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Publication numberUS3877241 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 15, 1975
Filing dateMay 10, 1973
Priority dateMay 10, 1973
Publication numberUS 3877241 A, US 3877241A, US-A-3877241, US3877241 A, US3877241A
InventorsWade Charles H
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air transport system for ice maker
US 3877241 A
Abstract
An ice making and storing system wherein ice is transported from an ice maker apparatus to any one of a plurality of ice storage bins by means of a flowing body of fluid transporting the formed ice bodies therewith. Means are provided adjacent the storage bins for selectively diverting ice bodies from the fluid flow the storage bin. Means are provided for minimizing loss of flowing fluid from the system. A fluid passing element may be provided in the diverting means for deflecting ice bodies while passing the fluid to effect selective delivery thereof. The diverting means may be operated in response to the level of collected ice bodies in the storage bin for sequential filling of a plurality of such storing bins in the system.
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United States Patent 1191 ICE 1111 3,877,241 Wade 1451 Apr. 15, 1975 [54] AIR TRANSPORT SYSTEM FOR ICE 3,580,644 5/1971 Ballard, Jr. 302/59 MAKER 3,769,809 11 1973 Robinson et al.... 62/137 R1 1,548 6/1896 Dodge 302/22 [75] Inventor: Charles H. Wade, Benton Harbor,

Mich- Primary Examiner-William E. Wayner [73] Assignees Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Assistant *W Tapolcal Harbor, Mich Attorney, Agent, or F1rm--l-lofgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman & McCord [22] F1led: May 10, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 359,059 1 ABSTRACT An ice making and storing system wherein ice is transported from an ice maker apparatus to any one of a [22] 62/137, 62/34423502g2013 plurality of ice Storage bins by means of a flowing i a body of fluid transporting the formed ice bodies there- 1e 0 502/59 g with. Means are provided adjacent the storage bins for selectively diverting ice bodies from the fluid flow the storage bin. Means are provided for minimizing loss of [56] References cued flowing fluid from the system. A fluid passing element UNITED STATES PATENTS may be provided in the diverting means for deflecting 463,708 11/1891 William et a1. 302/28 ice bodies while passing the fluid to effect selective 1,339,240 5/1920 Travis 302/59 delivery thereof. The diverting means may be oper- |5l2,56l l0/1924 Ollpham 302/59 ated in response to the level of collected ice bodies in g;' the storage bin for sequential filling of a plurality of a ar r. 3,408,115 10/1968 Reitercr 302/28 Such Stormg bms m the system 3,580,416 5/1971 Hoenisch 221/203 17 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures (AIR 1c: AIR g 1 A BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to ice making and storing apparatus. and in particular, to apparatus wherein the storage means is remote from the ice making means.

2. Description of the Prior Art The concept of transporting products by means of a flowing fluid is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 463,708 issued to J. L. Williams and L. W. Bennett. In this patent. cotton is conveyed by means of air flow through a duct with the air escaping through an open rear end of the duct while dropping the cotton intosuitable ginfeeders.

An improved form of such a conveyor is shown in Reissued U.S. Pat. No. H.548. issued to I. Mr Dodge, wherein a closed conveyor tube is utilized for recirculating a portion of the air. The use of a closed system is advantageous in avoiding introduction of contaminants and the like into the transporting air. Avoidance of such contaminants is particularly important in conveying products such as ice cubes which may be used in potable liquids.

ln U.S. Pat. No; 1,597,438, issued to F. B. Ennis, a pneumatic conveyor system is disclosed wherein means are provided for releasing the air'at selected points prior to. the storage or collecting means.

In U.S. Pat. No. 3,371,505. issued to'F. M. Raver et al.. an auger-type ice maker is shown in conjunction with a conduit for conducting the ice to a delivery means. I I

In U.S. Pat. No."3.58(),4l6 of Walter H. Hoenisch. a method and apparatus for transferring ice cubes from a storage compartment to a remote dispensing compartment is disclosed as including means for conducting conveying fluid therebetween. The conveying fluid comprises pressurized air which is returned for recirculation and includes means defining a collecting space having a foraminous wall portion passing the fluid therebetween while retaining the ice cubes for selective dispensing by means of a manually operable spout. Hoenisch conveys the ice cubes from a reservoir, or storage bin. to a dispensing head assembly from which they are delivered into a receiver, such as a glass, for providing a cold drink. I

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprehends an improved ice making and storing apparatus wherein ice bodies are delivered from a remote ice body maker to one or more storage bins by means of a flowing body of fluid such as pressurized air. The apparatus utilizes a closed system for recirculating the pressurized air for avoiding contamination and the like More specifically. the present invention comprehends such apparatus having means for flowing a fluid from the remote ice body maker to adjacent the storage bin for transporting, ice bodies thereto from the ice body maker. means for temporarily retaining the transported ice bodies adjacent the storagebin substantially out of the flow path of the flowing fluid, and means for selectively arranging the retaining means to pass the retained ice bodies from the retaining means to the storage bin.

The means for selectively arranging the retaining means to pass the retained ice bodies may comprise a cyclical control and in the illustrated embodiment. comprises a timer for opening the retaining means to the storage bin at preselected intervals.

The apparatus may include means responsive to the level of ice bodies in the storage bin for controlling the level of ice bodies in the storage bin. The control may include thermostatic means for sensing the level so as to discontinue delivery of ice bodies to the storage bin when the level therein reaches a preselected level and effect subsequent delivery of the ice bodies to a second such storage bin for subsequent filling of the same.

The retaining means is arranged to effectively preclude flow of the fluid over the retained ice bodies and may utilize kinetic energy of the ice bodies carried by the flowing fluid primarily as a means for effecting delivery to the retaining means from the inlet portion thereof.

The apparatus may include a diverter device defining a branched duct having an inlet portion receiving the flowing fluid and transported ice bodies, a first outlet leg leading to the storage bin. and a second outlet leg leading to a fluid delivering position, and control means for selectively directing ice bodies entering the inlet portion to either of the outlet legs.

The diverter device may include a deflector screen for passing fluid from the inlet portion to the second leg while deflecting ice bodies to the first leg for delivery to the storage bin.

The inlet portion and second leg of the diverter device may define coaxial tubular portions of the diverter device.

Thus, the present invention comprehends an improved storage system which is extremely simple and economical of construction while yet providing the highly desirable features discussed above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic elevation of an ice body making and storing system embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic wiring diagram of the electrical circuitry thereof;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side elevation of the diverter device thereof with a portion broken away to illustrate the internal construction; and

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevation of the means for controlling delivery of the ice bodies from the retaining means to the storage bin.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, an ice body making, transporting, and storing system generally designated 10 is shown to comprise a conventional ice body maker 11 which illustratively may comprise a conventional auger-type ice body maker of well known construction. The ice bodies are transported from ice maker 11 to a plurality of storage bins illustratively l2, l3 and 14, by a fluid flow transporting means generally designated 15 including a blower 16 and circulating ducts, including a supply duct l7'and'a return duct 18. In the illustrated embodiment. three storage bins are shown, it being understood that any suitable humber may be employed within the scope of the invention;

More specifically, ice bodies are delivered from ice maker 11 through a delivery duct 19 leading to the main supply duct 17 of the fluid flow means 15. The flowing fluid, herein comprising air, carries the ice bodies through the duct 17 to diverter devices generally designated 20 associated with each of the storage bins other than the last storage bin 14, and to a separator device generally designated 21 associated with the last storage bin. The diverter devices divert the ice bodies to retaining means arranged to temporarily retain a group of ice bodies delivered thereto and transfer the retained ice bodies at selective intervals to the associated storage bin until the storage bin reaches a preselected full level. At that time, the diverter device is rearranged to pass the ice bodies through duct 17 to the next storage bin. Thus, a sequential filling of the storage bins may be effected as desired.

As shown in FIG. 3, each diverter device 20 comprises a Y-shaped element 22 having a tubular inlet portion 23, a first tubular outlet leg 24, and a second tubular outlet leg 25. First leg 24 is connected to a retaining means generally designated 26 wherein the diverted ice bodies are temporarily retained and periodicallydumped into the storage bin. As shown in FIG. 3, the diverter device further includes a deflector screen generally designated 27 mounted on a pivot 28 and movable by means of a solenoid generally designated 29 between an ice body diverting position shown in full lines in FIG. 3, and an ice body passing position as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3.

In the ice body diverting position, the screen effectively extends across the second outlet leg to pass the flowing air from the inlet portion 23 through the outlet leg 25 to the next storage bin position. Ice bodies. however, are deflected by the screen 27 upwardly into the first outlet leg 24 and thence downwardly into the retaining means 26 wherein they are temporarily stored as discussed above.

As shown in FIG. 4, retaining means 26 includes a downwardly opening tubular portion 30 having a lower end 31 selectively closed by a closure plate 32 mounted on a pivot 33 and pivoted by means ofa solenoid device 34. The closure plate 32 is normally biased to the closed position by a counterweight 35 against the weight of the retained ice bodies in tube portion 30.

Thus, it may be seen that the flowing air is effectively diverted from the retaining means with the ice bodies being delivered thereto substantially by the kinetic energy thereof as they are moved along with the flowing air to strike against the screen 27. The air in the supply duct 17 is under a positive pressure and closure plate 32 effectively prevents flow of the pressurized air through leg 24 and retaining means 26 other than when the closure plate is swung to the open position to deliver the retained ice bodies to the subjacent storage bin.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the apparatus may be powered from a suitable source of electrical current, such as a conventional l20-volt AC power supply having leads L1 and L2. The ice maker mechanism 11 is connected in series with a parallel connection of three bin thermostat switches 36, 37 and 38, associated with the bins l2, l3 and 14. respectively. Switch 36 includes a moving contact 36a which is selectively engageable with a first fixed contact 3612 connected to ice maker 11 and with a second fixedcontact 36c connected through the solenoid coil 39 of solenoid 29 associated with the diverter device 20 of storage bin 12. A normally open, manually operable switch 40 is connected from solenoid coil 39 to power supply lead L2 for effecting manual operation of the solenoid 29 when desired.

Switch 37 includes a moving contact 37a which is connected selectively between a first fixed contact 37b connected to the solenoid 41 of the diverter device solenoid 29 associated with bin 13. A manually operable, normally open switch 42 may be connected between solenoid 41 and power supply lead L2 for selective manual control of the coil 41 as desired.

Switch 38 includes a moving contact 38a selectively engageable with a fixed contact 38b connected to ice maker 11. Each of fixed contacts 36b, 37b and 38b are further connected through the blower motor 43 of blower 16 to power supply lead L1. The blower motor is provided with a normally open centrifugal switch 44 which closes when the blower motor is operating to connect a timer motor 45 between power supply leads L1 and L2. The timer periodically closes a normally open switch 46 conected from power supply lead L1 to a parallel arrangement of solenoid coils 47 of the respective retaining means solenoids 34 which, in turn. are connected to power supply lead L2. Thus, periodically, all three solenoids 34 are operated to release col-' lected ice bodies from the respective retaining means to the subjacent storage bin.

It may be noted that the solenoid coils 39 and 41 are energized only when the blower system is operating. and similarly, that the timer motor 45 is operated only when the blower system is operating so as to provide a timing function related to the operation time of the apparatus.

Assuming that the storage bins l2, l3 and 14 are empty and that ice maker 11 is operated to produce ice bodies, delivery of the ice bodies from the ice maker supply duct 19 is effected by the flow of air from the blower l6 through the supply duct 17. The deflector screen 27 of the first diverter device 20 is disposed at this time to deflect ice bodies into the first leg of the first diverter device 20. Thus, all of the ice bodies delivered with the flowing air from ice maker 11 are firstly delivered to the retaining means 26 associated with storage bin 12. At preselected intervals, as controlled by timer switch 46, the closure plate 32 of the retaining means 26 associated with storage bin 12 is swung to the open position allowing the retained ice bodies to drop into the storage bin. When the level of ice bodies so delivered to storage bin 12 reaches a preselected level, thermostat switch 36 is thrown from the position shown in FIG. 2 to engage fixed contact 36c and thereby energize solenoid coil 39 swinging screen 27 from the full line position in FIG. 3 to the dotted line position and thereby permitting further ice bodies delivered from ice maker 11 to pass beyond storage bin 12 to the second storage bin 13. At this time, the screen 27 of the deflector device 20 associated with storage bin 13, is in the full line position of FIG. 3 as solenoid coil 41 is deenergized. Ice bodies are then periodically delivered to storage bin 13 until such time as thermostat switch 37 senses the reaching of the preselected level therein at which time, moving contact 37a is thrown into engagement with fixed contact 370 thereby energizing solenoid coil 41 and swinging the screen 27 to the dotted line position of FIG. 3, thereby permitting a further delivery of ice bodies from ice maker 11 to now bypass both storage bins l2 and 13 and be directed into storage bin 14.

1f the level of ice bodies in storage bin 12 is lowered, as by removal of a portion thereof, thermostat switch 36 is reclosed to fixed contact 36h, thereby deenergizing solenoid coil 39 and causing delivery of ice bodies to storage bin 12 as discussed above, until the predetermined level is again reached. Removal of ice bodies from storage bin 13 effects similar operation of screen 27 by solenoid 41.

As paralleled switches 36, 37 and 38 are connected in series with ice maker 11 and blower 43, when all three switches are thrown from the full line position shown in FlG. 2 by the existence of the predetermined level of ice bodies in each of the associated storage bins. both the ice maker 11 and blower motor 43 are de-energized, terminating further ice body formation and transport to the storage bins. The lowering of the level in any one of the respective storage bins, however. immediately re-initiates operation of the ice maker and blower to maintain the level of ice bodies in the storage bins at the preselected level.

Diverter device provides an improved delivery of the ice bodies to the storage bin by removing the ice bodies from the action of the flowing air substantially prior to the delivery thereof to the retaining means, utilizing primarily the kinetic energy of the ice bodies which is absorbed substantially in moving through the diverting device into the retaining means. As the retaining means is effectively closed at all times other than when the retained ice bodies are being dropped into the storage bin, air pressure differentials are effectively eliminated in the storage bin, thereby providing improved storage conditions for the collected ice bodies.

As shown in FIG. 1, separator device 21 defines an acute angle connector which prevents ice bodies from following the returning air into return duct 18 and similarly, diverter device 20 permits the delivery of the ice bodies to the retaining means 26 primarily by the kinetic energy thereof. so as to provide an improved low breakage delivery.

The foregoing disclosure of specific embodiments is illustrative of the broad inventive concepts comprehended by the invention.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In an apparatus having a storage bin for storing ice bodies remotely of an ice body maker, the improvement comprising: means including a conduit for flowing a fluid from the remote ice body maker to adjacent said storage bin for transporting ice bodies thereinto from said ice body maker; means for bypassing fluid about said storage bin; means for temporarily retaining the transported ice bodies adjacent said storage bin substantially out of the flow path of the flowing fluid; selectively positionable foraminous means controlling delivery of ice bodies to said retaining means; and means for selectively arranging the retaining means to pass the retained ice bodies from said retaining means to the storage bin with a portion of the fluid being diverted to said retaining means for facilitating the passing of the ice bodies therefrom.

2. The ice body storing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said retaining means comprises means defining a holding space having a discharge opening, a retaining member selectively closing said opening. and means for cyclically positioning said retaining means to open said discharge opening for passing the retained ice bodies therefrom to said storage bin.

3. The ice body storing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said storage bin is provided with means for controlling the level of ice bodies therein comprising thermostat means for discontinuing delivery of the ice bodies to the storage bin when the level therein reaches a preselected level.

4. The ice body storing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said retaining means includes means for selectively causing the ice bodies being transported by said flowing fluid to bypass said retaining means for delivery to another location.'

5. The ice body storing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fluid flowing means includes duct means for con ducting the flowing fluid away from adjacent said storage bin substantially at all times.

6. The ice body storing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fluid flowing means includes duct means for conducting the flowing fluid away from adjacent said storage bin substantially at all times, and means for directing ice bodies being transported selectively (a) to said retaining means, or (b) through said duct means with the flowing fluid.

7. In an apparatus having a storage bin for storing ice bodies remotely of an ice body maker, the improvement comprising: means for flowing a fluid from the remote ice body maker to adjacent said storage bin for transporting ice bodies thereinto from said ice body maker; means for temporarily retaining the transported ice bodies adjacent said storage bin substantially out of the flow path of the flowing fluid; and means for selectively arranging the retaining means to pass the retained ice bodies from said retaining means to the storage bin, said fluid flowing means including duct means for conducting the flowing fluid away from adjacent said storage bin substantially at all times, and means for directing ice bodies being transported selectively (a) to said retaining means, or (b) through said duct means with the flowing fluid as an incident of the level of ice bodies in said storage bin reaching a preselected level.

8. 1n an apparatus having a storage bin for storing ice bodies remotely of an ice body maker, the improvement comprising: means for flowing a fluid from the remote ice body maker to adjacent said storage bin for transporting ice bodies thereinto from said ice body maker; means for temporarily retaining the transported ice bodies adjacent said storage bin substantially out of the flow path of the flowing fluid; and means for selectively arranging the retaining means to pass the retained ice bodies from said retaining means to the storage bin, said fluid flowing means including duct means for conducting the flowing fluid away from adjacent said storage bin substantially at all times, and means for directing ice bodies being transported selectively (a) to said retaining means, or (b) through said duct means with the flowing fluid, said means for directing ice bodies comprising a foraminous member selectively disposed across said duct means to pass said flowing fluid to said duct means while preventing transport of the ice bodies to said duct means when the level of ice bodies collected in said storage bin is below said preselected level, and disposed to pass both the flowing fluid and ice bodies transported thereby to said duct means when said level reaches said preselected level.

9. In an apparatus having a storage bin for storing ice bodies remotely of an ice body maker. the improvement comprising: a diverter device adjacent said storage bin; means for flowing a fluid from the remote ice body maker to said diverter device for transporting ice bodies thereto from said ice body maker; and means for temporarily retaining the ice bodies adjacent said storage bin, said diverter device defining a branched duct having an inlet portion receiving the flowing fluid and transported ice bodies. a first outlet leg leading to said retaining means. and a second outlet leg leading to a fluid delivering position. and control means including a foraminous baffle for selectively directing ice bodies entering said inlet portion to either of said outlet legs. said foraminous baffle causing said flowing fluid to apply a static fluid pressure to said first leg when said control means is directing the flowing fluid and ice bodies to said second leg and said retaining means is arranged to retain said ice bodies.

10. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 further including means responsive to the level of ice bodies collected in said storage bin for causing said control means to deliver ice bodies through said first leg when said level is below a preselected level and to deliver the ice bodies through said second leg when the level reaches said preselected level.

11. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 further including means for selectively closing the distal end of 8 said first leg against fluid flow to said storage bin.

12. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein said control means includes a deflector screen for passing fluid from said inlet portion to said second leg while deflecting ice bodies to said first leg for delivery to said storage bin.

13. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein said inlet portion and second leg define coaxial tubular portions of said diverter device.

14. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein said fluid flowing means includes means for recirculating the fluid.

15. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein a plurality of storage bins and associated diverter devices are provided, said diverter devices being connected in series relationship for selective delivery to the associated storage bins.

16. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein a plurality of storage bins and associated diverter devices are provided, said diverter devices being connected in series relationship for selective delivery to the associated storage bins to successively fill said storage bins.

l7. The ice body storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein said control means is arranged to utilize the kinetic energy of the moving ice bodies to effect delivery thereof into said first leg.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification62/137, 62/344, 406/3
International ClassificationF25C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25C5/002
European ClassificationF25C5/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 9, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: KING-SEELEY THERMOS CO., ALBERT LEA, MN A DE CORP.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION A DE CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004125/0763
Effective date: 19830314