US 3612821 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent DOOR FRAME CONSTRUCTION 9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.
Int. Cl 1105b l/00 Field of Search 219/213,
 kfrence s citd UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,499,245 3/1970 Winsler et al 49/70 Primary Examiner- V. Truhe Assistant Examiner-C. L. Albritton Attorneys-60love, Kleinberg & Morgenstern and Richard Morganstem ABSTRACT: A door mounting frame structure for a refrigerated cabinet. Each elongated frame member has a longitudinal groove for receipt of a heater wire. A cover plate covers the heater wire groove and provides a surface for contact with a door-mounted gasket. One longitudinal edge of the cover plate is held in place by a longitudinal cover-platereceiving groove formed in the frame member. The other longitudinal cover plate edge is secured by the covering head of a retainer strip. The strip has a foot portion adapted to be removably inserted in a longitudinal groove formed in the frame member.
DOOR FRAME CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to refrigerators and, more particularly, to refrigerator door mounting frame structures adapted to contain heater elements.
2. Description of the Prior Art Low-temperature commercial refrigerator and freezer compartments are usually provided with a door mounting frame within which one or more doors are pivotally mounted. The doors are typically provided with gaskets extending around their periphery for sealing engagement with an outer surface of the door mounting frame to assure that the gasket sealingly engages the freezer door opening.
When a door is opened, the differential in temperature between the interior and exterior of the refrigerator compartment causes condensation to form on the contacting portions of the door and the door mounting frame. It has been found necessary to prevent such condensation from freezing and detrimentally affecting both the ease of opening the door as well as the attractiveness of the freezer. For this purpose, it is known to heat the door mounting frame. For this purpose, heater wires are customarily imbedded in grooves or channels behind the faceplate, thereby heating the contacting surfaces between the door and the door mounting frame to prevent the formation of ice and condensate thereon. Such a structure, for example, is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 2,731,804 issued to J. V. GRUBBS, SR.
Although the resistive heater wires generally have long operating lives, they occasionally do need replacing. A means therefor must be provided to gain ready access to these heater wires for their removal and replacement. Although various approaches have been suggested, most such approaches adopt the expedient of securing the faceplates to the door mounting frame with a relatively large number of screw fasteners positioned about the frame. Upon removal of the screws the faceplate is detachable, thus providing access to the heater wires. While such an approach does render the heater wires accessible, it is subject to several severe disadvantages.
First, modern refrigerator and freezer cabinet door mounting frames are typically fabricated from extruded lightweight metal materials, such as aluminum. The drilling of this material to provide the necessary threaded receptacle for the screws is time-consuming and cumbersome. Further, the assembly and disassembly of the faceplate requires the insertion and removal of a substantial number of screw fasteners greatly increasing both the assembly and servicing times of the door mounting frame structure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly stated, the present invention provides a refrigerator door mounting frame structure which comprises a plurality of elongated frame members. Each such member defines at least a face having first and second longitudinal end portions.
An elongated cover-pIate-retaining slot is formed adjacent the first end portion. At least one longitudinal heater-elementreceiving groove is formed in the face intermediate the end portions. The heater-eIement-receiving groove is adapted to have at least one heating element positioned therein. A longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove is formed in the face further removed from the first end portion than is the heaterelement-receiving groove. An elongated cover plate is positioned over the face in covering relation to the heater-element-receiving groove.
One longitudinal end portion of the cover plate is disposed in the cover-plate-retaining slot. The other longitudinal end portion of the cover plate is positioned adjacent the retainerstrip-receiving groove. A retainer strip is provided having a foot portion and a head portion integral with and having a greater transverse dimension than the foot portion. The foot portion is releasably insertable in holding relation into the retainer-strip -receiving groove. When thus inserted, the head portion engages and releasably holds the adjacent cover plate end portion. The cover plate is thus supported along both its longitudinal edges.
To remove the cover plate it is only necessary to pull the retainer strip out from the retainer-strip-receiving groove and thereafter slide the faceplate out from the cover-plate-retaining slot, thus providing rapid access to the heater elements. In like manner, assembly of the structure is effected by simply positioning the cover plate in the cover'plate-retaining slot and inserting the cover plate retainer strip.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects of the invention will become apparent from a study of the following description and drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a commercial refrigerator or freezer door mounting frame including a plurality of side-byside mounted refrigerator doors;
FIG. 2 is a partial sectional view of the frame and door structure of FIG. I as seen from the top;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a mullion structure configured in accordance with the principles of the current invention;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a peripheral door mounting frame member constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view partially broken away of an alternate embodiment of the member showing FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a partial sectional, side elevational view of a portion of a door mounting frame constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a heater wire matrix of the device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a view partially broken away of the mullion and top peripheral elongated door mounting frame members illustrating the placement of the heater wires in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a faceplate retainer strip positioned within a retainer-strip-receiving groove in accordance with the principles of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 6 a refrigerated cabinet 20, which includes a door mounting frame 21 within which are mounted a plurality of refrigerator doors 10A. .10N. Frame 21 is constructed of upper and lower elongated members 22 and 23, side elongated members 24 and 2S, and one or more mullions 26 interconnecting top and bottom elongated members 22 and 23. The frame 21 is mounted in refrigerator or freezer wall 31. Doors 10A and ION are pivotally mounted to be framework thus described in any suitable well-known manner, not shown. The framework is preferably fabricated from a lightweight metal material such as extruded aluminum.
The framework structure is suitably secured to the refrigerator walls as by a plurality of screw fasteners 49. As seen best in FIGS. 2 and 6, peripheral door mounting frame members 22, 23, 24 and 25 are provided with longitudinal grooves of channels 70, 71, 72 and 73, respectively. The grooves preferably interconnect to form a continuous groove or channel about the periphery of frame 21. Each mullion, such as the exemplary mullion 26 in FIG. 2, is also provided with at least one longitudinal groove. Exemplary mullion 26, FIG. 2, is shown provided with four such longitudinal grooves 40, 41, 42 and 43, respectively.
The longitudinal mullion grooves preferably interconnect with the corresponding grooves in peripheral frame members 22 and 23 to provide a groove matrix corresponding to the points of contact between the door mounting frame and the doors. At least one, and preferably a plurality, of resistance heater wires are positioned within the groove matrix thus defined. The heater wires serve to heat the area of contact between the door mounting frame and the doors in a manner well known in the concerned art. The resistance heater wires are disposed within the grooves in accordance with the wiring pattern as best seen in FIGS. 7 and 8.
As shown in FIG. 2 and 6, magnetic gaskets 47 are positioned around the inside periphery of the doors in the usual manner. To provide a suitable contact surface for the gaskets and to enable ready fabrication and servicing of the heating wire matrix thus described, a plurality of removable elongated cover plates are mounted to the faces of the peripheral door mounting frame members and mullions. The cover plates are preferably fabricated from a suitable corrosive resistant magnetic material such as stainless steel.
As all the peripheral frame members and all of the mullions are substantially similar, only one of each type will be described in detail. Referring now to FIG. 3, a detailed cross section of exemplary mullion 26 is illustrated. Mullion 26 includes a front portion 9 and side flanges 91 and 92. The front portion of mullion 26 defines a face portion 95, in which longitudinal heater element receiving grooves 40, 41, 42 and 43 are formed. Longitudinal cover-plate-retaining slots 97 and 98 are formed at the extremities of front mullion portion 90. A longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove 101 is formed on the face side of the forward portion of the mullion, as shown. The heater-element-receiving grooves, cover-plate-retaining slots and retainer-strip-receiving groove preferably all extend substantially the full length of the mullion.
A pair of elongated cover plates 60 and 61 are positioned, as shown, each having one longitudinal edge disposed in a corresponding cover-plate-retaining slot. The other longitudinal end of each cover plate is disposed adjacent the retainer-stripreceiving groove.
As best seen in FIG. 9, an elongated flexible retainer strip 51 is removably positioned within the retainer-strip receiving groove 101. The retainer strip, preferably fabricated from a material'such as rubber, PVC, or other flexible material, has a foot portion 52 and a head portion 50. The head portion preferably has a greater transverse dimension than the foot portion. The foot portion of the retainer strip is provided with one or more longitudinal ears of projections 54. The retainerstrip-receiving groove preferably is provided with a plurality of longitudinal teeth or projections 103. Teeth 103 are inward fasteners are required. To remove the cover plates and thus gainaccess to the resistive heating wires, it is only necessary to pull the single cover strip 50 from groove 101. Thereafter, the cover plates readily slide out from their respective retaining slots exposing the heater wires mounted therebehind.
The back portion of mullion 26 is preferably provided with a backplate 86, as shown. Plate 86 may be used to mount various light fixtures, shelving standards, and other attendant refrigerator cabinet paraphernalia, if desired. Plate 86 is also preferably secured to mullion 26 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. For this purpose, a mullion side flange 92 is provided with a longitudinal cover-plateretaining slot 96. An opposite mullion side flange 91 is, as illustrated, provided with a longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove 115 and retainer strip 116 similar to receiving groove 101 and retainer strip 50 as already described. Backplate 86 is thus removably supported by retaining slot 96 and retainer strip 116.
Referring now to FIG. 4, a cross section of a suitable elongated peripheral frame member such as frame member 25 is illustrated. Frame member 25, as shown, includes a rear flange assembly 70, a front flange 72, and an integral interconnecting web 71. Front flange 72 and intervening web 71 are provided in a manner well known in the art, to enable the exemplary doors described to assume the so-called recessed configuration. Rear flange extensions 104, and 106 define a face plane behind which a channel 77 is formed. Channel 73 is adapted to contain one or more heater wires and 13]. Heater wires 130 and 131 are maintained within channel 73 in spaced relation by a plurality of spring clips 118 as best seen in FIG. 8. Referring again to FIG. 4, at one extremity of the rear flange portion 70, flange extensions 104 and 107 define a longitudinal cover-plate-retaining slot 78 adapted to receive a cover plate 65, as illustrated. At the other end of the rear flange, a longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove 79 is formed. The axis of receiving groove 79 forms an angle preferably greater than 45 with the face plane defined by cover plate 65.
An elongated cover-plate-retainer strip 55 is removably positioned within the retainer-strip-receiving groove 79. However, the retainer strip illustrated in FIG. 4 differs from that already described in that retainer strip 55 has a head portion 56 of greater transverse dimension than head portion 57, as shown. This enables the head portion 56 to more securely engage cover plate 65. To gain access to the heater wires in channel 73, it is only necessary to remove the cover-plateretaining strip 56 and slide the cover plate 65 from retainer slot 78.
Shown in FIG. 5 is an alternate embodiment of the structure shown in FIG. 4 wherein the retainer-strip-receiving groove 79A has an axis position substantially at 45 with respect to the plane defined by faceplate 65. In this construction, strip 50 has a head portion of substantially symmetrical transverse configuration. Although the embodiments of FIGS. 4 and 5 have the retainer-strip-receiving grooves positioned substantially at the junction of flange 70 and web portion 71, such is obviously not a limiting requirement. The retainer-stripreceiving groove could obviously be formed with suitable structure modifications, within rear flange extension 109.
The cover plate mounting structure hereinabove described is particularly suited for ease of door frame maintenance,
since only a single retainer strip need be removed to gain access to the resistive heater wires mounted therebehind. Further, the structure above described significantly decreases both the required time and cost of fabrication of the frame assemblies, since all of the frame structure may be formed in an extruded manner without the requirement of drilling any of the frame members to receive screw fasteners. Likewise, it is not necessary for assembly personnel to affix a large number of screws during the assembly operation. Rather, only a single, easily insertable strip need be applied to secure each cover plate to its related frame member.
1. In a refrigerator door mounting frame, the frame structure comprising:
an elongated frame member defining a face, said frame member having first and second longitudinal end portions;
a longitudinal cover-plate-retaining slot formed adjacent the first end portion;
at least one longitudinal heater-element-receiving groove formed in the face intermediate the end portions and adapted to have a heating element inserted therein;
a longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove formed in the face further removed from the first end portion than is the heater-element-receiving groove;
an elongated cover plate having one longitudinal end portion disposed in the cover-plate-retaining slot and another, opposite, longitudinal end portion positioned adjacent the retainer-strip-receiving groove; and
an elongated retainer strip having a foot portion releasably insertable in holding relation into the retainer-stripreceiving groove; and a head portion integral with and having a greater transverse dimension than the foot portion, whereby the head portion engages and releasably holds the adjacent cover plate end portion when the retainer strip is inserted into the receiving groove.
2. The frame structure of claim 1 wherein said retainerstrip-receiving groove has a plurality of opposed, longitudinal, inward directed projections.
3. The frame structure of claim 2 wherein the foot portion of said retainer strip has at least one pair of opposed, longitudinal projections adapted to firmly but removably engage said retainer-strip-receiving groove projections in the inserted position.
4. The frame structure of claim 2 wherein the foot portion of said retainer strip has a plurality of pairs of opposed, longitudinal projections adapted to firmly but removably engage said receiving groove projections in the inserted position.
5. The frame structure of claim 2 wherein the axis of said retainer-strip-receiving groove is substantially perpendicular to the face defined by said elongated frame member.
6. The frame structure of claim 1 wherein the axis of said retainer-strip-receiving groove forms an acute angle with the face defined by said elongated frame member.
7. The frame structure of claim 6 wherein said elongated retainer strip head portion has a greater transverse dimension on the side of said receiving groove closest to said cover plate end portion than on the side of said receiving groove further removed from said cover plate end portion.
8. A mullion structure for a heated door mounting frame for a refrigerated cabinet comprising:
an elongated frame member defining a face, said frame member having first and second longitudinal end portions;
first and second longitudinal cover-plate-retaining slots formed adjacent said first and second longitudinal frame member end portions;
at least one longitudinal heater-element-receiving grooves formed in the face intermediate the frame member end portions;
a longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove formed in the face intermediate the frame member end portions;
first and second elongated cover plates, each cover plate having one longitudinal edge disposed in one of said cover-plate-retaining slots and its other longitudinal edge disposed adjacent the edge of said retainer-strip-receiving groove nearest its respective cover-plate-retaining slot; and
an elongated retainer strip having a foot portion releasably insertable in holding relation into the retainer-stripreceiving groove, and a head portion integral with and having a greater transverse dimension than the foot portion, whereby the head portion engages and releasably holds the adjacent cover plate end portions when the retainer strip is inserted into the receiving groove.
9. The mullion structure of claim 8 further comprising:
a first elongated flange extending rearward from said first frame member end portion;
a second elongated flange extending rearward from said second frame member end portion;
a third longitudinal cover plate retainer slot formed in said first flange;
a second longitudinal retainer-strip-receiving groove formed in said second flange;
an elongated backplate having first and second longitudinal edges, one longitudinal edge disposed in said third cover plate retainer slot, the other longitudinal edge disposed adjacent said second retainer-strip-receiving groove; and
a second elongated retainer strip having a foot portion releasably insertable in holding relation into the retainerstrip-receiving groove, and a head portion integral with and having a greater transverse dimension than the foot portion, whereby the head portion engages and releasably holds the adjacent backplate end portion when the retainer strip is inserted into the receiving groove.