(19)
(11)EP 1 624 726 A2

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
08.02.2006 Bulletin 2006/06

(21)Application number: 05107219.7

(22)Date of filing:  04.08.2005
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H05B 6/80  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR
Designated Extension States:
AL BA HR MK YU

(30)Priority: 04.08.2004 KR 2004061350

(71)Applicant: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Suwon-si 442-742 Gyeonggi-Do (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • Cho, Sung-wook
    Gwanak-gu, Seoul (KR)
  • Yang, Kwang-il
    Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do (KR)

(74)Representative: Walaski, Jan Filip et al
Venner Shipley LLP 20 Little Britain
London EC1A 7DH
London EC1A 7DH (GB)

  


(54)Microwave oven and fan assembly for microwave oven


(57) A microwave oven including a component compartment and a cooking compartment each including a discharge part to discharge air in the cooking compartment through the cooking compartment through portion; a supply fan introducing the air to the component compartment through portion to cool the component compartment; a discharge fan introducing the air in the cooking compartment to the discharge part through the cooking compartment through portion; a fan motor between the supply fan and the discharge fan to operate the supply fan and the discharge fan; and an interfering part to interfere with the fan assembly when at least one of the supply fan and the discharge fan is not in a predetermined position corresponding to the component compartment through portion and the discharge part.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a microwave oven, and more particularly, to a microwave oven comprising an improved mounting configuration for a fan assembly.

[0002] Generally, a microwave oven comprises a main body casing formed with a cooking compartment to cook food and a component compartment in which different components are mounted to supply microwaves into the cooking compartment, a door to open and close the cooking compartment and an operating panel provided in front of the component compartment. Further, the microwave oven usually comprises a fan to discharge air including food smells from the cooking compartment, and to discharge and supply air to or from the microwave oven.

[0003] A conventional microwave oven, such as a wall mounted microwave oven disclosed in Korean Publication No. 10-2004-0047077, may comprise a discharge fan assembly including a discharge fan and a large capacity fan motor to enhance fan efficiency. Further, the discharge fan assembly may rotate so that a discharge hole may be provided to point in various directions. Accordingly, a discharge direction may be varied according to the position of an external duct provided outside the main body of the microwave oven.

[0004] In the case of a conventional microwave oven, a user may rotate the discharge fan assembly to correspond to the position of the external duct prior to installing the discharge fan assembly. However, there is no way of ensuring that the discharge fan assembly is correctly placed in a predetermined position to correspond to the external duct.

[0005] The discharge fan assembly in a conventional microwave oven is only employed for discharging indoor air. This is inefficient because the discharge fan assembly does not introduce air into the component compartment to cool the components, so a separate source of cooling air must be used.

[0006] The present invention aims to address the above problems.

[0007] According to the invention, there is provided a microwave oven comprising a cooking compartment, a component compartment, a first fan for cooling the component compartment and a second fan for discharging air from the cooking compartment.

[0008] The microwave oven may further comprise a common motor to operate the first and second fans.

[0009] The first and second fans may together comprise a fan assembly, and the microwave oven may further comprise a housing including means for mounting the fan assembly and means associated with the housing for preventing the fan assembly from being incorrectly mounted.

[0010] Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention to provide a microwave oven which cools a component compartment and at the same time discharges air from a cooking compartment.

[0011] Additional aspects and/or advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

[0012] The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention are achieved by providing a microwave oven comprising: a main body casing comprising a component compartment and a cooking compartment, and including a component compartment through portion communicating with the component compartment; a cooking compartment through portion communicating with the cooking compartment; and a discharging part to discharge air in the cooking compartment through the cooking compartment through portion; a fan assembly provided in the main body casing, comprising a supplying fan introducing air to the component compartment through portion to cool the component compartment; a discharging fan introducing the air in the cooking compartment to the discharging part through the cooking compartment through portion; and a fan motor between the supplying fan and the discharging fan to operate the supplying fan and the discharging fan; and an interfering part provided in the main body casing to interfere with the fan assembly when at least one of the supplying fan and the discharging fan is not in a predetermined position corresponding to the component compartment through portion and the discharging part.

[0013] According to an aspect of the present invention, the interfering part protrudes from a portion of the main body casing adjacent to the fan assembly.

[0014] According to another aspect of the present invention, the interfering part comprises a notching part protruding in a transverse direction with respect to a coupling direction of the fan assembly at an end thereof.

[0015] According to still another aspect of the present invention, the supplying fan comprises a supplying blade rotated by the fan motor, and a supplying fan cover provided outside the supplying blade and including a supplying part allowing the air blown by the supplying blade to be directed toward the component compartment through portion, wherein the supplying fan cover interferes with the interfering part when the supplying part is not in a predetermined position.

[0016] According to an aspect of the present invention, the discharging fan comprises a discharging blade rotated by the fan motor, and a discharging fan cover provided outside the discharging blade and including a fan discharging part allowing the air from the cooking compartment through portion to be directed toward the fan discharging part.

[0017] According to an aspect of the present invention, the microwave oven further comprises a plurality of the discharging parts, wherein the discharging fan cover is detachably and rotatably coupled to the fan motor to allow the fan discharging part to correspond to one of the plurality of the discharging parts.

[0018] According to an aspect of the present invention, the component compartment through portion and the cooking compartment through portion are respectively provided at upper portions of the component compartment and the cooking compartment, and the microwave oven further comprises a partitioning wall provided between the component compartment through portion and the cooking compartment through portion to prevent the air discharged from the cooking compartment through portion from being introduced to the cooking compartment through portion.

[0019] According to an aspect of the present invention, a portion of the main body casing between the cooking compartment and the component compartment is formed with a through hole to supply the air from the component compartment into the cooking compartment.

[0020] Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is an exploded perspective view of a microwave oven according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is an exploded perspective view of a fan assembly of a microwave oven shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a perspective view illustrating a rotated discharge fan cover provided in the fan assembly of the microwave oven of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a perspective view illustrating the fan assembly of Figure 3 mounted in a microwave oven; and

Figure 5 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an air circulation process of a microwave oven according to the present invention.



[0021] As shown in Figures 1 through 4, an example of a microwave oven 1 according to the present invention comprises a main body casing 10, also referred to as a housing 10, formed with a cooking compartment 15 for receiving food to be cooked, a component compartment 13 including various components for supplying microwaves into the cooking compartment 15, a door 3 rotatably coupled to the main body casing 10 to open and close the cooking compartment 15, a control panel 5 provided in front of the component compartment 13 to control the various components and a fan assembly 50 mounted in the main body casing 10 to cool the component compartment 13 and discharge air from the cooking compartment 15.

[0022] The main body casing 10 comprises a first opening 21, comprising a component compartment through portion 21 communicating with the component compartment 13, a second opening 23, comprising a cooking compartment through portion 23 communicating with the cooking compartment 15, and a discharge part 31 to discharge the air in the cooking compartment 15 through the cooking compartment through portion 23.

[0023] The main body casing 10 further comprises a main body frame 11 formed with the cooking compartment 15 and the component compartment 13 and including the component compartment through portion 21 and the cooking compartment through portion 23, and a main body cover 35 to cover a left portion, a right portion, and an upper portion of the main body frame 11. An interfering part 41 is provided at the main body casing 10 to interfere with the fan assembly 50 when the fan assembly 50 is not in a predetermined position. The interfering part 41, also referred to as an obstruction, projection or locating element 41, prevents the fan assembly 50 from being mounted other than in its predetermined position.

[0024] The main body frame 11 may comprise metal with good heat resistance but may also comprise plastics with good heat resistance. At the main body frame 11 between the cooking compartment 15 and the component compartment 13 are provided a plurality of through holes 19 to supply air, which was introduced into the component compartment 13, into the cooking compartment 15.

[0025] The cooking compartment 15 is formed with a space to accommodate food and so on and the cooking compartment through portion 23 is arranged to discharge the air including food smells at an upper portion thereof.

[0026] The component compartment 13 is formed with an accommodating space to accommodate components such as a magnetron 17 to supply the microwaves into the cooking compartment and a high voltage transformer 18. These components generate heat in operation, and the component compartment through portion 21 provides an external air supply to cool the components at an upper portion of the component compartment 13.

[0027] The component compartment through portion 21 and the cooking compartment through portion 23 are provided at an upper portion of the main body frame 11. Between the component compartment through portion 21 and the cooking compartment through portion 23 is provided a partitioning wall 27 to prevent the air discharged from the cooking compartment being introduced into the component compartment.

[0028] The partitioning wall 27 is inserted between the main body frame 11 and the main body cover 35. The partitioning wall 27 introduces the air which was discharged from the cooking compartment through portion 23, to be discharged through the discharge part 31 by a discharge fan 61 of the fan assembly 50 to be described later. The partitioning wall 27 is between the main body frame 11 and the main body cover 35, and includes a pair of partitioning walls. Between the pair of partitioning walls is mounted a lamp (not shown) to illuminate the cooking compartment 15. At an upper portion of the main body frame 11, a light through hole (not shown) is provided to correspond to the lamp so that light from the lamp may shine on the cooking compartment 15. In front of the partitioning wall 27 is mounted a grille 26 formed with an air inlet to supply air, which is inside a room in which the microwave oven 1 is located. With this configuration, the discharge fan 61 of the fan assembly 50 to be described later discharges both the air from the cooking compartment 13 and the indoor air from the grille 26.

[0029] The discharge part 31 comprises one or more openings 33, 36 passing through the main body casing 10 to discharge the air from the cooking compartment through portion 23 and the indoor air from the grille 26. An appropriate opening 33, 36 discharge may be connected to an external duct (not shown) extending to an outside of the building, depending on the position of the duct. For example, the external duct of the building may be provided above the microwave oven 1 or at rear of the microwave oven 1. By way of example, the discharge part 31 includes portions, discussed below, which are provided at an upper portion and a rear portion of the main body casing 10 so that the external duct may be positioned at an upper portion and a rear portion of the microwave oven 1. Specifically, the discharge part 31 comprises a first discharge part or opening 33 provided at an upper and rear portion of the main body frame 11, and a second discharge part or opening 36 provided at a rear portion of the main body cover 35. However, the discharge openings 33, 36 may also be located at a left portion, a right portion, a front portion, and/or a lower portion of the main body casing 10. A user may connect any one of the plurality of discharge openings to the external duct of the building.

[0030] The main body cover 35 is shaped like an inverted "U" on the outside of the main body frame 11. The main body cover 35 is coupled to the main body frame 11 by screws or other fixing means. An upper portion of the main body cover 35 is formed with the second discharge opening 36.

[0031] Referring to Figure 2, the fan assembly 50 comprises a supply fan 51 to supply the air into the component compartment via the component compartment opening 21 to cool the component compartment 13, a discharge fan 61 to introduce the air in the cooking compartment 15 into the discharge part 31 through the cooking compartment opening 23 and a fan motor 71 between the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61 and operating the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61. The fan assembly 50 is provided to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and the discharge part 31 at an upper and rear portion of the main body casing 10. The fan assembly 50 is provided between the main body frame 11 and the main body cover 35, and behind the partitioning wall 27. When at least one of the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61 is not in a predetermined position to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and the discharge part 31, the fan assembly 50 cannot be mounted in the main body casing 10 due to the obstruction caused by the interfering part 41.

[0032] The supply fan 51 comprises one or more supply blades 53 rotated by the fan motor 71 and a supply fan cover 55 provided at an outside of the supply blades 53 and allowing the air blown from the supply blades 53 to be directed toward the component compartment opening 21. The supply fan 51 corresponds to the component compartment opening 21 and a first side of the fan motor 71.

[0033] The supply blades 53 are arranged along a cylindrical circumference centering around a rotation axis of the fan motor 71.

[0034] The supply fan cover 55 comprises a cylindrical supply cover main body 56 to accommodate the supply blades 53, a supply part 57 passing through the supply cover main body 56 to discharge the air generated by rotation of the supply blades 53 and a supply cover through portion 58 provided at an opposite side of the coupling portion with the fan motor 71, also referred to as an air intake 58. The supply fan cover 55 may be obstructed by the interfering part 41 when the supply part 57 is not in a predetermined position with respect to the component compartment opening 21. The supply fan cover 55 may be integrally provided with a fan motor supporter 73, to be described later. However, the supply fan cover 55 may be detachably coupled to the fan motor supporter 73 by screws or other fixing means.

[0035] The outer surface of the supply cover main body 56 is shaped so that the distance from the axis of rotation of the fan 51 increases around the body to allow the air generated by rotation of the supply blades 53 to be discharged by the rectangular supply part 57. Accordingly, when the supply part 57 is mounted toward the component compartment opening 21, the supply cover main body 56 is not obstructed bythe interfering part 41. However, when the user tries to mount the supply part 57 in other directions with respect to the component compartment opening 21, the supply cover main body 56 is not allowed to be mounted thereon due to obstruction by the interfering part 41. In other words, the projection 41 ensures that the supply part 57 is correctly located in the component compartment opening 21.

[0036] The supply part 57 protrudes from the supply cover main body 56 to correspond to the component compartment opening 21.

[0037] The discharge fan 61 comprises one or more discharge blades 63 rotated by the fan motor 71, and a discharge fan cover 65 provided outside the discharge blades 63 and allowing the air stream from the discharge blades 63 to be directed toward the discharge part 31. The discharge fan 61 is provided to correspond to at least one of the first discharge opening 33 and the second discharge opening 36 at a second side of the fan motor 71.

[0038] The discharge blades 63 are arranged along a cylindrical circumference centering around a rotating axis of the fan motor 71.

[0039] The discharge fan cover 65 comprises a cylindrical discharge cover main body 66 to accommodate the discharge blades 63, a fan discharge part 67 passing through the discharge cover main body 66 to discharge the air generated by rotation of the discharge blades 63 and a supply cover through portion, or opening, 68 provided at an opposite side of the main body 66 from the fan motor 71 to supply the air and the indoor air from the cooking compartment opening 23 and the grille 26 respectively. The discharge fan cover 65 may be detachably and rotatably coupled to the fan motor 71 so that the fan discharge part 67 is provided toward one of the plurality of discharge openings 33, 36. The discharge fan cover 65 is detachably coupled to the fan motor supporter 73 by screws 69 or other fixing means. When the discharge fan cover 65 is separated from the fan motor 71, the discharge fan cover 65 may be coupled thereto by the screws 69 after the fan discharge part 67 is rotated toward one of the first and second discharge openings 33, 36. Accordingly, the user rotates the discharge fan cover 65 so that the fan discharge part 67 is provided toward one of the first and second oven discharge openings 33, 36 to correspond to the external duct, and then the discharge fan assembly 50 may be easily assembled.

[0040] The outer surface of the discharge cover main body 66 is shaped so that the distance from the axis of rotation of the fan 61 increases around the body, and allows the air generated by rotation of the discharge blades 63 to be discharged by the rectangular fan discharge part 67. The fan discharge part 67 protrudes from the discharge cover main body 66 to correspond to one of the first and second discharge openings 33, 36.

[0041] The fan motor 71 is provided between the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61 and rotates the supply blades 53 and the discharge blades 63. The fan motor 71 is supported by fan motor supporters 73 provided on opposite sides thereof, and is coupled to the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61.

[0042] The interfering part 41 is provided in the main body casing 10 to interfere with the fan assembly 50 when at least one of the supply fan 51 and the discharge fan 61 is not in the predetermined position to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and one of the discharge openings 33, 36. The interfering part 41 may protrude from the main body casing 10 adjacent to the fan assembly 50. The interfering part 41 does not interfere with the supply fan cover 55 when the supply part 57 is mounted toward the component compartment opening 21, and the interfering part 41 interferes with the supply fan cover 55 when the supply part 57 is mounted in other directions with respect to the component compartment through portion 21. The interfering part 41 may protrude from the main body frame 11 provided behind the fan assembly 50, or the interfering part 41 may be bent out from the main body frame 11 provided in the rear of the fan assembly 50.

[0043] One or more interfering portions may similarly be provided to obstruct the mounting of the discharge fan casing 66 unless the discharge part 67 is located at either the first or the second discharge openings 33, 36.

[0044] An end of the interfering part 41 may comprise a notched part 43 protruding in a horizontal direction with respect to a mounting direction of the fan assembly 50.

[0045] The notched part 43 protrudes perpendicularly from a front end of the interfering part 41 with respect to the coupling direction of the fan assembly 50 to prevent the fan assembly 50 from being forcibly assembled by the user when the fan assembly 50 is obstructed by the interfering part 41 because the fan assembly 50 is not in the predetermined position.

[0046] With this configuration, a process for assembling the fan assembly on the main body casing of the microwave oven according to the present invention will be described with reference to Figures 3 and 4.

[0047] First, the user chooses the discharge part 31 to correspond to the external duct (not shown) and, the user rotates the discharge fan cover 65 of the fan assembly 50 to correspond to the chosen discharge part 31. Then, the user mounts the fan assembly 50 at an upper portion of the main body frame 11 to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and the chosen discharge part 31. When the fan assembly 50 is positioned in the predetermined position to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and the chosen discharge part 31, the fan assembly 50 is not obstructed by the interfering part 41 and is mounted on the main body casing 10. However, when the fan assembly 50 is not in the predetermined position to correspond to the component compartment opening 21 and the chosen discharge part 31, the fan assembly 50 is obstructed by the interfering part 41 and is not mounted thereon. The fan assembly 50 may be coupled to the main body casing 10 by screws or other fixing means.

[0048] As shown in Figure 5, an air circulation process of the microwave oven 1 according to the present invention will be described as follows.

[0049] First, when the fan assembly 50 is operated, the supply fan 51 introduces air into the component compartment 13 through the component compartment through portion 21. Then, the component compartment 13 is cooled by the introduced air, and the air which cooled the component compartment 13 is supplied into the cooking compartment 15 through the through holes 19. The air in the cooking compartment 15 is then discharged into the discharge part 31 through the cooking compartment through portion 23 by the discharge fan 61 and then the discharge fan 61 may discharge the indoor air from the grille 26 at the same time.

[0050] Accordingly, the microwave oven according to the embodiment of the present invention comprises an interfering part 41 to prevent the fan assembly 50 from being improperly installed. Further, the microwave oven comprises a notching part to prevent forcible installation of the fan assembly. The fan assembly may cool the component compartment and at the same time discharge the air in the cooking compartment, and also discharge the indoor air from the grille.

[0051] Although an embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in this embodiment without departing from the principles of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims.


Claims

1. A microwave oven (1) comprising:

a cooking compartment (15);

a component compartment (13);

a first fan (51) for cooling the component compartment; and

a second fan (61) for discharging air from the cooking compartment.


 
2. A microwave oven according to claim 1, wherein the first and second fans are operated by a common motor (71).
 
3. A microwave oven according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the first and second fans together comprise a fan assembly (50), the microwave oven further comprising:

a housing (10) including means for mounting the fan assembly (50); and

means (41) associated with the housing for preventing the fan assembly from being incorrectly mounted.


 
4. A microwave oven comprising:

a main body casing comprising:

a component compartment,

a cooking compartment,

a component compartment through portion communicating with the component compartment,

a cooking compartment through portion communicating with the cooking compartment, and

a discharging part to discharge air in the cooking compartment through the cooking compartment through portion;

a fan assembly provided in the main body casing, comprising:

a supplying fan introducing cooling air to the component compartment through portion to cool the component compartment,

a discharging fan introducing the air in the cooking compartment to the discharging part through the cooking compartment through portion, and

a fan motor between the supplying fan and the discharging fan to operate the supplying fan and the discharging fan; and

an interfering part provided in the main body casing to interfere with the fan assembly when at least one of the supplying fan and the discharging fan is not in a predetermined position corresponding to the component compartment through portion and the discharging part.


 
5. The microwave oven according to claim 4, wherein the interfering part protrudes from a portion of the main body casing adjacent to the fan assembly.
 
6. The microwave oven according to claim 5, wherein the interfering part comprises a notching part at an end thereof and protruding in a transverse direction with respect to a coupling direction of the fan assembly.
 
7. The microwave oven according to claim 4, wherein the supplying fan comprises;
a supplying blade rotated by the fan motor to thereby blow the cooling air, and
a supplying fan cover provided outside the supplying blade and including a supplying part allowing the cooling air blown by the supplying blade to be directed toward the component compartment through portion,
wherein the supplying fan cover interferes with the interfering part when the supplying part is not in a predetermined position.
 
8. The microwave oven according to claim 4, wherein the discharging fan comprises
a discharging blade rotated by the fan motor, and
a discharging fan cover provided outside the discharging blade and including a fan discharging part allowing the air in the cooking compartment through portion to be directed toward the discharging part.
 
9. The microwave oven according to claim 8, further comprising a plurality of the discharging parts,
wherein the discharging fan cover is detachably and rotatably coupled to the fan motor to allow the fan discharging part to correspond to one of the plurality of the discharging parts.
 
10. The microwave oven according to claim 4, wherein the component compartment through portion and the cooking compartment through portion are respectively provided at upper portions of the component compartment and the cooking compartment, and
the microwave oven further comprises a partitioning wall provided between the component compartment through portion and the cooking compartment through portion to prevent the air discharged from the cooking compartment through portion from being introduced into the cooking compartment through portion.
 
11. The microwave oven according to claim 4, further comprising a through hole between the cooking compartment and the component compartment, the through hole to supply the cooling air from the component compartment into the cooking compartment.
 
12. A microwave oven comprising:

a cooking compartment;

a component compartment;

a first fan to cool the component compartment;

a second fan to discharge air from the cooking compartment; and

a motor to operate the first and second fans.


 
13. The microwave oven according to claim 12, wherein the motor simultaneously operates the first and second fans.
 
14. A microwave oven comprising:

a main body casing defining a plurality of compartments; and

a fan assembly to provide air to or discharge air from at least one of the compartments, the main body casing comprising an interfering part to interfere with the fan assembly when the fan assembly is not properly positioned to provide or discharge the air.


 
15. The microwave oven according to claim 14, further comprising a partition wall, the fan assembly being between the main body casing and the partition wall,
wherein the fan assembly has a variable outer diameter so that the fan assembly cannot fit between the main body casing and the partition wall when the fan assembly is not properly positioned.
 
16. The microwave oven according to claim 14, wherein the main body casing further comprises a main body frame forming an outer portion of the microwave oven, and the interfering part is a protrusion protruding from an inner portion of the main body frame.
 
17. The microwave oven according to claim 14, wherein the main body casing further comprises a main body frame forming an outer portion of the microwave oven, and the interfering part is a bent portion at an inner portion of the main body frame.
 
18. A method of displacing air in a microwave oven, comprising:

driving a first fan with a motor to thereby cool a first compartment of the microwave oven; and

driving a second fan with the motor to thereby discharge air from a second compartment of the microwave oven.


 




Drawing