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Title:
LAUNDRY MACHINE
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a laundry machine, and the laundry machine includes main body forming an external appearance, and a drum which is rotatably installed in the main body to accommodate a laundry, wherein an opening is formed at one side of the main body to selectively connect an inside of the main body to an outside.


Inventors:
Heo, Nam Yeong (Gyeongsangnam-do, KR)
Han, In Hee (Gyeongsangnam-do, KR)
Application Number:
12/031593
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/14/2008
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc. (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F37/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH STEWART KOLASCH & BIRCH (PO BOX 747, FALLS CHURCH, VA, 22040-0747, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A laundry machine comprising: a main body forming an external appearance; and a drum which is rotatably installed in the main body to accommodate a laundry, wherein an opening is formed at one side of the main body to selectively connect an inside of the main body to an outside.

2. The laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein a heat generation unit for supplying hot air to the drum is disposed in the main body and the opening is positioned adjacent to the heat generation unit.

3. The laundry machine according to claim 2, wherein the main body includes a front cabinet forming a front surface of the main body, a side cabinet coupled to the front cabinet to form side surfaces and a rear surface of the main body, a top plate installed at an upper portion of the front cabinet and the side cabinet, and wherein the opening is formed at one side of a lower portion of the side cabinet.

4. The laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein the opening further includes a door for selectively opening and closing the opening.

5. The laundry machine according to claim 4, wherein the door is a rotatable door with one side surface rotatably fixed to the main body.

6. The laundry machine according to claim 4, wherein the door is a slidable door slidably mounted on the main body.

7. The laundry machine according to claim 6, wherein a guiding rail is formed on the main body to guide movement of the slidable door.

8. The laundry machine according to claim 4, wherein a handle is formed on a front surface of the door.

9. The laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein a payment detection unit is disposed at the other side of the main body.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2007-0016405, filed on Feb. 16, 2007, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a laundry machine, and more particularly to a drum type laundry dryer for easy repair and maintenance.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Generally, a dryer is an electric home appliance for drying wet laundry that has been washed using hot air.

The dryer includes a drum for accommodating articles to be dried, a driving source for driving the drum, a heating unit for heating air introduced into the drum, a blower unit for sucking or discharging air inside the drum, and the like.

The dryers may be classified into an electric dryer and a gas-type dryer according to a method for heating air, that is, a heating unit. The electric dryer heats air using electric resistance heat. The gas type dryer heats air using heat generated by gas combustion.

In another way, the dryers may be classified into a condensation dryer and an exhaust dryer. In the condensation dryer, humid air which has been heat-exchanged with the articles to be dried in the drum is circulated without being discharged to the outside, and the humid air is converted into condensed water in a separate condenser by heat exchange with outside air to be discharged to the outside. In the exhaust dryer, humid air which has been heat-exchanged with the articles to be dried in the drum is directly discharged out of the dryer.

In yet another way, the dryers may be classified into a top-loading dryer and a front-loading dryer according to the manner of loading the articles to be dried into the dryer. In the top-loading dryer, the articles to be dried are loaded from the upper side of the dryer. In the front-loading dryer, the articles to be dried are loaded from a front surface of the dryer.

The above-mentioned conventional dryers have the following problems.

When a problem occurs in the heating unit for supplying hot air, an operation for disassembling a cabinet forming an external appearance of the laundry dryer should be performed to check and solve the problem. Also, after the problem of the heating unit is checked and solved, an assembly operation should be performed to arrange the cabinet at an original position.

Further, the disassembly and assembly operations of the cabinet should be repeated whenever the problem of the heating unit occurs, thereby causing a trouble in the operation. Particularly, the disassembly and assembly operations of the cabinet are not easy in a public place such as a commercial laundry room. It also causes inconvenience to the users who use the commercial laundry room and it is undesirable in the aspect of appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a laundry machine that substantially obviates one or more problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

An object of the present invention is to provide a laundry dryer for which it is easy to check a problem of a heat generation unit and repairing the heat generation unit whenever a problem occurs by forming an opening for repair on a side cabinet of a main body of the drum-type laundry dryer and also adjacent to the heat generation unit.

Additional advantages, objects, and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned from practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these objects and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, laundry machine includes a main body forming an external appearance; and a drum which is rotatably installed in the main body to accommodate a laundry, wherein an opening is formed at one side of the main body to selectively connect an inside of the main body to an outside.

Further, a heat generation unit for supplying hot air to the drum may be disposed in the main body and the opening is positioned adjacent to the heat generation unit.

Further, the main body may include a front cabinet forming a front surface of the main body, a side cabinet coupled to the front cabinet to form side surfaces and a rear surface of the main body, a top plate installed at an upper portion of the front cabinet and the side cabinet. The opening may be formed at one side of a lower portion of the side cabinet.

Meanwhile, the opening may further include a door for selectively opening and closing the opening. The door may be a rotatable door with one side surface rotatably fixed to the main body or a slidable door slidably mounted on the main body. In a case of the slidable door, a guiding rail may be formed on the main body to guide movement of the slidable door. Further, a handle may be formed on a front surface of the door.

Meanwhile, the laundry machine according to the embodiments of the present invention may be configured as a commercial laundry machine by providing a payment detection unit at the other side of the main body.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description of the present invention are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiment(s) of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principle of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view showing an external appearance of a conventional laundry dryer;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view showing a disassembled state of a front cabinet shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view showing a laundry dryer according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view showing a laundry dryer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 1 illustrates an external appearance of a general laundry dryer. FIG. 2 illustrates a disassembled state of a front cabinet of the laundry dryer shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a main body of the drum-type laundry dryer includes a base forming its bottom, a front cabinet 20 forming its front surface, a side cabinet 30 coupled to the front cabinet 20 to form a periphery of the laundry dryer, a top plate 50 installed at an upper portion of the front cabinet 20 and the side cabinet 30, and a control panel 21 installed at the upper side of the front cabinet 20.

Further, generally, the front cabinet 20 serving as a component of the main body of the laundry dryer is provided with a loading port through which the laundry is loaded into and unloaded from the front cabinet 20 and a door 22 for selectively opening and closing the loading port.

Further, a rotation drum is installed in the main body of the laundry dryer to be horizontally disposed and rotate at a low velocity. In this case, hot air passes through the rotation drum, and wet articles to be dried, which are inserted into the rotation drum, are dried by the hot air. The hot air is supplied by heating air using a heating unit (not shown) such as a gas-type heating unit (gas valve) or an electric heating unit (heater), i.e., a heat generation unit, which is installed in the laundry dryer.

That is, the air heated by the heat generation unit is supplied to the drum by a guide member such as a duct. In this case, a fan (not shown) may be disposed in the duct so as to smoothly supply hot air. The heat generation unit may be disposed in any place inside the main body. Yet, taking into consideration a small space in the main body and arrangement of components such as a drum, it is preferable that the heat generation unit is generally disposed at a lower portion of the main body and adjacent to the side cabinet. Since the configurations of the heat generation unit, the duct, the fan and the like are similar to those of a conventional laundry dryer, the detailed description and drawings thereof are omitted.

When there is a problem in the heat generation unit of the drum-type laundry dryer, as described above, an operation for disassembling the front cabinet 20 from the laundry dryer should be performed to check and solve the problem as shown in FIG. 2. After the problem of the heat generation unit is checked and solved, an assembly operation should be conducted to arrange the front cabinet 20 at an original position.

Further, the disassembly and assembly operations of the front cabinet 20 should be repeated whenever the problem of the heat generation unit occurs, thereby causing trouble in the operation. Particularly, the above disassembly and assembly operations of the front cabinet are not easy in a public place such as a commercial laundry room. It causes inconvenience to the users who use the commercial laundry room and it is undesirable in the aspect of appearance.

Accordingly, when a malfunction or the like is generated in the dryer, particularly, when a malfunction is generated in the heat generation unit for supplying hot air, the laundry dryer according to the embodiments of the present invention provides a laundry dryer for which it is easy to check and repair the malfunction. Hereinafter, the laundry dryer according to the embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

FIG. 3 illustrates a laundry dryer 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 illustrates a laundry dryer 10a according to another embodiment of the present invention. The laundry dryer according to the embodiments of the present invention has a difference from the above-mentioned laundry dryer in that its cabinet includes an opening which allows easy checking of a malfunction or the like in the cabinet. Hereinafter, the description will be made focusing on the difference.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, in the laundry dryers 10 and 10a according to the embodiments of the present invention, an opening 31 for repair is formed on a side cabinet 30a of the main body and, preferably, the opening 31 for repair is formed at a portion adjacent to the heat generation unit. When the problem of the heat generation unit occurs, the opening 31 for repair enables easy checking and solving of the problem.

That is, in these embodiments, the opening 31 for repair is formed on the side cabinet 30a of the main body and also formed at a portion adjacent to the heat generation unit. Accordingly, when the problem occurs in the heat generation unit, it is possible to easily check and solve the problem without the trouble of disassembling and assembling the front cabinet 20 and also to reduce the operation time.

Further, the opening 31 for repair is formed at a lower portion of one surface of the side cabinet 30a of the main body. Accordingly, it does not ruin the entire design of the laundry dryer 10 or 10a and it does not spoil the beauty thereof.

The laundry dryers 10 and 10a according to the embodiments of the present invention may further include a payment detection unit 60 which is disposed on an upper surface of the top plate 50 of the main body. In this case, the payment detection unit 60 means a coin box, a card reader or the like. The laundry dryer provided with the payment detection unit 60 is commonly used in a commercial laundry room.

When the aforementioned opening 31 for repair is formed on the laundry dryer used in a commercial laundry room, the problem generated in the heat generation unit can be easily checked and solved. Also, it is possible to remove the trouble of a conventional method wherein the problem of the heat generation unit is checked and solved by disassembling the front cabinet 20 from the laundry dryer and, then, the front cabinet 20 is reassembled.

Further, when the front cabinet 20 is disassembled and assembled in a public place such as a commercial laundry room using the conventional method, troublesomeness may occur in the commercial laundry room and it may cause inconvenience to the users who use the commercial laundry room.

On the contrary, in the present invention, the problem of the heat generation unit can be easily checked and solved using the opening 31 for repair formed on the side cabinet 30a. Accordingly, it is possible to remove the trouble in the conventional method of disassembling and assembling the front cabinet 20, to promote workability of the operator without causing inconvenience to the users using a laundry room, and also to reduce the operation time.

Meanwhile, preferably, a door is additionally provided at the opening 31 for repair in the laundry dryer according to the embodiments of the present invention. In this case, a door for repair includes a rotatable door 32 for repair and a slidable door 33 for repair as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The door for repair according to the present invention is not limited to an example to be described below, and various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventions.

As shown in FIG. 3, one side surface of the rotatable door 32 for repair is rotatably fixed to the side cabinet 30a by a certain fixing member such that the door can be opened and closed as it rotates. In this case, it is preferable that the fixing member is a fixing hinge 32a for coupling a portion of a periphery of the opening 31 for repair to one side surface of the rotatable door 32 for repair. However, the fixing member is not limited thereto and may be any member capable of coupling the opening 31 for repair to the rotatable door 32 for repair such that the rotatable door 32 for repair can be opened and closed in a rotation manner.

Meanwhile, as shown in FIG. 4, the slidable door 33 for repair can be separated from the side cabinet 30a. In this case, the slidable door 33 for repair is formed as a plate having a specified size. Further, a guiding rail 33a is formed on the side cabinet 30a such that the slidable door 33 for repair is inserted into the periphery of the opening 31 for repair to slide and move in one direction.

The slidable door 33 for repair using the guiding rail 33a is easily controlled to be opened and closed, thereby enabling the operator to easily approach the heat generation unit when the problem occurs in the heat generation unit and to check and solve the problem. In this case, a means for sliding and moving the slidable door 33 for repair in one direction is not limited to the guiding rail 33a and may employ any means capable of sliding the slidable door 33 for repair in one direction.

Meanwhile, a handle 34 is formed on each front surface of the doors 32 and 33 for repair in the laundry dryer according to the embodiments of the present invention. Accordingly, the handle 34 enables the operator to easily open and close the door for repair, thereby promoting workability.

Further, preferably, the doors 32 and 33 for repair in the laundry dryer according to the present invention are manufactured of the same material as that of the side cabinet 30a so as not to ruin the entire design of the laundry dryer.

The effects of the above-described laundry dryer according to the present invention are explained below.

As described above, the laundry dryer according to the present invention has the effects of enabling the operator to easily approach the heat generation unit when the problem occurs in the heat generation unit, reducing the operation time, and offering convenience to the operator to improve workability by forming the opening for repair on the side cabinet of the main body and also adjacent to the heat generation unit.

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 inventions. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.