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issue: July 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Engineering Technology Report
Motorized Oven Door


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A new motor-operated oven door from Culinary Logic, LLC has been designed to change the traditional interface of high-end cooking appliances.

The Access Oven Door, which folds into itself as opposed to using traditional hinges, was a joint collaboration between Culinary Logic and OTB Designs & Engineering, both of Fort Collins, CO, U.S. The two companies designed the door to offer end users greater access to the oven for easy cleaning, as well as space and safety benefits.

According to Ken House, a design engineer with Culinary Logic, the door resembles an upside-down garage door. “Oven doors have always been a rigid, planar assembly. By taking the same approach as one might take if building a garage door upside down, the valuable kitchen space immediately in front of the oven is no longer consumed by the door when opened,” he tells APPLIANCE. “This can be a huge advantage in compact kitchens in high-population density areas such as Manhattan and much of Europe.”

Unlike traditional oven doors, which are usually hinged from the bottom and spring-loaded or latched to keep them closed, the Access Oven Door is broken into individual door segments that are linked together. “The linked door segments are borne on roller bearings (kept away from the heat), and these rollers are captive within a track on each side of the oven,” Mr. House explains. “The track guides the door segments into the space provided beneath the cooking chamber and out of the way of the user.”

Two of the most challenging aspects of designing the new door were the exterior door skin temperature and side sealing, according to Mr. House. “For the exterior door skin temperature, we provided an inter-segment seal, which connects all of the air chases together so the door acts as if it were still a rigid assembly once it is in the closed position. This permits free flow of air between the walls or glass of the door and provides for a cooler exterior,” he explains. “For the side sealing, we mounted the seals on rails that are pulled out of the path of the door by solenoids whenever the door is in motion.”

Because the door is motorized, appliance engineers have the option of controlling it via a touch pad, voice command, or remote. The shelves can be motorized as well, allowing the feature of automatic dish presentation to the end user.

Mr. House admits that the new door design won’t be a drop-in replacement for appliance engineers, but adds that it won’t require a complete redesign either. “The cooking chamber moves upward about 1 inch, and the bottom drawer floor is moved down about the same. This gets you the couple of inches needed to fit the door segments into the space between the two. There must be some room for the motors and the linkage between the sides and a frame,” he explains.

Other design options include obstruction sensors to keep the end user safe and controls that can allow for a “peek” feature so users can check on cooking status. “The main benefit to the oven design engineer is the ability to think differently about the door,” Mr. House says. “Now the door is capable of so much more and lends freedom to the designer.”

 

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