REFRIGERATOR WITH REMOVABLE DRAWER
The present invention refers to a refrigerator having a drawer of improved removability.
The term "refrigerator" used herein means refrigerated cabinets in which the temperature is normally higher than 0°C, and freezers in which the temperature is maintained below 0°C, as well as combination thereof.
It is commonly known that a refrigerator can be provided with one or more drawers slidably associated to the refrigerated cabinet for better organising the articles storage or for creating specific storage regions for particularly perishable articles, like for example, vegetables and fruits.
A refrigerator having a removable drawer is disclosed in the European Patent Application No. EP 0 611 932
. Such drawer comprises a hollow body defined by a base from which four walls projects upwards, one of said walls being provided with through or dead-ended recess for allowing a user to move the drawer within the refrigerator. In particular a pair of through or dead-ended recesses acting as handgrips are formed in opposing walls to enable the drawer to be removed from the refrigerator.
The drawer disclosed in EP 0 611 932
does not allow it to be securely handled because of the shape of the recesses or handgrips if these recesses are dead-ended. If these are through recesses, the drawer is not only complex to be constructed but a handling problem still exists. In fact, in order to hold the drawer the user hands have to access the through recesses that can be obstructed by the drawer contents.
The European Patent Application EP 1 467 166
discloses a drawer for a refrigerator having a gripping element hinged on a pair of spaced apart walls, wherein the element assumes at least one working position in which it lies above the cavity of the drawer body.
A drawback of this kind of drawer consists in that the transverse arm of the gripping element is subject to a relevant bending stress when the user removes the drawer form the refrigerator and therefore there is the risk that the element breaks if the load carried by the drawer is heavy. In addition, further regions particularly stressed are those where the gripping element is pivotally fixed to the drawer walls. When the drawer is removed from the refrigerator, forces acting in such regions can deform progressively the hinges causing blockage of the gripping element.
A further drawback of the drawer disclosed in EP 1 467 166
is that, when the user places the drawer in a chamber inside a refrigerator, he/she has to remember to lower the gripping element from the working position, extending over the drawer storage cavity, to the rest position. If the user does not perform this operation at all or if he/she does not perform it correctly, the drawer cannot be slidably inserted in the refrigerated chamber. This is particularly frustrating for the user who can face the bothersome situation in which the drawer neither can slide inside the refrigerated chamber nor it can be securely hold by the incompletely lowered gripping element.
The aim of the present invention is therefore to solve the noted problems and thus providing a refrigerator having a removable drawer which can be easily and securely handled by a user.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a refrigerator having a removable drawer of improved reliability, the same drawer being suitable for carrying relatively heavy loads without breaking.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a refrigerator with a removable drawer having an improved ergonomics.
Advantages, objects, and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned from practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realised and attained as particularly pointed out in the appended claims.
The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate a possible embodiment of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.
Figure 1 shows a refrigerator according to the invention with the drawer in an extracted position;
Figure 2 shows the refrigerator of Figure 1 with the drawer inserted in a refrigerated chamber;
Figure 3 shows a detail of a gripping element of the drawer.
With reference to figure 1, a refrigerator according to the invention comprises a cabinet 1 having a bottom wall 2 and a pair of spaced apart walls 3, 4 facing each other and rising from the bottom wall 2. A backward wall 5 connects the opposing walls 3 and 4. A front door and a ceiling wall (not shown in the drawings) together with walls 2, 3, 4, 5 define a refrigerated compartment 7.
Such compartment 7 is divided into storing chambers 8 by the one or more further walls 6 that extend between said opposing walls 3, 4 parallel to the bottom wall 2. Said walls 6 are preferably in the form of removable shelves, made for example of glass, disposed into grooves 18 formed in the inner side of the opposing walls 3 and 4.
A drawer 9 is slidably received in the chamber 8 and can be removed from it. The drawer 9 comprises an internally hollow body 10 presenting a base 11 from which pairs of opposing walls 12, 13 and 14, 15 rise substantially perpendicular. The front and back walls 12 and 13, the side walls 14, 15 and the base 11 define a cavity 16.
A handle 17 formed in the front wall 12 is provided for allowing the user to insert and extract the drawer 9 in and from the chamber 8. A pair of gripping elements 19 are provided on side walls 14, 15 in their upper region. Such gripping elements 19, as described in more detail further on, are resiliently associated to the drawer 9 such that when the drawer 9 is extracted from the chamber 8 they pop-up automatically, raising from the side walls 14 and 15, displacing in a working position. i.e. in a position in which the elements 19 can be gripped by the user's hands for removing the drawer 9 from the refrigerator.
In figure 2 it is shown the refrigerator with the drawer 9 inserted in the refrigerated chamber 8. The gripping elements 19 are kept pressed down by the wall 6 so as to be displaced in a rest position along the side walls 14, 15.
In figure 3 it is shown a detail of a gripping element 19 and its resilient association to the drawer 9. In its upper region, at least along the side walls 14, 15, the drawer 9 comprises a bent edge 20 forming a channel 21 with said side walls 14 and 15. The edge 20 has a recess 26 in which the gripping element 19 is movable. The gripping element 19 comprises a first arm 22 from which a second arched arm 23 protrudes forming an aperture 24 having a substantially triangular shape. The aperture 24 is wide enough to allow the fingers of a user to be inserted in for securely holding the gripping element 19. The arched arm 23 has a portion 27 forming an acute angle β with the first arm 22, said angle β being an internal angle of the substantially triangular aperture 24.
The gripping element 19 is pivotally associated to the drawer 9 by means of a hinge 28 extending through the channel 21 transversally in respect to the sliding direction of the drawer 9. Resilient means 29 are arranged between the gripping element 19 and the drawer 9 so as to force the element 19 in the working position shown in figure 1, i.e. in a position in which the element 19 can be gripped by a user hand. In this position the first arm 22, which is longer than the recess 26, rests inside the channel 21.
The resilient means 29 are preferably in the form of a spring 30 wound around the hinge 28 and having a first end portion removably fixed to a side wall 14, 15 by means of a protrusion 31 raising therefrom and a second end portion removably fixed to the element 19.
When the user push the drawer 9 into the chamber 8, starting from the position shown in figure 1, the arched arm 23 of the gripping elements 19 contacts the wall 6, i.e. the ceiling portion of the chamber 8, and the elements 19 begin to lower. The downward movement of the elements 19 continues while the drawer 9 slides into the chamber 8; at the same time the potential energy of the resilient means 29 increases until a maximum value is reached when the drawer 9 is completely inside the chamber 8, as shown in figure 2. When the drawer 9 is extracted from the chamber 8 the gripping element 19 raises progressively under the effect of the resilient means 29 which release the potential energy because of the interaction of the element 19 with the wall 6.
In order to reduce the friction between the arm 23 and the wall 6 and for preserving the decorative surface of the gripping elements 19 from scratches, a rib 25 is preferably formed on the arched arm 23. In this way, when the drawer is moved in or away the chamber 8 only a small area of the rib 25 contacts the wall 6 and the sliding movement of the drawer 9 is not slowed down.
Conclusively it can be stated that the refrigerator according to the present invention is provided with a drawer of improved ergonomics, the same drawer being more reliable compared to refrigerator drawers of known type.
1. A refrigerator having first walls (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which define a storing chamber (8) and a drawer (9) slidably received within said chamber (8), said drawer (9) comprising an internally hollow body (10) defined by second walls (12, 13, 14, 15) rising from a base (11) and a pair of gripping elements (19) movable between a first rest position and a second working position in which said elements (19) can be gripped characterised in that the gripping elements (19) are resiliently associated to said drawer (9) such that upon a sliding movement of the latter said gripping elements (19) interact with one of said first walls (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) for displacing in said first and second position.
2. A refrigerator according to claim 1 wherein said gripping elements (19) are kept pressed downwards in the rest position by said one of the first walls (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) when the drawer (9) is placed within said chamber (8).
3. A refrigerator according to any preceding claim wherein said gripping elements (19) comprise a first arm (22) from which a second arched arm (23) protrudes forming an aperture (24).
4. A refrigerator according to claim 3 wherein said aperture (24) has substantially triangular shape.
5. A refrigerator according to claim 3 or 4 wherein said the arched arm (23) has a portion (27) forming an acute angle β with the first arm (22), said angle being an internal angle of the aperture (24).
6. A refrigerator according to any claim from 3 to 5 wherein said arched arm (23) comprises a rib (25) arranged such that, during a sliding movement of the drawer (9), it contacts one of said first walls (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
7. A refrigerator according to any preceding claim wherein said gripping elements (19) are pivotally associated to said drawer (9) by means of a hinge (28).
8. A refrigerator according to any preceding claim wherein resilient means (29) are arranged between the gripping element (19) and the drawer (9) so as to force the element (19) in the working position.
9. A refrigerator according to claim 7 and 8 wherein the resilient means (29) are in the form of a spring (30) wound around the hinge (28), said means (29) having a first end portion removably fixed to one of said second walls (14, 15) by means of a protrusion (31) raising therefrom and a second end portion removably fixed to the gripping element (19).