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1. (WO2017174146) HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE WITH AN IMPROVED CONTROL PANEL ASSEMBLY
Document

Description

Title of Invention 0001   0002   0003   0004   0005   0006   0007   0008   0009   0010   0011   0012   0013   0014   0015   0016   0017   0018   0019   0020   0021   0022   0023   0024   0025   0026   0027   0028   0029   0030   0031   0032   0033   0034   0035   0036   0037   0038   0039   0040   0041   0042   0043   0044   0045   0046   0047   0048   0049   0050   0051   0052  

Claims

0001   0002   0003   0004   0005   0006  

Drawings

1   2, 3   4, 5   6, 7  

Description

Title of Invention : HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE WITH AN IMPROVED CONTROL PANEL ASSEMBLY

[0001]
The present invention relates to a household appliance, in particular to a dishwasher or a laundry treatment appliance such as a laundry washer, a laundry dryer or a laundry washer-and-dryer.
[0002]
Household appliances such as dishwashers and laundry treatment appliances are commonly known in the art. A laundry treatment appliance generally comprises a control panel assembly which includes: a panel that is disposed on the upper front part of the main body; a user-interface which has a printed circuit board that is disposed onto the back side the panel, and one or more control buttons which are each disposed onto the panel and linked to the printed circuit board; one or more apertures which are each formed into the panel and adapted to accommodate the respective control button; and a socket that is connectable to the terminals of the printed circuit board, wherein the socket has cables that lead to the electrically operating units, including the motor unit, the valve unit, the power supply unit and the like; and a retainer that keeps the socket in place. The user takes the laundry treatment appliance into operation through the user-interface, and selects the washing/drying program by means of the control buttons. The control buttons may be provided as rotary type control buttons and/or push type control buttons. The printed circuit board controls the overall operation of the laundry treatment appliance.
[0003]
US2016/0053426 A1 discloses a laundry dryer.
[0004]
A problem with the prior art household appliance is that the assemblage of the printed circuit board with the control buttons and the socket is generally cost intensive both in terms of material and labor.
[0005]
An objective of the present invention is to provide a household appliance which overcomes the aforementioned problem of the prior art in a cost-effective way and which enables an improved production and assemblage of the control panel assembly.
[0006]
This objective has been achieved by the laundry treatment appliance as defined in claim 1. Further achievements have been attained by the subject-matters respectively defined in the dependent claims.
[0007]
In the household appliance of the present invention, the control panel assembly further includes: a support which is adapted to support one or more control buttons and to be interposed between the panel and the printed circuit board; and a first fastening means which is disposed onto the back side of the panel and adapted to removably connect with the support, wherein the retainer is integrally formed onto the support.
[0008]
A major advantageous effect of the present invention is that the need for using a separate auxiliary device for securing the socket in place has been obviated as the retainer is integrally formed onto the support. Thereby, the number of parts can be reduced and production costs can be saved both in terms labor and material. Another major advantageous effect of the present invention is that control buttons can be easily disposed onto the panel and linked to the printed circuit board by means of the support during the assemblage. Thereby, the assemblage can be expedited, and the productions cost can be further saved. Thereby, also the maintenance of the control panel assembly can be facilitated. Another major advantageous effect of the present invention is that the support functions as a strain relief and protects the printed circuit board and also the panel when the control buttons are under excessive mechanical stress. With the present invention, the user satisfaction can be further increased.
[0009]
In an embodiment, the support is integrally provided with a first resilient claw that removably and directly connects with the socket and retains the same on the printed circuit board. The support, including the first resilient claw may be manufactured as a single piece through plastic molding. This embodiment is particularly advantageous as the socket can be securely kept in place by the first resilient claw. Thereby, the socket can be prevented from loosening when the laundry treatment appliance is set into vibrations during the operation or during the transportation.
[0010]
In another embodiment, a second fastening means removably and directly connects with the printed circuit board. In this embodiment, the second fastening means is integrally formed onto the back side of the panel. In this embodiment, the high current-carrying components of the laundry treatment appliance which may pose a risk to the safety are mounted onto a separate printed circuit board that is located in the lower rear part of the main body. The cables of the socket lead to the high current-carrying components. This embodiment is particularly advantageous as the need for a separate protective holder that holds the printed circuit board of the user-interface and that protects the high current-carrying components has been obviated. Thereby, the number of parts can be further reduced and also the production costs can be further saved both in terms labor and material. This embodiment is also particularly advantageous as the safety of the laundry appliance can be improved, and the high current carrying components can be securely protected in the lower rear part against splash water and/or rain. This embodiment is also particularly advantageous as the control panel assembly can be designed less restrictedly when the user-interface is provided without the high current-carrying components.
[0011]
Additional features and additional advantageous effects of the household appliance of the present invention will become more apparent with the detailed description of the embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
[0012]
Figure 1 – is a schematic perspective view of a laundry treatment appliance according to an embodiment of the present invention;
[0013]
Figure 2 – is a schematic front view of the control panel assembly of Fig. 1;
[0014]
Figure 3 – is a schematic perspective rear view of the control panel assembly of Fig. 2;
[0015]
Figure 4 – is a schematic sectional view of the control panel assembly of Fig. 2, taken along the line A-A;
[0016]
Figure 5 – is a schematic enlarged view of the detail B of Fig. 3;
[0017]
Figure 6 – is a schematic perspective rear view of the control panel assembly of Fig. 2, wherein the printed circuit board and the socket have been removed;
[0018]
Figure 7 – is a schematic perspective rear view of the support including the control buttons of the control panel assembly of Fig. 6.
[0019]
The reference signs appearing on the drawings relate to the following technical features.
  1. Household appliance (Laundry treatment appliance)
[0020]
1a. Main body
2. Control panel assembly
[0021]
3. Panel
[0022]
4. User-interface
[0023]
5. Printed circuit board
[0024]
6. Control button
[0025]
7. Aperture
[0026]
8. Socket
[0027]
9. Terminal
[0028]
10. Retainer
[0029]
11. Support
[0030]
11a. Receptacle
[0031]
11b. Resilient protrusion
[0032]
12. 1 st fastening means
[0033]
12a Slot
[0034]
13. 1 st resilient claw
[0035]
14. 2 nd fastening means
[0036]
15. 2 nd resilient claw
[0037]
16. Opening
[0038]
17. Drawer assembly
[0039]
The laundry treatment appliance (1) has a control panel assembly (2) (Fig.1). The control panel assembly (2) is detachably attachable to the upper front part of the main body (1a) (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2).
[0040]
The control panel assembly (2) includes: a panel (3) that is disposed onto the upper front part of the main body; a user-interface (4) which has a printed circuit board (5) that is disposed onto the back side the panel (3), and one or more control buttons (6) which are each disposed onto the panel (3) and linked to the printed circuit board (5); one or more apertures (7) which are each formed into the panel (3) and adapted to accommodate the respective control button (6); a socket (8) for connecting to the terminals (9) of the printed circuit board (5); and a retainer (10) for retaining the socket (8) connected to the terminals (9) of the printed circuit board (5) (Fig. 2 to Fig. 4).
[0041]
In the laundry treatment appliance (1) of the present invention, the control panel assembly (2) further includes: a support (11) which is adapted to support one or more control buttons (6) and to be interposed between the panel (3) and the printed circuit board (5); and a first fastening means (12) which is disposed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably connect with the support (11), wherein the retainer (10) is integrally formed onto the support (11) (Fig. 4 to Fig. 7).
[0042]
In an embodiment, the first fastening means (12) is integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to directly connect with the support (11) (Fig. 4 to Fig. 7).
[0043]
In another embodiment, the socket (8) is adapted to connect to the terminals (9) which are located on the edge of the printed circuit board (5). In this embodiment, the socket (8) has a slit that receives the edge of the printed circuit board (5). (Fig. 4).
[0044]
In another embodiment, the support (11) has one or more receptacles (11a) into which the control buttons (6) can be respectively detachably attached (Fig. 7).
[0045]
In another embodiment, the first fastening means (12) comprises one or more slots (12a) which are integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3). In this embodiment, the support (11) comprises one or more resilient protrusions (11b) which are integrally formed onto the support (11) and adapted to fit into the slots (12a) respectively (Fig. 6 and 7).
[0046]
In another embodiment, the retainer (10) comprises one or more first resilient claws (13) which are each integrally formed onto the support (11) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the socket (8) (Fig. 5 and Fig. 7).
[0047]
In another embodiment, the support (11), including the first resilient claw (13), the receptacles (11a) for the control buttons (6), the resilient protrusions (11b) are formed as a single piece through plastic molding (Fig. 6 and Fig. 7).
[0048]
In another embodiment, the laundry treatment appliance (1) further comprises a second fastening means (14) which is integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the printed circuit board (5) (Fig. 3 and Fig. 6).
[0049]
In another embodiment, the second fastening means (14) comprises one or more second resilient claws (15) which are each integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the printed circuit board (5). In this embodiment the second resilient claws (15) directly abut against the surface of the printed circuit board (5) (Fig. 3 and Fig. 6).
[0050]
In another embodiment, the panel (3) has an opening (16) for removably mounting a drawer assembly (17) (Fig. 6).
[0051]
In another embodiment, the panel (3) including the apertures (7) for the control buttons (6), the opening (16) for the drawer assembly (17), the slots (12a) of the first fastening means (12), and the second resilient claws (15) of the second fastening means (14) are formed as a single piece through plastic molding (Fig. 4 and Fig. 6).
[0052]
A major advantageous effect of the present invention is that the need for using a separate auxiliary device for securing the socket (8) in place has been obviated as the retainer (10) is integrally formed onto the support (11). Thereby, the number of parts can be reduced and production costs can be saved both in terms labor and material. Another major advantageous effect of the present invention is that control buttons (6) can be easily disposed onto the panel (3) and linked to the printed circuit board (5) by means of the support (11) during the assemblage. Thereby, the assemblage can be expedited, and the productions cost can be further saved. Thereby, also the maintenance of the control panel assembly (2) can be facilitated. Another major advantageous effect of the present invention is that support (11) functions as a strain relief, and protects the printed circuit board (5) and also the panel (3) when the control buttons (6) are under excessive mechanical stress. Other advantageous effects of the present invention can be taken from the above-described embodiments.

Claims

[Claim 0001]
A household appliance (1) comprising a control panel assembly (2) including: a panel (3); a user-interface (4) which has a printed circuit board (5) that is disposed onto the back side the panel (3), and one or more control buttons (6) which are each disposed onto the panel (3) and linked to the printed circuit board (5); one or more apertures (7) which are each formed into the panel (3) and adapted to accommodate the one or more control buttons (6); a socket (8) for connecting to the terminals (9) of the printed circuit board (5); and a retainer (10) for retaining the socket (8), characterized by further comprising: a support (11) which is adapted to support one or more control buttons (6) and to be interposed between the panel (3) and the printed circuit board (5); and a first fastening means (12) which is disposed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably connect with the support (11), wherein the retainer (10) is integrally formed onto the support (11).
[Claim 0002]
The household appliance (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the first fastening means (12) is integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to directly connect with the support (11).
[Claim 0003]
The household appliance (1) according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the retainer (10) comprises one or more first resilient claws (13) which are each integrally formed onto the support (11) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the socket (8) so as to keep it connected to the terminals (9) of the printed circuit board (5).
[Claim 0004]
The household appliance (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized by further comprising: a second fastening means (14) which is integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the printed circuit board (5).
[Claim 0005]
The household appliance (1) according to claim 4, characterized in that the second fastening means (14) comprises one or more second resilient claws (15) which are each integrally formed onto the back side of the panel (3) and adapted to removably and directly connect with the printed circuit board (5).
[Claim 0006]
The household appliance (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the household appliance (1) is provided as a dishwasher or a laundry treatment appliance (1).

Drawings

[ Fig. 1]

[ Fig. 2, 3]

[ Fig. 4, 5]

[ Fig. 6, 7]