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Title:
GLASS DOOR UNIT FOR A REFRIGERATOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/136350
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
There is provided a method for assembling a door (18, 50) of a compartment of a refrigeration appliance having a window unit (190) that allows the contents of the compartment to be viewed without requiring the door (18, 50) to be opened. The method includes introducing a foam insulation material (30) into an outer door panel assembly (60) of the door (18, 50) to provide thermal insulation therefor. To form a cavity (61) for receiving the foam insulation material (30), the method includes securing a first sheet-like element (301, 302) over an opening (251, 350, 74, 77) in the outer door panel assembly (60) and positioning a second sheet-like element (301, 302) adjacent the outer door panel assembly (60). The outer door panel assembly (60), the first sheet-like element (301, 302), and the second sheet-like element (301, 302) define the cavity (61). After the foam insulation material (30) is sprayed into the cavity (61), a portion of the first sheet-like element (301, 302), the foam insulation material (30), and the second sheet-like element (301, 302) is removed to create a window opening (350) for receiving the window unit (190).

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Inventors:
WEEGMAN, Greg (101 Masters Blvd, Anderson, SC, 29626, US)
MCHAN, James, T. (101 Masters Blvd, Anderson, SC, 29626, US)
COMSA, Cornel (101 Masters Blvd, Anderson, SC, 29626, US)
ANDERSON, Nathanael (101 Masters Blvd, Anderson, SC, 29626, US)
KAETER, Cole (101 Masters Blvd, Anderson, SC, 29626, US)
Application Number:
US2019/012487
Publication Date:
July 11, 2019
Filing Date:
January 07, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ELECTROLUX HOME PRODUCTS, INC. (10200 David Taylor Dirve, Charlotte, NC, 28262, US)
International Classes:
F25D23/02; A47F3/04
Foreign References:
EP3147606A12017-03-29
JPS63189769A1988-08-05
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GALLO, Bryan, M. et al. (Pearne & Gordon, LLP1801 East Ninth Street,Suite 120, Cleveland OH, 44114-3108, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for assembling a door of a refrigeration appliance, the method including the steps of:

providing a door panel assembly including a front, opposing sides, a bottom, a top and an opening extending through the front of the door panel assembly;

securing a first sheet-like element over the opening of the door panel assembly;

positioning a second sheet-like element adjacent distal ends of the opposing sides, the bottom and the top to form a cavity bounded by the first sheet-like element, the second sheet-like element and the door panel assembly;

injecting a foam insulation material into the cavity;

forming a window opening by removing a portion of each of the first sheet like element, the foam insulation material, and the second sheet-like element from an area adjacent the opening of the door panel assembly;

inserting a window unit into the window opening and such that at least a portion of the window unit is viewable through the opening of the door panel assembly; and

securing the window unit in the window opening.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein between the steps of securing a first sheet-like element and positioning a second sheet-like element there is a step of attaching one or more components to the door panel assembly.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of securing the first sheet-like element over the opening of the door panel assembly comprises securing a first adhesive element to an inner surface of the front of the door panel assembly and securing a first surface of the first sheet-like element to the first adhesive element.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the first adhesive element is secured to a portion of the inner surface of the door panel assembly surrounding a perimeter of the opening in the front of the door panel assembly.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the step of securing the first sheet-like element over the opening of the door panel assembly further comprises securing a second adhesive element to the inner surface of the door panel assembly and a second surface of the first sheet-like element.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the second adhesive element is secured to outer perimeter of the first sheet-like element.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the door panel assembly comprises inwardly- extending flanges formed on the sides and bottom of the door panel assembly.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the step of positioning a second sheet-like element adjacent distal ends of the opposing sides, the bottom and the top comprises securing the second sheet-like element to the inwardly-extending flanges.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the window opening is larger than the opening in the front of the door panel assembly.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the step of securing the window unit in the window opening comprises securing a first tape to an inner surface of the front of the door panel assembly and securing the window unit to the first tape.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the first tape is secured to a portion of the inner surface of the front of the door panel assembly surrounding an outer perimeter of the opening.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the step of securing the window unit in the window opening further comprises securing a second tape to the window unit and edges of the second sheet-like element bordering the window opening.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises a step of inserting a plurality of spacers into the cavity prior to the step of injecting a foam insulation material into the cavity.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the spacers are secured to at least one of the first sheet-like element, an inner surface of the door panel assembly, or the second sheet like element.

15. A refrigeration appliance compri sing :

a cabinet defining a storage compartment; a door pivotally coupled to the cabinet and movable between a closed position for closing the storage compartment and an open position for allowing access to the storage compartment, the door including a window;

an interior light in the cabinet; and

a switch for allowing a user to select to energize the interior light and keep the interior lights on when the door is in the closed position.

16. The refrigeration appliance of claim 15, wherein the switch is one of a push button, a slide switch, a toggle switch or a proximity switch.

17. The refrigeration appliance of claim 15, wherein when the switch is in a first position the interior light is energized for a predetermined period of time after the door is closed.

18. The refrigeration appliance of claim 17, wherein the predetermined period of time is 2 hours.

19. The refrigeration appliance of claim 15, wherein when the switch is in a second position the interior light is de-energized when the door is closed.

20. The refrigeration appliance of claim 15, wherein the switch is disposed in a lower portion of the storage compartment.

Description:
GLASS DOOR UNIT FOR A REFRIGERATOR

Field of the Invention

[0001] This application relates generally to a refrigeration appliance, and more particularly, to a method for assembling a refrigeration appliance that includes a glass window in a door of the appliance for allowing viewing of the contents of the refrigeration appliance without opening the door.

Background of the Invention

[0002] Conventional refrigeration appliances, such as domestic refrigerators, have solid, insulated doors that close the interior compartment(s) of the appliance. The doors are heavily insulated to help maintain the temperature inside the interior compartment(s) within an acceptable temperature range. These conventional refrigerator doors usually are opaque.

[0003] Recently, domestic refrigerator doors have been developed with glass windows that allow the interior compartment(s) to be viewed without requiring the doors to be opened. These refrigerator doors utilize preformed insulation pieces within the door assemblies to provide adequate thermal insulation for the window-containing doors. The preformed insulation pieces are formed to fill vacant spaces within the door assemblies. However, the process of forming the insulation pieces and assembling them into the various spaces within the refrigerator door is both time consuming and costly. Accordingly, there is a need in the art of refrigeration systems to provide a refrigeration appliance with a glass door that is energy efficient and still allows a user the ability to view the contents of the appliance without opening the door.

Brief Summary of the Invention

[0004] There is provided a method for assembling a door of a compartment of a refrigeration appliance having a window unit that allows the contents of the compartment to be viewed without requiring the door to be opened. The method includes introducing a foam insulation material into an outer door panel assembly of the door to provide thermal insulation therefor. To form a cavity for receiving the foam insulation material, the method includes securing a first sheet-like element over an opening in the outer door panel assembly and positioning a second sheet-like element adjacent the outer door panel assembly. The outer door panel assembly, the first sheet-like element, and the second sheet-like element define the cavity. After the foam insulation material is sprayed into the cavity, a portion of the first sheet-like element, the foam insulation material, and the second sheet-like element is removed to create a window opening for receiving the window unit.

[0005] There is also provided refrigeration appliance that includes a cabinet defining a storage compartment. A door is pivotally coupled to the cabinet and movable between a closed position for closing the storage compartment and an open position for allowing access to the storage compartment. The door includes a window. An interior light is in the cabinet and a switch is provided for allowing a user to select to energize the interior light when the door is in the closed position.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0006] FIG. 1 is a front view of a household refrigeration appliance showing a freezer compartment on the left side and a fresh food compartment on the right side;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a front view of the refrigeration appliance of FIG. 1 showing interior lights of the fresh food compartment turned on;

[0008] FIG. 3 is a front view of the refrigeration appliance of FIG. 1 showing a door of the fresh food compartment in an open position;

[0009] FIG. 4 A is a front perspective view of the door shown in FIG. 3;

[0010] FIG. 4B is a rear perspective view of the door shown in FIG. 3;

[0011] FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of an outer door panel assembly of the door shown in FIGS. 4A-4B;

[0012] FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a lower portion of the outer door panel assembly shown in FIG. 5;

[0013] FIG. 7 is an exploded view of an upper endcap assembly positioned in an upper portion of the outer door panel assembly shown in FIG. 5;

[0014] FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a first sheet-like element positioned over an opening of the outer door panel assembly shown in FIG. 5;

[0015] FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of a second sheet-like element positioned on flanges of the outer door panel assembly shown in FIG. 8 prior to being filled with a foam insulation material;

[0016] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the outer door panel assembly shown in FIG.

9 with a dotted line indicating where a portion of the second sheet-like element and the foam insulation material is to be removed to create an opening; [0017] FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the outer door panel assembly of

FIG. 10 with a window assembly positioned in the opening created by removing a portion of the second sheet-like element and the foam insulation material illustrated in FIG. 10;

[0018] FIG. 12 is an exploded side perspective view of the assembly of FIG. 4A-4B;

[0019] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a lower portion of the fresh food compartment in the refrigerator cabinet with the door in the open positioned of FIG. 3 showing a primary light switch and a secondary light switch for activating interior lights within the fresh food compartment; and

[0020] FIG. 14 is an inner cutaway view of a machine space underneath the fresh food compartment of the household refrigeration appliance of FIG. 1 showing the light switches of FIG. 13 connected to power boards.

Description of Example Embodiments

[0021] Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-3 show a refrigeration appliance in the form of an upright twin refrigerator, indicated generally at 10, having a cabinet 16 that includes a freezer compartment 12 on the left and a fresh food compartment 14 on the right in a side-by-side configuration. Although the detailed description that follows concerns an upright twin refrigerator 10 having a freezer compartment 12 and a fresh food compartment 14 in a side-by-side configuration, other refrigeration appliance configurations can be utilized, e.g., a single door refrigerator or freezer, a top-mount refrigerator (i.e., the freezer is located vertically-above the fresh food compartment), a bottom-mount refrigerator (i.e., the freezer is located vertically-below the fresh food compartment), a French-door bottom-mount refrigerator (i.e., a bottom-mount refrigerator that includes adjacent“French” style doors), etc.

[0022] The freezer compartment 12 of the refrigerator 10 is used to freeze and/or maintain articles of food in a frozen condition. For this purpose, the freezer compartment 12 is in thermal communication with a freezer evaporator (not shown) that removes thermal energy from the freezer compartment 12 to maintain a temperature of 0 °C or less during operation of the refrigerator 10.

[0023] The fresh food compartment 14 serves to minimize spoiling of articles of food stored therein. The fresh food compartment 14 accomplishes this by maintaining the temperature in the fresh food compartment 14 at a cool temperature that is typically less than an ambient temperature of the refrigerator 10, but somewhat above 0 °C, so as not to freeze the articles of food in the fresh food compartment 14. According to an embodiment, the temperature in the fresh food compartment 14 can be maintained at a cool temperature within a close tolerance of a range between 0 °C and 4.5 °C, including any subranges and any individual temperatures falling with that range. For example, other embodiments can optionally maintain the cool temperature within the fresh food compartment 14 within a reasonably close tolerance of a temperature between 0.25 °C and 4 °C. As can be appreciated, the refrigerator can further include an ice maker located within either or both of the freezer compartment 12 and the fresh food compartment 14, including within the interior compartments thereof or mounted upon the doors thereof. Similarly, either or both of the doors can include other features, such as ice or water dispensers, a user interface, etc.

[0024] In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, the freezer compartment 12 is closable via a door 18 and the fresh food compartment 14 is closable via a door 50. The doors 18, 50 are pivotally coupled to a cabinet 16 of the refrigerator 10 to restrict and grant access to their respective compartments 12, 14. A window assembly or window unit 190 is positioned within the door 50 for selectively allowing a user to view the contents of the fresh food compartment 14, as described in detail below. In the embodiment shown, the door 18 of the freezer compartment 12 does not include a window assembly. However, it is contemplated that the door 18 could also include a window assembly for allowing selective viewing of the contents of the freezer compartment 12. The doors 18, 50 also include handles 290 for allowing a user to open and close the respective doors 18, 50. While not discussed in detail herein, the handles 290 can be the same as those described in detail in U.S. Application No. 15/401,908 (hereinafter“the ‘908 application”), hereby incorporated herein, in its entirety, by reference. Alternatively, other styles of handles can be utilized.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 3, the door 50 can include a plurality of shelves 278 on the inside thereof for providing additional storage in the fresh food compartment 14. Housed in the cabinet 16 below the doors 18, 50 is a machine space 162 that can contain various electric components for operating the refrigerator, some of which are discussed in detail below. The front of the machine space 162 is enclosed with a grill-like structure 164 for generally preventing access to the machine space 162 while still allowing air-flow thereto.

[0026] The fresh food compartment 14 includes interior lights 22 for illuminating the fresh food compartment 14. A lower portion of the cabinet 16 below the fresh food compartment 14 includes light switches 166, 168 for operating the interior lights 22, as discussed in more detail below.

[0027] Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, the door 50, in general, includes an outer door panel assembly 60, the window assembly 190, and an inner door liner assembly 250. The inner door liner assembly 250 is attached to the outer door panel assembly 60. The window assembly 190 is contained within the outer door panel assembly 60. A frame 276 is inserted into an opening 251 (FIG. 12) within the inner door liner assembly 250 such that it defines a perimeter for the window assembly 190 from an inner side of the door 50. A gasket or door seal 284 is provided around an outer edge of the inner door liner assembly 250 for sealing the door 50 shut when it is in the closed position. A plurality of shelves or door bins 286, 288 may be attached to the inner door liner assembly 250.

[0028] Outer Door Panel Assembly 60

[0029] The outer door panel assembly 60 defines a front of the door 50, i.e., the portion of the door 50 facing a user when the door 50 is in the closed position (see FIGS. 1 and 2). This may also be referred to as the door skin. As mentioned above, the window assembly 190 is contained within the outer door panel assembly 60. During assembly of the outer door panel assembly 60, spray-type insulation is sprayed into the outer door panel assembly 60 to help thermally insulate the fresh-food compartment 14. To contain the spray- type insulation, a substantially enclosed cavity 61 (FIG. 9) can be formed within the outer door panel assembly 60, as discussed in detail below.

[0030] Referring now to FIG. 5, the outer door panel assembly 60 includes a door panel 62 that can be made of a rigid and durable material, such as steel, stainless steel or aluminum, plastics or even glass, to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance and feel for a consumer. The panel 62 is generally rectangular-in-shape and includes a front 64 as well as opposing sides 66 and a bottom 68 that extend in a generally perpendicular direction from the sides and lower edge of the front 64, respectively. The sides 66 and bottom 68 extend from one side of the front 64. The top edge of the panel 62 can be left open such that an upper endcap assembly 210 (FIG. 7) can be mounted in an upper portion of the panel 62, as described in greater detail below. A front surface of the front 64 of the panel 62, along with the window assembly 190, defines the visible, front surface of the door 50 (FIG. 4A). The widths of the opposing sides 66 and the bottom 68 are uniform and their outer surfaces, along with the upper endcap assembly 210 and the gasket 284, together define the visible thickness of the door 50 when it is closed (FIGS. 4A-4B). Inwardly-extending flanges 67, 69 extend toward one another in a generally perpendicular direction from distal ends of the opposing sides 66 and the bottom 68, respectively. The flanges 67, 69 are configured to attach the panel 62 to other components of the door 50, such as the inner door liner assembly 250, as discussed in detail below. [0031] In an embodiment wherein the panel 62 is formed from a single sheet of material, the various preceding elements can be provided by bending the sheet to form the sides 66, the bottom 68, the flanges 67, 69, etc. Prior to bending, slits or slots may be made in the sheet to facilitate the bending, especially about each corner.

[0032] A plurality of spaced-apart mounting holes 72 extend through the flanges 67,

69 for securing the outer door panel assembly 60 and the inner door liner assembly 250 (FIG. 12) together, as described in detail below. Additionally, two sets of mounting holes 73 extend through the front 64 for mounting the handle assembly 290 to the door. The mounting holes 73 extend through the panel 62 (see FIG. 4A) such that fasteners (not shown) can be inserted into the mounting holes 73 for mounting the handle assembly 290 to the door 50. It is contemplated that the fasteners can be captive screws, bolts, pins, etc. to which the door handle assembly 290 is secured to during a subsequent assembly step.

[0033] An opening 74 extends through a central portion of the front 64 and is dimensioned and positioned for allowing at least a portion of the window assembly 190 to be seen, as described in detail below. The opening 74 can be rectangular in shape or any other shape, including circular, oval, square, triangular, polygonal, curved, random, etc., and include corners that are rounded, angled, squared, etc. On the front surface of the panel 62 (i.e., the surface facing the user), a portion of the front 64 around the opening 74 defines a border of the viewable portion of the window assembly 190 and can be designed to form an aesthetically pleasing appearance for a perimeter 63 of the displayed window assembly 190.

[0034] Referring now to FIG. 6, which shows a lower portion of the panel 62, a hole

76 extends through one comer of the bottom 68 of the panel 62 for mounting a bottom door hinge assembly (not shown) that connects the door 50 to the cabinet 16 to permit the door 50 to pivotally open and close to permit or prevent access to the fresh food compartment 14. The bottom door hinge assembly can be the door hinge assembly disclosed in the‘908 application or any suitable door hinge assembly. An opening 77 extends through a middle portion of the bottom 68. The opening 77 is configured such that spray-type insulation can be sprayed into the panel 62, as discussed in greater detail below. A removable cap or plug 79 is configured to fit within the opening 77 such that it closes the opening 77 after the insulation has been sprayed.

[0035] Referring to FIG. 7, the upper endcap assembly 210 is disposed in an upper portion of the panel 62 to serve as a top thereof and includes a body 224 contoured for receiving a top door hinge assembly (not shown) that connects the door 50 to the cabinet 16. The upper endcap assembly 210, along with the bottom door hinge assembly mentioned above, permits the door 50 to pivotally open and close to permit or prevent access to the fresh food compartment 14. The top door hinge assembly can be the top door hinge assembly disclosed in the‘908 application or any suitable door hinge assembly. The body 224 can be made of plastic or a similar material and an exterior surface thereof (i.e., the surface facing a user) can be contoured to provide a pleasing appearance. The body 224 includes a downwardly extending flange 225 with a through-hole 229 extending through a left side of the flange 225. The through-hole 229 is positioned to align with a corresponding through- hole 78 on the upper end of the left flange 67 of the panel 62. Once the body 224 is inserted into an upper portion of the panel 62, the through-holes 229 and 78 align such that a fastener (not shown) can be used to secure the panel 62 and the upper endcap assembly 210 to one another. The fastener can be a clip, clasp, clamp, screw, bolt, projection, etc. Alternatively or additionally, other means can be used to attach the upper endcap assembly 210 to the panel 62, such as adhesives.

[0036] Similar to the holes 72 formed in the flanges 67, 69, a plurality of spaced-apart holes 227 are formed in the flange 225 of the body 224 for receiving a plurality of fasteners 282 (FIG. 12) to secure the outer door panel assembly 60 and the inner door liner assembly 250 together, as described in detail below. A recess 228 is formed in an end of a top 226 of the body 224 and includes a hole 232 for receiving the top door hinge assembly mentioned above. The recess 228 is configured so as to hide the top door hinge assembly when viewing the refrigerator from the front. The hole 232 co-axially aligns with the hole 76 (FIG. 6) for defining a common pivot axis of the door 50.

[0037] With reference to FIGS. 8-11, the process of assembling the window assembly

190 into the outer panel assembly 60, including providing insulation in the outer door panel assembly 60, is described. In summary, the process includes forming a temporary cavity 61 in the outer door panel assembly 60, spraying the foam insulation material into the cavity 61, removing a portion of the foam insulation to accommodate the window assembly 190, and affixing the window assembly 190 into the outer door panel assembly 60.

[0038] As shown in FIG. 8, a first sheet-like element 301 is placed such that it covers the central opening 74 in the panel 62. The first sheet-like element 301 serves to temporarily cover the opening 74 to inhibit leaking of the expanding foam insulation material 30, and is thereafter removed, as described in detail below. It is contemplated that the first sheet-like element 301 may only be used during the assembly process and later discarded. In this regard, it is contemplated that the first sheet-like element 301 may be a paperboard material or a similar material. Adhesive materials, e.g., tape, may be used to secure the first sheet-like element 301 over the opening 74. In the embodiment shown, a first adhesive element 311 having a rectangular frame shape is applied to the panel 62 around the perimeter 63 of the opening 74. The first adhesive element 311 may include an adhesive on both surfaces thereof such that it can be adhered to the panel 62 and another element can be adhered thereto. In this regard, the first sheet-like element 301 is placed such that a first surface thereof adheres to the first adhesive element 311 and covers the opening 74.

[0039] Thereafter, a second adhesive element 312 is applied over the outer perimeter of the first sheet-like element 301 to further adhere it to the panel 62. The second adhesive element 312 may be shaped as a rectangular frame and may be configured such that a portion thereof adheres to the outermost edges of a second surface of the first sheet-like element 301. A portion of the second adhesive element 312 may be adhered to the perimeter of the panel 62 that surrounds the outer edge of the first sheet-like element 301. The second adhesive element 312 may include adhesive on the surface that contacts the first sheet-like element 301 and panel 62, or the adhesive may be on both surfaces of the second adhesive element 312 for adhering additional components thereto, as discussed in detail below. The front 64 and the first sheet-like element 301 together form a first side of the cavity 61 for receiving the spray- type insulation. The two opposing sides 66, the bottom 68, and the endcap 210 form four side boundaries of the cavity 61.

[0040] Referring to FIG. 9, a second sheet-like element 302 is configured to form a sixth and final side boundary of the cavity 61. The second sheet-like element 302 is positioned adjacent to the flanges 67, 69 and the endcap 210. In the embodiment shown, the edges of the second sheet-like element 302 are inserted behind the flanges 67, 69 and behind the flange 225 of the body 224 of the endcap 210. It is contemplated that the second sheet like element 302 can be affixed to the flanges 67, 69 in various manners, including adhesives and fasteners (not shown). It is also contemplated that a tab portion 302a at the bottom edge of the second sheet-like element 302 may be positioned in front of the flange 69 to help hold the second sheet-like element 302 in the proper position during the foaming process (described in detail below).

[0041] Prior to positioning the second sheet-like element 302, a number of spacers

313 can be provided in the cavity 61 to maintain the spacing between the second sheet-like element 302 and the panel 62 and the first sheet-like element 301 while the expanding foam insulation material is injected into the cavity 61. The spacers 313 can be attached to at least one of the panel 62, the first sheet-like element 301 and the second sheet-like element 302 via adhesives or other means. Particularly, the spacers 313 can be attached via separate adhesives. Alternatively, some of the spacers 313 can be adhered to the second adhesive element 312 while the other spacers 313 can be attached elsewhere via separate adhesives. The spacers can also be secured to the second sheet-like element 302. Once the cavity 61 is formed, the expanding, foam insulation material 30 (the edges of which can be seen in FIG. 11) can be sprayed into the cavity 61 in order to fill the vacant space therein. Once sprayed into the cavity, the insulation material 30 cures into a rigid state such that it provides thermal insulation for the outer door panel assembly 60.

[0042] Referring to FIG. 10, after the spray -type insulation material 30 has cured into a rigid state within the formed cavity 61 (partially shown in opening 321), portions of the first sheet-like element 301, the cured foam insulation material 30, and the second sheet-like element 302 can be removed to accommodate other components of the door 50, particularly the window assembly 190. Aligning portions of the cured foam insulation material 30 and second sheet-like element 302 (depicted with dotted lines as section 302a) are removed to form a window opening 350 (FIG. 11) for receiving the window assembly 190, described in detail below. Additionally, the portion of the first sheet-like element 301 covering the opening 74 is removed such that the window assembly 190 can be viewed therethrough. The requite area(s) could be removed together or individually in various manners, such as by a CNC cutting machine operation, or even manually. In one example, a single CNC operation cuts through the second sheet-like element 302 and the cured foam insulation material 30 down to the second adhesive element 312. When the cut portions of the second sheet-like element 302 and the foam insulation material 30 are removed, the second adhesive element 312 and the first sheet-like element 301 are removed together. Thereafter, the first adhesive element 311 is removed to expose the panel 62 around the perimeter of the opening 74. In another example, a single CNC operation can be used to remove all of the first sheet-like element 301, the cured foam insulation material 30, and the second sheet-like element 302 in a single operation. For example, a single CNC operation cuts through all of the second sheet like element 302, the cured foam insulation material 30 and the first sheet-like element 301 (together with the second adhesive element 312), which is thereafter all removed together. Alternatively, the first sheet-like element 301 can be separately removed, while the cured foam insulation material 30 and the second sheet-like element 302 are removed together in a single CNC operation (or manually). In another alternative, each of the first and second sheet-like elements 301, 302 can be removed manually, while the cured foam insulation material 30 is separately removed in a CNC operation (or manually).

[0043] Window Assembly 190 [0044] Referring now to FIG. 11, it is to be appreciated that the opening 350 is shaped and configured for receiving the window assembly 190, which is larger than the opening 74. As illustrated, the inner perimeter 63 of the opening 74 as well as a portion of the front 64 bordering the inner perimeter 63 is exposed via the opening 350. Furthermore, side portions of the cured foam insulation material 30 are also viewable. In order to attach the window assembly 190 to the outer panel assembly 60, a first tape 191 is placed within the opening 350 on the front 64 around an outer periphery of the inner perimeter 63 of the opening 74. The first tape 191 has a rectangular frame shape and has adhesive on both sides thereof such that it can adhere to the panel 62 and the window assembly 190. After the first tape 191 is adhered to the panel 62, the window assembly 190 is placed within the opening 350 and adhered to the first tape 191, thereby securing a first side thereof to the outer door panel assembly 60. It is contemplated that force or pressure may be applied to one or both planar surfaces of the window assembly 190 to seat and/or drive the window assembly 190 into the first tape 191 along its entire perimeter to thereby help bond the window assembly 190 and the panel 62 together via the first tape 191. Preferably, the door is placed face-down upon a work surface (i.e., with the panel 62 supported upon the work surface) and such force or pressure could be via a force applied from the top or from the bottom of the window assembly 190.

[0045] After a first side of the window assembly 190 is secured within the opening

350, a second side thereof can be secured to the outer door panel assembly 60, specifically an outer side of the second sheet-like element 302, via a second tape 192. The second tape 192 has a rectangular frame shape and is used to cover a gap between the exterior perimeter of the window assembly 190 and the components of the outer door panel assembly 60, such as the second sheet-like element 302 and the cured foam insulation material 30. The second tape 192 need only have adhesive on one surface thereof such that it can adhere to an outer perimeter of the second side of the window assembly 190 as well as the area of the second sheet-like element 302 surrounding the opening 350. The tapes 191, 192 can be foam insulation tapes that provide additional thermal insulation around the window assembly 190. In addition or alternatively, the window 190 can be secured to and supported by the door panel 62 using mechanical features, such as clips, clasps, clamps, screws, bolts, projections, lips/ledges, etc.

[0046] The window assembly 190 is dimensioned to be received within the opening

350. In the embodiment shown, the window assembly 190 is a generally rectangular assembly having vertical sides that are disposed adjacent to the cut-out edges of the cured foam insulation material 30. Of course, various other shapes are contemplated, including circular, oval, square, triangular, polygonal, curved, random, etc.

[0047] It is contemplated that the window assembly 190 can be identical or similar to the window assembly described in detail in the‘908 application. In summary, the window assembly 190 can include a single pane of glass, or preferably may be a window pack that includes two or three (or more) window panels secured together (which may be gas-sealed and containing an inert gas, such as argon or krypton) that are designed to thermally insulate the fresh-food compartment 14 from the surrounding environment. In the embodiment shown, the window assembly 190 includes three window panels l90a, l90b, l90c affixed together in a glass pack. The window panels 190a, l90b, l90c can be affixed to one another using adhesive materials, for example insulative adhesive materials to provide additional insulation for the door 50. At least one of the panels of the window 190 may include a darkened“tinted” effect to conceal the contents of the fresh-food compartment 14. The tinted effect inhibits ambient light from the exterior environment from illuminating the cabinet, so that the refrigerator door has a clean, darkened appearance when the interior lights 22 are not energized. The darkening of the glass can be accomplished in various manners, such as a sputter coating, printing, applied film, etc., as described in detail in the‘908 application. The window assembly 190 may also include a low-emissivity coating to decrease heat transfer through the glass.

[0048] It is contemplated that the window assembly 190 can have a height that is approximately a full height of the door 50 (see FIG. 2) or approximately 3/4 or 2/3 of the height of the door 50. Various other sizes are contemplated. Regardless of the height of the window assembly 190 relative to the door 50, some portion of the window assembly 190, such as a lower portion 193 (FIGS. 1, 2) (or an upper portion, or side edge portions, etc.) can be“blacked out” to be substantially or completely opaque to prevent viewing of the inside lower surface of the door 50 and/or a lower portion of the fresh food compartment 14 regardless of whether the interior lights 22 are energized or de-energized.

[0049] Referring now to FIG. 12, after the window assembly 190 is attached to the outer panel assembly 60, the remaining components of the door 50, including the liner assembly 250, are attached to the outer panel assembly 60. The liner assembly 250 provides a user-facing surface when the refrigerator door 50 is opened. The liner assembly 250 includes a door panel 252 and the bins 286, 288 mounted thereon. The liner assembly 250 can also include an insulation material for providing further thermal insulation for the door 50. The insulation material can be a spray-type insulation or pre-formed insulation, as disclosed in the’908 application.

[0050] The door panel 252 can be made of plastic or a similar material and be formed

(e.g., by deep drawing or injecting molding) to define a contoured inner surface of the door 50 with various features, e.g., rails 253, as needed. The rails 253 can be dimensioned and configured to allow the bins 286, 288 and other similar components to be removably mounted to the inner surface of the door panel 252. The door panel 252 includes an opening 251 configured to align with the window assembly 190. A plurality of spaced-apart holes 258 are formed in an outer flange 256 of the door panel 252 for receiving the plurality of fasteners 282 to affixed the door liner assembly 250 to the outer door panel assembly 60, as described in detail below.

[0051] The window frame 276, which is discussed in detail in the‘908 application, can be placed in a central opening 251 of the door panel 252 to define a frame for the window assembly 190 about its periphery on the interior of the door, e.g., a decorative trim. The door liner assembly 250 can be secured to the panel 62 in various manners. As shown, the plurality of fasteners 282 extend through the plurality of holes 258 in the door panel 252 into the plurality of spaced-apart holes 72 in the outer panel assembly 60 and to the plurality of spaced-apart holes 227 in the upper endcap assembly 210 to secure the door panel 252 to the outer door panel assembly 60. The gasket or door seal 284 is placed on the flange 256 of the door panel 252 for covering the plurality of fasteners 282 and provides a seal between the door 50 and the cabinet 16 of the refrigerator 10 when the door 50 is in the closed position (FIGS. 1 and 2). In another example, various clasps, clips, or the like could be used for affixing the outer door panel assembly 60 and liner assembly 250 to one another. In yet another example, adhesives or welding, or potentially liquid insulation that cures rigid, could be used.

[0052] Referring to FIG. 13, the cabinet 16 is provided with a primary light switch

166 that is electrically connected with the interior lights 22 for turning them on/off. The light switch 166 includes a depressible portion 167 that is biased towards a first,“on” position. The interior lights 22 are configured to be turned on when the depressible portion 167 is in the“on” position. The depressible portion 167 is depressible to a second,“off’ position (not shown) when forced inwards, e.g. by the interior surface of the door 50 when in its closed position. The interior lights 22 are configured to be turned off when the depressible portion

167 is in the“off’ position. [0053] Referring to FIG. 14, the light switch 166 is connected to a first control board

401. The first control board 401 is supplied with power from a power supply of the refrigerator. The first control board 401 includes an output for supplying power to the interior lights 22 of the refrigerator. The first control board 401 supplies a low voltage power to the primary light switch 166 for determining whether the primary light switch 166 is in the first, on position or the second, off position. When the first control board 401 determines that the primary light switch 166 is in the first, on position, the first control board 401 energizes the interior lights 22 to illuminate the compartment of the refrigerator. When the first control board 401 determines that the primary light switch 166 is in the second, off position, the first control board 401 de-energizes the interior lights 22.

[0054] The cabinet 16 is also provided with a secondary light switch 168 that can be actuated by a user. The secondary light switch 168 includes a first position and a second position. It is contemplated that the secondary light switch 168 may be biased into the first position. The secondary light switch 168 can be connected to a second control board 402 via a third control board 403. Similar to the first control board 401, the second control board 402 supplies a low voltage power to the secondary light switch 168 for determining when the secondary light switch 168 is in the first position. The secondary light switch 168 is used by the user to place interior lights 22 of the fresh-food compartment 14 in a“SHOWCASE” mode. In the SHOWCASE mode, the interior lights 22 remain on for a predetermined period of time after the door 50 is closed. To place the interior lights 22 in this mode the user opens the door 50 and actuates a togglable portion 169 of the secondary light switch 168 by moving the togglable portion 169 from a first position (shown in FIG. 13) to a second position. When the second control board 402 determines that the secondary light switch 168 is in the second position, the second control board 402 sends a signal to the first control board 401 causing the first control board 401 to energize the interior lights 22, regardless of the position of the primary light switch 166. In the example where the secondary light switch 168 is biased to the first position, once the user releases the secondary light switch 168 it returns to the first position. The first control board 401 is configured such that the interior lights 22 will remain on for the predetermined period of time when the door 50 is closed. After the predetermined period of time has elapsed, the interior lights 22 are de-energized.

[0055] To turn the interior lights 22 off before the predetermined period of time has lapsed, the user can open the door 50 and actuate the togglable portion 169 by moving it to the second position. It is contemplated that the predetermined period of time may be approximately 2 hours, but could include any period of time. It is also contemplated that the secondary light switch 168 can be a mechanical push button switch, a slide switch, a proximity switch, etc. as long as a user is able to actuate the switch. In the example where the secondary switch 168 is a mechanical push button switch, a slide switch, etc. it may be biased to the first position, e.g., via a spring. Additionally, the secondary light switch 168 can include more than a first position and a second position. For example, the secondary light switch 168 can include a first position, and multiple“on” positions each configured to represent a different predetermined period of time. For example, three“on” positions could be included and could represent short, medium, and long periods of time, respectively. Referring to FIG. 14, the control boards 401, 402, 403 are housed within the machine space 162 and connected to the switches 166, 168 via wiring.

[0056] The invention has been described with reference to the example embodiments described above. Modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding of this specification. Examples embodiments incorporating one or more aspects of the invention are intended to include all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims.