US20180132694A1 - Pump inlet assemblies for dishwasher appliances - Google Patents

Pump inlet assemblies for dishwasher appliances Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180132694A1
US20180132694A1 US15/353,800 US201615353800A US2018132694A1 US 20180132694 A1 US20180132694 A1 US 20180132694A1 US 201615353800 A US201615353800 A US 201615353800A US 2018132694 A1 US2018132694 A1 US 2018132694A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
fluid
pump
pressure
wash
inlet conduit
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US15/353,800
Inventor
Ramasamy Thiyagarajan
Adam Christopher Hofmann
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Haier US Appliance Solutions Inc
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Haier US Appliance Solutions Inc
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Priority to US15/353,800 priority Critical patent/US20180132694A1/en
Assigned to HAIER US APPLIANCE SOLUTIONS, INC. reassignment HAIER US APPLIANCE SOLUTIONS, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HOFMANN, ADAM CHRISTOPHER, THIYAGARAJAN, RAMASAMY
Publication of US20180132694A1 publication Critical patent/US20180132694A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4244Water-level measuring or regulating arrangements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/0018Controlling processes, i.e. processes to control the operation of the machine characterised by the purpose or target of the control
    • A47L15/0047Energy or water consumption, e.g. by saving energy or water
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/0018Controlling processes, i.e. processes to control the operation of the machine characterised by the purpose or target of the control
    • A47L15/0049Detection or prevention of malfunction, including accident prevention
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/14Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware with stationary crockery baskets and spraying devices within the cleaning chamber
    • A47L15/18Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware with stationary crockery baskets and spraying devices within the cleaning chamber with movably-mounted spraying devices
    • A47L15/22Rotary spraying devices
    • A47L15/23Rotary spraying devices moved by means of the sprays
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4214Water supply, recirculation or discharge arrangements; Devices therefor
    • A47L15/4219Water recirculation
    • A47L15/4221Arrangements for redirection of washing water, e.g. water diverters to selectively supply the spray arms
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4214Water supply, recirculation or discharge arrangements; Devices therefor
    • A47L15/4225Arrangements or adaption of recirculation or discharge pumps
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4251Details of the casing
    • A47L15/4257Details of the loading door
    • A47L15/4259Arrangements of locking or security/safety devices for doors, e.g. door latches, switch to stop operation when door is open
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4251Details of the casing
    • A47L15/4257Details of the loading door
    • A47L15/4261Connections of the door to the casing, e.g. door hinges
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/4293Arrangements for programme selection, e.g. control panels; Indication of the selected programme, programme progress or other parameters of the programme, e.g. by using display panels
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/46Devices for the automatic control of the different phases of cleaning ; Controlling devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/50Racks ; Baskets
    • A47L15/502Cutlery baskets
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L15/00Washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware
    • A47L15/42Details
    • A47L15/50Racks ; Baskets
    • A47L15/507Arrangements for extracting racks, e.g. roller supports
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C45/00Injection moulding, i.e. forcing the required volume of moulding material through a nozzle into a closed mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C45/16Making multilayered or multicoloured articles
    • B29C45/1671Making multilayered or multicoloured articles with an insert
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2401/00Automatic detection in controlling methods of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, e.g. information provided by sensors entered into controlling devices
    • A47L2401/08Drain or recirculation pump parameters, e.g. pump rotational speed or current absorbed by the motor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2401/00Automatic detection in controlling methods of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, e.g. information provided by sensors entered into controlling devices
    • A47L2401/09Water level
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2401/00Automatic detection in controlling methods of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, e.g. information provided by sensors entered into controlling devices
    • A47L2401/14Water pressure or flow rate
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2501/00Output in controlling method of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, i.e. quantities or components controlled, or actions performed by the controlling device executing the controlling method
    • A47L2501/01Water supply, e.g. opening or closure of the water inlet valve
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2501/00Output in controlling method of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, i.e. quantities or components controlled, or actions performed by the controlling device executing the controlling method
    • A47L2501/04Water pressure or flow rate
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2501/00Output in controlling method of washing or rinsing machines for crockery or tableware, i.e. quantities or components controlled, or actions performed by the controlling device executing the controlling method
    • A47L2501/05Drain or recirculation pump, e.g. regulation of the pump rotational speed or flow direction
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C45/00Injection moulding, i.e. forcing the required volume of moulding material through a nozzle into a closed mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C45/16Making multilayered or multicoloured articles
    • B29C45/1671Making multilayered or multicoloured articles with an insert
    • B29C2045/1673Making multilayered or multicoloured articles with an insert injecting the first layer, then feeding the insert, then injecting the second layer
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29LINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASS B29C, RELATING TO PARTICULAR ARTICLES
    • B29L2031/00Other particular articles
    • B29L2031/34Electrical apparatus, e.g. sparking plugs or parts thereof

Abstract

A pump inlet assembly and method of operating a dishwasher appliance are provided. The pump inlet assembly includes an inlet conduit providing fluid communication between a sump and a pump. The inlet conduit defines an integrally formed boss which is coupled with a sensor housing using an overmolding process. A pressure sensor is positioned in the sensor housing and is protected from wash fluid by an airgap defined by the boss. The measured pressure may be used to determine the water level within the dishwasher when the pump is not operating and the suction pressure within the inlet conduit when the pump is operating. The inlet conduit, boss, pressure sensor, and pump housing may be integrally formed by injection molding and/or overmolding processes to reduce costs and the likelihood of leaks.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present disclosure relates generally to dishwasher appliances, and more particularly to improved pump inlet assemblies for dishwasher appliances.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Dishwasher appliances generally include a tub that defines a wash chamber. Rack assemblies can be mounted within the wash chamber of the tub for receipt of articles for washing. A sump space may be positioned below the wash chamber for collecting wash fluid (e.g. various combinations of water and detergent along with optional additives). During wash and rinse cycles, a pump can circulate wash fluid from the sump to spray assemblies within the wash chamber. The spray assemblies can apply or direct the wash fluid towards articles disposed within the rack assemblies in order to clean such articles.
  • It is often desirable to know the level of wash fluid within a wash chamber of a dishwasher, e.g., to prevent overflow conditions and to ensure the level of wash fluid is sufficient for optimal pump operation. Conventional dishwasher appliances may rely on the time a water inlet valve is open to determine how much wash fluid is in the dishwasher. However, variations in the valves or water supply lines, or variation in the water supply pressure can result in inaccurate water levels. Alternatively, some dishwashers use a variety of sensors for determining the level of wash fluid within the dishwasher, e.g., float sensors, capacitive sensors, optical sensors, etc. However, such sensors add significant costs and sometime result in reliability issues when exposed to soiled wash fluid.
  • Certain dishwasher appliances have incorporated the use of pressure sensors positioned within the sump of the dishwasher for determining the level of the wash fluid. However, such pressure sensors must be protected from soil in the wash fluid to prevent contamination. For example, such pressure sensors are often connected to the sump with a tube to provide an airgap between the wash fluid and the sensor. However, installing these tubes and forming the sump to provide an airgap between the wash fluid and the sensor increases potential leak points in the dishwasher.
  • Accordingly, dishwasher appliances having improved systems and methods for determining a level of wash fluid within the dishwasher would be useful. More specifically, a dishwasher having a pump inlet assembly that enables reliable pressure sensing with minimal leak points would be particularly beneficial.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present subject matter provides a pump inlet assembly and method of operating a dishwasher appliance. The pump inlet assembly includes an inlet conduit providing fluid communication between a sump and a pump. The inlet conduit defines an integrally formed boss which is coupled with a sensor housing using an overmolding process. A pressure sensor is positioned in the sensor housing and is protected from wash fluid by an airgap defined by the boss. The measured pressure may be used to determine the water level within the dishwasher when the pump is not operating and the suction pressure within the inlet conduit when the pump is operating. The inlet conduit, boss, pressure sensor, and pump housing may be integrally formed by injection molding and/or overmolding processes to reduce costs and the likelihood of leaks. Additional aspects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, may be apparent from the description, or may be learned through practice of the invention.
  • In accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, a dishwasher appliance defining a vertical direction is provided. The dishwasher appliance includes a wash tub that defines a wash chamber, a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within the wash chamber, and a sump positioned below the wash chamber along the vertical direction, the sump being configured for collecting wash fluid. A pump inlet assembly includes an inlet conduit providing fluid communication between the sump and the pump and a pressure sensor for measuring a pressure of the wash fluid in the inlet conduit. A boss is integrally molded with the inlet conduit and defines an airgap. A sensor housing is coupled to the boss above the airgap using an overmolding process, the sensor housing being configured for receiving the pressure sensor.
  • In accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, a method of manufacturing a fluid circulation assembly of a dishwasher appliance is provided. The dishwasher appliance includes a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within a wash chamber and a sump positioned below the wash chamber for collecting wash fluid. The method includes providing a sensor housing configured for receiving a pressure sensor and overmolding an inlet conduit onto the sensor housing, the inlet conduit being coupled to the sensor housing by an integral boss which defines an airgap. The method further includes positioning the inlet conduit to establish fluid communication between the sump and the pump and positioning the pressure sensor in the sensor housing for measuring a pressure of the wash fluid in the inlet conduit.
  • According to still another embodiment of the present subject matter, a method of operating a dishwasher appliance is provided. The dishwasher appliance includes a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within a wash chamber, a sump positioned below the wash chamber for collecting wash fluid, an inlet conduit providing fluid communication between the sump and the pump, and a sensor housing formed integrally with the inlet conduit and being configured for receiving a pressure sensor. The method includes measuring the pressure of wash fluid in the inlet conduit and determining whether the pump is operating.
  • These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth in the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures.
  • FIG. 1 provides a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a dishwashing appliance of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 2 provides a side cross sectional view of the exemplary dishwashing appliance of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a fluid circulation assembly of the exemplary dishwashing appliance of FIG. 1 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a pump inlet assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the exemplary pump inlet assembly of FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the exemplary fluid circulation assembly of FIG. 3 when a pump is operating according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • FIG. 7 is a schematic view of the exemplary fluid circulation assembly of FIG. 3 when the pump is not operating according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a method of manufacturing a fluid circulation assembly and a pump inlet assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a method of operating a dishwasher appliance having a pump inlet assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Reference now will be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, not limitation of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.
  • As used herein, the term “article” may refer to, but need not be limited to, dishes, pots, pans, silverware, and other cooking utensils and items that can be cleaned in a dishwashing appliance. The term “wash cycle” is intended to refer to one or more periods of time during the cleaning process where a dishwashing appliance operates while containing articles to be washed and uses a detergent and water, preferably with agitation, to e.g., remove soil particles including food and other undesirable elements from the articles. The term “rinse cycle” is intended to refer to one or more periods of time during the cleaning process in which the dishwashing appliance operates to remove residual soil, detergents, and other undesirable elements that were retained by the articles after completion of the wash cycle. The term “drying cycle” is intended to refer to one or more periods of time in which the dishwashing appliance is operated to dry the articles by removing fluids from the wash chamber. The term “fluid” refers to a liquid used for washing and/or rinsing the articles and is typically made up of water that may include additives such as e.g., detergent or other treatments. The use of the terms “top” and “bottom,” or “upper” and “lower” herein are used for reference only as exemplary embodiments disclosed herein are not limited to the vertical orientation shown nor to any particular configuration shown; other constructions and orientations may also be used.
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 depict an exemplary domestic dishwasher 100 that may be configured in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure. For the particular embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the dishwasher 100 includes a cabinet 102 having a tub or inner liner 104 therein that defines a wash chamber 106. As shown, tub 104 extends between a top and a bottom along a vertical direction V, between a first side and a second side along a lateral direction L, and between a front side and a rear side along a transverse direction T. Each of the vertical direction V, lateral direction L, and transverse direction T are mutually perpendicular to one another. The tub 104 includes a front opening (not shown) and a door 110 hinged at its bottom 112 for movement between a normally closed vertical position (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2), wherein the wash chamber 106 is sealed shut for washing operation, and a horizontal open position for loading and unloading of articles from the dishwasher 100. Latch 116 is used to lock and unlock door 110 for access to wash chamber 106.
  • Upper and lower guide rails 120, 122 are mounted on tub side walls 124 and accommodate roller-equipped rack assemblies 126 and 128. Each of the rack assemblies 126, 128 is fabricated into lattice structures including a plurality of elongated members 130 (for clarity of illustration, not all elongated members making up assemblies 126 and 128 are shown in FIG. 2). Each rack 126, 128 is adapted for movement between an extended loading position (not shown) in which the rack is substantially positioned outside the wash chamber 106, and a retracted position (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) in which the rack is located inside the wash chamber 106. This is facilitated by rollers 134 and 136, for example, mounted onto racks 126 and 128, respectively. A silverware basket (not shown) may be removably attached to rack assembly 128 for placement of silverware, utensils, and the like, that are otherwise too small to be accommodated by the racks 126, 128. Alternatively, the silverware basket may be independently mounted within wash chamber 106. It should be appreciated that upper rack assembly 126, lower rack assembly 128, and the silverware basket may be any suitable size and configuration and may be mounted within dishwasher 100 in any suitable manner.
  • The dishwasher 100 further includes a lower spray-arm assembly 140 that is rotatably mounted within a lower region 142 of the wash chamber 106 and above a tub sump portion 144 so as to rotate in relatively close proximity to rack assembly 128. A mid-level spray-arm assembly 146 is located in an upper region of the wash chamber 106 and may be located in close proximity to upper rack 126. Additionally, an upper spray assembly 148 may be located above the upper rack 126.
  • The lower and mid-level spray-arm assemblies 140, 146 and the upper spray assembly 148 are part of a fluid circulation assembly 150 for circulating water and dishwasher fluid in the tub 104. The fluid circulation assembly 150 also includes a pump 152 positioned in a machinery compartment 154 located below the tub sump portion 144 (i.e., bottom wall) of the tub 104, as generally recognized in the art. Pump 152 receives wash fluid from sump 144 and provides a flow of wash fluid to a diverter 160. The flow of wash fluid enters diverter 160 through an inlet 162, and diverter 160 directs the flow of wash fluid to one or more spray assemblies throughout the dishwasher, e.g., to spray assemblies 140, 146, and 148, or to a silverware spray assembly.
  • Each spray-arm assembly 140, 146 includes an arrangement of discharge ports or orifices for directing washing liquid received from diverter 160 onto dishes or other articles located in rack assemblies 126 and 128. The arrangement of the discharge ports in spray-arm assemblies 140, 146 provides a rotational force by virtue of washing fluid flowing through the discharge ports. The resultant rotation of the spray-arm assemblies 140, 146 and the operation of spray assembly 148 using fluid from diverter 160 provides coverage of dishes and other dishwasher contents with a washing spray. Other configurations of spray assemblies may be used as well. For example, dishwasher 100 may have additional spray assemblies for cleaning silverware, for scouring casserole dishes, for spraying pots and pans, for cleaning bottles, etc. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the embodiments discussed herein are used for the purpose of explanation only, and are not limitations of the present subject matter.
  • The dishwasher 100 is further equipped with a controller 166 to regulate operation of the dishwasher 100. The controller 166 may include one or more memory devices and one or more microprocessors, such as general or special purpose microprocessors operable to execute programming instructions or micro-control code associated with a cleaning cycle. The memory may represent random access memory such as DRAM, or read only memory such as ROM or FLASH. In one embodiment, the processor executes programming instructions stored in memory. The memory may be a separate component from the processor or may be included onboard within the processor.
  • The controller 166 may be positioned in a variety of locations throughout dishwasher 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the controller 166 may be located within a control panel area 168 of door 110 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In such an embodiment, input/output (“I/O”) signals may be routed between the control system and various operational components of dishwasher 100 along wiring harnesses that may be routed through the bottom 112 of door 110. Typically, the controller 166 includes a user interface panel/controls 170 through which a user may select various operational features and modes and monitor progress of the dishwasher 100. In one embodiment, the user interface 170 may represent a general purpose I/O (“GPIO”) device or functional block. In one embodiment, the user interface 170 may include input components, such as one or more of a variety of electrical, mechanical or electro-mechanical input devices including rotary dials, push buttons, and touch pads. The user interface 170 may include a display component, such as a digital or analog display device designed to provide operational feedback to a user. The user interface 170 may be in communication with the controller 166 via one or more signal lines or shared communication busses.
  • It should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to any particular style, model, or configuration of dishwasher 100. The exemplary embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 is for illustrative purposes only. For example, different locations may be provided for user interface 170, different configurations may be provided for racks 126, 128, different spray arm assemblies 140, 146, 148 may be used, and other differences may be applied as well. Moreover, additional racks and/or spray assemblies in any suitable configuration may be included according to alternative embodiments.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, a portion of fluid circulation assembly 150 will be described. As illustrated, sump 144 is placed in fluid communication with pump 152 through pump inlet assembly 200. More specifically, pump 152 generally includes a motor connected to an impeller through a drive shaft (not shown). The impeller is positioned in an impeller volute or housing 202 for generating a pressure head and selectively pumping wash fluid to spray assemblies 140, 146, 148. In this regard, as pump 152 operates, the wash fluid may be drawn through pump inlet assembly 200 from sump 144.
  • Referring now also to FIG. 4, an exploded perspective view of pump inlet assembly 200 will be described. As illustrated, pump inlet assembly 200 generally includes an inlet conduit 210 providing fluid communication between sump 144 and pump 152. Pump inlet assembly 200 also includes a boss 212 that is integrally molded with inlet conduit 210. In this regard, inlet conduit 210 and boss 212 are integrally formed from a single, continuous piece of material. According to one embodiment, inlet conduit 210 and boss 212 are formed from a resilient material, such as rubber.
  • Boss 212 is configured to be coupled to a sensor housing 214. More specifically, according to the exemplary embodiment, boss 212 and inlet conduit 210 are overmolded onto sensor housing 214 to form a single integral part. Overmolding is a process by which a previously molded part proceeds through a second molding process to add an additional feature, material, or component. After the overmolding process is complete, pump inlet assembly 200 is a single, integral component that has few or no leak points and is simple and easy to install.
  • According to the illustrated embodiment, pump inlet assembly 200 is constructed by first injection molding sensor housing 214 using a first material and then overmolding boss 212 and inlet conduit 210 onto sensor housing 214 using a second material. According to the exemplary embodiment, inlet conduit 210 and boss 212 are constructed of a softer material than sensor housing 214, thus resulting in a single part having two portions with different hardnesses. However, it should be appreciated that the materials used and the method of construction are described herein only for explaining aspects of the present subject matter. Pump inlet assembly 200 may use other materials having different hardness, and may be constructed in a different manner while remaining in the scope of the present invention. For example, sensor housing 214 could be overmolded onto inlet conduit 210, the components could be made from the same material, etc.
  • A pressure sensor 216 may be inserted into sensor housing 214 for measuring the pressure of wash fluid in inlet conduit 210, as described below. Pressure sensor 216 may be any suitable sensor for measuring the pressure of the wash fluid in inlet conduit 210. For example, pressure sensor 216 may be a microelectromechanical (MEMS) type sensor, a bellow type sensor, etc. According to the exemplary embodiment, pressure sensor 216 may be coupled to controller 166, which may be configured for controlling dishwasher 100 in response to feedback from pressure sensor 216.
  • According to the illustrated embodiment, pump inlet assembly 200 is connected from a bottom portion of sump 144 and is connected directly to impeller housing 202. More specifically, ends of inlet conduit 210 are connected to sump 144 and impeller housing 202 using screw clamps. However, according to alternative exemplary embodiments, pump inlet assembly 200 may be overmolded onto sump 144, impeller housing 202, or both. In this manner, one or both screw clamps may be eliminated, assembly may be simplified, and the likelihood of leaks may be reduced even further.
  • Referring now generally to FIGS. 4 through 7, inlet conduit 210 is positioned and oriented such that boss 212 is located at an uppermost position along the vertical direction V. Moreover, boss 212 is configured for defining an airgap 220 between pressure sensor 216 and the wash fluid within inlet conduit 210. Airgap 220 provides space between the wash fluid within inlet conduit 210 and pressure sensor 216. This may be important, for example, to prevent contact of wash fluid with pressure sensor 216, which may build up dirt and grime over time, thereby affecting measurement accuracy. Although boss 212 is illustrated as defining airgap 220 having an arcuate profile, it should be appreciated that airgap 220 may be formed in any suitable size or shape.
  • After assembling pump inlet assembly 200 and using it to couple sump 144 and pump 152, pressure sensor 216 may be used to reliably and accurately measure the pressure of wash fluid in inlet conduit 210. The pressure measurement may be correlated to various performance characteristics of dishwasher 100 and may be used to control dishwasher operation. For example, dishwasher 100 may include a fluid inlet (not shown) that supplies water or wash fluid to wash chamber 106 for use by fluid circulation assembly 150 during operation. The fluid inlet may be controlled in response to pressure measurements, for example, to adjust the level of wash fluid within wash chamber 106, as described below.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a method 250 for constructing pump inlet assembly 200. Notably, method 250 results in a leak-free, easy to install assembly that is capable of receiving pressure sensor 216. Moreover, method 250 integrates an airgap 220 between the wash fluid within inlet conduit 210 and pressure sensor 216 to ensure long-term, reliable operation of pressure sensor 216 with little risk of soil build-up.
  • Method 250 includes, at step 252, providing a sensor housing configured for receiving a pressure sensor. For example, according to one embodiment, sensor housing may be injection molded using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic, polypropylene, or any other suitable plastic or material. Step 254 includes overmolding an inlet conduit onto the sensor housing. As explained above, the inlet conduit is a circular conduit having a channel or boss extending from the center. The boss extends between and couples the inlet conduit and the sensor housing. In addition, the boss defines an airgap between the inlet conduit and the sensor housing.
  • Method 250 further includes, at step 256, positioning the inlet conduit to establish fluid communication between the sump and the pump. For example, the inlet conduit may be fluidly coupled at a bottom portion of sump and to the impeller housing of the pump. At step 258, method 250 includes positioning the pressure sensor in the sensor housing for measuring a pressure of the wash fluid in the inlet conduit.
  • Now that the construction and configuration of fluid circulation assembly 150 and pump inlet assembly 200 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter has been presented, an exemplary method 300 for operating a dishwasher according to an exemplary embodiment of the present subject matter is provided. Method 300 can be used to operate any suitable dishwashing appliance or other water consuming appliance. For example, method 300 may be utilized to operate dishwasher 100 (FIG. 1) to control water levels within wash chamber 106 and ensure cavitation does not occur in pump 152. In this regard, for example, controller 166 or another dedicated controller may be programmed to implement method 300.
  • Referring now to FIG. 9, method 300 includes, at step 310, measuring the pressure of wash fluid in the inlet conduit. Step 320 includes determining whether the pump is operating. Based on the pump operational state and the measured pressure in the inlet conduit, method 300 can include making a variety of determinations and performing various actions in response. For example, using dishwasher 100 and pump inlet assembly 200 as an example, controller 166 can receive pressure measurements (i.e., signals corresponding to pressure measurements) from pressure sensor 216. In response to the pressure measurements or other system feedback, controller 166 may, for example, determine whether pump 152 is operating, determine the water level within wash chamber 106, and initiate an action such as starting or stopping the flow of water through a fluid inlet. Although exemplary actions are described herein for the purpose of explaining aspects of method 300, it should be appreciated that the pressure sensor integrated into the inlet conduit may be used for making other determinations and performing other actions.
  • For example, method 300 includes, at step 330, determining a fluid level within the sump based on the measured pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is not operating. In this regard, the measured pressure can correspond to a particular height of wash fluid within a chamber of a dishwashing appliance. According to exemplary embodiments, a calibration curve may be used to relate the measured pressure and the fluid level within the sump. At step 332, method 300 includes determining that the fluid level within the sump has exceeded a predetermined threshold and step 334 includes initiating an action in response to determining that the fluid level has exceeded the predetermined threshold.
  • According to one embodiment, the predetermined threshold is a maximum fluid level of the dishwasher and the initiated action is shutting off a flow of fluid into the dishwasher. Using such a limit may prevent overflow conditions. Alternatively, the predetermined threshold may be a desired fill amount for an operating cycle of the dishwasher and the initiated action is shutting off a flow of fluid into the dishwasher and starting the operating cycle. In this regard, for example, if only a small amount of water is required for a particular operating cycle, method 300 may be used to supply only that amount of wash fluid, thereby resulting in energy and water savings.
  • According to another exemplary embodiment, method 300 includes, at step 340, determining a suction pressure of the pump based on the measured suction pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is operating. The suction pressure may be used to confirm proper operation of dishwasher and the circulation pump. Method further includes, at step 342, determining that the measured suction pressure is unstable, and at step 344, initiating an action based on the determination that the measured suction pressure is unstable. As used herein, suction pressure is considered “unstable” when it varies beyond a predetermined range relative to the desired operating pressure. For example, the measured suction pressure may be unstable if the measured suction pressure falls below a low pressure threshold, exceeds a high pressure threshold, or varies beyond a variability limit. The action taken in response to the determination that the suction pressure is unstable often includes adjusting the fluid level in the wash chamber. For example, the initiated action may include adding fluid to the dishwasher until the measured suction pressure stabilizes. However, it should be appreciated that other actions are also possible.
  • Notably, by constructing pump inlet assembly 200 as a single, integral piece, assembly is simplified, the number of parts is reduced, and the likelihood of leaks is minimized. Therefore, pump inlet assembly 200 reduces costs while increasing the performance and reliability of dishwasher 100.
  • This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they include structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A dishwasher appliance defining a vertical direction, the dishwasher appliance comprising:
a wash tub that defines a wash chamber;
a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within the wash chamber;
a sump positioned below the wash chamber along the vertical direction, the sump being configured for collecting wash fluid; and
a pump inlet assembly comprising:
an inlet conduit providing fluid communication between the sump and the pump;
a pressure sensor for measuring a pressure of the wash fluid in the inlet conduit;
a boss integrally molded with the inlet conduit, the boss defining an airgap; and
a sensor housing coupled to the boss above the airgap using an overmolding process, the sensor housing being configured for receiving the pressure sensor.
2. The dishwasher appliance of claim 1, wherein the sensor housing is formed by injection molding, and wherein the inlet conduit and the boss are overmolded directly to the sensor housing.
3. The dishwasher appliance of claim 1, wherein the inlet conduit is coupled to the sump proximate a bottom of the sump.
4. The dishwasher appliance of claim 1, wherein the inlet conduit is positioned and oriented such that the boss is disposed at an uppermost position along the vertical direction.
5. The dishwasher appliance of claim 1, further comprising a controller in operative communication with a fluid inlet for controlling a flow of water into the wash chamber and the pressure sensor,
wherein the pressure sensor measures the pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is not operating and the controller determines a fluid level within the wash chamber based on the pressure measurement.
6. The dishwasher appliance of claim 5, wherein the controller is configured for stopping the flow of water from the fluid inlet when the measured fluid level reaches a predetermined threshold.
7. The dishwasher appliance of claim 1, further comprising a controller in operative communication with a fluid inlet for controlling a flow of water into the wash chamber and the pressure sensor,
wherein the pressure sensor measures the pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is operating and the controller determines a suction pressure of the pump based on the pressure measurement.
8. The dishwasher appliance of claim 7, wherein the controller is configured for the flow of water from the fluid inlet after the measured suction pressure stabilizes at a predetermined threshold.
9. A method of manufacturing a fluid circulation assembly of a dishwasher appliance, the dishwasher appliance comprising a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within a wash chamber and a sump positioned below the wash chamber for collecting wash fluid, the method comprising:
providing a sensor housing configured for receiving a pressure sensor;
overmolding an inlet conduit onto the sensor housing, the inlet conduit being coupled to the sensor housing by an integral boss which defines an airgap;
positioning the inlet conduit to establish fluid communication between the sump and the pump; and
positioning the pressure sensor in the sensor housing for measuring a pressure of the wash fluid in the inlet conduit.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the pressure sensor measures the pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is not operating to determine a fluid level within the wash chamber.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the pressure sensor measures the pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is operating to determine a suction pressure of the pump.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein positioning the inlet conduit to establish fluid communication between the sump and the pump comprises overmolding the inlet conduit to a pump housing.
13. A method of operating a dishwasher appliance, the dishwasher appliance comprising a pump for circulating a flow of wash fluid for cleaning articles placed within a wash chamber and a sump positioned below the wash chamber for collecting wash fluid, the method comprising:
measuring the pressure of wash fluid in an inlet conduit which provides fluid communication between the sump and the pump, a sensor housing being formed integrally with the inlet conduit and being configured for receiving a pressure sensor; and
determining whether the pump is operating based on the pressure measurement from the pressure sensor.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising determining a fluid level within the sump based on the measured pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is not operating.
15. The method of claim 14, further comprising:
determining that the fluid level within the sump has exceeded a predetermined threshold; and
initiating an action in response to determining that the fluid level has exceeded the predetermined threshold.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the predetermined threshold is a maximum fluid level of the dishwasher and the initiated action is shutting off a flow of fluid into the dishwasher.
17. The method of claim 15, wherein the predetermined threshold is a desired fill amount for an operating cycle of the dishwasher and the initiated action is shutting off a flow of fluid into the dishwasher and starting the operating cycle.
18. The method of claim 13, further comprising determining a suction pressure of the pump based on the measured suction pressure of the wash fluid when the pump is operating.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
determining that the measured suction pressure is unstable; and
initiating an action based on the determination that the measured suction pressure is unstable.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the measured suction pressure is unstable if the measured suction pressure falls below a low pressure threshold or varies beyond a variability limit, and
wherein the initiated action is adding fluid to the dishwasher until the measured suction pressure stabilizes.
US15/353,800 2016-11-17 2016-11-17 Pump inlet assemblies for dishwasher appliances Abandoned US20180132694A1 (en)

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RU2733949C1 (en) * 2019-12-25 2020-10-08 Автономная некоммерческая образовательная организация высшего образования "Сколковский институт науки и технологий" Saltpeter labeling method

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US20120125369A1 (en) * 2009-08-05 2012-05-24 Electrolux Home Products Corporation N.V. Washer, Such As A Dishwasher Or A Washing Machine, And Method For Operating A Washer
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US20190159652A1 (en) * 2017-11-30 2019-05-30 Haier Us Appliance Solutions, Inc. Dishwasher appliance having a pressure sensor for flood detection
RU2733949C1 (en) * 2019-12-25 2020-10-08 Автономная некоммерческая образовательная организация высшего образования "Сколковский институт науки и технологий" Saltpeter labeling method

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