(19)
(11)EP 2 184 571 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
25.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/52

(21)Application number: 09169195.6

(22)Date of filing:  02.09.2009
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F25D 29/00  (2006.01)
F25D 23/02  (2006.01)

(54)

Refrigerator

Kühlanlage

Réfrigérateur


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 05.11.2008 KR 20080109358

(43)Date of publication of application:
12.05.2010 Bulletin 2010/19

(73)Proprietor: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 443-742 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • Park, Young Gwi
    Gwangju (KR)
  • Song, Joo Hee
    Busan (KR)
  • Kim, Yong Seok
    Gwandju (KR)

(74)Representative: Grünecker Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 
Leopoldstraße 4
80802 München
80802 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A1- 19 505 830
JP-A- 2001 153 538
JP-A- 2000 088 445
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND


    1. Field



    [0001] The present invention relates to a refrigerator, and more particularly to a refrigerator with a control unit to select an operation of the refrigerator.

    2. Description of the Related Art



    [0002] In general, a refrigerator is an apparatus, which includes constituent elements of a refrigerating cycle, and stores objects in a cold state or a frozen state with cold air generated through the constituent elements of the refrigerating cycle.

    [0003] The refrigerator includes a main body forming storage chambers, such as a freezing chamber and a refrigerating chamber, and doors to open and close the storage chambers. A display unit to display the operating state of the refrigerator and a control unit including buttons to allow a user to select an operation of the refrigerator are installed on the front surface of one of the doors.

    [0004] In the conventional refrigerator, an installation part, at which the control unit is installed, is provided on the front surface of the door, and the control unit is fixed to the installation part through connection members, such as screws. Then a cover having an area large enough to cover the installation part exposed through the circumference of the control unit is installed on the installation part.

    [0005] When that the control unit is installed on the front surface of the door, the boundary between the control unit and the cover invariably forms a line, and thus the design of the front surface of the door is restricted by the control unit and it is difficult to obtain different designs of the door.

    [0006] Further, the cover installed on the installation part must to have a larger size than that of the control unit such that the cover can sufficiently cover the circumference of the control unit, and thus the production cost of the door is increased.

    [0007] JP-A-2001153538 discloses a door of a refrigerator. A kind of control unit comprises an indicator and a number of switches. There is a reception part provided in the door to receive the control unit, and a kind of installation hole is formed on a side end of the door.

    [0008] JP 2000088445 A discloses a container for containing a display unit and is directed to a door of a refrigerator. For the receipt of a control unit, a reception part is provided in the door and also a kind of installation hole.

    [0009] DE 19505830 A1 discloses a refrigerator with a main body, doors and storage chambers. At a lower end of an upper door, a control unit is installed in the door.

    SUMMARY



    [0010] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a refrigerator, which has different designs of a door forming the front surface of the refrigerator and also reduces the production cost.

    [0011] Additional aspects and/or advantages 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 object is solved by the features of the independent claim.

    [0013] Advantageous embodiments are disclosed by the sub-claims.

    [0014] The refrigerator may further include a cover installed at the installation hole to close the installation hole. Switches to select the operation and display units to display an operating state of the refrigerator may be provided on the front surface of the control unit.

    [0015] One side end of the door may be rotatably installed on the main body; and the installation hole may be provided on the other side end of the door. A handle groove may be provided on the cover.

    [0016] The refrigerator may further include guide parts provided on the rear surface of the reception part and slantingly protruded toward the front portion of one side part of the door to guide the control unit forward.

    [0017] A pair of hooks latched into the installation hole to maintain the installation state of the cover in the installation hole may be formed at both sides of the cover.

    [0018] First support protrusions to support the side surfaces of the control unit and second support protrusions to support the rear surface of the control unit may be provided on the cover.

    [0019] The cover may be installed at the lower end of a connection part extended downwardly from the lower end of the control unit, and thus move together with the control unit and be inserted into the installation hole.

    [0020] A first elastic support part protruding forward to elastically support the control unit forward may be provided on the rear surface of the reception part.

    [0021] A second elastic support part protruding backward to elastically support the rear surface of the control unit may be provided on the cover.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0022] These and/or other aspects and advantages will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a refrigerator in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a longitudinal-sectional view of the refrigerator in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a control unit applied to the refrigerator in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 4 is a transverse-sectional view illustrating the installation state of the control unit applied to the refrigerator in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a refrigerator in accordance with a another example of the present invention;

    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a control unit applied to the refrigerator in accordance with the example; and

    FIG. 7 is a longitudinal-sectional view illustrating the installation state of the control unit applied to the refrigerator in accordance with the example.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0023] Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout. The embodiments are described below to explain the present invention by referring to the annexed drawings.

    [0024] Hereinafter, a refrigerator in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail.

    [0025] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the refrigerator in accordance with this embodiment includes a main body 10 forming the external appearance of the refrigerator and provided with storage chambers 11R and 11F, front surfaces of which are opened to store objects therein, and doors 20R and 20F, side ends of which are rotatably installed at one side end of the main body 10 to open and close the storage chambers 11R and 11F. The storage chambers 11R and 11F include a refrigerating chamber 11R to store objects in a cold state and a freezing chamber 11F to store objects in a frozen state, and the doors 20R and 20F include a refrigerating chamber door 20R to open and close the refrigerating chamber 11R and a freezing chamber door 20F to open and close the freezing chamber 11F.

    [0026] A compressor 12 to compress a refrigerant is installed in the lower region of the rear portion of the main body 10. A refrigerating chamber evaporator 13R and a freezing chamber evaporator 13F to generate cold air are installed in the rear of the refrigerating chamber 11R and freezing chamber 11F, respectively. A refrigerating chamber air flower fan 14R and a freezing chamber air flower fan 14F to generate suction force and blowing force to circulate the cold air generated from the refrigerating chamber evaporator 13R and the freezing chamber evaporator 13F into the refrigerating chamber 11R and the freezing chamber 11F are also respectively installed at the rear portions of the refrigerating chamber 11R and the freezing chamber 11F. A plurality of racks 15 to effectively divisionally store many objects is disposed in the refrigerating chamber 11R and the freezing chamber 11F, and a plurality of door racks 21 to store cans or drink bottles are disposed on the inner surfaces of the refrigerating chamber door 20R and the freezing chamber door 20F.

    [0027] A control unit 30 to allow a user to select an operation of the refrigerator is installed in the refrigerating chamber door 20R. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a plurality of display units 31 to display a temperature or a selected operating state and a plurality of switches 32 to allow the user to select the operation of the refrigerator are disposed on the front surface of the control unit 30, and thus the user selects the operation of the refrigerator through the switches 32 of the control unit 30 and confirms the operating state through the display units 31 of the control unit 30.

    [0028] The front surface of the refrigerating chamber door 20R is made of a transparent member 22, such as tempered glass, in consideration of the aesthetic appearance of the refrigerator A transparent window part 22a to show the display units 31 to the outside of the refrigerating chamber door 20R is formed at a position of the transparent member 22 corresponding to the display units 31 of the control unit 30 installed in a reception part 20a of the refrigerating chamber door 20R.

    [0029] The control unit 30 is installed such that the front surface of the control unit 30 contacts the inner surface of the transparent member 22 forming the front surface of the refrigerating chamber door 20R, and the switches 32 of the control unit 30 are electrostatic switches, which sense static electricity. Therefore, when a user's hand contacts a region of the transparent member 22 corresponding to the position of one of the switches 32, static electricity is transferred to the switch 32 due to the contact of the user's hand with the transparent member 22, and thus the switch 32 is operated in a touch mode.

    [0030] In order to install the control unit 30 in the refrigerating chamber door 20R, the reception part 20a, in which the control unit 30 is received, and an installation hole 20b, through which the control unit 30 is received in the reception part 20a, are provided in the refrigerating chamber door 20R. A cover 40 to close the installation hole 20b is installed at the installation hole 20b. In this embodiment, the installation hole 20b is provided in the other side end of the refrigerating chamber door 20R, one side end of which is rotatably installed at the main body 10.

    [0031] Guide parts 23, which are slantingly protruded toward the front portion of one side part of the refrigerating chamber door 20R to guide the control unit 30, coming into the reception part 20a through the installation hole 20b, forward, are formed on the rear surface of the reception part 20a. Therefore, the front surface of the control unit 30 contacts the rear surface of the transparent member 22 through the guide parts 23.

    [0032] A handle groove 40a to cause a user to easily grip the refrigerating chamber door 20R is dented into the cover 40, and thus the cover 40 serves as a handle of the refrigerating chamber door 20R. Hooks 41 to maintain the installation state of the cover in the installation hole 20b are respectively formed at the upper and lower ends of the cover 40. Further, first support protrusions 42 to support the side surfaces of the control unit 30 installed in the reception part 20a and second support protrusions 43 to support the rear surface of the control unit 30 are formed on the inner surface of the cover 40.

    [0033] Therefore, the control unit 30 is installed in the reception part 20a under the condition that one side end of the control unit 30 is supported by the guide parts 23, the other side end of the control unit 30 is supported by the first support protrusions 42 and the second protrusions 43, and thus the front surface of the control unit 30 contacts the transparent member 22 forming the front surface of the refrigerating chamber door 20R.

    [0034] When the installation hole 20b is formed on one side end of the refrigerating chamber door 20R, as described above, the installation hole 20b and the cover 40 have a small area corresponding to the area of the side end of the control unit 30, and thus the amount of a material for the cover 40 is reduced. Further, the installation hole 20b and the cover 40 located at the side end of the refrigerating chamber door 20R cannot be seen by a user generally located in front of the refrigerator, and thus it is possible to prevent the lowering of the external appearance of the refrigerator by the installation hole 20b and the cover 40.

    [0035] Although this embodiment describes the installation hole 20b, which is provided on the other side end of the refrigerating chamber door 20R, one side end of which is rotatably installed at the main body 10, the installation hole 20b may be provided on any one of both side ends, an upper end, and a lower end of the refrigerating chamber door 20R or the freezing chamber door 20F.

    [0036] Hereinafter, a refrigerator in accordance with an examplewill be described in detail.

    [0037] As shown in FIG. 5, the refrigerator in accordance with this example includes a sub storage chamber 20C formed in the refrigerating chamber door 20R'. This allows stored objects to be taken out without opening a refrigerating chamber door 20R', and a sub door 50 to open and close the sub storage chamber 20C.

    [0038] As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, a control unit 30' is installed above the sub storage chamber 20C, and a reception part 20a', in which the control unit 30' is received, and an installation hole 20b', through which the control unit 30' is received in the reception part 20a', are provided in the refrigerating chamber door 20R'. A cover 40' to close the installation hole 20b' is installed at the installation hole 20b'. In this embodiment, the installation hole 20b' is provided in the upper surface of the sub storage chamber 20C.

    [0039] Guide parts 23', slantingly protrude toward the front portion of the upper part of the refrigerating chamber door 20R' to guide the control unit 30', coming into the reception part 20a' through the installation hole 20b', forward. A first elastic support part 24, the cross section of which has an arc shape, to elastically support the rear surface of the control unit 30', is formed on the rear surface of the reception part 20a.

    [0040] A connection part 33 extended downwardly from the control unit 30' is connected to the cover 40', and allows the cover 40' and the control unit 30' to move together and to be installed in the installation hole 20b'. Hooks 41' to maintain the installation state of the cover 40' in the installation hole 20b' are respectively formed at both sides the cover 40'. Further, a second elastic support part 44, which is protruded backward from the cover 40 and is supported by the rear surface of the reception part 20a', is provided on the cover 40'.

    [0041] Therefore, the control unit 30' is installed in the reception part 20a' under the condition that the upper portion of the control unit 30' is supported by the guide parts 23' and the first elastic support part 24, the lower portion of the control unit 30' is supported by the second elastic support part 44, and thus the front surface of the control unit 30' contacts the transparent member 22 forming the front surface of the refrigerating chamber door 20R'.

    [0042] When the installation hole 20b' is formed through the upper surface of the sub storage chamber 20c, as described above, the installation hole 20b' and the cover 40' cannot be seen by a user of the refrigerator. Particularly, when the sub storage chamber 20c is closed by the sub door 50, the installation hole 20b' and the cover 40' are covered up by the sub door 50 and thus are completely unseen.

    [0043] As described above, in the refrigerator in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention, the control unit is installed through the side end of the door, which is deviated from a user's sight, and thus does not influence the front design of the door, thereby achieving various front designs of the door.

    [0044] Further, in the refrigerator in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention, the installation hole has a small area corresponding to that of the side surface of the control unit, and the installation hole and the cover are not seen from an area in front of the refrigerator, thereby further enhancing the external appearance of the refrigerator.

    [0045] Although a few embodiments have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims.


    Claims

    1. A refrigerator comprising:

    a main body (10) provided with storage chambers (11R, 11F);

    doors (20R, 20F, 20R', 20F') to respectively open and close the storage chambers (11R, 11F);

    a control unit (30, 30') installed in one door out of the doors to select an operation;

    a reception part (20a, 20a') provided in said one door to receive the control unit;

    an installation hole (20b, 20b') formed on a side end of the door to cause the control unit to be inserted into the reception part, and display units (31) provided on a front surface of the control unit (30, 30') to display an operating state of the refrigerator,

    characterized in that the refrigerator further comprises:

    a transparent member (22) installed in front of the door (20F) to form a front surface of the door,

    a transparent window part (22a) provided at a position of the transparent member corresponding to the display units (31) to show the display units (31) to the outside of the door, and switches (32) to select the operating state of the refrigerator provided on the front surface of the control unit,

    wherein the switches include electrostatic switches operated by static electricity.


     
    2. The refrigerator according to claim 1, further comprising a cover (40, 40') installed at the installation hole to close the installation hole (20b, 20b').
     
    3. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein:

    one side end of the door (20R) is rotatably installed on the main body (10); and

    the installation hole (20b) is provided on the other side end of the door.


     
    4. The refrigerator according to claim 2, wherein a handle groove (40a) is provided on the cover (40).
     
    5. The refrigerator according to claim 1, further comprising guide parts (23) provided on the rear surface of the reception part (20a) and slantingly protruded toward the front portion of one side part of the door to guide the control unit (30) forward.
     
    6. The refrigerator according to claim 2, wherein a pair of hooks (41) latched into the installation hole (20b) to maintain the installation state of the cover in the installation hole is formed at both sides of the cover.
     
    7. The refrigerator according to claim 2, wherein first support protrusions (42) to support the side surfaces of the control unit (30) and second support protrusions (43) to support the rear surface of the control unit (30) are provided on the cover (40).
     
    8. The refrigerator according to claim 7, wherein the cover (40) is installed at the lower end of a connection part (33) extended downwardly from the lower end of the control unit (30), and thus moves together with the control unit and is inserted into the installation hole (20b).
     
    9. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein a first elastically support part (24) protruding forward to elastically support the control unit (30') forward is provided on the rear surface of the reception part (20a').
     
    10. The refrigerator according to claim 9, wherein a second elastically support part (44) protruding backward to elastically support the rear surface of the control unit (30') is provided on the cover (40').
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Kühlgerät, welches aufweist:

    ein Hauptgehäuse (10), ausgebildet mit Speicherkammern (11R, 11F);

    Türen (20R, 20F, 20R', 20F'), zum entsprechenden Öffnen und Schließen der Speicherkammern (11R, 11F);

    eine Steuerungseinheit (30, 30'), installiert in einer Tür von den Türen zur Auswahl einer Tätigkeit;

    ein Aufnahmeteil (20a, 20a'), vorgesehen in der einen Tür zur Aufnahme der Steuerungseinheit;

    eine Installationsöffnung (20b, 20b'), gebildet an einem Seitenende der Tür zum Einsetzen der Steuerungseinheit in den Aufnahmeteil, und Anzeigeeinheiten (31), vorgesehen an einer Vorderseite der Steuerungseinheit (30, 30'), zur Darstellung eines Betätigungszustandes des Kühlgeräts,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Kühlgerät weiterhin aufweist:

    ein transparentes Bauteil (22), installiert vorne an der Tür (20F), um eine Vorderseite der Tür zu bilden,

    ein transparentes Fensterteil (22a), vorgesehen an einer Position des transparenten Bauteils, entsprechend zu den Anzeigeeinheiten (31) zum Sichtbarmachen der Anzeigeeinheit (31) zur Außenseite der Tür, und Schalter (32) zur Auswahl des Betätigungszustandes des Kühlgeräts, die an der Vorderseite der Steuerungseinheit vorgesehen sind,

    wobei die Schalter elektrostatische Schalter, betätigt durch statische Elektrizität, umfassen.


     
    2. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 1, welches weiterhin eine Abdeckung (40, 40') aufweist, die an der Installationsöffnung zum Schließen der Installationsöffnung (20b, 20b') installiert ist.
     
    3. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein Seitenende der Tür (20R) drehbar am Hauptkörper (10) installiert ist und die Installationsöffnung (20b) am anderen Seitenende der Tür vorgesehen ist.
     
    4. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 2, wobei eine Handgriffausnehmung (40a) auf der Abdeckung (40) vorgesehen ist.
     
    5. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 1, welches weiterhin Führungsteile (23) aufweist, die an der Rückseite des Aufnahmeteils (20a) vorgesehen sind und geneigt in Richtung vorderen Bereichs eines Seitenteils der Tür vorstehen zur Führung der Steuerungseinheit (30) nach vorne.
     
    6. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 2, wobei ein Paar von Haken (41) in die Installationsöffnung (20b) eingerastet sind zur Aufrechterhaltung des Installationszustands der Abdeckung in der Installationsöffnung, welches an beiden Seiten der Abdeckung gebildet ist.
     
    7. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 2, wobei erste Tragvorsprünge (42) zum Stützen der Seitenflächen der Steuerungseinheit (30) sowie zweite Tragvorsprünge (43) zum Stützen der Rückseite der Steuerungseinheit (30) auf der Abdeckung (40) vorgesehen sind.
     
    8. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Abdeckung (40) installiert ist an einem unteren Ende eines Verbindungsteils (33), das sich vom hinteren Ende der Steuerungseinheit (30) nach unten erstreckt, und sich entsprechend zusammen mit der Steuerungseinheit bewegt und in die Installationsöffnung (20b) eingesetzt ist.
     
    9. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein erstes elastisches Tragteil (24) nach vorne vorsteht zum elastischen Stützen der Steuerungseinheit (30') nach vorne, welches an der Rückseite des Aufnahmeteils (20a') vorgesehen ist.
     
    10. Kühlgerät nach Anspruch 9, wobei ein zweites elastisches Tragteil (44) nach hinten vorsteht zum elastischen Abstützen der Rückseite der Steuerungseinheit (30'), welches an der Abdeckung (40') vorgesehen ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Réfrigérateur comprenant:

    un corps principal (10) muni de compartiments de rangement (11R, 11F);

    des portes (20R, 20F, 20R', 20F', 20F') pour ouvrir et fermer respectivement les compartiments de rangement (11R, 11F);

    une unité de commande (30, 30') installée dans une porte à l'extérieur des portes pour sélectionner une opération;

    une partie réception (20a, 20a') prévue dans ladite porte pour recevoir l'unité de commande;

    un trou d'installation (20b, 20b') formé sur une extrémité latérale de la porte pour amener l'unité de commande dans la partie réception, et des unités d'affichage (31) prévues sur une surface frontale de l'unité de commande (30, 30') pour afficher un état de fonctionnement du réfrigérateur,

    caractérisé en ce que le réfrigérateur comprend en outre:

    un élément transparent (22) installé devant la porte (20F) pour former une surface avant de la porte,

    une partie de fenêtre transparente (22a) prévue à une position de l'élément transparent correspondant aux unités d'affichage (31) pour montrer les unités d'affichage (31) à l'extérieur de la porte, et des commutateurs (32) pour sélectionner l'état de fonctionnement du réfrigérateur prévu sur la surface frontale de l'unité de commande,

    dans laquelle les interrupteurs comprennent des interrupteurs électrostatiques fonctionnant à l'électricité statique.


     
    2. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un couvercle (40, 40') installé dans le trou d'installation pour fermer le trou d'installation (20b, 20b').
     
    3. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel:

    une extrémité latérale de la porte (20R) est installée rotative sur le corps principal (10); et

    le trou d'installation (20b) est prévu sur l'autre extrémité latérale de la porte.


     
    4. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 2, dans lequel une rainure de poignée (40a) est prévue sur le couvercle (40).
     
    5. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre des parties de guidage (23) prévues sur la surface arrière de la partie réception (20a) et faisant saillie en biais vers la partie avant d'une partie latérale de la porte pour guider l'unité de commande (30) en avant.
     
    6. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 2, dans lequel une paire de crochets (41) fixés dans le trou de montage (20b) pour maintenir l'état de montage du couvercle dans le trou de montage est formée des deux côtés du couvercle.
     
    7. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 2, dans lequel des premières saillies de support (42) pour supporter les surfaces latérales de l'unité de commande (30) et des secondes saillies de support (43) pour supporter la surface arrière de l'unité de commande (30) sont prévues sur le couvercle (40).
     
    8. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 7, dans lequel le couvercle (40) est monté à l'extrémité inférieure d'une partie de connexion (33) s'étendant vers le bas à partir de l'extrémité inférieure de l'unité de commande (30), et se déplace ainsi avec l'unité de commande et est inséré dans le trou de montage (20b).
     
    9. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une première partie de support élastique (24) faisant saillie vers l'avant pour supporter élastiquement l'unité de commande (30') vers l'avant est prévue sur la surface arrière de la partie réception (20a').
     
    10. Réfrigérateur selon la revendication 9, dans lequel une deuxième partie de support élastique (44) faisant saillie vers l'arrière pour supporter élastiquement la surface arrière de l'unité de commande (30') est prévue sur le couvercle (40').
     




    Drawing
























    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description