US20090039751A1 - Refrigerator and method for the operation thereof - Google Patents

Refrigerator and method for the operation thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090039751A1
US20090039751A1 US11/918,600 US91860006A US2009039751A1 US 20090039751 A1 US20090039751 A1 US 20090039751A1 US 91860006 A US91860006 A US 91860006A US 2009039751 A1 US2009039751 A1 US 2009039751A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
lifting
housing
seal
door
refrigerator
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11/918,600
Inventor
Hans Gerd Keller
Matthias Mrzyglod
Michael Neumann
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
BSH Hausgeraete GmbH
Original Assignee
BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbH
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to DE102005021587.4 priority Critical
Priority to DE200510021587 priority patent/DE102005021587A1/en
Application filed by BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbH filed Critical BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbH
Priority to PCT/EP2006/061160 priority patent/WO2006120071A1/en
Assigned to BSH BOSCH UND SIEMENS HAUSGERATE GBMH reassignment BSH BOSCH UND SIEMENS HAUSGERATE GBMH ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MRZYGLOD, MATTHIAS, KELLER, HANS GERD, NEUMANN, MICHAEL
Publication of US20090039751A1 publication Critical patent/US20090039751A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F25D17/00Arrangements for circulating cooling fluids; Arrangements for circulating gas, e.g. air, within refrigerated spaces
    • F25D17/04Arrangements for circulating cooling fluids; Arrangements for circulating gas, e.g. air, within refrigerated spaces for circulating air, e.g. by convection
    • F25D17/042Air treating means within refrigerated spaces
    • F25D17/047Pressure equalising devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F25D23/00General constructional features
    • F25D23/08Parts formed wholly or mainly of plastics materials
    • F25D23/082Strips
    • F25D23/087Sealing strips

Abstract

A method for operating a refrigerator having two movably connected housing parts, a frame and a door which jointly delimit a heat-insulated interior, as well as a seal that is fastened to a first of the housing parts and contacts the other of the housing parts in an airtight manner in the closed position of both housing parts. The method includes a step in which the airtight contact between the seal and the second housing part is prevented for a specific period of time along a section of the seal while the sealing contact between the seal and the second housing part is subsequently restored along said section of the seal in a step. The invention also relates to a refrigerator for carrying out the method.

Description

  • The present invention relates to a refrigerator and a method for operating same. The refrigerator encompasses two movably connected housing parts, a carcass and a door, which jointly delimit a heat-insulated interior space, and also a seal fastened to a first of the housing parts which seal makes airtight contact with the other, second housing part in the closed position of the two housing parts. For the purposes of pressure equalization between an external atmosphere surrounding the refrigerator and the interior space of the refrigerator, the airtight contact between the seal and the second housing part is prevented for a period along part of the seal length in the closed position of the two housing parts in a method step (a). The invention also relates to a refrigerator for carrying out the method. This encompasses a lifting element, which allows an impermeable contact between the seal and the second housing part in a first position and can be transposed into a second position in which it lifts the seal along part of its length away from the second housing part in the closed position of the two housing parts for the purposes of enabling pressure equalization between the interior space and an external atmosphere surrounding the refrigerator.
  • An operating method of this type and refrigerator is known from DE 36 02 200 A1. In this case, a lifting element 14, 15 realized on a handle 13 engages in a fold 8 of a magnetic door seal 4. Pulling on the handle 13 lifts the magnetic door seal 4 along part of its length away from a contact margin on the carcass of the refrigerator, with the result that a flow path for air is created. A partial vacuum in the refrigerator, which can arise, for example, if warm air enters the interior space of the appliance upon the opening of the door and cools in there following a closing of the door, should therefore be dissipated immediately prior to the actual opening of the door. A partial vacuum prevailing in the interior space of the refrigerator is disadvantageous since it makes it considerably more difficult to open the door. Since the user has to displace the handle 13 over a specific distance for the purposes of operating the lifting element 14, 15 and the pressure equalization between the environment and the interior space of the refrigerator needs a certain amount of time, the actual opening operation of the door is delayed.
  • The object of the present invention is to provide an operating method for a refrigerator and a refrigerator for carrying out the method, in which the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders opening of the door, in the interior space of the refrigerator is prevented.
  • The object is achieved with the aid of a method as claimed in claim 1 and a refrigerator as claimed in claim 7. The dependent claims relate to preferred configurations.
  • Accordingly, a method is provided for operating a refrigerator which has two movably connected housing parts, a carcass and a door, which jointly delimit a heat-insulated interior space, and also a seal fastened to a first of the housing parts which seal makes airtight contact with the other, second housing part in the closed position of the two housing parts, the method encompassing a step (a) in which the airtight contact between the seal and the second housing part is prevented for a period along part of the seal length in the closed position of the two housing parts. According to the invention, the step (a) is effected in temporal conjunction with a closing of the door, preferably immediately after its closing, the sealing contact between the seal and the second housing part along said part of the seal length being restored subsequently in a step (b).
  • An air path between the environment of the refrigerator and the interior space of the refrigerator is therefore created following a closing of the door or preferably maintained upon the closing of the door so that air can flow in from the environment into the interior space of the refrigerator for pressure equalization. This prevents the build-up of a partial vacuum which would hinder a renewed opening of the door shortly after the closing. To open the door, the user only has to overcome the closing force of the magnetic seal used as a rule. To keep cold losses and therefore energy losses as low as possible, the sealing contact between the seal and the second housing part is restored as soon as a pressure equalization has essentially taken place. The time required for this, typically of about five seconds to a minute, is easy to determine experimentally. By particular preference, the airtight contact between the seal and the second housing part after a closing of the door is prevented for about five seconds to 25 seconds along part of the seal length in method step (a).
  • A refrigerator for carrying out the method described in the foregoing is also provided in accordance with claim 7. This encompasses a lifting element which allows an airtight contact between the seal and the second housing part in a first position and can be transposed into a second position in which it lifts the seal along part of its length away from the second housing part in the closed position of the two housing parts for the purposes of enabling a pressure equalization between the interior space and an external atmosphere surrounding the refrigerator. According to the invention, the refrigerator has a drive unit for the lifting element and also a control device which, after capturing an operation of the door, triggers the drive unit of the lifting element for the purposes of lifting the seal. The force necessary for lifting the seal does not therefore have to be applied by a user of the refrigerator and can be effected irrespective of an operation of a door handle.
  • Preferably, the seal is pressed away from a contact surface for the seal on the second housing part by means of the lifting element. The lifting element therefore exerts a pressure on the seal for the purposes of lifting the seal away from its contact surface on the second housing part.
  • Preferably, the lifting element is arranged in a recess of the second housing part in its first position and rises at least partly above the contact surface for the seal on the second housing part in its second position. In the recess, the lifting element is protected from external influences in an advantageous manner. Due to the sunken arrangement in the recess, the lifting element is not visually conspicuous on the refrigerator so that this also represents an aesthetic solution which is also inexpensive due to the simple construction.
  • The lifting element is preferably formed at least partly from a temperature-dependent deformable material, for example a bimetal or a shape memory alloy. Heating or cooling changes the form or shape of these materials. This change of form or shape can then be utilized in such a way that the lifting element allows an impermeable contact between the seal and the second housing part in a first form and lifts the seal away from the second housing part along part of its seal length in a second form into which it can be transposed by means of heating or cooling. In this respect the first form corresponds to the first position of the lifting element referred to in the foregoing and the second form the second position of the lifting element stated in the foregoing. The lifting element therefore just needs to be cooled or heated to lift the seal.
  • Preferably, a change of form of the lifting element from its first form into its second is caused by heating of the lifting element. The refrigerator therefore preferably has, as the drive unit for the lifting element, a heating device such as a PTC heating element with the aid of which short heating times can be implemented. Alternatively, it is also conceivable, however, to heat the lifting element by means of ambient air which flows past the lifting element upon the opening of the door. In this case, it is then necessary for the lifting element to possess its second form at normal room temperature, in particular in the range from roughly 15° C. to roughly 35° C. It would also be conceivable for the heating device to be connected to a frame heating system of the refrigerator, which is present as a rule, so that the frame heating system is utilized as the heat source for heating the lifting element.
  • Alternatively, the lifting element can also be realized as a simple actuator made from, for example, a non-temperature-dependent deformable material which is brought from its first position into its second or vice versa by means of a mechanical, electrical or magnetic drive unit. The lifting element can be realized in the form of a linear actuator, for example.
  • Preferably, the control device encompasses a switch which, upon an opening or closing of the door, i.e. a movement of the door relative to the carcass of the refrigerator, is changed over and triggers the drive unit for the lifting element. This ensures that after every time that the door stands open, a pressure equalization operation takes place by means of lifting of the seal so that a partial vacuum, which hinders a subsequent opening of the door, cannot be formed in the interior space of the refrigerator. Preferably, the switch comprises the door switch, which is present in every refrigerator as a rule, for operating an interior space illumination. But it may also comprise a door switch that is separate from the interior space illumination.
  • Preferably, the drive unit for the lifting element, that is to say the heating device for heating the lifting element in the case of the lifting element formed at least partly from temperature-dependent deformable material, is switched on upon an opening of the door. As a result of this, the lifting element takes up its second form or second position in which it protrudes above the contact surface for the seal on the second housing part. If the door is then closed, the lifting element holds the seal lifted, along part of its length, away from the second housing part and releases an air path for air flowing into the interior space with the result that the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders an opening of the door, in the interior space of the refrigerator is prevented. Upon a closing of the door, the heating device is preferably switched off. The lifting element cools down slowly but remains in its second form for a certain period after the closing of the door before it reverts to its first form again after the cooling. The pressure equalization can take place during this period.
  • In the case of the lifting element realized in the form of a simple actuator, the possibility exists, for the purposes of returning the lifting element from its second position to its first, of providing a timer which is activated after a closing of the door and triggers the drive unit of the lifting element after the expiry of a predetermined period of time and brings about a return of the lifting element to its first position.
  • The inventive refrigerator may comprise a refrigerator or frozen food storage appliance.
  • Developments and advantages of the present invention are explained in the following on the basis of embodiments of the present invention. In this respect, the diagrams show:
  • FIG. 1 A schematic section through a first embodiment of a refrigerator for carrying out the inventive method;
  • FIG. 2 A control scheme;
  • FIG. 3 A detailed section through a lower area of the carcass 1 and the door 2 of the refrigerator in FIG. 1 in the closed condition of the door 2 with the seal 4 lying against the carcass 1;
  • FIG. 4 The same section as FIG. 2, the lifting element 7 lifting the seal 4 along part of its length away from the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1;
  • FIG. 5 A schematic perspective sectional view through the arrangement shown in FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 6 A cross-section through the arrangement shown in FIG. 4 in a plane A-A;
  • FIG. 7 A longitudinal section through the arrangement shown in FIG. 2 in a plane B-B;
  • FIG. 8 A perspective side view corresponding to FIG. 4, the lifting element 7 lifting the seal 4 along part of its length away from the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1;
  • FIG. 9 A perspective sectional view of the arrangement of FIG. 7 in a space C-C-C;
  • FIG. 10 A longitudinal section through the arrangement shown in FIG. 7 in a plane B-B;
  • FIG. 11 A sectional view corresponding to FIG. 3 through a refrigerator in accordance with a second embodiment for carrying out the inventive method;
  • FIG. 12 A sectional view analogous to FIG. 4, the lifting element 7 lifting the seal 4 along part of its length away from the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1.
  • FIG. 1 shows, in highly schematic form, a refrigerator with a carcass 1 and a door 2 pivoting on same which jointly delimit an interior space 3 and also a magnetic seal 4 which is fastened all round the inner side of the door 2 and adheres to a contact surface 5 on the front side of the carcass 1 in an airtight manner by means of magnetic force so that a partial vacuum could form in its interior space 3 if, after the penetration of warm air into the interior space 3, the door 2 were closed in an airtight manner and the air cools down in the interior space 3.
  • In the heat-insulating wall 6 on the bottom of the carcass 1, a lifting element 7 is arranged in a recess 8. The lifting element 7 is formed in a single piece from a temperature-dependent deformable material such as a shape memory alloy or a bimetal. Underneath the lifting element 7, a heating device 10, in this case a PTC heating element 10, is arranged in the recess 8, which heating device is used for heating the lifting element 7.
  • FIG. 3 shows the lower edge area of the carcass 1 and the door 2 in an enlarged section. The carcass 1 is constructed from an external container 11 formed out of sheet metal and a deep-drawn plastic internal container 12, which enclose a cavity 9 filled with insulating material. To the front side of the refrigerator, the external container 11 forms the frame-shaped contact surface 5 for the magnetic seal 4. Just like the carcass 1, the door 2 of the refrigerator is constructed from an external wall 13 formed out of sheet metal and a deep-drawn plastic internal wall 14, which are connected to each other at their vertical edges and enclose a cavity 15 filled with insulating material which is closed off at the top and bottom by means of profile strips 16 made of plastic.
  • A groove 17 is formed in an edge area of the internal wall 14 in which a head section, which is provided with a retaining hook, of the magnetic seal 4 is latched. The magnetic seal 4 possesses a plurality of elongated chambers which lend it flexibility and of which one chamber, which is designated with the reference number 18, is filled with a magnetic material which holds a sealing surface of the magnetic seal 4 pressed against the contact surface 5 realized out of sheet metal.
  • In FIG. 3, the lifting element 7 possesses a first, inactive position in which it is completely accommodated in the recess 8 of the carcass 1 and is flush with the contact surface 5 or falls back slightly behind same and therefore allows an airtight contact between the magnetic seal 4 and the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1.
  • FIG. 4 shows the same sectional view as FIG. 3 immediately, for example 1 second, after a closing of the door 2. The lifting element 7 is located in an active second position in which it rises above the contact surface 5 of the magnetic seal 4 out of the recess 8 and presses the chamber 18, which is filled with the magnetic material, of the magnetic seal 4 away from the carcass 1. Air can flow into the interior space 3 of the refrigerator through the gap between the carcass 1 and the magnetic seal 4 thus arising in front of the lifting element 7 and shown in FIG. 8, with the result that the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders a renewed opening of the door 2, in the interior space 3 of the refrigerator is prevented. After a specific period of time after the closing of the door 2, the lifting element 7 is brought into its first inactive position shown in FIG. 3 again so that the magnetic seal 4 again lies against the carcass 1 in an airtight manner.
  • The change of position of the lifting element 7 from its first position shown in FIG. 3 to its second position shown in FIG. 4 is achieved by heating the lifting element 7, formed in one piece from a temperature-dependent deformable material, with the aid of the heating element 10. After deactivation of the heating element 10 and cooling by means of air flowing past it, the lifting element 7 reverts to its first position. The construction of the lifting element 7 and its mode of functioning are explained in detail on the basis of FIGS. 5 to 10 at a later point.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, the heating element 10 is triggered with a switch 31 which is switched by means of an opening and closing of the door 2. This can trigger an interior space illumination, which is not shown, of the refrigerator. Upon the opening of the door 2 of the refrigerator, the switch 31 is operated and the heating element 10 switched on for the duration of the door opening. The heating element 10 brings about a heating of the lifting element 7 with the result that this is transposed from its first form shown in FIG. 3 into the second form shown in FIG. 4 in which, in the case of the door being open, it rises partly above the contact surface 5 of the magnetic seal 4 out of the recess 8. If the door 2 is then closed, the lifting element 7 lifts the magnetic seal 4, as shown in FIG. 4, along part of its length away from the contact surface 5. The build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders a subsequent opening of the door, in the refrigerator is prevented by air flowing in.
  • Upon the closing of the door 2, the switch 31 is operated once again and the heating element 10 switched off. It cools down together with the lifting element 7 which then, after a specific period of time, reverts to its first form in which it allows an impermeable contact between the previously lifted part of the magnetic seal 4 and the contact surface 5. The lifting element 7 or the heating element 10 are designed in such a way that the magnetic seal 4 remains open for a period of time of roughly 5 seconds to a minute after the closing of the door 2, that is to say a period of time in which a pressure equalization has essentially taken place. This prevents a partial vacuum which hinders the opening of the refrigerator door 2. In the case of a subsequent opening of the door 2, the user just has to overcome the magnetic force which acts between the magnetic material and the metal contact surface 5.
  • By way of divergence from the arrangement shown in FIG. 1, in which the lifting element 7 is located at the lower, horizontally aligned edge of the carcass 1, it is also possible to arrange the lifting element 7 on one of the two lateral, vertically aligned edges of the carcass 1. As an alternative to a fastening of the magnetic seal 4 to the door 2, it is also conceivable to fasten the magnetic seal 4 to the carcass 1 of the refrigerator. In this case, the lifting element 7 would then be arranged in a recess of the door 2.
  • The lifting element 7 is now described in detail in terms of its construction and its mode of functioning on the basis of the following schematic FIGS. 5 to 10.
  • FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 show schematic sectional views of the carcass 1, the door 2, and the lifting element 7 in its first form in the case of a closed door 2. In its first form, the lifting element 7 is realized in the shape of a leaf-like strip 7 which is completely accommodated in the rectangular-shaped recess 8 of the carcass 1 and ends flush with the contact surface 5 of the magnetic seal 4. It also completely fills the recess 8 in its base area. This prevents foreign bodies such as dirt-particles being able to get into the recess 8. The lifting element 7 is aligned parallel to the magnetic seal 4 and therefore extends along part of its length in its longitudinal direction.
  • Transverse to the magnetic seal 4, the lifting element 7 only extends along part of its width but over the entire width of the chamber 18 which contains a magnetic material. As a result, it is not the overcoming of a magnetic force but just a partial deformation of the magnetic seal 4 that is required to lift the magnetic seal 4 in the area of the lifting element 7 in the event that the magnetic seal 4 were in contact with the contact surface 5 briefly after a closing of the door 2. The lifting element 7 and therefore also the recess 8 extend beyond the edge of the magnetic seal 4 on the sides of the chamber 18 with the result that the lifting element 7 has a freestanding section 20 which is not covered by the magnetic seal 4 in the closed condition of the door 2. This enables a convective heat exchange between the lifting element 7 and the external atmosphere surrounding the refrigerator or the air in the interior space 3 of the refrigerator and therefore a rapid cooling of the heated lifting element 4. By way of divergence from the arrangement shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, it is also possible for the lifting element 7 to be partly not covered by the magnetic seal 4 toward the interior space 3 of the refrigerator, i.e. the section 20 of the lifting element 7 is in contact with the air in the interior space 3 of the refrigerator. This embodiment is also encompassed by FIGS. 5 and 6. In this case, the interior space 3 would then be located to the right of the magnetic seal 4.
  • FIG. 7 shows a longitudinal section through the arrangement in FIGS. 5 and 6. The lifting element 7 has a first end 22 which is fixed to the carcass 1 and also a second end 23 which is freely movable. Underneath the first end 22 of the lifting element 7, the heating element 10 is arranged in the recess 8, covered by the lifting element 7. It is flush with the first end 22 of the lifting element 7 and only extends along part of its length so that a cavity 24 remains free in the recess 8 underneath the lifting element 7. As can be seen from FIG. 6, the heating element 10 also only extends along part of the width of the lifting element 7.
  • FIGS. 8 to 10 show sectional views of the arrangement in FIGS. 5 to 7, the lifting element 7 being in its second form due to heating by means of the heating element 10. In this second form, the strip-shaped lifting element 7 possesses a curved shape in which its second, free end 23 protrudes beyond the carcass 1 or the contact surface 5 of the magnetic seal 4 on the carcass 1, touches the magnetic seal 4, exerts a pressure against said seal, and holds it lifted along part of its length away from the contact surface 5. Air can flow through the gap thus present in front of the first end 22 of the lifting element 7 for the purposes of pressure equalization between the interior space 3 of the refrigerator and the external atmosphere surrounding the refrigerator in the case of a closed door 2 with the result that, as already described in the foregoing with reference to FIGS. 1 to 4, the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders an opening of the door 2, in the interior space 3 of the refrigerator can be prevented.
  • As FIG. 9 or in particular FIG. 10 shows, the lifting element 7 is only curved in its second form to the extent that a face side 25 terminating the lifting element 7 toward the free end 23 remains at least partly sunk into the recess 8. This ensures that no foreign substances such as dirt particles can get into the recess 8 and block the lifting element 7.
  • Alongside the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 10 with an electric heating device 10, an embodiment is also conceivable as an alternative in which a heating of the lifting element 7 is effected by means of warm ambient air which flows over the lifting element 7 upon the opening of the door 2 with the result that said lifting element then takes on its second form. Just the lifting element 7 would then have to be arranged in the recess 8. After the closing of the door 2, the deformed lifting element 7 would cool down. Until its reversion to its first form, the lifting element 7 would lift the magnetic seal 4 in the manner already described and therefore prevent the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders the opening of the door 2, in the interior space 3. In this embodiment, the lifting element would then have to be in thermal contact with the interior space 3 or be cooled with the aid of a refrigerant flow of the refrigerator in order for a reversion of the lifting element 7 to its first form to be possible.
  • FIGS. 11 and 12 show a second embodiment of a refrigerator for carrying out the inventive method. The views shown correspond to those in FIGS. 3 and 4 in each case. The refrigerator has a coil 40 in a recess 8 in the lower edge area of the carcass 1 through the opening of which, in the longitudinal direction of the coil 40, a piston 41 is mounted in a movable manner. On the end of the piston 37 turned toward the door 2, there is a lifting element 37 which extends along part of the length and width of the magnetic seal 4, matching the lifting element 7 of the first embodiment shown in FIG. 3, in the closed condition of the door 2.
  • FIG. 11 shows the lifting element 37 in a first position in which it is completely accommodated in the recess 8 in the case of a closed door 2 and ends flush with the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1 and therefore allows an airtight contact between the magnetic seal 4 and the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1.
  • FIG. 12 shows the arrangement in FIG. 11 shortly, for example 1 second, after a closing of the door 2. The lifting element 37 is located in a second, advanced position in which it lifts the magnetic seal 4 away from the contact surface 5 along part of the seal length and thus prevents an airtight contact between the magnetic seal 4 and the contact surface 5 along this part of the length. This position is reached by applying a voltage to the coil 40 with the result that the piston 41 and therefore the lifting element 37 are moved to the right. Air enters the interior space 3 of the refrigerator through the gap, which is present to the side of the lifting element 37, between the carcass 1 and the magnetic seal 4 and prevents the build-up of a partial vacuum, which hinders an opening of the door 2, in the interior space 3 in the manner already described with reference to FIG. 4. After a certain period of time, the coil 40 is switched off with the result that the lifting element 37 returns to its first position again and the magnetic seal 4, as shown in FIG. 11, has an airtight contact with the contact surface 5 on the carcass 1 again.
  • FIG. 2 shows a scheme for controlling the lifting element 37. The refrigerator has a switch 31 which captures an operation of the door 2. The switch 31 is connected to the coil 40 on the one hand and to a timer 32 on the other. Upon a closing of the door 2, the switch 31 is operated with the result that it then activates the coil 40 which brings the lifting element 37 from its first position into its second by means of the piston 41. In the case of a closed door 2, air can then flow into the interior space 3 for the purposes of pressure equalization immediately after a closing of the door 2.
  • The closing of the door 2 also activates, by way of the switch 31, a timer 32 which deactivates the coil 40 after the expiry of a predetermined period of time with the result that the lifting element 37 reverts to its first position again and the magnetic seal 4 makes airtight contact with the contact surface 5. The period of time over which a pressure equalization should be made possible between the interior space 3 and the environment of the refrigerator after a closing of the door can therefore be established precisely. Usually, time periods of 5 seconds to a minute are specified.
  • By way of divergence from the control system described in the foregoing, it is also possible to bring the lifting element 37 into its second position as early as upon an opening of the door 2 so that the lifting element 37 already takes up its second position in the case of an open door 2, i.e. prior to the subsequent closing of the door 2. This ensures that air can flow into the interior space 3 immediately after a closing of the door 2 and therefore no time delays of any kind occur which, even if only briefly after a closing of the door 2, could cause a partial vacuum to arise. In this control variant also, the timer 32 is not triggered until a closing of the door 2 to ensure that the magnetic seal 4 remains open for a predetermined period of time after the closing of the door 2.

Claims (13)

1-12. (canceled)
13. A method for operating a refrigerator, the method comprising:
a.) on a refrigerator having two movably connected housing parts, a carcass, and a door, all of which together delimit a heat-insulated interior space, and a seal member fastened to a first one of the housing parts and operable to establish an airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part when the two housing parts are in a closed disposition, the step of preventing, following a closing of the door, the establishment of the airtight seal for a predetermined time along a predetermined extent of the airtight seal path while the two housing parts are in a closed disposition; and
b.) after the step of preventing the establishment of the airtight seal for a predetermined time along a predetermined extent of the airtight seal path, the step of restoring the airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part along the predetermined extent of the airtight seal path, whereupon the airtight seal is established along the full extent of the airtight seal path.
14. The method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the predetermined time during which the airtight seal is prevented in the step of preventing the establishment of the airtight seal for a predetermined time along a predetermined extent of the airtight seal path is a time of approximately five seconds to one minute.
15. The method as claimed in claim 13, wherein, during the step of preventing the establishment of the airtight seal for a predetermined time along a predetermined extent of the airtight seal path, the seal member is pressed away from a contact surface for the seal member on the second housing part by means of a lifting element.
16. The method as claimed in claim 15, wherein the lifting element is formed at least partly from a temperature-dependent deformable material and the step of restoring the airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part along the predetermined extent of the airtight seal path includes at least one of heating the lifting element and cooling the lifting element to effect lifting of the seal member.
17. The method as claimed in claim 16, wherein the step of restoring the airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part along the predetermined extent of the airtight seal path includes heating the lifting element via switching on a heating device for heating the lifting element upon an opening of the door.
18. The method as claimed in claim 17, wherein the step of restoring the airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part along the predetermined extent of the airtight seal path including heating the lifting element further includes switching off the heating device upon a closing of the door.
19. A refrigerator comprising:
a.) two movably connected housing parts;
b.) a carcass;
c.) a door, the housing parts, the carcass, and door together delimiting a heat-insulated interior space;
d.) a seal member fastened to a first one of the housing parts and operable to establish an airtight seal between the first housing part and the other housing part when the two housing parts are in a closed disposition;
e.) a lifting element movable between a first position in which it permits an impermeable contact between the seal member and the second housing part and a second position in which, in a closed position of the housing parts, the lifting element lifts the seal member away from the second housing part along part of its length;
f.) a drive unit for the lifting element; and
g.) a control device for controlling, in response to a signal indicating a respective opening or closing operation of the door, the drive unit to move the lifting element from the first position of the lifting element in which it permits an impermeable contact between the seal member and the second housing part to the second position of the lifting element to thereby effect lifting of the seal member.
20. The refrigerator as claimed in claim 19, wherein the lifting element is arranged in a recess of the second housing part in its first position and rises at least partly above a contact surface for the seal member on the second housing part in its second position.
21. The refrigerator as claimed in claim 19, wherein the control device includes a switch that is changed over upon an opening or closing of the door and triggers the drive unit for the lifting element.
22. The refrigerator as claimed in claim 19, wherein the lifting element is formed at least partly from a temperature-dependent deformable material, in particular a bimetal or a shape memory alloy.
23. The refrigerator as claimed in claim 19, wherein the drive unit for the lifting element includes a heating device, in particular a PTC heating element.
24. The refrigerator as claimed in claim 19, wherein the drive unit for the lifting element includes one of a mechanical unit, electrical unit, and a magnetic drive unit.
US11/918,600 2005-05-10 2006-03-30 Refrigerator and method for the operation thereof Abandoned US20090039751A1 (en)

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DE102005021587.4 2005-05-10
DE200510021587 DE102005021587A1 (en) 2005-05-10 2005-05-10 Refrigeration appliance and operating method for it
PCT/EP2006/061160 WO2006120071A1 (en) 2005-05-10 2006-03-30 Refrigerator and method for the operation thereof

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US (1) US20090039751A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1846706B1 (en)
CN (1) CN100552338C (en)
DE (1) DE102005021587A1 (en)
RU (1) RU2402720C2 (en)
WO (1) WO2006120071A1 (en)

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EP1846706B1 (en) 2018-11-07
RU2402720C2 (en) 2010-10-27
DE102005021587A1 (en) 2006-11-16
RU2007136709A (en) 2009-06-20
WO2006120071A1 (en) 2006-11-16
CN100552338C (en) 2009-10-21
CN101171472A (en) 2008-04-30

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