Title:
Burner assembly with integral log set
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The burner assembly of the present invention broadly comprises a burner pan having an upper surface, a lower surface, and an inlet extending from the lower surface, a burner top complimentarily shaped to the burner pan and having an outer surface, an inner surface, and a plurality of ports extending from the inner surface to the outer surface, a gasket disposed about the periphery of the burner pan upper surface and intermediate the upper surface and the burner top inner surface, a cavity defined by the burner pan upper surface, the burner top inner surface, and the gasket, and the burner top outer surface having an appearance of a plurality of logs and an ember bed.



Inventors:
Gorby, Gregory J. (Hanoverton, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/287313
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/08/2008
Assignee:
RFW, Inc. (Sebring, OH, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRICE, CARL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SAND & SEBOLT (AEGIS TOWER, SUITE 1100, 4940 MUNSON STREET, NW, CANTON, OH, 44718-3615, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A burner assembly for a fireplace comprising: a burner pan having an upper surface, a lower surface, and an inlet extending from said lower surface; a burner top complimentarily shaped to said burner pan and having an outer surface, an inner surface, and a plurality of ports extending from said inner surface to said outer surface; a gasket disposed about the periphery of said burner pan upper surface and intermediate said upper surface and said burner top inner surface; a cavity defined by said burner pan upper surface, said burner top inner surface, and said gasket; and, said burner top outer surface having an appearance of a plurality of logs.

2. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the burner top outer surface further comprises multiple levels offset from one another.

3. The burner assembly of claim 2 wherein the plurality of ports each forms an orifice at the burner top outer surface.

4. The burner assembly of claim 3 wherein the orifices are vertically offset from one another.

5. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the inlet provides an air/gas mixture to the cavity.

6. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the burner pan comprises two legs extending generally perpendicular to one another and the burner top inner surface further comprises a back surface.

7. The burner assembly of claim 6 wherein the cavity extends between the burner pan and the back surface of the burner top.

8. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the cavity extends upwards proximate at least one of the plurality of ports.

9. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the burner pan further comprises two legs extending away from each other at approximately a forty-five degree angle.

10. The burner assembly of claim 9 wherein the burner top further comprises two legs extending away from each other at approximately a forty-five degree angle and the plurality of ports extend from said inner surface to said outer surface at is approximately a forty-five degree angle.

11. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein said burner top is composed of a ceramic fiber composite.

12. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the burner top outer surface further comprises an appearance of an ember bed.

13. A burner assembly for a fireplace comprising: a plenum having a first leg and a second leg and formed by a burner pan, a burner top, and a gasket; said burner pan having an upper surface, a lower surface, and an inlet extending from said lower surface; said burner top complimentarily shaped to said burner pan and having an outer surface, an inner surface, and a plurality of ports extending from said inner surface to said outer surface; said gasket disposed about the periphery of said burner pan upper surface and intermediate said upper surface and said burner top inner surface; and, wherein said first leg extends away from said second leg at an angle.

14. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein said legs extend away from each other in a generally perpendicular direction.

15. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein said first leg extends away from said second leg at an angle of approximately forty-five degrees.

16. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein said first leg extends away from said second leg at an angle of approximately 135 degrees.

17. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein said angle is between approximately 0 and 180 degrees.

18. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein the burner top has an appearance of a plurality of logs.

19. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein the inlet provides an air/gas mixture to the plenum.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The invention relates generally to residential fireplaces. More particularly, the invention relates to artificial log fireplace burners. Specifically, the invention relates to a multi-level burner assembly with porting at multiple levels and an integrated log set to provide the appearance of a natural wood burning fire.

2. Background Information

Artificial fireplaces are common in a great number of households since they provide the appearance of a wood burning fireplace without the need to burn real wood. Further, the gas fireplace provides advantages over traditional wood burning fireplaces such as easier control over the flame as well as easier starting and extinguishing of the fire. In addition, soot is greatly reduced to provide a healthier and cleaner room.

Although gas fireplaces have numerous advantages over wood burning fireplaces, the traditional gas fireplace still suffers from a number of problems. While stacking the logs allows the installer to customize the log placement, safety concerns are raised if the logs are not located in a position to allow full consumption of the gas. If the gas is not fully consumed, dangerous emissions are allowed to collect within the room. Further, logs could move or be misplaced at a later time during cleaning. Accordingly, there is a need for an artificial fireplace which does not require special installation of the logs and incorporates the logs into a single, easy to install unit.

Finally, gas fireplaces suffer from being visually unappealing since the flame is only seen at the bottom of the logs where the burner is located. Since a wood fire produces multiple levels of fire throughout the logs, the gas fireplace tends to look fake. Thus, there is a long felt need for a gas fireplace that provides the appearance of a natural wood fire by having multiple levels of flame throughout the log set.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The burner assembly of the present invention broadly comprises a burner pan having an upper surface, a lower surface, and an inlet extending from the lower surface; a burner top complimentarily shaped to the burner pan and having an outer surface, an inner surface, and a plurality of ports extending from the inner surface to the outer surface; a gasket disposed about the periphery of the burner pan upper surface and intermediate the upper surface and the burner top inner surface; a cavity defined by the burner pan upper surface, the burner top inner surface, and the gasket; and the burner top outer surface having an appearance of a plurality of logs and an ember bed. The burner top outer surface includes multiple levels offset from one another, wherein the plurality of ports each forms an orifice at the burner top outer surface.

The burner pan may include two legs extending generally perpendicular to one another and the burner top inner surface includes a back surface wherein the cavity extends between the burner pan and the back surface of the burner top. The cavity of the burner assembly may extend upwards proximate at least one of the plurality of ports. The burner pan may also include two legs extending away from each other at approximately a forty-five degree angle. The gasket has a thickness of approximately one-fourth of an inch and the burner top is composed of a ceramic fiber composite.

The burner assembly of the present invention also broadly comprises a plenum having a first leg and a second leg and formed by a burner pan, a burner top, and a gasket, the burner pan having an upper surface, a lower surface, and an inlet extending from the lower surface, the burner top complimentarily shaped to the burner pan and having an outer surface, an inner surface, and a plurality of ports extending from the inner surface to the outer surface, the gasket disposed about the periphery of the burner pan upper surface and intermediate the upper surface and the burner top inner surface, and wherein the first leg extends away from the second leg at an angle. The legs may extend away from each other in a generally perpendicular direction. The angle may also be forty-five degrees, 135 degrees, or any angle between approximately 0 and 189 degrees.

The method of making a burner assembly of the present invention broadly comprises forming a burner top with a plurality of log portions, a plurality of ember portions, an inner surface, and an outer surface; machining at least one porting hole through the outer surface and extending through the inner surface; forming a burner pan complimentary shaped to the burner top and having an upper surface; securing a gasket to the upper surface of the burner pan; and securing the burner top to the burner pan at the gasket. The method also includes casting or machining the inner surface to enlarge a cavity proximate at least one of the plurality of ports. Further, the method includes casting the inner surface with a bottom and rear portion; and stamping the burner pan with two ends perpendicular to one another. The burner top inner surface may also be cast with an angle approximately equal to forty-five degrees and stamping the burner pan with two legs extending approximately forty-five degrees from each other.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the invention, illustrative of the best modes in which Applicant has contemplated applying the principles of the invention, are set forth in the following description and are shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a front view of a preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention located in a fireplace;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention prior to installation in a fireplace;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment burner pan of the present invention with a ceramic paper gasket;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention taken generally along line 5-5 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of another preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention taken generally along line 5-5 in FIG. 2; and,

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of yet another preferred embodiment burner assembly of the present invention taken generally along line 5-5 in FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical, or functionally similar, structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention as claimed is not limited to the disclosed aspects.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described.

The burner assembly of the present invention is indicated generally at 10, as is particularly shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 located in a fireplace 12, shown with the gas turned on and a set of flames 14 extending from the burner assembly.

In accordance with one of the main features of the invention, FIG. 2 shows burner assembly 10 with a burner top 16 secured to a burner pan 18. Burner top 16 includes logs 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D, 20E, and 20F and an ember bed 22 cast into the outer surface. The burner top also includes a plurality of ports 24 extending outward through the outer surface of burner top 16 at both the logs and the ember bed. Advantageously, ports 24 are arranged throughout the outer surface of burner top 16 to provide flames of various sizes throughout the top and bottom of the burner assembly.

Burner pan 18 includes a base 26, support legs 28, and a platform 30. In a preferred embodiment, base 26 is positioned horizontal and generally parallel to platforms 30, while base 26 and platform 30 are spaced apart by support legs 28. Burner pan 18 also includes an inlet pipe 32 arranged to provide an air/gas mixture for providing a flame at ports 24. While inlet pipe 32 is shown with a 90° bend, the inlet pipe may have any suitable shape sufficient to provide the proper air/fuel mixture. Base 26 includes a lower surface 34 and an upper surface 36 on opposing sides of base 26. Upper surface 36 is arranged to form a cavity with burner top 16, while lower surface 34 receives inlet pipe 32.

Averting to FIG. 3, burner top 16 is shown separated from burner pan 18. A rear surface 38 of Burner pan 18 functions similar to upper surface 36 by forming a cavity between burner top 16 and rear surface 38. A gasket 40 is attached about the periphery of upper surface 36 and rear surface 38 in the preferred embodiment with a heat resistant adhesive. The gasket is preferably a ceramic paper gasket with a thickness of approximately one-fourth of an inch, however any suitable material may be used to seal the cavity between burner top 16 and burner pan 18. Further, the thickness of the gasket can be varied depending upon the cavity size desired and the materials being used, as is within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.

As seen in FIG. 4, rear surface 38 of burner pan 18 is complimentary shaped to match the cast logs and ember bed of burner top 16. Base 26 also includes an inlet aperture 42 arranged to connect to inlet pipe 32 and allow the air/gas mixture to collect in the cavity formed by burner top 16, burner pan 18, and gasket 40. Advantageously, an inner side 44 of gasket 40 forms the outer edge of the air/gas mixture cavity. In the preferred embodiment, four sets of support legs 28 and platforms 30 are incorporated, one set at each of the four corners of base 26. The platforms on the back side extend in a first direction, while the front platforms extend in a second direction, generally perpendicular to the first direction. Thus, burner pan 18 provides a stable and sturdy foundation for the burner assembly.

In accordance with another main feature of the present invention, FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment burner assembly 10. Burner top 16 includes an inner surface 46 and a back surface 48. Inner surface 46, upper surface 36, and gasket 40 form a cavity 50, while back surface 48, rear surface 38, and gasket 40 form a cavity 52. In a preferred embodiment, cavity 50 and cavity 52 are continuous and generally perpendicular to one another.

Ports 24 extend through inner surface 46 and outer surface 54 to create orifices 56 at an outer surface 54. Further, ports 24 also extend through back surface 48 and outer surface 54 to create orifices 56. The ports may also be disposed at an angle from outer surface 54 to either inner surface 46 or back surface 48.

Having described the structure of the present invention, a preferred method of operation will be described and should be read in light of FIGS. 1 through 5, an air/gas mixture is directed through inlet pipe 32 into cavities 50 and 52. The air/gas mixture then travels through ports 24 of burner top 16 and exits at orifices 56 where the air/gas mixture is ignited and produces flames at each of the openings, thus providing flames at multiple levels offset from one another.

Having now described the structure and operation of the first embodiment, only those portions of the remaining embodiments which are different from the first embodiment are described in detail. Likewise, similar numerals refer to similar parts throughout the various embodiments.

In accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention shown specifically in FIG. 6, burner top 16 includes a cavity 58 proximate a port 59 and a cavity 60 proximate ports 61 and 63. Cavities 58 and 60 extend from a cavity 62 towards outer surface 54 along their respective proximate ports. Cavity 58 includes a pair of sidewalls 64 parallel to one another and forming a passage generally wider than port 59. Cavity 60 also includes a pair of sidewalls 66 parallel to one another and forming a passage which is generally wider than ports 61 and 63 and serves to provide a single cavity for the air/gas mixture to both ports. Further, cavities 58, 60, and 62 generally form a single cavity for the air/gas mixture as defined in the first embodiment by the burner top, the burner pan, and the gasket.

The second embodiment of the present invention provides several advantages, including easier manufacturing and more precise control of the air/gas mixture. Manufacturing is made easier since drilling holes for long ports, such as port 59, requires a guided bit, but if cavity 58 is machined prior to drilling port 59, the guide is no longer needed due to the shorter length. Precise control of the air/gas mixture is also achieved by providing cavities 58 and 60 because the length of port 59 would tend to reduce the flame size and density when the air/gas mixture finally reaches outer surface 54. By machining cavity 58, the air/gas mixture at port 58 is increased to provide a larger flame at the orifice. Advantageously, by increasing or decreasing the size of cavities 58 and 60, the flame size can be directly controlled and provides a more realistic looking flame similar to wood burning fireplaces.

A third embodiment of the present invention is shown specifically in FIG. 7. Burner top 16 includes bottom surface 46 and back surface 48. Back surface 48 is aligned with bottom surface 46 at an angle θ. The angle θ is preferably 45°, but may be any suitable angle including but not limited to an angle between 0° to 90°. Similar to the first embodiment, cavities 50 and 52 are connected and continuous. Ports 24 extend through outer surface 54 and either bottom surface 46 or back surface 48. Preferably, ports 24 are drilled perpendicular to back surface 48. Accordingly, the ports extending through bottom surface 46 are drilled at an angle α approximately equal to angle θ.

Burner pan 18 includes a first leg 68 and a second leg 70 forming the lower boundaries of cavities 50 and 52, respectively. Second leg 70 is aligned with first leg 68 at an angle θ equal to the angle between back surface 48 and bottom surface 46. Again, the preferred angle θ is approximately 45°. Since both burner top 16 and burner pan 18 incorporate a similar angle, the burner top and burner pan are complimentarily shaped and are sealed at gasket 40 to form cavities 50 and 52.

The third embodiment of the present invention provides several advantages, including easier manufacturing and a more compact design. Manufacturing is made easier since port holes 24 are generally the same length and all drilled from the same angle. Further, the overall smaller size of burner top 16 reduces the material used and decreases the casting time. The more compact design is also advantageous, because it provides the appearance of a larger stack of logs and the advantages of the present invention in the form of multiple levels of flame, while using only a small amount of space.

Having described the structure and operation of several preferred embodiments of the present invention, a preferred method of making the present invention will be described in detail and should be read in light of FIGS. 1 through 7. Although the following is described as a series of steps, no particular order of steps is implied and as such is limited only by the appended claims.

Burner assembly 10 is manufactured by casting burner top 16 with a suitable ceramic fiber composite that is capable of resisting heat and direct contact with an open flame. Burner top 16 is cast with logs 20A through 20F in any desired arrangement, ember portions 22, inner surface 46, outer surface 54, and back surface 48 (if desired). In a preferred embodiment, back surface 48 is cast to be disposed at an angle with respect to inner surface 46. The next step is machining inner surface 46 with enlarged cavities, such as cavities 58 and 60, if necessary and not already cast in place. Next, ports 24, 59, 61, and 63 are machined through either inner surface 46, back surface 48, or outer surface 54. Preferably, a drilling procedure is used and the machining process extends from the outer surface inwards. The burner top is then painted to reflect the various log and ember shapes.

Burner pan 18 is then stamped, preferably from sheet metal or other suitable material, with a shape complimentary to burner top 16 and forming the pan with upper surface 36 and lower surface 34. In the first and third embodiments, burner pan 18 is stamped with first leg 68 and second leg 70 aligned at an angle complimentary to burner top 16, which can vary, as described supra. In a preferred embodiment, the angle is 45° or 90°. Gasket 40 is then secured to the periphery of upper surface 36 with a heat resistant adhesive or other suitable fastener. Next, inlet 32 is secured to lower surface 34 with nuts and bolts, a heat resistant adhesive, welding, or any other connection means known in the art. Burner top 16 is then secured to burner pan 18, with gasket 40 intermediate, with a heat resistant adhesive, screws, or other suitable fastener.

While the above method specifically incorporates casting, stamping, and machining, any suitable production and material removal methods may be used and are within the spirit and scope of the present invention as claimed.

Accordingly, the burner assembly is an effective, safe, inexpensive, and efficient device that achieves all the enumerated objectives of the invention, provides for eliminating difficulties encountered with prior art devices, systems, and methods, and solves problems and obtains new results in the art.

In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding; but no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art, because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.

Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is by way of example, and the scope of the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.

Having now described the features, discoveries, and principles of the invention, the manner in which the burner assembly is constructed and used, the characteristics of the construction, and the advantageous new and useful results obtained; the new and useful structures, devices, elements, arrangement, parts, combinations, and methods are set forth in the appended claims.