US 3683153 A
A vaporizer receiving and vaporizing condensate from refrigerating equipment including a condensate holding body, an electrical heating element positioned exteriorly of the body and heating the condensate contained within the body, said body having a bottom position groove which opens downwardly to receive the heating element in intimate contact therewithin and electrical controls to assure maximum vaporizing efficiency without overheating or other danger from electrical failure. The vaporizer also includes a tight fitting cover to comply with the requirements of the various sanitation regulatory bodies and an overflow tube extending through the body for condensate discharge in the event of overload.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Heyer  VAPORIZER WITH EXTERNAL HEATING ELEMENT  Inventor: John A. Heyer, Plymouth Meeting,
 Assignee: Victory Metal Manufacturing Corp.,
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
 Filed: Feb. 19, 1971  Appl. No.: 116,810
 U.S. Cl. ..2l9/275, 219/439, 219/540  Int. Cl ..F22b l/28  Field of Search ..219/271275, 335,
I  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1 Aug. 8, 1972 3,272,965 9/1966 Reichelt ..2l9/540 X 3,404,256 10/1968 Finn ..219/436 X 1,729,673 10/1929 Kercher et a1. ..219/540 X 3,031,171 4/1962 Buttner ..219/540 X Primary Examiner-C. L. Albritton Attorney1(arl L. Spivak  ABSTRACT A vaporizer receiving and vaporizing condensate from refrigerating equipment including a condensate holding body, an electrical heating element positioned exteriorly of the body and heating the condensate contained within the body, said body having a bottom position groove which opens downwardly to receive the heating element in intimate contact therewithin and electrical controls to assure maximum vaporizing efficiency without overheating or other danger from electrical failure. The vaporizer also includes a tight fitting cover to comply with the requirements of the various sanitation regulatory bodies and an overflow tube extending through the body for condensate discharge in the event of overload.
3 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures PATENTED UK 8 I972 3 6 83, l 5 3 FIG.2
, INVENTOR. x JOHN A. HEYER 56 ATTORNEY.
VAPORIZER WITH EXTERNAL HEATING ELEMENT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to condensate Vaporizers, and more particularly, isclirected to a condensate vaporizer suitable for use with commercial refrigeration equipment.
Electrical operated vaporizershave long been used by prior workers in the art in connection with commercial refrigeration equipment to vaporize and thereby automatically dispose of condensate moisture which collects upon the refrigeration coils. Most prior art commercial refrigeration Vaporizers have incorporated a condensate reservoir to receive the moisture condensed within the equipment. An electrical heating element, generally referred to as an emersion type heating element, was positioned within the reservoir to generate sufficient heat to thereby vaporize the collected condensate.
Such prior art Vaporizers generally performed satisfactorily for varying lengths of time immediately following installation. However, as the equipment became older, a galvanic action usually occurred due principally to the differences in the metallic construction of the reservoir itself and the metallic construction of the heating elements in the presence of both moisture and electrical current. This galvanic action after a period of time frequently resulted in a break down of the heating element, thereby necessitating the removal of the refrigeration equipment from service for a sufficient period of time until the necessary repairs could be made.
It can be readily observed that great numbers of commercial refrigerators and freezers are installed in scattered locations where maintenance men are not in continuous employment. Such locations include supermarkets, grocery stores and dairy product stores. Therefore, upon malfunction of the vaporizer in such establishments, the entire refrigerating or freezer equipment would have to be taken out of service for an extended period time, until a qualified mechanic could be contacted to make the necessary repairs. Additionally, a malfunction in the vaporizer would cause condensate from the refrigeration unit to completely fill the vaporizer reservoir and then overflow onto the floor, to the inconvenience, distress and annoyance both to the public and the operators of the place of business. Continuous leakage of condensate without shut-down of the equipment for repair could well result in the creation of unsanitary conditions which would be quite detrimental in establishments where food products are normally stored, and sold.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to condensate vaporizers, and more particularly, is directed to a vaporizer unit adaptable for continuous use with commercial electrical refrigeration equipment.
The present invention includes a vaporizer body which is preferably formed of cast aluminum into which condensate from the refrigeration equipment is directed by gravity flow. The vaporizer body is provided with a cover for sanitation purposes to make the unit acceptable to the usual sanitation regulatory bodies such as the National Sanitation Foundation. In
this manner, the present vaporizer will be acceptable for installation in all locations handling food such as supermarkets and other similar stores.
The vaporizer body is fabricated at the bottom thereof to form a generally U-shaped groove which opens downwardly exteriorly of the body to receive an externally positioned heating element in tight engagement therein. In this manner, the heating element positions outside of the body and out of direct contact with the condensate moisture to thereby completely eliminate galvanic action and the diliterious effects thereof previously mentioned. A bottom heating element retaining plate bottomly overfits the heating element and is provided with heating element contact means which urge the entire length of heating element into direct, intimate contact with the U-shaped heating element receiving groove. In this manner, the liquid condensate retained within the vaporizer can be vaporized by radiation through the bottom of the vaporizer body and without any direct contact between the liquid and the heating element.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved condensate vaporizer of the type set forth.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel vaporizer with external heating element capable of vaporizing liquid condensate and including a body incorporating a liquid holding reservoir and means to position a heating element exteriorly of the said body.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel vaporizer with external heating element including a body shaped to provide a condensate reservoir, said body being formed to provide a bottom groove exteriorly projecting into the body, said exterior groove receiving an externally positioned heating element therein for vaporizing purposes.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel vaporizer with external heating element including a condensate retaining body and electrical current flow control means to allow maximum vaporizing efiiciency without chance of the vaporizer overheating.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel vaporizer with external heating element including a body incorporating a liquid holding reservoir, the bottom of the body being formed to provide an external groove to receive an external heating element and a bottom retaining plate holding the heating element within the groove and forcing the heating element into intimate contact with the groove.
It is another object of the present invention to pro vide a novel vaporizer with external heating elements that are rugged in construction, inexpensive in manufacture and trouble-free in operation.
Other objects and a fuller understanding of the invention will be had by referring to the following description and claims of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded, perspective view of a conden- FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken transversely through the condensate vaporizer.
DESCRIPTION OFTHE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Although specific terms are used in the following description for the sake of clarity, these terms are intended to refer only to the particular structure of my invention selected for illustration in the drawings, and are not intended to define or limit the scope of the invention.
Referring now to the drawings, I show a condensate vaporizer comprising generally a rectangular body 12 which defines an interior, condensate receiving reservoir 14. The body 12 comprises a grooved, heating element receiving bottom 16 and a pair of spaced side walls 18, 20 integrally rising above the bottom. A rear wall 22 connects the rear of the side walls 18, 20 to form the rear of the reservoir 14. The front wall 24 spaces from the rear wall 22 and connects the front of the body side walls 18, 20v to define a hollow body of generally rectangular configuration. The front portions of the side walls 18, 20 and the front wall 24 overhang the bottom 16 to define a thermostat receiving area 26 at the front end of the body 12.
The front wall is drilled or otherwise machined to provide a condensate inlet opening to receive the condensate inlet tube 28 therein in a leak-proof manner to introduce condensate from the refrigeration system (not shown) into thereservoir 14. An overflow tube 30 also positions inthe front wall 24 in substantial horizontal alignment with the inlet tube 28 and communicates with the reservoir 14. The overflow tube 30 preferably is piped in well-known manner to a floor drain to discharge condensate which may accumulate under unusual operating conditions when the refrigeration equipment discharges more condensate than the vaporizer is designed to evaporate in a given period of time.
A vaporizer cover 32 overfits the top of the body 12 and is provided with a peripheral depending flange 34 to tightly fit within the area defined by the side walls 18, 20, the rear wall 22 and the front wall 24. If necessary for sanitation purposes, a gasket may also be provided in well-known manner. A plurality of holes 36 position about the perimeter of the cover 32 outwardly from the flange 34 to receive the fastening bolts 38 therein for threadedly affixing the cover 32 over the top of the body 12. Threaded openings (not shown) are provided in the side, front and rear walls in registry with the cover openings 36 to threadedly receive. the plurality of bolts 38 in the usual manner. The flange 34 and the tight connection provided by the plurality of bolts 38 cooperate to seal the reservoir 14 from exterior contamination to thereby make the vaporizer 10 acceptable to recognized sanitation regulatory bodies such as the National Sanitation Foundation. The vaporizer cover 32 is cast or otherwise provided with a boss 40 which serves to reinforce and define the vent opening 42 which is drilled therein. Accordingly, moisture vaporized within the vaporizer body 12 readily escapes through the opening 42 in well-known manner to facilitate distribution of the vaporized refrigeration condensate automatically and without the need for any manual intervention whatsoever.
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the vaporizer bottom 16 is cast or otherwise formed to provide a generally U- shaped groove 44 which opens downwardly to receive the U-shaped heating element 46 therein in general intimate overall contact. The groove 44 projects upwardly into the bottom 16 to form a U-shaped, extended conduction heating surface 48 having surface area considerably in excess of the surface area of heating element 46 to thereby provide a greater surface area of contact for vaporizing the condensate retained within the body 12.
As best seen in FIG. 2, the diameter of the groove 44 is fabricated substantially equal to the outer diameter of the heating element 46 and is formed to the same overall configuration. Thus, the heating element 46 upwardly inserts into the groove 44 and maintains intimate overall contact therein. By carefully fabricating the dimensions of the groove 44 to match the heating element, a cross sectional arc of contact 50 of substantially 180 can be maintained between the heating element 46 and the groove 44 to transfer heat from the heating element to the heating surface 48 with great efficiency.
A bottom heating element cover 52 bottomly connects to the bottom 16 of the body 12 and sandwiches the heating element 46 therebetween. The cover 52 is formed with an upwardly projecting, U-shaped ridge 54 of configuration and size to correspond to the shape of the heating element 46. The ridge 54 registers with the heating element 46 and the bottom groove 44 and serves to press the heating element into intimate contact with the periphery of the groove 44. A pair of threaded fasteners 56 insert through the openings 58 provided in the heating element cover 52 and engage into the threaded openings 60 which are tapped or otherwise formed in the body bottom 16. The fasteners 56 serve to tightly draw the heating element cover 52 into contact with the bottom 16 thereby forcing the U- shaped ridge 54 directly against the bottom of the heating element 46. The forces thus imposed on the heating element 46 urge the heating element into intimate contact with the U-shaped groove 44 which is formed in the body bottom 16 to thereby direct heat energy supplied by the heating element to the heating surface 48 by conduction. The bottom cover 52 and the ridge 54 additionally serve as a heat sink to retain the heat energy produced by the heating element 46 for distribution at the heating surface 48 and the reservoir bottom 16. In this manner, the heating element 46 may be positioned externally of the reservoir 14 and may still efficiently and quickly vaporize liquid which may be present within the reservoir. A- pair of forwardly positioned lugs 62, 64, are formed with the cover 52 and are drilled and tapped to provide the threaded openings 66 which position upwardly within the control area 26 for affixing the thermostat cover 68 as hereinafter more fully set forth.
The heating element 46 terminates forwardly in a pair of spaced contacts 70, 72 for electrical circuit connection in the usual manner. As illustrated in FIG. 1, a conventional electrical power cord 74 feeds usual one hundred and ten volt alternating current to the heating element terminals 70, 72 through the vaporizer circuit wires 76, 78. The wire 78 connects directly to the heater element terminal 72 in any well known manner.
The wire 76 leads to one terminal 80 of a thermostatic device 82. The other terminal 84 of the thermostatic device 82 is wired to the heating element terminal 70 through the circuit fuse 86. In this manner, the flow of electrical current to the heating element can be carefully controlled by the thermostatic device 82 which preferably is in the form of a temperature sensing unit. This method allows maximum vaporizing efficiency without permitting the entire vaporizer unit to overheat. The thermostatic device 82 is responsive to temperatures within the body 12 and controls the flow of electrical energy to the heating element 46 to maintain optimum vaporization temperatures. Upon vaporization of all of the condensation within the reservoir 14, the thermostatic device 82 quickly detects rising temperatures within the body and acts to shut off the flow of electrical current to the heating element 46. The gravity flow of additional condensate into the reservoir lowers the temperature to cause the device 82 to activate the electrical circuit to again energize the heater 46.
In the event the thermostatic control should fail in the on position to permit unrestricted flow of electrical energy to the heating element 46, the fuse 86 is provided to protect the operating circuit. Preferably, the fuse 86 is of the thermal type which is designed to melt upon sensing dangerously high temperatures in the circuit.
The thermostatic element 82 positions within the control area 26 in well known manner and is protected from mechanical injury by the cover plate 68. The cover plate 68 affixes to the threaded openings 66 fasteners 88 which act through the cover openings 90 in the usual manner.
If desired, the bottom heating element cover 52 may be provided with a plurality of integral, depending feet 92 which serve to mount the condensate vaporizer in any desired position in spaced relation from the mounting surface (not shown).
As an alternate method of construction, the interior surface 94 of the heating surface 48 may be provided with an integral fin 96 (shown in FIG. 2 in phantom lines) which extends upwardly into the reservoir 14. The fin preferably is cast integrally with the bottom 16 and is formed of the same material. In this manner, an extension of the heating surface may be provided for vaporization purposes. Heat supplied by the heating element 46 passes by conduction to the heating surface 48 and thence by conduction to the fin 96. By providing the fin 96, additionalheating surface will thereby be available for direct contact with the condensate.
1. In a vaporizer for use in vaporizing condensate produced in externally positioned equipment, the combination of A. a body defining a condensate retaining reservoir,
1. said body having a bottom and side walls upwardly extending from the bottom to define the periphery of the said reservoir,
2. said body having a cover removably affixed over the side walls to enclose the reservoir,
a. said cover being provided with a vent opening and a peripheral depending flange, said flange tightly fitting within the area defined by the said side walls,
2. said groove opening exteriorly of the said body,
3. said groove being U-shaped in configuration and circular in cross sectional configuration,
C. an electrical, shaped, heating element fitting within the said groove,
1. said heating element inserting into said groove exteriorly of the body,
- 2. the heating element intimately contacting the surface of the groove,
3. said heating element being circular in cross sectional configuration and substantially equal to the cross sectional diameter of the groove,
4. said heating element being in intimate contact with the groove through an arc of contact of substantially and D. a non-resilient heating element cover bottomly overfitting the said vaporizer bottom and sandwiching the heating element in the groove between the vaporizer body and the heating element cover,
1. said cover having an integral, U-shaped, upwardly projecting ridge, the said ridge continuously contacting the heating element throughout substantially its entire length,
2. said ridge pushing the heating element into intimate overall contact with the groove,
3. the heating element cover being in overall contact with the reservoir bottom to transfer heat thereto,
4. said heating element cover and said ridge being heated by the said heating element and forming a heat sink,
a. the said heat sink retaining heat from the heating element and releasing the heat to the groove and to the reservoir bottom to aid in vaporizing the condensate.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein one of the said sides is provided with a condensate inlet opening.
3. The invention of claim 2 wherein one of the said sides is provided with a condensate overflow opening.