Title:
Rail stop for dishwasher rack rail
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rail stop is provided for a dishwasher rack rail. The rail stop includes a plug portion with inner and outer ends, and a lock portion connected to the outer end of the plug portion with a double living hinge, which permits the lock portion to move between an open, unlocked position and a closed, locked position. The plug portion of the rail stop is adapted to be inserted into the channel of the rack rail, and then the lock portion is moved to the closed position wherein a post extends through an opening in the plug portion and into a hole in the rail to prevent removal of the rail stop from the rail. A projection of the lock member frictionally engages a surface on the plug portion to hold the lock portion in the closed, locked position. A curved surface on the end of the lock portion is receivable on a circumferential groove in the rack wheels to prevent accidental opening of the lock portion if the lock is pulled or slammed forwardly with excessive force.



Inventors:
Dickson, Harry W. (Jackson, TN, US)
Milam, Don J. (Sugartree, TN, US)
Turner, Dwight M. (Hillsboro, TN, US)
Application Number:
10/410917
Publication Date:
10/14/2004
Filing Date:
04/10/2003
Assignee:
Maytag Corporation (Newton, IA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B88/04; A47L15/50; (IPC1-7): A47B88/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCKEE, VOORHEES & SEASE, P.L.C. (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A rail stop for a rack rail of a dishwasher, the rail being elongated with a channel to rollably receive a wheel on a dishwasher rack, the rail stop comprising: a plug portion adapted to be fit into the rail channel and having an opening therein; a lock portion hinged to the plug portion for movement between an open and closed position; and a post on the lock portion adapted to extend through the opening in the plug portion after the plug portion is inserted longitudinally into the rail channel and into a hole in the rail to retain the rail stop in the rail channel when the lock portion is in the closed position.

2. The rail stop of claim 1 wherein the plug portion has opposite inner and outer ends, and the lock portion is hinged to the outer end of the plug portion.

3. The rail stop of claim 1 further comprising a projection on the lock portion for frictionally engaging the plug portion when the lock position is in the closed position.

4. The rail stop of claim 3 wherein the lock portion includes a curved surface adapted to substantially matingly engage with a circumferential groove in the rack wheel.

5. The rail stop of claim 1 wherein the plug portion includes crush ribs to assure a snug fit in the rail channel.

6. The rail stop of claim 1 further comprising a double living hinge connecting the lock portion to the plug portion.

7. A method of installing a rail stop into a rack rail of a dishwasher, the rail having an elongated channel for receiving wheels of a dishwasher rack, the method comprising: inserting a plug portion on one end of the rail stop longitudinally into the rail channel, and then moving a lock portion on an opposite end of the rail stop from an open position to a closed position wherein a post on the lock portion extends through an opening in the plug portion and into a hole in the rail.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the lock portion pivots approximately 180° in moving from the open position to the closed position after the plug portion is inserted into the rail channel.

9. The method of claim 7 further comprising engaging a projection on the lock portion with a surface on the plug portion to frictionally retain the lock portion in the closed position.

10. A rail stop for a rack rail of a dishwasher, the rail being elongated with a channel to rollably receive wheels on a dishwasher rack, the rail stop comprising: a plug portion having an outer end and an inner end adapted to be inserted longitudinally into the rail channel; a lock portion hinged to the outer end of the plug portion for movement between unlocked and locked positions; and a post on the lock portion adapted to extend through a hole in the rail to secure the rail stop in the rail when the lock portion is in the locked position.

11. The rail stop of claim 10 wherein the lock portion is moved to the locked position after the plug portion is inserted into the rail channel.

12. The rail stop of claim 10 further comprising a tab on the lock portion for frictionally engaging the plug portion when the lock position is in the closed position.

13. The rail stop of claim 10 wherein the lock portion includes a curved surface adapted to substantially matingly engage with a circumferential groove in one of the rack wheels.

14. The rail stop of claim 10 wherein the plug portion includes crush ribs to assure a snug fit in the rail channel.

15. The rail stop of claim 10 further comprising a double living hinge connecting the lock portion to the plug portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Dishwashers generally include racks for holding objects to be washed. The racks normally are supported on rails which allow the racks to move between a retracted washing position within the dishwasher and an extended loading/unloading position substantially outside of the dishwasher when the dishwasher door is opened. The rails are telescoping between the extended and retracted positions. The inner rails are formed with a channel to rollably support wheels on opposite sides of the rack. The forward ends of the rails must have a stop element or plug to prevent the racks from rolling off the inner rails. The rail stops are preferably removable from the rail channel so that the racks can be removed from the dishwasher, if desired. Many prior art rail stops are difficult to install and/or remove due to their construction.

[0002] Therefore, a primary objective of the present invention is the provision of an improved rail stop which can be quickly and easily installed or removed from the rail channel.

[0003] A further objective of the present invention is the provision of an improved rail stop having a one piece construction.

[0004] Another objective of the present invention is the provision of a rail stop having a plug portion insertable into the rail channel and a lock portion movable between open and closed positions when the plug portion is inserted into the rail channel.

[0005] A further objective of the present invention is the provision of a rail stop for insertion into a dishwasher rack rail and having a tab adapted to substantially matingly engage with a groove in the rack wheel so as to inhibit unintentional opening of the rail stop.

[0006] Another objective of the present invention is the provision of a rail stop for a dishwasher rack rail which is economical to manufacture, and durable and reliable in use.

[0007] These and other objectives will become apparent from the following description of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The rail stop of the present invention is adapted for use on a rack rail of a dishwasher. The rail stop includes a plug portion adapted to be inserted longitudinally into the channel of the rail. The rail stop includes a lock portion which is hinged to the outer end of the plug portion for movement between an open position when the plug portion is being inserted in to the rail channel, and a closed position after the plug portion is inserted into the channel. In the closed position, a post on the lock portion extends through an opening in the plug portion and into a hole in the rail to retain the rail stop in the rail channel. A tab on the lock portion has a projection which frictionally engages the plug portion to enhance retention in the closed position. The tab also includes a curved surface to substantially matingly engage with a circumferential groove in the rack wheels so as to preclude accidental or unintentional opening of the lock portion if the rack is slammed to the front of the rails.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dishwasher with the door open and showing an upper rack, and upper and lower rack rails.

[0010] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing an inner rack rail and the rail stop of the present invention, prior to insertion of the rail stop into the rail.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective showing the plug portion of the rail stop inserted into the rail channel, with the lock portion of the rail stop in an open or unlocked position.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the rail stop mounted in the rail channel with the lock portion being in a closed or locked position.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4 showing the end of the tab of the lock portion received in a circumferential groove in a rack wheel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] A dishwasher is generally designated in FIG. 1 by the reference numeral 10. The dishwasher 10 includes a tub 12 defining a washing chamber, and a door 14 movable between open and closed positions. A pump 16 is mounted in the bottom of the tub. A spray arm 18 is connected to the pump 14 for supplying washing and rinsing objects being washed in the dishwasher. The dishwasher includes an upper rack 20, and one or more lower racks (not shown). The racks 20 are supported by rail assemblies 22 mounted on opposite sidewalls of the tub 12. The rail assemblies 22 include a telescoping inner rail 24 which can move longitudinally within an outer rail 26. The racks 20 include wheels 28 rollably supported in the inner rails 24.

[0015] The above construction of the dishwasher 10 is conventional, and does not constitute a part of the present invention.

[0016] The present invention is directed towards a rail stop 30 which is adapted to be removably installed in the channel 32 of the inner rail 24, as shown in FIGS. 2-4. The rail stop includes a plug portion 34 and a lock portion 36. The plug portion has an inner end 38 and an outer end 40. The lock portion 36 is hinged to the outer end 40 of the plug portion 34 with a double living hinge 42, so as to be movable from an open or unlocked position, as shown in FIG. 2, to a closed or locked position, as shown in FIG. 4. The rail stop 30 has a one-piece construction.

[0017] The lock portion 36 includes a post 44 which is adapted to extend through an opening 46 in the plug portion 34 and into a hole 48 in the rail 24, when the lock portion 36 is in the closed position, so as to retain the rail stop 30 in the channel 32 of the inner rail 24. The lock portion 36 also includes a tab 50 with a projection 51 which is adapted to frictionally engage or snap fit onto the rear surface 52 of the plug portion 34 when the lock portion 36 is closed. The engagement between the projection 51 and the rear surface 52 to further lock the portion 36 in the closed position.

[0018] The outer end of the tab 50 has a curved surface 54 with the radius corresponding to the radius of a groove 56 in the wheels 28, as shown in FIG. 5. Therefore, if the rack 20 is pulled forwardly or accidentally slammed forwardly with excessive force, the tab 50 is in the groove 56 of the wheels 28 to prevent the lock portion 36 from accidentally popping open.

[0019] The method of installing the rail stop 30 of the present invention into the inner rail 24 of the dishwasher rail assemblies 22 includes the initial step of pushing the plug portion 34 longitudinally into the forward end of the rail channel 32. The crush ribs 58 on the plug portion 34 are compressed by the walls of the inner rail 24 so as to assure a snug fit between the plug portion 34 and the inner rail channel 32. When the plug portion 34 is inserted into the rail channel 32, the lock portion 36 is in the open/unlocked position. After the plug portion 34 is inserted into the rail channel 32, the lock portion 36 is moved from the open, unlocked position to the closed, locked position, with the post 44 extending through the opening 46 in the plug portion 34 and into the hole 48 on the inner rail 24. Extension of the post 44 though the hole 48 in the inner rail 24 precludes longitudinal movement of the rail stop 30 relative to the inner rail 24. The projection 51 on the tab 50 engages the rear surface 52 of the plug portion 34 so as to frictionally retain the lock and retention portion 36 in the closed, locked position.

[0020] During transport or use, when the rack 20 is rolled forwardly in the inner rails 24, the curved surface 54 on the end of the tab 50 is captured in the groove 56 of the wheel 28 to preclude accidental opening of the lock portion 36.

[0021] The invention has been shown and described above with the preferred embodiments, and it is understood that many modifications, substitutions, and additions may be made which are within the intended spirit and scope of the invention. From the foregoing, it can be seen that the present invention accomplishes at least all of its stated objectives.