Title:
Door assembly and a washing machine and a dryer using the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention discloses an improved door assembly and a washing machine and a dryer having the same applied thereto. The door assembly of the present invention includes a hinge assembly (150), a door body (200), a hook assembly (300), a lock assembly (400). Since, in the present invention, the hand hold formed in the door body (200) is recessed in an inner circumferential surface of the frame (210) so as not to be visible from an exterior, an outer appearance of the appliance is improved. Of components of the hook assembly (300), since the bracket (320) having a shaft (340) with a hook (310) inserted therein is formed as a unit with the bracket (320) on an inside thereof, with a reduced number of the hook assembly smaller than the related art, an assembly process can be simplified and productivity is improved. The lock assembly (400) provided to the cabinet (100) to hold the hook (310) includes a hook holding device and a locking device. The hook holding device holds the hook (310) by using an elastic force of the hook (310) when the hook (310) is inserted therein, and release the hook (310) when the hook (310) is drawn. The locking device, operative in response to an external electric signal, maintains the held state of the hook (310), for preventing the body (200) from being forcibly opened by an external force, thereby preventing occurrence of fault and accident caused by negligence of safety.



Inventors:
Kim, Jong Seok (Changwon-shi, KR)
No, Yang Hwan (Changwon-shi, KR)
Cho, Han Ki (Changwon-shi, KR)
Jung, Yeon Su (Changwon-shi, KR)
Kang, Jung Hoon (Changwon-shi, KR)
Park, Myung Sik (Changwon-shi, KR)
Ha, Young Hoon (Masan-shi, KR)
Application Number:
10/469959
Publication Date:
05/06/2004
Filing Date:
09/08/2003
Assignee:
KIM JONG SEOK
NO YANG HWAN
CHO HAN KI
JUNG YEON SU
KANG JUNG HOON
PARK MYUNG SIK
HA YOUNG HOON
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/196, 134/57DL, 134/58DL, 68/12.26
International Classes:
D06F37/28; D06F39/14; (IPC1-7): D06F39/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HECKERT, JASON MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McKenna Long & Aldridge,Song K Jung (1900 K Street NW, Washington, DC, 20006, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A door assembly comprising: a hinge assembly provided to a region in the vicinity of an introduction opening in a cabinet; a door body connected to the hinge assembly for opening/closing the introduction opening; a hook assembly including a hook projected from the door body in a state the hook has an elastic force within a predetermined gap, the hook having a fore end with a head projected from one side and a stopper projected from the other side; and a lock assembly including a hook holding device provided to the other region of the cabinet for holding the hook by using the elastic force of the hook when the head is inserted therein, and releasing the hook when the head is drawn to an exterior, and a locking device operative in response to an external electric signal for maintaining the hold on the hook by using the stopper when the head is drawn from the exterior.

2. The door assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the door body includes a transparent door glass, and a frame in a form of a loop having the door glass fixed to an inner circumferential surface thereof.

3. The door assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the frame includes an inner frame and an outer frame joined from both sides of the door glass, at least one of the inner frame and the outer frame being connected to the hinge assembly.

4. The door assembly as claimed in claim 3, the outer frame further includes a hand hold.

5. The door assembly as claimed in claim 4, wherein the hand hold includes a recess in an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame for putting a hand therein from an exterior and pulling the hand hold.

6. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold further includes a finger recess recessed in an inside of the hand hold for inserting finger ends and held therein when a user puts a hand therein.

7. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold has a surface in a form of a curved surface for being brought into in contact with a palm when the user puts a user's hand therein and pulls the hand hold.

8. The door assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein the curved surface has a curvature in conformity with a curved surface formed when the palm is bent by half, substantially.

9. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a recess in a part of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame itself.

10. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a hand hold hole formed in one region of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame, and a hand hold holder inserted and fixed in the inserting hole.

11. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a plurality of projections projected from a recessed inside surface of the hand hold.

12. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a sloped inner circumferential surface on the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior.

13. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a position indicating mark on the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior.

14. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a part of the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold colored in a color different from other part for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior.

15. The door assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hand hold includes a part of the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold formed of a transparent material for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior.

16. The door assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hook assembly includes one pair of brackets projected toward an inner space of the door body, a shaft having both ends fixed to end parts of the brackets, the hook having an opposite end of the head connected to a middle of the shaft and provided such that the hook passes through a hook hole formed in a door body, and a spring for providing an elastic force to the hook when the hook rotates centered on the shaft within a predetermined gap.

17. The door assembly as claimed in claim 16, wherein the bracket is formed as one unit with the door body.

18. The door assembly as claimed in claim 16, wherein the spring is provided such that the hook has a force moving in a direction of the projected one side of the head.

19. The door assembly as claimed in claim 16, wherein the spring is a torsion spring having a part held at the hook or a part moving with the hook, and the other part held at a spring stopper projected from the door body.

20. The door assembly as claimed in claim 18, wherein the stopper is formed in a middle of the one pair of brackets.

21. The door assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hook holding device includes a locking body fixed to an inside surface of the cabinet having a second inserting hole opposite to the first inserting hole formed in the cabinet for inserting the head of the hook therein, and a slider slidably, and elastically provided on one side of the locking body, the slider having a third inserting hole formed therein opposite to the first and second inserting holes, a contact plate and a head stopper at both sides of the third inserting hole in a direction of the projected one side and the stopper on the head respectively.

22. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the slider has an elastic force smaller than the elastic force of the hook.

23. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the slider is provided with the elastic force from a compression or tension spring having one end connected to the slider and the other end connected to the locking body.

24. The door assembly as claimed in claim 23, wherein the compression or tension spring is provided such that the slider has a restoration force when the slide is moved to one side as the head is inserted through the first, second and third inserting holes.

25. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the contact plate is provided disposed such that the contact plate comes into contact with the projected one side of the head when the head is inserted into the third inserting hole.

26. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the head stopper is formed disposed such that the head stopper is space a distance from the stopper when the head is inserted through the third inserting hole, fully.

27. The door assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein the head stopper includes a top end having a height lower than a height of the stopper on the hook.

28. The door assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein the head stopper is formed disposed such that the stopper is caught, and held at the top end thereof as the head moves in an oblique direction owing to the projected one side of the head, when the head is drawn from the third inserting hole in a state the slider is held.

29. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the second inserting hole has a sloped contact surface to be in contact with the projected one side of the head so that the head is inserted and drawn in the oblique direction.

30. The door assembly as claimed in claim 29, wherein the contact surface has a slope substantially similar to the slope of the projected one side of the head.

31. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the hook holding device further includes aligning means for holding a position of the slider for aligning the second and the third holes when the head is not inserted yet.

32. The door assembly as claimed in claim 31, wherein the aligning means includes a plurality of dents in both sides of the slider in a direction perpendicular to a moving direction of the slider, and a plurality of latches elastically and slidably provided to the locking body each having a tooth formed at a region thereof for inserting in the dent and a fore end positioned on the third inserting hole.

33. The door assembly as claimed in claim 32, wherein the latch is provided such that, when the head enters into the third inserting hole, the fore end comes into contact with the fore end of the head, and is pushed backward causing the tooth to come off the dent.

34. The door assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the locking device includes a locking switch having a locking rod to be projected from the locking body in response to the external electric signal, and catch means formed on the slider for being caught at the locking rod at projection of the locking rod for limiting movement of the slider.

35. The door assembly as claimed in claim 34, wherein the catch means is formed at a position the catch means is caught at the locking rod when the locking rod is projected to a position the slider move to one side fully as the head is inserted in the third inserting hole fully.

36. The door assembly as claimed in claim 35, wherein the catch means is a projected step projected to form a step from one side of the slider.

37. The door assembly as claimed in claim 35, wherein the catch means is a pass through hole in the slider for inserting the locking rod when the locking rod is projected.

38. A washing machine and dryer comprising: a cabinet having an introduction hole in a front part thereof; a drum rotatably provided to an inside of the cabinet; a motor for rotating the drum; a hinge assembly provided to a region in the vicinity of an introduction opening in a cabinet; a door body connected to the hinge assembly for opening/closing the introduction opening; a hook assembly including a hook projected from the door body in a state the hook has an elastic force within a predetermined gap, the hook having a fore end with a head projected from one side and a stopper projected from the other side; and a lock assembly including a hook holding device provided to the other region of the cabinet for holding the hook by using the elastic force of the hook when the head is inserted therein, and releasing the hook when the head is drawn to an exterior, and a locking device operative in response to an external electric signal for maintaining the hold on the hook by using the stopper when the head is drawn from the exterior.

39. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 38, wherein the door body includes a transparent door glass, and a frame in a form of a loop having the door glass fixed to an inner circumferential surface thereof.

40. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 39, wherein the frame includes an inner frame and an outer frame joined from both sides of the door glass, at least one of the inner frame and the outer frame being connected to the hinge assembly.

41. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 40, the outer frame further includes a hand hold.

42. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 41, wherein the hand hold includes a recess in an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame for putting a hand therein from an exterior and pulling the hand hold.

43. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 38, wherein the hook assembly includes one pair of brackets projected toward an inner space of the door body, a shaft having both ends fixed to end parts of the brackets, the hook having an opposite end of the head connected to a middle of the shaft and provided such that the hook passes through a hook hole formed in a door body, and a spring for providing an elastic force to the hook when the hook rotates centered on the shaft within a predetermined gap.

44. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 43, wherein the bracket is formed as one unit with the door body.

45. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 38, wherein the hook holding device includes a locking body fixed to an inside surface of the cabinet having a second inserting hole opposite to the first inserting hole formed in the cabinet for inserting the head of the hook therein, and a slider slidably, and elastically provided on one side of the locking body, the slider having a third inserting hole formed therein opposite to the first and second inserting holes, a contact plate and a head stopper at both sides of the third inserting hole in a direction of the projected one side and the stopper on the head respectively.

46. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 45, wherein the slider has an elastic force smaller than the elastic force of the hook.

47. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 45, wherein the second inserting hole has a sloped contact surface to be in contact with the projected one side of the head so that the head is inserted and drawn in the oblique direction.

48. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 45, wherein the hook holding device further includes aligning means for holding a position of the slider for aligning the second and the third holes when the head is not inserted yet.

49. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 48, wherein the aligning means includes a plurality of dents in both sides of the slider in a direction perpendicular to a moving direction of the slider, and a plurality of latches elastically and slidably provided to the locking body each having a tooth formed at a region thereof for inserting in the dent and a fore end positioned on the third inserting hole.

50. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 45, wherein the locking device includes a locking switch having a locking rod to be projected from the locking body in response to the external electric signal, and catch means formed on the slider for being caught at the locking rod at projection of the locking rod for limiting movement of the slider.

51. The washing machine and dryer as claimed in claim 50, wherein the catch means is formed at a position the catch means is caught at the locking rod when the locking rod is projected to a position the slider move to one side fully as the head is inserted in the third inserting hole fully.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to a door assembly having a hinge, a hook and a lock assembly, and a washing machine and a dryer having the same applied thereto.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] The washing machine conducts washing, rinsing and spinning processes for taking dirt stuck to clothes off the clothes by using action of detergent and water. There are drum type, agitator type and pulsator type in the washing machines.

[0003] The drum type washing machine carries out washing by slowly rotating the drum around a horizontal axis in a state the detergent, the washing water, and the laundry are introduced into an inside of the drum having a plurality of tumbling ribs formed thereon so that the washing of the laundry is made by falling down impact of the laundry after being lifted by the tumbling ribs and friction force. The drum type washing machine causes almost no damage to the laundry and no entangling of the laundry, and consumes a small amount of water.

[0004] The dryer dries wet washed laundry automatically. In general, the dryer dries the laundry by introducing the laundry into a drum inside of a cabinet, and rotating the drum, into which hot air is blown.

[0005] Recently, a combined washing machine and dryer having a dryer function provided to the drum type washing machine is put into practical use; and the use becomes wider gradually.

[0006] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a related art outer appearance of the drum washing machine, the dryer, and the combined dryer and drum type washing machine.

[0007] Referring to FIG. 1, there is a cabinet forming an outer shape of an appliance, with an introduction opening 12 in one side, or an example, a front side for introducing laundry thereto from exterior. A drum 40 is rotatably mounted inside of the cabinet 10. A door assembly, for opening/closing the introduction opening 12, is provided with a hinge assembly 15, a door body 20, a hook assembly 30, and a lock assembly.

[0008] As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the hinge assembly 15 is formed at one point of the cabinet 10 in the vicinity of the introduction opening 12.

[0009] A door body 20 is provided with a ring form of frame 21 having an inner frame 22 and an outer frame 23 joined together, a door glass 24 provided to an inside surface of the frame 21, and a hand hold 25 formed in the frame 21. The hand hold 25 in the door body 20 is projected from one point of the frame 21, for an example, from an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 23 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, so that the hand hold 25 can be held from an exterior. However, the hand hold 25 projected to exterior from an outside surface of the ring form of frame 21 deteriorates an overall good appearance of the appliance, which drops consumer's interest who are keen on an outside design.

[0010] In the meantime, the hook assembly 30 is formed in one side of the frame 21, for an example, at one point of the inner frame 22 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The hook assembly 30 is provided with a hook 31, a spring (not shown), a bracket 32. The hook 31 has a projected head at one side thereof and is fixed to the bracket 32. The bracket 32 is a body separate from the inner frame 22, and has a central hole 33. The hook 31 is fitted with the head inserted in the hole 33 in the bracket 32, and the spring having opposite ends fixed to the bracket 32 and the hook 31 provides an elastic restoring force to the hook 31. Meanwhile, there is a hook hole 22h at one point of the inner frame 22 for the head to pass. In the foregoing hook assembly 30, as described, the hook 31 and the spring are fitted to the bracket 32, and the bracket 32 is fastened to an inside surface of the inner frame with bolts or the like, with the hook 31 disposed to pass the hook hole 22h. An assembly structure of such a hook assembly is best shown in FIG. 4.

[0011] However, the foregoing structure of the hook assembly 30 has problems in that a number of components is too many and assembly thereof is cumbersome to drop a productivity, because the hook assembly 30 requires fitting of the hook 31 and the spring to the bracket 32 provided separately, and, in turn, fastening of the bracket 32 to the inner frame 22 with bolts or the like.

[0012] In the meantime, though not shown, the lock assembly is formed at another point of the cabinet such that the lock assembly receives the head of the hook 31 to maintain a closed state of a door body 20. In general, the lock assembly serves to lock the hook 31 in response to an electrical signal from a controller (not shown) for preventing the door body 20 from being opened from exterior, or release the locked state of the hook 31 for permitting opening of the door body 20 from the exterior. Therefore, in a related art washing machine or the dryer, in a case a power source is provided to the lock assembly, the door body 20 can not be opened forcibly as the lock assembly locks the hook 31.

[0013] However, in the related art washing machine or the dryer, even if the power source is provided to the lock assembly so that the lock assembly locks the hook 31, if the door body 20 is pulled with a very strong force, the hook 31 is broken away from the lock assembly, to open the door body 20. Therefore, in a case the drum is under rotation, if the door body 20 is opened by a strong external force, there is a risk of a fault occurrence and a danger of happening of an accident caused by negligence of safety.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0014] An object of the present invention designed for solving the foregoing problems lies on providing a door assembly which has a handle structure that can improve an overall good appearance of a washing machine or a dryer, and a washing machine and a dryer having the same applied thereto.

[0015] Another object of the present invention is to provide a door assembly having a hook assembly structure which has a number of components less than the related art, and a simple assembly process, and a washing machine and a dryer having the same applied thereto.

[0016] Further object of the present invention is to provide a door assembly having a lock assembly structure which can prevent forced opening of the door body to prevent occurrence of fault and accident caused by negligence of safety in advance, and a washing machine and a dryer having the same applied thereto.

[0017] The objects of the present invention can be achieved by providing a door assembly including a hinge assembly provided to a region in the vicinity of an introduction opening in a cabinet, a door body connected to the hinge assembly for opening/closing the introduction opening, a hook assembly including a hook projected from the door body in a state the hook has an elastic force within a predetermined gap, the hook having a fore end with a head projected from one side and a stopper projected from the other side, and a lock assembly including a hook holding device provided to the other region of the cabinet for holding the hook by using the elastic force of the hook when the head is inserted therein, and releasing the hook when the head is drawn to an exterior, and a locking device operative in response to an external electric signal for maintaining the hold on the hook by using the stopper when the head is drawn from the exterior.

[0018] The door body includes a transparent door glass, and a frame in a form of a loop having the door glass fixed to an inner circumferential surface thereof.

[0019] The frame includes an inner frame and an outer frame joined from both sides of the door glass, at least one of the inner frame and the outer frame being connected to the hinge assembly.

[0020] The outer frame further includes a hand hold. The hand hold includes a recess in an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame for putting a hand therein from an exterior and pulling the hand hold. The hand hold further includes a finger recess recessed in an inside of the hand hold for inserting finger ends and held therein when a user puts a hand therein.

[0021] The hand hold has a surface in a form of a curved surface for being brought into in contact with a palm when the user puts a user's hand therein and pulls the hand hold. The curved surface has a curvature in conformity with a curved surface formed when the palm is bent by half, substantially.

[0022] The hand hold includes a recess in a part of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame itself. The hand hold includes a hand hold hole formed in one region of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame, and a hand hold holder inserted and fixed in the inserting hole.

[0023] The hand hold includes a plurality of projections projected from a recessed inside surface of the hand hold.

[0024] The hand hold includes a sloped inner circumferential surface on the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior. The hand hold includes a position indicating mark on the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior. The hand hold includes a part of the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold colored in a color different from other part for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior. The hand hold includes a part of the outer frame in the vicinity of the hand hold formed of a transparent material for easy recognizing of the region the hand hold is formed therein from exterior.

[0025] In the meantime, the hook assembly includes one pair of brackets projected toward an inner space of the door body, a shaft having both ends fixed to end parts of the brackets, the hook having an opposite end of the head connected to a middle of the shaft and provided such that the hook passes through a hook hole formed in a door body, and a spring for providing an elastic force to the hook when the hook rotates centered on the shaft within a predetermined gap. The bracket is formed as one unit with the door body.

[0026] The spring is provided such that the hook has a force moving in a direction of the projected one side of the head. The spring is a torsion spring having a part held at the hook or a part moving with the hook, and the other part held at a spring stopper projected from the door body. The stopper is formed in a middle of the one pair of brackets.

[0027] The hook holding device includes a locking body fixed to an inside surface of the cabinet having a second inserting hole opposite to the first inserting hole formed in the cabinet for inserting the head of the hook therein, and a slider slidably, and elastically provided on one side of the locking body, the slider having a third inserting hole formed therein opposite to the first and second inserting holes, a contact plate and a head stopper at both sides of the third inserting hole in a direction of the projected one side and the stopper on the head respectively.

[0028] The slider has an elastic force smaller than the elastic force of the hook. The slider is provided with the elastic force from a compression or tension spring having one end connected to the slider and the other end connected to the locking body. The compression or tension spring is provided such that the slider has a restoration force when the slide is moved to one side as the head is inserted through the first, second and third inserting holes.

[0029] The contact plate is provided disposed such that the contact plate comes into contact with the projected one side of the head when the head is inserted into the third inserting hole.

[0030] The head stopper is formed disposed such that the head stopper is space a distance from the stopper when the head is inserted through the third inserting hole, fully. The head stopper includes a top end having a height lower than a height of the stopper on the hook. The head stopper is formed disposed such that the stopper is caught, and held at the top end thereof as the head moves in an oblique direction owing to the projected one side of the head, when the head is drawn from the third inserting hole in a state the slider is held.

[0031] The second inserting hole has a sloped contact surface to be in contact with the projected one side of the head so that the head is inserted and drawn in the oblique direction. The contact surface has a slope substantially similar to the slope of the projected one side of the head.

[0032] The hook holding device further includes aligning means for holding a position of the slider for aligning the second and the third holes when the head is not inserted yet. The aligning means includes a plurality of dents in both sides of the slider in a direction perpendicular to a moving direction of the slider, and a plurality of latches elastically and slidably provided to the locking body each having a tooth formed at a region thereof for inserting in the dent and a fore end positioned on the third inserting hole. The latch is provided such that, when the head enters into the third inserting hole, the fore end comes into contact with the fore end of the head, and is pushed backward causing the tooth to come off the dent.

[0033] The locking device includes a locking switch having a locking rod to be projected from the locking body in response to the external electric signal, and catch means formed on the slider for being caught at the locking rod at projection of the locking rod for limiting movement of the slider.

[0034] The catch means is formed at a position the catch means is caught at the locking rod when the locking rod is projected to a position the slider move to one side fully as the head is inserted in the third inserting hole fully. The catch means is a projected step projected to form a step from one side of the slider. The catch means is a pass through hole in the slider for inserting the locking rod when the locking rod is projected.

[0035] In another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a washing machine and dryer including a cabinet having an introduction hole in a front part thereof a drum rotatably provided to an inside of the cabinet, a motor for rotating the drum, a hinge assembly provided to a region in the vicinity of an introduction opening in a cabinet, a door body connected to the hinge assembly for opening/closing the introduction opening, a hook assembly including a hook projected from the door body in a state the hook has an elastic force within a predetermined gap, the hook having a fore end with a head projected from one side and a stopper projected from the other side, and a lock assembly including a hook holding device provided to the other region of the cabinet for holding the hook by using the elastic force of the hook when the head is inserted therein, and releasing the hook when the head is drawn to an exterior, and a locking device operative in response to an external electric signal for maintaining the hold on the hook by using the stopper when the head is drawn from the exterior.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0036] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention:

[0037] In the drawings:

[0038] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a related art outer appearance of washing machine, and a dryer;

[0039] FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of a related art door assembly structure;

[0040] FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view with a partial cut away view showing an assembly position of a hook assembly in a related art washing machine and dryer;

[0041] FIG. 4 illustrates a partial disassembled perspective view showing a structure and assembly relation of a hook assembly in a related art washing machine and dryer;

[0042] FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of an outer appearance of a washing machine and dryer of the present invention;

[0043] FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of an outer appearance of a door assembly of the present invention;

[0044] FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a door assembly of the present invention showing one embodiment of a hand hold with a partial cut away view;

[0045] FIG. 8 illustrates a partial perspective disassembled view of one embodiment of a hand hold in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0046] FIG. 9 illustrates a partial section of another embodiment of a hand hold in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0047] FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of a washing machine and dryer of the present invention showing an opened door body;

[0048] FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of a hook assembly in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0049] FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of a lock assembly in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0050] FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view showing the hook in FIG. 12 inserted;

[0051] FIG. 14 illustrates a partial section showing a process in which a hook is inserted into a lock assembly when a door body is closed in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0052] FIG. 15 illustrates a partial section showing joining of a fixed piece and a slider in a door assembly of the present invention;

[0053] FIG. 16 illustrates a perspective view showing the locking device in FIG. 13 is locked; and

[0054] FIG. 17 illustrates a partial section showing an anti-open structure of a door body when the locking device is locked in a door assembly of the present invention.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0055] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

[0056] In describing the embodiments, the same parts will be given the same names and reference symbols, and additional and iterative description of which will be omitted.

[0057] An outer appearance of a washing machine and dryer of the present invention is best shown in FIG. 5. Referring to FIG. 5, the washing machine and dryer of the present invention includes a cabinet 100, a drum 500, a tub (not shown), a door assembly, and a motor (not shown).

[0058] The cabinet 100 forms an outer shape of the washing machine and dryer. The cabinet 100 has an introduction opening 120 in one side of outside part of the cabinet 100, for example, in a front side thereof, for introducing/taking laundry into/out of the cabinet 100.

[0059] There is a cylindrical drum 500 rotatably mounted inside of the cabinet 100. The drum 500 is mounted horizontal to a horizontal plane, or slightly sloped with respect to the horizontal plane such that an opening thereof in correspondence to the introduction opening 120 is positioned slightly higher. The drum 500 mounted thus has a plurality of holes 510. The drum 500 has a plurality of tumbling ribs 520 projected from an inside surface of the drum 500 for lifting the laundry upward when the drum 500 is rotated.

[0060] The tub (not shown) is cylindrical and mounted inside of the cabinet 100 to surround the drum 500. The motor (not shown) is mounted inside of the cabinet 100 for rotating the drum 500.

[0061] The door assembly is mounted to open/close the introduction opening 120 in the cabinet 100. An entire structure of the door assembly of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 10, well. Referring to the drawings, the door assembly of the present invention includes a hinge assembly 150, a door body 200, a hook assembly 300, a lock assembly 400, of which detail will be described with reference to the drawings.

[0062] Referring to FIG. 10, the hinge assembly 150 is mounted at one point in the vicinity of the introduction opening 120 in the cabinet 100.

[0063] As shown in FIGS. 6 and 10, the door body 200 is connected to a hinge assembly 150 for opening/closing the introduction opening 120.

[0064] The door body 200 mounted thus includes a frame 210 in a form of a loop, and a door glass 240 fixed to an inner circumferential surface of the frame 210. The door glass 240 is formed of a transparent material, and the frame 210 includes an outer frame 230 and an inner frame 220. The outer frame 230 and the inner frame 220 are joined together at opposite sides, for an example, at front and rear sides the door glass 240, with the door glass 240 disposed between the outer frame 230 and the inner frame 220. This joining facilitates the door glass 240 to be supported by the frame 210 in a state an outer circumferential surface of the door glass 240 is fit in a loop form, for an example, in a ring form of the inner circumferential surface of the frame 210. In the meantime, at least one of the inner frame 200 and the outer frame 230 is connected to the hinge assembly 150. When the door body 200 has the foregoing system, the door body 200 may be rotated for opening/closing the introduction opening 120 to the cabinet 100.

[0065] In the meantime, as shown in FIG. 6, the door assembly of the present invention further includes a hand hold 250. The hand hold 250 is a recess in the frame 210, for an example, in one side of the outer frame 230, in more detail, in an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230.

[0066] Referring to FIG. 7, in the present invention, the hand hold 250 may be formed as a part of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230 itself is recessed toward an inner side, i.e., toward an inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230. Or, in the present invention, the hand hold 250 may be formed as a separate body, and inserted in the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230. In this instance, as shown in FIG. 8, the hand hold 250 includes a hand hold opening 251 and a hand hold holder 252. The hand hold opening 251 opens one point of the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230, and the hand hold holder 252 having a recess in one side thereof is inserted in the hand hold opening 251 in the outer frame 230.

[0067] The hand hold 250 formed thus may have a surface in contact with a palm when the user puts a user's hand therein and pulls the hand hold 250 to be smooth as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the surface may be curved as shown in FIG. 9. If the surface in contact with the palm is curved, it is preferable that the curve has a curvature in conformity with a curved surface formed when the palm is bent by half substantially so that the user can put a user's hand into the hand hold with convenience. The curved palm contact surface permits the user to exert user's force effectively more than the flat palm contact surface in pulling the door body 200.

[0068] The door assembly of the present invention further includes a finger recess 253 in the hand hold 250 for user's convenience. As shown in FIG. 9, the finger recess 253 is a recess in one region of an inside of the hand hold 250 user's palm comes into contact thereto so that ends of fingers are inserted therein and caught thereby when the user puts the user's hand into the hand hold 250. The finger recess 253 permits the user to exert user's force more effectively because the ends of fingers are securely inserted in the finger recess 253 when the user puts a user's hand into the hand hold 250.

[0069] In the meantime, the door assembly of the present invention includes a plurality of anti-slip projections 254 formed on the surface of the hand hold 250 to come into contact with a user's palm. The plurality of ant-slip projections 254 prevent the user's hand from slipping when the user puts the user's hand in the hand hold 250 and pulls the hand hold 250.

[0070] In the present invention in which the hand hold 250 is formed recessed in the inner circumference of the frame 210, it is preferable that a convenience is provided to the user so that the user recognizes the hand hold 250 from exterior with easy. For this, the present invention provides a variety of structures, which will be described in detail.

[0071] Referring to FIG. 9, for enabling an easy recognition of a position the hand hold 250 is formed therein, the inner circumferential surface of the outer frame 230 in the vicinity of the hand hold 250, for an example, an upper part of the inner circumferential surface thereof, may be sloped. The sloped upper part permits an easy recognition of the position of the hand hold 250 from an exterior, since only a part of the frame 210 is sloped.

[0072] For the easy recognition of the position of the hand hold 250 from an exterior, a mark (not shown) may be formed on a surface of the outer frame 230 in the vicinity of the hand hold 250 for indicating the position of the hand hold 250. It is preferable that the position indicating mark has a design in harmony with an overall outer appearance of the washing machine and dryer while a purpose informing the position of the hand hold 250 is contained. For an example, a logo representing a product or a manufacturing company carved, printed, or attached to the product may be used in place of the position indicating mark.

[0073] Or, for the easy recognition of the position of the hand hold 250 from an exterior, it is possible that the a part of outer frame 230 in the vicinity of the hand hold 250 may be colored different from other part, or formed of a transparent material. In this instance too, it is required that the design is harmonized with an overall outer appearance of the washing machine and the dryer.

[0074] The embodiment of the position indicating marking, the coloring of the part of the outer frame 230 with a different color, or forming the part of the outer frame 230 of a transparent material, for easy recognition of the position of the hand hold 250 from an exterior, is not shown in the drawings, because those embodiments can be understood with easy to anybody even only with description.

[0075] The present invention in which the hand hold 250 is recessed in the inner circumferential surface of the frame 210 can improve an overall outer appearance of the washing machine and the dryer because the hand hold 250 is invisible from an exterior.

[0076] In the meantime, referring to FIG. 11, in the door assembly of the present invention, the hook assembly 300 includes brackets 320, a shaft 340, and a hook 310, and a spring 330.

[0077] The bracket 320 is projected from the frame 210 of the door body 200, for an example, an inside surface of the inner frame 220, to an inner space, more specifically, to an inner space of the frame 210. There are one pair of brackets 320 formed as one unit with the door body 200, more specifically, the frame 210, and projected therefrom, each with an end having a shaft hole for inserting the shaft 340 described later.

[0078] Referring to FIG. 11, the shaft 340 is fitted such that opposite ends thereof are inserted in the shaft holes in the brackets 320 respectively.

[0079] Referring to FIGS. 10 and 11, the hook 310 has a head 311 at a fore end thereof, and the other end inserted in the shaft 340. The head 311 has one projected side. The head 311 has a stopper 312 at a projected opposite fore end. The hook 310 formed thus is fitted such that the opposite end of the head 311 is connected to the shaft 340, and the hook 310 is passed through the door body 200, more specifically, the hook hole 221 in the frame 210. In this instance, a spring 330 is provided such that the hook 310 has an elastic force when the hook 310 rotates in left/right or up/down directions within a preset range of gap fixed depending on a size of the hook hole 221.

[0080] The spring 330 provides the elastic force when the hook 310 is rotated within the preset gap centered on the shaft 340. The spring 330 is provided such that the hook 310 has a force tending to move to the projected one side direction of the head 311. As shown in FIG. 11, the spring 330 is provided such that a part thereof is fixed to the hook 310 or a part to be moved together with the hook, for an example, the shaft 340, and the other part thereof is supported on the door body 200, more specifically, a spring stopper 340 projected from the frame 210. The spring stopper 340 is projected from the frame 210 so as to be positioned between the one pair of the brackets 320. The spring 330 provided thus may be, for an example, a torsion spring.

[0081] Thus, the spring 330 is provided such that one end thereof is held at the hook 310 or a part rotating with the hook 310 and the other end thereof is held at a fixed part that does not rotate. That is, when the shaft 340 is inserted in, and held at the shaft holes in the brackets 320, and the hook 310 is rotatably provided with respect to the shaft 340, one end of the spring 330 is held at the hook 310 and the other end thereof is held at a non-rotating part, i.e., the shaft 340, the bracket 320, the spring stopper 340. When the shaft 340 is rotatable with the hook 310, the one end of the spring 330 is held at the hook 310 or the shaft 340, and the other end thereof is held at the bracket 320 or the spring stopper 340.

[0082] In the meantime, in the door assembly of the present invention, the lock assembly 400 includes a hook holding device, and a locking device. A detailed structure and operation principle of the door assembly are illustrated well in FIGS. 12˜17, referring to which the lock assembly will be described.

[0083] The hook holding device is provided to the other region of the cabinet 100, for an example, one region of an inside thereof, for holding the hook 310 by using an elastic force of the hook 310 when the head 311 is inserted therein, and releasing the hook 310 when the head 311 is pulled to an exterior. As shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the hook holding device includes a locking body 410, and a slider 420.

[0084] The locking body 410 is fixed to an inside surface of the cabinet 100, and has a second inserting hole 411 passed through, and formed in, a region thereof. The locking body 410 is disposed and fixed such that the second inserting hole 411 is opposite to a first inserting hole 101 formed in the cabinet 100. For reference, the first inserting hole 101 is formed in the cabinet 100 such that the hook 310 projected from the door body 200, particularly, the head 311 is inserted therein. A contact surface 411a of the second inserting hole 411, to be brought into contact with a projected surface of the head 311 when the head 311 of the hook 310 is inserted through the second inserting hole 411, is sloped. This is for making the head 311 to move with a slope when the head 311 is inserted and drawn to an exterior. It is preferable that the slope is substantially similar to a slope of the projected one side of the head 311.

[0085] The slider 420 is slidably provided to one face of the locking body 410, more specifically, on an opposite face of a face of the locking body 410 attached to the cabinet 100. The slider 420 provided thus has a third inserting hole 421 in correspondence both to the first inserting hole 101 and the second inserting hole 411. There are a contact plate 423 and a head stopper 424 projected from both sides of the third inserting hole 421. The contact plate 423 is formed at a part corresponding to the projected one side of the head 311 when the hook 310 is inserted through the third inserting hole 421, and the head stopper 424 is formed in a direction corresponding to the stopper 312. The contact plate 423 is disposed so as to contact with the projected one side of the heat 311 directly when the head 311 is inserted into the third inserting hole 421. As shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, the head stopper 424 is formed such that the head stopper 424 is spaced a distance away from the stopper 312 when the head 311 is inserted fully through the third inserting hole 421, with a top end thereof positioned lower than a height of the stopper 312 of the hook 310. Moreover, as shown in FIG. 17, the head stopper 424 is disposed and formed such that, if the head 311 is drawn to an exterior from the third inserting hole 421 in a state the slider 420 is fixed, when the head 311 moves in an oblique direction owing to the projected one side of the head 311, the stopper 312 is caught at the top end, such that the head 311 can not be drawn to the exterior anymore, but seized.

[0086] The slider 420 having the foregoing system is given the elastic force from a tension or compression spring, and the present specification takes the compression spring as an example for convenience of description. The compression spring providing the elastic force to the slider 420 has one end fixed to the slider 420 and the other end fixed to the locking body 410. The slider 420 having the elastic force from the compression spring 425 has an elastic force smaller than an elastic force to the hook 310, for which the compression spring 425 provided to the slider 420 has an elastic force smaller than the spring 330 provided to the hook 310. When the hook 310 enters through the third inserting hole 421 to make the head 311 and the contact plate 423 to come into contact, the difference of the elastic forces of the spring 330 and the compression spring 425 makes the slider 420 to move on the whole as the contact plate 423 is pushed to one side. In this instance, the compression spring 425 is provided such that, when the slider 420 moves thus, the compression spring 425 is compressed to have an elastic energy, to restore the slider 420 to an original position again by means of the elastic restoration force when the head 311 is drawn to the exterior. Though the compression spring 425 is taken as an example of the spring that provides the elastic force to the slider 420, this is applicable to a tension spring too in the same fashion.

[0087] In the meantime, in the door assembly of the present invention, the hook holding device further includes an aligning means 430. The aligning means 430, fixes a position of the slider 420 in a state the head 311 is not inserted in the first, second, and third inserting holes 101, 411, and 421, to align the first, second, and third inserting holes 421. As shown in FIGS. 12, 13, and 15, the aligning means 430 serving thus includes a plurality of dents 426 in the slider and a plurality of latches 431 elastically provided to the locking body 410.

[0088] The plurality, for an example one pair, of dents 426 are formed at both sides of the slider 420 in a direction perpendicular to a direction of movement of the slider 420.

[0089] The latch 431 is elastically slidably provided to the locking body 410, disposed such that a teeth 432 formed on a region is inserted in the dent 426 in the slider 420 and a fore end thereof is positioned on the third inserting hole 421. The latches 431 are provided to be in correspondence to the dents 426 respectively. In the meantime, the elastic spring for providing an elastic force to the latches are not shown in drawings. Once the latches are provided thus, when the head 311 does not enter, a position of the slider 420 is fixed by the latch 431. The latch 431 provided thus is also disposed such that, when the head 311 enters into the third inserting hole 421, the fore end thereof is pushed backward as the fore end thereof comes into contact with the fore end of the head 311. Once the fore end of the latch 431 is disposed thus, when the head 311 enters, the fore end is pushed by the head 311, and, according to this, the teeth 432 inserted in the dent 426 comes out of the dent 426, to release the slider 420, and, as the contact plate 423 is pushed by the head 311, the slider 420 can move along with the contact plate 423.

[0090] In the meantime, the locking device is operative in response to an external electric signal for maintaining a holding state of the hook 310 by using the stopper 312 on the hook 310 when the head 311 is drawn outward. The locking device includes a locking switch, and catch means.

[0091] The locking switch is a kind of solenoid switch operative in response to the external electric signal, provided in an inside of the locking body 410. The locking switch includes a locking rod 440 projected to an exterior from the locking body 410, more specifically, to an exterior of a side the slider 420 is provided thereto upon reception of the external electric signal. For providing the electric signal to the locking switch, there is a connector 412 at one side of the locking body 410 having a wiring connected thereto. The locking switch formed thus is provided with the electric signal at the same time with putting the washing machine and the dryer into operation, and the electric signal can be provided thereto by operating a control panel from exterior.

[0092] The catch means is formed on the slider 420, for limiting a movement of the slider 420 as the catch means is caught at the locking rod 440 when the locking rod 440 is projected. The catch means may have a variety of structures, typically a projected step 427 and a pass through hole (not shown). The projected step 427 is projected from one side of the slider 420 to form a step, at a position opposite to a part the projected step 427 comes into contact with, and caught by the locking rod 440, or, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 16, at a position one side thereof is opposite to a part the locking rod 440 is projected thereto when the slider 420 is moved fully as the head 311 is inserted into the third inserting hole 421. Though not shown, the catch means may be a projection formed at a position identical to the projection step 427. In the meantime, the pass through hole is formed to pass through a region of the slider 420 opposite to a part the locking rod 440 is projected thereto when the slider 420 moves fully as the head 311 is inserted into the third inserting hole 421. The pass through hole formed thus is not shown in the drawing since the foregoing description can be known to anybody.

[0093] The foregoing hook assembly 300 and the lock assembly 400 are operative as follows, for maintaining and releasing a closed, and locked state of the door body 200.

[0094] When the door body 200 is rotated centered on the hinge assembly 150 to close the introduction opening 120, the hook 310 is inserted into the first, second, and third inserting holes 101, 411, and 421. As shown in FIG. 14, the hook 310 is inserted in an oblique direction, in a state the projected one side of the head 311 is in contact with the sloped contact surface 411a on the locking body 410.

[0095] As the hook 310 is inserted gradually, the head 311 of the hook 310 pushes the fore end of the latch 431 to opposite sides such that the teeth 432 comes out of the dent 426 to release the slider 420. When the head 311 is inserted, with the projected one side of the head 311 is in contact with the contact plate 423, the slider 420 is pushed to one side gradually because the elastic force of the spring 330 provided to the hook 310 is stronger than the elastic force of the compression spring 425 provided to the slider 420.

[0096] Once the hook 310 is inserted fully, the locking rod 440 of the locking switch is exposed to an exterior as shown in FIG. 13, and the closed state of the door body 200 is maintained by the elastic force of the spring 330 in a state the hook 310 is seated on the contact surface 411a as shown in FIG. 14. In this instance, the stopper 312 on the hook 310 and the head stopper 424 are spaced a distance.

[0097] When the door body 200 is opened in a state closure of the door body 200 is maintained as the hook 310 is in contact with the sloped contact surface 411a in an elastic state, the hook 310 is drawn out of the first, second, third holes 101, 411, and 421. In this instance, the head 311 of the hook 310 is drawn, moving backward in an oblique direction toward the head stopper 424 owing to the sloped contact surface 411a. Then, the slider 420 moves to an original position again by the elastic restoration force of the compression spring 425 at the same time with the head 311 of the hook 310 drawn outward. Therefore, because the stopper 312 on the hook 310 and the head stopper 424 on the slider 420 always maintain a fixed distance, the hook 310 can be drawn out of the first, second, and third inserting hole 421 fully without the stopper 312 being caught at the head stopper 424.

[0098] Referring to FIG. 16, when the external electric signal is provided to the locking switch, the locking rod 440 is projected from the locking body 410, such that the catch means, for an example, the projected step 427, is caught at the locking rod 440, and limits movement of the slider 420. If the door body 200 is opened in a state the locking rod 440 is projected, the hook 310 is drawn from the third hole 421 slowly, when the slider 420 does not restore to an original position even if the elastic restoring force is provided thereto from the compression spring 425 since movement of the slider 420 is limited by the locking device.

[0099] Therefore, referring to FIG. 17, if the head 311 of the hook 310 moves backward in the oblique direction toward the head stopper 424 in a state the head stopper 424 is fixed together with the slider 420, the stopper 312 of the hook 310 is caught and held at the fore end of the head stopper 424, making the hook 310 drawn outward no more, the door body 200 is opened no more. According to this principle, even if an attempt for opening the door body 200 is made in a state the electric signal is provided to the locking switch, the closure state of the door body 200 can be maintained.

[0100] Once the hook assembly 200 and the lock assembly 400 are designed to have the foregoing systems, occurrences of fault and accident caused by negligence of safety can be prevented because the door body 200 can not be opened if the locking device is operated at the same time with putting the washing machine and the dryer into operation.

[0101] In the meantime, the present invention having the door assembly can be applied both to the washing machine and the dryer.

[0102] When the present invention is applied to the washing machine, as described, the washing machine of the present invention includes a cabinet 100, a drum 500, the tub, the motor, a water draining device, a detergent box, a water supply device and the like. When the present invention is applied to a combined dryer and washing machine, the combined dryer and washing machine, in addition thereto, further includes a plurality of ducts for circulating air inside of the drum, a circulating fan for circulating the air via the ducts, a heater for heating the air, and a condensing device for condensing and removing moisture contained in the air passing through the ducts. In the meantime, the unexplained reference symbol 130 is a detergent box for storing and supplying detergent into the drum 500.

[0103] If the present invention is applied to the dryer, as described, the dryer of the present invention further includes a cabinet 100, a drum 500, the tub, the motor, a water draining device, a circulating duct for circulating air inside of the drum 500, a circulating fan for circulating the air via the circulating duct, a heater for heating the air, and a condensing device for condensing and removing moisture contained in the air. Of course, the dryer of the present invention may not be provided with the condensing device as the case demands, but the dryer of the present invention may be the air discharge type for discharging moist air having the drying carried out in the drum to exterior, directly.

[0104] Since the application of the door assembly structure of the present invention is identical both to the washing machine and dryer of the present invention having the foregoing system elements, repetitive description thereof will be omitted. Moreover, since the various elements for washing and drying are conventional ones, no drawing of the same is shown in the present invention separately except the door assembly structure of the present invention.

[0105] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Industrial Applicability

[0106] The present invention having the foregoing system has the following advantages.

[0107] First, the hand hold recessed into an inner circumferential surface of the door body so as not to be visible from exterior improves an overall good appearance of the washing machine and the dryer, to excite consumer's interest of purchase.

[0108] Second, the smaller number of hook assembly components than the related art permits a simpler assembly process, that improves productivity of the door assembly, the washing machine and the dryer.

[0109] Third, since the putting the locking device into action can prevent the door body from opening owing to the stopper and the head stopper, the fault caused by an external force forcibly exerting to the door body and accident caused by negligence of safety can be prevented in advance.