Title:
Icemaker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An icemaker to freeze water into ice, includes an ice cube tray formed with cubes to be filled with the water. The icemaker also includes an ultrasonic vibrator attached to the ice cube tray, to apply ultrasonic vibration to the ice cube tray to undulate the water filled in the cubes. Thus, air included in water filled in cubes of an ice cube tray is uniformly removed.



Inventors:
Seo, Kook-jeong (Seoul, KR)
Lee, Jae-seung (Hwasung-si, KR)
Yoon, Won-jae (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/165242
Publication Date:
02/16/2006
Filing Date:
06/24/2005
Assignee:
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/353
International Classes:
F25C1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TAPOLCAI, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (SUITE 700, 1201 NEW YORK AVENUE, N.W., WASHINGTON, DC, 20005, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An icemaker to freeze water into ice, comprising: an ice cube tray formed with cubes to be filled with the water; and an ultrasonic vibrator attached to the ice cube tray, to apply ultrasonic vibration to the ice cube tray to undulate the water filled in the cubes.

2. The icemaker according to claim 1, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is attached to an outer side of the ice cube tray.

3. The icemaker according to claim 1, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is detachably provided in the ice cube tray.

4. The icemaker according to claim 2, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is detachably provided in the ice cube tray.

5. The icemaker according to claim 1, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is plurally provided in the ice cube tray.

6. An icemaker, comprising: an ice cube tray formed with a plurality of cubes to be filled with water; a driver coupled to the ice cube tray, to rotate the ice cube tray; a stopper to contact one end of the rotated ice cube tray, to cause the ice cube tray to be twisted; a supporting bracket to support the ice cube tray and driver; an ice reservoir placed under the ice cube tray, to receive ice released from the ice cube tray; and an ultrasonic vibrator coupled to the ice cube tray, to vibrate the ice cube tray and undulate the water filled in the cubes.

7. The icemaker according to claim 6, further comprising: a rotational shaft provided in the driver; a driver coupling groove coupled with a rotational shaft of the driver; and a motor provided in the driver, to generate a rotational force, wherein the rotational shaft connects the motor with the driver coupling groove and transfers the rotational force from the motor to the ice cube tray, rotating the ice cube tray at a predetermined angle.

8. The icemaker according to claim 7, further comprising: a supporting shaft stably and rotatably supported in the supporting bracket.

9. The icemaker according to claim 8, wherein the supporting bracket comprises: a supporting shaft coupling groove at one side of the supporting bracket to which the supporting shaft is coupled and supported, the supporting bracket being connected to the ice cube tray and the driver.

10. The icemaker according to claim 6, wherein the stopper is provided in one side of the supporting bracket, to stop one side of the ice cube tray from rotating, twisting the ice cube tray.

11. The icemaker according to claim 6, wherein the driver drives the ice cube tray to rotate in a state in which one side of the ice cube tray is supported by the stopper, one side of the ice cube tray is stopped by the stopper, and an other side continues to rotate, twisting the ice cube tray.

12. The icemaker according to claim 6, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is detachably provided in the ice cube tray.

13. The icemaker according to claim 6, wherein the ultrasonic vibrator is plurally provided in the ice cube tray.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2004-63617, filed on Aug. 12, 2004, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an icemaker, and more particularly, to an icemaker having an improved structure of an ultrasonic vibrator.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, an icemaker is used to freeze water into ice, and is widely employed in household appliances such as a refrigerator and a water purifier. Quality of the icemaker is determined according to transparency and strength of ice made thereby.

A conventional icemaker includes an ice cube tray, a water supply to supply water into the ice cube tray, and a driver to twist the ice cube tray to release the ice from the ice cube tray. The conventional icemaker also includes an ice reservoir to receive the ice fallen from the ice cube tray and an air removing unit to remove air from water filled in the ice cube tray.

When an icemaking process begins, the water is frozen at a surface thereof. Thus, the air included in the water cannot be discharged from the water. The air included in the ice deteriorates the transparency and the strength of the ice, thereby causing the ice to be easily broken when the ice is released from the ice cube tray. To solve this problem, there has been used a method of undulating the water filled in the ice cube tray. An icemaker, which undulates the water filled in the ice cube tray includes a reciprocating unit to reciprocate the ice cube tray or an ultrasonic vibrator to directly vibrate the water. The icemaker including the reciprocating unit and ultrasonic vibrator are disclosed in Korean Patent Application Nos. 1995-18572 and 2001-26283, respectively.

A structure of the reciprocating unit is complicated and difficult to install. Also, efficiency of removing the air from water filled in the ice cube tray is not good.

The structure of the ultrasonic vibrator is relatively simple. However, ultrasonic vibration of the ultrasonic vibrator is not uniformly applied to the water filled in the ice cube tray and partitioned into a plurality of cubes. Thus, the efficiency of removing the air from water filled in the ice cube tray is not uniform.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention to provide an icemaker in which air included in water filled in cubes of an ice cube tray is uniformly removed.

Additional aspects and/or advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention are also achieved by providing an icemaker to freeze water into ice. The icemaker includes an ice cube tray formed with cubes to be filled with the water, and an ultrasonic vibrator attached to the ice cube tray, to apply ultrasonic vibration to the ice cube tray to undulate the water filled in the cubes.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the ultrasonic vibrator is attached to an outer side of the ice cube tray.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the ultrasonic vibrator is detachably provided in the ice cube tray.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the ultrasonic vibrator is plurally provided in the ice cube tray.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and/or other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompany drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an icemaker, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the icemaker of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating an operation of the icemaker of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a plan view of an ice cube tray of the icemaker of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. The embodiments are described below in order to explain the present invention by referring to the figures.

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, an icemaker according to an embodiment of the present invention includes an ice cube tray 20 formed with a plurality of cubes 22, a driver 30 coupled with the ice cube tray 20, to rotate the ice cube tray 20, and a stopper 40 cto contact one end of the rotated ice cube tray 20 to cause the ice cube tray 20 to be twisted. The icemaker also includes a supporting bracket 50 to support the ice cube tray 20 and the driver 30, an ice reservoir 60 placed under the ice cube tray 20 to receive ice released from the ice cube tray 20, and an ultrasonic vibrator 70 coupled to the ice cube tray 20, to vibrate the ice cube tray 20.

The ice cube tray 20 has a rectangular shape, and its opposite sides thereof are provided with a driver coupling groove 24 to be coupled with a rotating shaft (not shown) of the driver 30. The ice cube tray 20 also includes a supporting shaft 26 to be stably and rotatably supported in the supporting bracket 50.

The plurality of cubes 22 of the ice cube tray 20 are arranged along longitudinal and transverse directions, allowing the ice cube tray 20 to make a plurality of ice pieces. Ice may be released from the cube 22 when the driver 30 rotates and twists the ice cube tray 20.

The driver 30 includes a motor (not shown) to generate a rotational force. The driver 30 also includes the rotating shaft (not shown) to connect the motor with the driver coupling groove 24 and to transfer the rotational force from the motor to the ice cube tray 20, rotating the ice cube tray 20 at a predetermined angle. The driver 30 may be selected among well-known drivers.

The stopper 40 is provided in one side of the supporting bracket 50, to stop one side of the ice cube tray 20 from rotating, twisting the ice cube tray 20. A shape and position of the stopper may vary as long as the ice cube tray 20 is supported and twisted.

The supporting bracket 50 is connected to the ice cube tray 20 and the driver 30. The supporting bracket 50 has a supporting shaft coupling groove 52 at one side to which the supporting shaft 26 of the ice cube tray 20 is coupled and supported.

The ultrasonic vibrator 70 vibrates the ice cube tray 20 and indirectly undulates water filled in the cubes 22 of the ice cube tray 20, discharging air from the water. Thus, the air is uniformly removed from the water filled in the cubes 22 of the ice cube tray 20.

The ultrasonic vibrator 70 is attached to an outer side of the ice cube tray 20. A position of the ultrasonic vibrator may vary as long the ice cube tray vibrates. Further, the ultrasonic vibrator may be plurally provided as necessary.

Also, the ultrasonic vibrator may be detachably provided in the ice cube tray 20. Therefore, when the quality of the ice is not important, for example, when a shattered ice is needed, the ultrasonic vibrator may be detached from the ice cube tray 20.

According to the configuration above, operations of the icemaker will be described hereinbelow with respect to FIG. 3.

First, the cubes 22 of the ice cube tray 20 is filled with water supplied from a water supply. Then, the water filled in the cubes 22 is frozen into the ice by driving a freezing unit (not shown). While the water is frozen into the ice, the ultrasonic vibrator 70 vibrates the ice cube tray 20, discharging the air from the water.

After the water is frozen in to the ice, the driver 30 drives the ice cube tray 20 in order to release the ice from the cubes 22. The ice cube tray 20 rotates at a predetermined angle and contacts the stopper 40 provided in one side of the supporting bracket 50.

The driver 30 continues to drive the ice cube tray 20 to rotate in a state in which one side of the ice cube tray 20 is supported by the stopper 40, one side of the ice cube tray 20 is stopped by the stopper 40 and the other side thereof continues to rotate, thereby twisting the ice cube tray 20. Thus, the ice is released from the cubes 22 and fallen into the ice reservoir 60 placed under the ice cube tray 20.

In the above-described embodiment, the ultrasonic vibrator 70 is applied to the icemaker to twist the ice cube tray 20 and to release the ice from the ice cube tray 20. However, the ultrasonic vibrator may be applied to the icemaker including a heater and an ice releasing blade to release the ice from the ice cube tray. In this case, the ultrasonic vibrator should be placed such that the ultrasonic vibrator is not affected by the heater.

As described above, the present invention provides an icemaker in which an ultrasonic vibrator is attached to an ice cube tray, so that the ultrasonic vibrator is easily installed and air is uniformly discharged from water filled in cubes of the ice cube tray, enhancing the transparency and the strength of the ice.

Although a few embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims and their equivalents.