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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CABINET FOR A RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/037038
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a Cabinet (1) for a recreational vehicle having a main housing with an interior space, a front opening, a left side (5) and a right side (6); and a door (7) configured to seal the front opening. The cabinet (1) further comprises a left hinge mechanism (8) with a left hinge axis (9) and a right hinge mechanism (10) with a right hinge axis (11) to selectively couple the door (7) hinge-wise to the left side (5) or the right side (6) so that the door (7) can either be rotated about the left hinge axis (9) or the right hinge axis (11). The door (7) comprises a left handle (12) which is operably coupled to the left hinge mechanism (8) and the right hinge mechanism (10) so that operating the left handle (12) allows to rotate the door about the right hinge axis (11). The door (7) further comprises a right handle (13) which is operable coupled to the left hinge mechanism (8) and the right hinge mechanism (10) so that operating the right handle (13) allows to rotate the door about the left hinge axis (9). The left hinge mechanism (8) comprises a left locking member (14) separate from the left hinge axis (9) and the right hinge mechanism comprises (10) a right locking member (15) separate from the right hinge axis (11); and the left locking member (14) and the right locking member (15) are in engagement with a blocking element (16). Operating the left handle (12) displaces the blocking element (16) so that the left locking member (14) is disengaged from the blocking element (16), and operating the right handle (13) displaces the blocking element (16) so that the right locking member (15) is disengaged from the blocking element (16).

Inventors:
STEIGER, Michael (Bruchstraße 36, Wenden, 57482, DE)
GLIEDEN, Torsten (Schießbergstraße 135, Siegen, 57078, DE)
HEITZE, Gerold (Eickhoffstr. 2, Wilnsdorf, 57234, DE)
REMMEL, Marcus (Hohe Straße 45, Roth, 57539, DE)
MANDERBACH, Magnus (Julianenstraße 32, Dillenburg, 35683, DE)
Application Number:
EP2017/071216
Publication Date:
March 01, 2018
Filing Date:
August 23, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DOMETIC SWEDEN AB (Hemvärnsgatan 15, Solna, 171 54, SE)
International Classes:
F25D23/02; E05D15/50
Foreign References:
US3889419A1975-06-17
JPH04148180A1992-05-21
GB191316555A1914-05-21
US20140075844A12014-03-20
JPH0371087U1991-07-17
JPS5721169U1982-02-03
JPH02154972A1990-06-14
EP1953483A22008-08-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GROSSE SCHUMACHER KNAUER VON HIRSCHHAUSEN (Nymphenburger Str. 14, München, 80335, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

Cabinet (1 ) for a recreational vehicle having

a main housing (2) with an interior space (3), a front opening (4), a left side (5) and a right side (6); and

a door (7) configured to seal the front opening (4);

wherein the cabinet further comprises a left hinge mechanism (8) with a left hinge axis (9) and a right hinge mechanism (10) with a right hinge axis (1 1 ) to selectively couple the door (7) hinge-wise to the left side (5) or the right side (6) so that the door (7) can either be rotated about the left hinge axis (9) or the right hinge axis (1 1 ); and

the door (7) comprises a left handle (12) which is operably coupled to the left hinge mechanism (8) and the right hinge mechanism (10) so that operating the left handle (12) allows to rotate the door about the right hinge axis (1 1 ); and

the door (7) further comprises a right handle (13) which is operable coupled to the left hinge mechanism (8) and the right hinge mechanism (10) so that operating the right handle (13) allows to rotate the door about the left hinge axis (9); wherein

the left hinge mechanism (8) comprises a left locking member (14) separate from the left hinge axis (9) and the right hinge mechanism comprises (10) a right locking member (15) separate from the right hinge axis (1 1 ); and the left locking member (14) and the right locking member (15) are in engagement with a blocking element (16, 1 16);

wherein operating the left handle (12) displaces the blocking element (16, 1 16) so that the left locking member (14) is disengaged from the blocking element (16, 1 16); and

wherein operating the right handle (13) displaces the blocking element (16, 116) so that the right locking member (15) is disengaged from the blocking element (16, 1 16).

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 1 ,

characterized in that

displacement of the blocking element (16, 1 16) by operating the left handle (12) or the right handle (13) blocks operation of the other one of the left handle (12) or the right handle (13).

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 1 or 2,

characterized in that

the blocking element (16, 1 16) is an elongated member having a longitudinal axis extending between the left side (4) and the right side (5) when the door (7) is closed, the blocking element (16, 1 16) comprising a left portion (17, 1 17) being displaceable by the left handle (12) and a right portion (18, 1 18) being displaceable by the right handle (13), wherein the left portion (17, 1 17) and the right portion (18, 1 18) are movable relative to each other along the longitudinal axis.

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 3,

characterized in that

the blocking element (1 16) further comprising a locking bar (38);

wherein the left portion (1 17), the right portion (1 18) and the locking bar (38) are movable relative to each other along the longitudinal axis; and

wherein the locking bar (38) is movably supported at the door (7) between a first position and a second position, wherein the locking bar (38) is movable into the first position by a displacement of the left portion (1 17) and into the second position by a displacement of the right portion (1 18).

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 4,

characterized in that

the locking bar (38) has a left end (39) and a right end (40),

wherein only the right end (40) abuts against the right portion (1 18) in the first position or only the left end (39) abuts against the left portion ( 17) in the second position, when the door (7) seals the front opening (4); and

wherein the left end (39) abuts against the left portion (1 17) and the right end (40) abuts against the right portion (1 18) when the left handle (12) or the right handle (13) are operated.

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 4 or 5,

characterized in that

the door (7) comprises at least one engagement member (41 ) and the locking bar (38) comprises at least a first engagement structure (42) and a second engagement structure (43), wherein the engagement member (41 ) is configured to engage the first engagement structure (42) when the locking bar (38) is in the first position and to engage the second engagement structure (43) when the locking bar (38) is in the second position, so that movement of the locking bar (38) is inhibited.

Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 6,

characterized in that

the engagement member (41 ) is movably coupled to the door (7) in a direction perpendicular to the locking bar (38) between a release position and a locking position, wherein a spring member (44) biases the engagement member (41 ) into the locking position;

wherein the engagement member (41 ) abuts against the main housing (2) and is moved into the release position against the force of the spring member (44) when the door (7) seals the front opening (4) so that the locking bar (38) is movable between the first position and the second position; and

wherein the engagement member (41 ) engages the first engagement structure (42) or the second engagement structure (43) in the locking position.

8. Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 6 or 7,

characterized in that

wherein the first engagement structure (41 ) is a first notch and the second engagement structure (42) is a second notch; and the engagement member (41 ) comprises a ratchet (45) configured to engage the first notch or the second notch.

9. Cabinet ( 1 ) according to any of claims 3 to 8.

characterized in that

the left portion (17, 1 17) is coupled to the door (7) by a left biasing element (19) and the right portion (18) is coupled to the door by a right biasing element (20), wherein the biasing elements (19, 20) exert a force in a direction away from the other one of the left portion (17, 117) or the right portion (18, 1 18).

10. Cabinet (1 ) according to any of claim 3 to 9,

characterized in that

the left portion (17, 117) comprises a left latch (21 ) having a left cam surface (22) wherein the left locking member (14) is configured to slide along the left cam surface (22) when the door (7) is rotated about the right hinge axis (1 1 ) so that the left portion (17, 1 17) is displaced during a door (7) closing operation.

11. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of claims 3 to 10,

characterized in that

the right portion (18, 118) comprises a right latch (23) having a right cam surface (24) wherein the right locking member (15) is configured to slide along the right cam surface (24) when the door (7) is rotated about the left hinge axis (9) so that the right portion (18, 1 18) is displaced during a door (7) closing operation.

12. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims,

characterized in that

the left hinge mechanism (8) comprises a left slot guide (25) wherein the left locking member (14) is guided in the left slot guide (25) when the door (7) is rotated about the left hinge axis (9), wherein the left locking member (14) abuts against an end of the left slot guide (25) so that rotation of the door (7) about the left hinge axis (9) is limited.

13. Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 12,

characterized in that

the left slot guide (25) is partly composed of the blocking element (16, 1 16) so that displacement of the blocking element (16, 116) allows the left locking member (14) to be separated from the left slot guide (25).

14. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims,

characterized in that

the right hinge mechanism (10) comprises a right slot guide (26) wherein the right locking member (15) is guided in the right slot guide (26) when the door (7) is rotated about the right hinge axis (1 1 ), wherein the right locking member (15) abuts against an end of the right slot guide (26) so that rotation of the door (7) about the right hinge axis (1 1 ) is limited.

15. Cabinet (1 ) according to claim 14,

characterized in that

the right slot guide (26) is partly composed of the blocking element (16, 1 16) so that displacement of the blocking element (16) allows the right locking member (15) to be separated from the right slot guide (26).

16. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims,

characterized in that

the left hinge mechanism (8) comprises a left notch (27), wherein the left hinge axis (9) is in engagement with the left notch (27) when the door (7) is rotatable about the left hinge axis (9), and

wherein the left hinge axis (9) is disengaged from the left notch (27) when the door (7) is rotated about the right hinge axis (1 1 ).

17. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims,

characterized in that

the right hinge mechanism (10) comprises a right notch (28), wherein the right hinge axis (1 1 ) is in engagement with the right notch (28) when the door (7) is rotatable about the right hinge axis (1 1), and

wherein the right hinge axis (1 1 ) is disengaged from the right notch (28) when the door (7) is rotated about the left hinge axis (9).

18. Cabinet (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that

the cabinet (1 ) is a refrigerator.

Description:
Cabinet for a recreational vehicle

The present invention related to a cabinet for a recreational vehicle and in particular to a refrigerator for a recreational vehicle. A recreational vehicle in sense of the invention may be a caravan, a mobile home, a yacht or any other vehicle being equipable with a cabinet. Such cabinets comprise a main housing with an interior space, a front opening, a left side and a right side and a door configured to seal the front opening. The door is hingewise coupled to the main housing so that the door can be opened for accessing the interior space.

Recreational vehicles in general have limited space available for built- in components like cabinets. As such, there is increased need to provide sophisticated solutions which allow the users to access the cabinets. To have the most flexibility, it has been suggested to provide a bidirectional opening mechanism, i.e. a mechanism that allows to open the door selectively from the right side or from the left side.

To provide therefore, the known cabinets comprise a left hinge mechanism with a left hinge axis and a right hinge mechanism with a right hinge axis to selectively couple the door hinge-wise to the left side or the right side so that the door can either be rotated about the left hinge axis or the right hinge axis. Therefore, the door comprises a left handle which is operably coupled to the left hinge mechanism and the right hinge mechanism so that operating the left handle allows to rotate the door about the right hinge axis. In similar, the door further comprises a right handle which is operable coupled to the left hinge mechanism and the right hinge mechanism so that operating the right handle allows to rotate the door about the left hinge axis.

Further, there are also solutions known in the prior art which do not have the hinge mechanism coupled to a handle. Said cabinets comprise snap shut mechanism which selectively disengage either the right rotational axis or the left rotational axis when the door of the cabinet is opened. For instance, EP 1 953 483 A1 shows a refrigerator which could be opened by merely opening the door from either the right side or the left side without the need to operate a handle.

However, said known cabinets are not suitable to be used in a recreational vehicle. The holding forces of the door are not sufficient to safely keep the door shut. Especially the snap shut mechanism may unintentionally open in case a centrifugal force is exerted on the door, e.g. by a full brake application or racy rolling turn. This will lead to the unpleasant situation of items stored within the interior space falling out of the cabinet. Especially concerning refrigerators, this will also lead to an increased temperature in the interior space negatively influencing the perishable esculents stored therein. Thus, there is the need to provide a cabinet being capable of selectively coupling the door hinge-wise to the left side or the right side, allowing for a convenient and easy opening but at the time preventing unintentional opening of the door. Hence, it is the object of the present invention to provide such a cabinet.

The problem is solved by the cabined according to claim 1. Preferable embodiments are described in the dependent claims.

The left hinge mechanism of the cabinet according to the present invention comprises a left locking member separate from the left hinge axis and the right hinge mechanism of the cabinet according to the present invention comprises a right locking member separate from the right hinge axis; and the left locking member and the right locking member are in engagement with a blocking element. An operation of the left handle displaces the blocking element so that the left locking member is disengaged from the blocking element and an operation of the right handle displaces the blocking element so that the right locking member is disengaged from the blocking element.

The cabinet according to the present invention thus has at least two locking members which are separate from the respective hinge axis and which are non-movably secured relative to the main housing. Thus, it is possible to lock the locking members by engaging the same with the blocking element. When the door is shut, both locking members are in engagement with the blocking element in form of a positive fit. In said state, unintentional opening of the door is prevented as even high centrifugal forces will not lead to an opening of the door. In case the use wants to open the door, the respective handle is operated so that the blocking element is displaced and the respective locking member is no longer locked by the blocking element.

Preferably, displacement of the blocking element by operating the left handle or the right handle blocks operation of the other one of the left handle or the right handle. Hence, it is impossible to operate both handles subsequently. This greatly prevents faulty operation during door opening of the cabinet.

Preferably, the blocking element is an elongated member having a longitudinal axis extending between the left side and the right side when the door is closed. The blocking element comprises a left portion being displaceable by the left handle and a right portion being displaceable by the right handle, wherein the left ροάιοη and the right portion are movable relative to each other along the longitudinal axis. Thus, when the cabinet is mounted conventionally, the elongated member forming the blocking element extends virtually horizontally. As the blocking element comprises two portions which can be displaced separately from each other, the space requirements for the blocking element could be reduced, as not the entire blocking member is displaced. Hence, it becomes also clear that the blocking element can comprise of several members which are movable relative to each other. Thus, the cabinet is more compact in its overall design.

Preferably, the blocking element further comprises a locking bar, wherein the left portion, the right portion and the locking bar are movable relative to each other along the longitudinal axis. The locking bar is movably supported at the door between a first position and a second position, wherein the locking bar is movable into the first position by a displacement of the left portion and into the second position by a displacement of the right portion. Accordingly, when the left handle is operated the locking bar is either already in the first position or is moved in that position by the displacement of the left portion. As such, when the right handle is operated, the locking bar is either already in the second position or is moved into that position by the displacement of the right portion.

In this connection, it is preferable that the locking bar has a left end and a right end, wherein only the right end abuts against the right portion in the first position or only the left end abuts against the left portion in the second position, when the door seals the front opening. Further, the left end abuts against the left portion and the right end abuts against the right portion when the left handle or the right handle are operated. Hence, the locking bar is sandwiched between the left portion and the right portion when the door is opened by operating either the left handle or the right handle. Thus, the other one of the handles cannot be operated as the locking bar locks the respective left portion or right portion of the blocking element. This further greatly facilitates a compact design which reliably inhibits the other one of the handles to be operable.

Preferably, the door comprises at least one engagement member and the locking bar comprises at least a first engagement structure and a second engagement structure. The engagement member is configured to engage the first engagement structure when the locking bar is in the first position and to engage the second engagement structure when the locking bar is in the second position, so that movement of the locking bar is inhibited. Accordingly, the locking bar is secured in either the first position or the second position so that only one of the two handles can be operated, i.e. the left handle when the locking bar is in the first position or the right handle when the locking bar is in the second position. It is thus excluded that both handles are operated at the same time.

Preferably, the engagement member is movably coupled to the door in a direction perpendicular to the locking bar between a release position and a locking position, wherein a spring member biases the engagement member into the locking position. The engagement member abuts against the main housing and is moved into the release position against the force of the spring member when the door seals the front opening so that the locking bar is movable between the first position and the second position. The engagement member engages the first engagement structure or the second engagement structure in the locking position. Hence, the locking member at least partially protrudes from the door into the direction of the main housing when the door is opened. When the door is closed and seals the front opening, the engagement member is moved into the door against the force of the spring member into the release position. In doing so, the engagement member disengages from either the first or second engagement structure and the locking bar can be moved again. When opening the door, the engagement member moves into the locking position by the force of the spring member as it is no longer held in the release position by abutting the main housing. Hence, the engagement member engages the first engagement structure when the locking bar is in the first position (i.e. when the left handle is operated) or the second engagement structure when the locking bar is in the second position (i.e. when the right handle is operated). Thus, the locking bar is securely held in place by a reliable engagement.

Preferably, wherein the first engagement structure is a first notch and the second engagement structure is a second notch. The engagement member comprises a ratchet configured to engage the first notch or the second notch. This allows for a simplified but highly reliable mechanism to secure the locking bar in either the first or second position.

Preferably, the door comprises two engagement members and the locking bar comprises four engagement structures. This redundancy allows for secure inhibition of movement of the locking bar.

Preferably, the left portion is coupled to the door by a left biasing element and the right portion is coupled to the door by a right biasing element, wherein the biasing elements exert a force in a direction away from the other one of the left portion or the right portion. Resetting of the respective portion after being displaced by the respective handle thus occurs automatically. Hence, the handle does not need to be returned to its initial positon manually, but rather follows the resetting movement of the respective portion caused by the respective biasing element. Preferably, the biasing elements are compression springs.

Preferably, the left portion comprises a left latch having a left cam surface wherein the left locking member is configured to slide along the left cam surface when the door is rotated about the right hinge axis so that the left portion is displaced during a door closing operation. Thus, when the door hinged to right side is to be closed again, the user does not need to operate the handle again, but rather can directly close the door. During closing operation, the left locking member comes into contact with the left cam surface of the left latch. As the left locking member is non- movably coupled to the left hinge mechanism relative to the main housing, it displaces the left latch and hence the left portion when the door is closed further. After being displaced entirely, the left latch again snaps into its initial position bringing the left locking member into engagement with the blocking member again.

Preferably, the right portion comprises a right latch having a right cam surface wherein the right locking member is configured to slide along the right cam surface when the door is rotated about the left hinge axis so that the right portion is displaced during a door closing operation. Thus, when the door hinged to left side is to be closed again, the user does not need to operate the handle again, but rather can directly close the door. During closing operation, the right locking member comes into contact with the right cam surface of the right latch. As the right locking member is non- movably coupled to the right hinge mechanism relative to the main housing, it displaces the right latch and hence the right portion when the door is closed further. After being displaced entirely, the right latch again snaps into its initial position bringing the right locking member into engagement with the blocking member again.

Preferably, the left hinge mechanism comprises a left slot guide wherein the left locking member is guided in the left slot guide when the door is rotated about the left hinge axis, wherein the left locking member abuts against an end of the left slot guide so that rotation of the door about the left hinge axis is limited. Thus, when the left locking member abuts against the end of the left slot guide the door cannot be opened any further. This greatly inhibits damaging of the door and/ or the main body.

In this connection, it is preferably when the left slot guide is partly composed of the blocking element so that displacement of the blocking element allows the left locking member to be separated from the left slot guide. Hence, when the blocking element is displaced by operation of the left handle, the left locking member is capable of being removed from the left slot guide. As such, when the blocking element is not displaced, it is impossible to remove the left locking member from the left slot guide. In particular, it is preferable that the left slot guide is partly composed of the left latch of the blocking element.

Preferably, the right hinge mechanism comprises a right slot guide wherein the right locking member is guided in the right slot guide when the door is rotated about the right hinge axis, wherein the right locking member abuts against an end of the right slot guide so that rotation of the door about the right hinge axis is limited. Thus, when the right locking member abuts against the end of the right slot guide the door cannot be opened any further. This greatly inhibits damaging of the door and/ or the main body.

In this connection, it is preferably when the right slot guide is partly composed of the blocking element so that displacement of the blocking element allows the right locking member to be separated from the right slot guide. Hence, when the blocking element is displaced by operation of the right handle, the right locking member is capable of being removed from the right slot guide. As such, when the blocking element is not displaced, it is impossible to remove the right locking member from the right slot guide. In particular, it is preferable that the right slot guide is partly composed of the right latch of the blocking element.

Preferably, the left hinge mechanism comprises a left notch, wherein the left hinge axis is in engagement with the left notch when the door is rotatable about the left hinge axis, and wherein the left hinge axis is disengaged from the left notch when the door is rotated about the right hinge axis. Thus, the hinge axis can easily be separated to be movable together with the door or to allow for a rotation about the left hinge axis. In addition, the notch has a guiding function when the door is closed again, as the left hinge axis is guided along the left notch when closing the door. As such, slight variations in the adjustment of the door which occur over time, e.g. by vibrations or the like, can be compensated. As such, it is also preferably that the right hinge mechanism comprises a right notch, wherein the right hinge axis is in engagement with the right notch when the door is rotatable about the right hinge axis, and wherein the right hinge axis is disengaged from the right notch when the door is rotated about the left hinge axis. Thus, the identical advantages also apply.

Preferably, the cabinet is a refrigerator. Thus, the interior space is the cooling space for storing perishable esculents. The esculents are safely stored in the refrigerator, as unintentional opening of the door, and hence a temperature increase is prevented.

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the Figures showing a preferable embodiment. In the Figures it is shown schematically:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the cabinet with the door closed (Fig. 1A), with the door being hinged to the left side of the main housing (Fig. 1 B); and with the door being hinged to the right side of the main housing (Fig. 1 C);

Fig. 2 is an exploded view and a detailed view of the right hinge mechanism of a first embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 3 is a partly cut free top view of the cabinet of the first embodiment with the door closed;

Fig. 4 the view of Fig. 3 with the door being slightly rotated about the left hinge axis;

Fig. 5 the view of Fig. 3 with the door being slight rotated about the right hinge axis;

Fig. 6 a detailed view of the left hinge mechanism;

Fig. 7 the view of Fig. 3 with the door being hinged to left side of the main housing and being in progress of being closed;

Fig. 8 is an exploded view and a detailed view of the right hinge mechanism of a second embodiment;

Fig. 9 is a detailed view of an engagement member and a locking bar; Fig. 10 is a partly cut free top view of the cabinet of the second embodiment with the door slightly being rotated about the left hinge axis;

Fig. 1 1 is a partly cut free top view of the cabinet of the second embodiment with the door slightly being rotated about the right hinge axis;

Fig. 12 is an exploded view and a detailed view of the right hinge mechanism of a variant of the second embodiment;

Fig. 13 is a detailed view of the engagement member and the locking bar accordii the variant of the second embodiment;

Fig. 14 is a detailed view of a part of the right hinge mechanism of the variant of the second embodiment; and

Fig. 15 is a detailed view of the right end of the locking bar of the variant of the second embodiment.

In Fig. 1 there is shown a cabinet 1 for a recreational vehicle. In this particular embodiment, the cabinet 1 is a refrigerator having a main housing 2, an interior space 3, a front opening 4, a left side 5 and a right side 6. The interior space 3 constitutes a cooling space for storing the items to be cooled, e.g. food, beverages or medicine. The cabinet 1 further comprises a door 7 which seals the front opening 4 when closed. The door 7 could be opened so that a user can access the interior space 3 for placing items into it or taking them out. The cabinet 1 comprises a left hinge mechanism 8 and a right hinge mechanism 9 so that the door 7 can selectively been hinged to the left side 5 or the right side 6 of the main housing 2 as will be explained in more detail below. As such, in Fig, 1 B there is shown the cabinet 1 with the door 7 being fully opened and hinged to the left side 5. In contrast, Fig. 1 C shows the cabinet 1 with the door 7 being fully opened and hinged to the right side 6.

To open the door 7, there are two handles provided, namely a left handle 12 and a right handle 13. As can be seen e.g. in Fig. 1A, the handles 12, 13 are provided on the lateral outer edges of the door 7 and extend vertically virtually along the entire length of the door 7. The handles 12, 13 are rotatable coupled to door 7 via a left handle hinge axis 29 and a right handle hinge axis 30 (cf. e.g. Fig. 3).

The left hinge mechanism 8 comprises of a left hinge axis 9 about which the door 7 can be rotated when being hinge-wise coupled to the left side 5 of the main housing 2. The left hinge axis 9 is a pin protruding from the top side of the door and extending parallel to the left handle hinge axis 29. The left hinge mechanism 8 further comprises a left locking member 14. The left locking member 14 is a pin protruding from the main housing 2 in a direction towards the door 7. The left locking members 14 extends in parallel to the left hinge axis 9. The right hinge mechanism 10 comprises of a right hinge axis 1 1 about which the door 7 can be rotated when being hinge-wise coupled to the right side 6 of the main housing 2. The right hinge axis

1 1 is a pin protruding from the top side of the door and extending parallel to the right handle hinge axis 30. The right hinge mechanism 10 further comprises a right locking member 15. The right locking member 15 is a pin protruding from the main housing 2 in a direction towards the door 7. The right locking members 15 extends in parallel to the right hinge axis 9.

In addition, the main housing 2 has a left notch 27 and a right notch 28. When the door 7 is closed as shown in Fig. 3, the left hinge axis 9 is engaged within the left notch 27 and the right hinge axis 1 1 is engaged with the right notch 28. When opening the door 7 either by operating the left handle 12 or the right handle 13, the door is hinge-wise coupled to either the left hinge axis 9 or the right hinge axis 1 1 . The other one of the left hinge axis 9 or the right hinge axis 1 1 is disengaged from the left notch 27 or the right notch 28 respectively.

The cabinet 1 further comprises a blocking element 16. The blocking element 16 according to the first embodiment shown in Figs. 3 to 7 is a longitudinal member which extends between the left side 5 and the right side 6 when the door 7 is closed. The blocking element 16 is composed of a left portion 17 and a right portion 18. The left portion has a left latch 21 and the right portion has a right latch 23. The left portion 17 and the right portion 18 are movable to each other along the longitudinal axis of the blocking element 16.

The left portion 17 is displaceable by operating the left handle 12. In particular, when the left handle 12 is rotated about the left handle hinge axis 29 as shown in Fig. 5, a left abutment member 31 of the left handle 12 abuts against a left abutment surface 32 of the left portion 17. When rotating the left handle

12 further, the left abutment member 31 displaces the left portion 17 in a direction away from the left side 5 of the main housing 2.

The right portion 18 is displaceable by operating the right handle 13. In particular, when the right handle 13 is rotated about the right handle hinge axis 30 as shown in Fig. 3, a right abutment member 33 of the right handle 13 abuts against a right abutment surface 34 of the right portion 18. When rotating the right handle 13 further, the right abutment member 33 displaces the right portion 18 in a direction away from the right side 6 of the main housing 2.

The blocking member 16 further comprises a left biasing means 19 coupling the left portion 17 to the door 7 and a right biasing means 20 coupling the right portion 18 to the door 7. As shown e.g. in Figs. 3 to 5, the left biasing means 19 and the right biasing means 20 are compression springs which bias the left portion 17 and the right portion 18 in a direction away from each other. As such, when e.g. the left handle 12 is operated so that the left abutment member 31 displaces the left portion 17, the left biasing means 19 is compressed. When releasing the handle 12 again, the left biasing member 19 is decompressed and forces the left portion 17 to its initial position in a direction towards the left side 5 of the main housing 2. Accordingly, when the right handle 13 is operated so that the right abutment member 33 displaces the right portion 18, the right biasing means 20 is compressed. When the handle 13 is released again, the right biasing means 20 is decompressed again and exerts a force pushing the right portion 18 again in its initial position towards the right side 6 of the main housing 2.

In addition, when the biasing means 19, 20 are pushing the left portion 17 or right portion 18 again into the initial position, the respective abutment surface 32, 34 will come into contact with the respective abutment member 31 , 33 of the left handle 12 or the right handle 13 and will rotate the respective handle 12, 13 about the respective handle hinge axis 29, 30 so that the handle 12, 13 will in turn also return to its initial position as shown in e.g. Fig. 3.

In addition, as can be seen in e.g. Fig. 4 or Fig. 5, displacement of either the left portion 17 or the right portion 18 will hinder a displacement of the other one of the left portion 17 or the right portion 18 as a movement gap 35 provided between the left portion 17 and the right portion 18 will be closed. Thus, either the left portion 17 or the right portion 18 can be displaced to an amount corresponding to the closure of the movement gap 35. Hence, when e.g. the right handle 13 is fully operated (as shown in Fig. 4), the right portion 18 is displaced to a degree closing the movement gap 35. In this state, the left abutment member 31 can indeed be brought into contact with the left abutment surface 32 by slightly rotating the left handle 12. However, the rotation capability is absolutely minute and the left abutment member 31 cannot displace the left portion 17.

The left hinge mechanism 8 further comprises a left slot guide 25. The left slot guide 25 is partly composed of the left latch 21. In particular, the left latch 21 has a left guide surface 36 which has a curvature corresponding to the left slot guide 25. When the door 7 is closed, the left locking member

14 is guide in the left slot guide 25. When the door 7 is opened via the right handle 13, the door 7 is rotatable about the left hinge axis 9. During the rotational movement of the door 7, the left locking member 14 slides within the left slot guide 25 and finally abuts against an end of the left slot guide 25. In this state, the door 7 cannot be rotated any further about the left hinge axis 9. This is shown in detail in Fig. 6.

The right hinge mechanism 1 1 further comprises a right slot guide 26. The right slot guide 26 is partly composed of the right latch 23. In particular, the right latch 23 has a right guide surface 37 which has a curvature corresponding to the right slot guide 26. When the door 7 is closed, the right locking member

15 is guide in the right slot guide 26. When the door 7 is opened via the left handle 12, the door 7 is rotatable about the right hinge axis 1 1. During the rotational movement of the door 7, the right locking member 15 slides within the right slot guide 26 and finally abuts against an end of the right slot guide 26. In this state, the door 7 cannot be rotated any further about the right hinge axis 1 1.

In addition, the left latch 21 comprises a left cam surface 22 and the right latch 23 comprises a right cam surface 24. The cam surfaces 22, 24 are oblique portions which are provided on that side of the respective latch 21 , 23 facing the front opening 4 when being closed. In particular, the cam surfaces

22, 24 slant in a direction towards either the left side 5 (i.e. the left cam surface 22) or the right side 6 (i.e. the right cam surface 24).

Next, an opening operation of the door 7 will be described by operating the right handle 13.

First, the door 7 is closed (cf. Fig. 1 and Fig. 3). In this state, the door 7 cannot be inadvertently opened, as the left locking member 14 and the right locking member 15 are in engagement with the blocking element 16. In particular, the left locking member 14 is disposed in the left slot guide 25 and cannot moved relative to the door 7 as being in engagement with the left latch 21. The right locking member 15 is disposed in the right slot guide 26 and cannot be moved relative to the door 7 as being in engagement with the right latch 23.

Next, the user grabs the right handle 13 and rotates the same about the right handle hinge axis 30. Thereby, the right abutment member 33 is brought into contact with the right abutment surface 34 of the right portion 18 of the blocking element 16. By doing so, the right portion 18 is displaced in a direction away from the right side 6 of the main housing against the force of the right biasing means 20. In addition, the right latch 23 is also displaced as being fixedly secured to the right portion 18. When the right handle 13 is fully operated, the right portion 18 is fully displaced, as is the right latch

23. The right slot guide 26 is thus partly opened, as the right guide surface 37 is displaced. The used now rotates the door 7 about the left hinge axis 9. In doing so, the right hinge axis 1 is disengaged from the right notch 28 and the right locking member 15 is disengaged from the right slot guide 26, cf. Fig. 4. The left locking member 14 is guided in the left slot guide 25 and the door 7 can be opened to a degree until the left locking member 14 abuts against the end of the left slot guide 25.

To close the door 7 again, the user could either hold the right handle 13 in the fully operated position shown in Fig. 4 and close the door 7. The right hinge axis 11 will be guided in the right notch 28 and the right locking member 15 will again enter the right slot guide 26. When the door 7 is closed, the user releases the right handle 13. The right portion 18 of the blocking element 16 will be forced to its initial position by means of the right biasing means 20. Thereby, the right latch 23 is also displaced so that the right slot guide 26 is closed again. The right abutment surfaces 34 abuts against the right abutment member 33 and forces the right handle 13 again in its initial position. In this state, the right locking member 14 is again in engagement with the right portion 18 of the blocking element 16 and the door cannot be inadvertently be opened. Alternatively, the user could release the handle 13 when the door 7 is open. The right portion 18 will return to its initial position by means of the right biasing means 20. Thereby, also the right handle 13 will return in its initial position as described above. The right latch 23 will close the right slot guide 26, however, the right locking member 15 is not guided in the right slot guide 26 as the door 7 is open. When the door 7 is now closed without operating the right handle 13, the right hinge axis 1 1 will engage the right notch 28 again and will be guided in the right notch 28. In the same time, the right locking member 15 will contact the right cam surface 24 of the right latch 23 and will slide along the right cam surface 24 as shown in Fig. 7. As the right locking member 15 is fixedly secured to the main housing 2 said movement will force the right latch 23 and the right portion 18 to be displaced against the force of the right biasing means 20. As soon as the right locking member 18 passes the tip of the right latch 23 (i.e. the tip being the border between the right cam surface 24 and the right guide surface 37) the right latch 23 will snap into its initial position thereby engaging the right locking member 15 with the blocking element 16. Thus, the right locking member 15 is guided again in the right slot guide 26 and the door 7 cannot be inadvertently be opened.

Next, a second embodiment of the blocking element 1 16 will be described with reference to Figs. 8 to 1 1 , wherein only the differences to the first embodiment will be described. The blocking element 1 16 according to the second embodiment is an elongated member and comprises of a left portion 1 17, a right portion 1 18 and a locking bar 38. The left portion 1 17 is displaceable by operating the left handle 12 and the right portion 1 18 is displaceable by operating the right handle 13.

The left portion 1 17 and the right portion 1 18 are configured to displace the locking bar 35 between a first position (cf. Fig. 11) and s second position (cf. Fig. 10). Therefore, the locking bar 35 is movably supported at the door 7 in a linear manner, i.e. the locking bar 38 is movable along the longitudinal axis extending from one side 5 to the other side 6 of the door 7.

Operating the left handle 12 causes the left abutment member 31 to abut against the left portion 1 17 which is displaced along the longitudinal axis against the force of the left biasing means 19. In doing so, the left portion 1 17 abuts against a left end 39 of the locking bar 38 and moves the locking bar 38 into the first position until a right end 40 of the locking bar 38 abuts against the right portion 1 18, as shown in Fig. 1 1. In this state, a further movement of the right portion 1 18 is inhibited and the right handle 13 cannot be operated. When the door 7 is closed again and the left handle 12 is released, the locking bar 38 remains in the first position, i.e. in a position where the right end 40 abuts the right portion 1 18.

Thus, in case the left handle 12 is operated again to open the door 7, the left portion 1 17 is not displacing the locking bar 38, but rather the left portion 1 17 is displaced until it abuts against the left end 39 of the locking bar 38. As such, in case the right handle 13 is operated when the locking bar 38 is in the first position, the right portion 1 18 displaces the locking bar 38 into the second position in that it abuts against the right end 40. The locking bar 38 is moved until the left end 39 abuts against the left portion 1 17, i.e. into the second position.

To hinder a movement of the locking bar 38 from the first position into the second position or vice versa when the doors 7 is open, the door 7 comprises an engagement member 41 which engages a first engagement structure 42 of the locking bar 38 in the first position and a second engagement structure 43 of the locking bar in the second position 43. In particular, the engagement member 41 is a pin like member which is movable coupled to the door 7 in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. As can be seen in e.g. Fig. 9 the engagement member 41 is urged into a direction away from the door 7 via a spring member 44. In this embodiment, the spring member 44 is a coil spring which biases in the engagement member 41 into a locking position, i.e. into a position where the engagement member 41 protrudes from the door 7. When the door 7 is closed and seals the front opening, the engagement member 41 abuts against the main housing 2 and is forced into a release position against the biasing force of the spring member 44.

For engagement, the first engagement structure 42 is a first notch and the second engagement structure 43 is a second notch, and the engagement member 41 comprises a ratchet 45. cf. Fig. 8 and Fig. 9. The ratchet 45 engages the first notch 42 when the locking bar 38 is in the first position and the engagement member 41 is in the locking position. Accordingly, the ratchet 45 engages the second notch 43 when the locking bar 38 is in the second position and the engagement member 41 is in the locking position. In other words, in case the door 7 is open, the engagement member 41 is always urged into the locking position by the biasing force of the spring member 44. In said locking position the engagement member 41 engages either the first notch 42 or the second notch 43 depending on the position of the locking bar 38. Thus, when the door 7 is open, the locking bar 38 cannot be moved any longer. Thus, even in case the left handle 12 or right handle 13 is released and moves back into the initial position due to the urging force of the left biasing means 19 or right biasing means 20, the locking bar 38 is still hindered from moving as the ratchet 45 of the engagement member 41 is in engagement with either first notch 42 or the second notch 43.

A variant of the second embodiment is shown in Figs. 12 to 15. Here, the engagement member 41 is not placed about in the middle between left side 5 and the right side 6 of the door 7, but rather is associated with the right hinge mechanism 10. The first notch 42 and the second notch 43 of the locking bar 38 are thus disposed close to the right end 40 of the locking bar 38. As a matter of course, a respective engagement member 41 can alternatively or additionally be associated with the left hinge mechanism 8. In case an additional engagement member 41 is provided with the left hinge mechanism 8, the locking bar 38 will comprise two additional engagement structures which are preferably mirrored compared to the first notch 42 and the second notch 43 as shown in e.g. Fig. 13. A pivotable arm 46 is attached to the right hinge mechanism 8 as shown in Figs 12 and 14. The arm 46 can be rotated so that it can engage the right locking member 15. In case the arm 46 is in engagement with the locking member 15, the door 7 remains open to slight degree. Thus, air circulation is possible when the refrigerator 1 is not in use, as is the case e.g. in winter time. Hence, mold formation in the interior space 3 can be inhibited.

LIST OF REFERENCE SIGNS

cabinet/ refrigerator

main housing

interior space

front opening

left side

right side

door

left hinge mechanism

left hinge axis

right hinge mechanism

right hinge axis

left handle

right handle

left locking member

right locking member

blocking element

left portion

right portion

left biasing element

right biasing element

left latch

left cam surface

right latch

right cam surface

left slot guide

right slot guide

left notch

right notch

left handle hinge axis

right handle hinge axis

left abutment member

left abutment surface

right abutment member

right abutment surface movement gap

left guide surface

right guide surface

locking bar

left end

right end

engagement member

first engagement structure/ first notch second engagement structure/ second notch spring member

ratchet

arm

blocking element

left portion

right portion