US 3398553 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1968 B. B. LATTER ET L 3,393,553
ICE MAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS Filed March 24, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS BRUCE B. LATTER BYrSaCHARLES J. SLAYMAN THEIR ATTORNEY g. 27, 1968 a. B. LATTEQ ET AL ICE MAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS Filed March 24, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 F'' G 4 INVENTORS BRUCE B LATTER e, CHARLES Ir. sLAYMM Tnena ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,398,553 ICE MAKER INCLUDING IMPROVED SWEEP MEANS Bruce B., Latter, Anchorage, and Charles J. Slayman,
Louisville, Ky., assignors to General Electric Company,
a corporation of New York Filed'Mar. 24, 1967, Ser. No. 625,738 4 Claims. (Cl. 62-353) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An ice maker of the type comprising ejecting means for raising an ice piece out of a mold cavity and sweep means for sweeping the ice piece from the ejecting means includes flexible extension on the sweep means for assuring positive displacement of the ice piece from the mold surface.
Background of the invention The present invention relates to an automatic ice maker for use in household refrigerators, the ice maker being of the type shown and described in Patents 3,163,017Baker et al. and 3,163,018-Shaw, issued Dec. 29, 1964. The ice maker comprises a mold including at least one ice cavity in which an ice piece is formed, 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. The sweep means disclosed in the aforementioned patents moves about a pivot axis above the cavity from a normal position to one side of the cavity through an arcuate path to a point above the cavity. The sweep is so designed that the ice engaging portion thereof clears the pad in its upper position.
Under some operating conditions of this type of ice maker, it has been found that due to the limited length of the sweep means an ice piece may be only partially displaced from the top of the mold and may either fall back into the mold cavity or melt onto the adjacent surface of the mold during a subsequent cycle of operation.
Summary of the irivenlion In accordance with the present invention, an ice maker 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. To this end, there is provided a pivoted sweep including a rigid portion designed to clear the pad during movement of the sweep to a position in which the ice piece is broken free from the pad and an extension adapted to flex upon engagement with the pad and to engage the ice piece after it has passed the pad thereby in effect providing a longer sweep arm for assuring positive removal of the ice piece from the mold surface.
Brief description of the drawings In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of an ice maker embodying the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2--2 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 illustrating the position of certain of the elements of the ice maker in an early stage of the harvesting operation;
FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating a subsequent stage of operation; and
3,398,553 Patented Aug. 27, 1968 Brief descrz'plion of the preferred embodiment The automatic ice maker 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 from one another by walls 4, each of which includes a vertical passage 5 which provides means for the flow 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 ice maker is generally contained within a housing 9 secured to one end of the mold, this mechanism including 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, such as the ice piece 14, carried thereby out of the cavities 3.
The ice maker also includes an elongate rake or sweep 16 extending substantially the full length of the mold 1. The sweep is normally positioned at one side of the cavities as illustrated in FIGURE 2 of the drawing.
The sweep is pivotally supported on the mold structure above the upper surface .of the mold or more specifically above the cavities 3 as indicated by the pivots 17 so that .during rotational movement thereof about its pivot axis, it will move from a position to one 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 off of the pads and into the storage basket 18 positioned below the mold.
For a more detailed description of the construction and operation of the ice maker thus far described reference is made to the aforementioned patents. As is more fully described therein, the automatic operating cycle of the ice maker comprises 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 20 of the mold, pivotal movement of the sweep 16 across the top of the mold for engaging the ejected ice pieces 14 and sweeping the ice pieces from the mold and return of the sweep and the pads 6 to their normal positions followed by the introduction of another charge of water into the mold cavities.
in the sweeping operation of the sweep 16, it is necessary to apply sufficient positive force to the ice pieces 14 to break any of the pieces still frozen to the pad 6 loose for discharge into the receptacle 18. To assure this positive release of the ice pieces from the pad, at least a portion of the sweep contacting the ice pieces must be suificiently rigid to break the ice pieces loose if frozen to the ejection pads. However, since the sweep must also clear the pads 6 when they are in their upper or raised positions the effective radial length of the solid or rigid portion of the sweep arm has been limited with the result that in actual operation of the ice maker the sweep may not maintain engagement with some of the cubes after removal from the pads 6 long enough to assure that the cubes will fall over the adjacent mold edge 23. Any cubes remaining on the surface of the mold either fall back into the mold cavity when the pads 6 are retracted or remain on the surface of the mold Where they melt onto the front edge of the mold and freeze into engagement with that portion of the mold surface during a subsequent ice making cycle.
In accordance with the present invention, a positive removal of all of the ice pieces from the mold is assured by the addition to the solid or rigid portion 24 of the sweep of a flexible extension designed during the travel of the sweep from its normal position across the open top of the cavities to flex and thereby clear or pass the pads 6 upon engagement therewith and thereafter to return substantially to its normal extended position to prolong the engagement of the sweep mechanism with the ice pieces and thereby assure that all of the ice pieces are swept fiom the surface of the mold.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the extension comprises a strip of polypropylene 25 secured as by means of rivets 26 to the front of the rigid portion 24 of the sweep mechanism. This strip includes a portion 27 extending downwardly or beyond the lower edge of the rigid portion 27 of the sweep and this extending portion 27 is connected to the remaining portion of the strip 26 by means of a narrowed or necked area indicated by the numeral 28 which forms the well known type of polypropylene hinge.
By means of this extension, positive sweeping of the ice pieces from the mold is assured. This action is illustrated in FIGURES 3, 4 and 5 of the drawing. When the ice pieces are first raised to their elevated position as shown in FIGURE 3, pivotal movement of the sweep 16 brings that portion of the sweep including the rigid portion 24 into engagement with the sides of the ice pieces 14 thereby providing positive pressure for separating the ice pieces from the pads 6. During continued travel of the sweep, the lower portion 27 of the polypropylene extension strikes the adjacent edge of the pads 6 and flexes about the hinge section, as illustrated in the dotted line portion of FIGURE 4, thereby permitting the sweep to continue its travel. After the flexed portion of the polypropylene extension has passed the pads 6, the memory in the polypropylene straightens the extension to its normally extended shape for the application of a continued pressure on the ice pieces. The continued or extended contact of the portion 27 with either the bottom or the side of the ice piece as illustrated in FIGURE 4 of the drawing continues to a point at which sweeping of the ice piece 14 from the mold is definitely assured. Thereafter as shown in FIGURE 5 of the drawing, the sweep returns to its normal position with a reverse flexing of the extension 27 to permit the sweep mechanism to pass the pads 6.
From the above description it will be noted that the present sweep mechanism retains the original force and rigidity of the mechanism illustrated in the above-identi fied patents to assure release of any cu'bes frozen to the ejecting pads. In addition, it provides an additional operating length to the sweep for maintaining engagement with the released ice pieces to a point at which their centersof gravity passes over the edge of the mold so that the ice pieces fall freely intothe receptacle.
What we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. An ice maker comprising a freezer mold having an ice-forming cavity, an ice ejecting pad movable from a normal position within said cavity to a raised position above the top of said cavity for raising an ice piece from said cavity, a
a sweep element pivotally supported above said mold and normally positioned at one side of said cavity prior to the upward movement of said ejecting means and movable across the top of said mold for sweeping the raised ice piece from said mold,
said element including a rigid portion for engaging said ice piece to remove said ice piece from said pad and a flexible extension on said rigid portion adapted to flex upon engagement with an edge of said pad to permit movement of said rigid portion past said edge and to engage and sweep said ice piece from said mold after removal thereof from said pad by said rigid portion.
2. The ice maker of claim 1 in which said flexible extension comprises a polypropylene hinge portion.
3. The ice maker of claim 1 in which said sweep element is pivotally supported at both ends thereof.
4. The ice maker of claim 1 in which said ice maker comprises a plurality of aligned cavities each of which includes ejecting means and said sweep element is operatively positioned relative to all of said cavities.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,259,066 10/1941 Gaston 62353 X 2,969,651 1/1961 Bauerlein 62353 X ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner. W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.