30 to them.

Further, a user must open the door 50 in order to put a beverage in or out of the storage space 20. At this time, the user must bend down in order to put in or take out a beverage from the storage space 20. Especially, in order to put a beverage in or out of the lowest compartment or a deep inside portion of the storage space 20, the user must bend over and greatly lower his body.

Meanwhile, the conventional beverage refrigerator has the machine room 70 arranged at a rear lower part of the refrigerator body 10. Usually, the refrigerator body 10 is installed with its back side located adjacent to a wall. Therefore, it is difficult to effectively discharge the heat generated by the operation of the elements constituting the cooling cycle housed in the machine room 70.

Further, as described above, because the machine room 70 is located at the rear lower part of the refrigerator body 10 and protrudes into the storage space 20, the lower space or compartment has a smaller depth in the direction from the front to the inside. Therefore, it may be impossible to put a large beverage container or package (for example, a beverage pack containing multiple cans or bottles) in the lower part or compartment of the storage space 20. Then, such a large beverage container or package is stored in an upper part of the storage space 20, and individual cans or bottles are stored in the lower part or compartment. However, it is usual that the user puts in or takes out individual cans or bottles more frequently than an entire beverage pack. Therefore, the machine room 70 located at the rear lower part of the conventional beverage refrigerator may increase the users' difficulty or inconvenience in putting beverage in or out of the storage space 20.

Further, it is usual that the refrigerator body 10 is installed indoors, for example, in the kitchen or living room. However, the dimensions of the conventional beverage refrigerator are determined without consideration of the dimensions of other furniture installed in the same space. Therefore, the top surface of the refrigerator body 10 may be higher or lower than the height of other pieces of furniture, so that it may be difficult to effectively use the top surface of the refrigerator body 10.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention has been made to solve the above-mentioned problems occurring in the prior art, and an object of the present invention is to provide a beverage refrigerator, which can improve the efficiency in cold storage of beverages.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a beverage refrigerator, which enables a user to more easily put in or take out a beverage from the refrigerator.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a beverage refrigerator, which has a structure capable of improving the heat discharge efficiency of the elements housed in a machine room of the refrigerator.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a beverage refrigerator, which has a structure for more efficient utilization of the storage space in the refrigerator.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a beverage refrigerator, which can achieve more efficient utilization of the top surface of the refrigerator.

In order to accomplish this object, there is provided a beverage refrigerator comprising: a refrigerator body having a predetermined storage space surrounded by an evaporator; one or more beverage carriages, each of which is pushed into and drawn out of the storage space like a drawer, and on each of which beverages are stored; and as many doors as the beverage carriages, each of which has a first end hingedly assembled with a corresponding beverage carriage and a second end pivotable about the first end, so as to selectively open and close the storage space.

The beverage refrigerator according to the present invention can improve the efficiency in cold storage of beverages, enables a user to more easily put in or take out a beverage from refrigerator, improves the heat discharge efficiency of the elements housed in a machine room of the refrigerator, and can achieve more efficient utilization of the top surface of the refrigerator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional beverage refrigerator;

FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of a beverage refrigerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, which illustrates an internal structure thereof; and

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of the beverage refrigerator shown in FIG. 2, for illustrating the operation thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, a beverage refrigerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 2 illustrates a beverage refrigerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

As shown, a refrigerator body 110 of the beverage refrigerator includes an outer case 112 and an inner case 114, which form inner and outer appearances, respectively. An adiabatic layer 116 is disposed between the outer case 112 and the inner case 114.

The refrigerator body 110 may have various dimensions, which include a height corresponding to the height of various pieces of furniture. For example, the refrigerator body 110 may be designed to have a height of 65 or 75 cm, which are standards for typical household furniture, or a height of 85 or 95 cm, which are standards for typical kitchen furniture.

The refrigerator body 110 has a storage space 120 defined in the refrigerator body 110. The storage space 120 is arranged in order to store beverages and is actually defined by the inner case 114. The upper part of the storage space 120 has a smaller depth in the direction from the front to the backside than the lower part thereof, due to the space for a machine room 160.

An evaporator 130 for direct cooling of the storage space is disposed in the refrigerator body 110. The evaporator 130 has a shape of a pipe fixed to a backside of the inner case 114. The evaporator 130 surrounds the upper and lower sides, both lateral sides, and the backside of the storage space 120.

A plurality of beverage carriages 140 are disposed in the storage space 120. Beverages are stored on each of the beverage carriages 140. The beverage carriages 140 are vertically spaced apart within the storage space 120. The storage space 120 is actually partitioned into several vertically arranged compartments by the beverage carriages 140.

Further, each of the beverage carriages 140 has a bottom surface corresponding to a horizontal cross-section of the storage space 120 in which it is located. That is to say, from among the beverage carriages 140, the beverage carriage 140 disposed at the upper part of the storage space 120 has a larger width between the front end and the rear end than that of the other beverage carriages 140 disposed at the lower part of the storage space 120.

A partition member 142 is detachably installed on a bottom surface of each of the beverage carriages 140. The partition member 142 extends at a right angle from the bottom surface of the beverage carriage 140 and holds the beverages stored in the beverage carriage 140. The interior space of the beverage carriage 140 is actually partitioned into multiple compartments by the partition member 142.

According to the embodiment shown in the drawings, 142 has a structure which partitions the interior space of the beverage carriage 140 into multiple compartments arranged in a shape of a lattice. However, the structure of the partition member 142 is not limited to such a lattice-like structure. For example, the partition member 142 may have a structure which can partition only a part of the interior space of the beverage carriages 140.

The beverage carriage 140 has a drawer-like structure, so that the beverage carriage 140 can be pushed into or drawn out of the storage space 120. To this end, a plurality of guide rails 144 are disposed at both sides of the storage space 120. The guide rails 144 are disposed at corresponding positions on both sides of the storage space 120 and extend in the longitudinal direction between the front side and the rear side.

Further, a slider 146 is movably assembled with each pair of the guide rails 144. Each of the beverage carriages 140 is mounted on the slider 146. The beverage carriage 140 may be either detachably assembled with the slider 146 or fixed to the slider 146. For example, the beverage carriage 140 may be fixedly placed on the upper surface of the slider 146.

Further, a door 150 is assembled with a front end of each of the siders 146. Each of the doors 150 selectively opens and closes the beverage carriage 140. Each of the doors 150 is assembled with the front end of the slider 146 in such a manner that the door 150 is rotatable about a rotation shaft 152 within a predetermined angle. Therefore, all or a part of the beverage carriage 140 may be opened or closed by the door 150.

Specifically, when the storage space 120 is closed, the door 150 makes a right angle with respect to the slider 146. Then, from the state in which the door 150 closes the storage space 120, the door 150 rotates about the rotation shaft 152 in a clockwise direction in FIG. 2, so as to open the storage space 120. When the door 150 has been rotated 90 about the rotation shaft 152 in a clockwise direction in FIG. 2, the storage space 120 is completely opened. In the state in which the storage space 120 is completely opened by the door 150, the rear surface of the door 150 is aligned with the upper surface of the slider 146, that is, the two surfaces are located on the same plane, as shown in FIG. 3.

As noted from the enlarged view in the circle in FIG. 2, each of the rotation shafts 152 is provided with a torsion spring 154. Both ends of the torsion spring 154 are supported by one side of the slider 146 and one side of the door 150. The torsion spring 154 provides an elastic force to the door 150, which rotates the door 150 toward a position at which the door 150 closes the storage space 120. That is, the torsion spring 154 applies an elastic force to the door 150 in the counterclockwise direction in FIG. 2. Therefore, from the state in which all or a part of the storage space 120 is opened, when the external force applied to the door 150 is released, the door 150 is rotated about the rotation shaft 152 in the counterclockwise direction in FIG. 2 by the torsion spring 154.

In the illustrated embodiment, the door 150 provides an elastic force to the door 150, in order to rotate the door 150 toward a position at which the door 150 closes the storage space 120. However, the present invention is not limited to such a construction. For example, a coil spring may be disposed between a portion of the backside of the door 150 and a portion of the slider 146.

Further, each of the doors 150 has a grip 156 formed at an upper portion of the front surface of the door 150. The grip 156 is the portion which is touched by a user when the user rotates the door 150 in order to open the storage space 120. That is, when the user holds the grip 156 and pulls the door 150 toward the right side in FIG. 2, the door 150 is rotated about the rotation shaft 152 relative to the slider 146 in the clockwise direction in FIG. 2, so as to open the storage space 120.

Although not shown, when the storage space 120 is completely opened by the door 150, that is, when the backside of the door 150 and the upper surface of the slider 146 are located on the same plane, the door 150 is held at that position by an engagement between a locking protuberance and a locking groove formed at corresponding portions of the slider 146 and the door 150. The engagement between the locking protuberance and the locking groove prevents the door 150 from being unintentionally rotated by the elastic force of the torsion spring 154 to close the storage space 120 from the state in which the door 150 completely opens the storage space 120. That is, when the locking protuberance has been engaged with the locking groove, the door 150 is prevented from unintentionally rotating about the rotation shaft 152. However, by releasing the engagement between the locking protuberance and the locking groove, it is possible to rotate the door 150 about the rotation shaft 152.

The refrigerator body 110 has the machine room 160 formed at an upper rear part of the refrigerator body 110. The machine room 160 houses various elements constituting a cooling cycle, which include a compressor 162 and a condenser 164. Although not shown, the machine room 160 may have one or more ventilation ports in order to discharge the heat generated by the elements housed in the machine room 160.

Hereinafter, an operation of a beverage refrigerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described in more detail with reference to the attached drawings.

FIG. 3 is a side sectional view of a beverage refrigerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, for illustrating the operation thereof.

As shown, in order to put a beverage in or out of the storage space 120, a user holds the grip 156 of the door 150 and pulls the door 150 toward the right side in FIG. 3. Then, the door 150 rotates about the rotation shaft 152 against the elastic force of the rotation shaft 152 in the clockwise direction in FIG. 3, so that the storage space 120 starts to be opened.

Simultaneously, the slider 146, with which the door 150 is rotatably assembled, slides along the guide rail 144 toward the right side of FIG. 3. Then, the beverage carriage 140 loaded on the slider 146 also moves rightward, so that the beverage carriage 140 starts to be drawn out of the storage space 120. When the beverage carriage 140 has been drawn out to a necessary degree, the user can load or unload a beverage into or from the beverage carriage 140.

When the loading or unloading of the beverage is completed, the force pulling the door 150 toward the right side is released and the door 150 is pushed leftward in FIG. 3. Then, the door 150 is rotated about the rotation shaft 152 in the counterclockwise in FIG. 3 by the elastic force of the torsion spring 154 and the slider 146 slides leftward along the guide rail 144 together with the door 150. When the beverage carriage 140 loaded on the slider 146 has been completely inserted and the door 150 has been completely rotated to stand at a right angle with respect to the slider 146, the door 150 closes the storage space 120.

Meanwhile, it is sometimes necessary to completely open the storage space 120 and completely draw out the beverage carriage 140 according to the size and location of the beverage stored in the beverage carriage 140. In this case, the user keeps pulling the door 150 rightward in FIG. 3. Then, the door 150 keeps rotating about the rotation shaft 152 in the clockwise direction in FIG. 3 against the elastic force of the torsion spring 154, until it is then completely opened. Then, the locking protuberance is inserted in and engaged with the locking groove, so as to maintain the slider 146 and the door 150 in line with each other. Therefore, the door 150 is maintained at the position at which the door 150 completely opens the storage space 120. In this state, the user can more easily load or unload a beverage on or from the beverage carriage 140.

When the loading or unloading of the beverage has been completed, the door 150 is slightly rotated about the rotation shaft 152 in the counterclockwise direction in the drawing by a force with a predetermined magnitude. Then, the locking protuberance is disengaged from the locking groove, and the door 150 is rotated about the rotation shaft 152 in the counterclockwise in FIG. 3 by the elastic force of the torsion spring 154. Simultaneously or after the door 150 is rotated counterclockwise about the rotation shaft 152, the door 150 is pushed leftward in FIG. 3. Then, the slider 146 slides leftward along the guide rail 144 together with the door 150. When the beverage carriage 140 loaded on the slider 146 has been completely inserted and the door 150 has been completely rotated to stand at a right angle with respect to the slider 146, the door 150 closes the storage space 120.

In the meantime, refrigerant compressed by the compressor 162 is transferred to the evaporator 130 after passing through the condenser 164, in order to cool the storage space 120. The refrigerant expands while passing through the evaporator 130, so as to cool the storage space 120. In this process, the storage space 120 can be uniformly cooled, because the evaporator 130 disposed behind the inner case 114 surrounds the upper and lower sides, both lateral sides, and the backside of the storage space 120.

Further, after cooling the storage space 120 while passing through the evaporator 130, the refrigerant is transferred to the compressor 162 and the condenser 164 in which it is compressed and liquefied. While the refrigerant is compressed and liquefied, a large quantity of heat is generated. The machine room 160 containing the compressor 162 and the condenser 164 is disposed at an upper part of the refrigerator body 110. Therefore, it is possible to more easily discharge the heat generated from various elements arranged in the machine room 160.

Further, the refrigerator body 110 is installed indoors, for example, installed adjacent to other pieces of furniture in the kitchen or living room. The refrigerator body 110 may be designed to have various dimensions corresponding to the height of other pieces of furniture in the kitchen or living room. Therefore, it is possible to arrange the top surface of the refrigerator body 110 to be at the same level as the top surfaces of other pieces of furniture in the kitchen or living room. Therefore, it is possible to put various things on the top surfaces of the refrigerator body 110 and other pieces of furniture arranged close to each other, so as to improve the efficiency in use of the space. Moreover, it is possible to provide an aesthetic beauty of uniformity by installing the refrigerator body 110.

In the illustrated embodiment, a locking means including a locking protuberance and a locking groove prevents the door from unintentionally rotating to close an opened storage space. However, according to other embodiments of the present invention, an elastic member such as a torsion spring or a coil spring may be used to selectively provide an elastic force in order to rotate the door in both directions in which the door opens or closes the storage space according to the angle by which the door has been rotated.

A beverage refrigerator according to the present invention as described above can yield the effects as follows:

In the beverage refrigerator according to the present invention, an evaporator surrounds the upper and lower sides, both lateral sides, and the backside of the storage space. Therefore, the storage space can be uniformly cooled, so that it is possible to prevent the beverages stored in the storage space from being cooled too much or too little, thereby achieving more effective cold storage of the beverages.

Further, in the beverage refrigerator according to the present invention, the beverages are actually stored in beverage carriages which are drawn out or pushed into the storage space like drawers. Therefore, the user can put in or take out the beverages after drawing the carriage out of the storage space, so that the user can more easily put in or take out the beverage.

Also, in the beverage refrigerator according to the present invention, a machine room in which various elements constituting a cooling cycle are located is arranged at an upper part of the refrigerator body. Therefore, it is possible to more effectively circulate air between the inside and outside of the machine room and is thus possible to enhance the efficiency in cooling the elements located in the machine room.

Moreover, because the machine room is located at an upper part of the refrigerator body, the lower part of the storage space has a deeper depth than the upper part of the storage space. Therefore, it is possible to store less-frequently used beverages in the lower part of the storage space and more-frequently used beverages in the upper part of the storage space, thereby improving the efficiency in utilization of the storage space.

In addition, a refrigerator body of the beverage refrigerator according to the present invention may be designed to have various dimensions corresponding to the height of other pieces of furniture in the kitchen or living room. Therefore, it is possible to put various things on the top surfaces of the refrigerator body and other pieces of furniture arranged close to each other, so as to improve the efficiency in use of the space. Moreover, it is possible to provide an aesthetic beauty of uniformity by installing the refrigerator body at the same height as that of other pieces of furniture.

Although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20100255165 *Apr 2, 2010Oct 7, 2010Betty Lou ReesFitness Nutrition Food Bar and Method of Use
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/151
International ClassificationA47F5/08
Cooperative ClassificationF25D2331/809, E05Y2900/31, F25D25/021, F25D2323/024, F25D2323/00278, F25D23/003, F25D2400/08, F25D2331/803, F25D2331/805, F25D2323/00262, F25D25/025
European ClassificationF25D25/02A, F25D25/02C2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LG ELECTRONICS INC., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE CONVEYING PARTY S NAME, PREVIOUSLY RECORDED AT REEL 017700 FRAME 0869;ASSIGNOR:KWON, YONG CHOL;REEL/FRAME:018102/0978
Effective date: 20051114
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE CONVEYING PARTY S NAME, PREVIOUSLY RECORDED AT REEL 017700 FRAME 0869.;ASSIGNOR:KWON, YONG CHOL;REEL/FRAME:018102/0978
Mar 20, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LG ELECTRONICS INC., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KWON, YOUNG CHOL;REEL/FRAME:017700/0869
Effective date: 20051114