WASHING MACHINE

- Samsung Electronics

A washing machine includes a rotary tub having a diameter progressively increasing from a first end side thereof to a second end side thereof located opposite the first end side, dehydration holes arranged at the second end side of the rotary tub, and a dehydration hole switching unit to open and close the dehydration holes. The dehydration holes are opened depending on increase of a rate of rotation of the rotary tub.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the priority benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2011-0079490 filed on Aug. 10, 2011 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

Embodiments relate to a washing machine to directly supply water to a rotary tub so as to perform washing using a small amount of water.

2. Description of the Related Art

In general, a washing machine includes a main body defining an external appearance thereof, a water tank arranged within the main body, and a rotary tub rotatably mounted within the water tank. The rotary tub is provided with communicating holes to enable water in the water tank to be introduced.

Such a washing machine is utilized to perform washing within the rotary tub by supplying wash water to the water tank and introducing the wash water supplied to the water tank into the rotary tub through communicating holes provided in the rotary tub.

In the washing machine having such a structure, a washing operation is performed within the rotary tub, although an amount of water corresponding to the relatively larger water tank than that of the rotary tub is required. Thus, a considerable amount of water should be inserted into the water tank, compared with water actually used in the rotary tub, thereby also increasing an input amount of washing agent so as to correspond to an amount of water which is inserted into the water tank.

Accordingly, there is recently a washing machine capable of performing washing using a small amount of water by directly supplying water into the rotary tub which is not provided with the communicating holes.

SUMMARY

Therefore, it is an aspect of one or more embodiments to provide a dehydration structure of a washing machine capable of performing washing using a small amount of water by virtue of directly supplying water into a rotary tub without a configuration corresponding to a water tank.

Additional aspects of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

In accordance with one aspect of one or more embodiments, a washing machine includes a rotary tub having a diameter progressively increasing from a first end side thereof to a second end side thereof located opposite the first end side, at least one dehydration hole arranged at the second end side of the rotary tub, and a dehydration hole switching unit to open and close the at least one dehydration hole.

The dehydration hole switching unit may be selectively opened and closed depending on a rate of rotation of the rotary tub.

The at least one dehydration hole may include a plurality of dehydration holes disposed at the rotary tub, to be spaced apart from one another in a circumferential direction, and the dehydration hole switching unit may include a plurality of dehydration valves movably installed to open and close the plural dehydration holes depending on movement thereof, respectively, and dehydration valve elastic members to elastically support the dehydration valves.

The dehydration hole switching unit may further include a plurality of switching guides formed in an arc shape, each of which connecting two or more of the plural dehydration valves, and movement guides installed so as to allow opposite ends of each switching guide to be movable in a radial direction, and the dehydration valve elastic members may be respectively disposed at the movement guides, to elastically support the dehydration valves through each switching guide.

The rotary tub may include a drainage hole for drainage, and the rotary tub may further include a drainage hole switching unit disposed at the drainage hole, to open and close the drainage hole.

The drainage hole switching unit may include a drainage valve movably installed to open and close the drainage hole depending on a position thereof, and a drainage valve drive unit to move the drainage valve.

The drainage valve drive unit may include a solenoid, and the drainage valve may include a valve portion to open and close the drainage hole, a plunger portion made of a magnetic substance, and a guide portion to connect the valve portion to the plunger portion and to guide movement of the drainage valve.

The washing machine may further include a rotational shaft mounted, at one end thereof, to a central portion of a rear surface of the rotary tub, a bearing housing provided with a shaft mounting hole through which the rotational shaft is mounted, and bearings mounted at the shaft mounting hole so as to rotatably support the rotational shaft, the bearing housing may include a first feed passage to guide water used for washing, and the rotary tub may include a feed guide portion extending rearward from a periphery of the rotational shaft while being provided therein with a second feed passage connected to the first feed passage so as to guide water supplied from the first feed passage into the rotary tub.

The washing machine may further include a gutter disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub so as to guide drainage of water discharged from the rotary tub.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a washing machine includes a main body, a rotary tub rotatably mounted within the main body, and a gutter disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub so as to guide drainage of water discharged from the rotary tub, wherein the rotary tub includes at least one dehydration hole which is selectively opened only during dehydration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and/or other aspects of one or more embodiments will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view illustrating a washing machine according to an embodiment;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a dehydration hole switching unit applied to a rotary tub of the washing machine according to an embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view illustrating a feed path and the dehydration hole switching unit applied to the rotary tub of the washing machine according to an embodiment; and

FIG. 4 is a sectional view illustrating a drainage hole switching unit applied to the rotary tub of the washing machine according to an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

As shown in FIG. 1, a washing machine according to an embodiment includes a main body 10 to define an external appearance of the washing machine while being provided, at a front surface thereof, with an input hole 10a, a door 20 rotatably mounted at one side of the main body 10 to open and close the input hole 10a, a rotary tub 30 into which laundry is inserted while being rotatably mounted within the main body 10 so as to perform washing of the laundry in the rotary tub 30 during rotation thereof, a gutter 40 disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub 30 so as to guide drainage of water discharged from the rotary tub 30, a drive unit 50 to rotate the rotary tub 30, a feed unit 60 to supply water to the rotary tub 30, and a drainage unit 70 to discharge the water outward of the washing machine from the rotary tub 30 during drainage and dehydration.

The rotary tub 30 is provided, at a front surface thereof, with a through hole 30a so that laundry may be inserted into the rotary tub 30, and is mounted, at a central portion of a rear surface thereof, with one end of a rotational shaft 53 to be described later. Also, the rotary tub 30 includes a plurality of lifters 31 arranged at an inner peripheral surface thereof to be spaced apart from one another in a circumferential direction so as to lift up laundry, and is formed to have a diameter progressively increasing from a first end side of the rotary tub 30 to a second end side thereof located opposite the first end side. That is, the rotary tub 30 in an embodiment is formed to have a diameter progressively increasing from a front end side thereof to a rear end side thereof. In addition, the rotary tub 30 is provided, at the second end side thereof, namely, an outer peripheral surface of the rear end side thereof, with a plurality of dehydration holes 30b (see FIG. 2) to discharge water during dehydration. The plurality of dehydration holes 30b is arranged at the outer peripheral surface of the second end side of the rotary tub 30 to be spaced apart from one another in the circumferential direction, in order to smoothly discharge the water.

The gutter 40 has a round shape, for example, a barrel shape, opened at a front surface thereof, and is disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub 30 while being connected, at a lower surface thereof, with a first drainage pipe 71 to be described later. The lower surface of the gutter 40 is formed to be inclined downward toward a portion to which the first drainage pipe 71 is connected so as to guide water discharged from the rotary tub 30 during washing or dehydration to the first drainage pipe 71, thereby discharging the water.

The drive unit 50 includes a stator 51 having a coil, a rotor 52 rotating while interacting with the stator 51, and a rotational shaft 53 fixed, at one end thereof, to the rear surface of the rotary tub 30 while being connected, at the other end thereof, to the rotor 52 so as to rotate with the rotor 52.

The feed unit 60 includes a washing agent feed unit 61 to supply washing agents, first feed pipes 62 to guide water from an external feed source to the washing agent feed unit 61, feed valves 64 to allow the water to be selectively transferred to the first feed pipes 62, and a second feed pipe 63 to guide the water from the washing agent feed unit 61 to a bearing housing 100 to be described later.

The drainage unit 70 includes the first drainage pipe 71 connected to the lower surface of the gutter 40, a drainage pump 72 to discharge water by pumping, and a second drainage pipe 73 to guide the water discharged from the drainage pump 72 to the outside.

As shown in FIG. 3, the washing machine includes the bearing housing 100 mounted therein with bearings 101 to rotatably support the rotational shaft 53. The bearing housing 100 is connected to the second feed pipe 63 so as to enable guidance of water supplied to the rotary tub 30. The bearing housing 100 includes a shaft mounting hole 100a through which the rotational shaft 53 is mounted, a first feed passage 100b to guide the water supplied to the rotary tub 30, a sealing member 102 mounted at the shaft mounting hole 100a, to prevent leakage of water through a gap between the rotational shaft 53 and the shaft mounting hole 100a, and the bearings 101.

Meanwhile, the central portion of the rear surface of the rotary tub 30 is provided with a feed guide portion 32 protruding rearward, and the feed guide portion 32 is provided therein with a second feed passage 32a to be connected with the first feed passage 100b and to guide water in the rotary tub 30.

Accordingly, water supplied from the external feed source passes through the first feed pipes 62, the water agent feed unit 61, the second feed pipe 63, the first feed passage 100b of the bearing housing 100, and the second feed passage 32a provided at the feed guide portion 32 of the rotary tub 30 in sequence, thereby supplying the water to the rotary tub 30.

Referring again to FIG. 1, a support bracket 110 is disposed beneath the gutter 40 so as to mount the bearing housing 100 and attenuate vibration generated from the rotary tub 30. The support bracket 110 is disposed to be spaced apart from a bottom surface of the main body 10 thorough a plurality of buffer units 120 coupled, at upper ends thereof, to the support bracket 110 while being supported, at lower ends thereof, by the bottom surface of the main body 10. The support bracket 110 is provided, at a rear end thereof, with a fixing portion 110a extending upwards to fix the bearing housing 100.

Also, the washing machine includes a dehydration hole switching unit 80 to open and close the dehydration holes 30b so that the dehydration holes 30b may be selectively opened only during dehydration. In an embodiment, the dehydration hole switching unit 80 selectively opens and closes the dehydration holes 30b depending on a rate of rotation of the rotary tub 30.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the dehydration hole switching unit 80 includes a plurality of dehydration valves 81 movably installed to open and close the plural dehydration holes 30b depending on positions thereof, respectively, switching guides 82 formed in an arc shape, each of which connecting two or more of the plural dehydration valves 81, movement guides 84 installed to allow opposite ends of each switching guide 82 to be movable so as to guide movement of the switching guide 82 in a radial direction, and dehydration valve elastic members 83 respectively installed at the movement guides 84 so as to elastically support the associated switching guide 81 toward the outer peripheral surface of the rotary tub 30, thereby indirectly and elastically supporting the associated dehydration valves 81 through the elastically supported switching guide 81.

The rotary tub 30 rotates at a high rate of rotation during dehydration, compared with during washing. As such, when the rate of rotation of the rotary tub 30 is increased for dehydration, centrifugal force acting on water in the rotary tub 30 is increased. As the centrifugal force increases, water progressively moves along the inner peripheral surface of the rotary tub 30 toward the second end side, namely, the rear end side of the rotary tub 30, which is formed to have a relatively large diameter.

As the centrifugal force also increases, each switching guide 82 moves along the associated movement guides 84 in the outward radial direction while the dehydration valve elastic members 83 supporting the switching guide 82 are elastically deformed, and thus the associated dehydration valves 81 are spaced apart from the dehydration holes 30b, respectively, to open the dehydration holes 30b. Consequently, water in the rotary tub 30, moving to the rear end side thereof, is discharged through the dehydration holes 30b, and the water discharged through the dehydration holes 30b is guided to the first drainage pipe 71 by the gutter 40, thereby passing through the first drainage pipe 71, the drainage pump 72, and the second drainage pipe 73 in sequence. As a result, the water is discharged outward of the washing machine.

As shown in FIG. 4, the rear surface of the rotary tub 30 is provided with a drainage hole 30c to allow water to be discharged from the rotary tub 30 during drainage, and the drainage hole 30c is provided with a drainage hole switching unit 90 to open and close the drainage hole 30c so that the drainage hole 30c may be selectively opened only during drainage.

The drainage hole switching unit 90 includes a drainage valve 91 movably installed to open and close the drainage hole 30c depending on a position thereof, and a drainage valve drive unit 93 to move the drainage valve 91. In an embodiment, the drainage valve drive unit 93 includes a solenoid to generate a magnetic field by application of power, and the drainage valve 91 includes a valve portion 91a to open and close the drainage hole 30c, a plunger portion 91b made of a magnetic substance, and a guide portion 91c to connect the valve portion 91a to the plunger portion 91b and to guide movement of the drainage valve 91. Furthermore, the drainage hole switching unit 90 includes a drainage valve elastic member 92 to elastically support the drainage valve 91, thereby allowing the drainage hole 30c to be maintained in a state of being closed by the elastically supported drainage valve 91.

Thus, the drainage valve 91 is elastically supported by the drainage valve elastic member 92 so as to maintain the state of closing the drainage hole 30c, in a state in which a washing or dehydration operation is executed. In addition, when the rotary tub 30 rotates at a predetermined angle so that the drainage valve drive unit 93 is disposed at a position corresponding to the drainage valve 91 during drainage and then power is applied to the solenoid forming the drainage valve drive unit 93, the magnetic field is generated in the solenoid, and thus the drainage valve 91 moves toward the drainage valve drive unit 93 by magnetic force acting on the plunger portion 91b. Consequently, the drainage hole 30c is opened to discharge water in the rotary tub 30 through the drainage hole 30c.

Although the dehydration valves 81 in an embodiment are indirectly and elastically supported by the dehydration valve elastic members 83 through the switching guides 83, an embodiment is not limited thereto. For example, dehydration valves may be elastically supported by dehydration valve elastic members, respectively.

Also, although the dehydration hole switching unit 80 in an embodiment opens and closes the dehydration holes 30b by increasing centrifugal force occurring due to increasing of the rate of rotation of the rotary tub 30, an embodiment is not limited thereto. For example, a dehydration hole switching unit includes a solenoid valve and the like, thereby enabling opening and closing of dehydration holes.

In addition, although the rotary tub 30 in the illustrated embodiment is formed to have a large diameter at the rear end side thereof, compared with at the front end side thereof, the present invention is not limited thereto. On the contrary, a rotary tub may be formed to have a large diameter at a front end side thereof, compared with at a rear end side thereof. In addition, the rotary tub may be formed to have a uniform diameter at a front end side thereof.

As is apparent from the above description, a rotary tub has a diameter progressively increasing from a first end side thereof to a second end side thereof, and the rotary tub is provided, at an outer peripheral surface of the second end side thereof, with dehydration holes. Therefore, when a rate of rotation of the rotary tub is increased for dehydration, water moves to the second end side of the rotary tub depending on increase of the rate of rotation thereof, thereby being discharged through the dehydration holes arranged at the second end side. As a result, dehydration is achieved.

Although a few embodiments have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.

Claims

1. A washing machine comprising:

a rotary tub having a diameter progressively increasing from a first end side thereof to a second end side thereof located opposite the first end side;
at least one dehydration hole arranged at the second end side of the rotary tub; and
a dehydration hole switching unit to open and close the at least one dehydration hole.

2. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the dehydration hole switching unit is selectively opened and closed depending on a rate of rotation of the rotary tub.

3. The washing machine according to claim 2, wherein:

the at least one dehydration hole comprises a plurality of dehydration holes disposed at the rotary tub, to be spaced apart from one another in a circumferential direction; and
the dehydration hole switching unit comprises a plurality of dehydration valves movably installed to open and close the plural dehydration holes depending on movement thereof, respectively, and dehydration valve elastic members to elastically support the dehydration valves.

4. The washing machine according to claim 3, wherein:

the dehydration hole switching unit further comprises a plurality of switching guides formed in an arc shape, each of which connecting two or more of the plural dehydration valves, and movement guides installed so as to allow opposite ends of each switching guide to be movable in a radial direction; and
the dehydration valve elastic members are respectively disposed at the movement guides, to elastically support the dehydration valves through each switching guide.

5. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein:

the rotary tub comprises a drainage hole for drainage; and
the rotary tub further comprises a drainage hole switching unit disposed at the drainage hole, to open and close the drainage hole.

6. The washing machine according to claim 5, wherein the drainage hole switching unit comprises a drainage valve movably installed to open and close the drainage hole depending on a position thereof, and a drainage valve drive unit to move the drainage valve.

7. The washing machine according to claim 6, wherein:

the drainage valve drive unit comprises a solenoid; and
the drainage valve comprises a valve portion to open and close the drainage hole, a plunger portion made of a magnetic substance, and a guide portion to connect the valve portion to the plunger portion and to guide movement of the drainage valve.

8. The washing machine according to claim 1, further comprising:

a rotational shaft mounted, at one end thereof, to a central portion of a rear surface of the rotary tub, a bearing housing provided with a shaft mounting hole through which the rotational shaft is mounted, and bearings mounted at the shaft mounting hole so as to rotatably support the rotational shaft, wherein:
the bearing housing comprises a first feed passage to guide water used for washing; and
the rotary tub comprises a feed guide portion extending rearward from a periphery of the rotational shaft while being provided therein with a second feed passage connected to the first feed passage so as to guide water supplied from the first feed passage into the rotary tub.

9. The washing machine according to claim 1, further comprising a gutter disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub so as to guide drainage of water discharged from the rotary tub.

10. A washing machine comprising:

a main body;
a rotary tub rotatably mounted within the main body; and
a gutter disposed at an outer side of the rotary tub so as to guide drainage of water discharged from the rotary tub,
wherein the rotary tub comprises at least one dehydration hole which is selectively opened only during dehydration.

11. The washing machine according to claim 10, further comprising a dehydration hole switching unit which selectively opens the at least one dehydration hole only during dehydration.

12. The washing machine according to claim 11, wherein the dehydration hole switching unit selectively opens and closes the dehydration hole depending on a rate of rotation of the rotary tub.

13. The washing machine according to claim 12, wherein:

the at least one dehydration hole comprises a plurality of dehydration holes disposed at the rotary tub, to be spaced apart from one another in a circumferential direction; and
the dehydration hole switching unit comprises a plurality of dehydration valves movably installed to open and close the plural dehydration holes depending on movement thereof, respectively, and dehydration valve elastic members to elastically support the dehydration valves.

14. The washing machine according to claim 13, wherein:

the dehydration hole switching unit further comprises a plurality of switching guides formed in an arc shape, each of which connecting two or more of the plural dehydration valves, and movement guides installed so as to allow opposite ends of each switching guide to be movable in a radial direction; and
the dehydration valve elastic members are respectively disposed at the movement guides, to elastically support the dehydration valves through each switching guide.

15. The washing machine according to claim 6, wherein the drainage hole switching unit further comprises a drainage valve elastic member to elastically support the drainage valve.

16. The washing machine according to claim 10, wherein the rotary tub comprises a drainage hole for drainage and a drainage hole switching unit disposed at the drainage hole to open and close the drainage hole.

17. The washing machine according to claim 16, wherein the drainage hole switching unit comprises a drainage valve movably installed to open and close the drainage hole depending on a position thereof, and a drainage valve drive unit to move the drainage valve.

18. The washing machine according to claim 17, wherein:

the drainage valve drive unit comprises a solenoid; and
the drainage valve comprises a valve portion to open and close the drainage hole, a plunger portion made of a magnetic substance, and a guide portion to connect the valve portion to the plunger portion and to guide movement of the drainage valve.

19. The washing machine according to claim 17, wherein the drainage hole switching unit further comprises a drainage valve elastic member to elastically support the drainage valve.

Patent History

Publication number: 20130036774
Type: Application
Filed: Aug 9, 2012
Publication Date: Feb 14, 2013
Applicant: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (Suwon)
Inventors: Hyun Mook KIM (Osan-si), Sang Hyeok LEE (Suwion-si), Je Hong MIN (Seongnam-si), Jung Hee LEE (Suwon-si), Ji Hoon CHOI (Hwaseong-si), Kab Jin JUN (Gwangju-si)
Application Number: 13/570,636

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Cage Construction (68/142)
International Classification: D06F 21/00 (20060101);