Title:
Tabletop Quick Cooling Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tabletop cooling device has a housing that contains an ice storage chamber with hinged cover. Adjacent to the ice storage chamber is a chiller that also has a hinged cover. An ice maker is container within the ice storage chamber to produce ice. A water storage tank is provided to supply water to the ice maker. The chiller contains a removable cage that holds cans or bottles of liquid refreshments. The chiller holds water and ice to bathe the cage in a low temperature slurry. A compressor, condenser and associated components are used to produce the low temperatures needed to produce the ice. In another embodiment, solid state thermoelectric modules take the place of the compressor, etc. The ice storage chamber and chiller are insulated with a high R rated insulation. Rotation is controlled by a control panel which can also monitor temperature, etc.



Inventors:
Sundhar, Shaam P. (Princeton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
12/566702
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
09/25/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/344, 62/498
International Classes:
F25B21/02; F25B1/00; F25C5/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PETTITT, JOHN F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATWRITE LLC (MARSHALLTOWN, IA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tabletop quick cooling device comprises: a housing; an ice storage chamber disposed within said housing; said ice storage chamber having a cover adapted to allow access to said ice storage chamber; a chilling chamber also disposed within said housing and generally adjacent to said ice storage chamber; a holder removably disposed within said chilling chamber; a chilling chamber cover adapted to allow access to said chilling chamber; a rotating means for rotating said holder; an ice making unit disposed within said ice storage chamber; a cooling means for operating said ice making unit; and a control unit electrically connected to said rotating means wherein said holder rotation is controlled.

2. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said cooling means is a compressor-type refrigeration unit.

3. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said cooling means is a thermoelectric refrigeration unit.

4. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said rotating means is a motor.

5. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 further comprises a water holding tank wherein water is supplied to said ice making unit.

6. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said holder is a cage.

7. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said holder is a hollow cylinder.

8. The tabletop quick cooling device of claim 1 wherein said hollow cylinder is made of aluminum.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/839,420, filed Aug. 15, 2007, the complete disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In early times, humans hunted and gathered the food they needed each day. Techniques to preserve food were developed that allowed humans to store food ahead of time. It was discovered that keeping food cool increased the usable time to safely consume the food. People started digging holes and constructing boxes within the Earth to cool the food. Later people used ice in insulated boxes to keep food fresh longer. The first practical demonstration of artificial refrigeration occurred in the late 1700's with the first practical refrigerator appearing in the 1830's.

Modern refrigerators may include frost free freezers, climate controlled drawers, touch screen interfaces, beverage and ice dispensing units and are just some of the features available. Although the modern refrigerator represents a tremendous advance in technology, there remains a need to quickly cool items for immediate consumption. Often people will place a beverage be cooled in the freezer only to have it explode making a mess when they forgot about it.

There is a need for a portable, convenient chilling device that can rapidly lower the temperature of a food or beverage to be consumed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A tabletop cooling device has a housing that contains an ice storage chamber with hinged cover. Adjacent to the ice storage chamber is a chiller that also has a hinged cover. An ice maker is container within the ice storage chamber to produce ice. A water storage tank is provided to supply water to the ice maker. The chiller contains a removable cage that holds cans or bottles of liquid refreshments. The chiller holds water and ice to bathe the cage in a low temperature slurry. A compressor, condenser and associated components are used to produce the low temperatures needed to produce the ice. In another embodiment, solid state thermoelectric modules take the place of the compressor, etc. The ice storage chamber and chiller are insulated with a high R rated insulation. Rotation is controlled by a control panel which can also monitor temperature, etc.

Other features and advantages of the instant invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention which refers to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the top and front of an embodiment according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the back and top of an embodiment according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the open position of an embodiment according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a bottle inserted according to an embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a plurality of cans inserted according to an embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 6 is a front view of a tabletop quick cooling device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the tabletop quick cooling device shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the tabletop quick cooling device shown in FIG. 6 with covers closed.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the tabletop quick cooling device shown in FIG. 6 with covers open.

FIG. 10 is a transparent front view of a tabletop quick cooling device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following detailed description of the invention, reference is made to the drawings in which reference numerals refer to like elements, and which are intended to show by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that structural changes may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a tabletop quick cooling device 100 is shown having a housing 102 with a control panel 108 easily accessible to a user. In the embodiment shown, tabletop quick cooling device 100 is shown having two insulated covers 104 and 106 respectively. Air intake is provided through grills 105 and exhaust port 110 is used to vent hot air to the environment. Tabletop quick cooling device 100 is relatively lightweight allowing the device to be easily transported. Of course other embodiments could include a single insulated cover or a plurality depending on the desired use.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 through 5, tabletop quick cooling device 100 is shown having an optional wire rack 114 and may be inserted within a cooling chamber 112 to facilitate cooling a bottle 118 such as wine or soda or cans of beer or soda 120. Wire rack 114 may be grasped with an insulated handle (not shown) and removed by hand all or may be electrically powered for automatic retrieval.

In one embodiment, a micro compressor is utilized to compress a gas and then allows the gas to expand within elements surrounding cooling chamber 112 and 116 as is known in the art to provide rapid cooling. Utilizing a micro compressor allows tabletop cooling device 100 remain portable and lightweight.

Another embodiment, utilizes a liquefied gas such as liquid nitrogen to quickly cool any object placed within cooling chambers 112 or 160. The liquid nitrogen circulates in a heat transfer unit that surrounds cooling chambers 112 and 116. No liquid nitrogen is exposed nor does any food or liquid product come in contact with the liquid nitrogen. In one embodiment, a filling opening is provided to recharge the unit with liquid nitrogen.

Control unit 108 may include a timer, clock and calendar function as is known in the art. A digital display may also be included to display the temperature within the chambers 112 and 116 respectively.

Now referring to FIGS. 6 through 9, a portable tabletop cooling device 200 is shown having a housing 255 that contains, protects and provides an area to contain all the cooling, control and storage capabilities of device 200. An ice unit 210 and a chiller 235 are disposed within housing 255. Ice unit 210 has an ice storage chamber 245 that holds and preserves the ice that is produced by an ice maker 260. An ice unit lid 205 opens to allow access to the ice and closes to preserve a constant storage temperature. Rubber legs 240 are provided to allow air to flow beneath housing 255 and to help stabilize the unit.

Chiller 235 has a liquid holding chamber 265 which holds chilled water. A chiller cover 230 is provided to prevent liquid from escaping from liquid holding chamber 265 while in use and to help maintain a low temperature. The water is chilled using ice from the ice maker 260. The ice is added to the water and a chilling cage 250 rotatably engages with a drive rotator 275 and a follower rotator 280. A power rotator 270 provides rotational power to at least one drive rotator 275 to spin chiller cage 250.

Chiller cage 250 is at least partially immersed in a chilling liquid and rotated to produce rapid cooling of any item placed therein. In general, the liquid is water to which some ice is added to produce a low temperature slurry. This allows for fast thermodynamic transfer between the contents of chiller cage and the low temperature slurry. Salt or other impurity may be added to further reduce the temperature of the slurry as is known in the art. Cans or bottles of liquid refreshments fit within chiller cage 250 and are rotated while in thermodynamic communication with the low temperature slurry. Alternatively, a solid or mostly solid cylinder (cylinder may have holes or openings to ensure that the fluid makes contact with the surface of the cans or bottles) made of a material having good thermodynamic transfer properties such as aluminum or copper may be used in place of cage 250 to hold cans or bottles.

A control unit 215 is provided to control ice maker 260 and power rotator 270 as well as to control the temperature of ice storage chamber 245. A plurality of control buttons 220 and indicator lights 225 are provided as is known in the art. As an example, power on/off, rotation, speed of rotation, temperature, etc. are among the kind of controls and indicators that may be provided. An ice shutoff switch 285 is provided to prevent ice maker 260 from over filling. A water holding tank 300 is provided within housing 255. A water fill port 295 is provided to fill water holding tank 300. Optionally, a more permanent installation may be provided by hooking tabletop cooling device 200 directly to a water source as is often done with kitchen refrigerators equipped with ice makers.

Ice maker 260 is a conventional closed loop pressurized refrigeration system that uses refrigerants such as R-22 or R-134a which is one of the newer ozone friendly refrigerants. Of course other refrigerants may be used as is known in the art. The compressor, condenser and other associated components are contained within housing 255 in refrigerator component portion 290. Tabletop quick cooling device 200 is operated by plugging it in to a source of electrical power. Additionally, batteries may be provided if more portability is desired.

In another embodiment, cooling is provided by using cascaded thermoelectric modules as is known in the art to provide solid states cooling along with ice making. Additionally, thermoelectric cooling may be used to chill the inner surface of liquid holding chamber 265 by lining an inner surface of a thermodynamic transfer material such as aluminum with cascaded thermoelectric modules to cool the liquid in contact thereon. The liquid will be cooled without the need to add ice in this embodiment.

Another embodiment uses a liquid solution of water mixed with a glycol such as ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. This lowers the freezing temperature of the liquid allowing for faster cooling. A high R value insulation is used to thermodynamically isolate ice storage chamber 245 and chiller 235 form the ambient temperatures. A suitable electric motor is used in power rotator 270 as is known in the art.

In another embodiment, an ice transfer connector allows ice to be remotely added to the chiller. The user would press a control on the control panel to automatically transfer a prescribed amount of ice to ensure that the chiller will properly adjust the temperature of the inserted refreshment. Additionally, a selector could be provided to allow a user to select differing amounts of ice delivered to the chiller based on the quantity or type of refreshment to be cooled. For example, the user could select one can, two cans, etc.

Although the instant invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art.