Title:
REMOVABLE SHELF SUPPORT ASSEMBLY FOR OVEN APPLIANCE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Removable shelf support assemblies for oven appliances are provided. A removable shelf support assembly includes a shelf having a pair of opposing sides for positioning near opposing side walls of the oven appliance and a pair of slide assemblies. At least one of the slide assemblies includes a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member. At least one of the slide assemblies further includes an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls, and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.



Inventors:
Sharbidre, Deepak (Lafayette, GA, US)
Herweh III, William Clifford (Louisville, KY, US)
Application Number:
14/146151
Publication Date:
07/02/2015
Filing Date:
01/02/2014
Assignee:
General Electric Company (Schenectady, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24C15/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050139202Oven with forced air circulationJune, 2005Herbert
20130042903SOLAR ENERGY GENERATORFebruary, 2013Henry Ng
20100307479Solar Panel Tracking and Mounting SystemDecember, 2010Park
20100012113SOLAR TRACKER WITH TWO AXESJanuary, 2010Martin Barbero
20060204913Fire starter candleSeptember, 2006Trinkle
20070056577Barbecuing deviceMarch, 2007Chang
20140174425Easy WarmersJune, 2014Burks
20080308094TROUGH REFLECTORS FOR SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTORSDecember, 2008Johnston
20140216437HYDRONIC SURFACE HEATING SYSTEMAugust, 2014Martian et al.
20120222669SOLAR COLLECTORSeptember, 2012Sellier et al.
20070089730Khem-gzApril, 2007Gunz



Primary Examiner:
BLUM, GEORGE R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dority & Manning, P.A. and Haier US Appliance (Greenville, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A removable shelf support assembly for an oven appliance, the oven appliance including a door for access to a cavity having a pair of opposing side walls, the oven defining vertical, lateral, and transverse directions that are orthogonal to each other, the removable shelf support assembly comprising: a shelf having a pair of opposing sides for positioning near the opposing side walls; a pair of slide assemblies, at least one slide assembly comprising: a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member; an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls; and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.

2. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the handle is positioned proximate a front end of the shelf.

3. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 2, wherein the handle is positioned below the front end along the vertical direction.

4. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the handle is cantilevered.

5. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the handle comprises a vertical portion extending generally along the vertical direction from the outer bracket and a lateral portion extending generally along the lateral direction from the vertical portion.

6. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the at least one slide assembly further comprises an inner bracket coupled to the slide rack, the inner bracket coupling the slide rack to the one of the opposing sides of the shelf.

7. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the outer bracket comprises a slot engageable with a rod extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

8. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the outer bracket comprises an inner flange and an outer flange each engageable with a rod extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

9. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein the outer bracket comprises a tab engageable with a slot extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

10. The removable shelf support assembly of claim 1, wherein each of the pair of slide assemblies comprises: a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member; an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls; and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.

11. An oven appliance defining vertical, lateral, and transverse directions that are orthogonal to each other, the oven appliance comprising: an oven body defining an oven cavity for the receipt of food items for cooking operations, the cavity having a pair of opposing side walls, the cavity having an opening positioned near a front of the oven body; a door for selectively closing the opening to the cavity of the oven body; a removable shelf having a pair of opposing sides that are separated along the lateral direction, the shelf slidable in and out of the cavity; a pair of slide assemblies, each slide assembly comprising: a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member; an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls; and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.

12. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the handle is positioned proximate a front end of the shelf.

13. The oven appliance of claim 12, wherein the handle is positioned below the front end along the vertical direction.

14. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the handle is cantilevered.

15. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the handle comprises a vertical portion extending generally along the vertical direction from the outer bracket and a lateral portion extending generally along the lateral direction from the vertical portion.

16. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the at least one slide assembly further comprises an inner bracket coupled to the slide rack, the inner bracket coupling the slide rack to the one of the opposing sides of the shelf.

17. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the outer bracket comprises a slot engageable with a rod extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

18. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the outer bracket comprises an inner flange and an outer flange each engageable with a rod extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

19. The oven appliance of claim 11, wherein the outer bracket comprises a tab engageable with a slot extending from the one of the opposing side walls.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The subject matter of the present disclosure relates generally to shelves or racks for oven appliances.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Oven appliances typically include one or more shelves or racks for the support of food items and cooking utensils having food items. For example, oven appliances conventionally include one or more shelves or racks whereby multiple food items can be placed into the oven for cooking operations. In order to access a food item or utensil placed on the shelf, the user opens the door and reaches into the oven. The user may also desire to slide the shelf out of the oven cavity to improve access to the food item. For example, the user may want to cut or measure the temperature of a food item at the rear of the oven shelf, which can require sliding the shelf forward.

A problem with accessing the rear of the shelf can be exacerbated with smaller oven cavities. For example, an oven may be provided with a cavity having a relatively short height for use in cooking flatter foods such as pizza, breads, or others. Reaching the back of the shelf may not be possible unless the shelf slides forward.

In order to accommodate food items and cooking utensils of different sizes, a typical construction includes horizontal protrusions formed directly into the side walls of the oven cavity or horizontal rods extending from the side walls of the oven cavity on which the shelves rest and from which the shelves can be can be removed. The shelves, protrusions and rods are designed so that the user can remove the shelf from the protrusions at one vertical level and reinstall the shelf at a different vertical level, which the user may select based on e.g., the height of the food items and utensils, the number of items being cooked, the type of food being cooked, and/or other factors.

In order to provide better access to food items on shelves in oven cavities, shelf assemblies have been developed which include slide racks to which the shelves are mounted. The shelves can thus be easily slid out of and into the oven cavity without the need to remove the entire shelf assembly from the protrusions or rods on which it rests. However, the use of such shelf assemblies can be problematic when a user desires to remove the shelf assembly from the protrusions or rods. For example, it can be difficult to grip the shelf and slide rack to ensure that the entire shelf assembly is removed. In many cases, a user can accidently begin removing only the shelf, while the slide rack remains in the oven assembly, which can lead to accidents or cause the user to have to replace the shelf and start over.

Accordingly, improved shelf assemblies for use in oven appliances would be desired. For example, shelf assemblies which facilitate easy and efficient removal thereof as desired by a user would be advantageous.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one exemplary embodiment, the present disclosure provides a removable shelf support assembly for an oven appliance. The oven appliance includes a door for access to a cavity having a pair of opposing side walls. The oven defines vertical, lateral, and transverse directions that are orthogonal to each other. The removable shelf support assembly includes a shelf having a pair of opposing sides for positioning near the opposing side walls and a pair of slide assemblies. At least one of the slide assemblies includes a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member. At least one of the slide assemblies further includes an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls, and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.

In another exemplary embodiment, the present disclosure provides an oven appliance defining vertical, lateral, and transverse directions that are orthogonal to each other. The oven appliance includes an oven body defining an oven cavity for the receipt of food items for cooking operations, the cavity having a pair of opposing side walls, the cavity having an opening positioned near a front of the oven body. A door provides for selectively closing the opening to the cavity of the oven body. A removable shelf is provided having a pair of opposing sides that are separated along the lateral direction. The shelf is slidable in and out of the cavity. The oven appliance further includes a pair of slide assemblies. Each slide assembly includes a slide rack coupled to one of the opposing sides of the shelf, the slide rack comprising a slide member and a stationary member, the slide member movable along the transverse direction relative to the stationary member. Each slide assembly further includes an outer bracket coupled to the slide rack, the outer bracket engageable with one of the opposing side walls, and a handle extending generally along the lateral direction from the outer bracket.

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth in the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of an oven appliance of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1 with a door shown in a partially opened state.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a shelf support assembly of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a perspective exploded view of an exemplary embodiment of a shelf support assembly of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a shelf support assembly of the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a slide assembly of a shelf support assembly engaged in an oven appliance of the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another exemplary embodiment of a shelf support assembly of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference now will be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, not limitation of the invention. In fact, 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 scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an exemplary embodiment of an oven 100 according to the present invention is shown. FIG. 1 provides a front view of oven 100 while FIG. 2 provides a side view. Oven 100 includes an oven body 102 defining an oven cavity 104 for the receipt of food items and utensils for cooking operations. A vertically adjustable and removable shelf support assembly 200 is shown positioned in oven cavity 104.

Shelf support assembly 200 includes a rack or shelf 202. As used herein, “shelf” and “rack” are not limited to an assembly of elongated wire or rods 208 (e.g., FIG. 3) and includes shelves constructed from other materials such as expanded metal and others. Accordingly, “rack” and “shelf” (and the plural forms thereof) are used interchangeably herein. Also, as will be understood by one of skill in the art using the teachings disclosed herein, oven 100 with cooktop 124 is provided by way of example only. The shelf support assembly 200 of the present invention may be used in other types of oven appliances with different configurations such as e.g., wall ovens, double ovens, and others.

Oven 100 includes a door 108 with handle 110 that provides for opening and closing access to oven cavity 104 through an opening 106 at the front of cavity 104. A user of the appliance 100 can place a variety of different items to be cooked (including utensils) in oven cavity 104 and onto shelf 202, which has a pair of opposing sides 204 that are positioned near opposing side walls 112. Cavity 104 is defined by a pair of opposing side walls 112, bottom wall 114, top wall 116, and rear wall 118 that extends laterally (lateral direction L) between opposing side walls 112. Multiple shelf assemblies 200 can be positioned within cavity 104 (only one assembly 200 is shown). Shelf assembly 200 is supported on a pair of protrusions 136 formed integrally with opposing side walls 112. Multiple pairs of protrusions 136 are shown at different heights along vertical direction V for support of one or more shelf assemblies 200 at different vertical locations. Alternatively, and referring briefly to FIG. 6, shelf assembly 200 may be supported on a pair of rods 138 extending from the opposing side walls 112. Multiple pairs of rods 138 may be provided at different heights along the vertical direction V for support of one or more shelf assemblies 200 at different vertical locations. As such, shelf assembly 200 is readily removable from oven cavity 104 for repositioning and cleaning without having to use special tools or damaging oven cavity 104.

For purposes of reference in further describing the invention, it will be understood that oven appliance 100 defines vertical directions V, lateral directions L, and transverse directions T that are orthogonal to each other.

One or more heating elements 120 can be positioned e.g., at the top 116 of chamber or cavity 104 to provide heat for cooking and cleaning Such heating element(s) can be e.g., gas, electric, microwave, or a combination thereof. Other heating elements can be located at the bottom 114 of chamber 104 as well. A window 122 on door 108 allows the user to view e.g., food items during the cooking process. For purposes of cooling, oven 100 may equipped with an inlet that allows for an inflow of ambient air into a ventilation system and a vent that allows for the outflow of such air after it has been heated by oven 100.

Oven 100 includes a user interface 128 having a display 130 positioned on top panel 132 with a variety of controls 134. Interface 128 allows the user to select various options for the operation of oven 100 including e.g., temperature, time, and/or various cooking and cleaning cycles. Operation of oven appliance 100 can be regulated by a controller (not shown) that is operatively coupled i.e., in communication with, user interface panel 128, heating element(s), and other components of oven 100 as will be further described.

For example, in response to user manipulation of the user interface panel 128, the controller can operate one or more heating element(s). The controller can receive measurements from a temperature sensor (not shown) placed in oven cavity 104 to e.g., provide a temperature indication to the user with display 130. By way of example, the controller may include a memory and one or more processing devices such as microprocessors, CPUs or the like, such as general or special purpose microprocessors operable to execute programming instructions or micro-control code associated with operation of appliance 100. The memory may represent random access memory such as DRAM, or read only memory such as ROM or FLASH. In one embodiment, the processor executes programming instructions stored in memory. The memory may be a separate component from the processor or may be included onboard within the processor.

The controller may be positioned in a variety of locations throughout appliance 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the controller may be located under or next to the user interface 128 or otherwise within top panel 132. In such an embodiment, input/output (“I/O”) signals are routed between the controller and various operational components of appliance 100 such as heating element(s), controls 134, display 130, sensor(s), alarms, and/or other components as may be provided. In one embodiment, the user interface panel 182 may represent a general purpose I/O (“GPIO”) device or functional block.

Although shown with touch type controls on interface 128 and knobs for controls 134, it should be understood that such are provided by way of example only. More specifically, user interface 128 and/or top panel 132 may include various input components, such as one or more of a variety of electrical, mechanical or electro-mechanical input devices including rotary dials, push buttons, and touch pads. The user interface 128 may include other display components, such as a digital or analog display device designed to provide operational feedback to a user. The user interface 128 may be in communication with the controller via one or more signal lines or shared communication busses.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the exemplary oven appliance of FIG. 1 into which an exemplary embodiment of the removable shelf support assembly 200 has been incorporated. During the opening of door 100, the user pulls handle 110 which causes door 100 to rotate about a pivot point P where door 100 is connected by a hinge or similar device to oven body 102.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 through 7, various embodiments of a removable shelf support assembly 200 are illustrated. As discussed, assembly 200 includes a shelf 202 which extends between opposing sides 204. The opposing sides 204 may, when the assembly 200 is disposed in the oven appliance 100, be positioned near the opposing side walls 112 of the oven appliance 100. Shelf 202 may further extend between a front end 210 and a rear end 212 along the transverse direction T. The front end 210 and rear end 212 may, when the assembly 100 is disposed in the oven appliance 100, be positioned near the door 108 and rear wall 118, respectively.

Assembly 200 may further include a pair of slide assemblies 220. One or both slide assemblies 220 may, as discussed below, facilitate sliding of the shelf 202 into and out of the oven appliance cavity 104, and further facilitate easy and efficient removal of the assembly 100 from the cavity 104. For example, a slide assembly 220 may include a slide rack 222. The slide rack 222 may be coupled to one of the opposing sides 204 of the shelf 202, and may include a slide member 224 and a stationary member 226. The slide member 224 may be movable along the transverse direction T (when the assembly 200 is in the oven appliance 100) relative to the stationary member 226. As illustrated, for example, the slide member 224 may be coupled to the shelf 202 such that sliding of the slide member 224 relative to the stationary member 226 may cause the shelf 202 to move, such as along the transverse direction T when in the oven appliance 100.

A slide assembly 220 may further include, for example, an outer bracket 230. Outer bracket 230 may be coupled to the slide rack 222. For example, the outer bracket 230 may be coupled to the stationary member 226, such as using suitable mechanical fasteners such as screws, nut/bolt combinations, rivets, etc. Alternatively, the outer bracket 230 may be the stationary member 226 of the slide rack 222.

Outer bracket 230 may be engageable with one of the opposing sidewalls 112, such as with the adjacent sidewall 112. Such engagement may allow the assembly 200 to be supported at a suitable height in the cavity 104. Referring to FIGS. 3 through 6, for example, in some embodiments, the outer bracket 230 may include a slot 232 defined therein. The slot 232 may be engageable with a rod 138 extending from a side wall 112. Additionally or alternatively, outer bracket 230 may include inner and outer flanges 234, 236. Such flanges may engage a rod 138 extending from a side wall 112. Thus, as illustrated for example in FIG. 6, slot 232 and/or flanges 234, 236 may locate the bracket 230 and assembly 200 relative to the rod 138 within the cavity 104, such that the rod 138 sits between the flanges 234, 236 and within the slot 232. Slot 232 and flanges 234, 236 may, when engaged with a rod 138, prevent movement of the assembly along the lateral direction L.

Alternatively, outer bracket 130 may include tabs 238 extending therefrom, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 7. Such tabs 238 may engage a protrusion 136 extending from a side wall 112, such as by contact and resting on the protrusion 136. Thus, as illustrated for example, in FIG. 1, tabs 238 may locate the bracket 230 and assembly 200 relative to the protrusion 136 within the cavity 104, such that the tab 238 rests on the protrusion 136.

As further illustrated in, for example, FIG. 4, a slide assembly 220 may further include an inner bracket 240. The inner bracket 240 may be coupled to the slide rack 222, and may couple the slide rack 222 to a side 204 of the shelf 202. For example, the inner bracket 240 may be coupled to the slide member 224, such as using suitable mechanical fasteners such as screws, nut/bolt combinations, rivets, etc. The inner bracket 240 may further be coupled to the side 204, such as through welding, brazing or another suitable adhesive method or apparatus, or using suitable mechanical fasteners. Alternatively, slide rack 222, such as the slide member 224, may be coupled directly to a side 204 of the shelf 202.

Referring again to FIGS. 3 through 7, a slide assembly 220 may further include a handle 250 extending from the outer bracket 230. The handle 250 may advantageously facilitate easy and efficient removal of the assembly 200 from the cavity 104 of the oven appliance 100. For example, handle 250 may allow the user to grasp both the handle 250 and the front end 210 of the shelf 202 when attempting to remove the assembly 200. Grasping both the handle 250 and front end 210 may prevent the slide rack 222 from operating, thus preventing shelf 202 from sliding relative to the outer bracket 230. As such, the entire assembly 200 may be easily and efficiently removed from and replaced in the oven appliance cavity 104 as desired, without concerns regarding damaging the assembly 200 or having to make multiple removal attempts.

In exemplary embodiments, handle 250 is integral with the outer bracket 230, such that the outer bracket 230 and handle 250 are formed from a continuous piece of material. As illustrated, handle 250 may extend generally along the lateral direction L from the outer bracket 230. In exemplary embodiments, the handle 250 is positioned proximate the front end 210 of the shelf 202, such as in some embodiments below the front end 210 along the vertical direction V. Such positioning facilitates ease of grasping the shelf 202, such as the front end 210 thereof, and the handle 250 together by a user. In further exemplary embodiments, the handle 250 is cantilevered, as shown, such that one end is in contact with the outer bracket 230 while the other end is free, again for ease of grasping by a user.

Still further, in exemplary embodiments, a handle 250 may include a vertical portion 252 and lateral portion 254. Vertical portion 252 may extend generally along the vertical direction V from the outer bracket 230, and lateral portion 254 may extend generally along the lateral direction L from the vertical portion 252. The vertical portion 252 may thus bring the lateral portion 254 close to the shelf 202, to facilitate ease of grasping of the lateral portion 254 and the shelf 202 by a user.

It should be understood that both slide assemblies 220 may include the various components as discussed above, including handles 250, to facilitate easy and efficient removal of the assembly 200 from an oven appliance cavity 104. In embodiments wherein both slide assemblies 220 include handles 250, the handles 250 may in exemplary embodiments face each other and each be cantilevered, such that there is no connection between the handles 250. Each handle 250 may thus be discrete from the other, to facilitate ease of grasping by a user of the shelf 202 and either a handle 250 individually or both handles 250 with, for example, two hands.

This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they include structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims.