Title:
OVEN AND ASSOCIATED RACK HANGER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An oven includes an internal cavity defined by rear, bottom, top, left and right sidewalls. A front opening of the cavity is selectively accessible by moving a door between open and closed positions. A heating device is associated with the cavity for heating the environment within the cavity. The cavity includes multiple rack supports therein for supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity. A rack hanger is located on an exterior side wall of the oven housing and includes at least one arm extending outward from the exterior side wall for receiving and holding racks thereon.



Inventors:
Graven, Kenneth A. (Louisville, KY, US)
Application Number:
12/121820
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
05/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C15/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PEREIRO, JORGE ANDRES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMPSON HINE LLP / ITW (DAYTON, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An oven, comprising: an internal cavity defined by rear, bottom, top, left and right sidewalls and having a front opening selectively accessible by moving a door between open and closed positions; a heating mechanism associated with the cavity for heating the environment within the cavity; multiple rack supports within the cavity for supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity, the racks removable from the cavity via the front opening; a rack hanger located at an exterior side wall of the oven and including an arm extending outward from the exterior side wall for receiving and holding racks thereon.

2. The oven of claim 1 wherein the rack hanger includes a main body portion that is secured to the oven via one or more fasteners, the arm extends outward from the main body.

3. The oven of claim 2 wherein the main body portion has a first segment positioned adjacent a exterior top wall of the oven and a second segment positioned adjacent the exterior side wall, the first segment and second segment oriented substantially perpendicular to each other.

4. The oven of claim 3 wherein the arm is a first arm the extends substantially horizontally from the main body, the rack hanger includes a second arm spaced apart from the first arm and extending substantially horizontally from the main body.

5. The oven of claim 3 wherein the arm includes a portion extending generally laterally from the exterior side wall and a distal end portion extending upward.

6. The oven of claim 5 wherein the rack hanger is formed as a unitary piece from metal plate with bends therein.

7. The oven of claim 1 wherein the rack hanger includes a main body portion that is secured to the oven via a two-sided adhesive tape.

8. The oven of claim 1 wherein the oven is a lower oven of a stacked oven arrangement, an upper oven being placed atop the lower oven, the rack hanger includes a portion sandwiched between a top exterior wall of the lower oven and a bottom exterior wall of the upper oven.

9. An oven system, comprising: an internal cavity defined by rear, bottom, top, left and right sidewalls and having a front opening selectively accessible by moving a door between open and closed positions; a heating mechanism associated with the cavity for heating the environment within the cavity; multiple rack supports within the cavity at multiple elevations within the cavity, at least one rack is supported horizontally within the cavity by one or more of the rack supports; a rack hanger located at an exterior side wall of the oven and including an arm extending outward from the exterior side wall, at least one rack supported in a hanging manner from the arm such that the rack has a substantially upright orientation alongside the exterior side wall.

10. The oven system of claim 9 wherein the rack hanger includes a main body portion that is secured to the oven via one or more fasteners.

11. The oven system of claim 9 wherein the main body portion has a first segment positioned adjacent a exterior top wall of the oven and a second segment positioned adjacent the exterior side wall, the first segment and second segment oriented substantially perpendicular to each other.

12. The oven system of claim 11 wherein the arm is a first arm the extends substantially horizontally from the main body, the rack hanger includes a second arm spaced apart from the first arm and extending substantially horizontally from the main body.

13. The oven system of claim 1 wherein the rack hanger includes a main body portion that is secured to the oven via a two-sided adhesive tape.

14. The oven system of claim 1 wherein the oven cavity is formed in a lower oven of a stacked oven arrangement, an upper oven being placed atop the lower oven, the rack hanger includes a portion sandwiched between a top exterior wall of the lower oven and a bottom exterior wall of the upper oven.

15. A method of operating a food product cooking oven including M racks, where M is an integer number, and where multiple rack supports are located within a cavity of the oven for selectively supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity, the method comprising: identifying N racks, where N is an integer number, from among the M racks, to be used for a given cooking operation; providing only N racks within the cavity at respective elevations during the given cooking operation; hanging M-N racks on a rack hanger arm during the given cooking operation, the rack hanger arm extending outward from one exterior side of the oven.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/930,543, filed May 17, 2007, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This application relates generally to ovens for cooking foods and, more specifically, to an oven having a cooking cavity with removable racks and a mechanism for storing racks that are removed from the cooking cavity.

BACKGROUND

Conventional ovens, steam ovens and combination ovens (combi ovens) all comprise a cavity that is heated for cooking foods. The cavity is surrounded on five sides by walls, and on the front by a door that is moveable to provide access to the cavity. The back side of each cavity wall is typically covered or surrounded by insulation. Internal of the cavity horizontally disposed racks may be provided to enable multiple trays, pans or pots of food items to be placed therein at different levels within the cavity.

Various types of food products may be cooked in the ovens. For example, trays of peas may be placed in the ovens. In most instances, the peas do not stand above the lip of a shallow tray. In contrast the ovens may also be used to cook chickens which have a vertical height much higher than a tray. The oven racks are typically removable to facilitate formation of rack slots of the necessary height for the items being cooked. It would be desirable to provide an oven that facilitates rack handling upon removal.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, an oven includes an internal cavity defined by rear, bottom, top, left and right sidewalls. A front opening of the cavity is selectively accessible by moving a door between open and closed positions. A heating device is associated with the cavity for heating the environment within the cavity. The cavity includes multiple rack supports therein for supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity. A rack hanger is located on an exterior side wall of the oven housing and includes at least one arm extending outward from the exterior side wall for receiving and holding racks thereon.

In another aspect, an oven and rack combination includes an oven with an internal cavity defined by rear, bottom, top, left and right sidewalls. A front opening of the cavity is selectively accessible by moving a door between open and closed positions. A heating device is associated with the cavity for heating the environment within the cavity. The cavity includes multiple rack supports therein for supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity. At least one rack is supported horizontally within the cavity by one or more shelf supports. A rack hanger is located on an exterior side wall of the oven housing and includes at least one arm extending outward from the exterior side wall. At least one rack is supported in a hanging manner from the arm such that the rack has a substantially upright orientation alongside the exterior side wall.

In a further aspect, a method of operating a food product cooking oven including M racks, where M is an integer number, involves: (i) providing multiple rack supports within a cavity of the oven for selectively supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity; (ii) identifying N racks, where N is an integer number, from among the M racks, to be used for a given cooking operation; (iii) providing only N racks within the cavity at respective elevations during the given cooking operation; (iv) providing a rack hanger arm at an exterior side wall of the oven; and (v) hanging M-N racks on the rack hanger arm during the given cooking operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective, schematic depiction of a food product cooking oven;

FIG. 2 is a front elevation schematic depiction of the cooking cavity of the oven of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3A and 3B show schematic front elevations of cooking cavities with different food product items therein;

FIGS. 4A and 4B show a perspective and side profile, respectively, of one embodiment of a rack hanger;

FIG. 5 shows a top plan view of a metal plate used to form the rack hanger of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 6 shows a front elevation of an oven with the rack hanger of FIG. 4A mounted thereon;

FIG. 7 shows a front elevation of a double stacked oven with rack hangers mounted thereon; and

FIG. 8 shows a partial view of a rack hanger attached to an oven using double-sided adhesive tape.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, an oven 100 is shown including an external housing 102, oven door 104 and a user interface control panel 106. Internal to the housing a cooking cavity 108 is defined by left, right, top, bottom and rear walls 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 and a front opening 20 that is selectively closeable via movement of the door 104. The oven includes one or more heating mechanisms or cooking sources for heating the environment within the cavity and/or for heating food product within the cavity.

For example, the oven may be a steam oven having an associated steam generator (e.g., an electric or gas boiler) 110 plumbed for controlled delivery of steam to the cavity 108. The steam generator 110 may be incorporated within the primary housing 102 as shown, or could be a separate unit connected with the primary housing 102. In another example, a microwave generator 112 produces microwave radiation that is delivered to the oven cavity 108 via a suitable path as may be defined utilizing waveguides. In another example, a convection heating source 114 may be formed by an electric or gaseous heating element 116 in association with one or more blowers 118, with suitable delivery and return airflow paths to and from the cavity 108. The exact configuration of any given cooking source could vary. Moreover, in the case of a combi oven, multiple different cooking sources could be provided.

Referring to FIG. 2, where the oven cavity is shown in a front view, regardless of the oven configuration, the cavity may include multiple rack supports 22 therein for supporting racks 24 at multiple elevations within the cavity. In one implementation, the rack supports 22 may be formed by separate structures, such as brackets, that are mounted to the left and right side walls 10 and 12. In another implementation, the rack supports 22 may be formed by bends or stamped contours in sheet metal used to form the side walls 10 and 12. Five racks 24 are shown, but variations are possible. The racks are selectively removable from the cavity via the front opening 20 when the door 104 is opened. Also shown in FIG. 2 is exemplary insulation layer 26 that may be provided at the exterior surfaces of the cavity walls.

As noted above, various types of food products may be cooked in the ovens. For example, referring to the schematic of FIG. 3A, relatively shallow trays of peas may be placed in the ovens, in which case the trays and food product fit within the space between adjacent racks, enabling all of the racks 24A-24E to remain in the oven during the cooking operation. In contrast, referring to the schematic of FIG. 3B, deeper trays 32 may be used to cook other food products, or food products taller than the shallow trays 30 may be placed in the oven. In either case, one or more of the racks 24 needs to be removed to accommodate the food product. In the schematic of FIG. 3B at least racks 24B and 24D would need to be removed during the cooking operation.

Referring now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, one configuration of a rack hanger 40 is shown. The rack hanger 40 includes a main body 42 and spaced apart arms 44 and 46 extending outwardly from the body. The main body 42 has a generally L-shaped profile with a horizontal segment 48 and a downwardly extending segment 50. Each arm 44, 46 has a generally L-shaped profile with a horizontally extending segment 52 and an upwardly extending segment 54. The rack hanger may be formed as a unitary piece by cutting a piece of metal sheet or plate into the configuration 60 of FIG. 5 and then bending the plate along line 62 to form the two perpendicular segments of the main body, and bending the arms along lines 64 and 66 to form the two segments of each arm. It is recognized that the rack hanger may have other configurations, including configurations having only one arm or configurations having more than two arms.

The rack hanger includes multiple openings 70 that may be used to attach the rack hanger to an oven. Specifically, referring to front elevation of FIG. 5, the L-shaped main body 42 is configured for mounting at the top edge of the left 72 or right 74 exterior side wall of the oven. In the illustrated embodiment the rack hanger is positioned on the right exterior side wall, with segment 48 positioned adjacent the top exterior housing wall 76 and segment 50 positioned adjacent right exterior side wall 74. Self-tapping screws may be used to connect the hanger directly to the housing and/or an internal frame of the oven by drilling suitable holes in the housing and/or frame, aligning the rack hanger openings 70 with the drilled holes and passing the screws through the openings 70 and into the drilled holes. Other types of fasteners may be used, including various mechanical fasteners, adhesives, epoxies or structures that capture the rack hanger. In one variation shown in FIG. 8, a two-sided adhesive tape 80 (e.g., of the acrylic foam type) could be applied to the underside of segment 48 for securing the rack hanger to the oven.

In the illustrated embodiment, racks 24A, 24C and 24E are shown positioned horizontally within the oven cavity, while racks 24B and 24D are illustrated in hanging, upright and substantially vertical orientation at the side of the oven supported on the arms of the rack hanger. Depending upon the exact structure of the racks and the length of the rack hanger arms, the number of racks that can be supported by a given rack hanger can be set or varied. In an oven with five racks, the rack hanger could be configured to hold 4 racks, with the assumption that at least one rack would always be in use in the cavity. Alternatively the rack hanger could be configured to hold all five racks, as may be desired during cleaning of the cavity when all racks might be removed from the cavity.

Providing a rack hanger as shown facilitates selective use and storage of racks in accordance with the food products being cooked in the cavity. Take, for example, a food product cooking oven including M racks, where M is an integer number (e.g., in FIG. 6, M=5) and where multiple rack supports are provided within a cavity of the oven for selectively supporting racks at multiple elevations within the cavity. Based upon the food product being cooked, an operator identifies N racks, where N is an integer number, from among the M racks, to be used for a given cooking operation (e.g., in FIG. 6, N=2 or 3). The operator then provides only N racks within the cavity at respective elevations during the given cooking operation. The remaining oven cavity racks, numbering M-N, are hung on the rack hanger arm during the given cooking operation. Hanging the unused racks in such a manner facilitates a clean and reliable way to store and retrieve racks in the hectic environment of a commercial kitchen.

Referring now, to FIG. 7, exemplary use of rack hangers in a double stacked oven (i.e., two ovens stacked one atop the other) is shown. One rack hanger 40A is shown in association with the right side wall of the top oven 100A, and another rack hanger 40B is shown in association with the right side wall of the lower oven 100B. In the case of the lower rack hanger 40B, the horizontal segment of the main body may be sandwiched between the bottom wall of the upper oven and the top wall of the lower oven, which in some cases may provide all the support necessary to secure the rack hanger 40B in place. In other cases, the lower rack hanger 40B may also be secured by screws or other fasteners.

It is to be clearly understood that the above description is intended by way of illustration and example only and is not intended to be taken by way of limitation, and that changes and modifications are possible. For example, other rack hanger configurations are possible, such as a rack hanger in which the main body lacks horizontal segment 48, in which case openings may be provided on segment 50 for securing to the rack hanger to the oven using fasteners. In another example, a pair of separate brackets may be secured to the oven to form the rack hanger. Other variations are possible.