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United States Patent Application 20170307270
Kind Code A1
KIM; Dong Sun October 26, 2017

ICE-MAKING DEVICE

Abstract

Embodiments of the present invention disclose an ice-making device including an ice tray configured to make ice pieces from water, an ice-making duct, a scroll fan unit, and a cold air guide. The ice-making duct is configured to receive a cold air and supply the cold air toward a lower portion of the ice tray. The scroll fan unit is installed under the ice tray and configured to transfer the cold air supplied from the ice-making duct. The cold air guide is provided under the ice tray and configured to guide the cold air so that the cold air transferred by the scroll fan unit is uniformly supplied to a lower portion of the ice tray.


Inventors: KIM; Dong Sun; (Seoul, KR)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Dongbu Daewoo Electronics Corporation

Seoul

KR
Family ID: 1000002380012
Appl. No.: 15/395595
Filed: December 30, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F25C 1/04 20130101; F25C 2400/10 20130101; F25C 1/24 20130101
International Class: F25C 1/04 20060101 F25C001/04; F25C 1/24 20060101 F25C001/24

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Apr 25, 2016KR10-2016-0050019

Claims



1. An ice-making device, the device comprising: an ice tray configured to hold liquid and ice; a duct configured to supply cold air toward a bottom surface of the ice tray; a scroll fan unit disposed under the ice tray and configured to blow cold air supplied by the duct; and a cold air guide disposed under the ice tray and configured to guide cold air blown by the scroll fan unit, wherein cold air substantially uniformly contacts the bottom surface of the ice tray.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein cold air supplied by the duct freezes liquid held in the ice tray to create ice.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein a temperature of cold air supplied by the duct is below a freezing point of water.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the scroll fan unit extends along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the scroll fan unit comprises: a rotatable shaft configured to extend along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray; a spiral blade wound around an outer surface of the rotatable shaft to blow cold air along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray; and a drive unit configured to rotate the rotatable shaft.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the cold air guide surrounds the scroll fan unit, and guides the cold air blown by the scroll fan unit to the bottom surface of the ice tray.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein the cold air guide comprises: a guide housing; a guide cover portion extending from opposite side surfaces of the guide housing toward opposite side surfaces of the ice tray, the guide cover portion serving to guide cold air to the bottom surface of the ice tray; and an installation groove portion disposed at a lower portion of the guide housing and extending along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan unit is disposed within the installation groove portion.

8. An ice-making device, the device comprising: an ice tray configured to hold liquid and ice; a duct configured to supply cold air toward a lower portion of the ice tray; and a scroll fan unit extending along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray and disposed under the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan unit blows cold air supplied from the duct along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein cold air supplied by the duct freezes liquid held in the ice tray to create ice.

10. The device of claim 8, wherein a temperature of cold air supplied by the duct is below a freezing point of water.

11. The device of claim 8, further comprising a cold air guide disposed under the ice tray and configured to guide cold air blown by the scroll fan unit, wherein the cold air is uniformly supplied to the lower portion of the ice tray.

12. The device of claim 8, wherein the scroll fan unit comprises: a rotatable shaft extending along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray; a spiral blade disposed on the rotatable shaft to blow cold air along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray; and a drive unit configured to rotate the rotatable shaft.

13. The device of claim 11, wherein the cold air guide surrounds the rotatable scroll fan unit and guides cold air blown by the scroll fan unit to the lower portion of the ice tray.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein the cold air guide comprises: a housing; a cover portion extending from opposite side surfaces of the housing toward opposite side surfaces of the ice tray and configured to guide cold air to the lower portion of the ice tray; and an installation groove portion disposed at a lower portion of the housing and extending along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan unit is disposed within the installation groove portion.

15. An ice-making device, the device comprising: an ice tray configured to hold fluid and ice; a duct configured to supply cold air toward a lower portion of the ice tray; a scroll fan unit disposed under the ice tray and configured to transfer cold air from the duct; and a cold air guide disposed under the ice tray and configured to guide cold air transferred by the scroll fan unit, wherein the cold air transferred by the scroll fan unit is substantially uniformly supplied to a lower portion of the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan unit comprises: a rotatable shaft installed and configured to extend along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray; a spiral blade disposed on the rotatable shaft, the spiral blade serving to transfer cold air along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray; and a drive unit configured to rotate the rotatable shaft, and wherein the cold air guide comprises: a housing; a cover portion extending from opposite side surfaces of the housing toward opposite side surfaces of the ice tray and configured to guide cold air to the lower portion of the ice tray; and an installation groove portion disposed at a lower portion of the housing and extending along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan unit is disposed within the installation groove portion.

16. The device of claim 15, wherein cold air supplied by the duct freezes liquid held in the ice tray to create ice.

17. The device of claim 15, wherein a temperature of cold air supplied by the duct is below a freezing point of water.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is based on and claims priority from Korean Patent Application No. 10-2016-0050019, filed on Apr. 25, 2016, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] Embodiments of the present disclosure generally relate to an ice-making device, and more particularly, to an ice-making device with enhanced ice-making efficiency.

BACKGROUND

[0003] A refrigerator is an apparatus which maintains the interior of a refrigeration compartment and a freezing compartment at a low temperature and keeps food fresh by repeating a freezing cycle consisting of the compression, condensation, expansion and evaporation of a refrigerant.

[0004] The refrigerator may include a refrigerator main body having a freezing compartment and a refrigeration compartment for storing food at a low temperature, and a refrigerator door for selectively opening and closing a front surface of the refrigerator main body.

[0005] In the freezing compartment, an ice-making device may be included to produce ice pieces having a predetermined shape using cold air. The ice-making device may include an ice-making unit with an ice tray for receiving cold air and freezing water into ice, and an ice bucket configured to store the ice produced by the ice-making unit.

[0006] In general, a refrigerator may include an evaporator disposed on a rear surface of a refrigerator main body, a blower fan configured to blow cold air generated by the evaporator, a cold air duct configured to distribute and guide cold air blown by the blower fan toward a freezing compartment and a refrigeration compartment, and an ice-making duct configured to connect the cold air duct to an ice maker, which is disposed on an inner surface of a refrigerator door, and configured to supply cold air to the ice maker.

[0007] When cold air generated from the evaporator is moved along the cold air duct by the blower fan, some cold air is introduced into the freezing compartment or the refrigeration compartment, and the remaining cold air is moved toward the ice-making duct. The cold air freezes the water contained in the ice tray to produce ice while making contact with the ice tray of the ice-making device.

[0008] However, the performance of the ice-making device suffers when cold air does not rapidly flow and becomes stagnant. Furthermore, the cold air may not be uniformly supplied to the entire ice tray, and therefore the ice-making speed is reduced.

SUMMARY

[0009] Embodiments of the present disclosure provide an ice-making device for efficiently making ice, where the device is capable of ensuring that cold air supplied into an ice-making compartment flows rapidly (without becoming stagnant), even when the flow of air contacts an ice tray, and ensures that cold air makes relatively uniform contact with a surface of the ice tray.

[0010] According to one embodiment, an ice-making device is disclosed. The ice-making device includes an ice tray configured to hold liquid and ice, a duct configured to supply cold air toward a bottom surface of the ice tray, a scroll fan unit disposed under the ice tray and configured to blow cold air supplied by the duct, and a cold air guide disposed under the ice tray and configured to guide cold air blown by the scroll fan unit such that cold air contacts the entire bottom surface of the ice tray, where cold air is distributed substantially uniformly to the bottom surface of the ice tray.

[0011] According to another embodiment, an ice-making device is disclosed and includes an ice tray configured to hold liquid and ice, a duct configured to supply cold air toward a lower portion of the ice tray, and a scroll fan unit extending along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray and disposed under the ice tray, wherein the scroll fan blows cold air supplied from the ice-making duct along the longitudinal direction of the ice tray.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary refrigerator including an exemplary ice-making device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a diagram of a side view of an exemplary ice-making device for efficiently making ice according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0014] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a configuration of an exemplary ice-making device for efficiently making ice according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a front view of an exemplary ice-making device for efficiently making ice according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description, drawings, and claims are not meant to be limiting. Other embodiments may be utilized, and other changes may be made, without departing from the spirit or scope of the subject matter presented here.

[0017] One or more exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which one or more exemplary embodiments of the disclosure can be easily determined by those skilled in the art. As those skilled in the art will realize, the described exemplary embodiments may be modified in various different ways, all without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure, which is not limited to the exemplary embodiments described herein.

[0018] It is noted that the drawings are schematic and are not necessarily dimensionally illustrated. Relative sizes and proportions of parts in the drawings may be exaggerated or reduced in their size, and a predetermined size is merely exemplary and not limiting. The same reference numerals designate the same structures, elements, or parts illustrated in two or more drawings in order to exhibit similar characteristics.

[0019] The exemplary drawings of the present disclosure illustrate ideal exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure in more detail. As a result, various modifications of the drawings are expected. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments are not limited to a specific form of the illustrated region, and for example, may include modifications of form for manufacturing.

[0020] One embodiment of the present disclosure will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0021] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary refrigerator including an ice-making device according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. FIG. 2 is a side view of an exemplary ice-making device for efficiently making ice according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a configuration of an exemplary ice-making device for efficiently making ice according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. FIG. 4 is a front view of an exemplary ice-making device having enhanced ice-making efficiency according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0022] Referring to FIG. 1, refrigerator 1 may include a storage compartment 2 for storing food at a low temperature and an ice-making device 10 for freezing water to produce ice.

[0023] The refrigerator 1 may include an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser for supplying cold air to the storage compartment 2 in order to store food at a low temperature.

[0024] A cold air supply process is used to supply cold air in the refrigerator 1. A hot refrigerant gas which has exchanged heat with ambient air through the evaporator is sent to the compressor where the refrigerant gas is compressed. The compressed refrigerant is liquefied by dissipating heat while passing through the condenser. The liquefied refrigerant is sent from the condenser to the evaporator.

[0025] The liquefied refrigerant sent to the evaporator is evaporated by absorbing heat from ambient air. In the evaporator, the liquefied refrigerant is wholly or partially converted to a gaseous refrigerant by the heat from the ambient air. The gaseous refrigerant is separated from the liquid refrigerant and is returned into the compressor. In the evaporator, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air around the evaporator. Using this heat transfer process, the evaporator cools the air inside the refrigerator 1. The air cooled in the evaporator is delivered to the storage compartment 2 of the refrigerator 1, thereby cooling the storage compartment 2.

[0026] Referring to FIGS. 2 to 4, the exemplary ice-making device 10 for efficiently making ice may include an ice tray 100, an ice-making duct 200, a scroll fan unit 300 and a cold air guide part 400, according to some embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0027] Some embodiments may include other components (e.g., components well-known in the field of ice-making devices). Well-known components may not be described herein to avoid obscuring the spirit of the present disclosure.

[0028] The ice tray 100 may freeze water stored therein and may produce ice (e.g., ice pieces). The water contained in the ice tray 100 is frozen into ice pieces by cold air. The ice tray 100 may include partition walls configured to divide the water/ice pieces, an ice-releasing member configured to discharge the ice pieces out of the ice tray 100, an ice-releasing member guide configured to guide the ice-releasing member, and ice cells formed by the partition walls.

[0029] The partition walls and the ice cells may have different shapes depending on the shape of the ice pieces to be produced. The number of the partition walls and the ice cells may be modified as desired.

[0030] The ice-making duct 200 is configured to receive cold air generated in the refrigerator 1 and supply cold air to an underside of the ice tray 100.

[0031] As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the ice-making duct 200 may have a substantially rectangular three-dimensional shape. The ice-making duct 200 may include a flow path through which cold air flows. The shape of the ice-making duct 200 is not limited to the shape illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, and may be modified or changed as desired.

[0032] The scroll fan unit 300 may be installed under the ice tray 100 to increase the velocity or amount of cold air supplied from the ice-making duct 200 into the ice-making compartment. The scroll fan unit 300 may enhance ice-making efficiency by rotating to force cold air along a surface (e.g., a bottom surface) of the ice tray 100 and rapidly cool water contained in the ice tray 100.

[0033] In this regard, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the scroll fan unit 300 may be disposed longitudinally along the bottom surface of the ice tray 100 in order to feed cold air toward an entire lower portion of the ice tray 100. Thus, cold air flowing into the ice-making compartment is moved longitudinally along the bottom surface of the ice tray 100 by the scroll fan unit 300 and is supplied to the entire ice tray 100. This technique increases the overall ice-making speed and efficiency of the ice tray 100.

[0034] Specifically, the scroll fan unit 300 may include a rotary shaft 310, a spiral blade portion 320 and a drive unit 330.

[0035] The rotary shaft 310 is disposed under the ice tray 100 and extends along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray 100. The rotary shaft 310 may be rotated by an external force.

[0036] The spiral blade portion 320 may be spiral-shaped and wound around an outer surface of the rotary shaft 310. The spiral blade portion 320 may be used to force cold air in a particular direction as the rotary shaft 310 rotates. Thus, when the rotary shaft 310 rotates, the cold air introduced into the ice-making compartment is forcibly moved in a direction by the spiral blade portion 320. Because the rotary shaft 310 and the spiral blade portion 320 are disposed along a longitudinal direction of the ice tray 100, the cold air is moved in the longitudinal direction of the ice tray 100. Thus, the cold air may make contact with the lower portion (e.g., the bottom surface) of the ice tray 100 and may cool the water contained in the ice tray 100.

[0037] Because the spiral blade portion 320 forcibly moves cold air in this way, the cold air does not stay in one place (e.g., stagnate) and may continuously make contact with a lower portion of the ice tray 100. This makes it possible to supply the cold air to the entire ice tray 100 and increase the speed of ice-making.

[0038] The drive unit 330 may comprise a motor and is used to rotate the rotary shaft 310. For example, an independent motor may be included in the drive unit 330, or alternatively the drive unit 330 may receive power from an auger motor already installed in the ice-making device 10.

[0039] The cold air guide 400 may be disposed under the ice tray 100 as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 and is configured to guide cold air so that the cold air guided by the scroll fan unit 300 is uniformly supplied to the lower portion of the ice tray 100.

[0040] The cold air guide 400 may surround the scroll fan unit 300 so that the scroll fan unit 300 is positioned inside the cold air guide 400. The cold air guide 400 guides cold air so that cold air blown by the scroll fan unit 300 is supplied to the lower portion of the ice tray 100, and little or no cold air is dispersed to other parts of the refrigerator 1.

[0041] Specifically, the cold air guide 400 may include a housing 410, a cover portion 420 and an installation groove portion 430.

[0042] The housing 410 forms an outer shell of the cold air guide 400 and is disposed under the ice tray 100.

[0043] The cover portion 420 extends from the opposite side surfaces of the housing 410 to the opposite side surfaces of the ice tray 100. The cover portion 420 may prevent the cold air from flowing toward the outside of the housing 410.

[0044] Specifically, when the scroll fan unit 300 rotates, cold air is moved by the spiral blade unit 320. At this time, the cold air is blown by the rotational force of the spiral blade unit 320 and is at risk of being dispersed outward due to centrifugal force; however, the cover portion 420 confines the cold air within the housing 410 so that the cold air is not dispersed away from the housing 410. Thus, the cover portion 420 prevents cold air from escaping and ensures that the cold air is substantially supplied to the ice tray 100.

[0045] The installation groove portion 430 is formed in the lower portion of the housing 410 and extends along the longitudinal direction of the scroll fan unit 300. The scroll fan unit 300 may be disposed in the installation groove portion 430.

[0046] As described above, the ice tray 100, the ice-making duct 200, the scroll fan unit 300 and the cold air guide 400 are disposed in the main body 11 of the ice-making device 10, and may be mounted to the refrigerator 1.

[0047] Although exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure are described above with reference to the accompanying drawings, those skilled in the art will understand that the present disclosure may be implemented in various ways without changing the necessary features or the spirit of the present disclosure.

[0048] Therefore, it should be understood that the exemplary embodiments described above are not limiting, but only an example in all respects. The scope of the present disclosure is expressed by claims below, not the detailed description, and it should be construed that all changes and modifications achieved from the meanings and scope of claims and equivalent concepts are included in the scope of the present disclosure.

[0049] From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that various embodiments of the present disclosure have been described herein for purposes of illustration, and that various modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. The exemplary embodiments disclosed in the specification of the present disclosure do not limit the present disclosure. The scope of the present disclosure will be interpreted by the claims below, and it will be construed that all techniques within the scope equivalent thereto belong to the scope of the present disclosure.

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