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Title:
REFRIGERATOR COMPRISING A PLURALITY OF OPENING/CLOSING MODULES WITH AT LEAST ONE SLIDING DOOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/030717
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Refrigerator (1) comprising a plurality of opening/closing modules (100), for access to the loading area (2) in which to store products, wherein each module comprises: at least one sliding door (110) sliding in the longitudinal direction (X), between a closed position and an open position; guide means (120), positioned at the ends of the sliding door (110); - sliding means suitable to permit the sliding of the door comprising means of movement (200) acting in conjunction with the guide means (120); - an inclined plane (300) positioned at the bottom of the sliding door (110) in the guide means (120) in such a way that the sliding door (110) slides and is suitable for translating on said inclined plane (300) in an inclined direction (Y), inclined in relation to the longitudinal direction (X) between the closed position, downstream of the inclined plane (300) and the open position, upstream of the inclined plane (300) and vice versa.

Inventors:
NALDINI, Andrea (Via A. De Gasperi, 13 Calcinato, Brescia, I-25011, IT)
Application Number:
IB2012/054223
Publication Date:
March 07, 2013
Filing Date:
August 21, 2012
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VETRERIA VALENTINI S.R.L. (Via Sibilla Alerano, 40 A/B/C Calcinato Fraz. Ponte San Marco, Brescia, I-25011, IT)
NALDINI, Andrea (Via A. De Gasperi, 13 Calcinato, Brescia, I-25011, IT)
International Classes:
A47F3/04
Foreign References:
KR20000038051A
JPH01310607A
US5349783A
DE19914860A1
DE102008061728A1
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHIMINI, Francesco et al. (Piazza della Vittoria 11, Brescia, I-25122, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Refrigerator (1) comprising a plurality of opening/closing modules- (100), positioned in series, in sequence, in a longitudinal direction (X) parallel to the support surface which the refrigerator (1) is placed on, for access to a loading area (2) of the refrigerator (1) in which the products are stored, wherein each opening/closing module (100) comprises:

at least one sliding door (110), positioned substantially vertically, suitable for sliding in the longitudinal direction (X) , between a closed position, in which access to the loading area (2) is prevented, to an open position in which access to the loading area is permitted;

- guide means (120) positioned at the lower and upper ends of the sliding door (110), suitable to contain said sliding door (110) during sliding in the longitudinal direction (X) ;

- sliding means suitable to permit said sliding of the door comprising means of movement (200) positioned below the sliding door (110) suitable to co-operate with the guide means (120) ;

- an inclined plane (300) positioned below the sliding door (110) in the guide means (120) in such a way that the sliding door (110) sliding in a longitudinal direction (X) by means of said means of movement (200), is able to move along said inclined plane (300) in an inclined direction (Y) , inclined in relation to the longitudinal direction (X) by an angle a, between the closed position, downstream of the inclined plane (300) and the open position, upstream of the inclined plane

(300) and vice versa.

2. Refrigerator (1) according to claim 1, wherein the inclined plane (300) comprises a downstream portion (301) and an upstream portion (302) wherein the upstream portion (302) is at a greater height than the downstream portion (301), wherein when the sliding door (110) is . in an open position it is positioned on the upstream portion (302) and when the sliding door (110) is in the closed position it is positioned on the downstream portion

(301) , wherein the sliding door (110) is suitable to slide and translate from the upstream portion (302) to the downstream portion (301) autonomously.

3. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the guide means (120) extend substantially for the entire length of the opening/closing module (100), wherein the inclined plane (300) inserted in said guide means (120) extends in turn for the entire length of the opening/closing module (100) .

4. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the opening/closing module (100) extends for about 1.250 metres and the angle a of inclination of the inclined plane (300) and of the inclined direction (Y) is equal to an angle of 0.5° to 6°, preferably 1° to 3°, preferably equal to 1.8°.

5. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the means of movement (200) comprise carriages (210) having non-motorised wheels (215), positioned on a lower end of the sliding door (110), in such a way that said carriages (210), in particular said wheels (215) rest on the inclined plane (300) and are able to permit sliding in a longitudinal direction (X) and translation in an inclined direction (Y) of the sliding door.

6. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the sliding means further comprise centring means (250) suitable for keeping the sliding door (110) centred and in a substantially vertical position in the guide means (120') .

7. Refrigerator (1) according to claim 6, wherein the centring means (250) are positioned substantially at the lower and upper ends of a sliding d'oor (110) and are able to minimise the friction with the respective guide means (120) .

8. Refrigerator (1) according to claims 6 and 7 wherein the centring means (250) comprise non motorised castors (251) having a substantially vertical rotation axis perpendicular to the longitudinal direction (X) suitable to roll upon contact with the guide means (120) during the sliding and translation of the sliding door (110) .

9. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the opening/closing module (100) further comprises blocking means (400) , suitable to block the sliding door (110) in the open position, that is to say on the upstream portion (302) of the inclined plane (300) .

10. Refrigerator (1) according to claim 9, wherein the blocking means (400) comprise a pincer element (401) and a hooking pin (402) suitable to interact so that the pincer element (401) is able to snap block itself onto the hooking pin (402), positioned preferably on the upstream portion (302)of the inclined plane (300).

11. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the · opening/closing module (100) further comprises damper means (500), suitable for cushioning, slowing down the sliding and translation of the sliding door (110) from the open position to the closed position.

12. Refrigerator (1) according to claim 11, wherein the damper means (500) comprise a damper (501) and an actuator device (.502) suitable to interact so that during sliding and translation, the damper (501) interacts with the actuator device (502) causing the damping, slowing down of the sliding door (110) .

13. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein the opening/closing module (100) comprises two sliding doors (110), a first door (111) and a second door (112), suitable for having their ends housed in dedicated guide means (120), a first guide (121) and a second guide (122), wherein the first guide (121) and the second guide (122), are positioned parallel to the longitudinal direction (X) adjacent to each other on their long side.

14. Refrigerator (1) according to claim 13, wherein the first guide (121) comprises a first lower guide (121' ) and a first upper guide (122') preferably positioned below and above the first door (111) and wherein the second guide (122) comprises a second lower guide (122') and a second upper guide (122') preferably positioned below and above the second door (112) , wherein an inclined plane is placed both in the first lower guide (121') and in the second lower guide (122')

15. Refrigerator (1) according to any of the previous claims, wherein sliding doors (110) comprised in the same opening/closing module (100), adjacent to each other, are suitable to slide and translate in a longitudinal direction (X) and the inclined direction (Y) one towards the other, for example the first door (111) is suitable to slide in a longitudinal direction (X) towards the second door (112) and vice versa.

Description:
DESCRIPTION

"Refrigerator comprising a plurality of opening/closing modules with at least one sliding door" .

[0001] The present invention relates to a vertical refrigerator, generally used in mass distribution for the storage of frozen or fresh products, comprising at least one opening/closing module with a sliding door.

[0002] Numerous solutions of vertical refrigerators exist.

[0003] Above all, refrigerators destined for mass distribution, are often a considerable size, with dimensions of up to several metres, such as ten or twenty or even more in length.

[0004] Closure of the inner compartment of the refrigerators is ensured by vertical doors attached to the base frame.

[0005] Such doors must satisfy a number of requisites and primarily must envisage an automatic closure; thereby minimising the risk that a user should distractedly leave the door open causing as a result an undesired heating of the inner compartment .

[0006] Two types of doors for closing are known of; hinged doors and sliding doors.

[0007] Aesthetic tastes of recent years have shown a preference for the use of sliding doors, given that hinges have an evident aesthetic impact. [0008] For this type of application, the sliding doors are usually attached to the upper part of the refrigerators, for example hanging from the frame.

[0009] Such systems have the drawback of being subject to flexing of the frame structure caused by the weight of the doors, which is added to the weight of the remaining structure of the refrigerator and of the products conserved therein.

[0010] The prior solutions, envisage a reinforcement of the weight bearing structure of the refrigerator and above all of its upper part, by means of transversal elements which, however, limit its functionality, for example when inserting or removing products.

[0011] The purpose of the present invention is to overcome the drawbacks connected with the solutions of the prior art, while continuing to fulfil the ' requirements of such applications, and in particular those of envisaging sliding doors suitable for closing automatically.

[0012] Said purposes are achieved by an opening/closing module comprising at least one sliding door as claimed in claim 1.

[0013] Further advantageous characteristics are protected in the dependent claim.

[0014] The characteristics and advantages of the doors according to the present invention will be evident from the description given below, made by way of a non- limiting example with reference to the appended drawings wherein:

[0015] - figure 1 is an axonometric view of a refrigerator in its entirety comprising a series of opening/closing modules;

[0016] - figure 2 is an axonometric view of one of said opening/closing. modules according to a preferred embodiment;

[0017] - figure 3 is a side view of one of said opening/closing modules according to a preferred embodiment;

[0018] - figure 4 is a front view of an opening/closing module with the doors closed, without the guide means;

[0019] - figure 5 is an axonometric view of an opening/closing module with the doors closed, without the guide means;

[0020] - figure 6 is an axonometric view of an opening/closing module with an open door, without the guide means.

[0021] With reference to the appended drawings, reference numeral 1 globally denotes a refrigerator, generally used in mass distribution for the storage of products such as frozen products, or more generally, products to be kept fresh. [0022] In particular, said refrigerator 1 is suitable for being positioned on a support surface, extending preferably horizontally.

[0023] Specifically, the refrigerator 1 according to the invention is positioned substantially vertically on a support plane, having however as its main extension the horizontal extension.

[0024] Preferably, the refrigerator 1 extends in a longitudinal direction X, which ' conventionally defines the "long side".

[0025] This way the refrigerator 1 according to the present solution has inside it a loading area 2, suitable for receiving and storing the various products, such as foods to be stored.

[0026] The refrigerator 1 is suitable for permitting' the loading and unloading of the products in the loading area 2 vertically.

[0027] In other words, the refrigerator 1 has opening/closing means suitable for permitting access, and thereby the loading and unloading of the products in the loading area 2. Preferably said opening/closing means permit frontal, lateral access to the refrigerator.

[0028] In particular, the refrigerator 1 comprises a base frame 5 and said opening/closing means.

[0029] The base frame 5 is suitable for being the load bearing structure of the refrigerator 1.

[0030] Specifically the base frame 5 comprises a support base 51, suitable for resting on a support surface, of the side walls 52, which extends substantially vertically from said support base 51, and a cover 53 positioned overlooking the support base 52 sustained by the side walls 52.

[0031] Preferably, the cover 53 is the same shape as the support base 51.

[0032] In a preferred embodiment, the support base 51 is a rectangular shape, therefore having four main sides; the side walls 52 are positioned on three of said four sides, thereby leaving one side free, that is to say not occupied by one of the side walls 52.

[0033] Preferably, the side left free of obstruction is one of the two "long sides".

[0034] Preferably the opening/closing means are positioned in such position. In other words, the opening/closing means are positioned on the long side which there are no side walls 52 on.

[0035] Preferably the opening/closing means extend all along the length of the refrigerator 1, that is of said long side.

[0036] Preferably, the opening/closing means comprise a series of opening/closing modules 100 assemblable according to ' the length of the refrigerator 1. The length of the refrigerator is in fact covered by a series of opening/closing modules 100 mounted in series with each other in a sequence.

[0037] Each opening/closing module 100 comprises at least one sliding door 110.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment, each opening/closing module 100 comprises at least two sliding doors 110.

[0039] Preferably, said sliding doors 110 comprise a sheet through which it is possible to see the inside of the refrigerator l,that is its loading area 2.

[0040] Preferably said sheet is formed of one or more glass panes. For example, the sheet is formed of one or more glass panes substantially having the same dimensions as the sliding door 110.

[0041] That is to say that the sliding door 110 is composed in some configurations of a single sheet of glass as opposed to in other embodiment variations, of a number of sheets of glass alongside one another.

[0042] For example, in one embodiment, the sheet is obtained by placing one or more sheets of glass alongside one another, or by means of the consecutive positioning of one or more sheets of glass, separated from one another by one or more interspaces.

[0043] In other words, in one embodiment, the sliding door 110 comprises a "double glazing", that is two sheets of glass, preferably of the same size, separated by an interspace suitable for containing air or gas.

[0044] Each sliding door 110 is suitable for sliding in a preferential direction horizontally along a direction in which the refrigerator 1 extends.

[0045] That is to say that each sliding door 110 is suitable for sliding in the longitudinal direction X.

[0046] In a preferred embodiment, each sliding door 110 slides in fact in special guide means 120.

[0047] In a preferred embodiment, the opening/closing module 100 comprises a first door 111 and a second door 112.

[0048] Preferably, the first door 111 is suitable for sliding in a first guide 121 comprised in the guide means 120.

[0049] Preferably, the second door 112 is suitable for sliding in a second guide 122 comprised in the guide means 120.

[0050] Preferably, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 extend parallel to the longitudinal direction X.

[0051] Preferably, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 extend for the entire length of the opening/closing module 100.

[0052] Preferably, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are parallel to each other.

[0053] Preferably, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are respectively adjacent to each other in length; that is to say the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are respectively adjacent to each other along their long side.

[0054] Preferably, the first guide 121 and similarly the second guide 122, are C or U shaped elements.

[0055] Preferably, the guides are profiles having a C or U shape.

[0056] In a further embodiment, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are made in a single C or U shaped element or profile having inside it a sheet, for example soldered to the profile, in such a way as to divide the inner space of the profile thereby creating inside it the two guides 121 and 122, preferably of the same shape.

[0057] Or again, in a further embodiment, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are made in a single profile, having for example a double C or double U shape.

[0058] In a preferred embodiment, the first door 111 is suitable for sliding in the first guide 121 towards the second door 112, and vice versa, the second door 112 is suitable for sliding in the second guide 122 towards the first door 111.

[0059] That is to say that the first door ' 111 is suitable for sliding in the opposite direction to the direction of sliding which the second door 112 is suitable for sliding in .

[0060] Preferably, the sliding doors 110 comprise handles 115 suitable for being gripped by a user so as to move the sliding doors 110 at will.

[0061] Preferably, to prevent the handle 115 of the first door 111 from hitting the second door, and vice versa, the sliding doors comprise special stop elements 118 suitable for preventing such occurrence.

[0062] In a preferred embodiment, the first guide 121 and the second guide 122 are positioned at the ends of the sliding doors 110.

[0063] In fact, preferably, each sliding door 110 comprises a lower end, located at the foot of the sliding door 110, when mounted on the frame 5, and an upper end, located instead at the top of the sliding door 110, when mounted on the frame 5.

[0064] In the appended drawings a first lower end and a second lower end are " indicated, respectively of the first door 111 and of the second door 112, by reference numerals 111' and 112' /while a first upper end and a second upper end are indicated, respectively of the first door 111 and of the second door 112, by reference numerals 111" and 112". [0065] Using the sane distinction, lower guides and upper guides may be seen comprised in the guide means 120.

[0066] In other words, the first guide 121 comprises a first lower guide 121' and a first upper guide 122", positioned, respectively, below and above the first door 111.

[0067] Similarly, the second guide 122 comprises a second lower guide 122' and a second upper guide 122", positioned, respectively, below and above the second door 112.

[0068] Preferably, the first lower guide 121' is suitable for housing the first lower end 111' and the first upper guide 121" is suitable for housing the first upper end 111".

' [0069] Similarly, the. second lower guide 122' is suitable for housing the second lower end 112' and the second upper guide 122" is suitable for housing the second upper end 112".

[0070] In a preferred embodiment, each opening/closing module 100 comprises means for sliding suitable for permitting the sliding of the sliding doors 110.

[0071] Preferably, the means for sliding are suitable for permitting the sliding in a longitudinal direction X of the first door 111 and of the second door 112.

[0072] In a preferred embodiment, the means for sliding comprise means of movement 200 and centring means 250.

[0073] In particular, the means of movement 200 are suitable for permitting the movement of the sliding doors 110.

[0074] Specifically the means of movement 200 are suitable for permitting the sliding in a longitudinal direction X of the sliding doors 110.

[0075] According to a preferred embodiment, the means of movement are attached to the sliding doors 110 in such a way as to permit the sliding thereof.

[0076] Preferably, the means of movement 200 are attached to the bottom of the sliding doors 110. That is to say, the means of movement are attached to the first lower end 111' and to the second lower end 112.'.

[0077] As a result, the movement means 200 are suitable for resting on the respective lower guides, that is to say the first lower guide 121' and the second lower guide 122' .

[0078] The movement means 200 comprise carriages 210 suitable for resting on the respective lower guide depending on the sliding door they are fitted on.

[0079] In a preferred embodiment, the carriages 210 comprise a first carriage 211 and a second carriage 212 for each sliding door 110. Preferably, the first carriage 211 and the second carriage 212 are mounted as externally as possible at the bottom of the respective sliding door 110.

[0080] In a preferred embodiment, the carriages comprise castors 215 suitable for permitting the sliding support of the sliding doors 110 in the respective guide means.

[0081] Preferably, the means of movement 200, specifically the carriages 210 and the castors 215 comprised in said carriages 210, are suitable for minimising friction during sliding in a longitudinal direction X of the sliding door 110.

[0082] In a preferred embodiment, the castors 215 are smooth, in such a way as to reduce the friction when sliding to a minimum.

[0083] Preferably, in fact, the lower guides, that is to say the first lower guide 121' and the second lower guide 122' are in turn smooth.

[0084] In addition, in a preferred embodiment, the lower guides, that is to say the first lower guide 121' and the second lower guide 122' , are suitable for containing inclined planes 300, in turn comprised in the opening/closing module 100.

[0085] The inclined planes 300 are suitable for permitting the automatic closure of the sliding doors 110.

[0086] In fact, the sliding door 110 is positioned in a closed position, in which it is suitable for preventing access to the loading area 2, or is positioned in an open position in which it is suitable for permitting access to the loading area 2.

[0087] In a preferred embodiment, in the closed position the sliding door 110 is positioned downstream of the inclined plane 300.

[0088] In a preferred embodiment, in the open position the sliding door 110 is positioned upstream of the inclined plane 300.

[0089] Preferably, the inclined plane 300 comprises a downstream portion 301 and an upstream portion 302, wherein the upstream portion 302 is at a greater height than the downstream portion 301.

[0090] As a result the sliding door 110 sliding in a longitudinal direction X is suitable for changing its height according to the inclination of the inclined plane 300.

[0091] In particular, this happens following the application of a thrust force by a user, preferably on the handle 115, to the respective sliding door 110, which is thereby suitable for sliding thanks to the means of movement 200, in particular the carriages 210, in particular the castors 215, in the respective guides.

[0092] In a preferred embodiment, the inclined plane 300 is inclined by an angle a. [0093] In particular, the sliding door 110 slides in a longitudinal direction X translating on the inclined plane 300.

[0094] The sliding doors 110, as a result, sliding in a longitudinal direction X translate in an inclined direction Y.

[0095] The inclined direction Y is inclined in relation to the longitudinal direction X by an angle equal to the angle a.

[0096] Preferably, the reciprocal movement of the first door 111 towards the second door 112, and vice versa, is possible thanks to the fact that the inclined plane 300 in the first lower guide 121' is inclined in an opposite manner to the inclined plane 300 in the second lower guide 122 1 .

[0097], As a result, considering that the first lower guide 121' and the second lower guide 122' containing respectively an inclined plane 300, the downstream portion 301 of one inclined plane 300 is adjacent to the upstream portion 302 of the other inclined plane 300.

[0098] In a preferred embodiment, the inclined plane 300 is inclined in such a way that the aperture of a sliding door 110 is not rendered difficult, that is to say the movement from the closed position to the open position, or even from the downstream portion 301 to the upstream portion 302, of the sliding door 110.

[0099] In addition, the inclined plane 300 is inclined in such a way that closure takes place automatically when the user does not oppose a contrary force, that is to say the movement from the open position to the closed position, or again from the upstream portion 302 to the downstream portion 301, of the sliding door 110. In particular, such automatic closure is due to the exploitation of the weight of the sliding door 110, of the intrinsic characteristics of the inclined plane 300 and of the movements means 200.

[00100] In a preferred embodiment, the inclination of the inclined plane 300, that is of the inclined direction Y, that is of the angle a, varies depending on the length of the sliding door 110, and more in general of the opening/closing module 100.

[00101] In a preferred embodiment, an opening/closing module 100 such as that described measures approximately 1.250 metres, each sliding door 110 therefore measures approximately half said length of the opening/closing module 100; preferably each sliding door 110 measures slightly more than half said length of the opening/closing module 100, so that in at least one portion two sliding doors belonging to the same opening/closing module 100 overlap each other. [00102] Preferably, the angle a is equal to an angle of

.0.5° to 6°,· preferably 1° to 3°.

[00103] In a preferred embodiment, the angle a of an opening/closing module of approximately 1.250 metres causes a difference in height between the downstream portion and the upstream portion of approximately 4 centimetres; in said embodiment the angle a is equal to an angle of approximately 1.8°.

[00104] Proportionately with the dimensions of the opening/closing module 100 and of the sliding doors 110 the angle a should therefore be appropriately sized.

[00105] Preferably, so as to support the respective sliding door in a substantially vertical manner 110 on the inclined plane 300, the movement means 200 are suitable for being positioned ad hoc.

[00106] In a preferred embodiment, in fact, the first carriage 211 is positioned at a different height from the second carriage 212, according to the inclination of the inclined plane 300.

[00107] In addition, the sliding door 110 being suitable for translating in an inclined direction Y, the first upper guide 121" and the second upper guide 122" are suitable for receiving the sliding door 110 in its respective change of height.

' [00108] As said, the sliding means comprise centring means 250.

[00109] In particular, the centring means 250 are suitable for keeping the sliding doors 110 in a substantially vertical position, centred in the respective guide means 120, even during the sliding in a longitudinal direction X and translation in an inclined direction Y.

[00110] In addition, the centring means 250 are suitable for minimising the friction between the sliding door 110 and the guide means 120 in particular, between the upper and lower ends of the sliding doors 110 and the respective upper and lower guides which they rest on.

[00111] In fact, in a preferred embodiment, the centring means 250 are. suitable for being positioned at the ends of the sliding doors 110.

[00112] Preferably, in fact, the centring means 250 are positioned at both the lower and upper ends of the sliding doors 110.

[00113] In one embodiment variation rather, the centring means 250 are positioned on the respective guides .

[00114] In a preferred embodiment, the centring means

250 are fitted to the ends of the sliding doors.

[00115] Preferably, the centring means 250 comprise wheels 251 suitable for rotating when in contact with the guides. In the case in point such contact is lateral.

[00116] The wheels 251 in fact have a substantially vertical rotation axis perpendicular to the longitudinal direction X, and are suitable for rotating around said rotation axis.

[00117] The wheels 251 are mounted in such a manner that the friction with the guides is minimised as much as possible.

[00118] In a preferred embodiment, the wheels 251 are positioned in pairs in such a way that the wheels 252 belonging to the same pair are misaligned.

[00119] Preferably, the wheels 252 are distanced from each other in such a way that the movement of one does not influence that of the other.

[00120] Preferably, the wheels 251 are mounted non- motorised.

[00121] . This way the two wheels 251 of a pair are suitable for maintaining contact with both sides of the guide and rotating in opposite directions to each other keeping the sliding door 110 vertical even during sliding and translation.

[00122] In a preferred embodiment, at least two pairs of wheels 251 are fitted at each end.

[00123] Preferably, said pairs of wheels 251 are positioned as externally as possible, as far as possible from each other.

[00124] In a preferred embodiment, the opening/closing module 100 also comprises blocking means 400 of the sliding doors 110.

[00125] In particular, said blocking means 400 are suitable for blocking a sliding door 110 in a preferred position. Specifically, the blocking means 400 are suitable for blocking a sliding door 110 in an open position, that is to say upstream of an inclined plane 300.

[00126] The blocking means 400 comprise a pincer element. 401 and an attachment pin 42.

[00127] Preferably, the pincer element 401 is suitable for co-operating with the attachment pin 402 in such a way as to block itself thereto.

[00128] For example, the pincer element 401 is elastically loaded in such as way as to snap block itself around the attachment pin 402 maintaining the position until a force such as to cause its release is applied.

[00129] In a preferred embodiment, the pincer element

401 is positioned on a sliding door- 110 while the attachment pin 402 is positioned on a fixed element. For example, the attachment pin 402 is positioned on a guide, or again on the inclined plane- 300, for example in the upstream portion 302, or again on the frame 5 of the refrigerator .

[00130] In a further embodiment, it is the attachment pin 402 which is positioned on the sliding door 110 while the blocking pincer 401 is positioned fixed, for example on a guide, or again on the inclined plane 300, for example in the upstream portion 302, or again on the frame 5 of the refrigerator.

[00131] Preferably, the blocking means 400 are positioned at the bottom of the opening/closing module 100. For example the blocking means 400 are positioned at the lower ends of the sliding doors 110.

[00132] In a preferred embodiment, the opening/closing module 100 also comprises damper means 500.

[00133] The damper means 500 are suitable for cushioning, slowing down, the automatic closure of the sliding door 110, at least at the end of such movement. In particular, the damper means 500 are suitable for cushioning the descent of the sliding door 110 along the inclined plane 300 so as to avoid the accidental crushing of a user and so as to minimise the noise of the sliding door 110 closing when it reaches the end stop, that is to say when it reaches the downstream portion 301 translating from the upstream portion 302..

[00134] In a preferred embodiment, the damper means 500 comprise a damper 501 and an actuator device 502. [00135] The damper 501 is ' suitable for o-operating with the actuator device 502 in such a way that it charges it during the movement of the sliding door 110. By charging itself the damper 501 is thereby suitable for causing a contrary force to the movement of the sliding door 110 so as to slow it down.

[00136] In a preferred embodiment, the damper 501 is positioned on the sliding door 110 while the actuator device 502 is positioned on a fixed element. For example, the actuator device 502 is positioned on a guide 120, or again on the inclined plane 300.

[00137] In a further embodiment, it is the actuator device 502 which is positioned on the sliding door 110 while the damper 501 is positioned fixed, for example on a guide, or again on the inclined plane 300, for example in the upstream portion 302.

[00138] Preferably, the damper means 500 are positioned at the bottom of the opening/closing module 100. For example the damper means 500 are positioned on the lower ends of the sliding doors 110.

[00139] Innovatively, the refrigerator according to the present invention comprises an opening/closing module in turn comprising at least one sliding door which does not need to be blocked or hung in the upper area of the refrigerator which does not as a result need the transversal elements suitable for preventing the curvature of said upper area.

[00140] Advantageously in addition the sliding doors comprised in the opening/closing module according to the present invention are suitable for performing an automatic closure when no force is applied by a user.

[00141] Advantageously the sliding doors are supported at the bottom, thereby discharging their weight on the ground, and as a result making it possible to envisage doors of a great size and weight.

[00142] Advantageously the refrigerator has a completely different aesthetic impact without the transversal elements than with them, improving in terms of attractiveness and clean lines.

[00143] Advantageously it is the weight of the door itself which causes said automatic closing, in that the door is positioned on an inclined plane. Advantageously therefore mechanical mechanisms are not needed, such as a counterweight, but rather pneumatic mechanisms,, for such closure to occur automatically.

[00144] Advantageously various opening /closing modules may be positioned in series on one or more sides of the refrigerator in such a way as to provide the desired closure of the loading area of a refrigerator of whatever dimensions. [00145] Advantageously each module comprises two sliding doors suitable for sliding in respective guide means in a longitudinal direction towards each other.

[00146] This way in the case of two modules adjacent to ' each other, the portion of the lo ding area located near the two modules' is also easily accessible. All this is made possible by the fact that the adjacent doors of two consecutive modules are suitable for being moved in a longitudinal path, but in opposite directions.

[00147] Advantageously the blocking means are suitable for blocking a sliding door in an open position so as to make the loading operations of products in the loading area more convenient.

[00148] Advantageously the damper means slow down the automatic closure so that there is no risk of accidental crushing of a user's fingers or hands.

[00149] Moreover, the cushioning of the automatic closing minimises the noise of the sliding doors closing.

[00150] Advantageously the greatest number possible of components is fitted on the sliding door; in a preferred embodiment at the bottom of the aforesaid door. In fact, advantageously they are fitted on the lower end of the sliding doors so as to permit easy maintenance and simple release thereof. In addition this way the barycentre is shifted downwards thereby facilitating the sliding of the relative inclined planes.

[00151] In further embodiments, the opening and closing means are positioned on both the long sides of the refrigerator.

[00152] Furthermore, different centring means are envisaged such as rails or elements with a low friction coefficient.

[00153] Similarly, similar sliding means may be envisaged with rails or low friction coefficient elements in place of the wheels.

[00154] Or again, in one embodiment the wheels rather than smooth are envisaged shaped in such a way that they slide along a special rail keeping the door centred.

[00155] It is clear that a person skilled in the art may make further modifications to the opening/closing module or more generally to the refrigerator described above while remaining within the sphere of protection of the following claims.