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Title:
AIR CONDITIONER COVER AUTO-ALIGNMENT FEATURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/077216
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An air conditioner includes alignment features to hold a partition and a top cover in a desired relative position prior to installation of a fastener. The top cover is held in place prior to installation of the fasteners by alignment features on both the top cover and the partition. The alignment features include a pocket on an underside of the top cover and a boss on the partition. The boss holds the position of the partition and cover relative to each other until one of the fasteners can be installed

Inventors:
SILVA, Regis (Rua Venceslau Bras, 217, -330 Sapucaia Do Sul - RS, 93214, BR)
SCHABBACH, Rafael (Rua Pedro Ivo, 480-apto 301, -210 Porto Alegre - RS, 90450, BR)
Application Number:
BR2006/000299
Publication Date:
July 03, 2008
Filing Date:
December 22, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SPRINGER CARRIER LTDA (Rua Berto Círio, 521Bairro São Luiz, -030 Canoas - RS, 92420, BR)
SILVA, Regis (Rua Venceslau Bras, 217, -330 Sapucaia Do Sul - RS, 93214, BR)
SCHABBACH, Rafael (Rua Pedro Ivo, 480-apto 301, -210 Porto Alegre - RS, 90450, BR)
International Classes:
F24D5/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOMSEN, LEONARDOS & CIA. (Rua Teofilo Otoni 63, 10th Floor, -080 Rio De Janeiro Rj, 20090, BR)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A panel assembly for an air conditioner comprising: a first panel including a first opening for a fastener; and a second panel including a second opening for engaging the fastener, wherein the second panel includes a boss receivable within a pocket of the first panel for aligning the first opening with the second opening.

2. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the first opening and the second opening are held in an aligned position when the boss is received within the pocket.

3. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the pocket comprises a cavity having guide surfaces and a bottom surface including the first opening.

4. The assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein the boss includes outer surfaces that guide along the guide surfaces and a top surface including the second opening.

5. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the first opening is a clearance fit for a fastener and the second opening is an engagement fit for securing the first panel to the second panel.

6. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the first panel comprises a top cover and the second panel comprises a partition transverse to

the top cover.

7. The assembly as recited in claim 6, including at least two first opening in the top cover and at least two corresponding bosses in the partition.

8. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein a fit between the pocket and the boss comprises a light press fit to hold a relative position between the first panel and the second panel prior to installation of the fastener.

9. The assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the pocket and boss comprise rectangular shapes with the pocket defined for receiving the boss.

10. A method of assembling an air conditioner comprising the steps of: aligning a first panel relative to a second panel; inserting a boss on the second panel into a pocket of the first panel; and installing a fastener through the first panel into the second panel.

11. The method as recited in claim 10, including the step of initially aligning and holding the second panel relative to the first panel by inserting the boss into the pocket.

12. The method as recited in claim 10, wherein the pocket defines a first opening and the boss defines a second opening, and said step a)

comprise aligning the first opening with the second opening.

13. The method as recited in claim 10 wherein the boss comprises outer surface that guide along inner surfaces of the pocket for aligning the first opening with the second opening.

14. The method as recited in claim 10 comprising a light press fit between the boss and the pocket for holding the first panel to the second panel prior to installation of the fastener.

15. The method as recited in claim 10, wherein the first panel comprises a top cover and the second panel comprises a partition transverse to the top cover.

Description:

AIR CONDITIONER COVER AUTO-ALIGNMENT FEATURE

Field of the Invention

An air conditioner cover includes an alignment feature for aligning connecting panels. More particularly, a disclosed example cover includes a pocket that mates with a corresponding boss that simplifies assembly and attachment of connecting panels.

Description of the Related Art An air conditioner includes various partitions and covers that are arranged to define compartments and air flow paths. The connection between partitions and covers is typically accomplished with the use of threaded fasteners. The threaded fasteners are assembled into adjacent aligned opening in the partition and cover. During assembly, the partition and cover are held in proper alignment until the fastener engages all parts. When more than one fastener is used, several openings must be aligned to receive the fastener. Alignment among several different openings in order to install the fastener becomes difficult in some instances and can lead to inefficiencies during the assembly process. Further, until the fasteners are installed, the adjoining parts must be held in place, which in turn can cause additional assembly difficulties.

Accordingly, it is desirable to design and develop an attachment feature that functions to hold adjoining parts in a desired relative position prior to installation of a fastener.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A disclosed example air conditioner includes alignment features to hold a partition and a top cover in a desired relative position prior to installation of a fastener.

The example air conditioner includes a fan and blower that are disposed in separate compartments to provide the desired separate air flows through an evaporator and condenser. One of the compartments is covered by a top cover that attaches to a partition. Assembly of the top cover to the partition includes installation of threaded fasteners through openings within the top cover and into openings within partition.

This assembly requires alignment of openings within the top cover with the openings in the partition. The top cover is held in place prior to installation of the fasteners by alignment features on both the top cover and the partition. The alignment features include a pocket on an underside of the top cover and a boss on the partition. The boss holds the position of the partition and cover relative to each other until one of the fasteners can be installed.

Accordingly, the pocket and boss provide for alignment and temporary securement of the top cover and the partition prior to installation of fasteners to ease and speed assembly and reassembly if necessary.

The various features and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the

currently preferred embodiments. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Figure 1 is an exploded view of an example air conditioner.

Figure 2 is a perspective view of an example top cover of an air conditioner.

Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view of an example alignment feature between a partition and top cover.

Figure 4 is an enlarged cross-section of an example alignment feature.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to Figure 1, an air conditioner assembly 10 includes a front cover 12 through which air flows into a room and a housing 14 that encloses the internal components. The air conditioner assembly 10 includes a compressor 16 for compressing a refrigerant that is discharged into a condenser 20 that dissipates heat to an outside environment. An evaporator 18 receives refrigerant from the condenser 20 through an expansion device (not shown). In the evaporator the refrigerant expands and cools. A motor 22 drives a blower 24 for circulating air through the evaporator 18, and a fan 26 for circulating air through the condenser 20.

The fan 26 and blower 24 are disposed in separate compartments 46, 48 to provide for the desired separate air flows through the evaporator 18 and the condenser 20. The second compartment 48 is covered by a top cover 30. The top cover 30 attaches to a partition 28 that define the second compartment 48. Assembly of the top cover 30 to the partition 28 includes installation of threaded fasteners 34 through openings 32 within the top cover 30 and into openings 36 within partition 28.

Referring to Figures 2 and 3, assembly requires alignment of openings 32 within the top cover 30 with the openings 36 (Figure 1) in the partition 28. The top cover 30 is held in place prior to installation of the fasteners 34 by alignment features on both the top cover 30 and the partition 28.

The alignment features include a pocket 42 on an underside of the top cover 30 and a boss 44 on the partition 28. The boss 44 extends upwardly from the partition 28 and is received within a pocket 42 of the top cover 30. The boss 44 functions to hold the position of the partition 28 and cover 30 relative to each other until one of the fasteners 34 can be installed.

The pocket 42 in the exemplary embodiment is sized such that the fit between the boss 44 and the pocket 42, is a light press fit. This type of fitting provides for easy assembly and as such holds the partition 28 and cover in the required relative position until the fastener 34 can be installed. The pocket 42 and boss 44 can be of any size as is required for a specific application. Further the boss 44 and pocket 42 provide alignment in all directions, for example longitudinal, transversal or any angular direction between the top cover 30 and the partition 28.

As the partition 28 and the cover 30 are held in place by the interface between the boss 44 and the pocket 42, the two parts do not require an assembler to hold the parts. The assembler can thereby concentrate their efforts on inserting the fastener 34 and completing the assembly.

Referring to Figure 4, the boss 44 includes an opening 36 for receiving the fastener 34. The fastener 34 includes threads that engage the material of the boss 44 to provide the interference required to secure the fastener 34. The size of the opening 36 is related to the desired fastener 34. Threads of the fastener 34 bite into the material of the boss 44 as is known. The cover 30 includes an indentation 38 proximate a head of the fastener 34 to provide a relatively uninterrupted top surface of the top cover 30. The indentation provides for the head of the fastener to be disposed below the top surface of the top cover 30 when assembled.

As appreciated, only two fasteners are disclosed in the example partition 28 and cover attachment. Different numbers of fasters could be used with corresponding ones of the disclosed example alignment features. Further, although the example partition 28 includes the boss 44 and the top cover 30 includes the pocket 42, these features could be reversed. Instead, the boss 44 could be fabricated on the top cover 30 and the pocket 42 fabricated as part of the partition 28.

Accordingly, the pocket 42 and boss 44 provide for alignment and temporary securement of the top cover and the partition prior to installation of fasters to ease and speed assembly and reassembly if necessary.

The preceding description is exemplary rather than limiting in nature. Variations and modifications to the disclosed examples may become apparent to those skilled in the art that do not necessarily depart from the essence of this invention. The scope of legal protection given to this invention can only be determined by studying the following claims.