|Publication number||US3798923 A|
|Publication date||Mar 26, 1974|
|Filing date||Jul 14, 1972|
|Priority date||Jul 14, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3798923 A, US 3798923A, US-A-3798923, US3798923 A, US3798923A|
|Inventors||M Boldt, J Pink|
|Original Assignee||Amana Refrigeration Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (36), Classifications (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Pink et a1.
UnitedStates Patent [191 REFRIGERATOR WITH ICE DISPENSING Inventors: John J. Pink, Cedar Rapids; Melvin H. Boldt, Glenview, both of I11.
Amana Refrigeration, Inc., Amana,
July 14, 1972 Appl. No.: 271,797
[451 Mar. 26, 1974 Primary ExaminerWi1liam E. Wayner Assistant Examiner-William E. Tapolcai, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Haven E. Simmons; James C. Nemmers [5 7] ABSTRACT A refrigerator having a freezer compartment is provided with an ice maker and storage receptacle positioned in the freezer compartment. Transport means in the receptacle conveys the ice from the receptacle out through a fixed panel or mullion at the front of the unit. In two preferred versions of the apparatus the mullion forms part of the closure of the freezer compartment, the remainder of the freezer compartment being closed, either by a pair of doors on each side of the fixed mullion or a single door having an opening therethrough to expose the mullion, so that in both cases the freezer door need not be opened in order to dispense the ice. Improved ice dispensing means employing a lift wheel is also disclosed for use with either version or in connection with a fixed panel mounted entirely within the freezer compartment.
23 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures  US. Cl 62/266, 62/344, 221/265, 222/370 1  Int. Cl. F25d 23/02  Field of Search 62/344, 266, 381, 377; 222/370; 221/265  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,640,088 2/1972 Jacobus et a1. 62/344 3,151,668 10/1964 Zimmermann 62/344 3,561,231 2/1971 Webb.... 62/344 3,276,224 10/1966 Lunde 62/344 3.572.053 3/1971 Jacobus et alf. 62/344 3,537,273 10/1970 Alvarez 62/344 |3- ,29 47\ O- 24 44 E: a?
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION If an automatic ice maker is employed in a freezer compartment, it is obviously convenient to be able to dispense the ice, which is usually stored in a receptacle as it is manufactured, without opening the freezer door. Being able to do so also avoids loss of cold and influx of warm air when the door is opened. One well known approach is to dispense the ice directly through the freezer door itself. This, however, entails considerable complexity because plainly part of the dispensing mechanism must be carried on the freezer door itself and thus move with it whenever it is opened for other purposes. It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a means of dispensing ice exteriorly of the freezer door which does not require any portion of the dispensing mechanism to move with the door, but instead is independent of any opening of the door for other purposes. It is another object of the present invention to provide improved ice dispensing means for either dispensing ice exteriorly of the freezer compartment or within the compartment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION For dispensing ice exteriorly of the freezer door, particularly in the case of a side-byside type of freezerrefrigerator, a fixed panel or mullion closes a portion of the freezer compartment intermediate its top and bottom. The remainder of the freezer compartment above and below the mullion is closed either by a pair of separate doors or by a single door with an opening through it to expose the mullion. Behind the latter is located the improved ice dispensing means including a typical ice maker and storage bin or receptacle. A motor driven helix moves the ice toward the front of the receptacle where it is then elevated by a lift wheel," driven from one end of the helix, and dispensed by gravity down an inclined chute through the mullion. The lift wheel is journaled about a fore and aft axis and comprises a plurality of compartments about its periphery which serially receive the ice from the helix and elevate it as the wheel rotates, the floors and walls of the compartments being inclined to assist the ice to gravitate from the wheel compartments down the chute through the mullion. The chute itselfis closed by a pair of inner and outer hinged doors. The inner door can open in one direction only by the weight of the ice discharged from the lift wheel, but is held shut if an attempt is made to open it in the other direction, as by an object or finger inserted in the chute from the front of the mullion. The outer door, which serves normally to close the-chute against loss of cold air from the freezer compartment, is linked to an actuating mechanism on the front of the mullion. When the latter is pushed, as by a container to be filled with ice, it opens the outer door for discharge of ice and at the same time closes a switch to activate the motor driving the helix and lift wheel. Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the drawings and from the more detailed description which follows.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a portion of the front of a typical side-by-side freezer-refrigerator illustrating the fixed mullion and a pair of freezer doors thereabove and below, certain portions of the mullion being broken away to show the actuating mechanism and the outer door closing the dispensing chute.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 22 of FIG. 3 illustrating the front of the storage receptacle and the lift wheel.
FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view, taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2, illustrating the interior of the receptacle and the helix and lift wheel.
FIG. 4 is a section view taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3 illustrating the contour of the receptacle in which the helix operates.
FIG. 5 is similar to FIG. 1 but illustrates a single freezer door having an opening therethrough exposing the mullion and actuating mechanism.
FIG. 6 is a section view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a section view similar to FIG. 6 but illustrating the improved ice dispensing apparatus mounted on a mullion behind the freezer door.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In FIGS. 1-4, the refrigerator compartment of a typical side-by-side freezer-refrigerator is closed by a door 10 and the freezer compartment 11 partially closed by a pair of spaced upper and lower doors 12. Between the latter is a horizontal, fixed panel or mullion 13, suitably insulated and secured to the side walls 14 of the cabinet, which closes the remainder of the freezer compartment 11. The doors 12 are sealed to the front of mu]- lion l3 and the cabinet walls 14 by surrounding gaskets 15. Behind the rear face of the mullion l3 and below a shelf 16 is disposed an ice storage bin or receptacle 17 extending rearwardly to the evaporator housing 18 providing a shelf 19 upon which sits a typical automatic ice maker 20. The latter discharges into the receptacle 17 and is equipped with a sensing arm 21 to shut off the ice maker 20 when the receptacle I7 is full. The receptacle 17 includes a partial rear wall 22 below the ice maker 20 and side walls 23, the top edges of which are securedat 24 to the cabinet side walls 14. The receptacle side walls 23 below the ice maker 20 slopingly converge at 25 and at their lower ends together form an open top, arcuate tunnel 26, for purposes to be described, which extends forward from the rear wall 22. At the front end of the tunnel 26 the side walls23 diverge to form a lift wheel housing having a semicircular lower wall 27, the front end of the receptacle 17 being closed by a vertical front wall 28. Spaced aft of the latter is an intermediate partition wall 29 extending down parallel to the front wall 28 between the side walls 23 half-way or so into the forward end of the tunnel 26.
A helix 30, formed from suitable bar or wire stock, is disposed in the tunnel 26, the ends of the helix 30 being cranked along its axis and journaled in the rear wall 22-and the partition wall 29. The rear end of the helix 30 is driven by a suitable electric motor and reduction gear box 31 secured to the outer rear face of the rear wall 22, and the front end of the helix 30 is fitted with a small drive pinion gear 32. The latter engages a larger driven gear 33 fixed on a shaft 34 extending horizontally between and journaled in the front wall 28 and the partition wall 29. Just forward of the gear 33, a lift wheel 35 is also fixed to the shaft 34 and rotates in its housing at the forward end of the receptacle 17, the diameter of the wheel 35 being a bit less than that of the lower housing wall 27. The body of the lift wheel 35 is frusto-conical in shape, its peripheral wall 36 inclining toward the mullion 13. Extending generally radially from the peripheral wall 36 are a series of vanes 37 which divide the periphery of wheel 35 into ice compartements 38. The planes of the vanes 37 are angled relative to the axis of the wheel 35 so that they incline in a trailing direction with respect to the direction of rotation of the wheel 35 indicated by the arrow in FIG. 2. The receptacle front wall 28 is cut away as indicated in H0. 2 to form a rectangular discharge port 39 so that just before the compartments 38 reach the apogee of the wheel 35, the ice therein will gravitate therefrom through the port 39 owing to the inclination of the floors of the compartments 38 formed by the peripheral wall 36 and the vanes 37. While the combinations including the lift wheel 35 set forth in the appended claims are the joint invention of both cinventors, the lift wheel 35 itself, is the sole invention of co-inventor John J. Pink.
The mullion 13 is formed with a laterally extending,
' rectangular recess 40 in its forward face which extends upwards to about the level of the lower edge of the port 39. The recess 40 is further relieved upwardly in the vicinity of the port 39 to form a laterally extending pocket 41 whose rear wall is provided with a rectangular passageway or chute 42 therethrough which inclines upwardly to align with the port 39 so that the ice exiting through the latter can slide down the chute 42 into the recess 40, the latter also being provided with a container supporting floor 43 below the chute 42. The rear mouth of the chute ,42 is fitted with a door 44 hinged at 45 along its top edge so that the door 44 can swing forwardly into the chute 42, but not rearwardly toward the port 39, upon contact by ice sliding through the latter. The from mouth of the chute 42 is also fitted with a door 46 hinged at 47 along its top edge so that it can swing forwardly into the pocket 41. Straddling the door 46 is an actuating assembly comprising a pair of depending arms 48, connected at their lower end by a cross bar 49, which are horizontally pivoted at 50 to the sidewalls of the pocket 41. One of the arms 48 is carried upwardly from its pivot 50 and fitted with a suitable spring biased linkage Sl connecting the upper end of the arm 48 and the adjacent edge of the door 46 so that when the bar 49 is pushed rearwardly, as by a container placed in the recess 40, the door 46 is opened as indicated in FIG. 3.
One of the pivots 50 also incorporates a rotary switch 52 which activates the motor 31 when the bar 49 is pushed rearwardly. Upon the motor 31 being activated the helix 30 moves the ice forwardly in the tunnel 26. At the same time the helix 30 agitatcs the remaining ice in the receptacle 17 to break up any fusion of the pieces and feeds the ice into the tunnel 26. At the forward and of the helix the ice passes under the lower edge of the partition wall 29 and is delivered serially into the moving compartments 38 of the lift wheel 35 which of course is rotating with the helix 30 owing to the gears 32 and 33. The ice is elevated against the front receptacle wall 28 until it reaches the port 39, whence it slides thcrethrough from the compartments 38, pushes open the inner door 44, and slides down the chute 42 through the front door 46 which is open owing to the position of the bar 49. in short, the ice is moved to the front of the receptacle 17, then elevated by the lift wheel 35, and finally discharged to the exterior of the freezer compartment 11 between the two freezer doors 12. When the bar 49 is released, the spring biased linkage 51 automatically closes the door 46 to prevent escape of cold air from the freezer compartment 11. Even when the door 46 is open the rear door 44 remains shut until iceis actually delivered through it and prevents a finger or other object from being inserted up the chute 42 into the revolving lift wheel 35.
As shown and described the recess 40 is formed wholly in the mullion l3. lf desired, it could be formed in the upper portion of the lower freezer door 12 so that the mullion 13 would be of much less heighth and contain only the pocket 41 together with an appropriately revised actuating assembly to avoid its interference with the lower door 12 when opened-for other purposes. Likewise, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, a single freezer door 120 may be employed instead of two doors 12. in that case the door 12a is provided with an opening therethroug'h coinciding generally with the outline of the recess 40a in the mullion 13a and is sealed about the latter by gaskets 15a. As shown in FIG. 7,.a panel or mullion 13b and the remainder of the improved ice making and dispensing mechanism may be placed wholly behind a freezer door 12b as a separate subassembly to be optionally added at any time to the unit. in that case, the outer chute door 46 and the linkage 51 can be omitted since there is no need to seal the front mouth of the chute 42. The adaptation shown in FIG. 7 is the sole invention of Richard D. Maxwell and not that of either or both of the present co-inventors.
Though the invention has been described in terms of particular embodiments thereof, being the best modes known of carrying out the .invention, it is not limited to those embodiments alone. instead, the following claims are to be read as encompassing all adaptations and modifications of the invention falling within its spirit and scope.
1. in a refrigeration unit having a food storage cabinet with a vertically disposed front access opening, the cabinet including an interior portion normally maintained at below freezing temperatures, the combination therewith of a front closure fixed relative to the cabinet and closing a portion of the access opening; door means hinged relative to the cabinet for normally closing the remainder of the access opening; ice apparatus disposed in the below freezing cabinet portion, the ice apparatus including an ice maker and an ice storage receptacle for ice manufactured by the ice maker; and dispensing means for dispensing ice from the storage receptacle through the fixed closure, the dispensing means including power driven transport means, a dispausing aperture through the fixed closure and means for activating the transport means. the dispensing aper ture being effective to receive ice from the transport means and to discharge the same to the exterior of the unit.
2. Theapparatus of claim 1 wherein ice in the storage receptacle is disposed generally below the dispensing aperture, and the transport means elevates the ice from the storage receptacle to the dispensing aperture.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the dispensing aperture comprises a chute through the fixed closure having from and rear mouths, the chute being inclined to cause ice entering the rear chute mouth to gravitate down the chute and out the front chute mouth, and including means normally closing the front chute mouth and operatively connected to the transport activating means so that the front chute mouth opens when the activating means activates the transport .means.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 including means normally closing the rear chute mouth and automatically opening the rear chute mouth by contact therewith of ice carried thereagainst by the transport means but preventing opening of the rear chute mouth by an object inserted through the front chute mouth against the rear chute mouth closing means.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the fixed closure is disposed intermediate opposite margins of the access opening, and the door means comprises a pair of doors respectively closing the portions of the access opening to each side of the fixed closure.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the door means includes a single door having an opening therethrough, the fixed closure being exposed through the door opening for access of the dispensing aperture to the exterior of the unit.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 including a rearwardly extending recess in the front face of the unit below the dispensing aperture.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the recess is formed wholly in the fixed closure and the actuating means is disposed in the recess for operation by a container placed in ice receivingposition below the dispensing aperture.
9. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the ice transport means includes vertical lifting means and horizontal moving means, the lifting means being disposed at the forward end of the receptacle and the moving means rearward of the lifting means effective to move ice forward to the lifting means.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the lifting means comprises a power driven lift wheel rotating about a fore and aft axis, the wheel including a plurality of ice lifting compartments about its periphery, the lifting compartments being effective serially to receive ice from the ice moving means and to elevate and serially discharge the same through the dispensing aperture during rotation of the lift wheel.
11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein each of the lifting compartments includes a floor inclined toward the dispensing aperture effective to cause ice to gravitate from the compartment through the aperture.
12. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the moving means comprises a helix rotable about a fore and aft axis and a motor driving the rear end of the helix, the forward end of the helix being operatively connected to the lift wheel for driving rotation of both the helix and the lift wheel by the motor.
13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein the floor of the receptacle includes a horizontal, open top tunnel portion rearward of the lift wheel in which the helix rotates, the side walls of the receptacle above the tunnel inclining downwardly toward the latter effective to direct ice in the receptacle toward and into the tunnel and helix.
14. For use with a refrigeration unit having a cabinet including a freezing compartment, ice apparatus including a fixed panel member for disposition across the front of the compartment; an ice maker and an ice storage receptacle for ice manufactured by the ice maker disposed rearward of the panel member; and ice dispensing means for dispensing ice from the storage recep'tacle through the panel member, the dispensing means comprising power driven transport means, a dispensing aperture through the panel member and means for actuating the transport means, the dispensing aperture being disposed generally above the ice. in the storage receptacle and the transport means elevating the ice from the receptacle to the dispensing aperture.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the ice transport means includes vertical lifting means and horizontal moving means, the lifting means being disposed at the forward end of the receptacle and the moving means rearward of the lifting means effective to move ice forward to the lifting means.
16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the lifting means comprises a power driven lift wheel rotating about a fore and aft axis, the wheel including a plurality of ice lifting compartments about its periphery, the lifting compartments being effective serially to receive ice from the moving means and to elevate and serially discharge the same through the dispensing aperture during rotation of the lift wheel.
17. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein each of the lifting compartments includes a floor inclined toward the dispensing aperture effective to cause ice to gravitate from the compartment through the aperture.
18. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein the moving means comprises a helix rotatable about a fore and aft axis and a motor driving the rear end of the helix, the forward end of the helix being operatively connected to the lift wheel for driving rotation of both the helix and the lift wheel by the motor.
19. The' apparatus of claim 18 wherein the floor of the receptacle includes a horizontal, open top tunnel positioned rearward of the lift wheel in which the helix rotates, the side walls of the receptacle above the tunnel inclining downwardly toward the latter effective to direct ice in the receptacle toward and into th tunnel and helix. I
20. in a refrigeration unit having a food storage cabinet with a vertically disposed front access opening and door means hinged relative to the cabinet for normally closing the front access opening, the cabinet including an interior portion normally maintained at below freezing temperatures, the combination therewith of a fixed front exterior portion of the cabinet adjacent the door means; ice apparatus disposed in the below freezing cabinet portion, the ice apparatus including an ice maker and an ice storage receptacle for ice manufactured by the ice maker; and dispensing means for dis-.
pensing ice'from the storage receptacle through the cabinet fixed front exterior portion, the dispensing means including power driven transport means, a dispensing aperture through the cabinet fixed front exterior portion, and means for activating the transport means, the dispensing aperture being effective to receive ice from the transport means and to discharge the same to the exterior of the unit.
21. The apparatus of claim 20 wherein the door means when closed forms at least part of the perimeter of the cabinet fixed front exterior portion.
22. The apparatus of claim 20 including a rearwardly extending recess in the front exterior of the unit below the dispensing aperture, and wherein the actuating means is disposed in the recess for operation by a container placed in ice receiving position below the dispensing aperture.
23. The apparatus of claim 22 wherein the recess is formed wholly in the cabinet fixed front exterior portion.
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|U.S. Classification||62/266, 221/265, 222/370, 62/344|
|Cooperative Classification||F25C5/005, F25C2400/10|