Title:
Child care storage having warming-in-water apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A child care storage has a warming-in-water compartment in which infant foods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus. The warming-in-water apparatus includes a cylindrical inner tub, the inner tub having an mounting groove at its inner lower periphery, a warming-in-water tub detachably inserted into the inner tub, the warming-in-water tub containing infant food or goods therein together with water, and a heater, arranged in the mounting groove of the inner tub, for heating the warming-in-water tub to thereby warm up the infant foods or goods therein.



Inventors:
Shim, Kyuil (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/398631
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/06/2006
Assignee:
DAEWOO ELECTRONICS Corporation (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25B21/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEUNG, PHILIP H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BACON & THOMAS, PLLC (625 SLATERS LANE FOURTH FLOOR, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22314-1176, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A child care storage having a warming-in-water compartment in which infant foods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus, wherein the warming-in-water apparatus comprises: a cylindrical inner tub, the inner tub having an mounting groove at its inner lower periphery; a warming-in-water tub detachably inserted into the inner tub, the warming-in-water tub containing infant food or goods therein together with water; and means, arranged in the mounting groove of the inner tub, for heating the warming-in-water tub.

2. The child care storage of claim 1, wherein the heating means includes: a silicone rubber heater, the silicon rubber heater being attached on the mounting groove through a fixing member including an adhesive agent and bolts.

3. The child care storage of claim 1, wherein the heating means includes: a thermal diffusion member arranged on the mounting groove; and an induction heater installed beneath the thermal diffusion member, wherein the thermal diffusion member is brought into contact with the heater so that heat produced by the heater is readily transferred and diffused to the warming-in-water tub.

4. The child care storage of claim 1, wherein the inner tub further has a hanging groove outwardly recessed at its upper edge periphery and wherein the warming-in-water tub has a flange formed at an upper edge periphery, the flange being mounted and supported on the hanging groove of the inner tub when inserting the warming-in-water tub into the inner tub.

5. The child care storage of claim 4, wherein the silicon rubber heater is arranged to enclose the outer peripheral surface of the warming-in-water tub when inserting the warming-in-water tub into the inner tub.

6. The child care storage of claim 3, wherein the thermal diffusion member is arranged to envelop the outer peripheral surface of the warming-in-water tub when inserting the warming-in-water tub into the inner tub.

7. The child care storage of claim 1, wherein the inner tub is made of an insulating material that acts to prevent a heat loss.

8. The child care storage of claim 1, further comprise: an operation unit for performing a manipulation of the heating means; and a controller, in response to an operation signal from the operation unit, for controlling the heating means in accordance with the operation signal.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a child care storage, and more particularly, to a child care storage having a warming-in-water compartment in which infant foods and/or goods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A refrigerator is generally used to keep foods or beverages in a refrigerated or frozen state for a long time or to cool them rapidly. The refrigerator includes a freezer compartment and refrigerator compartment opened and closed by respective front doors. To supply cooled air to the freezer and refrigerator compartments, the refrigerator further includes a compressor, a condenser, a capillary tube and a refrigerating machine to perform a cooling cycle. In the cooling cycle, the compressor compresses a coolant at a high temperature and pressure to provide the compressed coolant to the condenser. The condenser releases heat from the compressed coolant to convert it into a low-temperature and low-pressure liquid state, which is then converted into a low-temperature and high-pressure liquid state while the coolant passes through the capillary tube. The low-temperature high-pressure liquid coolant is then directed to the refrigerating machine installed at a rear side of the freezer compartment to be sent to the refrigerating machine, evaporated and converted into a low-pressure coolant while it passes through a coolant pipe of the refrigerating machine, thereby lowering temperatures of the freezer and refrigerator compartments.

Recently, with a rise in the standard of living, there have been increasing demands for diversified types of special-purpose refrigerators. To meet such needs, for example, a kimchi refrigerator equipped with an evaporation pipe and a heating wire for ripening kimchi has been developed and widely available. There has also been developed a cosmetic cooler having a small storage compartment which is capable of keeping cosmetics at a low temperature by cooling the storage compartment using a thermoelectric element.

Although various special-purpose or multi-purpose refrigerators have been developed, special-purpose storages for baby or child care have rarely been developed.

If infant foods and/or infant products such as powdered milk, breast milk and medicines are stored in conventional storage means, there may be various problems or inconveniences. For example, if infant foods and/or infant products are stored in a conventional household refrigerator, they will be soaked with odors of other foods stored together in the refrigerator. As a result, the quality of the infant foods and/or infant products will be deteriorated and even hygienic problems may be caused. When a microwave oven is used to warm up, in particular, reconstituted milk, it is difficult to maintain the warmed-up reconstituted milk at a desired temperature for a long period of time. However, it is expensive to purchase a heating cabinet for the sole purpose of warming up reconstituted milk or storing warmed-up reconstituted milk.

Furthermore, since conventional heating cabinets are designed to be used in, for example, a hospital, pharmacy or restaurant, it is not suitable for use in home for the purpose of child care.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a multi-function child care storage having a warming-in-water compartment in which infant foods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus having a capability of uniformly transferring a large amount of heat to the infant foods.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a child care storage having a warming-in-water compartment in which infant foods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus, wherein the warming-in-water apparatus includes: an inner tub, the inner tub having an mounting groove at its lower inner periphery; a warming-in-water tub detachably inserted into the inner tub, the warming-in-water tub containing infant food or goods therein together with water; and means, arranged in the mounting groove of the inner tub, for heating the warming-in-water tub to thereby warm up the infant foods or goods.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments, given in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a child care storage in accordance with the present invention, wherein all doors thereof are opened;

FIG. 2 is a front sectional view showing a child care storage having a warming-in-water apparatus in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the configuration of a warming-in-water apparatus of the child care storage shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a front sectional view showing a child care storage having a warming-in-water apparatus in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the configuration of a warming-in-water apparatus of the child care storage shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings so that they can be readily carried out by those skilled in the art.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a child care storage in accordance with the present invention.

The child care storage 100 includes a plurality of functional compartments, i.e., a refrigerating compartment 120, a steam sterilizing compartment 130 and a warming-in-water compartment 140, partitioned in a main body 110 for refrigerating, sterilizing and warming-in-water infant products, respectively.

In addition to the functional compartments 120, 130, 140, for example, a refrigerating/heating compartment may further be provided to keep infant foods selectively in a refrigerated state or heated state.

The refrigerating compartment 120 is opened and closed by doors 125 and 126 hinged to edges of the main body 110 to define a refrigerating space 121. In the refrigerating space 121, a shelf 122 and a drawer 123 are installed to load infant foods and/or infant products. The infant foods and the like loaded on the shelf 122 or in the drawer 123 are kept in a refrigerated state using, e.g., a thermoelectric element (not shown) or chiller (not shown).

The steam sterilizing compartment 130 is provided at an upper portion of the main body 110. The steam sterilizing compartment 130 is opened and closed from above by a compartment door 131 to define a sterilizing space 132 partitioned in the main body 110. The sterilizing compartment 130 acts to sterilize the infant goods loaded therein using steam generated through a heater (not shown) or ultraviolet rays from an ultraviolet sterilization lamp (not shown).

The warming-in-water compartment 140 is provided at an upper portion of the main body 110 together with the steam sterilizing compartment 130 by partitioning the upper part of the main body. The warming-in-water compartment 140 is opened and closed from the above by a door 141. In the warming-in-water compartment 140, the infant foods or goods contained therein are warmed up by a warming-in-water apparatus, which will be described hereinafter.

FIG. 2 is a front sectional view showing a front sectional view showing a child care storage having a warming-in-water apparatus in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the configuration of a warming-in-water apparatus of the child care storage shown in FIG. 2.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, in the warming-in-water compartment 140, the warming-in-water apparatus includes an inner tub 143, a warming-in-water tub 144, and a heater 142.

The inner tub 143 is made of an insulating material 180 that acts to prevent a heat loss or a heat transfer between the functional compartments 120, 130 and 140 partitioned in the main body 110. The inner tub 143 has a cylindrical space Further, the inner tub 143 has a hanging groove 143a outwardly recessed at its upper edge periphery and a mounting groove 147 outwardly recessed by a predetermined width at its lower inner periphery, to thereby leave a band-like portion inwardly protruded along its center inner periphery.

The warming-in-water tub 144 is detachably inserted into the cylindrical space of the inner tub 143. The warming-in-water tub 144 contains water therein. Such a warming-in-water tub 144 is utilized to warm up infant foods or goods contained therein together with the water using the heat transferred from the heater 142. In the warming-in-water tub 144, a flange 144a is formed at an upper edge periphery. When inserting the warming-in-water tub 144 into the inner tub 143, the flange 144a is mounted and supported on the hanging groove 143a of the inner tub 143.

The heater 142 is arranged on the mounting grove 147 of the inner tub 143 and attached thereon using fixing members such as adhesive agents or bolts. Such a heater 142 includes a silicone rubber heater. The silicone rubber heater 142 is thin and has good durability and flexibility. Thus, the silicone rubber heater 142 can closely surround the outer peripheral surface of the warming-in-water tub 144 and rapidly transfer uniform heat to the warming-in-water tub 144. As a result, the warming-in-water apparatus can have a simple structure, thereby leading to simplification of manufacturing processes.

Further, compared to a conventional heating scheme where heat from a heat wire is directly transferred through a metal conductor to heated objects, thereby resulting in concentration of high-temperature heat, the silicone rubber heater 142 consumes less electric power and uniformly heats the warming-in-water tub 144 to an appropriate temperature, preferably 35° C. to 40° C., thereby preventing burns of children.

The warming-in-water apparatus is operated by manipulation of an operation unit 160 (see, FIG. 1) arranged at the front of the main body 110. The operation unit 160 may include a power switch, a timer for setting an operation time, and a temperature control switch and the like.

A controller 170, in response to an operation signal, e.g., an on/off signal, a temperature control signal, a temperature setting signal or the like, from the operation unit 160, controls the power supply 150 to supply an electrical power to the heater 142, to thereby control in the warming-in-water apparatus accordingly.

To warm up, for example, reconstituted milk, the heater 142 heats the water contained in the warming-in-water tub 144 to a temperature appropriately set up for infant feeding, for example about 37° C., using electric power supplied through a power cable 142a from the power supply 150.

For controlling the warming-in-water to maintain a preset temperature or to achieve overheat-proof, a temperature sensor (not shown) may further installed at the inner tub 143.

In operation, the warming-in-water tub 144 is installed in the inner tub 143. The operation unit 160 is manipulated to operate the heater 142. Heat generated from the heater 142 boils the water and thus warms up the infant foods contained in the warming-in-water tub 144.

FIG. 4 is a front sectional view showing a child care storage having a warming-in-water apparatus according to a second embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the configuration of a warming-in-water apparatus of the child care storage shown in FIG. 4.

In the second embodiment, the warming-in-water apparatus includes an inner tub 143, a warming-in-water tub 144, a heater 146, a controller 170 and the like that are substantially same as those in the first embodiment and, therefore, a detailed description therefor will be omitted for the sake of simplicity.

Differently from the first embodiment, the heater 146 is installed at a space beneath the inner tub 143. The heater 146 includes an induction heater. The induction heater 146 is comprised of a heating element 146a made of an iron-containing conductive material, and a coil 146b wound around the heating element 146a.

An alternating current is supplied from a power supply 150 passing through the coil 146b to generate an alternating magnetic field, which causes eddy currents to flow through the heating element 146a wound with the coil 146b. Owing to resistance loss of the heating element 146a, these eddy currents produce heat.

The induction heater 146 consumes less electric power because of rapid and uniform heat transfer, and can remove risk factors such as burns of children near to the heater.

In addition, the warming-in-water apparatus further includes a thermal diffusion member 145 made of a metal such as aluminum or a ceramic material having good thermal conductivity. The thermal diffusion member 145 is arranged on an inner peripheral surface of a mounting groove 143b of the inner tub 143 while enveloping the bottom of the warming-in-water 144. Adhesive agents may be used to attach the thermal diffusion member 145 on the inner peripheral surface of the mounting groove 143b. A lower portion, i.e., the heating element 146a, of the thermal diffusion member 145 is brought into contact with the heater 146. When the warming-in-water tub 144 is inserted into the inner tub 143, the thermal diffusion member 145 is arranged to surround the outer peripheral surface of the warming-in-water tub 144, so that the heat produced from the heating element 146a is readily transferred and diffused into the warming-in-water tub 144.

For controlling the induction heater 146 to maintain a preset temperature or to achieve an overheat-proof, a temperature sensor 171 is further installed, e.g., beneath or near to the thermal diffusion member 145, to measure the temperature of the heater 146. The temperature sensor 171 outputs a temperature signal reflecting the measured temperature to the controller 170. The controller, in response to the temperature signal from the sensor 171, controls the induction heater 146 to heat the water contained in the warming-in-water tub 144 to a preset temperature, for example, 35° C. to 40° C. in the case of reconstituted milk for appropriate infant feeding.

In operation, the warming-in-water tub 144 containing infant foods together with water is installed in the inner tub 143. In response to manipulation of the operation unit 160, the controller 170 controls the power supply 150 to supply an alternating current through the coil 146b of the induction heater 146, thereby generating an alternating magnetic field in the coil 146b. The alternating magnetic field causes eddy currents to flow through the heating element 146a. These eddy currents produce heat owing to resistance loss of the heating element 146a.

The produced heat of the heating element 146a readily diffuses through the thermal diffusion member 145 in contact with the heating element 146a and evenly transfers to the outer peripheral surface of the warming-in-water tub 144. The heat transferred from the thermal diffusion member 145 heats the water contained in the warming-in-water tub 144, thereby warm up the infant foods or goods contained in the warming-in-water tub 144. In this process, the controller 170 receives a temperature signal corresponding to a temperature measured by the temperature sensor 171, and controls the alternating current power supply from the power supply 150 to the coil 146b, thereby maintaining the preset temperature.

As apparent from the above description, the present invention provides a child care storage including a warming-in-water compartment for heating infant foods or goods through a warming-in-water operation. In particular, a silicone rubber heater or induction heater, which is capable of uniformly transferring a large amount of heat to heated objects without concentrated high-temperature flames, is used in the warming-in-water compartment, thereby enabling a rapid warming-in-water operation and removing risk factors such as burns of children.

While the invention has been shown and described with respect to the preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.