Title:
Gas/water combination control range
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved valve system for use in Chinese wok ranges of the type that require valves to turn water and gas on and off. The improvement uses a valve coupling arrangement that operates the gas and water valves simultaneously. When the gas is turned off, the water is also turned off, and when the gas is turned on, the water is also turned on. Separate valve control devices operate to open and close off the gas and water lines, and the valve coupling arrangement is operative to open and close the two valve control devises simultaneously. Cooling water lines, provided to supply a flow of cooling water across the wok range top, are sectional, whereby cooling water runs to cool the wok range top only in the region where the wok range is being used.



Inventors:
Law, Kam C. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Yeung, Tak K. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/250983
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
10/13/2005
Assignee:
GENERAL RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT CO.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUERETH, SARAH ELIZABETH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kam C. Louie, Esq. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A valve system for use in a wok range of the type that has a front side, a back side, a left end, a right end, a range top with a designated wok location for placement of a wok, a wok burner arranged below said designated wok location, a gas line for supplying gas to said wok burner, a water line for distributing cooling water to said range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through said gas and water lines, respectively, said valve system comprising: a gas valve in said gas line, operable to open and close off said gas line, thereby adjusting gas flow to said wok burner; a water valve in said water line, operable for opening and closing off said water line, thereby adjusting water flow to said range top; and a valve coupling arrangement for operationally coupling said gas and water valves, whereby, in a first operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve opens said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously opens said water line, and, in a second operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve closes off said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously closes off said water line.

2. The valve system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said valve coupling arrangement comprises: a first gear member having gear teeth and connected to said gas valve to open and close off said gas line when said first gear member is rotated; a second gear member having gear teeth and connected to said water valve to open and close off said water line when said second gear member is rotated, said second gear member teeth meshing with said first gear member teeth; and a valve operating member, mechanically associate with one of said first and second gear members, for rotating said one gear member, thereby simultaneously rotating the other one of said gear members and opening or closing off said gas and water lines, depending upon the direction of rotation of said first and second gear members.

3. The valve system as claimed in claim 2, wherein: each of said first and second gear members has a plurality of teeth sufficient to keep meshed with each other as said gas and water valves effect gradual changes in gas and water flow from full-flow to no-flow, and all positions therebetween.

4. The valve system as claimed in claim 2, wherein said valve operating member is a manually rotatable handle.

5. The valve system as claimed in claim 4, wherein said valve operating member is attached to said first gear member.

6. The valve system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said water line comprises a length of perforated water distributor tube positioned above said wok range top and arranged to uniformly distribute water flowing in said water line over said range top along one side of said wok range when water flows through said water valve.

7. The valve system as claimed in claim 1, wherein said wok range is of the type that has a plurality of designated wok locations on said range top for placement of a like plurality of woks, one at each said designated wok location, a wok burner arranged at the bottom of said designated wok location, a gas line for supplying gas to said wok burner, an independent water distributor segment of said water line for distributing cooling water only to said designated wok location on said range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through said gas and water lines, respectively, said valve system comprising, at each said designated wok location: a gas valve in said gas line, operable to open and close off said gas line, thereby adjusting gas flow to said wok burner; a water valve in said water line, operable for opening and closing off said water line, thereby adjusting water flow to said range top at said designation on said range top; and a valve coupling arrangement for operationally coupling said gas and water valves, whereby, in a first operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve opens said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously opens said water line, and, in a second operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve closes off said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously closes off said water line.

8. The valve system as claimed in claim 7, comprising an overriding water valve connected to said water line and operable to selectively open and close off water flowing to all of said water line segments simultaneously.

9. The valve system as claimed in claim 8, comprising a one-way valve inserted in each said water line leading to said water line segments, thereby allowing water to flow to all water line segments when said overriding water valve is open, and preventing water from flowing backwards from each water line segment to any other water line segment when said overriding valve is closed.

10. A wok range of the type that has a front side, a back side, a left end, a right end, a range top with a designated wok location for placement of a wok, a wok burner arranged below said designated wok location, a gas line for supplying gas to said wok burner, a water line for distributing cooling water to said range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through said gas and water lines, respectively, said valve system comprising: a gas valve in said gas line, operable to open and close off said gas line, thereby adjusting gas flow to said wok burner; a water valve in said water line, operable for opening and closing off said water line, thereby adjusting water flow to said range top; and a valve coupling arrangement for operationally coupling said gas and water valves, whereby, in a first operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve opens said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously opens said water line, and, in a second operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve closes off said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously closes off said water line.

11. The wok range as claimed in claim 10, wherein said valve coupling arrangement comprises: a first gear member having gear teeth and connected to said gas valve to open and close off said gas line when said first gear member is rotated; a second gear member having gear teeth and connected to said water valve to open and close off said water line when said second gear member is rotated, said second gear member teeth meshing with said first gear member teeth; and a valve operating member, mechanically associate with one of said first and second gear members, for rotating said one gear member, thereby simultaneously rotating the other one of said gear members and opening or closing off said gas and water lines, depending upon the direction of rotation of said first and second gear members.

12. The wok range as claimed in claim 11, wherein: each of said first and second gear members has a plurality of teeth sufficient to keep meshed with each other as said gas and water valves effect gradual changes in gas and water flow from full-flow to no-flow, and all positions therebetween.

13. The wok range as claimed in claim 11, wherein said valve operating member is a manually rotatable handle.

14. The wok range as claimed in claim 13, wherein said valve operating member is attached to said first gear member.

15. The wok range as claimed in claim 10, wherein said water line comprises a length of perforated water distributor tube positioned above said wok range top and arranged to uniformly distribute water flowing in said water line over said range top along one side of said wok range when water flows through said water valve.

16. The wok range as claimed in claim 10, wherein said wok range is of the type that has a plurality of designated wok locations on said range top for placement of a like plurality of woks, one at each said designated wok location, a wok burner arranged at the bottom of said designated wok location, a gas line for supplying gas to said wok burner, an independent water distributor segment of said water line for distributing cooling water only to said designated wok location on said range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through said gas and water lines, respectively, said valve system comprising, at each said designated wok location: a gas valve in said gas line, operable to open and close off said gas line, thereby adjusting gas flow to said wok burner; a water valve in said water line, operable for opening and closing off said water line, thereby adjusting water flow to said range top at said designation on said range top; and a valve coupling arrangement for operationally coupling said gas and water valves, whereby, in a first operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve opens said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously opens said water line, and, in a second operating condition of said valve coupling arrangement, said gas valve closes off said gas line, and said water valve simultaneously closes off said water line.

17. The wok range as claimed in claim 16, comprising an overriding water valve connected to said water line and operable to selectively open and close off water flowing to all of said water line segments simultaneously.

18. The wok range as claimed in claim 17, comprising a one-way valve inserted in each said water line leading to said water line segments, thereby allowing water to flow to all water line segments when said overriding water valve is open, and preventing water from flowing backwards from each water line segment to any other water line segment when said overriding valve is closed.

19. A valve system for use in a wok range of the type that has a range top with a designated wok location for placement of a wok, a wok burner arranged below said designated wok location, a gas line for supplying gas to said wok burner, a water line for distributing cooling water to said range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through said gas and water lines, respectively, said valve system comprising: means for effecting and controlling simultaneous flow of water in said water line and gas in said gas line.

20. The valve system as claimed in claim 19, comprising: a gas valve in said gas line; a water valve in said water line; and wherein said means for effecting and controlling simultaneous flow of water in said water line and gas in said gas line comprises means for simultaneously actuating said water line valve and said gas line valve.

Description:

REFERENCE TO DOCUMENT DISCLOSURE CERTIFICATES

Reference is made to U.S. Disclosure Document No. 581597, recorded Jul. 8, 2005, and entitled “Gas and Water Joint Valve for Chinese Wok Range”, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of Chinese wok ranges, and in particular to a wok range having an improved valving system which saves operational costs, extends the life of the wok range, and provides a greater level of safety and convenience for the cooks using the wok range.

2. Brief Description of the Prior Art

A conventional and traditional Chinese wok range requires separate valves to turn water and gas on and off. Since a constant stream of cooling water is required whenever the stove burners are on, and very hot, Chinese cooks generally work with the water valve on, but usually do not bother, or remember, to turn them off when they turn off the gas. The result is that most Chinese restaurants waste a great deal of water, causing high water bills and a detriment to the environment.

Additionally, in a traditional Chinese wok range, the cooling water runs the full length across the top of the wok range, when the water is turned on. Consequently, water continually runs over the entire range top, even though some of the burners are not in use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a Chinese wok range which overcomes the above-noted deficiencies of the prior art.

In accordance with the invention, there is provided: an improved valve system for a Chinese wok range; and a Chinese wok range employing such improved valve system.

The wok range is of the type that has a plurality of designated wok locations on said range top for placement of a wok, a burner arranged below the range top at each designated wok location, a gas line for distributing gas to each burner, a water line for distributing cooling water to the range top, and a valve system controlling the flow of gas and water through the gas and water lines, respectively.

In addition to cooling the wok range top, the flow of cooling water across the top of the wok range also prevents the accumulation of grease and splatters at all wok locations on the wok range top. All residues are gently washed toward the rear of the wok range and deposited in a drain gutter, thereby self-cleaning the wok range top and preventing the wok range top surface from corroding due to the build-up of debris.

At each designated wok burner location/station, the wok range valve system comprises a gas valve for opening and closing off the gas line, thereby adjusting gas flow to the burner. It likewise comprises a water valve for opening and closing off the water line, thereby adjusting water flow to the range top.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, there is provided a valve coupling arrangement for operationally coupling the gas and water valves together, whereby, in a first “on” state of operation of the valve coupling arrangement, the gas line valve and water line valve are opened simultaneously, and, in a second “off” state of operation of the valve coupling arrangement, the gas line valve and water line valve are closed off simultaneously. Of course, in operating the improved valve system between the first and second states of operation, the gas and water lines have flows at any level between full-flow when the valve coupling arrangement is in the “on” state and no-flow when the valve coupling arrangement is in the “off” state.

In another aspect of the invention, the cooling water lines are sectional, or segmented. The number of segments are equal to the number of burners installed in the wok range. In this manner, cooling water runs to cool the range top only in locations where the wok range is being used, i.e., where a wok burner is being used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Further objects and advantages and a better understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a three burner Chinese wok range showing, in the exploded view sections, the components of a typical wok burner, the arrangement of cleaning faucets and associated water line connection, and the range back; and

FIG. 2 is a schematic view showing the system of gas and water lines of the wok range in FIG. 1, and showing, in detail, the system of valves connected to the gas and water lines.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of a three burner Chinese wok range 1 showing, in exploded view style, the components of a typical wok burner 13, 15, 17, the arrangement of cleaning faucets 31 and associated connections to water line 25, and the range back 5, all to be described in detail in the description which follows.

Chinese wok ranges are manufactured and sold with single or multiple burner locations. For ease of explanation and understanding of the present invention, this description will primarily describe the construction and function of a single wok burner station, part of a multiple burner wok range. It will be understood that the concepts of the present invention apply equally well to a multiple wok range of any number of burner stations as well as to a single burner wok range.

In FIG. 1, the wok range 1 has a range back panel 5 that is removable for ease of cleaning, maintenance, and/or repair of the wok range 1.

The range top 7 is a flat sheet of stainless steel, and, in the preferred embodiment, has a number of circular openings 8 located intermediate the front and back of the range top 7, at the location of each of a similar number of wok range burner stations. A landing, or serving, shelf 9 extends along the top front edge of the wok range.

For purposes of this description, a wok range burner arrangement is defined as comprising a gas jet burner 15, and an insulated drum-like burner chamber 13. Adding a removable wok ring 17 defines a complete wok burner, i.e., a wok burner station. The gas jet burner 15 is located inside the insulated burner chamber 13 at about 1 to 1.5 feet below the range top 7. The insulated burner chamber 13 is secured to a respective range top opening 8, with supports (not shown) at the bottom of wok range 1. The insulated burner chamber 13 keeps the flames and heat inside the chamber, and directs the flames to the wok above. The wok ring 17 is made of cast iron and is used to hold a wok in place over the gas jet burner 15. For ease of description, hereinafter the numeral 14 will be used to refer to a wok range burner arrangement 14, which may also be referred to, simply, as a burner arrangement 14.

The edges 10 of the circular openings 8 are volcano shaped, formed by hydraulically pressing the region surrounding each of the circular openings 8, placing the raised edges 10 a distance above the wok range top 7.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the gas and water lines of the wok range in FIG. 1, showing the distribution of gas and water, as well as the system of valves connected to and operating the flow of gas and water through the lines.

A gas inlet pipe 19, hereinafter referred to as gas line 19, is shown rising up at one end of the wok range 1, running along the top front edge thereof, and extending downwardly at the other end of the wok range. Gas line 19 is the source of gas which flows through a gas valve 20, through a burner gas line 21, then on to each of the wok jet burners 15.

A water inlet pipe 25, hereinafter referred to as water line 25, is shown running along the bottom front edge of the wok range 1. Water line 25 is the source of water which flows through a water valve 26 and a distributor water line 28, then on to each perforated water distributor tube segment 27, preferably made of stainless steel. Each perforated water distributor tube segment 27 is positioned above the wok range top 7 and is arranged to uniformly distribute water over the range top 7 from along the front side of the wok range 1.

Shelf 9 covers and protects the water distributor tubes 27, and is removable for cleaning or servicing the area underneath. The raised volcano shaped edges 10 keep water flowing on the range top from getting into the wok burner arrangements 14.

Water line 25 also provides a water source to overriding water valve 30 which may be opened manually, by rotating valve handle 32, to send water to all of the perforated water distributor tube segments 27 simultaneously via supplemental water lines 50. In this way, the top 7 of the wok range 1 may be cleaned with a fresh water supply even when there is no water being supplied through the water valves 26, e.g., a cook can clean the range top during closing hours.

A valve operating member 23 is effective to open and close each gas valve 20 and each associated water valve 26 simultaneously, such that, when gas is supplied to a wok burners 15, water is supplied to the associated perforated water distributor tube 27.

The gentle flow of water from the perforated water distributor tubes 27 thus flows across the range top from front to back, and is collected in an elongated drain gutter 29 extending along the entire length of the back of the range.

Designing the wok range such that cooling water flows from front to back of the range top is an advantage over ranges that have a reverse water flow, in that the chef's arms can be closer to the wok burner arrangements 14, as is highly desirable for popular Chinese wok cooking styles. If the drain gutter 29 was located at the front of the wok range, this would make the distance between the wok burner arrangement 14 and the chef much greater.

FIG. 1 also shows two swingable faucet and spray nozzle arms 31, mounted on the range back panel 5, which, when the back panel 5 is attached to the wok range 1, places each swingable arm 31 between a pair of wok burner arrangements 14. The faucet and spray nozzle arms 31 are supported by, and movable left and right in, respective faucet valve and handle combinations 33. In this manner, each swingable arm 31 can swing over a wok burner arrangement 14 and the region on either side of it. In addition to facilitating cleaning of the range top, swingable arms 31 may be used to distribute water needed for cooking.

In FIG. 2, a cross section of the landing/serving shelf 9 is shown for spacial reference only. Other elements of the wok range 1, not involved with the distribution of gas and water or the functioning of the associated valve system, are not shown in order to simplify the drawing figure.

As mentioned above, a gas line 19 is connected to a gas source and has gas inlet possibilities at both left and right ends, as clearly seen in FIG. 2, for distributing gas to the wok burners 14. The purpose of having two gas inlet possibilities is for convenience of installation. One of the gas inlets will be sealed with a gas pipe nut.

Gas line 19 is routed to all gas valves 20, one located in each of the three positions shown. Likewise, water line 25 is routed to all water valves 26, one located in each of the three positions shown.

Gas valve 20 opens and closes off gas to burner gas line 21, thereby adjusting gas flow to the associated wok burner 15 (FIG. 1).

Water valve 26 opens and closes off water to the associated perforated water distributor tube 27, thereby adjusting water flow to the range top.

A valve coupling arrangement 42 operationally couples a gas valve 20 and a water valve 26 associated with the same wok burner arrangement 13 (FIG. 1). In a first operating condition of the valve coupling arrangement 42, the gas valve 20 opens to allow gas to pass to a wok burner 15, and the water valve 26 simultaneously opens to allow water to pass to a perforated water distributor tube 27. In a second operating condition of the valve coupling arrangement 42, the gas valve 20 closes off gas to wok burner 15, and the water valve 26 simultaneously closes off water to perforated water distributor tube 27.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the valve coupling arrangement 42 comprises a first gear member 43, having gear teeth and connected to gas valve 20, for opening and closing off gas passing to the wok burner 15 when the first gear member 43 is rotated. Likewise, the valve coupling arrangement 42 comprises a second gear member 47, having gear teeth and connected to water valve 26 for opening and closing off water passing to the range top 7 when the second gear member 47 is rotated, the second gear member teeth meshing with the first gear member teeth.

A valve operating member 23, mechanically associate with one of the first and second gear members 43,47, is adapted to rotate the associated gear member 43 or 47, thereby simultaneously rotating the other gear member 47 or 43, and opening or closing off the gas and water passing through their respective valves 20,26, depending upon the direction of rotation of the first and second gear members 43,47.

Each of the first and second gear members 43,47 has a plurality of teeth sufficient to keep meshed with each other as the gas and water valves 20, 26 effect gradual changes in gas and water flow from completely open to completely shut off, and all positions therebetween.

As previously noted, but better seen in FIG. 2, water line 25 provides water to overriding water valve 30 which, when open by rotating valve handle 32, sends water to all of the perforated water distributor tubes 27 simultaneously via supplemental water lines 50.

One-way valves 51 are inserted in supplemental water line 50 leading to all sections/segments of the perforated water distributor tubes 27, allowing water to flow to all tubes 27 when valve 30 is open, and preventing water from flowing backwards from each perforated tube 27 to any other perforated tube 27.

While only a particular embodiment of the invention has been set forth, alternative embodiments and various modifications will be apparent from the above description to those skilled in the art. For example, the number of wok locations may be any practical number. Additionally, while the valve operating member 23 is shown in FIG. 1 as a manually rotatable handle, it should be understood that replacing the manual valve operating member 23 with pneumatic or electrical control devices for the simultaneous opening and closing of gas and water valves 20,26 is within the knowledge of a person of ordinary skill in the art of Chinese wok range design, and the invention is not to be limited to manual operation for implementing the valve operating member 23.