|Publication number||US3678701 A|
|Publication date||Jul 25, 1972|
|Filing date||Dec 16, 1970|
|Priority date||Dec 16, 1970|
|Also published as||DE2161195A1|
|Publication number||US 3678701 A, US 3678701A, US-A-3678701, US3678701 A, US3678701A|
|Inventors||Frazier Lauren L, Powell John M|
|Original Assignee||Gen Electric|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (25), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Powell et al.
[451 July 25,1972
'  lnt.Cl.
[ ICE MAKER  Inventors: John M. Powell, Charlestown, lnd.; Lauren L. Frazier, Louisville, Ky.
 Assignee: General Electric Company  Filed: Dec. 16, 1970 ] Appl. No.: 98,635
52 u.s.c|; ..62/353, 62/71 ..F25c 1/04  FieldofSearch ..62/320,340,353,7l;249/76  References Cited TE STAT PA 1 3,182,468 5/1965 Archer ..62/353 3,362,182 1/1968 Walker ..62/353 X Primary Examiner-William E. Wayner A!torneyWalter E. Rule, Francis H. Boos, Jr., Frank L. Neuhauser, Oscar B. Waddell and Joseph B. Forman [5 7] ABSTRACT An ice maker of the type comprising a mold including a plurality of interconnected cavities and ejecting means for raising interconnected ice pieces from the cavities includes means for severing the ice connections between the ice pieces during ejection thereof.
7 Clalns, 3 Drawing Figures Patented July 25, 1972 mvsmons JOHN M. POWELL BY$LAUREN L. FRAZER FIGZ.
THE! R. AT TORNEY ICE MAKER The present invention relates to an automatic ice maker for use in household refrigerators, the ice maker being the type shown and described in U.S. Pats. Nos. 3,163,0l7 Baker et al. and 3,163,018 Shaw issued Dec. 29, 1964. An ice maker of this type comprises a mold including a plurality of cavities spaced from one another with each of the walls between adjacent cavities having a passage extending from the top to the bottom thereof for distributing a charge of water between the cavities. The ice maker further includes a motor driven ejecting means including pads normally positioned in the lower portions of the cavities and movable to a position adjacent the top of the mold for ejecting the ice pieces from the cavities and means actuable after the ice pieces have been raised to their upper positions for discharging the ice pieces into an ice storage receptacle. I
The ice pieces formed in the cavities are interconnected by webs of ice formed in the passages. Some of these webs are broken during sweeping of the ice pieces from the mold and discharge thereof into a storage receptacle. The fact that some of the stored ice pieces are still connected by webs is of little consequence in most applications of the ice maker since the webs can be easily broken by hand as the ice pieces are removed from the receptacle. However, when the ice maker is used in combination with an automatic ice dispenser such as that described and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,422,994 issued Jan. 21, l969, in the name of Robert J. Alvarez and assigned to the same assignec as the present invention, it is desirable that all of these webs be severed prior to discharge of the ice pieces into the dispenser receptacle.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings: FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an ice maker illustrating one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a vertical transverse sectional view of the ice maker mold; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating the operation of the severing means of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The ice maker mold illustrated in the accompanying drawing comprises a mold body 1 adapted in combination with operating and control mechanism similar to that described in the aforementioned Baker et al. and Shaw patents to be supported on a wall of a freezer compartment of a household refrigerator. The mold includes a plurality of ice cavities 3 arranged in a straight line and separated from one another by mold wall portions 4 each of which includes a vertical passage 5 extending from the top to the bottom of the cavities. When water is supplied to the mold from the water inlet member 6 at one end of the mold, these passages provide means for the flow of water from one cavity to another. A plurality of pads or pistons 7 (FIG. 2), which to a substantial extent form the bottoms of the cavities 3, are interconnected by a bar 8 slidably received within the passage 5.
As taught in the Baker et a]. and Shaw patents, power and control means not shown) for operating the ice maker are generally contained within a housing secured to one end of the mold and include a motor connected] through drive means including a lever 11 and a rod 12 to the pads 6 whereby the pads and the ice pieces supported thereon can be vertically ejected from the mold cavities 3 as shown in FIG. 3.
The ice maker also includes a heater 15 for warming the mold to thaw or break the bond between the ice pieces and the cavity walls prior to operation of the ejecting means.
As is more fully described in the above-mentioned patents, the automatic operating cycle of the ice maker comprises filling of the cavities 3 with water, freezing of this charge of water into ice. heating of the mold by energization of the heater 15 to free the formed ice pieces from the cavities and ejection and discharge of the interconnected ice pieces to a storage container. The pads then return to their lower or normal position in preparation for the introduction of another charge of water into the cavities.
In accordance with the present invention, means are provided for breaking or severing the webs of ice formed within the passages 5 during ejection of the ice pieces so that at the time that the ice pieces are discharged into a receptacle, they will have been separated from one another.
To this end, the mold is provided with separator means 17 to one side of each of the passages and deflector means 18 generally opposite the separator means for deflecting ice webs into engagement with the separator means as the ice pieces are ejected from the mold cavities.
In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, the separator means are positioned between adjacent cavities 3 and include relatively sharp edge portions 19 extending substantially vertically upwardly from the top surface 20 of the mold so that these edge portions 19 more or less form an extension of one side edge 21 of the passage 5. The separators 17 are generally V-shaped in horizontal cross section with the vertical sides 22 thereof generally of the shape or curvature of the adjacent side walls of the mold cavities.
The deflector means 18 mounted on the opposite of the mold cavities from the separator means 17 includes a slanting lower surface 24 adapted to apply an oblique force to the ice pieces 25 as they are ejected from the cavities and thereby deflect the ice pieces and maintain engagement of the ice webs with the separator means for the purpose of severing these webs before the ice pieces are discharged into a storage receptacle. Preferably, the deflector means 18 is pivotally mounted on the mold adjacent the lower edge thereof as indicated by the numeral 27 and is movable between a lower position in which it is supported by a stop 28 to a more elevated position in which it engages a'stop 29. Further, the deflector is spring biased by means of a spring 30 to its lower position in which it is adapted to be engaged by the ice pieces being ejected during the initial upward movement of the ice pieces, so that the ice pieces will be broken free from the pads 7 and tilted into engagement with the separator means 17 during the remaining portion of the ejection cycle.
To accomplish this early contact between the ice pieces and the separator means 17, the cavities 3 are shaped so that the ice pieces being ejected therefrom can tilt within the cavities upon initial contact with the deflector means. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, this tilting of the ice pieces is accomplished by cavities having slanting side walls, in other words each cavity is enlarged diametrically in cross section from the bottom to the top thereof to provide the individual molds with an inverted frustro conical shape. Thus as soon as the ice pieces are raised a short distance by the pads 7, sufficient space is created between the sides of the ice pieces and the adjacent portions of the mold cavities so that upon contact with the deflector means, the ice pieces can tilt within the cavities and break free of the pads 7. It will be obvious of course that other cavity shapes may be employed, it being necessary only that the ice pieces can be tilted forwardly into contact with the separator means early in their upward movement.
Following initial contact of the ice webs with the separator means 17, the spring 30 maintains the deflector mean's in engagement with the ice pieces and hence causes the ice pieces to follow a path which holds the ice webs in a position for engagement with the separator 17. This action is illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing which shows the position of an ice piece 25 and an ice web 3] with reference to the separator 17 shortly before the time that the pads 7 reach their uppermost position.
The stop 29 is positioned to maintain a positive engagement of the deflector 18 with the ice pieces during the latter part of the ejection cycle. In other words, the deflector means 18 is adapted to engage the stop 29 when the deflector means 18 has been elevated sufficiently to permit the ice pieces 25 to squeeze between the forward edge of a mold cavity and the deflector means. At this point, as shown in FIG. 3, the separator means 17 has penetrated any unsevered portions of the web 31 to a substantial extent and sufficient to split the webs and separate adjacent ice pieces.
While the forward edge 18 of the separator means is preferably relatively sharp or pointed, it has been found that the actual separation of the ice pieces is due primarily to a wedging or splitting action rather than a cutting action. However, regardless of the exact way in which the webs are severed, the combined action of the severing means 17 and the positive action of the deflector 18 upon contact with the stop 29 assures a positive separation of adjacent ice pieces. After discharge of the ice pieces from the mold, the deflector means 18, returned by the spring 30 to its original position in contact with the stop 28, imparts a velocity or force to the ice pieces which assures their movement over the mold surface and into the receptacle.
While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the invention it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications as 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:
a mold containing at least two ice pieces forming cavities spaced from one another by a wall and interconnected by a passage in said wall whereby the ice pieces formed in said cavities are connected by a web of ice formed in said passage;
ejection means normally positioned at the bottom of said cavities and being movable upwardly for ejecting said interconnected ice pieces from said mold;
said mold including ice piece separator means on one side of said passage and between said cavities and having a web engaging edge portion above the upper end of said passage; and
deflector means on the opposite side of said passage for engaging the ice pieces ejected from said cavities and effecting engagement of said web with said edge portion to separate said ice pieces during discharge thereof from said mold;
said deflector means being pivotally mounted and spring biased to a normal position in which it is engaged by said ice pieces during initial upward movement of said ejector means to tilt said ice pieces towards said separator means and a second position in which said deflector means asbottom of each of said cavitiesand being reci rocable in said cavities for e ecting said mterconnecte ice pieces from said mold;
said mold including separator means on one side of passage and between said cavities and having a web engaging edge portion above the upper end of said passage; and
deflector means on the opposite side of said passage having a slanting bottom surface for engaging the ice pieces ejected from said cavities and tilting said ice pieces to effect engagement of said web with said separator means to sever said web during discharge of said ice pieces from said mold. 3. An ice maker according to claim 2 in which said deflector means is movable between a normal position in which said slanting bottom portion is engaged by said ice pieces during initial ejection thereof and a second position in which said deflector means is spaced from the top walls of said cavities of distance sufficient only to permit said ice pieces to leave said cavities while maintaining any unsevered portions of said web in engagement with said separator means.
4. An ice maker according to claim 2 in which the side walls of said separator means form an extension of the adjacent walls of said cavities.
5. An ice maker according to claim 2 including means for maintaining said deflector means in engagement with said ice pieces until said ice pieces have left said cavities.
6. An ice maker comprising: a mold containing at least two ice pieces forming cavities spaced from one another by a wall and interconnected by a passage extending from the top to the bottom of said wall whereby the ice pieces formed in said cavities are connected by a web of ice formed in said passage;
ejection means including a pad normally positioned at the bottom of each of said cavities and being reciprocable in said cavities for ejecting said interconnected ice pieces from said mold;
said mold including ice piece separator means on one side of passage and between said cavities and having a web engaging edge portion above the upper end one side of said passage; and
deflector means on the opposite side of said passage having a slanting surface for initially engaging the adjacent upper edges of ice pieces ejected from said cavities and tilting said ice pieces free of said pads and effect engagement of said web with said separator means to sever said web during discharge of said ice pieces from said mold.
7. An ice maker according to claim 6 in which said deflector means is movable from a position in which it initially engages said ice pieces to a position permitting ice pieces to leave said cavities along a path which will maintain any unsevered portion of said web in engagement with separator means.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|U.S. Classification||62/353, 62/71|