Title:
Auxiliary dryer and multiple laundry machine
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An auxiliary dryer that can be coupled to a general laundry machine and a multiple laundry machine constructed in a structure in which the auxiliary dryer is coupled to the general laundry machine are disclosed. The multiple laundry machine includes a laundry machine that performs washing or drying laundry received in a body thereof, an auxiliary dryer body having a laundry receiving part defined therein for receiving laundry, a coupling unit for coupling the auxiliary dryer body to one side of the laundry machine, and an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for sterilizing the laundry, received in the laundry receiving part, using ultraviolet rays. According to the present invention, it is possible to treat and sterilize a small quantity of laundry using the auxiliary dryer without the operation of the relatively large-sized laundry machine. Consequently, the present invention has the effect of accomplishing convenient use and reducing the energy consumption.



Inventors:
Park, Sang Ho (Changwon-si, KR)
Lee, Phal Jin (Jinhae-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/896100
Publication Date:
03/06/2008
Filing Date:
08/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PERRIN, JOSEPH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dentons US LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multiple laundry machine comprising: a laundry machine that performs washing or drying laundry received in a body thereof; an auxiliary dryer body having a laundry receiving part defined therein for receiving laundry; a coupling unit for coupling the auxiliary dryer body to one side of the laundry machine; and an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for sterilizing the laundry, received in the laundry receiving part, using ultraviolet rays.

2. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein the auxiliary dryer body has a volume and height less than those of the body of the laundry machine.

3. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit includes at least one ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) or an ultraviolet lamp.

4. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 3, wherein the ultraviolet LED is mounted to a rotary blade, which is disposed at the upper part of the laundry receiving part.

5. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 1, further comprising: an air supply unit for forcibly supplying air into the laundry receiving part.

6. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 5, wherein the air supply unit is provided at the auxiliary dryer body.

7. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 5, wherein the air supply unit is configured of an air supply unit provided at the laundry machine.

8. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 5, further comprising: a steam supply unit for supplying steam into the laundry receiving part.

9. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 8, wherein the steam supply unit is provided at the auxiliary dryer body.

10. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 8, wherein the steam supply unit is configured of a steam supply unit provided at the laundry machine.

11. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 6, wherein the air supply unit includes a heater for heating air, and a blowing fan for guiding the heated air to the laundry receiving part.

12. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 11, wherein the laundry receiving part is constructed in the form of a drawer that can be withdrawn outward from the front of the auxiliary dryer body.

13. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 12, wherein the auxiliary dryer body is provided at predetermined positions thereof with an inlet port, through which air is introduced, and an outlet port, through which air is discharged, and wherein the heater is located in front of the inlet port, and the blowing fan is located in front of the outlet port.

14. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 13, wherein the inlet port is formed at the upper part of a rear wall of the auxiliary dryer body, and the outlet port is formed at the lower part of the rear wall of the auxiliary dryer body.

15. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 14, further comprising: a shelf mounted in the drawer such that laundry is placed on the shelf, the shelf dividing the inner space of the drawer into upper and lower spaces such that the upper and lower spaces communicate with each other.

16. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 15, wherein the shelf is mounted in an inclined fashion.

17. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 15, wherein the drawer is provided at the upper part of a rear wall thereof with an air guide for guiding air introduced through the inlet port.

18. The multiple laundry machine according to claim 1, wherein the auxiliary dryer body is coupled to the lower part of the laundry machine for supporting the laundry machine.

19. An auxiliary dryer comprising: an auxiliary dryer body having a laundry receiving part defined therein for receiving laundry; an air supply unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for forcibly supplying air into the laundry receiving part; a coupling unit for coupling the auxiliary dryer body to one side of a laundry machine having a volume and height greater than that of the auxiliary dryer body; and an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for sterilizing the laundry, received in the laundry receiving part, using ultraviolet rays.

20. The auxiliary dryer according to claim 19, wherein the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit includes at least one ultraviolet LED or an ultraviolet lamp.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2006-0083383, filed on Aug. 31, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an auxiliary dryer, and more particularly, to an auxiliary dryer that can be coupled to a general laundry machine. Also, the present invention relates to a multiple laundry machine constructed in a structure in which the auxiliary dryer is coupled to the general laundry machine.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Generally, laundry machines are electric home appliances that are capable of washing and/or drying laundry. Specifically, the respective laundry machines perform a washing operation, a drying operation, or a washing-and-drying operation. Recently, there has been increasingly used a laundry machine, including a steam supply unit, that is capable of performing a refreshing operation to remove wrinkles, smells, and static electricity from laundry.

Based on the direction in which laundry is removed, the conventional laundry machines may be classified into a front loading type laundry machine and a top loading type laundry machine. Based on the washing method, on the other hand, the conventional laundry machines may be classified into a vertical-shaft type laundry machine, in which a pulsator or a washing tub is rotated, and a horizontal type laundry machine. A representative example of the horizontal type laundry machine is a drum type washing machine or a drum type drying machine.

The sizes of the laundry machines have been gradually increased to satisfy consumers' demand. Specifically, the exterior sizes of the laundry machines for home use have been gradually increased.

On the other hand, there is a washing machine having no drying function among the conventional laundry machines. In this case, it is required for a user to have an additional drying machine, when the user wishes to dry laundry. Alternatively, it is required for the user to have a washing machine including a drying function. Consequently, the expense that consumers bear to performing both the washing operation and the drying operation is increased.

For laundry machines with drying functions, the sizes of the laundry machines have been gradually increased. However, the large-sized laundry machines are operated even to dry a small quantity of laundry, with the result that energy consumption is excessively increased. Of course, a rack may be mounted in the drum, such that shoes are placed on the rack, and the rack may be maintained horizontally during the rotation of the drum to dry the shoes. In this case, however, the user must separate the rack from the drum, if necessary, and this is very troublesome.

Furthermore, the conventional laundry machines are constructed in a structure in which the drum is rotated, and therefore, it is difficult to perform sterilization using ultraviolet rays.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a conventional laundry machine 1.

As shown in FIG. 1, the conventional laundry machine 1 includes a main body 10 forming the external appearance of the laundry machine and a control panel 11 mounted at the front or the top of the main body. Here, the control panel 11 may include a control unit for controlling the operation of the laundry machine. Consequently, a user manipulates the control panel for the laundry machine to perform a laundry treating operation, such as washing or drying.

Here, the laundry machine may be a washing machine, a drying machine, or a washing-and-drying machine.

On the other hand, the conventional laundry machine may further include a base 20 for supporting the main body 10 on the floor. The main body 10 is mounted on the base 20.

However, the base 20 is utilized only to support the conventional washing machine or drying machine. In other words, the utilizability of the base 20 is very low.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an auxiliary dryer and a multiple laundry machine that substantially obviate one or more problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

An object of the present invention is to provide an auxiliary dryer that is capable of treating a small quantity of laundry without the operation of a relatively large-sized laundry machine, thereby accomplishing convenient use and reducing the energy consumption.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a multiple laundry machine constructed in a structure in which a drying function is easily added to a washing machine that is capable of performing only a washing operation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a multiple laundry machine that is capable of easily drying laundry articles, such as shoes or hats, which are difficult to be dried through a conventional drum type drying machine.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a multiple laundry machine constructed in a structure in which an auxiliary space, such as a base for conventional laundry machines, is utilized as an auxiliary dryer.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an auxiliary dryer that is capable of sterilizing laundry using ultraviolet rays and a multiple laundry machine including the same.

Additional advantages, objects, and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned from practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these objects and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, an auxiliary dryer includes an auxiliary dryer body having a laundry receiving part defined therein for receiving laundry, an air supply unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for forcibly supplying air into the laundry receiving part, a coupling unit for coupling the auxiliary dryer body to one side of a laundry machine having a volume and height greater than those of the auxiliary dryer body, and an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for sterilizing the laundry, received in the laundry receiving part, using ultraviolet rays.

The auxiliary dryer may be mounted and used separately from the laundry machine. Preferably, however, the auxiliary dryer is coupled to one side of the laundry machine by the coupling unit. This is because the auxiliary dryer is an auxiliary apparatus for treating laundry, and therefore, it is preferable for the laundry treating apparatuses to be located at one place in an integrated fashion such that a series of laundry treating processes are smoothly carried out. In addition, the auxiliary dryer is preferably coupled to the laundry machine in a spatial utilization aspect.

Of course, the laundry machine may be a washing machine that washes laundry, a drying machine that dries laundry, or a washing-and-drying machine that washes and dries laundry. However, the present invention is not limited to the above-specified machines. For example, the laundry machine according to the present invention may be a spin-drying machine that only spin-dries laundry.

Preferably, the auxiliary dryer is a base for supporting the laundry machine on the floor. Here, the laundry receiving part is preferably constructed in the form of a drawer that can be withdrawn outward from the front of the auxiliary dryer body.

Also, the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit may include at least one ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) or an ultraviolet lamp.

In another aspect of the present invention, a multiple laundry machine includes a laundry machine that performs washing or drying laundry received in a body thereof, an auxiliary dryer body having a laundry receiving part defined therein for receiving laundry, a coupling unit for coupling the auxiliary dryer body to one side of the laundry machine, and an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit provided at the auxiliary dryer body for sterilizing the laundry, received in the laundry receiving part, using ultraviolet rays.

Preferably, the auxiliary dryer body has a volume and height less than those of the body of the laundry machine.

The construction of the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit constituting the multiple laundry machine is identical to that of the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit constituting the auxiliary dryer.

The multiple laundry machine may further include an air supply unit for forcibly supplying air into the laundry receiving part. The air supply unit may be provided at the auxiliary dryer body. Alternatively, the air supply unit may be configured of an air supply unit provided at the laundry machine.

In addition, the multiple laundry machine may further include a steam supply unit for supplying steam into the laundry receiving part. The steam supply unit may be provided at the auxiliary dryer body. Alternatively, the steam supply unit may be configured of a steam supply unit provided at the laundry machine.

According to the present invention, it is possible for a user to wash laundry or dry a large quantity of laundry through the laundry machine and to dry a small quantity of laundry through the auxiliary dryer. Consequently, the convenient use of the multiple laundry machine is accomplished, and the energy consumption is reduced. Also, it is possible to easily dry laundry articles, such as shoes or hats, which are difficult to be dried through a conventional drum type drying machine. Furthermore, it is possible to sterilize laundry or the interior of the laundry receiving part through the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description of the present invention are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiment(s) of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principle of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a conventional laundry machine including a base;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a multiple laundry machine including an auxiliary dryer according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view schematically illustrating the multiple laundry machine according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the auxiliary dryer according to the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a sectional view illustrating a multiple laundry machine according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts. In the present invention, a laundry machine may be a washing machine, a drying machine, or a washing-and-drying machine, and a detailed description thereof will not be given.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a multiple laundry machine including an auxiliary dryer according to the present invention, and FIG. 3 is a sectional view schematically illustrating the multiple laundry machine.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the multiple laundry machine 100 according to the present invention includes a laundry machine body 110 forming the external appearance of the multiple laundry machine, the laundry machine body 110 being constructed to receive laundry such that the laundry is washed and dried in the laundry machine body 110, an auxiliary dryer body 121 having a space defined therein for receiving laundry, and a coupling unit 130 for coupling the auxiliary dryer body 121 to one side of the laundry machine body 110.

Specifically, an auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention is coupled to the laundry machine body 110 so as to constitute the multiple laundry machine 100. In this case, laundry is received in the laundry machine body 110, forming the external appearance of the laundry machine, such that the laundry is washed or dried. That is, the laundry machine may be a washing machine, a drying machine, or a washing-and-drying machine.

In the multiple laundry machine 100 according to the present invention, the coupling unit 130 couples the auxiliary dryer body 121 to one side of the laundry machine body 110. Details of the coupling unit 130 will be described below with reference to FIG. 4.

According to the present invention, the auxiliary dryer body 121 is mounted to one side of the laundry machine body 110. Specifically, the auxiliary dryer body 121 may be mounted to the bottom of the laundry machine body 110, as shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively, the auxiliary dryer body 121 may be mounted to the top of the laundry machine body 110. In the latter case, a control unit, especially a control panel 111, of the laundry machine is preferably mounted at the front of the laundry machine body 110.

On the other hand, the auxiliary dryer 120 may be disposed at the side of the laundry machine. However, the auxiliary dryer 120 is preferably located at the top or the bottom of the laundry machine body 110, in consideration of a spatial utilization aspect or a design aspect.

The auxiliary dryer 120 has a laundry receiving part for performing an auxiliary function for laundry treatment. The laundry receiving part may be constructed in the form of a drawer 122 that can be withdrawn outward from the front of the auxiliary dryer body 121. Also, the auxiliary dryer 120 includes an air supply unit 140 mounted in the auxiliary dryer body 121 for forcibly supplying air into the laundry receiving part.

Preferably, the auxiliary dryer body 121 has a volume and height less than that of the laundry machine body 110, to which the auxiliary dryer body 121 is coupled.

Also, the auxiliary dryer 120 further includes a steam supply unit 150 mounted in the auxiliary dryer body 121 for supplying steam into the laundry receiving part. The steam supply unit 150 includes a spray port (not shown), through which the steam is sprayed into the laundry receiving part from the upper part or the rear part of the auxiliary dryer body 121.

The operation of the air supply unit 140 and the steam supply unit 150 is controlled by a control unit 123. The control unit 123 is preferably mounted at the front of the auxiliary dryer body 121. Here, the control unit 123 may includes a control panel for allowing a user to manipulate the control unit 123.

On the other hand, the control unit 123 may control the operation of the auxiliary dryer separately from the control panel 111 of the laundry machine.

Of course, it is possible to control the operation of the auxiliary dryer through the control panel 111 of the laundry machine. In this case, the omission of the control unit 123 is possible.

The air supply unit 140 includes a blowing fan 141 for blowing air and a heater 142 for heating air. When the blowing fan 141 is operated, external air is introduced into the drawer 122, and is then discharged out of the drawer 122. The external air is heated by the heater 142, and is then introduced into the drawer 122.

The heater 142 may be an electric heater or a gas heater. Preferably, however, the heater 142 is an electric heater in consideration of the installation space of the auxiliary dryer.

Consequently, the auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention may perform a drying function through the air supply unit 140. Specifically, when both the blowing fan 141 and the heater 142 are operated, the auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention performs a drying function using hot air. When only the blowing fan 141 is operated, the auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention performs a drying function using room-temperature air. Here, the heater 142 is preferably a heater having a capacity adjustable to change the temperature of air heated by the heater 142. This is because specific clothes have a low heat resistance, and rubber products, such as shoes, have a lower heat resistance.

The steam supply unit 150 supplies steam into the drawer 122. The steam is brought into contact with clothes received in the drawer 122 to sterilize the clothes and remove wrinkles from the clothes. Consequently, the auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention performs a refreshing function through the steam supply unit 150. Of course, the above-described drying function may be performed in addition to the refreshing function.

On the other hand, the auxiliary dryer body 121 is preferably provided at the upper part of the rear wall thereof with an inlet port 171, through which air is introduced. Also, the auxiliary dryer body 121 is preferably provided at the lower part of the rear wall thereof with an outlet port 172, through which air is discharged. The upper part of the rear wall of the drawer 122 communicates with the inlet port 171, and the lower part of the rear wall of the drawer 122 communicates with the outlet port 172. Consequently, external air is introduced into the drawer 122 through the upper part of the rear wall of the auxiliary dryer body 121 and the upper part of the drawer 122, and is then discharged out of the drawer 122 through the lower part of the drawer 122 and the lower part of the rear wall of the auxiliary dryer body 121.

Here, the blowing fan 141, which moves air, and the heater 142, which heats air, may be mounted between the rear wall of the drawer 122 and the rear wall of the auxiliary dryer body 121. However, the present invention is not limited to the above-specified position, and therefore, the air supply unit 140, including the blowing fan 141 and the heater 142, may be mounted at any position on a channel along which air is introduced and discharged.

FIG. 3 illustrates a structure in which air is introduced through the upper part of the drawer and is discharged through the lower part of the drawer. However, it is also possible to provide a structure in which air is introduced through the lower part of the drawer and is discharged through the upper part of the drawer.

As shown in FIG. 3, on the other hand, a shelf 160, on which laundry 162 is placed, is mounted in the drawer 122. The shelf 160 divides the inner space of the drawer 122 into upper and lower spaces such that the upper and lower spaces communicate with each other. The shelf 160 is provided to smoothly discharge air supplied to the laundry 162 out of the drawer 122.

Preferably, the shelf 160 is provided with a plurality of through-holes 160a, through which air is introduced from the upper part to the lower part of the drawer 122.

Also, the shelf 160 may be mounted in an inclined fashion. In this case, it is preferable for the shelf 160 to be inclined downward toward the region where air is introduced. As a result, air is uniformly supplied to the laundry placed on the shelf 160.

Preferably, the drawer is provided at the upper part of the rear wall thereof with an air guide 161. The air guide 161 serves to guide air such that the air can be smoothly supplied toward the front of the drawer 122, and, at the same time, to divide the air introduction channel and the air discharge channel from each other. Consequently, the collision between the introduced air and the discharged air is minimized, and therefore, the drying efficiency is improved.

The auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention further includes an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180. The ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180 is mounted in the auxiliary dryer body 121 for sterilizing the interior of the laundry receiving part 12 and the laundry 162 placed in the laundry receiving part 12. The ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180 emits ultraviolet rays having a predetermined wavelength band to perform a sterilizing operation.

The ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180 may include at least one ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) or an ultraviolet lamp. The installation of the ultraviolet LED is easier than that of the ultraviolet lamp. Furthermore, it is easy to mount a plurality of ultraviolet LEDs in the auxiliary dryer body 121, whereas it is difficult to mount a plurality of ultraviolet lamps in the auxiliary dryer body 121. In addition, it is easy to manufacture the ultraviolet LED such that the ultraviolet LED emits ultraviolet rays having a specific wavelength most effective in sterilization as compared to the ultraviolet lamp.

Also, the installation space of the ultraviolet LED is less than that of the ultraviolet lamp. Furthermore, the ultraviolet LED has advantages in that the energy consumption of the ultraviolet LED is relatively low, and the life span of the ultraviolet LED is relatively long. Consequently, the ultraviolet LED is more preferably used than the ultraviolet lamp as the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180.

Although not shown in FIG. 3, on the other hand, the ultraviolet LED may be mounted to a rotary blade (not shown) that is rotated at the upper part of the laundry receiving part 122. In this case, the ultraviolet LED may uniformly irradiate ultraviolet rays into the interior space of the laundry receiving part during the rotation of the rotary blade. At the same time, the movement of air is caused by the rotation of the rotary blade, and therefore, the ultraviolet ray sterilization effect is further improved.

On the other hand, FIG. 3 illustrates the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180 mounted at the top of the laundry receiving part 122; however, the present invention is not limited to the above-specified position. For example, the ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit 180 may be mounted at the side or the bottom of the laundry receiving part 122.

The auxiliary dryer according to the present invention may perform the ultraviolet ray sterilizing operation together with the drying operation. Of course, only the ultraviolet ray sterilizing operation may be individually performed by the auxiliary dryer according to the present invention.

It is possible to perform various kinds of drying modes through the auxiliary dryer according to the present invention.

First, a user withdraws the drawer 122 and places a small quantity of clothes, shoes, or hats, on the shelf 160. For the clothes, it is preferable for the user to spread the clothes on the shelf.

Subsequently, the user selects a desired operation mode based on the kind of the laundry through the control unit 123, including the control panel. The operation mode may include various drying modes and a refreshing mode.

The various drying modes may be classified based on drying time or drying temperature. This may be different depending upon the kinds of laundry to be dried. For example, a drying mode having a short drying time and a high drying temperature may be selected to dry a small quantity of clothes made of cotton. On the other hand, a drying mode having a long drying time and a lower drying temperature may be selected to dry shoes.

Specifically, air is forcibly supplied into the laundry receiving space based on the operation mode selected by the user; however, the air temperature or the air supply time may be changed.

When the operation mode is the refreshing mode, on the other hand, high-temperature steam is supplied to the laundry. Consequently, the laundry is refreshed by the steam. Specifically, smells or wrinkles are removed from the laundry, or the laundry is sterilized. Subsequently, air may be supplied to dry the laundry, if necessary.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the auxiliary dryer according to the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 4, the auxiliary dryer 120 according to the present invention includes an auxiliary dryer body 121 having a space defined therein for receiving clothes, and a coupling unit 130 mounted to the upper part of the auxiliary dryer body 121 for coupling the laundry machine body 110 and the auxiliary dryer body 121 to each other. Here, the auxiliary dryer 120 supports the laundry machine body 110 on the floor.

Also, the auxiliary dryer 120 is provided at the top thereof with leg supporters 125 for supporting lower legs 116 and 117 of the laundry machine.

Each leg supporter 125 includes a panel having a first fitting hole 126, in which a corresponding leg 116 of a washer is fitted, and a second fitting hole 127, in which the corresponding leg 117 of a dryer is fitted. The respective leg supporters 125 are fixed to the top of the auxiliary dryer body 121 by screws. Here, the washer and the dryer are examples of the laundry machine. The washer has an exterior size greater than that of the dryer.

Specifically, the leg supporters 125 are fixed to the top of the auxiliary dryer body 121 at the respective corners of the auxiliary dryer body 121. The first fitting holes 126 and the second fitting holes 127 formed in the two leg supporters fixed to the front corners of the auxiliary dryer body 121 are connected to each other. On the other hand, the first fitting holes 126 and the second fitting holes 127 formed in the two leg supporters fixed to the rear corners of the auxiliary dryer body 121 are separated from each other. This is to accomplish easy and convenient fitting of the legs 116 and 117 in the corresponding fitting holes of the leg supporters 125.

Also, the first fitting holes 126 are positioned outside the corresponding second fitting holes 127 on diagonal lines at the bottom of the laundry machine body 110. This is because the size of the main body of the washer is generally greater than that of the main body of the clothes dryer.

The coupling unit 130 includes a plurality of coupling members 138 mounted to the lower part of the side of the washer or the clothes dryer and to the side of the auxiliary dryer body 121, and a plurality of fixing members 135 for fixing the coupling members 138 to the side of the washer or the clothes dryer and to the side of the auxiliary dryer body 121.

As shown in FIG. 3, the coupling members 138 may be provided such that two coupling members 138 fix the auxiliary dryer body 121 and the laundry machine body 110 to each other at each lateral side of the auxiliary dryer body 121 and the laundry machine body 110, especially at the interface between the auxiliary dryer body 121, which is constructed in a hexahedral shape, and the laundry machine body 110, which is constructed in a hexahedral shape.

In addition, additional coupling members (not shown) may be mounted to the rear of the auxiliary dryer body 121 and to the rear of the laundry machine body 110 for fixing the auxiliary dryer body 121 and the laundry machine body 110 to each other.

The coupling unit 130 may be modified depending upon the change in height of the legs 116 of the washer or the legs 117 of the clothes dryer.

Each fixing member 135 includes a first fixing member 136 for fixing the upper part of the corresponding coupling member 138 to the lower part of the washer or the clothes dryer at each lateral side of the washer or the clothes dryer, and a second fixing member 137 for fixing the lower part of the corresponding coupling member 138 to the upper part of the auxiliary dryer body 121 at each lateral side of the auxiliary dryer body 121.

Here, at least one of the first fixing member 136 and the second fixing member 137 may be a member having an adhesive material applied to opposite major surfaces thereof, for example, a double-sided adhesive tape.

On the other hand, at least one of the first fixing member 136 and the second fixing member 137 may be a connecting member, such as a screw.

When the fixing member is the screw, connection holes are preferably formed at the corresponding coupling member 138 while the connection holes are spaced a predetermined distance from each other.

Unlike the above description, on the other hand, the means for coupling between the laundry machine body 110 and the auxiliary dryer body 121 may be modified in various forms.

According to the present invention, the volume of the auxiliary dryer body 121 is preferably less than that of the laundry machine body 110, to which the auxiliary dryer body 121 is fixed. Also, the height of the auxiliary dryer body 121 is preferably less than that of the laundry machine body 110. This is because the auxiliary dryer according to the present invention is constructed to perform an auxiliary function of the laundry machine.

In consideration of the safety and the external design of the multiple laundry machine 100, it is preferable that at least one of the left-to-right width and the front-to-rear width of the auxiliary dryer body 121 be equal to or greater than the left-to-right width or the front-to-rear width of the laundry machine body 110, when the auxiliary dryer serves as a base for supporting the laundry machine. When the auxiliary dryer is fixed to the top of the laundry machine, on the other hand, it is preferable that at least one of the left-to-right width and the front-to-rear width of the auxiliary dryer body 121 be equal to or less than the left-to-right width or the front-to-rear width of the laundry machine body 110.

Hereinafter, a multiple laundry machine according to another embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIG. 5.

In the previously described embodiment, the air supply unit 140, which forcibly supplies air into the laundry receiving part 122 of the auxiliary dryer 120, is mounted in the auxiliary dryer body 121. In this embodiment, on the other hand, an air supply unit is mounted in the laundry machine body 110. Specifically, this embodiment is characterized in that air is forcibly supplied into the laundry receiving part 122 of the auxiliary dryer 120 by the operation of the air supply unit mounted in the laundry machine body 110.

As shown in FIG. 5, the air supply unit is mounted in the laundry machine body 110 for forcibly supplying air into a drum 40 of the laundry machine. The air supply unit includes a heater 90 for heating air and a blowing fan 60 for blowing air. In addition, the air supply unit further includes a drying channel 44 for guiding air such that the air is introduced into the drum 40 and a discharge channel 80 for guiding air such that the air is discharged from the drum 40.

The air supply unit supplies air into the drum 40, and, in addition, air into the interior space of the auxiliary drier 120, i.e., the laundry receiving part 122. To this end, the air supply unit further includes an auxiliary drying channel 45 and an auxiliary discharge channel 81.

The auxiliary drying channel 45 may diverge from the drying channel 44. One end of the auxiliary drying channel 45 is connected to a through-hole 271 formed at one side of a base 212. The through-hole 271 communicates with an introduction port 128 formed at the top of the auxiliary dryer body 121 such that dried air is introduced into the interior space of the drawer.

The auxiliary discharge channel 81 may diverge from the discharge channel 80. One end of the auxiliary discharge channel 81 is connected to a through-hole 272 formed at the other side of the base 212. The through-hole 272 communicates with a discharge port 129 formed at the top of the auxiliary dryer body 121 such that air is discharged from the interior space of the drawer, i.e., the laundry receiving part 122.

However, the discharge port 129 may not be connected to the through-hole 272. Specifically, air may be directly discharged from the interior space of the laundry receiving part 122 through the discharge port 129. In this case, the omission of the auxiliary discharge channel 81 is possible.

On the other hand, the heater 90 is preferably mounted in the drying channel 44 at a position where the auxiliary drying channel 45 does not diverge from the drying channel 44. In this case, it is possible to supply hot air into the,drum 40 and the drawer 122 by the provision of only a single heater. Of course, room-temperature air is supplied into the drum 40 and the drawer 122, when the heater is not operated.

Also, the blowing fan 60 is preferably mounted in the discharge channel 80 at a position where the auxiliary discharge channel 81 diverges from the discharge channel 80. In this case, it is possible to supply air into the drum 40 and the laundry receiving part 122 by the provision of only a single blowing fan.

The multiple laundry machine 100 according to the present invention supplies air into the drum, and, in addition, air into the laundry receiving part 122. According to circumstances, it is possible to supply air into the drum or the drawer. Of course, it is possible to supply air into the both the drum and the drawer. To this end, channel opening and closing members, such as dampers 280, may be mounted in the drying channel 44 and the auxiliary drying channel 45 for selectively opening and closing the drying channel 44 and the auxiliary drying channel 45.

On the other hand, the multiple laundry machine 100 according to the present invention may further include a steam supply unit 300 mounted in the laundry machine body 110 for supplying steam into the drum 40 and the laundry receiving part 122. Specifically, this embodiment is characterized in that steam is supplied into the laundry receiving part 122 by the steam supply unit 300 mounted in the laundry machine body 110.

The steam supply unit 300 includes a steam spray port 350 for spraying steam into the drum and a steam spray port (not shown) for spraying steam into the drawer. Consequently, it is possible to supply steam into the drum or the drawer through the steam spray ports.

Unlike the above description, on the other hand, only a single steam spray port 355 may be provided to supply steam into the drum and the laundry receiving part 122. In this case, the steam spray port 355 sprays steam into the drying channel 44 at a position where the auxiliary drying channel 45 does not diverge from the drying channel 44. Specifically, when steam is sprayed into the drying channel 44, the sprayed steam is supplied into the drum and the laundry receiving part through the drying channel 44 and the auxiliary drying channel 45, respectively. In this case, the fan 60 is also preferably operated. Furthermore, it is not necessary to form an introduction port, through which steam is supplied into the auxiliary dryer body 121, at the auxiliary dryer body 121. This is because the steam is supplied through the auxiliary drying channel 45.

According to the present invention, the supply of steam into the drum and the drawer is to refresh laundry. Specifically, high-temperature steam is supplied to the drum and the laundry receiving part to remove wrinkles from the laundry, prevent the generation of static electricity, remove smells from the laundry, and sterilize the laundry. Consequently, it is preferable to supply heated dried air into the drum and the drawer after the supply of the steam. This is to remove moisture, which may remain in some clothes, from the clothes, such that a user can immediately wear the clothes.

According to the present invention, the operation of the heater 90, the blowing fan 60, the dampers 280, and the steam supply unit 300 is controlled by a control unit (not shown). The control unit is preferably mounted at the front of the laundry machine body 110. Here, the control unit may include a control panel 111 for allowing a user to manipulate the control unit.

Consequently, it is possible to selectively supply air into the drum and the laundry receiving part under the control of the control unit. Also, it is possible to control the temperature of the air and the supply time of the air. Furthermore, it is possible to selectively supply steam into the drum and the laundry receiving part under the control of the control unit.

According to the present invention, the heater 90 is preferably a heater having a capacity adjustable to change the temperature of air heated by the heater 90. This is because specific clothes have a low heat resistance, and especially rubber products, such as shoes, have a lower heat resistance. The adjustment of the capacity of the heater 90 may be controlled by the control unit.

On the other hand, the multiple laundry machine according to this embodiment includes an ultraviolet ray sterilizing unit identical to that of the previously described embodiment.

In this embodiment, a discharge type drying machine is illustrated and described as the laundry machine according to the present invention. However, the present invention is not limited to the above-specified type drying machine. For example, the present invention is applicable to a condensation type drying machine.

As apparent from the above description, the present invention provides an auxiliary dryer that is capable of treating a small quantity of laundry without the operation of a relatively large-sized laundry machine. Consequently, the present invention has the effect of accomplishing convenient use and reducing the energy consumption.

Also, the present invention provides a multiple laundry machine constructed in a structure in which a drying function is easily added to a washing machine that is capable of performing only a washing operation.

Furthermore, the present invention provides a multiple laundry machine that is capable of easily drying laundry articles, such as shoes or hats, which are difficult to be dried through a conventional drum type drying machine. Also, the multiple laundry machine is constructed in a structure in which an auxiliary space, such as a base for conventional laundry machines, is utilized as an auxiliary dryer.

Consequently, the present invention has the effect of manufacturing the multiple laundry machine at low costs, and maximizing the spatial utilization of the multiple laundry machine, thereby accomplishing convenient use of the multiple laundry machine.

In addition, the present invention has the effect of sterilizing laundry using ultraviolet rays, thereby improving the sterilizing efficiency.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventions. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.