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Publication numberUS3397553 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 20, 1968
Filing dateMay 15, 1967
Priority dateMay 15, 1967
Publication numberUS 3397553 A, US 3397553A, US-A-3397553, US3397553 A, US3397553A
InventorsCrowe William P, Murphy Jr David J
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Icemaker including improved sweep means
US 3397553 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

ug. 20, 1968 W, p CROWE ET AL 3,397,553

ICEMAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS Filed May 15, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORS W\\ \.\AM P. CROWE &DA\\D T. MURPHY IR.

THE\R ATTORJJEY ug. 20, 1968 w, P CRWE ET AL 3,397,553

ICEMAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS Filed May 15, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 @9D/AD J. MURPHY JR.

msm ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,397,553 ICEMAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS William P. Crowe and David J. Murphy, Jr., Louisville,

Ky., assignors to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed May 15, 1967, Ser. No. 638,327

6 Claims. (Cl. 62-353) ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE An icemaker of the type comprising ejecting means for raising an ice piece out of a mold cavity and sweep means including energy storing spring means for positive displacement of the ice piece from the mold surface.

Background of the invention The present invention relates to an automatic icernaker for use in household refrigerators, the icemaker being of the type shown and described in Patents 3,163,017- Baker et al. and 3,163,018-Shaw issued Dec. 29, 1964. An icernaker of this type comprises a mold including at least one cavity in which an ice piece is formed, motordriven ejecting means including a pad normally positioned in the lower portion of the cavity and movable to a position above the top of the cavity for ejecting an ice piece from the cavity and a pivoted sweep or rake element actuable after the ice piece has been raised to its upper position for movement across the top of the mold cavity to remove the ice piece from the pad and sweep it into `an ice storage receptacle positioned below and to one side of the mold. The sweep means disclosed in the aforementioned patents moves about a pivot axis above the cavity from a normal position rearward of the cavity through an ar-cuate path to a point above the cavity. The sweep is driven by the same motor driving the ejecting means and in order to provide sufficient force to assure separation of the ice piece from the pad, the drive connection includes a gear reduction with the result that the sweep moves at a relatively low speed.

Due to the low speed at which the sweep means moves across the mold, the ice piece is only swept over the edge of the mold with the result that substantially all of the ice pieces collect in a pile adjacent the mold rather than being distributed throughout the receptacle.

Summary of the invention In accordance with the present invention, an icemaker of the above-described type is provided with an improved sweep means designed to assure positive removal of the ejected ice piece from the mold surface at a velocity sufficient to achieve a more uniform distribution of the ice pieces in the receptacle. To this end, there is provided a pivoted sweep drive means for moving the sweep from a normal position rearward of the mold cavity to a position in which the ice piece :is broken free from the pad and energy storing means operable during movement of the sweep for imparting suliicient velocity to an ice piece to propel the ice piece beyond the adjacent front edge of the mold.

Brief description of the drawings In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of an icemaker ernbodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2 2 of FIGURE l;

FIGURE 3 is a sectional View along line 3 3 illustrating the position of certain of the elements of the icernaker in an early stage of the sweep operation; and

3,397,553 Patented Aug. 20, 1968 ICC FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating a subsequent stage of operation.

Description of the preferred embodiment The automatic icemaker illustrated in the accompanying drawings comprises a mold 1 adapted to be secured by one or more bolts 2 to a wall of the freezer compartment of a household refrigerator. The mold includes a plurality of generally cylindrical ice cavities 3 arranged in a straight line and separated froml one another by walls 4, each of which includes a vertical passage 5 providing means for the iiow of water from one cavity to another during the mold filling operation, A plurality of pads or pistons 6 which, to a substantial extent, form the bottoms of the cavities 3 are interconnected by a bar 7 slidably received within the passages 5.

Power and control means for operating the icemaker is generally contained Within a housing 9 secured to one end of the mold and includes a motor 10 connected through drive means including a lever 11 and a rod 12 designed to raise the pads 6 and the ice pieces 14 carried thereby out of the cavities 3.

The icemaker also includes an elongate rake or sweep 15 extending substantially the full length of the mold 1. The sweep is normally positioned at the rear side of the cavities as illustrated in FIGURE 2 of the drawing.

The sweep includes forwardly extending arms or extensions 16 which are pivotally supported by pivots 17 above the upper surface of the mold or more specifically above the cavities 3 so that during rotational movement of the sweep about its pivot axis parallel to the aligned cavities, it will move from a normal position to the rear side of the mold cavity into engagement with the ice pieces supported on the pads 6 and then part way across the space above the cavities for the purpose of sweeping the ice pieces from the pads and into a storage receptacle or basket 18 positioned below the mold.

As is more fully described in the above-mentioned patents, the automatic operating cycle of the icemaker cornprises filling of the cavities 3 with water, heating of the mold to free the formed ice pieces from the cavities, ejection of the ice pieces by movement of the pads 6 from their lower position in the bottom of the cavities to a raised position slightly above the upper surface 19 of the mold, pivotal movement of the sweep 15 across the top of the mold for engaging the ejected ice pieces 14 and sweeping the ice pieces from the mold surface and return of the sweep and the pads 6 to their normal positions in preparation for the introduction of another charge of water into the mold cavities. This cycle of operation is repeated until a feeler arm 20 stops the icemaker operation upon sensing the accumulation of a predetermined level of ice in the receptacle 18.

As one or more of the ice pieces may be frozen to the pads 6 at the time that the ice pieces are elevated to a position above the mold surface 19, it is necessary to employ a sweep drive mechanism capable of applying suiiicient -force to the ice pieces to break the bond, In the icemarker described in the aforementioned patents, the motor 10` is connected through suitable speed reducing and hence force multiplying transmission 'gearing to a cam 22 which operates a lever 23 having its moving end connected to a rod 24. The upper end of the rod 24 is connected to a second lever 2S which in t-urn is connected directly to the sweep 15 so that up and down movement of the rod 24 provides a reciprocating or pivotal movement orf the sweep 15. Due to the speed reducing transmission gearing, the sweep moves at 'a relatively low speed with the result that the ice pieces swept tfrom the mold surface merely drop over the forward edge 28 of the mold surface and fall downwardly where they accumulate as a pile of ice pieces immediately below the forward edge of the mold. As a result, the sensing arm senses the accumulation or level of the ice in this pile vand stops the operation of the icemaker regardless of whether or not the entire container 18 is filled with ice.

ln accordance with the present invention, a more 11n-ifo-rm distribution of the ice pieces in thereceptacle 18 is provided by means of an improved sweep vmechanism designed to more forcefully propel the ice pieces from the mold surface so that they also fall into more remote 'portions of the receptacle 18.

In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, the sweep 15 is freely supported vat its pivot points 17 or in other words'is not directly connected to the driving lever 25. The desired reciprocating motion of the sweep 1S is obtained by means of a drive member or yoke 30 keyed to a shaft 31 which is in coaxial alignment with the pivot axis of the sweep 15 and is connected directly to the lever 25.

The drive mem-ber 3) includes a first a-rm 32 overlapping the upper edge 33 of the sweep adjacent one end thereof 4and 4a second arm 35 having an end portion 36 adapted during certain periods of operation to engage the lower front edge portion 37 of the sweep. The drive member is so designed that during operation of the icemaker only one of the arms 32 and 35 is in engagement with the sweep 15 at any one time.

With the sweep 15 in its normal position or rearward position as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3 of the drawing, its lower edge 37 is positioned rearwardly of the cavities 3 and the drive member 31 is in its dotted line position as shown in FIGURE 3 of the drawing so that the arm 35 is in substantial engagement with or adjacent to the lower edge portion 37 of the sweep. When an ice harvesting operation is initiated and after the pad 5 has lifted the ice pieces from the cavities, clockwise rotation of the drive member 30 as viewed in FIGURE 3 of the drawing causes the upper arm 32 to engage the upper edge portion 33 of the sweep 'and initiate movement of the sweep into engagement with the ice pieces 14. The sweep continues to lmove in this counterclock'wise direction until the ice pieces are separated from the pads and swept from the mold surface. Thereafter reverse movement of the drive member 30 causes the portion 36 of the arm 35 to engage the sweep and return it to its normal position.

Due to the relatively low speed with which the drive member 30 operates, the velocity imparted to the ice pieces being harvested by the lmovement of the drive member 30 is generally only suicient to drop the ice pieces over the forward edge of the mold. In order to sweep the ice pieces from the mold sur-face with a velocity sufficient to provide a more uniform distribution of the ice pieces throughout the receptacle 18, the sweep 15 is provi-ded with energy storing means designed to store energy during the initial movement of the sweep from its rearward position and thereafter to release that energy to increase the speed of the sweep and hence the velocity with which the ice pieces are discharged from the mold surface.

The illustrated energy storing means comprises an overcenter spring mechanism connected to the opposite end of the sweep 15 as shown in detail in FIGURE 2 of the drawing. It comprises a tension spring 40 having one end anchored on an lanchor means 41 extending forwardly from the front of the mold and lthe other end connected through a link 43 to an arm 44 provided -on the sweep 15 at the opposite end thereof from the drive member v30. When the sweep 15 is in its normal, position, the-sweep 15, the link 43 and lthe spring 40.0 ccupy theiry full line positions as illustrated in FIGURE 2 of the drawing. During initial movement of the sweep y15 to its forward position illustrated in FIGURE 4 of the drawing, the pivot connection 45 connecting the link 43 to the arm 44, moves in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIGURE 2 thereby elongating the spring 40 and storing energy therein until such time as the pivot point 45 moves overcenter with reference to the pivot axis 17 ofthe sweep. At this point the energy stored in the spring 40 is-released with the result that thesweep 15,-under the action of the spring 40, moves forwardly at an increased velocity which serves-to propel the ice pieces 14 contacted by the sweep 15 away from the mold surface and into the more remote portions of the receptacle 18 as illustrate in FIGURE 4 of the drawing.

`Upon reversal of the drive member 30, the arm 35 engages the lower edge 37 of the sweep and positively returns the sweep to its initial or normal position rearward of the cavities 3 thereby conditioning the sweep for a subsequent sweeping operation. The overcenter mechanisrn then also serves to retain the sweep in its normal position.

Preferably the overcenter mechanism is so designed that, as the sweep 15 is lmoved forwardly by the drive member arm 32, during vwhich time the contact portion 36 has moved away from the lower edge portion 37 of the sweep, the relatively slowly moving sweep will engage the ice pieces and break any bonds between the ice pieces and the pads 6 before the energy storing means moves overcenter. After the ice pieces have been freed from the pads by the relatively slow movement of the sweep, the overcenter mechanism operates to propel the freed ice pieces clear of the lmold surface at a velocity such that they will not tend to pile up or accumulate immediately below the mold. It will be noted that the sweep moves only a relatively short distance at this higher velocity since its movement is then limited by contact of the lower edge thereof with the portion 36 of the drive member 30 as illustrated in FIGURE 4 of the drawing.

From the above description it will be seen that there has been provided an improved sweep mechanism whereby optimum distribution of ice pieces in relatively large receptacles can be obtained. As the more remote portions of the receptacle become filled with ice, the ice pieces striking those already accumulated in the receptacle will gradually pile up in the direction of the Ifeeler arm where the ultimate desired level of the ice within the receptacle will be sensed.

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

v1. In an icemaker comprising a freezer mold having an ice-forming cavity, ice ejecting means for raising an ice piece from said cavity to a position above the top of said cavity, a sweep pivotally supported above said mold for movement from a normal position rearward of said cavity to a second position overlying said cavity for engaging and sweeping the raised ice piece from said mold;

means for effecting pivotal movement of said sweep comprising a drive means adapted upon movement in one direction to move said sweep towards its second position and upon movement in the opposite direction to return said sweep to its normal position,

and energy storing means comprising an overcenter spring mechanism for storing energy during initial movement of said sweep towards its second position and thereafter releasing the stored energy to increase the speed of said sweep to propel said ice piece beyond the adjacent edge of said mold.

2. In an icemaker comprising a freezer mold having an ice-forming cavity, ice ejecting means for raising an ice piece from said cavity to a position above the top of said cavity, a sweep pivotally supported above said mold for movement from a normal position rearwardly of said cavity during the upward movement of said ejecting means to a second position above said cavity for engaging and sweeping the raised ice piece from said mold;

means for effecting pivotal movement of said sweep comprising a reciprocating drive lmeans including a first portion normally spaced from said sweep and adapted upon movement of said drive means in one direction to contact and move said sweep towards its second position and a second portion spaced from said sweep during movement thereof to its second position and adapted upon movement of said drive means in the opposite direction to return said sweep to its normal position,

and energy storing means connected to said sweep for storing energy during initial movement of said sweep towards its second position at a rate of travel provided `by said drive means and thereafter releasing the stored energy to elect an increase in the speed at which said sweep moves toward its second position beyond that provided by said drive means thereby to propel said ice piece beyond the adjacent edge of said mold.

3. The icemaker of claim 2 in which said energy storing means comprises an overcenter spring mechanism which also normally retains said sweep in its normal position.

4. The icemaker of claim 2 in which said sweep is pivotally supported at the opposite ends thereof and said drive means operably engages one end portion of said sweep and said energy storing means is connected to the opposite end portion of said sweep.

5. The icemaker of claim 2 in which said second porltion of said drive -means limits the movement of said sweep at its increased rate of travel.

6. The icemaker of claim 2 in which said mold includes a plurality of aligned cavities, said sweep includes forwardly extending arms at the ends thereof by means of which said sweep is pivotally supported for movement about an axis above and parallel to said aligned cavities and said drive means reciprocates about an axis coinciding with said sweep axis and includes a rst arm including said rst portion for contacting the upper edge of said sweep and a second arm including said second portion for engaging a lower front portion of said sweep.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,969,651 1/ 1961 -Bauerlein 62-135 3,154,929 11/196-4 Little 62-135 3,163,018 12/7964 Shaw 62-353 X 3,300,998 1/ 1967 Jacobus et al 62-353 X ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner.

W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2969651 *Jun 27, 1958Jan 31, 1961Dole Valve CoAutomatic ice making apparatus
US3154929 *Jun 5, 1961Nov 3, 1964White Rodgers CompanyAutomatic ice cube making apparatus
US3163018 *Aug 2, 1961Dec 29, 1964Borg WarnerCube type ice maker having electric heater and cam ejector
US3300998 *Dec 9, 1965Jan 31, 1967Gen ElectricHydraulic ice maker
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3913350 *May 31, 1974Oct 21, 1975Gen ElectricIce maker including improved rake assembly
US4706465 *Oct 6, 1986Nov 17, 1987General Electric CompanyIce piece ejection mechanism for icemaker
US5160094 *Feb 24, 1992Nov 3, 1992Whirlpool CorporationRecoverable domestic ice maker
US5261248 *Sep 15, 1992Nov 16, 1993Whirlpool CorporationFill cup sleeve for a recoverable domestic icemaker
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/353, 62/71
International ClassificationF25C1/04
Cooperative ClassificationF25C1/04
European ClassificationF25C1/04