Title:
Refrigerator having a shaved ice supplying device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a refrigerator having a shaved ice supplying device which includes an ice shaver for pulverizing ice cubes supplied from an ice storing box into shaved ice, and with a passageway structure for distributing the ice. The refrigerator comprises an ice supplying device to supply ice cubes, an ice shaver to pulverize the ice cubes, supplied from the ice supplying device, into shaved ice, and a dispenser adapted to allow the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device to be directly dispensed while allowing the shaved ice pulverized by the ice shaver to be dispensed.



Inventors:
An, Jae Koog (Kwangju-City, KR)
Kim, Ji Hoon (Cheju-Si, KR)
Application Number:
11/176335
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
07/08/2005
Assignee:
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/320
International Classes:
F25C5/02; F25C5/18; F25D23/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TAPOLCAI, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator, comprising: an ice supplying device to supply ice cubes; an ice shaver to pulverize the ice cubes, supplied from the ice supplying device, into shaved ice; and a dispenser adapted to allow the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device to be directly dispensed while allowing the shaved ice pulverized by the ice shaver to be dispensed.

2. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the dispenser comprises: an ice cube dispensing part to allow the ice cubes to be dispensed; and a shaved ice dispensing part to allow the shaved ice to be dispensed, wherein the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part are separately provided in the dispenser.

3. The refrigerator according to claim 2, further comprising: an ice feeding passageway branched such that the ice supplied from the ice supplying device is selectively supplied to the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part through the ice feeding passageway.

4. The refrigerator according to claim 3, wherein the ice feeding passageway comprises: an ice cube passageway to guide the ice to the ice cube dispensing part; a shaved ice passageway to guide the ice to the shaved ice dispensing part; and a passageway-changing member provided at a branch point in the ice feeding passageway to selectively open or close the ice cube passageway and the shaved ice passageway at the branch point.

5. The refrigerator according to claim 4, further comprising a motor to drive the passageway-changing member.

6. The refrigerator according to claim 4, wherein the ice shaver is positioned in the shaved ice passageway.

7. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the ice shaver comprises: a housing having a cutter therein to pulverize the ice; and a feeding part to feed the ice to the cutter.

8. The refrigerator according to claim 7, wherein the feeding part comprises a rotor rotatably positioned in the housing and having at least one spiral-shaped plate, and a motor to drive the rotor.

9. A refrigerator, comprising: a cabinet to define at least one storage chamber therein; an ice supplying device provided to the storage chamber to supply ice cubes; at least one door to open or close the storage chamber; a dispenser provided to an outer surface of the door to allow the ice to be dispensed; and an ice shaver positioned in the door to pulverize the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device into shaved ice.

10. The refrigerator according to claim 9, wherein the dispenser comprises: an ice cube dispensing part to allow the ice cubes to be dispensed; and a shaved ice dispensing part to allow the shaved ice to be dispensed, wherein the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part are separately provided in the dispenser, and the door comprises an ice feeding passageway branched such that the ice supplied from the ice supplying device is selectively supplied to the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part.

11. The refrigerator according to claim 10, wherein the ice feeding passageway comprises: an ice cube passageway to guide the ice to the ice cube dispensing part; and a shaved ice passageway to guide the ice to the shaved ice dispensing part wherein the ice shaver is positioned in the shaved ice passageway.

12. The refrigerator according to claim 11, wherein the ice feeding passageway further comprises: a passageway-changing member provided at a branch point in the ice feeding passageway to selectively open or close the ice cube passageway and the shaved ice passageway.

13. The refrigerator according to claim 12, further comprising a motor to drive the passageway-changing member.

14. A refrigerator comprising: a door to open and close the refrigerator, the door comprising: an ice dispenser to selectively supply ice cubes and shaved ice; an ice cube passageway and a shaved ice passageway to separately feed the ice cubes and the shaved ice to the ice dispenser; and an ice shaver positioned in the shaved ice passageway to crush the ice when shaved ice is to be supplied from the ice dispenser.

15. The refrigerator of claim 14, wherein the ice dispenser comprises: an ice cube dispensing part to supply the ice cubes; and a shaved ice dispensing part to supply the shaved ice.

16. The refrigerator of claim 14, further comprises: a passageway-changing member provided at a branch point within the door, to selectively open and close the ice cube passageway and the shaved ice passageway.

17. The refrigerator of claim 16, further comprising a motor to drive the passageway-changing member.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2004-75997, filed on Sep. 22, 2004 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a refrigerator equipped with a shaved ice supplying device, and, more particularly, to a refrigerator, which is provided with an ice shaver to pulverize ice cubes supplied from an ice storing box to shaved ice, and with a passageway structure for distributing the ice.

2. Description of the Related Art

Recently, according to an increase of demand for large-sized refrigerators, side-by-side refrigerators have been actively developed to meet this demand.

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional side-by-side refrigerator comprises a cabinet 1 defining at least one storage chamber therein, and doors 2 and 3 hinged at one side of the doors to front sides of the cabinet, respectively, to open or close the storage chambers. The interior of the cabinet 1 is partitioned into two storage chambers (i.e., a left side storage chamber and a right side storage chamber), by means of a vertical partition wall. Generally, the left side storage chamber serves as a freezing compartment, and the right side storage chamber serves as a refrigerating compartment.

The left side door 2 to open or close the freezing compartment is provided, at the front side thereof, with a dispenser 4 adapted to provide ice or water without opening the door 2, and the right side door 3 to open or close the refrigerating compartment is provided, at the front side thereof, with a home-bar 5 adapted to provide a beverage container and the like without opening the door 3.

The ice supplied from the dispenser 4 is of a cubic shape, and is directly supplied from an ice tray. Accordingly, there is an inconvenience in that, in order to make shaved ice and ice beverages using such ice cubes, the ice cubes must be pulverized by means of an additional ice shaver.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention is to provide a refrigerator including a shaved ice supplying device, and an ice distributing structure in order to supply various shapes of ice according to needs of a user.

Additional aspects and/or advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

The foregoing and/or other aspects are achieved by providing a refrigerator including an ice supplying device to supply ice cubes, an ice shaver to pulverize the ice cubes, supplied from the ice supplying device, into shaved ice, and a dispenser adapted to allow the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device to be directly dispensed while allowing the shaved ice pulverized by the ice shaver to be dispensed.

The dispenser may include an ice cube dispensing part to allow the ice cubes to be dispensed, and a shaved ice dispensing part to allow the shaved ice to be dispensed, wherein the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part are separately provided in the dispenser.

The refrigerator may further include an ice feeding passageway branched such that the ice supplied from the ice supplying device is selectively supplied to the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part through the ice feeding passageway.

The ice feeding passageway may include an ice cube passageway to guide the ice to the ice cube dispensing part, a shaved ice passageway to guide the ice to the shaved ice dispensing part, and a passageway-changing member provided at a branch point in the ice feeding passageway to selectively open or close the ice cube passageway and the shaved ice passageway at the branch point.

The refrigerator may further include a motor to drive the passageway-changing member.

The ice shaver may be positioned in the shaved ice passageway.

The ice shaver may include a housing equipped with a cutter to pulverize the ice, and a feeding part to feed the ice to the cutter.

The feeding part may include a rotor rotatably positioned in the housing and having at least one spiral-shaped plate, and a motor to drive the rotor.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a refrigerator including a cabinet to define at least one storage chamber therein, an ice supplying device provided to the storage chamber to supply ice cubes, at least one door to open or close the storage chamber, a dispenser provided to an outer surface of the door to allow ice to be dispensed, and an ice shaver to pulverize the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device to shaved ice.

The dispenser may include an ice cube dispensing part to allow the ice cubes to be dispensed, and a shaved ice dispensing part to allow the shaved ice to be dispensed, wherein the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part being separately provided in the dispenser, and the door may be provided with an ice feeding passageway branched such that the ice supplied from the ice supplying device is selectively supplied to the ice cube dispensing part and the shaved ice dispensing part.

The ice feeding passageway may include an ice cube passageway to guide the ice to the ice cube dispensing part, and a shaved ice passageway to guide the ice to the shaved ice dispensing part, wherein the ice shaver may be positioned in the shaved ice passageway.

The ice feeding passageway may include a passageway-changing member positioned at a branch point in the ice feeding passageway, to selectively open or close the ice cube passageway and the shaved ice passageway.

The refrigerator may further include a motor to drive the passageway-changing member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and/or other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating an appearance of a conventional side-by-side refrigerator;

FIG. 2 is a side sectional elevation illustrating an interior of a refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a front sectional view illustrating main components of the refrigerator of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the part A of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view illustrating an ice shaver of the refrigerator of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to the like elements throughout the drawings. The embodiments are described below to explain the present invention by referring to the figures.

FIG. 2 is a side sectional elevation illustrating the interior of a refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 3 is a front sectional view illustrating a main component of the refrigerator of FIG. 2.

In FIGS. 2 and 3, a refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present invention includes a cabinet 11 defining at least one storage chamber 10 therein, and at least one door 12 hinged to a front side of the cabinet to open or close the storage chamber 10. The cabinet 11 and the door 12 are made of a thermally insulated wall to shield heat transfer from the outside.

The storage chamber 10 includes a plurality of shelves 13 to locate food containers and the like thereon, and having a plurality of drawers 14 to store vegetables, fruits, and the like therein. The storage chamber 10 includes an evaporator 15 at a rear side of an upper portion thereof, as a component of a typical cooling cycle to cool the storage chamber 10. The door 12 is provided, at an inside surface thereof facing the storage chamber 10, and includes a plurality of door guards 16 to place beverage cans or bottles therein.

A machinery chamber 17 is formed at a rear side of a lower portion of the cabinet 11 to operate the refrigerator, and includes a compressor 18 as a component of the typical cooling cycle necessary to operate the refrigerator.

The door 12 is provided at an outer surface thereof with a dispenser 20, which allows ice to be easily dispensed without opening the door 12. An ice supplying device 30 is provided at an upper portion of the storage chamber 10, and supplies the ice to the dispenser 30.

The ice chamber 30 includes an ice tray 31 to freeze water into ice having a predetermined size and shape, a water supplying pipe 32 to supply water to the ice tray 31, an ice storing box 33 located below the ice tray 31 to store ice cubes frozen in the ice tray 31, a spiral-shaped feeding spring 34 to feed the ice from the ice storing box 33 to the dispenser 20 of the door 12, and a motor 35 to drive the feeding spring 34. The front end of the ice storing box 33 is opened downwardly to form an ice exit 33a, through which the ice is supplied to the dispenser 20.

The dispenser 20 includes an ice cube dispensing part 21 to allow the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device 30 to be directly dispensed, and a shaved ice dispensing part 22 to allow shaved ice to be dispensed after pulverizing the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device 30 to the shaved ice. The ice cube dispensing part 21 and the shaved ice dispensing part 22 are operating levers, which are subjected to an operation for drawing out the ice.

An ice feeding passageway 23 is formed in the door 12 from a portion below the ice exit 33a of the ice supplying device 30, and branched into the ice cube dispensing part 21 and the shaved ice dispensing part 22 therein. The ice feeding passageway 23 consists of an ice cube passageway 23a connected to the ice cube dispensing part 21, and a shaved ice passageway 23b connected to the shaved ice dispensing part 22.

A passageway-changing member 24 is positioned at a branch point in the ice feeding passageway 23 to selectively guide the ice supplied from the ice supplying device 30 to the ice cube passageway 23a or to the shaved ice passageway 23b. The passageway-changing member 24 is hingably positioned in the ice feeding passageway 23 with one side thereof acting as a rotational shaft. When the passageway-changing member 24 is positioned at the location “a” of FIG. 3, the ice cube passageway 23a is closed while the shaved ice passageway 23b is opened, and when the passageway-changing member 24 is positioned at the location “b” of FIG. 3, the ice cube passageway 23a is opened while the shaved ice passageway 23b is closed. In FIG. 4, a driving shaft of a motor 25 for driving the passageway-changing member 24 is connected to one end of the rotational shaft of the passageway-changing member 24.

An ice shaver 40 is positioned on the shaved ice passageway 23b to pulverize the ice cubes supplied from the ice supplying device 30 into shaved ice.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the construction of the ice shaver 40 will now be described as follows. The ice shaver 40 is embedded in the door 12, and includes a cup-shaped housing 41 having a convex bottom, a rotor 42 rotatably positioned within the housing 41, and a motor 43 to drive the rotor 42.

The housing 41 is opened at an upper portion thereof such that the rotor 42 can be inserted thereto, and provided at the center thereof with a cylindrical rotational shaft 41b extending from the bottom 41a of the housing 41. A slit 41c is radially formed on the bottom 41a of the housing 41 to discharge the pulverized shaved ice, and is connected at one side thereof to a cutter 41d for pulverizing the ice. A guide 41e having a predetermined length is formed below the slit 41c to guide the shaved ice provided into the slit 41c to the shaved ice dispensing part 22.

The rotor 42 is positioned in the housing 41 to be rotated therein. The rotor 42 includes a central portion 42a having a bore formed therein to allow the rotational shaft 41b of the housing 41 to be inserted into the bore, a cylindrical surrounding portion 42b spaced a predetermined distance from the central portion 42a, and a spiral-shaped intermediate plate 42c provided between the central portion 42a and the surrounding portion 42b. When the rotor 42 is rotated in the direction of the arrow, the intermediate plate 42c serves to feed the ice cubes toward the cutter 41d while compressing the ice cubes against the bottom 41a of the housing 41. As a result, the ice cubes is pulverized into the shaved ice by the cutter 41d fixed to the bottom 41a of the housing 41, and is then discharged to the slit 41c as the pulverized ice.

A predetermined gear 42d is formed around an outer peripheral surface at an upper portion of the surrounding portion 42b of the rotor 42, and is engaged with a pinion 44 rotated by a driving motor 43.

Operation for obtaining the ice from the refrigerator according to one embodiment of the present invention will now be described.

When a user wants to obtain ice cubes from the dispenser 20 of the refrigerator, the ice cube dispensing part 21 is pushed by means of a container, such as a cup, and then the motor 35 of the ice supplying device 35 is operated to allow the ice cubes to be discharged from the ice storing box 33 through the ice exit 33a. The ice cubes discharged through the ice exit 33a is dropped into the ice feeding passageway 23. The passageway-changing member 24 provided at the branch point in the ice feeding passageway 23 is converted to the location b of FIG. 3, and the ice cubes discharged through the ice exit 33a passes through the ice cube passageway 23a, and is then supplied to the dispenser 20.

When the user wants to obtain shaved ice from the dispenser 20 of the refrigerator, the shaved ice dispensing part 22 is operated. Similar to the case of obtaining the ice cubes from the refrigerator, the motor 35 of the ice supplying device 35 is operated to allow the ice cubes to be discharged from the ice storing box 33 through the ice exit 33a. The passageway-changing member 24 is driven by the motor 25, and is converted to the location a of FIG. 3, where the ice cube passageway 33a is closed while the shaved ice passageway 23b is opened, thereby allowing the ice to be fed to the ice shaver 40. In the ice shaver 40, the rotor 42 driven by the motor 43 moves the ice cubes dropped into the rotor 42 downward. Then, the ice cubes moved downward is pulverized into shaved ice by means of the cutter 41d while being rotated on the bottom 41a of the housing 41 in a state of being compressed by the rotor 42. The shaved ice is discharged to the slit 41c, and is then supplied to the dispenser 20.

As apparent from above description, according to the present invention, there is an advantageous effect in that, as the refrigerator is provided with the ice shaver for supplying shaved ice, and the ice distributing structure for dispensing the ice, various shapes of ice can be supplied according to needs of the user.

Although a few embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.