Title:
System with a cooking device and several control devices and control device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cooking system with a hob and several heating elements has at least two control devices. One control devices is a master control device, and the one or more other control devices are slave control devices, wherein the master control device always has a functional priority relative to the slave control devices for controlling the heating elements of the cooking system. The master control device and the one or more slave devices allow two or more individuals to operates the cooking device using separate control devices.



Inventors:
Gassler, Holger (Sulzfeld, CH)
Application Number:
11/655320
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
01/18/2007
Assignee:
E.G.O. Elektro-Geratebau GmbH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C15/32
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030029436Barbecue grill and cart assemblyFebruary, 2003Carden et al.
20090071465IMPROVEMENTS IN BARBEQUESMarch, 2009Leavens et al.
20090110592COOKING DEVICE WITH DEODORIZATIONApril, 2009Lee et al.
20070151556Gas fired cooktop and method of assembling the sameJuly, 2007Cadima
20100043779Solar Trough and ReceiverFebruary, 2010Ingram
20090107486SOLAR PANEL WITH A COOLANT VAPOR PRESSURE DRIVING SYSTEMApril, 2009Tsai et al.
20040134481Hot air heater and method of operating sameJuly, 2004Robinson
20050092318Cooking appliance door with an inner borosilicate glass window pane and cooking appliance with said doorMay, 2005Haustein et al.
20080173297HIGH EFFICIENCY BIOMASS STOVEJuly, 2008Ruppel et al.
20060283442Fireplace insertDecember, 2006Miles et al.
20090034944CONVEYOR OVEN WITH MULTIPLE HEATING ZONESFebruary, 2009Burtea et al.



Primary Examiner:
SIVANESAN, SIVALINGAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A cooking system with a cooking device having several functions and with several mutually independently operable heating devices, in which the cooking system comprises at least two separate control devices wherein any one of the control devices can control all the functions of the cooking device, characterized in that a single control device is constructed as a master control device and the at least one other control device is constructed as a slave control device, the master control device having a functional priority compared with the at least one slave control device and is constructed for allocating functionalities to the slave control device.

2. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices are constructed in such a way that a control instruction to a cooking device by slave control device is overruled by a control instruction of the master control device diverging therefrom and the cooking device implements the instruction of the master control device.

3. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the master control device has functional priority over a slave control device at all times, the functional priority being such that control instructions with respect to the power level of a heating device of the cooking device during the operation of said heating device provided by the slave control device are modified by the master control device.

4. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the master control device grants a status to the slave control device for a certain time period or for a certain closed functional process, which can only be modified at the end of the time period or the functional process.

5. The cooking system according to claim 4, characterized in that the status is automatically changed back to an initial or original status following the given time period or following the given, closed functional process.

6. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices have a common basic structure and the master control device is transformed by modifying the configuration.

7. The cooking system according to claim 6, characterized in that the master control device is transformed by the introduction or removal of one or more components.

8. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices are mutually spatially separated and positioned adjacent to the cooking device.

9. The cooking system according to claim 8, characterized in that the control devices are constructed as modules separate from the cooking device.

10. The cooking system according to claim 8, characterized in that the control devices face are on opposite sides of the cooking device.

11. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that at least one control device is separate and removable from the cooking device.

12. The cooking system according to claim 11, characterized in that at least one control device is constructed as a module separate from the cooking device.

13. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices are mutually spatially separated and at least one control device is located directly on the cooking device.

14. The cooking system according to claim 13, characterized in that one control device is located on the front or on a vertical front side of part of the cooking system.

15. The cooking system according to claim 13, characterized in that one other control device is positioned laterally alongside part of the cooking system.

16. The cooking system according to claim 13, characterized in that the control devices have differently constructed operating elements.

17. The cooking system according to claim 16, characterized in that, below a part of the cooking system, one control device has mechanical rotary knobs and the other control device has touch contact sensors or contact switches located laterally alongside said part of the cooking system.

18. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices are constructed without a direct connection to one another.

19. The cooking system according to claim 18, characterized in that in each control device is connected to a single central control of the cooking device, which differentiates and implements the inputted instructions on the basis of the control device priority.

20. The cooking system according to claim 1, characterized in that the control devices have a direct connection to one another, wherein the master control device directly communicates with one or more with the slave control devices and the master control device decides which instruction of the one or more control devices enjoys priority and which instruction is supplied to said cooking device.

21. A control device for a cooking system with a cooking device having several functions and with several mutually independently operable heating devices, in which the cooking system comprises at master control device and a slave control device characterized in that the master control device has a functional priority over the slave control device for controlling the heating devices, wherein the control device is the basis for constructing either the master control device or the slave control device, wherein further the determination of whether the control device forms the master control device or the slave control device is determined by the software programmed into the control device.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of international patent application PCT/EP2005/007832, filed on Jul. 19, 2005.

FIELD OF APPLICATION

The invention relates to a cooking system comprising a cooking device and several heating devices, which can be operated independently of one another, as well as several control devices and also such a control device. An example of such a cooking device is a hob or cooktop with four hotplates or burners.

BACKGROUND

DE 195 45 941 B4 discloses a hob or cooktop, in which operating and display devices are provided on two opposite sides. The hob can be used by means of each of these devices, which are independent of one another.

DE 295 15 421 discloses a hob or cooktop, in which an operating device can either be placed directly thereon or spaced therefrom, e.g., in a work plate.

It is considered disadvantageous here that in the case of a simultaneous operation of the hob from two locations, e.g. by two operators, there can be conflicts regarding the lack of ambiguity of instructions. This can in particular arise if contradictory or mutually incompatible instructions are inputted for the same hob hotplate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention are diagrammatically illustrated in the drawings and are further explained hereinafter. The drawings disclose:

FIG. 1. illustrates one embodiment of an operating diagram of a hob with several hotplates and two connected controls; and

FIG. 2. illustrates one embodiment of a modified operating diagram with the same hob, one control being located below the hob plane and the other control directly alongside the hob.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

One problem solved by the invention is to create an aforementioned cooking system and also a corresponding control device making whereby it possible to avoid the problems of the prior art, and in particular, to create a cooking device control that is designed for use in two locations or by two operators.

This problem is solved in one embodiment by a cooking system having the features of claim 1 and a control device having the features of claim 21. Advantageous and alternative embodiment of the invention form the subject matter of the further claims and are further explained hereinafter. The wording of the claims is by express reference incorporated into part of the content of the description.

According to the invention, a single control device is a master control device one or more other control devices are slave control devices. This means that the master control device has a functional priority compared with each slave control device and the master control device's commands or instructions have priority compared with those of a slave control device. It can also allocate functionalities to the slave control devices, e.g., with respect to the importance or classification of instructions which can be given by means of a slave control device to the cooking device. Restricted functionalities can be given to a slave control device, e.g., in such a way that it is restricted from implementing some functions such as timers or cooking programs. Alternatively, although cooking programs or program sequences can be contained in a slave control device, they can be implemented by the cooking device. However, through the association or allocation of functionalities it is possible for the master control device to at all times change or interrupt/terminate the sequence of said cooking program.

Within the specification, independently operable heating devices are also understood to encompass induction hotplates or heating elements. In the case of two induction hotplates, they can be connected to one phase of a three-phase power supply, and to avoid exceeding a permitted maximum total load, the power is reduced somewhat in accordance with certain preset values. However, these hotplates are still individually adjustable and therefore operable essentially independently of one another.

Therefore the invention creates a relatively high degree of freedom for designing the manner of operation of a cooking device from several locations or control devices, from one master control device and one or more further slave control devices. As the allocation of functionalities from the master control device to the other control devices or slave control devices takes place from a single location, there are neither association problems, nor problems with respect to the question of which allocations enjoy priority. The control devices are advantageously connected with a type of central control in the cooking device, which transforms the instructions and controls the heating devices or other functional devices. In the central control there can be present power switching devices and the like.

A functional priority of the master control device compared with the slave control devices can be such that a control instruction from a slave control device to the cooking device can be overruled by the master control device if the latter gives diverging instruction. This means that the cooking device then implements the latter instruction of the master control device and not the earlier instruction of the slave control device.

This functional priority can apply at all times, so that the relationship of the individual control devices to one another is permanently established. The priority of the master control device more particularly applies with respect to a set power level of a heating device, e.g. a cooking stage for a hotplate. If a given power level was preset by a slave control device and modified by the master control device, i.e., increased or decreased, then the new setting is applied to the hotplate according to the instruction of the master control device or the instruction preset by the operator using the master control device. If a given power level was inputted by means of the master control device, this cannot be altered by contradictory or inconsistent inputs by the slave control device. In such a instance, the burner settings remain as preset by the master control device.

According to a further development of the invention the master control device can grant or allow a slave control device for a specific time period, or a terminated functional process, to have a special status diverging from the previously described possibility. As a result of this special status, the slave control device either has a preferred state compared with other slave control devices or is on an equal footing with the master control device. Further, this state may only apply for certain heating devices. Such a status change can lapse or can be changed back again e.g., after a specific time period, following a sequence of a specific, terminated functional process or e.g., through switching off of the entire cooking device. In this case, the slave control device is then reset to its initial status.

The control devices can be constructed in such a way that they have an identical or similar basic design, independently of the status thereof. In order to obtain a slave control device, it is possible for a control device in the basic state to represent a slave control device. It is then possible, e.g., by introducing further components, reversing coding, setting programming switches, or reprogramming the device, to make such a control device a master control device. This offers a major advantage in that only a single basic model of control devices has to be manufactured, without a large number of different variants. This also makes it possible, e.g., following the introduction or connection of a cooking device in the premises of the end user, to carry out the association between master control device and slave control devices. This permits greater variability and flexibility in complying with the wishes of the operator.

In the functional state, the cooking system is built up in such a way that the control devices are spatially separated and are advantageously fixable or located at not too greater distance from the cooking device. The control devices are more particularly modules, which are constructed separately from the cooking device, i.e., they are not placed in the same housing. It is particularly advantageous for them to be located e.g., on a hob on opposite sides, and in particular, with a certain spacing therefrom. It is also possible for at least one control device to be mobile or portable, similar to a remote control.

According to a further development of the invention, an operating device, similar to that known hitherto for a baking oven, can be fitted to the front of a cabinet or baking oven, which carries a hob or cooktop as part of the cooking system. The other control device can then be in the same plane as the hob, e.g. laterally directly alongside the same. Thus, through the lower control device, a known, intuitive operation is possible. The control device can also be combined with a control device for an oven or can share certain functional parts. Through the upper control device, which can be reached from different sides, operation from different locations is readily possible. As they are fundamentally positioned in different ways, these two control devices can also have different operating elements. Thus, for the lower operating device, which is only visible to a limited extent, known mechanical operating elements can be provided, particularly in the form of rotary knobs. These are particularly constructed for intuitive operation without direct viewing of the operating element. The upper control device, which is always readily visible, can have operating elements in the form of touch contact sensors or contact switches, i.e., can be a so-called touch control. The construction thereof can be very shallow or flat, so that the sensors can be positioned on a working surface along side the hob.

It is possible for the control devices to be directly interconnected, then the master control device effectively directly communicates with the slave control devices. Thus, by means of only a single control device connected to the cooking device is the instruction directly given to said cooking device or to the heating devices located there. In said single control device, a decision is then made as to which instruction of the different control devices enjoys priority and is to be implemented.

It is also possible for the control devices to have no direct connection to each other. This means that in each case they are directly connected to the cooking device. Advantageously the cooking device has a type of central control. In the latter case, the instructions of the control devices are received by the central control which can then differentiate the instructions with respect to priority or in such a way as to decide which came from the master control device and which came from a slave control device.

Another embodiment is a control device having the features of claim 21. Particularly with regards to a modification of the configuration with respect to a normal state, it can be constructed in the manner described hereinbefore.

These and further features can be gathered from the claims, description and drawings and the individual features, both singly or in the form of subcombinations, and can be implemented in an embodiment of the invention and in other fields, and can represent advantageous, independently protectable constructions for which protection is claimed here. The subdivision of the application into individual sections and the subheadings in no way restricts the general validity of the statements made thereunder

FIG. 1 shows a hob 11 with several hotplates 13a to 13d. Hotplates 13b and 13c are so-called two-circuit hotplates comprising two heating circuits. In the case of hotplate 13b, the heating elements are concentrically surround one another, whereas for hotplate 13c they are constructed in longitudinal extension.

Hotplates 13 are connected to a central control 15 of hob 11. Central control 15 has switches 17, e.g., power relays or corresponding semiconductor switches, with which they are connected to a supply voltage for switching on for heating operation. In certain circumstances, central control 15 also has a display 16 making it possible to display different operating states of hob 11 or individual hotplates 13.

Central control 15 is connected to a master control device 20 and a slave control device 30. The connection can take place by means of cables or a line. Alternatively, for both control devices it is possible to have radio or other forms of wireless communication, such as is intimated at control device 30. The precise positioning of master control device 20 and slave control device 30 relative to hob 11 is of minor importance. It is possible for the hob to be embedded in a standard work plate, in or on which are also fitted control devices 20 and 30. Alternatively, a master control device 20 can be provided close to, or directly on, hob 11, whereas a slave control device is further removed therefrom, but still in operator-friendly proximity. It can even be portable or removable with a separate (e.g., self contained) power supply and a data transfer connection. It is also possible it to be removed or stowed away when not used.

Each of the control devices 20, 30 has operating elements 22, 32 with which it is possible to control the operation of hob 11 or hotplates 13 much as in known hobs with known control devices. Thus, operating elements 22, 32 can be constructed as rotary knobs with mechanical switching or actuating elements. Alternatively they can be touch contact switches or the like.

Control devices 20, 30 also have displays 24, 34 with which, similar to the display 16 of central control 15, it is possible to display the state of hob 11, the individual hotplates 13, or the individual controls 20 or 30. The display 34 can also display information regarding the status of slave control device 30.

The control devices also contain electronic components such as microcontrollers, memories, etc., in which can be stored associations, cooking programs for hob 11 or information concerning the mutual hierarchy. It is also possible to implement timer functions in slave control device 30, whose sequence can, if necessary, be interrupted by the master control device 20. It is also possible to make the master control device mobile or removable, so that it can always be carried along and allowing access and control of the processes on the hob 11.

Control devices 20 and 30 have an identical or similar construction. The control devices 20 and 30 are based identical basic modules. By simply modifying the configuration, e.g. using software, it is possible to produce a master control device 20 or a slave control device 30. Thus, the production costs are essentially reduced to a single module, which is subsequently specified in accordance with requirements.

In the variant of hob 111 according to FIG. 2 only the arrangement of the control devices 120, 130 and the construction thereof differs. The front control device 120 is positioned below the plane of hob 111 and is frontally located on a vertical surface running below or in front of the hob, e.g. an under-cabinet. It is particularly advantageous for a baking oven or its upper panel to be positioned below the hob. Operating device 120 has mechanical rotary knobs 122 as operating elements. This in particular permits instinctive operation without direct visual contact.

The other control device 130 is located alongside hob 111 or on the same plane. It can be flush-mounted on, or in, a work plate in which the hob is also. The operating elements 132 can be constructed as so-called touch contact sensors or switches, as is known per se to the expert from the prior art. As at this location the operating device 130 can always adequately seen, and the use of such contact switches is particularly advantageous within the scope of the invention.

Operating Method

Conventionally the operation of the hob 11 takes place by means of master control device 20. If a further operator is to be involved, he can use or control the hob 11 by means of slave control device 30. The association can be in the form explained hereinbefore so that the switching on of a hotplate 13 by means of master control device 20 has priority over any instruction to said hotplate from slave control device 30. For example, if hotplate 13a is set to a particular cooking stage by means of master control device 20 or an operating element 22, it cannot be changed by means of the slave control device 30.

It is also possible by means of operating elements 22 of master control device 20 to associate with the slave control device 30 relative thereto certain functionalities extending beyond a basic or normal state. Such a transient change to the status of the slave control device 30 can either be determined in one of the two control devices 20 or 30, or also in central control 15. It is particularly important that it is possible to see the priority or rank order on the instructions from control devices 20 or 30 entering central control 15 or that this is determined in central control 15, e.g. by the master control device 20. It is possible for a decision to directly take place in master control device 20, if the slave control device 30 is directly connected thereto.

It is also possible by means of master control device 20 to associate some of the hotplates 13, e.g. hotplates 13a and 13d, completely with the slave control device 30 for a given time or a closed process. This means that after switching on hob 11, these two hotplates 13a and 13d can be exclusively controlled by slave control device 30. If the entire hob or all its hotplates are switched off, this association is automatically cancelled out.

The operation of hob 111 with the two control devices 120, 130 can take place in the same way as for hob 11 in FIG. 1. The main difference here is the construction and arrangement of control devices 120, 130. Control device 120 is particularly suitable for being placed directly in front of hob 111 for operating the same, which can in particular take place in an instinctive and known manner. The upper, lateral control device 130 is suitable for operation from different sides, because it can be very easily reached. Here again, it is possible for control device 120 to be classified as the master control device. This is in particular supported by the fact that it can only be reached from one position, which is conventionally only assumed for performing a cooking process, i.e., for cooking, and not for any other reasons.