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United States Patent Application 20170202426
Kind Code A1
BOSEN; PETER ;   et al. July 20, 2017

Dishwasher, In Particular Domestic Dishwasher With A Rotatably Mounted Optical Detection Means

Abstract

A dishwasher, in particular a domestic dishwasher, includes a washing compartment for accommodating items to be washed, a container delimiting the washing compartment, a pump for circulating washing liquid in the container, a wash program control apparatus for executing at least one wash program and for activating the pump, and at least one optical detector connected to the wash program control apparatus for optically detecting at least one compartment section or segment of the washing compartment. The wash program control device adjusts the wash program based on the state in the washing compartment detected by the optical detector. The optical detector is rotatably mounted inside the container so that different compartment sections or segments of the washing compartment are detected by the optical detector in dependence on or as a function of the position and/or the location of the optical detector.


Inventors: BOSEN; PETER; (SINZING, DE) ; PFEIFFERER; MARKUS; (LAPPERSDORF, DE)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

BSH HAUSGERAETE GMBH

MUENCHEN

DE
Assignee: BSH HAUSGERAETE GMBH
MUENCHEN
DE

Family ID: 1000002568080
Appl. No.: 15/326720
Filed: June 29, 2015
PCT Filed: June 29, 2015
PCT NO: PCT/EP2015/064642
371 Date: January 17, 2017


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47L 15/4295 20130101; A47L 15/0028 20130101; A47L 15/006 20130101; A47L 15/23 20130101; A47L 15/4219 20130101; A47L 2501/30 20130101; A47L 2501/05 20130101; A47L 2501/06 20130101; A47L 2401/04 20130101; A47L 2401/30 20130101; A47L 2501/04 20130101
International Class: A47L 15/42 20060101 A47L015/42; A47L 15/23 20060101 A47L015/23; A47L 15/00 20060101 A47L015/00

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Jul 17, 2014DE10 2014 213 902.3
Aug 7, 2014DE10 2014 215 660.2

Claims



1-11. (canceled)

12. A dishwasher or domestic dishwasher, comprising: a washing compartment or accommodating items to be washed, said washing compartment segments; a container delimiting said washing compartment; a pump for circulating washing liquid in said container; at least one optical detector for optically detecting at least one of said compartment segments of said washing compartment, said at least one optical detector being mounted rotatably within said container for detecting different compartment segments of said washing compartment as a function of at least one of a position or a location of said at least one optical detector; and a wash program control apparatus for executing at least one wash program and for activating said pump, said wash program control apparatus being connected to said at least one optical detector, and said wash program control apparatus adjusting said at least one wash program based on a state in said washing compartment detected by said at least one optical detector.

13. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein said container has a top wall, a top rinse arm is mounted rotatably on said top wall, said top rinse arm has at least one washing liquid outlet opening, and said at least one optical detector is fastened to said top rinse arm.

14. The dishwasher according to claim 13, wherein said top rinse arm is driven in response to the washing liquid being conveyed by said pump and exiting from said at least one washing liquid outlet opening.

15. The dishwasher according to claim 12, which further comprises a dish rack mounted in said container, and a rack rinse arm mounted rotatably on said dish rack, said rack rinse arm having at least one washing liquid outlet opening, and said at least one optical detector being fastened to said rack rinse arm.

16. The dishwasher according to claim 15, wherein said rack rinse arm is driven in response to the washing liquid conveyed by said pump and exiting from said at least one washing liquid outlet opening.

17. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein said container has a bottom wall, a bottom rinse arm is mounted rotatably in said bottom wall, said bottom rinse arm has at least one washing liquid outlet opening, and said at least one optical detector is fastened to said bottom rinse arm.

18. The dishwasher according to claim 17, wherein said bottom rinse arm is driven in response to the washing liquid conveyed by said pump and exiting from said at least one washing liquid outlet opening.

19. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein: said container has a top wall, a bottom wall and a dish rack mounted in said container; a top rinse arm is mounted rotatably on said top wall, a bottom rinse arm is mounted rotatably in said bottom wall, and a rack rinse arm is mounted rotatably on said dish rack; said rinse arms each have at least one respective washing liquid outlet opening; and said at least one optical detector is fastened to and manually releasable from at least one of said rinse arms.

20. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein: said container has a top wall, a bottom wall and a dish rack mounted in said container; a top rinse arm is mounted rotatably on said top wall, a bottom rinse arm is mounted rotatably in said bottom wall, and a rack rinse arm is mounted rotatably on said dish rack; said rinse arms each have at east one respective washing liquid outlet opening; and said at least one optical detector is at least one of form-lockingly or materially fixed to at least one of said rinse arms.

21. The dishwasher according to claim 20, wherein said at least one optical detector cannot be non-destructively released from said at least one of said rinse arms.

22. The dishwasher according to claim 21, wherein plastic is injection molded around said at least one optical detector during production of at least one of said rinse arms.

23. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein said at least one optical detector has at least one electrical image sensor.

24. The dishwasher according to claim 23, wherein said at least one electrical image sensor is at least one of a camera, a digital camera, a webcam or a network camera.

25. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein said at least one optical detector is connected to said wash program control apparatus (9) by a communication connection.

26. The dishwasher according to claim 25, wherein said communication connection is a wireless communication connection.

27. The dishwasher according to claim 26, wherein said wireless communication connection has at least one of an inductive or capacitive interface, an optical interface, an NFC interface, a WLAN connection, a Bluetooth radio connection or an HF radio connection.

28. The dishwasher according to claim 12, wherein said wash program control apparatus is configured to adjust said wash program based on: a state of a degree of soiling, as detected by said at least one optical detector, of items to be washed being present in said washing compartment including at least one of dishes or flatware, or a state of a degree of soiling of the washing liquid, or a state of at least one of a nature or a configuration of a load of items to be washed including at least one of dishes or flatware, in a dish rack disposed in said washing compartment.
Description



[0001] The invention relates to a dishwasher, in particular a domestic dishwasher, having a washing compartment, which is designed to accommodate items to be washed, a container delimiting the washing compartment, a pump which is designed to circulate washing liquid in the container, a wash program control apparatus, which is designed to execute at least one wash program and to activate the pump, and at least one optical detection means connected to the wash program control apparatus, which is designed to optically detect at least one compartment segment of the washing compartment, the wash program control apparatus being designed to adjust the wash program based on the state in the washing compartment detected by the optical detection means.

[0002] US 2012/0138092 A1 describes a method for controlling a dishwasher, having a wash chamber for dishes to be cleaned with a pull-out dish rack and an imaging apparatus with a field of view covering at least part of the wash chamber. With this method images of smaller segments of the wash chamber are recorded repeatedly, while the dish rack is introduced into the wash chamber. The repeated recording of images is synchronized with the movement of the dish rack here. The regions of the dish rack in which dishes are present are determined based on the repeatedly recorded images of the different segments of the wash chamber.

[0003] It is the object of the invention to create a dishwasher, in particular a domestic dishwasher, in which optical detection of the washing compartment can take place with simple and/or low-cost optical detection means, in particular in an improved manner.

[0004] The object of the invention is achieved by a dishwasher, in particular a domestic dishwasher, having a washing compartment which is designed to accommodate items to be washed, for example dishes and/or flatware, a container delimiting the washing compartment, a pump which is designed to circulate washing liquid in the container, a wash program control apparatus, which is designed to execute at least one wash program and to activate the pump, and at least one optical detection means connected to the wash program control apparatus, which is designed to optically detect at least one compartment segment of the washing compartment, the wash program control apparatus being designed to adjust the wash program based on the state in the washing compartment detected by the optical detection means, and the optical detection means being mounted rotatably within the container in such a manner that different compartment segments of the washing compartment are detected by the optical detection means as a function of the position and/or location of the optical detection means.

[0005] A wash program can predefine for example the overall duration of a wash sequence and/or the execution of rinse operations, main wash operations or drying operations. A wash program can also predefine for example the temperature of the washing liquid and/or the dosing of chemical detergents, in other words washing agents such as powder or tablets and/or rinse aid, and control the regeneration of ion exchangers for softening the water supplied from the water system. In principle the dishwasher can have a number of different wash programs. The different wash programs can be characterized by differently selected wash operations and/or wash operations of different durations.

[0006] The wash program control apparatus can have one or more wash programs. For example the wash program control apparatus can have an electronic control circuit, which has an electronic memory, in which the one or more wash programs are stored.

[0007] The optical detection means is configured to optically detect at least one compartment segment of the washing compartment. The state detected by the optical detection means can be transmitted to the wash program control apparatus for example by way of an electrical connection, such as a cable, or alternatively even wirelessly. The state detected by the optical detection means can be analyzed automatically in the wash program control apparatus. Thus for example the state in the washing compartment can be analyzed to determine the quantities of items to be washed present in the washing compartment. The number of dishes and/or flatware items can be estimated or even determined, in particular automatically, for example by image analysis in respect of number and/or position or location. Alternatively or additionally the degree of soiling of the items to be washed can be estimated or even determined, in particular automatically, for example by image analysis.

[0008] The different compartment segments of the washing compartment can be in particular sectors, which are illuminated by the optical detection means over an angular range predefined by the nature of the optical detection means. The different compartment segments of the washing compartment, in particular the sectors, can be covered because of the rotatable mounting of the optical detection means, so that a much larger compartment segment of the washing compartment is detected by the movement of the optical detection means than would be with a fixed detection means.

[0009] Because the optical detection means is mounted rotatably within the container in such a manner that different compartment segments of the washing compartment are detected by the optical detection means as a function of the position and/or location of the optical detection means, it is possible in particular to detect more clearly the mature of the individual current load of items to be washed in the washing compartment and/or the degree of soiling of the individual current items to be washed in the washing compartment. The different compartment segments of the washing compartment can thus be detected from different directions and/or perspectives. Detection of the load and/or degree of soiling can therefore be achieved much more reliably. In particular the different compartment segments of the washing compartment can be detected from different directions, viewing angles and/or perspectives with just one optical detection means, whereas otherwise a number of fixed optical detection means would be necessary. Because the optical detection means is mounted rotatably within the container in such a manner that different compartment segments of the washing compartment are detected by the optical detection means as a function of the position and/or location of the optical detection means, there is in particular no need for the several optical detection means that were necessary for this purpose until now. This means that such a single rotatably mounted optical detection means can replace several fixed optical detection means. The inventively rotatably mounted optical detection means can thus provide a better overview than several static, i.e. fixed, optical detection means.

[0010] To improve the cleaning of items to be washed within the dishwasher, it is expedient to flexibly adjust at least one predefined wash program as a function of the individual current state in the dishwasher. The nature of the individual current load of items to be washed in the washing compartment and/or the degree of soiling of the individual current items to be washed in the washing compartment can be used in particular to optimize the wash program. Generally until now a user of the dishwasher estimated the nature of the individual current load of items to be washed in the washing compartment and the degree of soiling of the individual current items to be washed in the washing compartment visually and intuitively selected a specific wash program that he/she deemed appropriate in the current situation from a number of permanently predefined wash programs. According to the invention the wash program should be adjusted automatically, in other words without human intervention, based on the nature of the individual current load of items to be washed in the washing compartment and/or the degree of soiling of the individual current items to be washed in the washing compartment. It is known that a fixed camera that detects the washing chamber optically can be provided for automatic adjustment of the wash program.

[0011] The container can have a top wall, a top rinse arm being mounted rotatably on the top wall, having at least one washing liquid outlet opening and being driven in particular in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump and exiting from the at least one washing liquid outlet opening, the optical detection means being fastened to the top rinse arm.

[0012] The top rinse arm can in particular be configured and/or designed to apply washing liquid to a flatware tray and/or an upper rack from above. An optical detection means fastened rotatably to the top rinse arm here can be configured and/or designed to detect a state of the flatware tray and/or upper rack from above.

[0013] As an alternative or in addition to an optical detection means on the top rinse arm and/or an optical detection means on a bottom rinse arm, a dish rack can be mounted in the container with a rack rinse arm mounted rotatably on the dish rack, having at least one washing liquid outlet opening and being driven in particular in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump and exiting from the at least one washing liquid outlet opening, the optical detection means being fastened to the rack rinse arm.

[0014] The rack rinse arm can in particular be configured and/or designed to apply washing liquid to an upper rack from below and/or to apply washing liquid to a lower rack from above. An optical detection means fastened rotatably to the rack rinse arm here can be configured and/or designed to detect a state of the upper rack from below and/or a state of the lower rack from above.

[0015] As an alternative or in addition to an optical detection means on the top rinse arm and/or an optical detection means on the rack rinse arm, the container can have a bottom wall with a bottom rinse arm mounted rotatably in the bottom wall, having at least one washing liquid outlet opening and being driven in particular in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump and exiting from the at least one washing liquid outlet opening, the optical detection means being fastened to the bottom rinse arm.

[0016] The bottom rinse arm can in particular be configured and/or designed to apply washing liquid to a lower rack from below. An optical detection means fastened rotatably to the bottom rinse arm here can be configured and/or designed to detect a state of the lower rack from below.

[0017] In all alternative or additional embodiments the optical detection means can be fastened to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm in such a manner that it can be released manually therefrom.

[0018] Because the optical detection means is fastened to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm in such a manner that it can be released manually therefrom, a user can easily remove said optical detection means from the dishwasher. This can be expedient in particular in order to be able to clean the optical detection means itself manually. A releasable fastening can also be used to attach the optical detection means to another rinse arm or to attach the optical detection mean to a different point on the same rinse arm.

[0019] The optical detection means can have a housing, in particular a fluid-tight housing, and a releasable fastening means connected to the housing. The fastening means can be for example a latching apparatus, such as a latching hook, which latches with a form fit to a counter latching apparatus configured on the rinse arm. In another embodiment the releasable fastening means can have for example one or more elastic loops which can be tensioned around the rinse arm to fasten the optical detection means to the rinse arm in a releasable manner. Manual releasability of the fastening means in particular that a user of the dishwasher can remove the optical detection means from the rinse arm manually and reattach it without needing tools for the purpose.

[0020] As an alternative to a manually releasable fastening, the optical detection means can also be connected in a fixed manner to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm. The optical detection means can therefore be connected non-releasably to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm. A non-releasable connection means in particular that the optical detection means is connected to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm in such a manner that it cannot be released manually without using tools. In specific embodiments a non-releasable connection also means in particular that the optical detection means is connected to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm in such a manner that it cannot be released from the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm at all in a non-destructive manner. For example in such an embodiment the optical detection means can be connected to the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm with a form fit and/or a material fit, by injecting plastic around the optical detection means during production of the top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm. The top rinse arm, the rack rinse arm and/or the bottom rinse arm here can be configured in particular as an injection molded plastic part.

[0021] The optical detection means can have at least one electrical image sensor, in particular optionally a camera, a digital camera, a webcam and/or a network camera.

[0022] The optical detection means can be connected to the wash program control apparatus by means of a communication connection.

[0023] The communication connection can be in particular a wireless communication connection.

[0024] In the case of a wireless communication connection, it can have an inductive or capacitive interface, an optical interface, an NFC interface, a WLAN connection, a Bluetooth radio connection and/or an HF radio connection. In the case of an optical interface for example an illuminating means, for example an LED, can be coupled to the optical detection means, the optical detection means being configured and/or designed to modulate the detected state in the washing compartment onto the light emitted by the illuminating means or LED after corresponding analog and/or digital conversion. In such an embodiment the wash program control apparatus can then have an optical receiver which receives the light emitted by the illuminating means or LED and demodulates or analyzes it so that that state of the washing compartment detected by the optical detection means can be analyzed by the wash program control apparatus and the wash program can then be automatically adjusted accordingly.

[0025] Generally the wash program control apparatus can be configured to adjust the wash program based on the state of a degree of soiling, as detected by the optical detection means, of items to be washed present in the washing compartment, such as dishes and/or flatware, the state of a degree of soiling of the washing liquid and/or the state of the nature and/or arrangement of a load of items to be washed, such as dishes and/or flatware, in a dish rack arranged in the washing compartment of the dishwasher.

[0026] One specific exemplary embodiment of the invention is described in more detail in the description which follows with reference to the accompanying figures. Specific features of this exemplary embodiment may represent general features of the invention, irrespective of the context in which they are mentioned, also whether they are considered individually or in combination

[0027] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary domestic dishwasher with inventively rotatably mounted optical detection means, and

[0028] FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an exemplary rinse arm in isolation, an inventive optical detection means fastened in a manually releasable manner thereto, and

[0029] FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of an inventive wireless communication connection between the wash program control apparatus and the optical detection means

[0030] FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a domestic dishwasher 1. The domestic dishwasher 1 has a container 2. The container 2 delimits a washing compartment 3 of the domestic dishwasher 1. The container 2 comprises side walls, a top wall 4 and a bottom wall 5, which contains a washing liquid sump. Arranged in the bottom wall 5 or in the washing liquid sump below a filter insert 16 is an electric pump 6. The pump 6 is connected to an upper supply line 7 and a lower supply line 8. The pump 6 is connected to a washing program control apparatus 9 so that inter alia the conveyed quantity or conveying speed of washing liquid can be controlled for example by changing the rotation speed of a motor (not shown) driving the pump 6. The wash program control apparatus 9 can also be designed to control or regulate the pump 6, in particular in the form of a heating pump, or its heating means (not shown) in respect of temperature, in particular in respect of the temperature of the conveyed washing liquid.

[0031] The domestic dishwasher 1 also has an upper dish rack 10 and a lower dish rack 11. A rack rinse arm 13 is mounted rotatably below the upper dish rack 10 and a bottom rinse arm 14 is mounted rotatably below the lower dish rack 11. In the present exemplary embodiment a top rinse arm 12 is also mounted rotatably on the top wall 4 of the container 2. The bottom rinse arm 14 is supplied with washing liquid by way of the lower supply line 8 and the rack rinse arm 13 is supplied with washing liquid by way of the upper supply line 7.

[0032] The present exemplary embodiment in FIG. 1 therefore shows a dishwasher, in particular a domestic dishwasher 1, which has a washing compartment 3, which is designed to accommodate items 17 to be washed, such as dishes 17a and/or flatware 17b, which has a container 2 delimiting the washing compartment 3 and a pump 6 which is designed to circulate washing liquid in the container 2. The domestic dishwasher 1 also has a wash program control apparatus 9, which is designed to execute at least one wash program and to activate the pump 6. According to the invention the optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c connected to the wash program control apparatus 9 are designed to optically detect at least one compartment segment of the washing compartment 3, the wash program control apparatus 6 being designed to adjust the wash program based on the states in the respective region of the washing compartment 3 detected by the optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c. The exemplary three optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c shown in FIG. 1 are each mounted in such a manner that they can be rotated separately in the container 2, such that different parts or compartment segments of the washing compartment 3 are detected by the respective optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c as a function of the position and/or location of the respective optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c.

[0033] As shown in FIG. 1, in the present exemplary embodiment the container 3 has a top wall 4, on which the top rinse arm 12 is rotatably mounted. In the present exemplary embodiment the top rinse arm 12 has a number of washing liquid outlet openings 12a. The top rinse arm 12 is driven in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump 6 and exiting from at least one of the washing liquid outlet openings 12a, the optical detection means 15a being fastened to the top rinse arm 12.

[0034] In the present exemplary embodiment the rack rinse arm 13 is also mounted rotatably on the upper dish rack 10. In the present exemplary embodiment, as shown in detail in FIG. 2, the rack rinse arm 13 has a number of washing liquid outlet openings 13a. The rack rinse arm 13 is driven in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump 6 and exiting from the at least one washing liquid outlet opening 13a, the optical detection means 15b being fastened to the rack rinse arm 13.

[0035] In the present exemplary embodiment the container 3 also has a bottom wall 5, in which the bottom rinse arm 14 is rotatably mounted. In the present exemplary embodiment the bottom rinse arm 14 has a number of washing liquid outlet openings 14a. The bottom rinse arm 14 is driven in response to the washing liquid conveyed by the pump 6 and exiting from at least one of the washing liquid outlet openings 14a, the optical detection means 15c being fastened to the bottom rinse arm 14.

[0036] In the present exemplary embodiment the optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c are fastened to the top rinse arm 12, the rack rinse arm 13 and/or the bottom rinse arm 14 in such a manner that they can be released manually therefrom.

[0037] The optical detection means 15a, 15b, 15c respectively and optionally can have at least one electrical image sensor, in particular a camera, a digital camera, a webcam and/or a network camera.

[0038] The wash program control apparatus 9 is designed to adjust the wash program based on the state of a degree of soiling, as detected by the optical detection means 15, 15a-15c, of items 17 to be washed present in the washing compartment 3, such as dishes 17a and/or flatware 17b, the state of a degree of soiling of the washing liquid and/or the state of the nature and/or arrangement of a load of items 17 to be washed, such as dishes 17a and/or flatware 17b in a dish rack 10, 11 arranged in the washing compartment 3 of the dishwasher 1.

[0039] FIG. 2 shows an exemplary optical detection means 15, which has a fluid-tight housing 19 and in the present exemplary embodiment two releasable fastening means 20. The fastening means 20 are connected to the housing 19. In this embodiment the fastening means 20 have elastic loops, which can be tensioned around the rinse arm 12, 13, 14, as shown in FIG. 2, to fasten the optical detection means 15 to the rinse arm 12, 13, 14 in a releasable manner. Manual releasability of the fastening means 20 means in particular that a user of the dishwasher can remove the optical detection means 15 from the rinse arm 12, 13, 14 manually and reattach it without needing tools for the purpose.

[0040] FIG. 3 shows schematically that the optical detection means 15 is connected to the wash program control apparatus 9 by means of a communication connection 18.

[0041] In the present exemplary embodiment the communication connection 18 is configured as a wireless communication connection 18a.

[0042] The wireless communication connection 18a can have an inductive or capacitive interface, an optical interface, an NFC interface, a WLAN connection, a Bluetooth radio connection and/or an HF radio connection.

LIST OF REFERENCE CHARACTERS

[0043] 1 Domestic dishwasher [0044] 2 Container [0045] 3 Washing compartment [0046] 4 Top wall [0047] 5 Bottom wall [0048] 6 Pump [0049] 7 Upper supply line [0050] 8 Lower supply line [0051] 9 Wash program control apparatus [0052] 10 Upper dish rack [0053] 11 Lower dish rack [0054] 12 Top rinse arm [0055] 12a Washing liquid outlet opening [0056] 13 Rack rinse arm [0057] 13a Washing liquid outlet opening [0058] 14 Bottom rinse arm [0059] 14a Washing liquid outlet opening [0060] 15, 15a-15c Optical detection means [0061] 16 Filter insert [0062] 17 Items to be washed [0063] 17a Dishes [0064] 17b Flatware [0065] 18 Communication connection [0066] 18a Wireless communication connection [0067] 19 Housing [0068] 20 Fastening means

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