Patent application title: DISH RACK, IN PARTICULAR UPPER RACK
Guenther Ennen (Enger, DE)
Guenther Ennen (Enger, DE)
Seyfettin Kara (Spenge, DE)
Seyfettin Kara (Spenge, DE)
Kira Schaefer (Bielefeld, DE)
Monika Seifert (Detmold, DE)
Monika Seifert (Detmold, DE)
Stefan Tiekoetter (Bielefeld, DE)
Erik Woldt (Lippstadt, DE)
Thorsten Schuette (Paderborn, DE)
MIELE & CIE. KG
IPC8 Class: AA47L1550FI
Class name: Platelike culinary plate dishwashing machine rack
Publication date: 2012-11-29
Patent application number: 20120298598
A dish rack for an automatic dishwashing machine includes a main body and
a dishware support movably mounted on the main body. The dishware support
has an adjustable orientation relative to the main body and is configured
so as to adjust orientation based on a dishwashing cycle.
1. A dish rack for an automatic dishwashing machine, the dish rack
comprising: a main body; and a dishware support movably mounted on the
main body, the dishware support being adjustable in orientation relative
to the main body based on a dishwashing cycle.
2. The dish rack recited in claim 1, wherein the dish rack is an upper rack.
3. The dish rack recited in claim 1, wherein the dishware support is adjustable in the orientation based on a parameter of a dishwashing process of the dishwasher.
4. The dish rack recited in claim 3, wherein the dishware support is adjustable in the orientation based on rinse temperature.
5. The dish rack recited in claim 1, further comprising an adjustment device configured to adjust the dishware support.
6. The dish rack recited in claim 5, wherein the adjustment device includes a mechanical adjusting device that is at least partially attached to the main body.
7. The dish rack recited in claim 5, wherein the adjustment device includes a mechanical adjusting device that is attachable to a wall of a washing chamber of the dishwashing machine.
8. The dish rack recited in claim 5, wherein the adjustment device is wirelessly controllable by an appliance controller of the dishwashing machine.
9. The dish rack recited in claim 5, wherein the adjustment device includes an actuator that is operable as a function of temperature.
10. The dish rack recited in claim 9, wherein the actuator is a shape memory actuator having a shape memory element including a shape memory alloy.
11. The dish rack recited in claim 1, wherein the dishware support includes a wire having a supporting portion extending in a longitudinal direction of the main body.
12. The dish rack recited in claim 11, wherein the wire includes first and second ends, each of the first and second ends of the wire being mounted to the main body by an adjustment device configured to adjust the dishware support, each adjustment device being interposed between a respective end of the wire and the main body.
14. The dish rack recited in claim 1, wherein the dishware support is movably mounted on the main body so as to be movable in a vertical direction of the main body.
16. The dish rack recited in claim 1, wherein the dishware support is pivotally mounted to the main body.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims priority to German Patent Application No. DE 10 2011 103 004.6, filed May 24, 2011, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
 The present invention relates to a dish rack, in particular an upper rack, for an automatic dishwashing machine, including a main body and a dishware support movably mounted to the main body.
 Dishwashing machines and dish racks for dishwashing machines are generally known and, therefore, need not be specifically described herein.
 Dishwashing machines are used for cleaning dishware such as, for example, plates, glasses, cups, pots and/or the like. A dishwashing machine has dish racks which are used for placement of items to be washed and which, once they are loaded, may be moved by the user into the washing chamber provided by the dishwashina machine. After the dishware has been cleaned by the dishwashing machine, the dish racks may be removed by the user from the washing chamber provided by the dishwashing machine, which facilitates the unloading of the dish racks.
 Dish racks of the aforementioned type are preferably formed of a mesh of plastic-coated wires. Typically, a dish rack provides different receiving areas to hold dishware items of different geometric dimensions.
 German Patent Application DE 34 17 744 A1 describes a dish rack having a specially designed cup rack. In accordance with German Patent Application DE 34 17 744 A1, it is proposed to pivotally connect the cup rack to the main body of the dish rack, which allows the cup rack to be pivoted from an operative position to an inoperative position, and vice versa. In its operative position, the cup rack is inclined to allow optimized cleaning of the cups held by it during its intended use.
 Although the dishware support in the form of a cup rack, such as is described in DE 34 17 744 A1, has proven practical in everyday use, it still has disadvantages.
 For example, dishware items such as cups or plates have depressions, grooves or inward curvatures on their underside or foot, which are due to the manufacturing process and in which liquid accumulations or puddles may still be present even after completion of a properly performed drying cycle. With a view to maintaining optimized cleaning performance, it is also not possible to avoid the formation of such liquid accumulations or puddles because, in particular, cups must be positioned in the dish rack in such a way that the spray jets from the spray arms can get into the openings of the cups. This is also why dishware supports, such as the one known from DE 34 17 744 A1, are oriented in an inclined position. However, the inclination is not sufficient to prevent the aforedescribed formation of liquid accumulations or puddles. This is perceived as disadvantageous because remaining rinse water may require subsequent manual drying with a dish towel or the like. Moreover, there is a risk that during unloading of the dish racks, remaining rinse liquid may drop onto dishware items that have not yet been removed.
 FIG. 4 shows a conventional dish rack in a schematic perspective view. Dish rack 1 is formed by a plurality of wire members 2 which are joined together to form main body 11 of dish rack 1.
 Dish rack 1 provides different receiving areas 3, 4, and 5, which each serve to hold dishware items 8. Specifically, receiving area 3 is used, in particular, to hold small dishware. Receiving area 4 is designed to hold in particular plates, for which purpose tines 6 are provided. Receiving areas 5 are provided on the left and right sides with respect to the transverse extension of dish rack 1 and are used, in particular, to hold glasses or cups, the latter being shown by way of example. Receiving areas 5 have inclined receiving portions 7, which allow dishware items 8 to be placed in an inclined orientation, as can be readily seen in the view of FIG. 4. Dishware items 8 are supported, on the one hand, on rack side 9 and, on the other hand, on inclined receiving portion 7. The inclination of each of receiving portions 7 is selected such that dishware items 8 are oriented at such an inclination with respect to the spray arms (not specifically shown in the figures) of the dishwashing machine (also not specifically shown in the figures) that the wash or rinse water or liquid delivered by the spray arms reaches dishware items 8 in an optimized manner and, for example, in the case of the cups shown in FIG. 4, is able to spray into the hollows of the cups.
 Although design such as the one shown in FIG. 4 has proven practical in everyday use, it still has disadvantages. For example, the inclination of dishware items 8 defined by the inclination of receiving portions 7 is not sufficient to reliably prevent the formation of liquid accumulations or puddles in the dimples, grooves, depressions and/or the like of dishware items 8. Therefore, when unloading the dishwashing machine, unwanted accumulations of residual liquid may drop onto other dishware items, especially ones which are located in a bottom rack. Dishware items 8 in whose dimples liquid accumulations or puddles have formed must be dried off by hand using, for example, a kitchen or dish towel after they are unloaded from the dishwashing machine. Last but not least, the drying performance of the dishwashing machine may be subjectively perceived as unsatisfactory by the user.
 In an embodiment, the present invention provides a dish rack for an automatic dishwashing machine including a main body and a dishware support movably mounted on the main body. The dishware support is adjustable in orientation relative to the main body based on a dishwashing cycle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Embodiments of the present invention are described in more detail below with reference to the drawings, in which:
 FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a dish rack according to the present invention;
 FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of an adjustment device according to the present invention, shown in the initial position;
 FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of an adjustment device according to the present invention, shown in the extended position;
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a conventional dish rack.
 In an embodiment, the present invention provides a dish rack which, due to its design, makes it possible to substantially prevent unwanted accumulation of liquid or formation of puddles of the type described above.
 In an embodiment, the present invention provides a dish rack where the dishware support is designed such that its orientation relative to the main body can be adjusted or varied according to the dishwashing cycle.
 In an embodiment, the dish rack of the present invention has at least one dishware support which, unlike the prior art, is not only movably mounted to the main body of the dish rack, but rather can also be adjusted in orientation relative to the main body, such adjustment being made according to the dishwashing cycle. This inventive design allows the orientation of the dishware support relative to the main body to be adjusted depending on the particular step of the dishwashing process. This makes it possible, for the first time, to vary the inclination of the dishware items held by the dishware support while a dishwashing process is performed and, in particular, to adjust the inclination of the dishware items according to the progress of the dishwashing process.
 Thus, the dish rack advantageously allows dishware items such as, in particular, cups, glasses, or the like to be oriented during the performance of a cleaning cycle in a standard inclined position which is optimized for this cycle. After completion of the cleaning operation, the orientation of the dishware support is then adjusted according to the dishwashing cycle, thereby increasing the inclination of the dishware items. As a result, liquids or puddles which may have accumulated or formed in depressions or hollows of dishware items can run off before or at the beginning of the actual drying process.
 The adjustment of the dishware support is preferably performed according to a parameter of the dishwashing process, such as the rinse temperature.
 The last rinsing or cleaning step prior to the actual drying step is generally the "final rinse", which is preferably carried out at a temperature of above 60° C. As a consequence, the dishware items heat up to such a degree that after the remaining rinse water (also called "rinse liquor") is pumped off, the residual heat remaining in the dishware items sufficient to allow any remaining adhering moisture to dry off through evaporation. Therefore, especially the rinse temperature is suitable as a parameter for adjusting the dishware support. Thus, in particular, provision may be made to adjust the dishware support in its orientation relative to the main body of the dish rack after completion of the final rinse step in order to incline the dishware items. In this manner, any liquid accumulations or puddles will be removed as the actual drying of the dishware begins.
 The adjustment of the dishware support is preferably accomplished using an adjustment device. The adjustment device may include a mechanical adjusting device which is at least partially attached to main body or to one of the walls of the washing chamber provided by the dishwashing machine.
 The adjustment device may be designed to be wirelessly controllable, for example, by the appliance controller of the dishwashing machine. However, a preferred embodiment of the adjustment device is one which includes an actuator that operates as a function of temperature. The advantage of this embodiment is that it allows control to take place independently of the appliance controller of the dishwashing machine. This is advantageous, especially with regard to retrofitting of existing dishwashing machines.
 The actuator is preferably a shape memory actuator having a shape memory element made of a shape memory alloy. The shape memory element may, for example, take the form of a compression spring. This element responds in a temperature-dependent manner. When the temperature is below a certain level, the shape memory element is in its initial shape. Once this temperature, also called threshold temperature, is exceeded, the shape changes. In the case of a compression spring, for example, a pressure force may be produced by a change in length. Once the temperature is again below the threshold temperature, the shape memory element returns to its original shape. If the shape memory element is in the form of a compression spring, the compression spring is thereby caused to contract.
 The advantage of this embodiment is that it allows for cycle-dependent adjustment of the dishware support without the need for an additional connection to an appliance controller or an additional electrical power supply and/or the like. The shape memory alloy of the shape memory element is designed to have a response or threshold temperature matched to the temperatures prevailing at the end of preferably the final rinse operation. Thus, the shape memory element is preferably designed to respond at a temperature below the final rinse temperature, for example, at 50° C. Once this temperature is reached during the final rinse operation, the actuator in the form of a shape memory actuator causes an adjustment of the dishware support, allowing any accumulations of residual liquids to run off. The final rinse operation is followed by the drying step, during which the dishware items are dried. During this process, the temperature decreases with increasing drying time. When the temperature then falls below the threshold temperature of about 50° C., the shape memory actuator is restored to its original position, which corresponds to initial position.
 In accordance with an embodiment, the dishware support takes the form of a wire having a portion which preferably extends in the longitudinal direction of the main body. During normal use, the dishware items are supported on this wire portion, which is why it may also be referred to as supporting portion. The wire is mounted at both ends to the main body with an adjustment device interposed between each end and the main body, so that when an adjustment is made as intended by the adjustment devices, the wire changes its position relative to the main body, thereby hanging the inclination of the dishware items supported by the dishware support formed by the wire.
 The dishware support is mounted to the main body such that it is movable in the vertical direction of the main body. Alternatively, or in addition, the dishware support may also be pivotally mounted to the main body. What is decisive is that the dishware support can be adjusted in orientation relative to main body of the dish rack, so that the inclination of the dishware items held by it can be variably controlled.
 An embodiment of the present invention, which is shown in different views in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, remedies problems associated with conventional dish racks.
 The dish rack 1 has a dishware support 10 which, in the exemplary embodiment shown, is formed of a wire 15. This wire is mounted to main body 11 of dish rack 1 such that it is movable in vertical direction 22.
 As may be seen particularly in the view of FIG. 1, dishware items 8 are supported on dishware support 10 during normal use. By viewing FIGS. 2 and 3 in conjunction, it can be seen that dishware support 10 can be moved in vertical direction 22, FIG. 2 showing the initial retracted state and FIG. 3 showing the extended final state. Due to the fact that dishware items 8 are supported on dishware support 10, dishware items 8 are inclined relative to dish rack 1 when dishware support 10 is moved from the initial position shown in FIG. 2 to the final position shown in FIG. 3, thereby allowing any liquid residues or puddles which may have accumulated or formed in dimples, hollows or the like of dishware items 8 to run off.
 Dish support 10 is provided at each end portion with an adjustment device 12 for the purpose of adjusting its relative orientation with respect to main body 11. In the exemplary embodiment shown, the adjustment device is an actuator in the form of a shape memory actuator. Particularly viewing FIGS. 2 and 3 in conjunction, the mode of operation can be seen to be as follows:
 Adjustment device 12 has a housing 13, which is attached to wire members 2 of dish rack 1. Housing 13 provides a hole 14 into which extends the end of wire 15, which constitutes dishware support 10. Dishware support 10 formed by wire 15 includes a supporting portion 16 and a supported portion 17. Supporting portion 16 extends in longitudinal direction 24 of dish rack 1, as can be seen particularly in the view of FIG. 1, whereas supported portion 17 is oriented orthogonally thereto and is longitudinally movably received in hole 14 of housing 13. Supported portion 17 of wire 15 carries a sleeve 18. A shape memory element 23 in the form of a compression spring is disposed in bore 14 of housing 13, said shape memory element 23 resting, on the one hand, against bottom 19 of hole 14 and, on the other hand, against sleeve 18, which is longitudinally movably received it hole 14.
 Supporting portion 16 is provided at the end with an abutment 20 in the form of a plate. Supported against this plate is a compression spring which, at the other end, rests against bottom 19 of housing 13.
 Shape memory element 23 is made of a shape memory alloy whose response sets in at a temperature of, for example, 50° C., 55° C. or 60° C. The resulting operation is as follows:
 The initial position is shown in FIG. 2. If the heating occurring, for example, during a final rinse cycle is such that the threshold temperature of shape memory element 23 is exceeded, then shape memory element 23, which is in the form of a compression spring, expands as shown in FIG. 3. In this process, shape memory element 23 bears against bottom 19 of hole 14, as a result of which sleeve 18 and the wire 15 (i.e., dishware support 10) connected thereto are moved upward in vertical direction 22, thereby changing the inclination of the dishware items 8 supported on supporting portion 16 of wire 15. The vertical displacement at the same time biases the return member, which is in the form of a compression spring 21 that bears, on the one hand, against abutment 20 and, on the other hand, against bottom 19 of housing 13. If in the further course of the dishwashing process, the temperature falls below the threshold temperature of shape memory element 23, the shape memory element contracts with the aid of the return member in the form of compression spring 21 and returns to the initial position shown in FIG. 2.
 While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications by Guenther Ennen, Enger DE
Patent applications by Monika Seifert, Detmold DE
Patent applications by Seyfettin Kara, Spenge DE
Patent applications by Stefan Tiekoetter, Bielefeld DE
Patent applications by MIELE & CIE. KG
Patent applications in class Dishwashing machine rack
Patent applications in all subclasses Dishwashing machine rack