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ICE LOOP CONVEYOR FOR REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000246142D
Publication Date: 2016-May-11
Document File: 10 page(s) / 1M

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Bryan Gallo: ATTORNEY

Abstract

An ice loop conveyor system is provided for a French-door bottom mount refrigerator that conveys ice in the bottom-mount freezer compartment upwards to an ice dispenser located on one of the fresh food doors. The ice maker is located in the bottom-mounted freezer and the ice is then transferred upwards to the dispenser in the door by a tube having a continuous chain with partitions that move the ice when the chain is moved through the tube. The conveyor tube creates a closed loop that extends from the ice storage bin in the bottom freezer compartment to the door dispenser, and then back to the ice storage bin. The carrier comprises a continuous chain with multiple spaced partitions embedded in the chain. The partitions are further shaped to prevent ice cubes from traveling between adjacent partitions during travel in the tube. Holes are provided through the partitions to encourage cold air flow through the conveyor tube. A motor in the freezer compartment drives a carrier through the tube. In one embodiment, the ice is deposited by the conveyor tube into a bin on or in the door that is connected to an ice chute. The bin would act as a storage buffer and allow for a small supply of ice to always be available for dispensing. In another embodiment, the tube deposits the ice directly into the ice chute in the door and the ice is dispensed on demand as it is conveyed.

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ICE LOOP CONVEYOR FOR REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER

    The following disclosure is directed to a system for a French-door bottom mount refrigerator that conveys ice in the freezer compartment to an ice dispenser located on one of the fresh food doors. The ice compartment is located in a bottom-mounted freezer compartment of the refrigerator and includes a conventional ice maker. The ice dispenser is mounted in a door of an upper fresh food compartment. However, it is contemplated that the ice conveyor system can also be utilized on other types of refrigeration appliances, such as top-mount refrigerators (i.e., freezer located above fresh food) and side-by-side refrigerators (i.e., freezer and fresh food arranged laterally next to each other), standalone freezers, and standalone ice makers. It is further contemplated that the ice conveyor system can be utilized in refrigeration appliances that also include a fresh-food ice maker, whether located within the fresh food compartment or on the fresh food door.

    In a conventional French Door Combi-Bottom refrigerator (i.e. a fresh food compartment on the top and a freezer compartment on the bottom), an ice dispenser is installed in a door of the fresh food compartment and ice is commonly produced by an ice maker located inside the fresh food compartment. However, in order to keep the ice making compartment at a temperature cold enough for producing ice, the ice making compartment must be sealed separately within the fresh food compartment. The fresh food compartment storage capacity, therefore, ends up being reduced.

    One conventional approach to solve this problem includes creating a passage between the ice making compartment and the freezer compartment to move cold air from the freezer compartment to the ice making compartment. This passageway requires either the ice compartment be placed on the bottom of the fresh-food compartment, or further insulation to be provided for the passage if the ice making compartment is placed in another part of the fresh- food compartment. For example, when the ice maker is located in the fresh food door, the passageway must stretch from the bottom mounted freezer up to the ice maker located above the dispenser on the door. This passageway will require extra insulation to prevent the cold air from warming up before it reaches the ice maker.

    In the ice loop conveyor system of the instant disclosure, the ice maker is located in the bottom-mounted freezer and the ice is then transferred upwards to the dispenser in the door by a tube having a continuous chain with partitions that move the ice when the chain is moved through the tube. The ice loop conveyor system of the instant disclosure allows better usage of space in the fresh food compartment by removing the need to have a freezer-like compartment with associated structure inside the fresh food compartment to make and store ice.

    Additional Figures are provided below to illustrate additional features of the ice loo...