Patent application title: SURFACE MOUNT IGNITER ASSEMBLY
Paul Bryan Cadima (Prospect, KY, US)
Paul Bryan Cadima (Prospect, KY, US)
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY
IPC8 Class: AF24C310FI
126 39 E
Class name: Liquid or gaseous fuel gas burners and lighters
Publication date: 2013-03-14
Patent application number: 20130061844
A cooktop surface is a high dielectric strength surface in which an
opening is provided to receive a burner assembly. A surface mount igniter
assembly extends through the same opening and terminates adjacent a
perimeter of the burner assembly. The surface mount igniter assembly
includes an electrode having a first end extending through the burner
opening, an intermediate portion received in a ceramic insulator, and a
terminal, second end disposed adjacent the burner perimeter. The ceramic
insulator preferably has an opening edge slot to facilitate receipt of
the electrode therein, and the ceramic insulator faces the dielectric
cooktop surface to fully insulate around the electrode.
1. A surface mount igniter assembly comprising: a surface having at least
one opening therein; a burner assembly operatively mounted to the surface
with at least a portion extending into the opening; and an igniter
extending through the opening and terminating adjacent the burner
2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the surface is a glass ceramic.
3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the igniter has a first portion that extends approximately perpendicular to the surface opening.
4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the first portion includes an electrode extending through a ceramic insulator, the electrode including an exposed terminal end.
5. The assembly of claim 4 wherein the ceramic insulator includes an opening facing the surface.
6. The assembly of claim 5 wherein the igniter is bent through substantially 90 degrees at each of opposite ends.
7. The assembly of claim 4 wherein the electrode is mechanically fixed in the ceramic insulator.
8. The assembly of claim 4 wherein the electrode is retained by a resin in the ceramic insulator.
9. The assembly of claim 4 wherein the ceramic insulator extends outwardly from the opening along the surface.
10. The assembly of claim 9 wherein the ceramic insulator terminates adjacent a perimeter of the burner.
11. A method of forming a surface mount igniter assembly: providing a ceramic cooktop with at least one opening; aligning a burner assembly at least partially through the opening; and positioning at least a part of an igniter assembly through the opening.
12. The method of claim 11 further comprising positioning a ceramic member adjacent the surface to extend outwardly from the opening.
13. The method of claim 12 further comprising positioning the electrode in the ceramic member.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the electrode positioning step includes orienting at least one end of the electrode substantially perpendicular to the opening.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein the orienting step includes orienting opposite ends of the igniter assembly perpendicular to the opening.
16. The method of claim 11 wherein the electrode positioning step includes pre-bending the electrode before inserting the electrode into a ceramic member.
17. The method of claim 11 wherein the electrode positioning step includes bending the electrode after inserting the electrode into a ceramic member.
18. A gas cooking appliance comprising: a high dielectric strength cooktop surface having an opening; a burner assembly at least partially received through the opening; a surface mount spark electrode assembly extending through the opening, along the cooktop surface, and terminating adjacent the burner assembly.
19. The igniter assembly of claim 18 wherein the electrode assembly includes an electrode received in an insulator, the insulator being open along one edge to facilitate receipt of the electrode therein, the open edge of the insulator facing the high dielectric strength cooktop surface so that the spark electrode assembly is fully insulated.
20. The igniter assembly of claim 18 wherein the electrode assembly includes an electrode that is bent through approximately 90 degrees.
BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE
 The present disclosure pertains to the art of gas cooking appliances and, particularly to the mounting of a gas burner assembly, and more particularly mounting a surface mount igniter assembly to a ceramic-based appliance cooktop.
 Conventional gas cooking appliances incorporate a cooktop generally formed of metal or glass. An opening is provided in the cooktop to receive a gas operated burner assembly, and typically multiple openings are provided in the cooktop to each receive a respective gas operated burner assembly. The gas burner assembly has a portion extending through the cooktop opening and is secured to the appliance, i.e., secured to the cooktop. A smaller diameter offset hole or bore is provided adjacent the burner assembly opening. An electronic igniter assembly is configured to extend through the offset hole and has an electrode that is connected to an electric wire below the cooktop thereby selectively creating a spark for igniting the associated gas burner assembly.
 The current practice of mounting the burners directly to the glass or ceramic cooktop surface is desirable since consumers perceive such an arrangement to be easy to clean. However, each cut or opening formed in the ceramic glass increases the manufacturing cost. Likewise, each cut weakens the cooktop surface. In fact, a distance between openings must be closely controlled in order to maintain the strength and integrity of the glass cooktop surface.
 Igniters are typically made by molding a ceramic insulator, inserting an electrode wire, and capturing the electrode mechanically or with a resin in the ceramic. Preferably, the electrode is maintained straight in order for easy insertion into a through hole of the ceramic insulator. Alternatively, the electrode has an extended length and is bent to enable additional spark positions. These latter types of electrode assemblies are not as desired for surface burners since there is a potential to snag or catch rags, sponges, etc. when cleaning the cooktop surface around the burner assembly. Further, these types of electrodes have a tendency to move out of position. In the current arrangements, the electrode must pass through a bore or hole in the cooktop surface where the burner is mounted directly to the glass cooktop.
 In other instances, additional features such as an illuminated burner adds complexity to the assembly and manufacturing process. This added complexity requires an alternative method to mount an ignition source to surface burners.
 Therefore, a need exists for an alternative assembly that overcomes the various deficiencies associated with traditional ignition mounting designs and methods which are either not physically possible or viable.
SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE
 A surface mount igniter assembly includes a cooktop surface having at least one opening, a burner operatively mounted to the surface with at least a portion extending into the opening, and an igniter extending through the opening and terminating adjacent the burner.
 The cooktop surface is formed of a high dielectric strength material such as a glass ceramic.
 The igniter includes an electrode extending through a ceramic insulator, and preferably the ceramic insulator includes an opening facing the cooktop surface.
 The electrode is mechanically fixed or retained by a resin in the ceramic insulator.
 The electrode is bent through substantially 90° at each of opposite ends.
 The open edge of the insulator faces the high dielectric strength cooktop surface so that the igniter is fully insulated.
 A method of forming a surface mount igniter assembly includes providing a ceramic cooktop with at least one opening, aligning a burner through the opening, and positioning an igniter assembly through the opening.
 The method further includes positioning a ceramic insulator adjacent the surface to extend outwardly from the opening, and positioning an electrode of the igniter assembly into the ceramic insulator.
 The electrode positioning step includes orienting at least one end of the electrode substantially perpendicular to the opening.
 In one arrangement, the electrode positioning step includes pre-bending the electrode before inserting into the ceramic insulator.
 One advantage of the present disclosure is the ability to eliminate the need for separate ignition holes to be formed in the cooktop surface.
 Another benefit resides in the simplified product assembly.
 Yet another advantage is the ability to vary burner geometry, glass cooktop geometry, and incorporate other unique features such as illuminated burners where traditional ignition mounting methods are not possible or viable.
 Still other benefits and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a range incorporating the gas burner and associated surface mount igniter assembly of the present disclosure.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a cooktop surface showing the conventional practice of adding an igniter opening adjacent the burner opening.
 FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of a burner opening and associated igniter opening in a conventional cooktop surface.
 FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a cooktop surface opening adapted to receive a burner assembly and igniter assembly of the present disclosure.
 FIG. 5 is a view similar o FIG. 4 illustrating the igniter mounted to the surface.
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the mounted burner and igniter assembly on a cooktop surface.
 FIG. 7 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the igniter assembly.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Turning first to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a cooking appliance 100 which is a conventional domestic range, although one skilled in the art will recognize that the cooktop surface may be incorporated into other environments such as an island-type cooktop surface. The appliance 100 includes a housing or cabinet 102 in which is formed an oven cavity 104 selectively closed by door 106. The door 106 may include a window or glass viewing panel 108 to allow the consumer or user to view the oven cavity 104 when the door is closed. In this particular arrangement, the appliance 100 operates on gas and therefore a gas burner 110 is shown in phantom and is provided beneath a bottom or lower surface 112 of the oven cavity. Vertically spaced rails 114 are provided in sidewalls 116 for supporting one or more oven racks (not shown) at various heights within the oven cavity. Although described for purposes of completeness, the oven is not a required feature of the present disclosure.
 The illustrated cooking appliance 100 incorporates a ceramic or glass cooktop surface 140. The cooktop surface 140 can adopt various configurations and may be made from various ceramic base materials so that reference to a ceramic-based material is intended to cover other materials including ceramic, glass-ceramic, and similar materials. Mounted to the cooktop surface 140 is at least one, and preferably plural, gas burner assemblies 142, 144, 146, 148. Each of the gas burner assemblies is substantially identical in construction and function, unless particularly noted otherwise. In some embodiments, a greater or lesser number of burner assemblies may be provided. An upper, rear portion of the cooking appliance 100 forms a control panel 160 that is preferably provided with plural control members or knobs 162, 164, 166, 168 to operate and control the operation of the gas burners 142, 144, 146, 148, respectively. In addition, the control panel 160 includes a central control unit 170 and may include a visual display 172.
 The cooktop surface 140 is separately illustrated in FIG. 2 and only includes one burner assembly 142 for ease of illustration. As is evident, at least one enlarged opening 180 is provided or formed through the cooktop surface, and preferably multiple openings are provided, i.e., one opening for each of the burner assemblies. In current practice, a separate hole or bore 182 is provided adjacent each opening 180. The hole 182 is dimensioned to receive a conventional igniter assembly therethrough so that an ignition spark can be provided to the gas fed through an associated burner assembly. Manufacturing costs increase with each opening or cut made in the cooktop surface. Further, each cut or opening potentially weakens the cooktop surface. As a result, a predetermined minimal gap 184 is provided between the enlarged burner opening 180 and the smaller igniter hole 182 (FIG. 3).
 The present disclosure eliminates use of the separate igniter holes adjacent the burner openings. FIGS. 4-7 show a cooktop surface 140 with at least one opening 180 and preferably with surface mounting components received in the opening. Particularly, and as shown in FIG. 7, the surface mounting components include an adaptor plate 186 that has an outer perimeter portion that is received along the upper surface of the cooktop surface (FIGS. 5 and 7), and includes spaced openings located inwardly from the perimeter that receive respective fasteners 188 that cooperate with (e.g., are threaded to) a bracket 190 (only partially shown in FIG. 7) received beneath the cooktop surface. A gasket 192 (FIG. 7) has an upper portion that is interposed between regions of the upper surface of the cooktop surface 140 and the adaptor plate 186, and a lower portion that is interposed between regions of a lower surface of the cooktop surface 140 and the bracket 190. When tightened, the fasteners 188 clamp the adaptor plate 186, bracket 190, and gasket 192 to secure the surface mounting components to the upper and lower surfaces of the cooktop surface and position or mount the burner assembly (which includes the concept of at least a portion of the burner assembly extending through the opening 180) to the cooktop surface. In addition, surface mount igniter assembly 200 has at least a portion received through the opening 180. Particularly, a wire 202 of the surface mount igniter assembly is wrapped in insulation where it passes through the opening 180 and extends into a ceramic insulator 204 that is received on the cooktop surface 140 and extends generally radially outward from a periphery of the opening 180. The ceramic insulator 204 preferably has a length or longitudinal dimension that terminates adjacent a periphery of the burner assembly 142 so that a terminal end 206 of the electrode is exposed and positioned adjacent a gas outlet of the burner assembly. In this way, the electronic igniter assembly 200 is used to create a spark to ignite the gas provided to the burner assembly in a manner well known in the art. Thus, a first or terminal end 206 of the electrode extends outwardly from the ceramic insulator 204 adjacent a periphery of the burner assembly 142, and second end 208 of the surface mount igniter assembly is mounted below the cooktop surface 140 so that the intermediate portion of the wire 202 passes through the burner opening 180. No separate igniter hole or bore is required.
 The ceramic insulator 204 preferably includes a fastener arrangement such as fastening strap 220 that extends over the periphery of the ceramic insulator and includes one or more openings 222 (FIG. 4) to receive a fastener that cooperates with the burner assembly mounting components 186. Specifically, the fasteners preferably extend through respective openings 222 to secure the strap and ceramic insulator to the cooktop assembly mounting components such as the adaptor plate 186 or bracket 190 adjacent the opening 180. The ceramic insulator extends outwardly from the periphery of the opening, again to position terminal end 206 of the electrode adjacent the perimeter of the burner for ignition purposes. Once mounted to the cooktop surface 140, a portion of the burner assembly 142 overlies an inner length of the ceramic insulator 204 (FIGS. 6 and 7). As best evident in FIG. 7, the wire 202 extends upwardly through the opening, and proceeds through a first bend 230 of substantially 90° for receipt into a longitudinal slot 232 of the ceramic insulator 204. The slot is open along the edge facing the mounting surface to allow easy insertion of this intermediate portion of the electrode into the ceramic insulator. A retainer 234 is provided along the intermediate portion of the electrode to retain the electrode within the ceramic insulator. In one embodiment, the retainer 234 is a mechanical piece that is secured to the insulator, e.g., snap fit, or alternatively the retainer may be a resin that, once cured, envelops and holds the electrode 202 in the slot 232. It will be appreciated that alternative retainer arrangements may be used without departing from the scope and intent of the present disclosure. As perhaps best illustrated in FIG. 8, the electrode has a second bend 236 (FIG. 8) of substantially 90° to orient the terminal end 206 of the electrode upwardly adjacent the perimeter of the burner assembly. It is also contemplated that the open slot 232 allows the electrode to be pre-bent and subsequently inserted into the ceramic insulator, or in alternative arrangements, extended lengths of the electrode may be inserted into the slot and subsequently bent and cut to the desired length.
 Because ceramic glass is an excellent insulator, the bottom side of the ceramic insulator of the igniter assembly does not need to be closed or fully insulated. Rather, the ceramic insulator 204 and the high dielectric properties of the ceramic glass cooktop create a fully insulated spark source. The above-described surface mount spark electrode allows installation of a spark ignition source on a cooktop without the need to have a separate hole or bore for the electrode to be inserted into adjacent the burner opening formed in the cooktop surface. Product assembly is simplified, and this provides for new burner geometries, glass cooktop geometries, and incorporation of other unique features such as an illuminated burner where there is a need for an alternative method to mount an ignition source to surface burners.
 The disclosure has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the disclosure be construed as including all such modifications and alterations.
Patent applications by Paul Bryan Cadima, Prospect, KY US
Patent applications by GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY
Patent applications in class Burners and lighters
Patent applications in all subclasses Burners and lighters