Title:
APPLIANCE INSTALLATION SYSTEM AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An appliance includes a friction member mounted to the outer surface and extending above the outer surface. The height of the friction member is adjustable so that the friction member can engage an underside of cabinetry in which the appliance is located. The height adjustment may be in the friction member, or in the appliance—for example in the appliance feet, or between the appliance and the friction member.



Inventors:
Maunsell, Steven (DUNEDIN, NZ)
Blaga, Dragos Mugurel (DUNEDIN, NZ)
Application Number:
11/943710
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
11/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/223, 312/351.1
International Classes:
A47B95/00; A47B97/00; B65D69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCDUFFIE, MICHAEL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP Docket (Clark Hill PLC 130 East Randolph Street Suite 3900, Chicago, IL, 60601, US)
Claims:
1. An appliance comprising an outer surface; a friction member mounted to the outer surface and extending above the outer surface; and a height adjustable spacer for adjusting the distance between a top surface of the friction member and a floor on which the appliance is positioned; such that in use, the friction member contacts a surface above the appliance.

2. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the friction member is mounted to an upper portion of said outer surface of the appliance;

3. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height adjustable spacer is mounted to a bottom surface of the appliance.

4. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height adjustable spacer is integral with the friction member.

5. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height adjustable spacer is mounted on to the friction member.

6. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the friction member is a friction pad formed from a resilient material, formed from a deformable material, or an inflatable member.

7. An appliance as claimed in claim 5 wherein the appliance includes a plurality of friction pads, with at least one friction pad located adjacent the rear of the appliance.

8. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height adjustable spacer comprises a foot or feet attached to the base of the appliance.

9. An appliance as claimed in claim 1 wherein the height adjustable spacer is adjustable from the front of the appliance.

10. An appliance as claimed in claim 4 wherein said height adjustable spacer comprises a pair of stepped members arranged face to face so that relative rotation of the stepped members progressively increases their combined thickness.

11. An appliance as claimed in claim 5 wherein said height adjustable spacer comprises a pair of stepped members arranged face to face so that relative rotation of the stepped members progressively increases their combined thickness.

12. A method of installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry, wherein the appliance includes a friction member mounted to an outer surface of the appliance, comprising the step of raising a top surface of the friction member so that it abuts an underside of the bench or cabinetry.

13. The method of claim 12 further including the step of mounting a block to the underside of the bench or cabinetry in a position corresponding to the friction member.

14. The method of claim 13 further including the step of adjusting the height of the block prior to the step of raising the top surface of the friction member.

15. A method of installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry comprising the steps of: attaching a friction member to an outer surface of the appliance; and raising a top surface of the friction member so that it abuts an underside of the bench or cabinetry.

16. The method of claim 15 further including the step of mounting a block to the underside of the bench or cabinetry in a position corresponding to the friction member.

17. The method of claim 16 further including the step of adjusting the height of the block prior to the step of raising the top surface of the friction member.

18. A kit for installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry, comprising: a friction pad; and a block, wherein, in use, the friction pad is fixed to the appliance and the block is fixed to an underside of the bench or cabinetry at a position corresponding to the position of the friction pad.

19. The kit of claim 18 wherein the kit includes a plurality of friction pads.

20. The kit of claim 18 or 19 wherein the dimensions of the block are adjustable.

21. An appliance comprising: an outer surface, comprising upper and side walls; a friction member mounted to the outer surface; and an adjustable spacer for adjusting the distance between an outer surface of the friction member and a surface adjacent to the appliance, in use, the friction member contacting a surface adjacent to appliance.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of domestic appliances, such as dishwashers.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Domestic appliances, such as dishwashers and ovens are often installed in cavities within surrounding cabinetry. Dishwashers, for example, are typically installed beneath kitchen worktops, adjacent to kitchen cabinets. Increasingly, refrigerators are also being installed in these locations.

If an appliance is not fixed to the floor or cabinetry in some way or counterbalanced, when it is opened, particularly if it is a drawer style appliance or it has a horizontally hinged door, it tends to tilt about its front bottom edge. This problem is particularly severe when a heavy load, such as a drawer full of crockery, is pulled out of the appliance.

One known solution to this problem is to provide a counterbalance in the appliance. A block of concrete is used to weigh the appliance down and prevent tilting.

Another solution to this problem is to fix the appliance in position. In the past, that has been done by fastening the appliance to the floor, worktop or to the surrounding cabinetry. However, each of these solutions has drawbacks. Screwing cleats into the floor into which the appliance slides damages the floor and requires accurate drilling of holes into various types of floor surface. Screwing the appliance into the cabinetry or worktop requires access to the interior of the appliance and usually requires partial disassembly of the appliance.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a simpler way of securing an appliance within a cavity or at least to provide the public with a useful choice.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect the invention consists in an appliance comprising

an outer surface;

a friction member mounted to the outer surface and extending above the outer surface; and

adjustment means for adjusting the distance between a top surface of the friction member and a floor on which the appliance is positioned; such that

in use, the friction member contacts a surface above the appliance.

In a second aspect the invention consists in a method of installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry, wherein the appliance includes a friction member mounted to an outer surface of the appliance, comprising the step of raising a top surface of the friction member so that it abuts an underside of the bench or cabinetry.

In a third aspect the invention consists in a method of installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry comprising the steps of:

attaching a friction member to an outer surface of the appliance; and

raising a top surface of the friction member so that it abuts an underside of the bench or cabinetry.

In a fourth aspect the invention consists of a kit for installing an appliance under a bench or cabinetry, comprising:

a friction pad; and

a block,

wherein, in use, the friction pad is fixed to the appliance and the block is fixed to an underside of the bench or cabinetry at a position corresponding to the position of the friction pad.

In a fifth aspect the invention consists in an appliance comprising:

an outer surface, comprising upper and side walls;

a friction member mounted to the outer surface; and

adjustment means for adjusting the distance between an outer surface of the friction member and a surface adjacent to the appliance, in use, the friction member contacting a surface adjacent to appliance.

To those skilled in the art to which the invention relates, many changes in construction and widely differing embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. The disclosures and the descriptions herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Examples of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates system for securing an appliance in accordance with the prior art.

FIG. 2 illustrates a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4a to 4e illustrates the operation of the friction pads of the embodiment shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates the third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a system for installing a dishwasher 10 into a cavity 13 in accordance with the prior art. Arrow 14 indicates where the dishwasher is to be finally positioned. The dishwasher 10 includes screw holes 11, 12 in its outer chassis. Screws pass through these holes from the interior of the dishwasher and into the surrounding cabinetry. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the dishwasher 10 is a drawer type dishwasher. In order to access the screw holes 11, 12 from interior the dishwasher, at least one of the drawers must be removed.

The present invention offers a simpler way to secure an appliance within a cavity.

FIG. 2 illustrates a first embodiment of the present invention. The appliance 20 shown in FIG. 2 is drawer type dishwasher. The appliance is positioned underneath a kitchen worktop 21, which is shown partially cut away. A pair of friction pads 22, 23 is mounted on the top surface of the appliance chassis.

The friction pads 22, 23 are positioned at the rear corners of the top surface of the appliance as this gives the installed appliance the greatest stability. However, it should be clear that any number of friction pads could be used positioned anywhere on the top surface of the appliance. Furthermore, as explained in greater detail with reference to FIG. 7, friction pads could alternatively be placed on the side surfaces of the appliance instead of, or as well as, on the top surface.

In the example shown in FIG. 2, the friction pads 22, 23 abut the underside of the kitchen worktop 21. The appliance is braced between the worktop 21 and the floor on which the appliance sits. The appliance includes feet 26 which are positioned between the appliance chassis and the floor. When the drawers 24, 25 are pulled out of the chassis, the appliance will tend to tilt towards the front, using the front of the feet as pivot points. The friction pads counteract this tendency by abutting the underside of the worktop.

A wide variety of materials could be used for the friction pads. The clamping of the dishwasher between the floor and the worktop prevents tilting of the appliance and will provide some horizontal frictional force between the friction pads and the worktop whatever the material and shape of the friction pads. However, preferably, the fiction pads are formed of a material having a high coefficient of friction, such as a rubber, and in use have a significant surface area in contact with the underside of the worktop.

The method of installing the appliance shown in FIG. 2 will now be described. Firstly, the friction pads 22, 23 are mounted to the top surface of the appliance. In this example, the friction pads are formed from an elastomeric rubber compound and are glued to the top back edge of the appliance chassis. The friction pads may be glued onto the chassis during manufacture of the appliance or subsequent to manufacture, by a user or installation engineer. The appliance is then positioned in the cavity under the worktop 21. The feet 26 of the appliance are adjustable to level and to adjust the height of the appliance 20 off the floor. The feet are adjusted to urge the friction pads 22, 23 into contact with the underside of the worktop 21. The appliance may include a mechanism that allows each of the feet to be altered from the front of the chassis. Mechanisms of this sort are known in the art and are described in, for example, German patent publication DE3336375.

Alternatively height adjustment of the friction surface may be provided by a height adjustment between the friction pad and the machine chassis, or within the friction pad itself. For example the friction pad may be supported on a threaded rod engaged in a socket of the chassis. Or appliance “feet” may be provided on the upper side of the appliance.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention. The appliance 30 and feet 34 are of the same type as the appliance shown in FIG. 2. The appliance 30 is positioned under a worktop 31, which is shown partially cut away. The friction pads 32, 33 are attached the appliance at the back corners of the top surface of the chassis. The embodiment of FIG. 3 further includes two pairs of blocks 35, 36. The blocks 35, 36 are mounted to the underside of the worktop 31 in positions corresponding to the position of the friction pads. The blocks 35 and 36 are adjustable in height, a preferred embodiment of the block is described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 4a-4e. The blocks 35, 36 may be screwed, glued, or fixed in any other suitable way to the underside of the worktop 31.

FIG. 4a shows a disc 37. A pair of discs 37, 38 as shown in FIG. 4b corresponds to the block 35 shown in FIG. 3. Each disc 37, 38 may be identical, the discs may be formed of a rigid plastics material. Each disc is flat on one side. The thickness of each disc 37 varies as function of angular position in a stepped fashion so that the other side of the disc resembles a spiral staircase. The stepped surfaces of the two discs 37, 38 are placed against one another to form a block 35. The height of the block can be varied by rotating one disc 37 relative to the other disc 38. FIGS. 4b-4e show various configurations of the block 35. The height of blocks 35, 36 can be adjusted as desired prior to positioning the appliance in the cavity.

The appliance may be locked in place by then adjusting the feet of the appliance, with the blocks providing coarse adjustment to suit the height of the installation cavity. Alternatively height adjustment may be incorporated in the friction pads or between the friction pads and the appliance cabinet or chassis.

FIG. 5 shows a third embodiment of the present invention. The arrangement of appliance 20, worktop 51 and friction pads 52, 53 is the same as that in the first embodiment described with reference to FIG. 2. The third embodiment includes a beam 54 that is attached to the underside of the worktop 51. Similar to the blocks 35, 36 of the second embodiment, the beam is positioned to contact the friction pads 52, 53 and is adjustable in height prior to positioning the appliance in the cavity.

The height of the beam can be adjusted by various methods. For example, the beam may be made from an easily carved material. The beam may be asymmetric such that the height of the beam is dependent on its orientation. Alternatively, the beam may be formed from multiple stacked layers, so that the height of the beam can be adjusted by adding or removing layers.

FIG. 6 shows a fourth embodiment of the present invention. The arrangement of the appliance 60 and feet 61 in FIG. 6 is the same as that shown in FIG. 2. The friction pad 62 is mounted over the top surface of the appliance, but is fixed to the back of the appliance using a bracket that allows the height of the top surface of the friction pad 62 to be adjusted relative to the body of the appliance 60. The height of the top surface of the friction pad may be adjusted from the front of the appliance using any suitable mechanism 63, such as a rack and pinion, following the positioning of the appliance in the cavity. In this way, the appliance can be easily positioned and the friction pad braced against the underside of the worktop subsequently.

FIG. 7 shows a fifth embodiment of the present invention. The arrangement of appliance 70 and worktop 71 shown in FIG. 7 is the same as shown in and described with reference to FIG. 2. The friction pads 72, 73 are attached to a side surface of the appliance and contact adjacent cabinetry. The friction pads provide resistance to any tilting of the appliance. The friction pads 72, 73 may be adjustable in height. Preferably, corresponding friction pads are positioned on the opposite side surface and also abut adjacent cabinetry 74. The embodiment shown in FIG. 7 might be used if there is no worktop.