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ABSTRACT

A simple and inexpensive hinge system or mechanism that may apply to the front panel or door so as to obtain an easy access to the inside without making the mechanism much more complicated or expensive. The hinge mechanism for a front panel or door is hingedly connected to an enclosure (or cabinet case) and comprises an axis (or shaft) and an axis supporting member having an opening that supports the axis at a first position for door swinging, at a second position for holding the door in a certain state, and at an intermediate position for the axis moving with or without any turning.

Inventors: Jun Liu, Jeremy L. Neill Christopher L. Kight
Original Assignee: Hoshizaki America, Inc.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION


1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a door housing and more particularly relates to a door hinge mechanism.

2. Description of the Related Art

A front panel of an appliance is conventionally screwed or bolted onto the appliance housing or case. The front panel improves the aesthetics, protects contained parts from harmful environment such as dust, prevents human or animal direct contact to the parts, and allows daily inspection through windows on the front panel without causing particular danger. The front panel is conventionally screwed or bolted, which is not expensive.

The appliance usually requires a regular maintenance, which may be conducted without removing the front panel but with utilizing small windows and access holes to adjust the equipment. However, on some occasion such as a major maintenance service and repair, the front panel may be needed to be removed from the appliance for the serviceman to access the inside of the appliance case. The front panel that is conventionally fixed on the appliance case may require a special tool and it may take long to unscrew (and screw) all screws on the front panel.

In order to obtain an easy access to the inside of the appliance, a front panel hingedly connected to the appliance case with a latch mechanism may be employed. However, a regular hinge does not keep the front panel open unless a special stopping mechanism is installed. Additional parts or equipment tends to complicate the hinged front panel system and to make it much more expensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


The present invention seeks to provide a simple and inexpensive hinge system or mechanism that may apply to the front panel or door so as to obtain an easy access to the inside without making the mechanism much more complicated or expensive.

According to the present invention, the hinge mechanism for a front panel or door hingedly connected to an enclosure (or cabinet case) comprises an axis (or shaft) and an axis supporting member having an opening that supports the axis at a first position for door swinging, at a second position for holding the door in a certain state, and in a transition position for the axis moving with or without any turning.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the hinge mechanism mentioned above further comprises a latch mechanism for keeping the door steadily open.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, the axis is fixed to the enclosure (or case) so that the door locking and latching movement can be made by pulling the door.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the hinge plate comprise a flat plate and a curved elongated opening so that the hinge mechanism can be simple.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the curved elongated opening of the axis support member has a partial bearing portion parallel with the door face and a curved-away-bearing portion from the door face, so that the hinged mechanism can utilize the door weight to latch or lock the door and create more space from the front opening trim so as to allow the hinge plate to turn around the axis.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the hinge plate comprises a projecting portion to engage with a latch edge portion secured to the case for keeping the door open.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the door lock mechanism is synchronized with the hinge mechanism so that the closed door may be prevented from vibrating and making noise with the case frame.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the hinge mechanism, the latch mechanism, and the lock mechanism may be installed separately to the cabinet case to which the door hingedly connected.

According to another aspect of the present invention, any kind of door-hingedly-connected-to-case system can apply any one of the hinged mechanisms mentioned above.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the hinge plate having an opening comprising a flat plate, a curved elongated opening, and a projecting portion so that the hinge mechanism may incorporate the latch mechanism.