Title:
Broiler exhaust unit having hood structure with pivoting heat shield
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A broiler exhaust unit includes a hood structure with a heat shield pivotally connected thereto. The heat shield is movable between a shielding position and a non-shielding position and one or more supporting hinges provide the pivotal connection and also provide support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of at least the non-shielding position.



Inventors:
Antoniello, Vincent A. (Ledgewood, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/407809
Publication Date:
10/07/2004
Filing Date:
04/04/2003
Assignee:
ANTONIELLO VINCENT A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/299D
International Classes:
F24C15/20; (IPC1-7): F24C15/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YEUNG, JAMES C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMPSON HINE LLP / ITW (DAYTON, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A broiler exhaust unit, comprising: a hood structure including a front panel, a real panel and first and second side panels, the hood structure including an open bottom for positioning over a broiler; a heat shield pivotally connected to a lower end of the front panel for movement between a shielding position toward the open bottom and a non-shielding position away from the open bottom, wherein at least one friction hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the hood structure; when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position or any one of a plurality of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position, the at least one friction hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of such positions.

2. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the heat shield includes a plurality of slots therein, each slot including an associated deflector.

3. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the at least one friction hinge is configured to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of any one of a continuous range of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

4. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 3 wherein the at least one friction hinge comprises a constant torque hinge.

5. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the at least one friction hinge comprises a detent hinge.

6. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the at least one friction hinge also prevents gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of the shielding position.

7. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 6 further comprising a movable latching mechanism for preventing movement of the heat shield out of the shielding position even when an external force applied to the heat shield would be sufficient to overcome a holding force of the at least one friction hinge.

8. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein an internal portion of the hood includes at least one grease extraction baffle.

9. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the first and second side panels extend downward beyond the lower end of the front panel and when the heat shield is in the shielding position it lies adjacent lower portions of the first and second side panels.

10. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 1 wherein the at least one friction hinge comprises a plurality of spaced apart friction hinges.

11. A broiler exhaust unit, comprising: a hood structure including an air intake for positioning over a broiler and at least one grease extraction baffle therein; a heat shield pivotally connected to a portion of the hood structure for movement between a shielding position toward the air intake and a non-shielding position away from the air intake, wherein at least one supporting hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the portion of the hood structure; when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position the at least one supporting hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of the non-shielding position.

12. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 11 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more constant torque hinges that further provide support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of any one of a continuous range of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

13. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 11 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more detent hinges that further provide support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from the causing the heat shield to pivot out of any one of a plurality of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

14. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 11 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more spring-loaded hinges that bias the heat shield into the non-shielding position.

15. The broiler exhaust unit of claim 14 further comprising a releasable latch mechanism that automatically latches when the heat shield is moved to the shielding position, when the latch mechanism is latched it prevents the heat shield from moving out of the shielding position, when the latch mechanism is released the heat shield automatically moves to the non-shielding position.

16. A cooking system comprising: a broiler positioned beneath the broiler exhaust unit of claim 11, and at least one blower for drawing air into the air intake of the hood structure.

17. The cooking system of claim 16 wherein the broiler is a mobile unit, when the heat shield is in the shielding position it blocks the broiler from moving away from the hood structure, when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position it no longer blocks the broiler.

18. A kitchen exhaust unit for use in connection with a cooking appliance such as a broiler, the unit comprising: a hood structure including an air intake for positioning over a cooking appliance; at least one grease extraction baffle within an interior of the hood structure; a heat shield pivotally connected to a lower part of the hood structure for movement between a shielding position toward the air intake and a non-shielding position away from the air intake, wherein at least one supporting hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the lower part, and the at least one supporting hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of the non-shielding position.

19. The kitchen exhaust unit of claim 18 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more constant torque hinges that further provide support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of any one of a continuous range of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

20. The kitchen exhaust unit of claim 18 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more detent hinges that further provide support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from the causing the heat shield to pivot out of any one of a plurality of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

21. The kitchen exhaust unit of claim 18 wherein the at least one supporting hinge comprises one or more spring-loaded hinges that bias the heat shield into the non-shielding position.

22. The kitchen exhaust unit of claim 21 further comprising a releasable latch mechanism that automatically latches when the heat shield is moved to the shielding position, when the latch mechanism is latched it prevents the heat shield from moving out of the shielding position, when the latch mechanism is released the heat shield automatically moves to the non-shielding position.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates generally to exhaust hoods utilized in kitchens of commercial establishments such as restaurants and cafeterias and, more particularly, to broiler exhaust hood including a pivoting heat shield that is stably supported when moved out of its heat shielding position.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Kitchen ventilator exhaust hoods have long been provided for the purpose of exhausting steam, smoke and particulates such as grease that are produced by cooking appliances, such as broilers, in the commercial cooking environment. In the case of exhaust hoods used in connection with conveyor type broilers, it is known to provide a heat shield on the front panel of such hoods, the purpose of the heat shield being to block radiant heat produced by the broiler. To provide access to the broiler, in the past such heat shields have been removable. Other prior art heat shields have been hingedly connected to the front panel of the hood, with a kickstand type structure also provided to support the heat shield when it is pivoted into a non-shielding position. Still other prior art movable heat shields have been connected to the hood structure along slots having notches that allow the hood structure to be moved away from its shielding position and supported in one or more non-shielding positions. Each of these prior art heat shield attachments schemes suffers from certain disadvantages such as difficulty in manufacture and cleanability, increased manufacturing costs, and or inconvenience of operation by the end user.

[0003] Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a broiler exhaust hood with simple, effective heat shield attached thereto.

SUMMARY

[0004] In one aspect, a broiler exhaust unit includes a hood structure including a front panel, a real panel and first and second side panels, the hood structure including an open bottom for positioning over a broiler. A heat shield is pivotally connected to a lower end of the front panel for movement between a shielding position toward the open bottom and a non-shielding position away from the open bottom. At least one friction hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the hood structure such that when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position or any one of a plurality of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position, the at least one friction hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of such positions.

[0005] In a further aspect, a broiler exhaust unit includes a hood structure including an air intake for positioning over a broiler and at least one grease extraction baffle therein. A heat shield is pivotally connected to a lower part of the hood structure for movement between a shielding position toward the air intake and a non-shielding position away from the air intake. At least one supporting hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the lower part such that when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position the at least one supporting hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of the non-shielding position.

[0006] In another aspect, a kitchen exhaust unit for use in connection with a cooking appliance such as a broiler includes a hood structure including an air intake for positioning over a cooking appliance and at least one grease extraction baffle within an interior of the hood structure. A heat shield is pivotally connected to a lower part of the hood structure for movement between a shielding position toward the air intake and a non-shielding position away from the air intake. At least one supporting hinge pivotally connects the heat shield to the lower part, and the at least one supporting hinge provides support for the heat shield sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield to pivot out of the non-shielding position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a broiler exhaust unit including a hood structure with pivoting heat shield;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the broiler exhaust unit positioned over a broiler and with the interior of the hood structure shown;

[0009] FIG. 3A is an enlarged partial cross-section illustrating the shielding position of the heat shield; and

[0010] FIG. 3B is an enlarged partial cross-section illustrating the non-shielding position of the heat shield.

DESCRIPTION

[0011] Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a broiler exhaust unit 10 defined by an exterior hood structure 12 is shown. The illustrated hood structure includes a front panel 14, rear panel 16 and side panels 18 and 20, with the side panels 18 and 20 extending lower than the front panel 14. The panels 14, 16, 18 and 20 define an open bottom area 22 of the hood structure 12 that is positioned over a broiler 24 (FIG. 2) or other cooking appliance and acts as an air intake during operation of the exhaust unit. The lower portions 26 and 28 of side panels 18 and 20 are also slanted rearward in the illustrated embodiment.

[0012] Referring to FIG. 2, an interior of the exhaust hood 12 is shown and includes one or more grease extraction baffles 30 along a flow path through the hood. The grease extraction baffles 30 force air to turn when traveling through the hood to be exhausted, causing grease particles and other particulates to fall out of the air flow. These particles are collected within the hood and can be cleaned out using automated cleaning systems or manually through the use of a removable grease drawer 32 (FIG. 1). Cleaning and or fire suppression within the interior of the hood structure 12 may be provided by one or more piping arrangements 34. An upper part of the hood structure 12 is typically connected to an exhaust path 36 at the installation site, with the exhaust path 36 typically including one more blowers for drawing air through the hood structure 12 as indicated by the arrows. Alternatively, the hood structure 12 may include its own internally located blower. The exhaust path 36 may also include exhaust filtering technologies, such as a catalytic converter, to facilitate meeting any applicable environmental air standards.

[0013] In the case of the broiler 24 of FIG. 2, the broiler may be a conveyor type broiler commonly used for cooking meat products such as hamburgers in fast food establishments. The illustrated broiler 24 may be moved from beneath the hood structure 12, which is typically fixed in place when installed, to facilitate cleaning within the hood structure 12 or maintenance within the hood structure 12.

[0014] A heat shield 40 is pivotally connected to the lower end of front panel 14 to deflect radiant heat put off by the broiler 24. The heat shield 40 may include a number of slots or other openings 42 therethrough, with radiant heat deflectors 42 extending downward therefrom when the heat shield is in its shielding position shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3A. During operation of the blower associated with the hood structure 12, air is also drawn in through the slots 42.

[0015] As previously noted, the heat shield 40 is pivotally connected to the hood structure 12, facilitating movement of the heat shield between the shielding position of FIG. 3A and the non-shielding position of FIG. 3B. In the illustrated embodiment the shielding position of the heat shield 40 is downward and toward the open bottom 22 of the hood structure 12 and the non-shielding position is upward and away from the open bottom 22. In the illustrated embodiment the heat shielding position is a position in which the heat shield is adjacent the lower portions 26 and 28 of side panels 18 and 20, and the non-shielding position is a position in which the heat shield is angled slightly upward from horizontal. It is recognized that the non-shielding position may be some other position in which the heat shield is at some other angle, such as pivoted upward against the exterior face of the front panel 14, and in any case there may be multiple positions of the heat shield that would be considered non-shielding. When the heat shield 40 is in the shielding position (FIG. 3A) the upper part 50 of the broiler 24 typically extends above the lower part of the heat shield 40. The heat shield is therefore moved to the non-shielding position (FIG. 3B) when it is desired to roll the broiler 24 from beneath the hood structure 12 or when it is desirable to have access to the upper part 50 of the broiler 24 or to certain interior parts of the hood structure 12. It is therefore important to provide the ability for the heat shield 40 to be maintained in the non-shielding position without requiring a person to hold the heat shield 40 in such position. Such functionality is provided in by the use of one or more supporting hinges 60 to connect the heat shield 40 to the hood structure 12. In the illustrated embodiment four spaced apart supporting hinges 60 are provided, but more or less could be used.

[0016] As used herein the term “supporting hinge” is intended to encompass hinges that provide support for the heat shield 40 to hold the heat shield against gravity caused pivoting at least when the heat shield 40 is in the heat shielding position.

[0017] In one embodiment the supporting hinge or hinges may comprise a friction hinge or hinges. A “friction hinge” is broadly defined as a device with torque between to two parts, such as two hinge plates or a hinge plate and a pivot rod or pin, on a common axis. Exemplary types of friction hinges include the “Reel” clip type, the friction disk type, the “question mark” band type, the roll pin type and the tapered shaft type. A detent hinge is a device with repeatable soft stops in one or more positions between two parts on a common axis. While not a true friction hinge, detent hinges are in fact commonly referred to as friction hinges and the term “friction hinge” as used herein shall also encompass detent hinges. Many of these various friction hinges are available from REELL Precision Manufacturing Corporation of St. Paul, Minn. (www.reell.com), or from Southco (www.southco.com). Exemplary friction hinge constructions are also described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,301,478, 5,918,348 and 5,079,799, the specification of each of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

[0018] Where friction hinges are used to pivotally connect the heat shield 40 to the hood structure 12, when the heat shield is in the non-shielding position or any one of a plurality of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position, the friction hinge or hinges provide support for the heat shield 40 sufficient to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield 40 to pivot out of such positions. In other words, the hinge or hinges themselves are all that is required to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield 40 to rotate, but are configured to enable an operator to move the heat shield by applying a movement force sufficient to overcome the supporting force or torque of the friction hinge or hinges. Where the friction hinge or hinges are constant torque hinges or some other true friction hinge, the hinge or hinges may prevent gravity from causing the heat shield 40 to pivot out of any one of a continuous range of positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position. Where the friction hinge or hinges are detent hinges, the hinge or hinges may prevent gravity from causing the heat shield 40 to pivot out of any one of a plurality of discrete positions between the non-shielding position and the shielding position.

[0019] The friction hinge or hinges may also provide sufficient support to prevent gravity from causing the heat shield 40 to pivot out of the shielding position. Nonetheless, a latch mechanism 62 may be provided on the heat shield 40 for holding the heat shield 40 in the shielding position. The illustrated latch mechanism 62 includes a rotatable handle 64 with a portion extending through the heat shield 40 to an internally located and rotatable bracket 66. The bracket 66 is used to engage an internal structure and hold the heat shield from rotation until the handle 64 is rotated to move the bracket 66 out of engagement with the internal structure.

[0020] In another embodiment, the supporting hinge or hinges may be formed by spring-loaded hinges that bias the heat shield 40 toward its non-shielding position. In such cases, the latch mechanism 62 may be configured to automatically latch when the heat shield 40 is moved to its shielding position. When the latch mechanism is subsequently released by handle 64 or other actuator, the spring-loaded hinges cause the heat shield to automatically pivot into the non-shielding position, with the hinges thereafter holding the heat shield 40 in such non-shielding position against the force of gravity. Where such spring-loaded hinges are utilized, it may be preferred that the hinges provide a controlled, slow movement of the heat shield 40 to the non-shielding position.

[0021] In connection with either embodiment, the number, size and force or torque rating of the hinges may be selected according to that needed for the size and weight of the heat shield 40 being used. In the illustrated embodiment the hinges 60 each include one hinge plate connected to the front panel 14 and another hinge plate connected to the heat shield 40, but it is recognized that other configurations are possible. For example, two spaced apart hinges could be used to connect the heat shield to the side panels 18 and 20 of the hood structure, where the hinges each include a single hinge plate connected to the heat shield and a pivot pin or bracket connected to a respective one of the side panels 18 and 20. In any embodiment in which the pivot axis of the heat shield is located proximate to the lower end of the front panel, the heat shield shall be considered pivotally connected to such lower end of the front panel, regardless of whether the hinge or hinges directly contact the front panel.

[0022] Although the invention has been described and illustrated in detail it is to be clearly understood that the same is intended by way of illustration and example only and is not intended to be taken by way of limitation. One alternative to the use of the supporting hinges described above would be the use of ordinary, free-pivoting hinges in combination with one or more pressurized piston supports such as those used in connection with automobile hoods and tailgates. It is recognized that numerous other variations exist, including both narrowing and broadening variations of the appended claims.