Title:
Refrigerated Drawer Structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A refrigerated drawer structure comprising the compressor-condenser assembly can be used within cabinets. The stream of forced air, for cooling the drawer (6), enters the drawer (6) through openings (R) made in the rear wall (6B), impinging directly on the articles contained therein. As a result, the articles contained in the drawer (S) are cooled more efficiently and rapidly. The drawer (6) also comprises devices for optimising the flow of air, preventing the cooling orifices from being blocked (K) by the objects contained in the drawer (6).



Inventors:
Barone, Diego (Comerio, IT)
Bianchi, Lorenzo (Comerio, IT)
Bonaglia, Alberto (Comerio, IT)
Civanelli, Claudio (Comerio, IT)
Application Number:
11/910753
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
03/27/2006
Assignee:
WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION (Benton Harbor, MI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/404
International Classes:
F25D17/06; A47B96/04
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Primary Examiner:
DUKE, EMMANUEL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION - MD 3601 (2000 NORTH M63, BENTON HARBOR, MI, 49022, US)
Claims:
1. 1-9. (canceled)

10. A refrigerated drawer structure, comprising: an insulated cavity; a refrigerated drawer mounted within the cavity for slidably movement between open and closed configurations and having a rear wall with an opening, an evaporator arranged on a rear wall of the cavity, and an air circulation system for the cavity comprising a shaped cover element on the evaporator capable of directing the air towards at least one supply orifice facing the opening in the rear wall of the refrigerated drawer when the refrigerated drawer is in the closed configuration.

11. The structure according to claim 10, further comprising a fan arranged in line with the supply orifice.

12. The structure according to claim 10, wherein the opening in the rear wall is formed by a central lowered portion of the rear wall in line with the air outlet orifice.

13. The structure according to claim 10, wherein the shaped cover element comprises a passage at a lower portion of the shaped cover element for drawing in air for the cavity.

14. The structure according to claim 10, further comprising at least one structural element preventing obstruction of the outlet orifice.

15. The structure according to claim 14, where the at least one structural element comprises at least one bar element arranged over the entire length of the refrigerated drawer to define preferential channel for the flow of cold air arriving from the outlet orifice.

16. The structure according to claim 10, further comprising a switch for disconnecting the air circulation system when the refrigerated drawer is in an open configuration.

17. The structure according to claim 10, further comprising a supporting frame mounted to the insulated cavity.

18. The structure according to claim 17, further comprising a refrigeration system supported by the supporting frame.

19. The structure according to claim 18, wherein the refrigeration system comprises a compressor, a condenser and a cooling fan.

20. The structure according to claim 17, wherein the supporting frame is mounted to the insulated cavity to define a space for the installation of an auxiliary drawer.

21. The structure according to claim 20, wherein the auxiliary drawer is of reduced depth relative to the depth of the refrigerated drawer.

Description:

The present invention relates to a refrigerated drawer structure with forced air cooling, for preserving foodstuffs at low temperature, of the type that can be fitted in a cabinet.

Previous technical solutions in the field of refrigerated drawers have not hitherto addressed the problem of optimising the circulation of cold air within the drawer in association with simple and economic construction.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,639 describes an invention of refrigerated drawers in which a means for generating cold air directs said air through supply ducts towards the drawers. Such a solution is complicated since the connection between the ducts and the drawers is provided by means of flexible hoses with an interposed shut-off valve.

Patent FR 2,797,684 discloses a refrigerated drawer in which a module containing the compressor-condenser assembly is introduced into one compartment of a cabinet.

The drawer is fitted in an insulated cavity, on the bottom of which there is arranged a evaporator facing towards a radial fan that conveys the cooled air into the drawer. This solution has the disadvantage of a loss of depth of the refrigerated drawer in that the rear part of the module is occupied by the compressor and the associated cooling fan. Furthermore, the manner in which the cold air is introduced into the drawer does not ensure rapid cooling of the food products, particularly when the drawer is fully loaded, because the stream of air passes over the top of the drawer space without penetrating therein.

The present invention addresses and solves these problems by providing a refrigerated drawer structure having the features listed in the appended claims.

Further advantages and characteristics of the present invention will emerge from the following description of an example embodiment with reference to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows an exploded view of the overall refrigerated drawer structure of the present invention,

FIG. 2 shows a sectional side view of the refrigerated drawer structure illustrated in FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 shows a sectional front view of the refrigerated drawer structure illustrated in FIG. 1 from the drawer opening side,

FIG. 4 is a larger scale view of a detail from FIG. 3,

FIG. 5 shows a vertical sectional view of the refrigerated drawer structure illustrated in FIG. 1 seen from the rear side relative to drawer opening.

With reference to the drawings, FIGS. 1 to 5 show an example of a refrigerated drawer structure for preserving foodstuffs at low temperature, which can be used within a cabinet, said structure being made up of a module 1 containing a drawer 6, to the outside of which is attached a frame 7 for supporting the compressor 9 and the condenser 10 of the refrigeration circuit.

The module 1 of the drawer can be broken down into various parts 1a, 1b and 1c to facilitate assembly thereof [and] comprises an air space with insulating material (not shown in the drawings) which thermally insulates a compartment V for accommodating the drawer 6 away from the external environment, and spacers D for supporting the compartment V within the module 1.

The compartment V of the drawer comprises an evaporator 2 of the refrigeration system positioned on the front internal wall on which is located a shaped protective cover 4, the shape of which determines circulatory flow within the drawer.

The shaped cover 4 has a central opening 4a for supplying cold air into the compartment of the drawer and one or more openings 4b on the lower side for recovering the air.

On the air supply opening 4a, there is located an axial fan 3 to drive the circulation of air within said drawer with the aim of uniformly cooling the articles contained therein.

The drawer 6 of the module V runs on two guides 5a and 5b applied to the inside of the insulated compartment and comprises a rear wall 6b equipped with a central lowered portion R of the rear wall in line with the cooling air supply opening 4a, in such a manner as not to obstruct the introduction of air into the drawer 6, when the latter is in the closed position.

As an alternative to the lowered central portion R of the rear wall 6b, it is possible to use a shaped hole; furthermore, the lowered portion can involve the entire rear wall 6b.

The drawer 6 comprises within it devices K in the form of bars 7 capable of preventing the obstruction of the cooling air supply channel 4e due to the positioning of articles in the vicinity of said channel. Said devices K prevent the positioning of articles, over the entire length of the drawer, so creating a preferential channel for the flow of cold air circulating in the drawer, which is particularly effective for more rapidly cooling the articles arranged within said drawer.

The drawer 6 constitutes the closing element of the refrigerated module, being equipped with a front panel 6c of thermal insulation, and a sealing gasket 6d that prevents air from escaping from the compartment V, when the drawer is in the closed position.

The drawer 6 is provided on its front side with a decorative panel 6e matching the cabinet in which the refrigerated drawer structure is to be used.

The refrigerated drawer structure is equipped with a control 13 for controlling the temperature of the internal environment, is also provided with a sensor for detecting opening of the drawer and an actuator for stopping operation of the cold air supply fan such that the fan is switched off when the drawer is opened.

The compressor 9 and condenser 10 assembly of the refrigeration system is supported on a metal frame 7 outside the module containing the drawer 6, and also includes a cooling fan 8, with the aim of enabling the installation thereof within a cabinet (not shown).

The above-mentioned frame 7 is constructed such that it can be fixed to the module containing the drawer 1 in the rear zone of said module (above or below), so as to minimise the space it occupies within the cabinet, with the aim of permitting combined use with an auxiliary drawer (not shown) of reduced depth within said cabinet in which the structure is to be installed.





 
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