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Title:
ICEMAKER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/154548
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The icemaker (1) comprises an evaporator (2) equipped with a plurality of open cells (3) for the formation of ice elements (13), a sprayer (4) for spraying water into the cells (3), a tank (5) for collecting the water not transformed into ice in the cells (3), the sprayer (4) having an element (8) for occluding the cells (3) equipped with a plurality of calibrated holes (9), each for access to a corresponding cell (3) and a plurality of nozzles (10), each engaged in a corresponding access hole (9) for the injection of water into a corresponding cell (3), the sprayer (4) being supported by a support (11) in a movable manner between an opening position and a closing position of the cells (3) by means of the occlusion element (8), a kinematic mechanism for moving said support (11) also being provided externally to said collection tank (5).

Inventors:
ROMAGNOLI, Guido (Viale Suzzani 287, Milano - Italy, I-20162, IT)
Application Number:
EP2018/085572
Publication Date:
August 15, 2019
Filing Date:
December 18, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SCOTSMAN ICE S.R.L. (Via Lainate 31, Pogliano Milanese - Italy, I-20010, IT)
International Classes:
F25C1/045; F25C1/22
Foreign References:
US20040093878A12004-05-20
US20140208781A12014-07-31
JPH08136100A1996-05-31
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RAPISARDI, Mariacristina (Via Serbelloni 12, MILANO, 20122, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An icemaker (1) comprising an evaporator (2) equipped with a plurality of open cells (3) for the formation of ice elements (13), a sprayer (4) for spraying water into the cells (3), a tank (5) for collecting the water not converted into ice in the cells (3), characterised in that said sprayer (4) has an element (8) for occluding said cells (3) equipped with a plurality of calibrated holes (9) each for access to a corresponding cell (3) and a plurality of nozzles (10) each engaged in a corresponding access hole (9) for the injection of water into a corresponding cell (3), said sprayer (4) being supported below said evaporator (2) by a support (11) in a movable way between an opening position and a closing position of said cells (3) by means of said occlusion element (8) and being removable from a window (14) on a front side (17) of said collecting tank (5), a kinematic mechanism for moving said support (11) also being provided externally to said collection tank (5).

2. The icemaker (1) according to claim 1, characterised in that said support (11) has guides (19) for extracting and introducing said sprayer (4).

3. The icemaker according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that between each injection nozzle (10) and the corresponding hole (9) there is a gap (20) for the outlet of the water not transformed into ice.

4. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said sprayer (4) has a drainage channel (21) for draining the water not transformed into ice towards the inside of said collection tank (5).

5. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said drainage channel (21) is provided on an internal wall (22) of said sprayer (4) where said nozzles (10) are also provided.

6. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said access holes (9) are provided on a first external wall (23) of said sprayer (4) structurally independent and separated from said internal wall (22).

7. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that each injection nozzle (10) is positioned coaxially to the corresponding hole (9).

8. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that in said closing position each injection nozzle (10) is oriented along a central axis of the corresponding cell (3).

9. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that each cell (3) has a corresponding hole (37) for the passage of air which is offset from the direction along which the corresponding nozzle (10) is oriented in said closing position.

10. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that each nozzle (10) has a tip in an intermediate position between the ends of the corresponding access hole (9).

11. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that said sprayer (4) has a water collector (24).

12. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said water collector (24) is delimited by said internal wall (22) and by a second external wall (25) of said sprayer (4) structurally independent and separated from said internal wall (22).

13. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said internal wall (22) has a releasable connection means with said first and second external wall (23, 25).

14. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that said support (11) is configured as an oscillating rocker that has a first lever arm that supports said sprayer (4) and a second lever arm for starting the movement from said kinematic mechanism.

15. The icemaker (1) according to the preceding claim, characterised in that said kinematic mechanism comprises a first motorised rod (43) constrained in translation and a second rod (44) having a first end constrained to said first rod (43) and a second end constrained to said second lever arm.

16. The icemaker (1) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that it comprises a recirculation circuit for recirculating the water collected in said collection tank (5) having a recirculation pump (47) positioned outside said collection tank (5).

Description:
DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an icemaker, particularly for making ice in the form of cubes, small cylinders or the like.

An icemaker of this type comprises an evaporator equipped with a plurality of open cells for forming ice cubes that are hit by the jet of water drops dispensed by one or more spray nozzles. The cells release the ice cubes onto an underlying conveying baffle that is in turn inclined downwards so as to convey the ice cubes by the force of gravity to a collector that is accessible from the exterior.

The open side of the cells faces an underlying tank for collecting the water not transformed into ice that contains a recirculation pump.

An icemaker of this type has various drawbacks.

Firstly, it is not possible to ensure that the nozzles distribute the drops of water correctly to the cells, which may fill discontinuously and partially with the result that the cubes may have shape and/or dimension and/or consistency defects.

Secondly, not all the parts of the icemaker exposed to contact with the water are easy to inspect and reach for cleaning and maintenance.

Thirdly, the water and consequently the formed ice are exposed to the risk of contamination from liquid and solid particles that may become detached from consumable components of the icemaker, for example the recirculation pump.

The technical task of the present invention is, therefore, to provide an icemaker which obviates the drawbacks of the prior art.

In the context of this technical task, one aim of the invention is to make an icemaker that produces ice elements that are homogeneous in shape, dimensions and consistency.

Another aim of the invention is to make an icemaker that permits simple access to the parts thereof for inspection, cleaning and maintenance.

Not the least important aim of the invention is to make an icemaker that is configured to protect the water from contamination that is intended for the formation of ice elements.

The technical task, as well as these and other objects according to the present invention, are achieved by creating an icemaker comprising an evaporator equipped with a plurality of open cells for the formation of ice elements, a sprayer for spraying water into the cells, a tank for collecting the water not transformed into ice in the cells, characterised in that said sprayer has an element for occluding said cells equipped with a plurality of calibrated holes, each for access to a corresponding cell and a plurality of nozzles each engaged in a corresponding access hole for the injection of water into a corresponding cell, said sprayer being supported by a support in a movable way between an opening position and a closing position of said cells by means of said occlusion element, a kinematic mechanism for moving said support also being provided externally to said tank.

Advantageously, between each injection nozzle and the corresponding hole, there is a gap for the outlet of the water not transformed into ice.

Advantageously, said support has guides for extracting and introducing said sprayer.

Advantageously, said sprayer has a drainage channel for draining the water not transformed into ice towards the inside said tank.

Advantageously, said drainage channel is provided on an internal wall of said sprayer where also said nozzles are provided.

Advantageously, said access holes are provided on a first external wall of said sprayer that is structurally independent and separated from said internal wall.

Preferably, each injection nozzle is positioned coaxially with the corresponding hole.

Preferably, in said closed position each injection nozzle is oriented along a central axis of the corresponding cell. Preferably, each cell has a corresponding hole for the passage of air which is offset from the direction along which the corresponding nozzle is oriented in said closing position.

Preferably, each nozzle has a tip in an intermediate position between the ends of the corresponding hole.

Advantageously, said sprayer has a water collector.

Advantageously, said water collector is delimited by said internal wall and by a second external wall of said sprayer that is structurally independent and separated from said internal wall.

Advantageously, said internal wall has connecting means that is releasable with said first and second external wall.

Preferably, said support is configured as an oscillating rocker that has a first lever arm that supports said sprayer and a second lever arm for starting the movement from said kinematic mechanism.

Preferably, said kinematic mechanism comprises a first motorised rod constrained in translation and a second rod having a first end constrained to said first rod and a second end constrained to said second lever arm.

Advantageously, a water recirculation circuit is provided for the water collected in the tank that has a recirculation pump positioned outside said collecting tank.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will more fully emerge from the description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of the icemaker according to the invention, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the appended drawings, wherein:

figure 1 shows a perspective view of the icemaker;

figure 2 shows a perspective view of the icemaker with the collecting tank removed for better understanding;

figure 3 shows a perspective view of the sprayer in a position that is partially extracted from the corresponding support; figure 4 shows a perspective view of the dismantled sprayer;

figure 5 shows a perspective view of the sprayer in a position that is sectioned longitudinally in the direction of the thickness thereof;

figure 6 shows a perspective view of a detail of the icemaker comprising the evaporator, the sprayer with the support thereof in the closed position and the kinematic mechanism of the support;

figure 7 shows a perspective view of a detail of the icemaker comprising the evaporator, the sprayer with the support thereof in the open position and the kinematic mechanism of the support;

figure 8 shows a perspective view of the rear of the collecting tank with the quick couplings of the evaporator highlighted;

figure 9 shows a perspective view of the rear of the collecting tank separated from the assembly comprising the evaporator and the sprayer support;

figure lOa shows a lateral perspective view in vertical section of the icemaker with the support in the closed position;

figure lOb shows a front view of the frame of the icemaker with the support in the closed position;

figure 1 la shows a lateral perspective view in vertical section of the icemaker with the support in the open position; and

figure 1 lb shows a front view of the frame of the icemaker with the support in the open position. With reference to the figures cited, an icemaker is shown and indicated in its entirety by reference number 1.

The icemaker 1 comprises an evaporator 2 inserted into a refrigerating circuit and equipped with a plurality of open cells 3 for the formation of ice elements, for example but not necessarily ice cubes 13. The icemaker 1 further comprises a sprayer 4 for spraying water into the cells 3, a tank 5 for collecting the water not transformed into ice in the cells 3, and a water recirculation circuit for recirculating the water not transformed into ice.

The evaporator 2 is fixed above the sprayer 4 and comprises a coil 6 in which the coolant of the refrigerating circuit circulates and a flat wall 7 having cells 3 with the open end thereof exposed to the jet of the underlying sprayer 4.

The collecting tank 5 is positioned inside a large collecting tank 12 for collecting the ice cubes 13 and has on the front side 17 a window 14 provided with a curtain 15 releasing the ice cubes 13 to the large collecting tank 12.

The large collecting tank 12 for collecting the ice cubes 13 is accessible through an opening 16 of the front side 18 of the outer casing of the icemaker 1.

From the same opening 16 of the front side 18 of the outer casing of the icemaker 1, it is possible to access the window 14 on the front side 17 of the tank 5 for collecting the water.

The sprayer 4 has an element 8 for occluding the cells 3 equipped with a plurality of calibrated holes 9, each of which gives access to a corresponding cell 3.

The sprayer 4 also has a plurality of nozzles 10, each of which is engaged in a corresponding access hole 9 for injecting water into a corresponding cell 3.

Between each injection nozzle 10 and the corresponding hole 9, there is a gap 20 for the outlet from the cell 3 of the water not transformed into ice.

Each injection nozzle 10 is positioned coaxially with the corresponding hole 9.

The tip of each injection nozzle 10 is in an intermediate position between the ends of the corresponding hole 9.

The sprayer 4 also has a drainage channel 21 for draining the water not transformed into ice towards the inside the collecting tank 5.

Lastly, the sprayer 4 has a water collector 24. The sprayer 4 has a detachable structure that is made for example in at least three parts that are assembled structurally independent and separate from one another.

The drainage channel 21 is provided on an internal wall 22 of the sprayer 4 where the nozzles 10 are also provided.

The occlusion element 8 and the access holes 9 are provided on a first external wall 23 of the sprayer 4 that is structurally independent and separated from the internal wall 22.

The water collector 24 is limited by the internal wall 22 and by a second external wall 25 of the sprayer 4 that is structurally independent and separated from the internal wall 22.

The first external wall 23 is on the side of the internal wall 22 facing the evaporator 2 whereas the second external wall 25 of the sprayer 4 is on the opposite side of the internal wall 22.

More precisely, the first external wall 23 is a longitudinal flat plate facing the evaporator 2 and provided with an orderly distribution of circular through holes 9.

The first external wall 23 is made of a slippery material, for example of plastics with low roughness and high thermal insulation to ensure that the ice cubes 13 slide without melting.

The internal wall 22 is a longitudinal flat plate with an outline matching the first external wall 23.

The internal wall 22 has orthogonal longitudinal baffles 26 that delineate channels 27 parallel to the channel 21, and an orderly distribution of orthogonal cylindrical nozzles 10 positioned along the channels 27.

The nozzles 10 have a height that is greater than the height of the baffles 26 and the internal channel of the nozzles 10 continues until it passes through the thickness of the internal wall 22. The internal wall 22 has along the two long perimeter edges two lateral walls 28, 29 that extend from the side facing the first external wall 23, whereas the two short perimeter edges on the side facing the first external wall 23 are free to permit the outflow of the water from the channel 21. The sprayer 4 has connecting means that is releasable between the internal wall 22 and the external walls 23, 25.

In particular, the first external wall 23 is maintained in position resting on the baffles 26 of the internal wall 22 through the combined action of an elastically yielding hook 34 provided on a lateral wall 28 and grooved couplings 35 provided on the other lateral wall 29.

Further, the internal wall 22 has on the side facing the second external wall 25 a perimeter frame 30 mating with a perimeter counter frame 31 that extends along the perimeter from the second external wall 25.

Between the frame 30 and the counter frame 31 a gasket 33 is positioned to ensure a seal joint. The second external wall 25 is a longitudinal flat plate with an outline matching the first external wall 23.

The three walls 22, 23, 25 are stacked with a lie parallel to a suitable distance from one another. The water collector 24 is delimited in the gap comprised between the internal wall 22 and the second external wall 25 and has at the second external wall 25 an inlet mouth 36.

The sprayer 4 is supported by a support 11 controlled by a relevant kinematic mechanism to move between an open position and a closed position of the cells 3 that are controlled by the occlusion element 8.

The support 11 has guides 19 for extracting and introducing the sprayer 4.

The guides 19 are configured to extract and introduce the sprayer 4 from the window 14 of the front side 17 of the tank 5 for collecting the water.

From the constructional point of view, the support 11 comprises a tray 38 equipped with two C- shaped side profiles 42 that extend behind the tray 38, a hinging pin 39 on which the rear prolongations 40 of the two C-shaped side profiles 42 are hinged, and a bar 41 that connects the rear ends of the two C-shaped side profiles 42.

The hinging pin 39 is fixed to the frame of the icemaker 1.

The two C-shaped side profiles 42 act as sliding guides 19. The support 11 is more in general configured as an oscillating rocker that has a first lever arm that supports the sprayer 4 and a second lever arm for starting the movement from the kinematic mechanism.

The rotation axis of the rocker is horizontal and, with reference to the anteroposterior direction of the icemaker 1 , the first lever arm of the rocker is positioned in front of the rotation axis of the rocker and the second lever arm of the rocker is positioned behind the rotation axis of the rocker. In the support structure 11 illustrated above by way of example, the tray 38 and the portion of the two C-shaped side profiles 42 in front of the pin 39 define the first lever arm of the rocker, the pin 39 defines the rotation axis of the rocker, and the portion of the two C-shaped side profiles 42 behind the pin 39 and the bar 41 define the second lever arm of the rocker.

The kinematic mechanism of the support 11 is outside the collecting tank 5.

In particular, the kinematic mechanism of the support 11 is positioned behind the collecting tank 5 and comprises a first threaded vertical rod 43 constrained in vertical translation and a second rod 44 having an end hinged on the upper end of the first rod 43 and a second end hooked to the bar 41.

In order to drive the kinematic mechanism, a gear reducer 45 is provided that controls a nut screw 46 engaging the thread of the first rod 43.

The water recirculation circuit has a recirculation pump 47 that is also advantageously positioned outside the collecting tank 5.

The recirculation pump 47 is in particular positioned behind the collecting tank 5 and is provided with a flexible tube 48 connecting the inlet mouth 36 and a flexible tube 49 connecting an outlet mouth 50 of the collecting tank 5.

The icemaker 1 operates in the following manner.

The sprayer 4 is initially in the position in which the occlusion element 8 engages the evaporator

2 so as to close the cells 3. The occlusion element 8 comes to rest against the perimeter edge of the open side of the cells 3, so as to prevent water dripping from one cell 3 to the other, which could cause ice burrs to form along the edges of the ice cubes 13.

The evaporator is activated by switching on the compressor of the relative refrigerating circuit, and the recirculation pump 47 is activated.

The nozzles 10 start to inject water into the closed cells 3.

Each injection nozzle 10 is oriented along a central axis of the corresponding cell 3.

Owing to the specific position of the nozzle 10 in the hole 9 and to the orientation of the nozzle 10, the flow of water that has not been transformed into ice exits the cell 3 through the gap 20 without interfering with the flow of water injected by the nozzle 10 and thus without causing uncontrollable distortions of the flow of water.

The ice cubes 13 that are thus produced are accordingly homogeneous in terms of shape, dimensions and consistency.

The flow of water not transformed into ice exits the gap 20 and flows into the channels 27, from which it exits, flowing in turn into the collecting tank 5.

For the release of the ice cubes 13, at the end of the production cycle the kinematic mechanism is activated so as to move the sprayer 4 to a position in which the occlusion element 8 opens the cells 3 and moves from a horizontal position to a position inclined downwards to promote sliding of the ice cubes to the large collecting tank 12.

The detachment of the ice cubes 13 from the cells 3 can be promoted by momentaneous reversal of the refrigerating cycle.

The detachment of the ice cubes 13 from the cells 3 is also assisted by the provision in each cell 3 of a corresponding hole 37 for the passage of air that places the space in communication with the atmospheric air, the space opening between the walls of the cell 3 and the upper surface of the ice cube 13 during the descent of the ice cube 13. In order to avoid the exit of water from the hole 37 for the passage of air during the production of the ice cube 13, the hole 37 for the passage of air is offset from the injection direction of the water in the cell 3.

Advantageously, the icemaker 1 can be dismantled extremely simply to access all the main components thereof for inspection and cleaning operations.

The sprayer 4, when it is in the position of disengagement from the evaporator 2, can be removed frontally from its sliding guides 19 by the user, who accesses the sprayer 4 with his or her hands from the window 14 on the front side 17 of the collecting tank 5 for collecting the water.

The collecting tank 5 is extractable through the opening 16 of the front side 18 of the outer casing of the icemaker 1 and for this purpose reciprocally coupled fixed and movable sliding guides are provided, in particular fixed guides 52 supported internally by the large collecting tank 12 and oriented in an anteroposterior direction of the icemaker 1 and movable guides 53 supported outside by the collecting tank 53.

The evaporator 2 can be removed from the top by preliminary removal of the cap of the outer casing of the icemaker 1.

In particular, the evaporator 2 has quick couplings 51 for connecting to the refrigerating circuit.

In the illustrated case, the quick couplings 51 of the evaporator 2 are oriented upwards because the evaporator 2 is disconnected by a vertical movement.

Alternatively, the quick couplings 51 of the evaporator 2 can be oriented horizontally in an anteroposterior direction of the icemaker 1 to a disconnection of the evaporator 2 by a horizontal movement that is consistent with the movement of extraction of the collecting tank 5.

The protection from contamination of the water intended for the formation of the cubes has been obtained by positioning the recirculation pump 47 and the kinematic mechanism of the sprayer 4 outside the collecting tank 5.

For even more complete protection, also the rear portions 40 of the two C-shaped side profiles 42 can be covered by a shroud.

The icemaker as conceived herein is susceptible to many modifications and variations, all falling within the scope of the invented concept; furthermore, all the details are replaceable by technically equivalent elements.

In practice the materials used, as well as the dimensions, can be any according to the needs and the state of the art.