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Publication numberUS20020170923 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/860,071
Publication dateNov 21, 2002
Filing dateMay 17, 2001
Priority dateMay 17, 2001
Publication number09860071, 860071, US 2002/0170923 A1, US 2002/170923 A1, US 20020170923 A1, US 20020170923A1, US 2002170923 A1, US 2002170923A1, US-A1-20020170923, US-A1-2002170923, US2002/0170923A1, US2002/170923A1, US20020170923 A1, US20020170923A1, US2002170923 A1, US2002170923A1
InventorsIsaak Vatman
Original AssigneeIsaak Vatman
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for dispensing paste material from a collapsible tube
US 20020170923 A1
Abstract
An apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube of the present invention includes a pair of pinch rollers adapted to squeeze the tube from its tile to its nose and clamping means for stabilizing the tile as the rollers are moved away from the tile toward the nose. According to one embodiment, the tile is grasped by a vise which is fastened with a screw. According to another embodiment, the tile is held between a slot and a plank under the action of a cam lever. In both embodiments, the pinch rollers are preferably spring biased and carried on a lead screw driven carriage which is advanced from the tile toward the nose by rotating a knob or turning a crank.
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Claims(20)
1. An apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube having a tile at one end and a nose at the other end, said apparatus comprising:
a) tile stabilizing means for stabilizing the location of the tile of the tube; and
b) movable squeezing means for squeezing the tube, said movable squeezing means being movable towards and away from said tile stabilizing means.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
said tile stabilizing means includes either a vise or a movable clamping bar and a cam lever.
3. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein:
said movable squeezing means includes a pair of rollers mounted on a movable carriage.
4. An apparatus according to claim 3, further comprising:
c) a lead screw threadably coupled to said movable carriage; and
d) manual turning means coupled to said lead screw, wherein
said movable carriage defines a threaded throughbore which receives said lead screw such that rotation of said manual turning means in one direction causes said movable carriage to move towards said tile stabilizing means, and rotation of said manual turning means in another direction causes said movable carriage to move away from said tile stabilizing means.
5. An apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising:
e) a base defining a channel in which said carriage moves.
6. An apparatus according to claim 4, further comprising:
e) a base;
f) a front plate coupled to said base; and
g) a rear plate coupled to said base, said front plate defining a first opening and said rear plate defining a second opening, said first and second openings for capturing said lead screw.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein:
said lead screw includes non-threaded ends extending through said first and second openings, and said lead screw has a threaded middle portion having a diameter greater than a diameter of said second opening.
8. An apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube having a tile at one end and a nose at the other end, said apparatus comprising:
a) a base member having a front plate and a rear plate;
b) tile stabilizing means coupled to said rear plate for stabilizing the location of the tile of the tube relative to the rear plate; and
c) movable squeezing means for squeezing the tube, said movable squeezing means being movable between said front and rear plates.
9. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein:
said tile stabilizing means includes a vise or a movable clamping bar and a cam lever.
10. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein:
said movable squeezing means includes a pair of rollers mounted on a movable carriage.
11. An apparatus according to claim 10, further comprising:
c) a lead screw threadably coupled to said movable carriage; and
d) manual turning means coupled to said lead screw, wherein
said movable carriage defines a threaded throughbore which receives said lead screw such that rotation of said manual turning means in one direction causes said movable carriage to move towards said tile stabilizing means, and rotation of said manual turning means in another direction causes said movable carriage to move away from said tile stabilizing means.
12. An apparatus according to claim 11, wherein:
said front plate defines a first opening and said rear plate defines a second opening, said first and second openings for capturing said lead screw.
13. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein:
said lead screw includes non-threaded ends extending through said first and second openings, and said lead screw has a threaded middle portion having a diameter greater than a diameter of said second opening.
14. An apparatus according to claim 10, wherein:
said base defines a channel in which said carriage moves.
15. A combination, comprising:
a) a collapsible tube containing material therein, said collapsible tube having a tile at a first end and a nose at a second end; and
b) a dispensing apparatus including
i) tile stabilizing means for stabilizing the location of said tile of said collapsible tube, and
ii) movable squeezing means for squeezing said tube, said movable squeezing means being movable towards and away from said tile stabilizing means.
16. A combination according to claim 15, wherein:
said material comprises a dental creme, gel or paste.
17. A combination according to claim 15, wherein:
said tile stabilizing means includes a vise or a movable clamping bar and a cam lever, and said movable squeezing means includes a pair of rollers mounted on a movable carriage.
18. A combination according to claim 17, wherein:
said dispensing apparatus further includes a lead screw threadably coupled to said movable carriage, and a manual turning means coupled to said lead screw, wherein said movable carriage defines a threaded throughbore which receives said lead screw such that rotation of said manual turning means in one direction causes said movable carriage to move towards said tile stabilizing means, and rotation of said manual turning means in another direction causes said movable carriage to move away from said tile stabilizing means.
19. A combination according to claim 17, wherein:
said dispensing apparatus further includes a base, a front plate coupled to said base, and a rear plate coupled to said base, said front plate defining a first opening and said rear plate defining a second opening, said first and second openings for capturing said lead screw, and said front plate further defining means for holding said nose of said collapsible tube.
20. A combination according to claim 19, wherein:
said lead screw includes non-threaded ends extending through said first and second openings, and said lead screw has a threaded middle portion having a diameter greater than a diameter of said second opening.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention relates to apparatus for dispensing material from a package. More particularly, the invention relates to an apparatus for dispensing paste materials from a collapsible tube.

[0003] 2. State of the Art

[0004] Since toothpaste was first sold in a tube, people have concerned themselves with improving the manner in which toothpaste is dispensed from the tube. These efforts have focused on economy, aesthetics, and ease of use.

[0005] With regard to economy, the concern has been to find a way to collapse the tube of toothpaste in a progressive manner such that all of the toothpaste is squeezed out of the tube before the tube is discarded and replaced. Over time, the consumer will save money by purchasing fewer tubes of toothpaste. It is estimated that as much as 10%-15% of the contents of a toothpaste tube are never dispensed.

[0006] With regard to aesthetics, it has been plainly observed that a partially depleted tube of toothpaste resembles a disfigured caricature of its former self. A wrinkled, twisted, and/or partially rolled tube gives the appearance of being unkempt if not unhygienic.

[0007] With regard to ease of use, unless the toothpaste tube is depleted carefully, it soon becomes unmanageable. Even when the tube still contains a substantial quantity of toothpaste, it may be difficult to dispense the toothpaste if the tube is severely deformed. This is particularly so in the case of persons having diminished manual dexterity such as small children and those afflicted with arthritis or similar maladies.

[0008] Throughout the years many products other than toothpaste have been sold in similar “squeeze tube” containers and it has become known to purchasers of these products that they present the same or similar problems as those presented by toothpaste tubes. It may be noted that some products present special problems which do not necessarily afflict toothpaste tubes. Some products, such as denture creme, for example, become quite viscous when chilled even a relatively small amount. As those living in cold climates will have experienced, dispensing denture creme on a winter morning can present an unwelcome challenge.

[0009] For more than seventy years inventors have concerned themselves with these problems and have offered numerous solutions. For example, as early as 1930, P. H. D. Winsor proposed a toothpaste tube squeezing device in U.S. Pat. No. 1,842,000. According to Winsor, the primary object of his invention was to provide “a device for dispensing the contents of a collapsible container in an economical, convenient, and sanitary manner.” Following Winsor's lead, P. F. Roache disclosed, in 1936, a shaving cream and toothpaste dispenser which is described and illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 2,085,673. Back then Roache said that he aimed to provide “a simple and inexpensive device” which will “afford a fixed sanitary support for a collapsible container to prevent the misplacement of the latter and which may be easily and quickly actuated to first open the collapsible container and then discharge therefrom a desired amount of its contents and automatically close the container when manually released to prevent evaporation of the contents and contamination by foreign matter.” Thus, Roache recognized and addressed additional toothpaste issues, namely the commonly known spousal complaint of the misplaced toothpaste cap and the non-so-commonly known problem of the misplaced toothpaste tube.

[0010] Nearly half a century later, the problems associated with toothpaste tubes were still considered to be largely unsolved. In 1982, Edwin B. Wolfe filed an application for a “toothpaste extractor” which ultimately issued as U.S. Pat. No. 4,508,242. Whereas many efforts which preceded Wolfe's involved manually operated devices, Wolfe's invention was, among other things, “electrically operated”. In its broadest claimed incarnation, it included no fewer than four switches. One of the more interesting features of Wolfe's device was that it held multiple toothpaste tubes which allowed “the family that has the need to use several types of paste to accomplish this need without any inconvenience, requiring only the push of a button and the turn of a knob.”

[0011] Contemporaneous with Wolfe's efforts, Carl A. Wright recognized the need for a toothpaste dispenser which was “very convenient to use”, “easy to load”, and “easy to maintain”. Wright's “relatively minimalist” approach to a “dispenser for a collapsible tube” is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,607,763 which issued in 1986.

[0012] Although all of the above described devices are structurally distinguishable, all have the significant similarity that all provide a pair of spaced apart rollers which are disposed to squeeze the tube from the “tile” of the tube to the “nose” of the tube. As used herein, the term “tile” is used to indicate the crimped or welded end of the tube farthest from the dispensing opening and “nose” is used to generally describe the end out of which toothpaste is released.

[0013] It is the opinion of the inventor herein that all of these previous devices fail miserably to solve the primary problems of economically dispensing as much toothpaste as possible before discarding the tube and easing the awkward task of dispensing paste from a partially depleted tube, particularly in cold weather. In deference to these primary problems, the inventor has realized something which has not been realized in nearly a century of effort, i.e., that in order to effectively dispense paste from a tube using a roller device, it is necessary to stabilize the tile portion of the tube.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube which nearly completely empties the tube of its contents.

[0015] It is also an object of the invention to provide an apparatus for dispensing paste materials from a collapsible tube which eliminates the need to manually handle misshapen partially depleted tubes.

[0016] It is another object of the invention to provide an apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube which facilitates dispensing tube contents when operated by a person having diminished manual dexterity.

[0017] It is a further object of the invention to provide an apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube which facilitates dispensing viscous tube contents.

[0018] Another object of the invention is to provide an economical, simple, and reliable design for an apparatus which dispenses paste from a collapsible tube.

[0019] In accord with these objects which will be discussed in detail below, the apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube of the present invention includes a pair of pinch rollers adapted to squeeze the tube from its tile to its nose and clamping means for stabilizing the tile as the rollers are moved away from the tile toward the nose. According to one embodiment, the tile is grasped by a vise which is fastened with a screw. According to another embodiment, the tile is held between a slot and a plank under the action of a cam lever. In both embodiments, the pinch rollers are preferably spring biased and carried on a screw driven carriage which is advanced from the tile to the nose by rotating a knob or turning a crank.

[0020] Although the invention is described with reference to toothpaste and similar personal hygiene materials, it may have application in dispensing other materials (e.g. epoxy, silicons, various medications, etc.) from similar types of tubes. Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the detailed description taken in conjunction with the provided figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021]FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of the first embodiment of the invention;

[0022]FIG. 2 is a rear end view of the first embodiment of the invention;

[0023]FIG. 3 is a section taken along line A-A in FIG. 1;

[0024]FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of the second embodiment of the invention;

[0025]FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the second embodiment of the invention;

[0026]FIG. 6 is a section taken along line B-B of FIG. 4; and

[0027]FIG. 7 is a section taken along line C-C of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0028] Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3, a first embodiment of a dispenser 10 according to the invention includes a base 12 which is formed as a guiding channel, a front plate 14 defining a U-shaped opening 16 for the nose of a tube (shown in phantom in FIG. 1) and a rear plate 18 defining an opening 20 for the tile of the tube. A clamping bar 22 is located in the opening 20 and is engaged by a clamping screw 24 which extends into the opening 20. A lead screw 26 is mounted between the front plate 14 and the rear plate 18 and is provided with a drive knob 28. A carriage 30 carrying a pair of pinch rollers 32, 34 and having an internal thread 35 is mounted on the lead screw 26 and sits loosely in the guiding base 12. One of the rollers 32 is spring biased toward the other by a flat spring 36 and is provided with a knob 38.

[0029] The lead screw 26 has reduced diameter unthreaded ends 43, 44. Unthreaded end 43 is captured by an opening 47 in the front plate 14, while the unthreaded end 44 is captured in an opening 49 in the rear plate 18. Because the threaded portion of the lead screw has a larger diameter than the unthreaded end 44, the lead screw cannot be pulled by knob 28 through the opening 49 in the rear plate 18. The unthreaded end 44 is captured by the drive knob 28 via use of a set screw 52. In order to capture the lead screw 26, the front plate 14 and/or the rear plate 18 can be formed separately from the base 12 and coupled together by screws, bolts, welding, or otherwise. Alternatively, the base 12, front plate 14, and rear plate 18, can be formed as an integral unit, and a plug (not shown) can be used in the front plate to capture the lead screw.

[0030] The apparatus 10 operates as follows. The tile of the tube is inserted through the pinch rollers 32, 34 with the aid of the knob 38, into the space 20 between the clamping bar 22 and the rear plate 18 and is clamped in place by tightening the clamping screw 24. The nose of the tube is inserted into the U-shaped opening 16 of the front plate 14 and the cap (not shown) is removed from the nose. Rotation of the knob 28 in a first direction causes the lead screw 26 to rotate, thereby driving the carriage 30 with the pinch rollers 32, 34 (and guided by guiding base 12) toward the nose. As a result, the pinch rollers 32, 34 squeeze the tube and force paste to be dispensed through the nose of the tube. Eventually, after many uses, the carriage 30 and rollers 32, 34 will move adjacent the front plate (rollers shown in phantom). The spent tube may then be removed from the dispenser 10 by: rotating the knob 28 in an opposite direction (preferably, while holding the nose of the tube or a cap attached thereto) until the carriage 30 assumes its original position, loosening the clamping screw 24, removing the tile from between the clamping bar 22 and the rear plate 18, the tube from between the rollers 32, 34 of carriage 30 (using knob 38 if necessary), and lifting the tube out of the dispenser 10. A new tube of paste may then be placed into the dispenser by: inserting the tile of the new tube through the pinch rollers 32, 34 (with the aid of the knob 38) into the space 20 between the clamping bar 22 and the rear plate 18, clamping the tile in place by tightening the clamping screw 24, and inserting the nose of the tube into the U-shaped opening 16 of the front plate 14.

[0031] Referring now to FIGS. 4 through 7, a second and presently preferred embodiment of a dispenser 110 according to the invention includes a base 112 which is formed as a guiding channel, a front plate 114 defining a U-shaped opening 116 for the nose of a tube (shown in phantom in FIGS. 4 and 5) and a rear plate 118 defining an opening 120 having a slot 121 for the tile of the tube. A clamping bar (plank) 122 is located in the opening 120 and is engaged by a cam lever 124 which extends into the opening 120. A lead screw 126 is mounted between the front plate 114 and the rear plate 118 and is provided with a drive knob 128 and a crank handle 129. A carriage 130 carrying a pair of pinch rollers 132, 134, and having an internal thread 135 is mounted on the lead screw 126 and sits loosely in the base 112. A cam lock 136 is located above the roller 132 and is movable from an open position where rollers 132, 134 are spaced apart from each other to a closed position where the rollers are moved close together.

[0032] The lead screw 126 has reduced diameter unthreaded ends 143, 144. Unthreaded end 143 is captured by an opening 147 in the front plate 114, while the unthreaded end 144 is captured in an opening 149 in the rear plate 118. The unthreaded end 144 is captured by the crank handle 129 and/or by the knob 128 via use of a one or more set screws 152. Typically, both the front plate 114 and the rear plate 118 will be formed from two pieces and coupled together by screws, bolts, welding, gluing, or otherwise.

[0033] The apparatus 110 operates as follows. The cam lever 124 and the cam lock 136 are opened. The tile of the tube is inserted through the pinch rollers 132, 134 into the space 120 between the clamping bar 122 and the slot 121 and is clamped in place by closing the clamping bar 124. The cam lock 136 is also closed. The nose of the tube is inserted into the U-shaped opening 116 of the front plate 114 and the cap (not shown) is removed from the nose. Rotation of the knob 128 (or turning the crank 129) causes the lead screw 126 to rotate, thereby driving the carriage 130 toward the nose, moving the pinch rollers and causing paste to be dispensed. Eventually, after many uses, the carriage 130 and rollers 132, 134 will move adjacent the front plate (as shown in phantom in FIG. 4). The spent tube may then be removed from the dispenser 110 by: opening the cam lock 136 to release the pinch rollers 132, 134, rotating the knob 128 or crank 129 in an opposite direction until the carriage 130 assumes its original position, opening the cam lever 124, removing the tile from between the clamping bar 122 and the rear plate 118 and the tube from between the rollers 132, 134 of carriage 130, and lifting the tube out of the dispenser 110. A new tube of paste may then be placed into the dispenser in the same manner as previously described with reference to FIGS. 4-7.

[0034] There have been described and illustrated herein several embodiments of an apparatus for dispensing material from a collapsible tube. While particular embodiments of the invention have been described, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereto, as it is intended that the invention be as broad in scope as the art will allow and that the specification be read likewise. Thus, while a screw activated clamp and a cam activated clamp were described as means for grasping or stabilizing the tile, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other mechanisms could be utilized, including, without limitation screws or cams which directly contact the tile, pairs of jaws which close from two directions, etc. Also, while a particular lead screw mechanism was described as the preferred means of driving the carriage, other mechanisms could be utilized including, without limitation different types of gears, electromechanical devices, etc. Where electromechanical devices are utilized, instead of utilizing knobs or cranks to operate the drive mechanism, the closing of an electrical circuit (e.g., via a button) can be utilized. Further, while a particular pinch roller arrangement was described as the preferred means for squeezing the tube, it will be appreciated that other mechanisms including, without limitation, wedges or blocks could be utilized. In addition, while particular arrangements of a front plate, a rear plate, and a guiding base have been described and shown, it will be appreciated that these elements may assume many different forms, and may be coupled together in many different manners. Furthermore, while the invention was described with reference to toothpaste and similar personal hygiene materials, it may have application in dispensing other hygienic materials (e.g., cremes, gels, etc.) or materials not related to hygiene (e.g. epoxy, silicons, various medications, etc.) from similar types of tubes. It will therefore be appreciated by those skilled in the art that yet other modifications could be made to the provided invention without deviating from its spirit and scope as so claimed.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7431178Sep 30, 2005Oct 7, 2008Duane Parker AllenToothpaste dispenser
US8062264Apr 5, 2006Nov 22, 2011Glaxo Group LimitedFluid dispensing device
US8147461Mar 10, 2005Apr 3, 2012Glaxo Group LimitedFluid dispensing device
US8684241 *Feb 9, 2009Apr 1, 2014Wallha Co., Ltd.Squeezing device and packaging bag for viscous liquid
US8690836Nov 24, 2009Apr 8, 2014Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc.Auto-injector apparatus
US8727771Mar 20, 2009May 20, 2014Medipurpose Pte LtdApparatus and methods for providing dentifrice advancement
US8752543Nov 2, 2004Jun 17, 2014Glaxo Group LimitedFluid dispensing device
US8763858 *May 1, 2013Jul 1, 2014Gilbert Warren Mouser, Jr.Tube extraction device
US20110089193 *Feb 9, 2009Apr 21, 2011Wallha Co., Ltd.Squeezing device and packaging bag for viscous liquid
WO2009117650A1 *Mar 20, 2009Sep 24, 2009Onestep Prophy Angle LlcApparatus and methods for providing dentifrice advancement
WO2010068416A1 *Nov 24, 2009Jun 17, 2010Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc.Auto-injector apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/102
International ClassificationB65D35/28
Cooperative ClassificationB65D35/285
European ClassificationB65D35/28B