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Publication numberUS2955442 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 11, 1960
Filing dateMay 18, 1959
Priority dateMay 18, 1959
Publication numberUS 2955442 A, US 2955442A, US-A-2955442, US2955442 A, US2955442A
InventorsLoewenthal Henry J
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic ice maker
US 2955442 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 11, 1960 H. J. LOEWENTHAL 2,955,442

AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER Filed May 18, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIGJ INVENTOR.


AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 18, 1959 INVENTOR. HENRY I LOEWENTHAL Hi5 ATTORNEY Oct. 11, 1960 H. J. LOEWENTHAL 2,955,442

AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER Filed May 18, 1959 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 7 INVENTOR.

HENRY I LOEWENTHAL H [5 ATTORNEY Oct. 11, 1960 Filed May 18, 1959 H- J. LOEWENTHAL AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 90 Fl 6. IO

78 5o L J 87 O l l I M )6 W68 1N VENTOR.

HENRY .T. LOEWENTHAL H IS ATTORNEY United States Patent 2,955,442 AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER Filed May 18, 1959, Ser. No. 813,789 Claims. (Cl. 62-351) The present invention relates to an automatic ice maker and is more particularly concerned with an improved ice maker adapted to be incorporated in a domestic or household refrigerator.

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved domestic or household ice maker in which ice pieces released from a mold by the application of heat are thereafter automatically transferred out of the mold and discharged into a receptacle by pivoting elements mounted on the mold and having portions frozen into the ice pieces.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize the invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this specificatiom In accordance with the present invention there is provided an ice maker comprising an ice mold having fixed partitions dividing the mold into a plurality of adjacent compartments in which water is frozen into ice pieces and heating means for warming the mold to loosen the ice pieces from the mold. The released ice pieces are automatically removed from the mold by fingers having end portions frozen into the individual ice pieces. These fingers are mounted for pivotal movement out of the mold and over one side thereof to a position in which engagement of the ice pieces with suitable bumpers removes the ice pieces from the fingers so that the pieces can fall into a storage receptacle.

These and additional features of the present invention will now be more fully described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: J. a Fig. 1 is a side elevational view, partly in section of an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of the ice shown in Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a vertical section of a portion of the ice maker taken along line 33' of Fig. 2;

Fig. 4 is a vertical section along line 44 of Fig. 3;

Fig. 5 is a horizontal sectional view of the mechanism shown in Figs. 3 and 4 taken along the line 55 of Fig. 3;

Fig. 6 is a vertical sectional view of the ice mold component taken along line 66 of Fig. 3;

Fig. 7 is another sectional view of the ice mold taken along line 77 of Fig. 2; v

Fig. 8 is an operational view of the mechanism particularly shown in Figs. 3-5;

Fig. 9 is a sectional view similar to Fig. 7 showing one stage in the process of harvesting the ice pieces;

maker Fig. 10 is a wiring diagram for an electrical control system which can be employed for the automatic operation of the ice maker of the present invention; and

Fig. 11 is a partial view in section illustrating a modification of the present invention.

As shown in Fig. 1 of the accompanying drawing, the illustrated-embodiment of the ice maker of the present invention is designed to be suspended from the top wall 1 of the low'temperature or freezing compartment 2 of a household refrigerator. The contents of the compartment 2 including the ice maker are maintained at below 2,955,442 Patented Oct. 11, 1960 freezing temperatures by air blown over a low temperature evaporator (not shown) so that the ice maker can be mounted in the compartment independently of any evaporator'unit. Als'o positioned within the compartment and below the ice maker is a receptacle or bin 3 in which ice pieces 4 discharged from the ice maker are maintained at below freezing temperatures.

Referring now to Figs. 1, 2 and 5-8 inclusive, the ice mold '5 in the form of an elongated or generally rectangular mold includes end walls 6 and 7 and side walls 8 and 9 forming a substantially rectangular mold divided into a plurality of compartments 11 by fixed dividers or partitions 10 extending transversely of the mold cavity. The mold proper including the end walls 6 and 7, the side walls 8 and 9 and the bottom wall 14 as well as the fixed dividers or partitions 10 comprises a unitary structure in the form of a metal die casting, such as an aluminum die casting; the casting also including a plurality of fins 15 for better heat transfer between the cooled air circulated within the compartment 2 and the mold body. To provide for the flow of water from one compartment to another during filling of the mold cavity, each of the fixed dividers 10 includes a slot 23 adjacent the side wall 9.

For the purpose of warming the mold to release ice pieces formed in the compartments 11 from the mold walls, there is provided an electric heating element 16 extending along each side of the bottom thereof below the sidewalls 8 and 9. When this heating element is energized the mold, that is the bottom wall 14, the end walls 6 and 7 and the side walls 8 and 9 as well as the fixed partitions 10 becomes sufliciently warm to melt the bond between the mold surfaces and the ice pieces.

In accordance with'the' present invention, means for removing the released ice pieces are provided in the form of fingers 17 which have one of their ends fixed to a shaft 18 rotatably supported above the vertical mold side wall 8. The other or free ends 19 of the fingers 17 extend perpendicularly into the compartments 11 to a point below the Water level in the mold so that these endportions 19 will be frozen into the ice pieces 4 as illustrated in Fig. 7 of the drawing. In order that the released ice pieces can pivot about the axis of the shaft 18 from a position within the mold as'illustrated in Fig. 7 to a discharge position along one side of the mold as illustrated in Fig.

9, the mold side wall 9 opposite the shaft 18 slopes out-- ice pieces 4 can be pivoted upwardly and outwardly from the mold by rotation of the shaft 18 to a point in which the ice pieces come into contact with a plurality of spaced bumpers 24 suitably supported along the side wall 8 of the mold. As will be seen in Fig. l of the drawing these bumpers which are opposite the dividers or partitions 10 are spaced apart a distance sufficient to accommodate the fingers 17 but are Wide enough to overlap adjacent corn partments 11 on each side of the partitions so that their surfaces are in the paths of the adjacent ice pieces 4 as they are removed from the mold by pivotal movement of the fingers. When the ice pieces in an inverted position contact the bumpers 24, movement of the ice pieces is stopped and the continued movement of the fingers causes the ice pieces to pull away from the fingers and drop into the bin or receptacle 3 provided below the mold.

Preferably, the ice contacting surfaces 25 of the bumpers 24 are of a curved configuration. As illustrated, for example, in Fig. 9, each of the surfaces 25 is in the form of an arc of gradually increasing radius from the point adjacent the shaft 18 to the outer end or tip of the bumpers. By this gradually increasing radius removal of ice pieces of any thickness is assured. Furthermore, the curved shape of the surfaces 25 is such that contact of those surfaces by the ice pieces Will take place at points between the fingers 17 and the shaft 18 as shown in Fig. 9 so that the releasing pressure is applied rearwardly of the fingers 17 thereby causing the ice pieces to be discharged forwardly and over the forward edge of the bumpers 30 as they slide off of the fingers.

While suflicient pressure can be applied to the ice pieces 4 as they contactthe bumpers 24 to break the pieces loose from the fingers 17, in accordance with a modification of the present invention heat is applied to the fingers during their rotation to the inverted position in order to melt the bond between the fingers and ice pieces. As illustrated in Fig. 11, this may be accomplished by employing a hollow shaft 28 for supporting the fingers 17 so that an electric heater 29 placed within the shaft can be energized during the ice harvesting cycle for a time sutficient to warm the fingers 17 to a temperature above freezing. This heater, if desired, can also be extending into the fingers 17, which would then be of a hollow or tubular form. However, it has been found that sufficient warming of the finger end portions 19 can be obtained by conduction if the fingers are composed of a material, preferably a metal, of high heat conductivity.

The invention claimed in this application relates broadly to an ice maker comprising the above-described ice harvesting arrangement wherein pivoting elements to which the ice pieces adhere are employed to transfer the heatreleased ice pieces fromv the mold into engagement with bumper means for separating the pieces from the elements. In addition to means for rotating shaft 18 and energizing the heater 16, automatic operation of the ice maker requires additional components and controls such as those which will now, be described. These components and controls apart from the combination with the ice harvesting arrangement claimed herein are not part of the present invention but are more completely disclosed and claimed in the copending application of Harold P. Harle, Stephen Balogh and Henry J. Loewenthal, Serial Number 813,790, filed concurrently herewith and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.

'The illustrated control and drive mechanism for controlling the operation of the ice maker and rotating the shaft 18 is housed in a housing 35 secured to one end of the mold 5. The power mechanism includes a motor 36 diagrammatically illustrated in Fig. 12 of the drawing, the motor and a suitable speed reducing gear train forming a drive mechanism generally indicated in broken lines by the numeral 37 in Figs. 1 and 2 of the drawing. The shaft 18 is rotatably mounted in bearings adjacent the mold end wall 7 and in the front wall 40 of the housing 35. A pawl and cam assembly 42 illustrated in Figs. 3, 4, and 8 of the drawing as being connected to an end of the shaft 18 extending into the housing 35 and an arm 44 connected to the drive shaft 45 forming part of the drive mechanism 37 provides means for rotating the shaft 18 upon operation of the motor 36. The pawl 47 forming part of the pawl and cam assembly 42 is pivotally supported on that assembly as illustrated in Figs. 3 and 8 of the drawing in such a position that upon rotation of the cam assembly 42 through a predetermined number of degrees, disengagement of the pawl from the arm allows the motor to continue rotating in the samedirection while a return spring 50 which is arranged to bias the fingers 17 into the mold causes theshaft to rotatein the opposite direction and return. the fingersto thernold.

Additional elements, employed for a completelyvautof matic operation of the ice maker through successive freezing and ice harvesting cycles includes means for introducing a charge of Water into the mold, means for energizing the motor in order to initiate the ice harvesting cycle and means for stopping the ice making operation whenever the receptacle 3 is full or out of position.

The water supply means includes a filler tube 55 to which water is supplied through a conduit including a solenoid valve 56 connected to a suitable source of water supply. When the solenoid valve 56 is energized to open the'yaIVe, water supplied to the mold from the outlet end of the supply tube 55 discharges into a filler spout 57 having its lower. or discharge end 58 disposed adjacent the end wall 6 of the mold. The water thus introduced into the mold flows from compartment to compartment through the slots or grooves 23.

In order to initiate an ice harvesting cycle when the water charge in the mold has frozen into ice, there is employed a control circuit including a bellows-operated switch 60 which is shown in the wiring diagram of Fig. 12 and which is mounted within the housing 35. The sensing bulb component ofthis switch which is in the form of a capillary tube 61 extends outwardly through the wall 40 and downwardly along that wall into a control compartment 62 provided at one end of the ice mold. As is shown more particularly in Figs. 2 and 6 of the drawing, this control compartment is defined by walls including the housing wall 40 and the mold end wall 6 and is of a relatively small volume as compared with the ice making compartments 11. In addition, the bottom wall 64 of the control compartment 72 is elevated above the bottom wall 14 of the mold and one or more holes 65 are provided in the end wall 6 for the flow of water between the control compartment 62 and the adjacent ice making compartment 11. A small slab or piece of ice is formed in a control compartment 62 during each ice making operation and the control is regulated to respond to the temperature of the ice in the control compartment in order to initiate the ejection cycle by energizing the motor 36. In order to prevent the accumulation of stagnate water in the control compartment 62, the outlet end 58 of the filler. spout partially overlaps this control com,- partment so that each time water is introduced into, the mold a portion of that water will flow into and flush the control compartment while each time heat isv applied to the mold, the small ice piece formed in the control com.- partrnent will melt and the resultant water flow from the control compartment through the holes 65 into the mold proper.

In order to. assure complete freezing of all of the water in the mold before energization of the motor 36, the sensing bulb 61 is preferably warmed slightly by means of the heater 68 which is illustrated in the control circuit of; Fig. 12 and which is arranged in heating contact with the sensing bulb 61 as well as the bellows component of. the switch 60. The purpose of this heater is twofold. First, it biases the sensing bulb to a temperature. a few degrees above moldtemperature to assure that all of the water in the larger compartments 11 will be frozen before energization of the motor. In addition, this heater maintains the control bulb at temperatures above the freezing temperatures existing in the freezer compartment 2. i V

Means for stopping operation of the ice maker to prevent discharge of ice from the mold when the receptacle 3 is removed from beneath the mold is provided in the form of, a switch 70 which when open breaks the ice maker control circuit to completely de-energize all of the components thereof. As the ice maker receptacle is supported on a shelf 71 forming part of a drawer structure 72, slidab ly supported within the compartment 2, the switchjtl is. arranged along, the front of the cabinet adjacent the access opening to the compartment 2 so that when. the drawer. is in its closedposition theswitch isclosed bntwhen the. drawer is moved to an open posiv tion thereby carrying with it the receptacle 3, the switch 70 is opened.

' To stop the ice making operation when the receptacle 3 is filled with ice, there is provided a switch 78 actuated by a feeler arm 74 pivotally mounted along the side 9 of the ice mold. Normally, this arm 74 hangs downwardly into the receptacle 3 in a position in which it will Contact the ice which is accumulated When the receptacle 3 is approximately full of ice. In order that the arm will measure the stored ice after each additional charge of ice is deliveerd to the receptacle, means are provided for raising the feeler arm out of the receptacle during each ice making cycle so that when it returns to its normal position within the'receptacle, it will rest on top of the added amount of ice if that ice hassubstantially filled the receptacle 3. For this raising action, the feeler arm includes within the housing 35 an extension or actuating arm 75 which rides on the cam surface of the cam assembly42. This cam surface is arranged so that when the shaft 18 is in such a position that the fingers 17 are Within the mold, the feeler arm 74 depends into the receptacle 3. Upon rotation of the shaft, contact of the cam surface with the actuating arm 75 causes this arm to move outwardly from the vicinity of the shaft 18 and to raise the feeler arm 74 out of the receptacle. At the same time the normally closed switch 78 is opened. As will be more fully described hereinafter, this switch 78 is connected in the control circuit in such a manner that if the feeler arm is prevented from returning to its normal position, the ice making cycle is interrupted. Continued rotation of the shaft 18 completely raises the feeler arm 74 to a position immediately beneath the mold 5 and out of the receptacle 3. When the pawl 47 disengages the drive arm 44, the action of the spring 50 causes the fingers 17 to return to the mold and at the same time reverses the direction of rotation of the cam element so that the feeler arm 74 can again return to its normal position in the receptacle and the actuating arm 75 can again engage and close the switch 78. If for any reason the fingers 17 are prevented from returning to the mold, the cam element 42 will also prevent movement of the arm 75 to a position in which the switch 78 is closed.

Additional switch means and control circuitry for the automatic operation of the ice maker will be described during the following consideration of the ice maker operation. During freezing of a batch of ice in the mold 5, the temperature sensed by the sensing bulb 61 gradually decreases. Eventually a slab of ice is formed in the control compartment 62 but since the control heater 68 is designed to maintain the control bulb 61 at a temperature which lags the actual temperature within the control compartment 62 by a few degrees, the switch 60 will not operate until the biased control bulb senses a temperature sufliceintly below freezing to assure complete freezing of all of the water in ments. At this point, the switch arm 87, forming part of the switch 60 controlled by the thermostat including the sensing bulb 61, moves into contact with the contact 88. With the drawer switch 70 closed and the feeler arm in its normal position so that switch 78 is closed, a circuit is completed between the supply conductors 90 and 91 to energize the motor 36 through the normally closed switch 92 constituting one of the switches operated by cam 93 and also to energize mold heater. 16. A few degrees of motor rotation is permitted before the arm the mold compart- 44 carried on the drive shaft 45 engages the pawl 47 which is connected to the shaft 18. During this initial rotation, the switch cam 93 which is also driven by the shaft 45 closes a holding switch 94 to establish a holding circuit through the heater and a holding circuit for energizing the motor 36 which includes cam operated switch 92. Both circuits bypass the feeler arm switch 78 and contact 88 of the control switch 60.

After closing,

the operation of the feeler arm or the control switch 70 switch 94 remains closed regardless ofuntil the end of the complete harvesting cycle or in other words through one complete revolution of the shaft 45.

Since the fingers 17 are frozen solidly into the ice in the mold, the drive motor stalls until suflicient heat is applied by the heater 16 to the mold to melt the bond between the ice pieces and the mold end, side and bottom walls and the surfaces of the partitions 10. At this point, the motor again rotates, lifting the fingers 17 and attached ice pieces upwardly and outwardly over the side 8 of the mold to a point where the ice pieces engage the bumpers 24. Continued rotation of the shaft 18 causes the ice pieces to break free from the fingers and drop into the storage container 3. a

After the fingers have moved to a point between the bumpers 24 which assures complete release of the ice pieces carried thereby regardless of size or thickness, the pawl 47 carried by the pawl and cam assembly is positioned to strike thestop 48 and disengage the motor drive arm 44. This allows the motor to continue its rotation in the same direction while the return spring 50, biasing the fingers to their normal position within the mold, returns them to that position thus conditioning the mold for the subsequent manufacture and removal of another batch of ice pieces.

During the harvesting operation, the ice in the control compartment increases in temperature and begins to melt causing the temperature of the sensing bulb to increase due to the added heat from the warmed mold. Water formed by melting ice flows out of the control compartment 62 through the holes 65 into the mold. At a temperature of, for example, twenty-five degrees and even though ice remains in the control compartment, the switch arm 87 forming part moves to the right into contact with a warm contact 96. When this occurs, :a second holding circuit for energizing only the motor is completed through the closed holding switch 94 and the warm contact 96 of switch 60. Unless this circuit through the contact 96 is established by switch 60 before the switch cam 93 opens switch 92 to break the first holding circuit to the motor, further rotation of the motor is prevented until the switch arm 87 does make contact with contact 96.

Further rotation of the switch cam 93 then closes the switch contacts 97 to energize the solenoid valve 56 so that a measured charge of water will be introduced into the mold through the filler spout 57. Thereafter, during the final few degrees of rotation of the switch cam 93, the switches 92, 94 and 97 are returned to their normal or starting positions and reset for a subsequent ice harvesting cycle, the opening of switch 94 de-energizing the mold heater and breaking the second holding circuit including switch contact 96 to de-energize the motor 36.

Unless the receptacle 3 is filled with ice, the feeler arm 74 will also return to its normal position within the receptacle thereby closing the feeler arm switch 78 so that when switch arm 87 subsequently moves into engagement with contact 88 another harvesting cycleis initiated. If on the other hand, the ice receptacle is full of ice, the feeler arm will be held in a raised position by the ice pieces, the switch 78 will be maintained in an open position and the motor 36 cannot be energized.

In accordance with the present invention, when heat is applied to the fingers 17 to aid in the release of ice pieces therefrom, means are provided for energizing the finger heater 28 only after the fingers have moved through about 90 degrees to a position in which the ends 19 are at least horizontal. For this purpose a second switch cam 100 is arranged to close a switch 101 at such time thus connecting the heater 28 across lines 91 and 92. The

cam is also arranged to break this circuit at any time after the ice pieces have been lifted from the rotating fingers by the bumpers 24.

While there has been shown and described particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modiof the control switch-'60- fications may be made therein without departing from the invention, and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. An ice maker comprising an ice mold, partition means dividing said mold into adjacent compartments in which water is to be frozen into ice pieces, means for heating said mold to break the bond between the surfaces of the mold and ice pieces formed therein, means pivotally mounted on said ice maker and extending into said compartments and frozen into engagement with said ice pieces for transferring the ice pieces out of said mold and over one side of said mold about an axis adjacent one side edge of said mold and bumpers positioned along said side of said mold for engaging said ice pieces and separating said pieces from said transferring means.

2. An ice maker comprising an elongated mold ineluding a plurality of transverse dividers integral with said mold dividing said mold into a plurality of compartments in which water is frozen into ice pieces, heating means for warming said mold and said transverse dividers to free the ice pieces therefrom, fingers extending into each of said compartments, said fingers being mounted for pivotal movement thereof along with the ice pieces adhering thereto about an axis adjacent one side edge of said mold and upwardly and outwardly over one side of said mold to an inverted position along said side of said mold, bumpers having generally curved surfaces arranged along said side of said mold to engage said ice pieces during movement thereof to said inverted position and to free said pieces from said fingers, each of said curved surfaces being shaped to contact an ice piece at a point between the finger supporting said ice piece and the side of the ice piece adjacent said axis regardless of the thickness of said piece.

3. An ice maker as set forth in claim 2 including heating means for warming said fingers after said ice pieces have been removed from said mold to aid in the freezing of said pieces by said bumpers.

4. An ice maker comprising a metal ice mold, means including transverse dividers dividing said mold into a plurality of compartments in which water is frozen into ice pieces, a finger including an end portion'extending vertically into each compartment and into said water whereby each of said fingers is frozen into engagement with an ice piece, means for applying heat to the bottom wall of said mold for freeing the ice pieces from the mold surfaces, a shaft extending along the upper edge of one side wall of said mold, means connecting said fingers with said shaft whereby rotation of said shaft causes said fingers and attached ice pieces to pivot from within said mold to an inverted position along one side of the mold, and a plurality of spaced fixed bumpers arranged along said side wall of said mold to be engaged by said ice pieces during movement of said fingers to their inverted positions between said bumpers and to separate said ice pieces therefrom for discharge into a receptacle beneath said bumpers.

5. An ice maker as set forth in claim 4 including means operable when said end portions reach a horizontal position to warm said end portions to aid in the separation of the ice pieces therefrom.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,510,147 Keith Sept. 30, 1924 1,881,965 Peterson Oct. 11, 1932 2,049,902 Fischer Aug. 4, 1936 2,109,822 Eddy Mar. 1, 1938 2,114,642 West Apr. 19, 1938 2,161,321 Smith June 6, 1939 2,204,474 Cowling June 11, 1940 2,438,466 Tobey Mar. 23, 1948 2,757,519 Sampson Aug. 7, 1956 2,833,123 Kennedy May 6, 1958

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3009329 *Sep 14, 1960Nov 21, 1961Gen ElectricAutomatic ice maker control means
US3009330 *Sep 14, 1960Nov 21, 1961Gen ElectricAutomatic ice maker control means
US3028733 *Oct 31, 1960Apr 10, 1962Gen ElectricIce making apparatus
US3034312 *Sep 14, 1960May 15, 1962Gen ElectricAutomatic ice maker control means
US3182464 *Dec 14, 1962May 11, 1965Erling B ArcherAutomatic ice making devices
US4020644 *Jan 10, 1974May 3, 1977General Electric CompanyWater delivery system and method for forming same
US4756165 *Aug 3, 1987Jul 12, 1988Whirlpool CorporationSingle revolution ice maker
US5596182 *Jan 28, 1994Jan 21, 1997France/Scott Fetzer CompanyIcemaker
US5718121 *Sep 24, 1996Feb 17, 1998France/Scott Fetzer CompanyIcemaker
US5889243 *Jun 20, 1997Mar 30, 1999France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTime switch with clutch mechanism and cam operated contacts
US6334319Oct 18, 2000Jan 1, 2002Maytag CorporationIce level sensing assembly
US7383690Dec 5, 2005Jun 10, 2008Whirlpool CorporationIce harvest prevention mechanism in a refrigerator
US20070125101 *Dec 5, 2005Jun 7, 2007Maglinger Frank WIce harvest prevention mechanism in a refrigerator
U.S. Classification62/351, 62/353, 62/344
International ClassificationF25C1/04
Cooperative ClassificationF25C1/04
European ClassificationF25C1/04