Title:
Oven rack assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rack assembly for use in an oven includes a rack, a rack frame having a left bar, a right bar, and a rear bar, with the rack coupled to the left bar and the right bar. Each left bar and right bar has a front vertical section, a front horizontal section coupled to the front vertical section, a rear horizontal section coupled to the rear of the front horizontal section, and a rear vertical section that is coupled to the rear of the rear horizontal section. The front vertical section extends downwardly from the front of the front horizontal section, the rear vertical section extends upwardly from the rear of the rear horizontal section, the front horizontal section is disposed at a higher vertical level than the rear horizontal section, and the rear bar has opposite ends that are coupled to the rear vertical section of each of the left and right bars.



Inventors:
Dao, Daniel (Diamond Bar, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/322823
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/06/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/85.4
International Classes:
F24C15/16; A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PEREIRO, JORGE ANDRES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond Sun (Tustin, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A rack assembly for use in an oven, comprising: a rack; a rack frame having a left bar, a right bar, and a rear bar, with the rack coupled to the left bar and the right bar; and wherein each left bar and right bar has a front vertical section, a front horizontal section coupled to the front vertical section, a rear horizontal section coupled to the rear of the front horizontal section, and a rear vertical section that is coupled to the rear of the rear horizontal section, and wherein: the front vertical section extends downwardly from the front of the front horizontal section; the rear vertical section extends upwardly from the rear of the rear horizontal section; the front horizontal section is disposed at a higher vertical level than the rear horizontal section; and the rear bar has opposite ends that are coupled to the rear vertical section of each of the left and right bars.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein each left and right bar further includes a central horizontal section that is positioned between the front and rear horizontal sections, with the central horizontal section aligned at the same vertical level as the front horizontal section.

3. The assembly of claim 1, further including a slide assembly that couples the rack to the rack frame, the slide assembly having a slide member that carries the rack forward from the rack frame.

4. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the front, central and rear horizontal sections are all aligned in the same plane.

5. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the front, central and rear horizontal sections are all aligned in the same plane and define outer horizontal sections, each of the left and right bars further including a first inner horizontal section coupled between the front and central horizontal sections, and a second inner horizontal section coupled between the central and rear horizontal sections, with the first and second inner horizontal sections being aligned in the same plane, but different from the plane of the outer horizontal sections.

6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein each inner horizontal section is coupled to two adjacent outer horizontal sections via a transverse section.

7. An oven assembly, comprising: an oven having interior side walls, with a plurality of ledges provided in aligned fashion on the side walls, each ledge having a top edge, a bottom edge, a front edge and a rear edge; rack assembly for use in an oven, comprising: a rack; a rack frame having a left bar, a right bar, and a rear bar attached to rear ends of the left bar and the right bar; and wherein each left bar and right bar has a front vertical section, a front horizontal section coupled to the front vertical section, a rear horizontal section coupled to the rear of the front horizontal section, and a rear vertical section that is coupled to the rear of the rear horizontal section, and wherein: the front vertical section extends downwardly from the front of the front horizontal section; the rear vertical section extends upwardly from the rear of the rear horizontal section; the front horizontal section is disposed at a higher vertical level than the rear horizontal section; and the rear bar has opposite ends that are coupled to the rear vertical section of each of the left and right bars; wherein the left and right bars of the rack frame are seated on pairs of aligned ledges in a manner where the front vertical section and the front horizontal section of the left and right bars abut the front edge and the top edge of the ledges, and the rear vertical section and the rear horizontal section of the left and right bars abut the rear edge and the bottom edge of the ledges.

8. The assembly of claim 7, wherein each left and right bar further includes a central horizontal section that is positioned between the front and rear horizontal sections, with the central horizontal section aligned at the same vertical level as the front horizontal section, and with the central horizontal section of each left and right bar resting on the top edge of a corresponding ledge.

9. The assembly of claim 7, further including a slide assembly that couples the rack to the rack frame, the slide assembly having a slide member that carries the rack forward from the rack frame.

10. The assembly of claim 8, wherein the front, central and rear horizontal sections are all aligned in the same plane.

11. The assembly of claim 8, wherein the front, central and rear horizontal sections are all aligned in the same plane and define outer horizontal sections, each of the left and right bars further including a first inner horizontal section coupled between the front and central horizontal sections, and a second inner horizontal section coupled between the central and rear horizontal sections, with the first and second inner horizontal sections being aligned in the same plane, but different from the plane of the outer horizontal sections, and with the inner horizontal sections being coupled to the rack.

12. The assembly of claim 11, wherein each inner horizontal section is coupled to two adjacent outer horizontal sections via a transverse section.

13. A method of inserting a rack assembly into an oven, comprising: providing an oven having interior side walls, with a plurality of ledges provided in aligned fashion on the side walls, each ledge having a top edge, a bottom edge, a front edge and a rear edge; providing rack assembly for use in an oven, comprising: a rack; a rack frame having a left bar, a right bar, and a rear bar attached to rear ends of the left bar and the right bar; and wherein each left bar and right bar has a front vertical section, a front horizontal section coupled to the front vertical section, a rear horizontal section coupled to the rear of the front horizontal section, and a rear vertical section that is coupled to the rear of the rear horizontal section, and wherein: the front vertical section extends downwardly from the front of the front horizontal section; the rear vertical section extends upwardly from the rear of the rear horizontal section; the front horizontal section is disposed at a higher vertical level than the rear horizontal section; and the rear bar has opposite ends that are coupled to the rear vertical section of each of the left and right bars; inserting the rack assembly into the oven at angle such that the rear vertical section and the rear horizontal section are below a target ledge and the front vertical section and the front horizontal section are above the target ledge; and pivoting the rack assembly such that the rear vertical section hooks on to the rear edge of the target ledge in an upward motion, and the front vertical section hooks on to the front edge of the target ledge in a downward motion.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of pivoting the rack assembly includes pivoting the rack assembly about a central portion of the rack assembly.

Description:

RELATED CASES

This application is related to Provision Application No. 61/063,860 filed Feb. 7, 2008, whose entire disclosure is incorporated by this reference as though set forth fully herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to ovens, and more particularly to extendable rack assemblies for ovens.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Ovens often have one or more racks generally within the oven. The racks are useful for the placing of cookware, food, and other items, within the oven. The racks place the cookware generally towards the middle of the oven, and keep the cookware away from heating elements and the like. In addition, ovens with multiple racks allow for placement of cookware on a variety of levels within the oven, thereby increasing the total volume of available cooking space.

The racks are often supported by ledges formed along the walls of the oven. The racks are then movable in and out of the oven on the ledges. This allows the racks to be removed from the oven for cleaning or for other purposes. Often, the racks may be partially removed from the oven so as to allow easier access to items placed on the racks.

Movement of the racks on the ledges, or through other friction mechanisms, may not always provide smooth and relatively effortless motion. Unconformities in the ledges or friction mechanisms may interfere with motion of a rack. Similarly, food or other items may become lodged in a rack pathway, increasing the difficulty in movement of the rack.

In addition, the racks often may not be extended very far from the oven, particularly when heavy items are placed on the rack. Since the racks must still be supported by the ledges of the oven, over extension of the rack may lead to a sloped surface with tenuous lateral support causing disastrous results, with the rack and its contents dropping from the oven. Moreover, the items on the rack may be difficult to view or handle if the rack is partially in the oven. This increases the chances of burns occurring to users of the oven through contact with other racks or the side walls of the oven. Further, at times lateral stability of a rack, particularly when a rack is extended fully from the oven, may be important to uphold and bear the load of food contents.

Therefore, there remains a need for an oven rack that addresses the concerns set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

To accomplish the objectives set forth above, the present invention provides a rack assembly for use in an oven. The rack assembly includes a rack, a rack frame having a left bar, a right bar, and a rear bar, with the rack coupled to the left bar and the right bar. Each left bar and right bar has a front vertical section, a front horizontal section coupled to the front vertical section, a rear horizontal section coupled to the rear of the front horizontal section, and a rear vertical section that is coupled to the rear of the rear horizontal section. The front vertical section extends downwardly from the front of the front horizontal section, the rear vertical section extends upwardly from the rear of the rear horizontal section, the front horizontal section is disposed at a higher vertical level than the rear horizontal section, and the rear bar has opposite ends that are coupled to the rear vertical section of each of the left and right bars.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial view of an oven with a rack assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an oven side wall and the rack frame of a rack assembly of the present invention resting on a ledge of the oven side wall.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a rack assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rack frame of the rack assembly of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the rack assembly of FIG. 3 shown fully extended.

FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate how the rack assembly of FIG. 3 is deployed for use in an oven.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating general principles of embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

FIG. 1 illustrates an oven that uses a rack assembly 10 according to the present invention. The oven has side walls 12, with ledges 14 provided on the opposing side walls 12. Referring also to FIGS. 2-5, the rack assembly 10 includes a rack frame 20 supported within the oven, a rack 22 to support cookware, and extendable slides 24 interconnecting the rack 22 and the rack frame 20. In use, the rack frame 20 remains seated within the oven, and the rack 22 may be extended from the oven using the extendable slides 24. In the oven of FIG. 1, the rack frame 20 rests on the ledges 14, and forms a generally U-shaped tubular metal, with a left bar 26, a rear bar 28, and a right bar 30.

The oven of FIG. 1 uses a particular type of ledge 14 (see also FIG. 2) where each ledge 14 defines an elongated open cavity 34. Each ledge 14 has a top side that includes a straight front portion 38, and a central and rear portion 40 (which can be wavy or straight), and a bottom side that includes a short straight front portion 42, a V-shaped portion 44 and a rear straight portion 46 that transitions via a curved surface to the rear edge 48. A front edge 49 transitions from the portions 38 and 42. The rack assembly 10 of the present invention is best suited for use with the type of ledge 14 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the oven shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, ten ledges 14 are provided, with five ledges 15 on each side wall 12. The corresponding ledges 14 on the two side walls 12 are at substantially the same height, with the top side of each of corresponding ledges 14 providing a substantially flat surface which may support an object which extends from one side wall 12 of the oven to the other. As illustrated, the ledges 14 substantially extend across the length of the oven.

FIGS. 3 and 5 illustrate a full extension slide 24 that can be used with the rack assembly 10 of the present invention. The slide 24 can be a side-by-side slide (which is sometimes also called a parallel slide) and includes two outer members 102, 104 with generally C-shaped cross-sections, with the outer members arranged so that the C-shaped cross-sections oppose each other. Between the two generally C-shaped cross-sections is a somewhat I-shaped inner member 106. In operation, the outer members 102, 104 extend in opposing directions from the inner member 106, with the outer members 102, 104 and the inner member 106 connected by way of bearings riding in bearing raceways. The bearings and bearing raceways are not shown, but are well-known in the art. The inner member 106 may be formed, for example, by bonding two somewhat C-shaped members together along their webs.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 4, starting at the front or distal end, each left bar 26 and right bar 30 has the same configuration, with an unattached distal or front vertical section 50 having a terminal end 52 that faces downwardly. Extending proximally or rearwardly from the vertical section 50 is a short first horizontal section 54 that is parallel to the slide member 102, and then a first transverse section 56 extends from the proximal end of the horizontal section 54 towards the slide member 102 (i.e., so that the transverse section 56 is perpendicular to the horizontal section 54). A U-shaped section 58 extends from the proximal end of the transverse section 56 and is adapted to extend alongside the slide member 102. The U-shaped section 58 has two vertical sections 60 and 64, and a lower horizontal section 62. A second transverse section 66 extends from the top of the rear vertical section 64 of the U-shaped section 58 away from the slide member 102 to a second long horizontal section 68 that extends parallel to the slide member 102 and perpendicular to the transverse section 66. A third transverse section 70 extends from the proximal end of the horizontal section 68 towards the slide member 102 (i.e., so that the transverse section 70 is perpendicular to the horizontal section 68), and then a short vertical section 72 (which is perpendicular to the transverse section 70 but parallel to the slide 24) extends downwardly from the transverse section 70 and transitions to a third horizontal section 74 that is adapted to extend alongside the slide member 102.

Another vertical section 76 extends downwardly from the proximal or rear end of the horizontal section 74 to a fourth transverse section 78 that extends away from the slide member 102 towards a fourth horizontal section 80 adjacent the proximal or rear end of the bars 26 and 30. Yet another vertical section 82 extends upwardly from the rear end of the horizontal section 80, and the top end of each vertical section 82 transitions into the rear bar 28.

Thus, the horizontal sections 54, 68, and 80 and the vertical sections 50 and 82 are all aligned along a first plane, and the horizontal sections 62 and 74, and the vertical sections 60, 64, 72 and 76 are all aligned along a second different plane, with the first and second planes being parallel to each other. The second plane is positioned alongside the respective slide member 102, so that the bars 26 and 30 can be secured to the respective slide member 102 at any location along the horizontal sections 62 and 74 and the vertical sections 60, 64, 72 and 76 using techniques such as welding and screws. As an example, the left bar 26 can be secured to the left slide member 102 at one location along the horizontal section 62, and at two spaced-apart locations along the horizontal section 74, and the right bar 30 can be secured to the right slide member 102 at the same locations. Accordingly, the first outer member 102 is fixed to the rack frame 20, with the rack frame 20 within the oven. The inner member 106 extends from the first outer member 102, and is illustrated as being extended from the first outer member 102 towards the front of the oven. The second outer member 104 extends from the inner member 106 with the second outer member 104 substantially fully out of the oven. Thus, as in the instant case, the term full extension when used with respective slide 24 refers to the ability of a portion of the slide 24, namely a slide member 104, to extend substantially completely out of an enclosure.

The rack 22 can be secured to the two second outer members 104 using techniques that are well-known in the art, including bolting and welding, among others. The rack 22 may be extended substantially out of the oven and still be stably supported by the slides 24.

FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate how the rack assembly 10 can be deployed for use in the second (from bottom) ledge 14a in an oven. In FIG. 6A, the entire rack assembly 10 is tilted at an angle so that the front of the rack assembly 10 is tilted up and the rear is tilted down. The tilted rack assembly 10 is inserted rear-side first towards the bottom of the oven until the rear portion of the horizontal sections 80 contacts or bumps into the section 40 of the opposing first (bottom) ledges 14b. In FIG. 6B, the user then pivots the rack assembly 10 to tilt the rear upwardly while continuing to advance the rack assembly 10 into the oven until the horizontal sections 68 contact or bump into the V-shaped section 44 of the third ledge 14c (positioned directly above the second ledge 14a). In FIG. 6C, the user then slides the rack assembly 10 towards the rear of the oven until the vertical section 82 reaches the rear edge 48 of the ledge 14a. In the final step, shown in FIG. 2, the vertical section 82 acts as a hook and is secured against the rear edge 48, while the front vertical section 50 also acts as a hook and is secured against the front edge 49. The two vertical sections 50 and 82 extend in opposite directions (50 from top down and 82 from bottom up) so that the engagement between the bars 26 and 30 and the ledges 14 are secure and stable. In addition, the horizontal sections 54, 68 and 80 provide further reinforcement by engaging the sections 38, 40 and 46, respectively, of the ledge 14.

To remove the rack assembly 10 from a ledge 14, the user merely lifts the front vertical section 50 and pivoting the rack 22 so that the rear vertical section 82 becomes disengaged from the rear edge 48. The user can then pull the rack assembly 20 out of the oven.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true scope and spirit of the present invention.