Title:
Door for a Refrigerator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A door for a refrigerator comprises a door leaf and a dispensing unit for water and/or ice, this unit being introduced into the door leaf, as well as a supply channel, which runs from one edge of the door leaf to the dispensing unit. The supply channel has a groove which is recessed into the door leaf and extends between adjacent corners of the door leaf.



Inventors:
Buchstab, Martin (Bopfingen, DE)
Dumkow, Irene (Sontheim, DE)
Feinauer, Adolf (Giengen, DE)
Flinner, Klaus (Zoeschingen, DE)
Heger, Bernd (Haunsheim, DE)
Nalbach, Peter (Kirchheim/Nabern, DE)
Yazan, Kasim (Ulm, DE)
Application Number:
12/085819
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
10/19/2006
Assignee:
BSH BOSCH UND SIEMENS HAUSGERAETE GMBH (MUENCHEN, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25D23/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
COMINGS, DANIEL C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BSH Home Appliances Corporation (NEW BERN, NC, US)
Claims:
1. 1-11. (canceled)

12. A door for a refrigerator with a door leaf and an output unit for water and/or ice inserted into the door leaf as well as with a supply channel running from one edge of the door leaf to the output unit, characterized in that, the supply channel features a groove recessed into the door leaf extending between adjacent corners of the door leaf.

Description:

The present invention relates to a door for a refrigerator with a door leaf and an output unit for water and/or ice arranged in the door leaf as well as with a supply channel running from one edge of the door leaf to the output unit.

Refrigerators which are used not only to keep chilled goods stored within them fresh but are also equipped with other additional devices such as ice makers or water dispensers are becoming ever more widespread. In such cases it is especially practical for the water or ice to be able to be delivered on the outside of the refrigerator. To this end a water or ice dispenser is arranged on the front of the door from which the user can obtain ice or cooled water without having to open the door.

The fact that the door does not have to be opened to remove water and/or ice means not only that the user is provided with greater convenience but also that energy is saved. This is because opening the door allows warm air to enter the interior which then has to be cooled down again once the door is closed.

Such a refrigerator is for example known from DE 10 2004 013 431 A1. This refrigerator has a carcass and a door which delimit an interior space. A water dispenser is built into the front of the door. The water dispenser is fed by a supply channel which runs from the carcass through a hinge in the door.

Since the door can optionally be closed to the right or to the left onto the carcass, the guidance and laying of the supply line in the door of the refrigerator is especially problematic.

In DE 10 2004 013 431 A1 the guidance of the door-side channel is resolved as follows: The supply line is laid in a supply channel. To do this two supply channels each in the form of pipes embedded into insulating foam of the door are provided in the refrigerator door, which each extend from the water dispenser to the corners of the door. Depending on the door closure side the supply line is laid in one of the two channels.

This method of constructing a refrigerator door requires expensive manufacturing since the points at which the supply channels pass through a wall of the refrigerator door enclosing the layer of insulating foam must be securely sealed in order to prevent foam escaping from the body of the door when it is injected.

Changing the side on which the refrigerator door closes is also complex since the supply line must be removed from one of the supply channels and must be introduced into the other.

One object of the present invention is thus to provide a door with a water dispenser for a refrigerator which is characterized by being simple to manufacture and for which the closing side onto a carcass can be altered in situ with a minimal outlay.

This is achieved in accordance with the invention by the supply channel having a groove recessed into the door leaf, extending between adjacent corners of the door leaf. If the door closure side is to be changed it is sufficient for a supply line running in the groove to be turned around from one corner to the other.

A reduction in manufacturing outlay is also achieved by the supply channel featuring a groove which extends from at least one corner of the door leaf to the output unit. The fact that the groove runs on the surface of the door avoids a channel having to be made through the door. This means that there are no points at which the channel passes through the insulation layer of the wall which require expensive sealing.

In such cases it is advantageous for the supply channel to have a T-shaped course with a main stem running between the output unit and a horizontal edge of the door and branches running along the horizontal edge. The result of this is that a large part of the supply channel is always used regardless of the closure side of the door and only the relatively short part of the supply line which runs in the branches is rerouted depending on the door closure side.

Expediently the main stem runs vertically. This means that a short connecting path between the branches running along the horizontal edge and the output unit is achieved.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention the groove runs in a v-shape above the output unit. The result of this is that the supply channel can be designed to be short.

In a further embodiment of the invention the groove can be closed off by a cover. An aesthetically attractive surface of the door is achieved in this way. In addition the insulating effect of a corresponding cover can compensate for the lower insulating effect in the area of recessed grooves.

In such cases it is useful for the cover to be latched so as to engage in the channel. The latching of the cover represents a cost-effective connection between cover and door inner side. This connection can be created and also removed both easily and quickly.

In an exemplary embodiment a supply line can be routed through the main stem and one of the two branches.

Expediently the supply line is clipped into the stem. This represents a simple, detachable and cost-effective connection. In addition the stem can be installed comparatively quickly in this way.

The inventive idea further provides for the channel to have curved side walls in a transition area between the stem and the branches. In this way kinking of the supply line is avoided, which can especially be problematic for a water line contained in the line.

Preferably the curved side walls have a radius of curvature of at least 2 cm. This ensures that the radius of the water line is not less than a critical bending radius.

Further features and advantages of the invention emerge from the description of exemplary embodiments given below which refer to the enclosed figures.

The figures show:

FIG. 1 a schematic section through a refrigerator with a water dispenser;

FIG. 2 a part view of the door of the refrigerator from FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 a sectional view of the door from FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 a schematic section through a second embodiment of a refrigerator with water dispenser;

FIG. 5 a part view of the door of the refrigerator from FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 a part view of a first variant of the door from FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 a part view of a second variant of the door from FIG. 5;

The refrigerator shown in FIG. 1 in a schematic section has a heat-insulating carcass 1 and a door 2 which delimit an interior space 3. In a central area of the door 2 is embodied a compartment 4, on the roof of which is arranged an outlet 5 for dispensing cooled drinking water into a container placed in the compartment 4. The outlet 5 is connected via a supply line 9 to a water tank 8.

FIG. 2 shows a section of the door 2. The door 2 features a metal panel 23 which forms the front side 24 and the side surfaces 25. A plastic panel 26 forms the inner side of the door 2. Side edges of the panels 23 and 26 are firmly connected to each other. A push-on profile 11 is pushed onto the upper edges of the metal panel 23 and the plastic panel 26 and forms the upper side of the door 2. A corresponding push-on profile not shown is fitted to the lower edges of the panels 23, 26. The metal panel 23, the plastic panel 26 and the push-on profile 11 delimit a cavity which is filled with heat-insulating polymer foam.

A pipe 16 extends out from the compartment 4 in the inside of the door 2 perpendicularly upwards. The pipe 16 is surrounded by polymer foam. It comes out into a groove 10 which is provided in the push-on profile 11 on the top edge of the door 2 and extends between two support sockets for a door hinge which are arranged at the upper corners 21 of the door 2. The pipe 16 and the groove 10 together form a supply channel which is provided in order to accommodate a supply line, which includes the line 9 (not shown in FIG. 2) as well as electrical cables where necessary. Such an electrical cable can for example extend from a switch accommodated in the compartment 4 to a stop valve 29 accommodated in the carcass on the line 9, in order to switch the latter on and off.

To avoid kinking of the line 9 in transition area 18 between the pipe 16 and the groove 10, this transitional area 18 has rounded walls with a bending radius of at least 2 cm.

FIG. 3 shows a section through the door 2 depicted in FIG. 2 along pipe 16. This shows that the pipe 6 is accommodated sealed by foam into a socket 15 formed into the push-on profile 11. To be able to fix the line 9 in the groove 10 a cover 28 is provided here which is latched into the groove 10 and which closes off the groove 10 flush with the upper side of the door 2. Alternately the line 9 could also be clipped into the groove 10. The figure also shows that the push-on profile 11 features two slots 12, with which it is pushed onto the inner panel 13 and the outer panel 14 respectively.

FIG. 4 shows a schematic section through a refrigerator in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention. By contrast with the refrigerator shown in FIG. 1, the supply line 9 does not run within a tube within the insulating foam but in a vertical groove 30 on the side of the plastic panel 26 facing towards the interior 3 of the refrigerator from the upper edge of the door 2 down to the water tank 8. This is inserted into a recess of the plastic panel open to the interior space 3. The supply line 9 thus reaches the tank 8, without having to pass through the insulating foam and there is no need for an expensive seal.

FIG. 5 shows an upper area of the door 2 from FIG. 4 in detail. The plastic panel 26 here features a large-surface protrusion 17 of narrow depth which projects into the carcass 1 when the door 2 is closed, with upper side 19, side edges 31 and lower side of the protrusion 17 lying directly opposite roof, side walls and floor of the carcass 1. The groove 30 extends up to the upper side 19 of the protrusion 17 and at this point meets the groove 10 which extends to the upper corners 21 of the door 2 approx. centrally. The supply line 9 runs through right hand part of the groove 10. Both grooves 10 and 30 can be covered over with a cover here, as shown in FIG. 3. Alternately the supply line 9 can be attached in the grooves 10, 30 by clipping.

FIG. 6 shows a variant of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5. By contrast with the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the groove 10 is not provided here on the upper side 19 of the protrusion 17 but on the inner side 20 which faces towards the interior space 3 of the refrigerator. As in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the groove 10 extends to the upper corners 21 of the door 2. So that a supply line 18 is held here in the supply channel 9 and the groove 10 it is necessary to either provide a cover or to clip the supply line 18 into the supply channel 9 and the groove 10. Because the two grooves 10 and 30 are accommodated on the inner side 20 of the protrusion 17, the door depicted in FIG. 6 is simpler to manufacture.

FIG. 7 shows a further variant of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5. Here the horizontal groove 10 is arranged at the transition area between the inner side 20 and the upper side 19 of the projection 17. As in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, the groove 10 extends to the upper corners 21 of the door 2. As with the variant shown in FIG. 5, a cover can be provided here so that the supply line 18 is enclosed in the supply channel 9 and the groove 10. The cover can be glued for example to the upper side 19 and the inner side 20 adjacent to the groove 10.