Title:
Bracket for support bases in household appliances
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracket for support bases in household appliances, for example refrigerators or freezers or stoves, having at least one profiled rail which is mounted, extending substantially vertically, in a reception chamber of the household appliance, and having at least one support element, to which a support base is attached and which can be selectively displaced along the profiled rail or fixed in place on the profiled rail. In accordance with this invention, the support element can be substantially positively fixed in place on the profiled rail against a movement along the profiled rail, preferably in the form of a frictional locking mechanism, or a clamp. The result is a simply embodied and easy to clean bracket for support bases in household appliances, which permits a more flexible adjustment of the height of the support bases than the prior art.



Inventors:
Hubert, Stefan (Engelstadt, DE)
Henkel, Werner (Ingelheim, DE)
Witte, Kay-uwe (Bad Homburg, DE)
Application Number:
10/414812
Publication Date:
06/03/2004
Filing Date:
04/14/2003
Assignee:
HUBERT STEFAN
HENKEL WERNER
WITTE KAY-UWE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/152, 126/333
International Classes:
F25D25/02; F25D23/06; F25D25/04; (IPC1-7): E04G3/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STERLING, AMY JO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAULEY ERICKSON & SWANSON (HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. In a bracket for support bases (10) in household appliances (12), having at least one profiled rail (14) which is mounted extending substantially vertically in a reception chamber (16) of the household appliance (12), and having at least one support element (18), to which a support base (10) is attached and which is selectively displaced along the at least one profiled rail (14) or fixed in place on the at least one profiled rail (14), the improvement comprising: the support element (18) substantially positively fixable in place on the at least one profiled rail (14) against a movement along the at least one profiled rail (14).

2. In the bracket in accordance with claim 1, wherein the at least one support element (18) is fixable in place on the at least one profiled rail (14) in a manner of a frictional locking mechanism, and the support element (18) has a first contact area (20) positionable against a front side (22) of the at least one profiled rail (14) facing the support base (10), and has a second contact area (24) positionable against a back (26) of the at least one profiled rail (14) at a location higher than a contact location in the first contact area (20) at the front side (22).

3. In the bracket in accordance with claim 2, wherein the support element (18) has a sleeve section (28) forming the first and the second contact areas (20, 24) surrounding the at least one profiled rail (14) with play so that the support element (18) is tilted in relation to the at least one profiled rail (14) between a holding position in which the first and the second contact areas (20, 24) rest against one of the front and the back (22, 26) of the at least one profiled rail (14), and a displacement position in which the support element (18) is displaceable along the profiled rail (14).

4. In the bracket in accordance with claim 3, wherein a receiving cutout (30) is on a side of the support element (18) facing the front (22) of the at least one profiled rail (14), into which a tapered slide (32) is insertable which in an inserted state rests against the support element (18) and against the front (22) of the at least one profiled rail (14) to secure the support element (18) in the holding position against tilting with respect to the profiled rail (14).

5. In the bracket in accordance with claim 4, wherein the tapered slide (32) has a protrusion (34) on a side facing away from the at least one profiled rail (14) which extends behind an undercut (36) on a receiving cutout (30) of the support element (18).

6. In the bracket in accordance with claim 5, wherein the second contact area (24) of the support element (18) has micro-teeth (38) which are engageable with complementary micro-teeth (40) at the back (26) of the at least one profiled rail (14).

7. In the bracket in accordance with claim 1, wherein the support element (18) is fixable in place on the at least one profiled rail (14) in a manner of a clamp, the support element (18) has a slit and a resiliently embodied sleeve section (42) enclosing the at least one profiled rail (14) which is adjoined by two legs (46, 48) extending on both sides of the slit (44) and which can be moved with respect to each other from the holding position into a displacement position and vice versa by an eccentric toggle mechanism (50) wherein, in the holding position the sleeve section (42) is clamped in place on the at least one profiled rail (14), and in the displacement position snaps back so that the support element (18) is displaceable along the at least one profiled rail (14).

8. In the bracket in accordance with claim 7, wherein the sleeve section (28, 42) has a cross-sectional shape of an inner circumference which in cooperation with a second cross-sectional shape of an outer circumference of the at least one profiled rail (14) in the holding position positively prevents twisting of the support element (18) in a plane perpendicular to a direction of the longitudinal extension of the at least one profiled rail (14).

9. In the bracket in accordance with claim 8, wherein the support base (10) is releasably snapped together with the support element (18) by at least one snap-on device (52).

10. In the bracket in accordance with claim 9, wherein the snap-on device (52) has a plurality of resilient protrusions (54) which are one of fastened on the support element (18) and embodied in one piece and which, in the assembled state of the support base (10), extend through a through-bore (56) in the support base (10) and on free ends each has a snap-in projection (58) extending behind the support base (10).

11. In the bracket in accordance with claim 10, wherein the support element (18) has an arm section (60), which has a flat contact surface (62) on which the support base (10) rests, wherein the at least one snap-on device (52) is formed near the contact surface (62).

12. In the bracket in accordance with claim 11, wherein a groove (64) adjoins the contact surface (62) of the arm section (60) toward the at least one profiled rail (14) which is embodied in the support element (18) and is used for positive reception of an (66) edge of the support base (10).

13. In the bracket in accordance with claim 12, wherein one end (68) of the profiled rail (14) is releasably received in a cutout (70) in a bottom (72) of the reception chamber (16), while the other end (74) of the profiled rail (14) is releasably received in a cutout (76) in a ceiling (78) of the reception chamber (16), wherein a length (L) of the at least one profiled rail (14) is less by a defined amount (B) than a clear distance (A) of the bottoms (80, 82) of the cutouts (70, 76), and wherein the defined amount (B) is greater than a depth (T) of the cutout (70) in the bottom (72) of the reception chamber (16).

14. In the bracket in accordance with claim 13, wherein the profiled rail (14) has a cross-sectional shape on the outer circumference which, in cooperation with the cross-sectional shape at the inner circumference of the cutouts (70, 76) positively prevents twisting of the at least one profiled rail (14) in the cutouts (70, 76).

15. In the bracket in accordance with claim 2, wherein the second contact area (24) of the support element (18) has micro-teeth (38) which are engageable with complementary micro-teeth (40) at the back (26) of the at least one profiled rail (14).

16. In the bracket in accordance with claim 3, wherein the sleeve section (28, 42) has a cross-sectional shape of an inner circumference which in cooperation with a second cross-sectional shape of an outer circumference of the at least one profiled rail (14) in the holding position positively prevents twisting of the support element (18) in a plane perpendicular to a direction of the longitudinal extension of the at least one profiled rail (14).

17. In the bracket in accordance with claim 1, wherein the support base (10) is releasably snapped together with the support element (18) by at least one snap-on device (52).

18. In the bracket in accordance with claim 9, wherein the support element (18) has an arm section (60), which has a flat contact surface (62) on which the support base (10) rests, wherein the at least one snap-on device (52) is formed near the contact surface (62).

19. In the bracket in accordance with claim 1, wherein one end (68) of the profiled rail (14) is releasably received in a cutout (70) in a bottom (72) of the reception chamber (16), while the other end (74) of the profiled rail (14) is releasably received in a cutout (76) in a ceiling (78) of the reception chamber (16), wherein a length (L) of the at least one profiled rail (14) is less by a defined amount (B) than a clear distance (A) of the bottoms (80, 82) of the cutouts (70, 76), and wherein the defined amount (B) is greater than a depth (T) of the cutout (70) in the bottom (72) of the reception chamber (16).

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to a bracket for support bases in household appliances, having at least one profiled rail, which is mounted, extending substantially vertically, in a reception chamber of the household appliance, and at least one support element to which a support base is attached and which can be selectively displaced along the profiled rail or can be fixed in place on the profiled rail. This invention also relates to a bracket for support bases in a refrigerator or a freezer, or in an oven.

[0003] 2. Discussion of Related Art

[0004] It is desired, for such household appliances, that the height of the support bases, which are embodied as supports for refrigerated or frozen goods, or supports for baked or roasted goods, can be adjusted, so that the distance of the support bases with respect to each other, or to the bottom or the ceiling of the refrigerator, freezer or oven compartment can be set according to the size of the goods to be supported.

[0005] There is no lack of suggestions in the prior art as to how the support bases of household appliances can be made to be height-adjustable. For example, European Patent Reference EP-A-0 619 464, which defines the species, discloses a refrigerator with a part of the body delimiting a refrigeration compartment on which the refrigerator door is hinged, and with shelves attached to the lateral wall of the refrigerator. Respectively, two rails, which extend vertically and parallel with each other, are fastened on the lateral walls of the refrigerator for holding the shelves and have snap-in recesses at predefined distances. Supporting elements are displaceably maintained in the rails, which can be selectively snapped into the snap-in recesses of the rails, so that the height of the shelves in the refrigerator compartment can be adjusted in steps. On their sides facing each other, the supporting elements have guide elements, which engage grooves in the lateral front edges of the shelves, so that the shelves can be pulled out of the refrigerator compartment, like drawers, when the refrigerator door is open.

[0006] A support arrangement for refrigerated goods in refrigerators is disclosed by European Patent Reference EP-A-0 601 686, which has at least two profiled rails, two support arms, which are releasably attached thereon and on which a support plate for refrigerated goods is seated, as well as a transverse arm releasably attached to the profiled rails, to which a smaller support plate for refrigerated goods is attached, which is displaceable in the horizontal direction. The profiled rails made of metal or plastic are secured by screws on the rear wall of a refrigerator, so that they extend in the vertical direction and are spaced apart from each other in the horizontal direction. Each profiled rail has a U-shaped cross section and has over its length a plurality of evenly spaced-apart slits used for receiving hook-shaped ends of the support arms, or of the transverse arm. In this prior art, the height of the support plates for the refrigerated goods can be adjusted in steps, the same as in a commercially available shelf system, and the support arms, or the transverse arm, are initially removed from the profiled rails and are then suspended with their hook-shaped ends in the appropriate slits at another location in the profiled rails.

[0007] Scissor mechanisms are known for baking and roasting ovens, as taught by German Patent Reference DE-U-75 07 126, with scissor legs that can be locked together at different angular positions to adjust the height of the baking or roasting good support in steps. A scissor leg has a detent neck in the vicinity of the scissors joint, while the other scissors joint has a curved section with a plurality of catch recesses for the selective reception of the detent neck.

[0008] With the above-described known structures, the height of the support bases can only be adjusted in relatively large steps. Also, these support bases are hard to clean, particularly because of the catch recesses or slits required for the positive holding of the support bases, in which dirt can easily accumulate.

[0009] Finally, more elaborate drive mechanisms are known for the height adjustment of the support bases. For example, in the construction described in European Patent Reference EP-A-0 438 180, two support arms are provided for seating a support base, which are guided, displaceable in the vertical direction, in associated profiled guide elements arranged in corners between the back wall and the lateral walls of a refrigerator. There, each support arm is formed as a housing for receiving a worm drive used for driving a pinion gear seated in the support arm. The pinion gear meshes with a section of a toothed rack on the profiled guide element assigned to the respective support arm, so that the support arm, and thus the support base, can be adjusted by rotating the pinion gear via the worm drive. Although this construction allows a substantially continuous height adjustment of the support bases, it is relatively elaborate, so that it considerably increases the cost of the refrigerator.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Based on the prior art in accordance with European Patent Reference EP-A-0 619 464, for example, one object of this invention is to provide a bracket for support bases in household appliances which is simply designed and is easy to clean and permits a more flexible adjustment of the height of the support bases in contrast to the species-defining prior art.

[0011] This object is achieved according to the features of this invention as discussed in this specification and in the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0012] With a bracket for support bases in household appliances, having at least one profiled rail mounted, substantially vertically extending, in a reception chamber of the household appliance, and at least one support element on which a support base is mounted and which can be selectively displaced along the profiled rail or can be fixed in place on the profiled rail, the support element can be fixed in place substantially positively with respect to a movement along the profiled rail.

[0013] With this embodiment, the fastening of the support element on the profiled rail, catch recesses or slits in the profiled rail can be omitted, so that the profiled rail can have a continuous, or smooth, and thus easy to clean surface. Furthermore, the support element can be fixed in place in any arbitrary height position on the profiled rail, such as during a height adjustment of the support base, there is no restriction to height positions preset in steps by the position of catch detents or slits, such as with the prior art.

[0014] According to this invention, in accordance with another embodiment of the positive fastening recited in claim 2, the support element can be fixed in place on the profiled rail in the manner of a frictional locking mechanism. For this purpose the support element has a first contact area, which can be placed against a front side of the profiled rail facing the support base, and a second contact area, which can be placed against a back of the profiled rail at a location which lies higher than the contact location in the first contact area at the front of the profiled rail. As a result, the support element is maintained on the profiled rail by static friction, wherein the dead weight of the support element, of the support base and of the goods possibly deposited on the support base generates a torque at the support element, which is supported over the contact areas on the profiled rail. The forces Fn, which during this are exerted by the contact areas on the profiled rail and act normally with respect to the profiled rail, cause reaction forces Fr which, acting in the direction of the longitudinal extension of the profiled rail, maintain the support element on the profiled rail, for example counteract the dead weight of the support element, of the support base and of the goods possibly deposited on the support base, and whose value corresponds to the product of the normal force Fn and the coefficient of static friction μO.

[0015] In accordance with claim 3, with the previously described embodiment, an alternative of the positive fastening the support element has a sleeve section forming the first and second contact areas in a simple manner, which surrounds the profiled rail with play so that the support element can be tilted in relation to the profiled rail between a holding position in which the contact areas rest against the front, or the back, of the profiled rail, and a displacement position, in which the support element can be displaced along the profiled rail. Thus, during the height adjustment of the support base, the sleeve section is advantageously used for the defined guidance of the support element on the profiled rail.

[0016] In accordance with claim 4, a receiving cutout is on the side of the support element facing the front of the profiled rail, into which a tapered slide can be inserted which, in the inserted state, rests against the support element, as well as against the front of the profiled rail in order to secure the support element in the holding position against tilting with respect to the profiled rail. It is thus simply prevented that the support element is inadvertently tilted out of the holding position into the displacement position, for example by lifting the support base, and then slides downward along the profiled rail.

[0017] In accordance with claim 5, the tapered slide can have a protrusion on its side facing away from the profiled rail, which extends behind an undercut on the receiving cutout of the support element. There, the protrusion is used in an advantageous manner as a safeguard against loss of the tapered slide, wherein during a height adjustment of the support base, it can be pulled out of the receiving cutout of the support element only until the protrusion rests against the undercut of the receiving cutout.

[0018] According to claim 6, the second contact area of the support element has micro-teeth which can be engaged with complementary micro-teeth at the back of the profiled rail. The micro-teeth are used for additional safeguarding of the support element against slipping along the profiled rail. The embodiment with micro-teeth is particularly recommended for applications in which, for example because of temperature or moisture conditions, only a small coefficient of static friction μO is provided or could become reduced.

[0019] In another embodiment, the positive fastening is disclosed in claim 7, in accordance with which the support element can be fixed in place on the profiled rail as a clamp. For this purpose, the support element has a slit and a resiliently embodied sleeve section enclosing the profiled rail, which is adjoined by two legs extending on both sides of the slit, which can be moved toward or away from each other from a holding position into a displacement position, and vice versa, using an eccentric toggle mechanism wherein, in the holding position, the sleeve section is clamped in place on the profiled rail, and in the displacement position snaps back so that the support element can be displaced along the profiled rail. With this fastening principle, too, which is similar to the principle of fastening a seat support in the frame tube of a bicycle, the support element is simply maintained on the profiled rail by static friction.

[0020] In accordance with the teaching of claim 8, the sleeve section advantageously has a cross-sectional shape of the inner circumference which, in cooperation with the cross-sectional shape of the outer circumference of the profiled rail, in the holding position positively prevents the twisting of the support element in a plane perpendicular to the direction of the longitudinal extension of the profiled rail, so that no additional components are thus required.

[0021] In principle, the support base can glued, riveted and/or screwed to the support element. In view of a good and simple cleaning possibility, however, the embodiment according to claim 9 has the support base releasably snapped together with the support element by at least one snap-on device. In accordance with claim 10, the snap-on device has a plurality of resilient protrusions, which are fastened on the support element or embodied in one piece with it and which, in the assembled state of the support base, extend through a through-bore in the support base, and on their free ends each has a snap-in projection extending behind the support base. It would also be conceivable to fasten the protrusions to the support base, or to embody them in one piece with the support base, and to provide the associated, possibly undercut bores in the support element. The support element usefully has an arm section as set forth in claim 11, which has a flat contact surface on which the support base rests, wherein the at least one snap-on device is formed near or in the area of this contact surface. In accordance with claim 12, a groove advantageously adjoins the contact surface of the arm section in the direction toward the profiled rail, which is embodied in the support element and is used for the positive reception of an edge of the support base. Thus, when lifting the support base, the snap-on device only needs to prevent the support base from being inadvertently separated from the contact surface of the arm section. When the support base is pushed down, a separation from the contact surface of the arm section is prevented by the groove.

[0022] In accordance with claim 13, one end of the profiled rail is releasably received in a cutout in the bottom of the reception chamber, while the other end of the profiled rail is releasably received in a cutout in the ceiling of the reception chamber. The length of the profiled rail is less by a defined amount than the clear distance of the bottoms of the cutouts, and the defined amount is greater than the depth of the cutout in the bottom of the reception chamber. With this design a dependable fastening of the profiled rail in the reception chamber of the household appliance is provided. Also, the profiled rail can be easily removed from the reception chamber, for example for cleaning purposes, without necessarily undoing screws or the like.

[0023] Finally, claim 14 provides that the profiled rail advantageously has a cross-sectional shape on an outer circumference which, in cooperation with the cross-sectional shape at the inner circumference of the cutouts, positively prevents the twisting of the profiled rail in the cutouts, so that no additional components are required for this purpose.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] This invention is explained in view of preferred exemplary embodiments, making reference to the drawings, wherein:

[0025] FIG. 1 is a perspective, partially cut plan view of a household appliance illustrating the installation situation of a bracket, in accordance with this invention, for support bases arranged in the reception chamber of the household appliance;

[0026] FIG. 2 is a lateral view of a bracket for support bases in accordance with one embodiment of this invention, which is installed in the reception chamber of a household appliance shown in section, and wherein a support base support element formed as a frictional locking mechanism can be fixed in place on a profiled rail;

[0027] FIG. 3 is an enlarged representation of the detail III in FIG. 2 which illustrates the upper end of the profiled rail of the bracket received in a cutout in the ceiling of the reception chamber;

[0028] FIG. 4 is an enlarged representation of the detail IV in FIG. 2 which illustrates the lower end of the profiled rail of the bracket received in a cutout in the bottom of the reception chamber;

[0029] FIG. 5 is a perspective broken-off longitudinal sectional view of the bracket in accordance with the one embodiment;

[0030] FIG. 6 is a schematic broken-off longitudinal sectional view of the bracket in accordance with the one embodiment, wherein the support element of the bracket is in a holding position in which the support element cannot be displaced along the profiled rail;

[0031] FIG. 7 is an enlarged representation of the detail VII in FIG. 6, which illustrates that in the holding position of the support element an upper contact area of the support element rests against the back of the profiled rail;

[0032] FIG. 8 is an enlarged representation of the detail VIII in FIG. 6, which illustrates that in the holding position of the support element a lower contact area of the support element rests against the front of the profiled rail;

[0033] FIG. 9 is a schematic broken-off longitudinal sectional view of the bracket in accordance with the one embodiment similar to FIG. 6, wherein the support element of the bracket is in a displacement position in which the support element is displaceable along the profiled rail;

[0034] FIG. 10 is an enlarged representation of the detail X shown in FIG. 9, which illustrates that in the displacement position of the support element the upper contact area of the support element is spaced apart from the back of the profiled rail;

[0035] FIG. 11 is an enlarged representation of the detail XI in FIG. 9, which illustrates that in the displacement position of the support element the lower contact area of the support element is spaced apart from the front of the profiled rail;

[0036] FIG. 12 is a broken-off longitudinal sectional view of a bracket in accordance with this invention, for support bases in a variation of the one embodiment, wherein the upper contact area of the support element, as well as the back of the profiled rail, have complementary micro-teeth, and a tapered slide is secured against loss on the support element at the front of the profiled rail;

[0037] FIG. 13 is a broken-off sectional view of the bracket shown in FIG. 12, in accordance with the section line XIII-XIII in FIG. 12;

[0038] FIG. 14 is a broken-off sectional view of the bracket, enlarged with respect to the representation shown in FIG. 5, which illustrates how the support base is releasably fastened on the support element by a snap-on device;

[0039] FIG. 15 is a broken-off perspective plan view of the support element in accordance with FIG. 14, in which the support base is removed for showing the snap-on device more clearly;

[0040] FIG. 16 is a schematic perspective view of a bracket for support bases in accordance with an other embodiment of this invention, wherein the support base support element can be fixed in place on the profiled rail in the manner of a clamp;

[0041] FIG. 17 is a perspective cross-sectional plan view of the bracket of the other embodiment in accordance with the sectional line XVII-XVII shown in FIG. 16;

[0042] FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional plan view of the bracket of the other embodiment, wherein the support element is maintained in a holding position by an eccentric toggle mechanism, in which the support element is clamped in place on the profiled rail; and

[0043] FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional plan view of the bracket of the other embodiment, wherein the support element is in its displacement position, in which the support element can be displaced along the profiled rail.

[0044] German Patent Reference 102 16 769.9, the priority document corresponding to this invention, and its teachings are incorporated, by reference, into this specification.