US 3822085 A
A rack is supported within the wash chamber of a dishwashing machine by a connecting means permitting selective manual adjustment of the vertical level of the rack side. The connecting means includes a slidable surface portion inclined to serve as a ramp and bear on a support member whereby movement of the ramp against the support member causes vertical movement of the rack side. Manual control means on the rack is linked to the connecting means such that manipulation of the control means is translated to the slidable surface portion whereby the vertical positioning of the rack side is selectively adjusted.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Clark DISHWASHING MACHINE RACK LEVEL ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM  Inventor: David L. Clark, Louisville, Ky.  Assignee: General Electric Company,
Louisville, Ky.  Filed: Dec. 27, 1971 [21 Appl. No.2 212,343
52 us. (:1. .Q 312/351, 312/311  Int. Cl. A471) 88/00, A47b 95/00  Field of Search 312/311, 330, 351; 297/338, 345; 211/176; 108/141, 144, 145
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,306,266 12/1942 Heim 108/147 2,532,342 12/1950 Sloane 108/147 2,998,290 8/1961 Sharpe 312/303 3,185,116 5/1965 Gilbert, 103/147 3,316,044 4/1967 Carbary 312/306 X 3,352,431 11/1967 Smith 312/351 3,472,573 10/1969 Geiger 312/357 111 3,822,085 1451 July 2,1974
Primary Examiner-Paul H. Gilliam Attorney, Agent, or Firm- Francis H. Boos 57 ABSTRACT A rack is supported within the wash chamber of a dishwashing machine by a connecting means permitting selective manual adjustment of the verticallevel of the rack side. The connecting means includes a slidable surface portion inclined to serve as a ramp and bear on a support member whereby movement of the ramp against the support member causes vertical movement of the rack side. Manual control means on the rack is linked to the connecting meanssuch that manipulation of the control means is translated to the slidable surface portion whereby the vertical positioning of the rack side is selectively adjusted.
5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures DISHWASHING MACHINE RACK LEVEL ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an appliance enclosure having storage rack adjustment means therewith and specifically pertains to a dishwasher of the front loading type wherein means is provided for independently adjusting the vertical position of one side of, a dishsupporting rack within the machines wash chamber.
A standardized height for a dishwashing machine has been established within the industry which imposes a limit to the maximum vertical dimension of the ma chines wash chamber. This limitation makes it desirable to be able to vary the vertical positioning of one or the other or both sides of a dish-supporting rack within the wash chamber of a dishwashing machine whereby items of various sizes can be more easily accommodated therein for washing. Customarily, a dishwashing machine is provided with a pair of vertically spaced apart dish-supporting racks. It has been found particularly beneficial to be able to change the level of each rack side of the upper rack whereby such items as wide cookie sheetsor pizza pans can be placed, on edge, in the lower rack without binding with the upper rack. Independent vertical adjustment of the upper rack sides enables the rack to be slanted whereby one side thereof can also be disposed relatively lower in order to accommodate tall glasses and similar items to be stored along the lowered rack side without having the items contact the top of the wash chamber. A
Various constructions have been taught by the prior art that provide for rack level adjustment in a dish; washer. The need for independent rack side adjustment has also'been recognized as particularly beneficial in a dishwasher of the front loading type. One suchassembly is disclosed in theapplication of-L. W. Guth, U.S.. Pat. Ser. No. 154,141; filed June 17, l9 7l, and as-s" signed to the assignee of the present invention The Guth assembly includes a pair of bell crank levers.
linked in a parallelogram arrangement at the side of the dishwasher rack as part of a means for mounting the rack side to the wash chamber wall. A manually operable rotary control means is provided adjacent thefront corner of the rack and is linked to the lever arrangement to enable selective respositioning of the bell crank levers whereby the rack side is correspondingly caused to move upwardly or downwardly as desired. The bell crank lever arrangement is provided in combibination with bell crank levers whereby manual selec tive repositioning of the control lever is translated to the bell crank levers to obtain upward or downward movement of the rack side. Assemblies such as disclosed in Guth and Geiger have obvious advantages over structures of earlier art that require complete rack removal and re-installation in order to obtain a different level for the rack.
Such rack adjusting systems as heretofore described utilize rotating or pivotal parts between the rack side and the wash chamber wall. The present invention comprehends the provision of a simplified structure for obtaining independent rack side level adjustment without the inclusion of a multiplicity of pivot points in the components that supportthe rack side and accomplish the adjustment function. The present invention provides an assembly enabling selective manual repositioning of the level of a rack side in a dishwashing machine that involves comparatively fewer separate parts whereby fewer problems and steps in the installation of the assembly are required. The invention is accomplished through the use of an entirely different mechanical principle as compared to that employed by the prior art examples heretofore discussed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION having an enclosure defining'a wash chamber therein and a dish-supporting rack disposed in the chamber.
The dish-supporting rack is'constructed with a front end, a back end, and oppositely disposed sides, and has means along atleast one side thereof connecting the side to the wall of the chamber. This connecting means includes a support member and a movable means. The support member has means mounting it to the chamber 1 wall whereby the support member is prevented from f moving vertically relative to the chamber wall even nation with rollers and slides whereby the rack can be slidably moved to an extended position through the front access opening of the wash chamber to permit loading and unloading of the rack. The rotary control means of the Guth assembly is quite convenient to the though it is preferably adaptedto be freely slidable in a horizontal direction. The aforementioned movable means is slidably retained to the rack side and disposed between the rack sideand the chamber wall. The movable means, preferably an elongated plate member or camming element, is adapted to be slidably moved betweenpredetermined frontwardly and backwardly positions along the rack side. The movable means has a surface portion thereof adapted to slidably bear against the support member. The surface portion serves as an inclined runner whereby its camming movement against the support member causes the' rack side to machine operator inasmuch as it is accessible to permit operation whether the rack is in theretracted or outwardly extending position relative to the wash charnber. Further, the independent means for rack side ad justment in combination with its own rotary control means enables rapid and independent rack side adjustment whether the rack is loaded or empty.
Still another example of means for adjusting the vertical positioning of a dish-supporting rack withinthe wash chamber of a dishwashing machine by use of a pair of spaced apart bell crank levers at the side of the move in a generally vertical direction.
In its preferred embodiment, theconnecting means of the invention comprises a pair of the support members disposed in a spaced apart arrangement along the rack side, and the movable means has two spaced apart surface portions identically inclined whereby each of the surfaceportions is adapted 'to bear against a corresponding one of the support members. The combination of the inventionalso includes a manual means of rack is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,472,573 issued to V frontward and backward positions.
controlling the disposition of the movable means l whereby the movable means can be selectively positioned'at intermediate points between predetermined BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partial side elevational view of a front loading dishwashing machine having a portion of the enclosure side wall thereof cut away to show dishsupporting racks within the wash chamber and connecting structure in combination with the upper rack in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the upper end of a dishwashing machine as shown in FIG. 1, here showing the upper rack extending outwardly from the wash chamber through the wash chambers access opening;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of certain components of the structure shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a front corner of the upper dish rack shown in FIG. 11', and
FIG. 5 is a partial front elevational view of an open dishwasher enclosure showing the wash chamber and a dishwasher rack in one position of adjustment in accordance with the operation of an embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The presently preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the drawing wherein FIG. 1 shows a front loading dishwashing machine that includes a housing 11 having an access door 12 that is hinged at its lower end to pivot on a horizontal axis (not shown) and opens outwardly from the housing 11. Within the housing 11 is a wash chamber 13 partially defined by the door 12 and oppositely disposed internal chamber walls 14. The door 12 swings outwardly and downwardly away from an access opening 15, and racks 16 and 17 are disposed in a vertically spaced apart relation within the wash chamber 13 and are adapted to be slidably withdrawn outwardly through the access opening 15 whereby each rack may be loaded or unloaded and thereafter retracted back to the operative position as shown in FIG. I.
Each rack 16 and 17 has a basket-like open framework configuration. The upper rack 17 includes an irregular bottom 18 and oppositely disposed generally parallel and upwardly extending sides 19. The rack 17 has front and back ends 20 extending upwardly from the bottom 18 and interconnecting the ends of the sides 19. Each rack 16 and 17 is preferably constructed in the typical manner, utilizing spaced apart parallel wire rod members that are welded at the points of intersection. The racks are preferably coated with a material such a polyvinyl chloride for improved appearance and durability within the wash chamber environment.
As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 5, a connecting means is provided along a side 19 of the rack 17 which, in combination with similar structure at the other side of the rack, permits the rack to be slid horizontally outwardly from the wash chamber 13 to a loading position wherein the rack 17 is cantilevered over the open door 12. After loading, the rack 17 may be retracted inwardly to its operative position within the wash chamber 13. The connecting means between the rack side and the chamber wall 14 is adapted to permit the rack side to be manually vertically adjusted within predetermined limits. The structure of all components of the connecting means may be duplicated at each side of the rack 17 by a mirror image reversal of parts where it is desired to have each side of the rack independently vertically adjustable.
The connecting means between the rack side 19 and the chamber wall 14 preferably includes two sets 24 and 25 of vertically spaced apart rollers. The roller sets are horizontally spaced apart and each roller is journailed to rotate on a stud projecting laterally from the chamber wall 14. An elongated rigid slide bar or channel 27, disposed substantially horizontally and parallel to the wall 14, is carried between the upper and lower rollers of the sets 24 and 25. The slide bar 27 has a C- shape in cross section and each roller in the sets 24 and 25 has a circumferential groove conforming to the outer configuration of the slide bar 27. The slide bar 27 is adapted to slide horizontally in the roller sets 24 and 25 whereby it can be slid to extend outwardly through the access opening 15 in the disposition shown in FIG. 2. The slide bar 27 is configured to form an elongated internal trackway for a pair of horizontally spaced apart rollers 28. The rack side 19 of the rack 17 is supported on the rollers 28 as will be hereafter described in more detail, and the rollers 28 are adapted to roll in unison along the trackway formed by the slide bar 27 when the rack 27 is moved inwardly and outwardly through the access opening 15. It should be noted that each end of the slide bar 27 is blocked by a plastic clip or other means whereby the rollers 28 are prevented from moving out of their engagement within the slide bar trackway.
The connecting means between the rack side 19 and the chamber wall 14 also includes support means on the rack side which may be in the form of a pair of spaced apart base plates 32 (see particularly FIG. 3) permanently fastened to the rack side. A support member or assembly 33 is slidably mounted to each plate 32 by means of a bracket 34 that is staked in a fixed position within an accommodating recess in the base plate 32. The support assembly 33 includes the roller 28 journalled to a slidable member 35 by means of a stud 36. Between the roller 38 and the member 35 is a sleeve 37 having an annular groove 38. The member 35 is configured to have oppositely disposed outwardly extending flange portions 39 which serve as rails extending into vertically extending channels formed by oppositely disposed inwardly turned flange portions 42 of the bracket 34. By this arrangement the bracket 34 is adapted to slide vertically on the support assembly 33 whereby the rack side moves upwardly and downwardly relative to the support assembly 33.
As shown in FIG. 2, the connecting means structure attaching the rack side 19 to the chamber wall 14 also includes a movable means in the form of an elongated fiat plate 43 having spaced apart triangular shaped widened portions 44 therealong. Between the portions 44 the plate has a horizontally extending intermediate bar portion 45. Toward the forward end of the rack 17 the plate 43 has an end bar portion 46 that is linked to a manual control means to be hereafter described.
Each of the plate portions 44 is provided with a horizontally elongated slot 50 in the upper edge thereof and an elongated inclined slot 51 disposed downwardly relative to the slot 50. Extending outwardly from the upper portion of the base plate 32 on the rack side 14 is a stud 53 provided with a radially outwardly extending head portion 54. The stud 53 is fixedly mounted to extend outwardly from the plate 32. The plate member 43 is adapted to slide generally in a horizontal direction either forward or backward along the rack side with the slots 50 serving as guide means slidably retaining the plate member 43 to the studs 53. It will be noted also with regard to FIG. 3 that each stud 36 extending outwardly from its base member 35 extends through the slot 51. The purpose of this latter arrangement will be made clear hereafter with reference to the description of the function of the components in the connecting means between the rack side and the chamber wall which accomplish the vertical adjustment of the rack side.
Adjacent the front corner of the rack side 19 is a control means or assembly 60 comprising a rotatably mounted threaded shaft or worm 61 having a riding member or nut 62 threadably carried thereon for movement along the worm s length in response to rotation of the worm. The plate member 43 has its forwardly extended rod portion 46 connected to the nut 62 by a screw 63 whereby movement of the nut 62 along the worm 61 is translated to the plate member 43. FIG. 4 shows that the worm 61 is mounted in a housing 65 having end walls 66-and 67. The end walls 66 and 67 have openings in which opposite ends of the worm 61 are journalled for rotation on a horizontally disposed axis. A knob 68 is affixed to the outer end of the worm 61 whereby the worm can be caused to rotate in either direction by manipulation of the knob.
The housing 65 is provided with a top cover plate 69. The cover plate 69 is provided with a narrow slot 70 therethrough which is elongated in a direction whereby it extends parallel with the axis of the worm 61. The nut 62 is provided with an upwardly projecting tooth portion 71 that follows a linear path directly beneath the slot 70 as the nut 62 moves along the length of the worm 61. The upper surface of the tooth 71 may be viewed by looking downwardly through the slot 70 and serves as an indicator to inform the operator of the current vertical disposition of the rack side relative to the lowermost and uppermost adjustment positions obtainable by manipulation of the knob 68 of the control means 60. FIG. 4 shows that suitable indicia may be provided on the upper surface of the cover plate 69. For example, an intermediate mark 73 may be provided on the cover plate 69 to indicate that the rack side is at its normal intermediate or halfway position of adjustment when the tooth 71 is aligned with the mark 73.
In explaining the operation of the connecting means between the rack side and the chamber wall as heretofore described to obtain a change in the level of the to rotate whereby the nut 62 moves forwardly on the worm 61 toward the knob 68. This movement of the nut 62 is translated to the plate member 43 whereby the plate member moves in a generally horizontal direction toward the front end of the rack. The movement of the plate member 43 causes the inclined slot 51 to correspondingly move whereby a long edge or plate surface portion 74 defining the upper long side of the slot 51 bears against the support assembly 33. Since the support assembly 33 is prevented from moving vertically because of the engagement of its roller 28 in the slide bar 27, the latter motion causes the plate member 43 to gradually move upwardly as the inclined surface 74 slides against the support member 33. The upward movement of the plate member 43 is translated as a force against the stud 53 staked in the plate 32. The rack side 19, to which the plates 32 are affixed, is thereby caused to move gradually upwardly as the plate member 43 is advanced forwardly in response to the turning of the knob 68. Downward adjustment of the rack side is accomplished by counter-rotating the knob 68 to obtain a reversal of the action heretofore described.
It should be noted that each of the inclined slots 51 in the triangular shaped portion 44 of plate member 43 are elongated and disposed such that a long side thereof is defined by the oppositely facing surface portions or straight edges 74. These surface portions 74 defining the slots 51 engage in the annular groove of rack side, it should be first pointed out that the weight of the rack side on the connecting means provides the force to obtain downward movement of the rack side. When the rack side is being adjusted downwardly, the operator, by manipulating the rotary control knob 68 is, in effect, releasing the binding action of the nut on the worm 61 by rotating the worm so that the weight of the rack causes the rack side to slide downwardly. When the rack side is being adjusted upwardly, manipulation of the knob 68 by the operator serves to offset the weight of the rack and pull the rack side upwardly in a manner to be now described.
The orientation of the component parts of the connecting means, when the rack side 19 is toward its lowermost position is shown in FIG. 2. The level of the rack side can be changed by the operator grasping the knob 68 and rotating it such that the worm 61 is caused the sleeve 37 of each stud 38. Therefore, when the plate member 43 is moved generally horizontally in response to manipulation of the control means 60, the corresponding movement of the slots 51 tend to exert an upward push against the support assemblies 33. Since the plate member 43 cannot be moved vertically relative to the rack side but only horizontally therealong due to the plate member 43s guided engagement on the studs 53, and because the support assemblies 33 are prevented from vertical movement because of the retention of the rollers 28 in the slide bar 27, the force of the respective surface portions 74 against the annular groove 38 of the support assemblies 33 is translated to vertical motion of the rack side 19.
The worm 61 is specially threaded in its engagement with the nut 62 whereby the worm and nut serve as a locking means and the worm will not tend to rotate in response to force exerted on the nut by the weight of the rack sideeven if the rack is fully loaded with dishes to be washed in the dishwasher. Therefore, the operator, when adjusting the level of the rack side by rotating the knob 68, can release the knob 68 when the rack side has been raised or lowered to a desired position between the upperrnost and lowermost positions obtainable with the assembly shown and the level of adjustment of the rack side will remain unchanged until such time as the operator again rotates the control knob 68.
FIG. 5 shows that each side of the rack 17 may be provided with connecting means structure between the rack side and the chamber wall, and that separate manual control means may be provided for each rack side whereby each rack side may be vertically repositioned separately and independently of the other rack side. The structure of the manual control means heretofore described enables the operator to ascertain at a glance the relative positioning of each of the rack sides by quick examination of the upwardly facing cover plate 69 at each rack corner. The provision of the manually rotatable knob 68 on the front end of the rack at each corner thereof is highly desirable since it enables adjustment of each rack side even when the rack is in its retracted position entirely within the wash chamber of the dishwasher.
It should now be apparent that the present invention provides a new and improved means for adjusting one or both sides of a rack within a dishwasher through use of a relatively simplified structure wherein a plurality of pivotal parts between the rack side and the chamber wall are not required. While the preceding description of the various figures of the drawing sets forth an illustrative embodiment of the invention, it is intended that the appended claims define the subject matter of the invention. It is specifically not intended that the invention be limited to the particular details of construction in the examples presented. Therefore, although the invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that numerous changes and modifications in the details of the construction and the combinations or arrangements of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
1. In a structure providing a chamber having a front opening and side walls, an article holding rack supported on each side wall, a pair of elongated track members, track support means on said walls for supporting said track members for horizontal movement between a position entirely within said chamber to a position partly outside said chamber, rack support means mounted on said rack and in engagement with said track member for allowing horizontal movement of said rack relative to said track, an adjustable rack support system comprising:
means for retaining said rack in vertically slidable engagement with said rack support means;
a guide member fixedly mounted on said rack;
a plate having a horizontal slot and an inclined cam slot, said horizontal slot slidably engaging said guide member and said inclined cam slot slidably engaging said rack support means;
manually operable control means mounted on the rack operally associated therewith for moving said plate horizontally whereby the rack is urged in a vertical direction by the action of the inclined cam slot on the rack support means.
v 2. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein the manually operable control means includes a riding member arranged to move horizontally relative to said rack and said plate being connected to said riding member.
3. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein said manual control means includes a horizontally disposed rotatable member and a manual control knob on one end thereof, said knob being rotatably mounted on said rack to be accessible to the user of said dishwashing machine, said riding member being movable axially on said rotatable member during rotation of said manual control knob.
4. The invention as defined in claim 3 wherein said inclined cam slot is disposed to cause vertical upward movement of the rack when said plate is moved horizontally toward said front opening.
5. The invention as defined in claim 4 wherein said plate includes at least two horizontally disposed slots and two inclined cam slots.