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Publication numberUS20030222100 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/424,188
Publication dateDec 4, 2003
Filing dateApr 25, 2003
Priority dateApr 26, 2002
Also published asCA2482985A1, CN1649773A, DE60301348D1, DE60301348T2, EP1499531A1, EP1499531B1, WO2003091118A1
Publication number10424188, 424188, US 2003/0222100 A1, US 2003/222100 A1, US 20030222100 A1, US 20030222100A1, US 2003222100 A1, US 2003222100A1, US-A1-20030222100, US-A1-2003222100, US2003/0222100A1, US2003/222100A1, US20030222100 A1, US20030222100A1, US2003222100 A1, US2003222100A1
InventorsPeter Husband, Christopher Smith
Original AssigneeHusband Peter Antony, Smith Christopher Lawrence
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Containers comprising at least one label made of an elastomeric material adhered to a wall
US 20030222100 A1
Abstract
Containers for delivering flowable compositions comprising a squeezable, resilient wall on which at least one label made of an elastomeric material is adhered to and their use. The containers can comprise a composition having a viscosity of at least 1 Pa.s or can be of the bag-in-bottle type. Containers for dispensing a detergent composition in a washing machine drum comprising a hollow body having at least one wall on which at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) adheres are also described.
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Claims(21)
What is claimed is:
1. A container for delivering a flowable composition, said container comprising:
a) a reservoir containing the flowable composition; and
b) delivery means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir,
wherein said flowable composition has a viscosity of at least about 1 Pa.s, and wherein said reservoir comprises a squeezable, resilient wall to which adheres at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness of at least about 35.
2. A container according to claim 1 wherein said squeezable, resilient wall is at least partly made of a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene propylene, copolymer resin, ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer resin, other polyolephin resins, polyamide resins, ionomer resins, ABS resins, polyvinylchloride, polyethylene terephtalate resins and other synthetic resins, and mixtures thereof.
3. A container according to claim 1 wherein said label is adhered to an external surface of the squeezable wall of the container by in-mold labeling.
4. A container according to claim 1 wherein said label has an average thickness of at least about 150 micrometers.
5. A container according to claim 1 wherein two labels at least partly made of a thermoplastic elastomer having a Shore A hardness of at least about 35 are adhered to diametrically opposite surfaces of said squeezable wall.
6. A container of the bag-in-bottle type for delivering a flowable composition, said container comprising:
a) an outer squeezable, resilient wall,
b) an inner collapsible layer distinct from said outer squeezable, resilient wall, said inner collapsible layer defining a reservoir containing the flowable composition,
c) a buffer zone separating said outer squeezable, resilient wall from said inner collapsible layer,
d) delivery means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir,
wherein at least one label at least partly made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness of least about 35 adheres to said outer squeezable, resilient wall.
7. A container according to claim 6 wherein the delivery means comprises
a) a first passageway distinct from a second passageway, the first passage way being in communication with the buffer zone and the second passageway being in communication with the reservoir, and
b) valve means operable to control entry of air into the buffer zone through the first passageway and exit of the flowable composition from the reservoir through the second passage way.
8. A container according to claim 6 wherein said inner collapsible layer is laminated on the outer layer so as to be freely peeled therefrom as the buffer zone expands.
9. A container according to claim 6 wherein said flowable composition contained in said reservoir has a viscosity of at least about 1 Pa.s.
10. A container according to claim 6 wherein said squeezable, resilient wall is at least partly made of a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene propylene, copolymer resin, ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer resin, other polyolephin resins, polyamide resins, ionomer resins, ABS resins, polyvinylchloride, polyethylene terephtalate resins and other synthetic resins, and mixtures thereof.
11. A container according to claim 6 wherein said label is at least partly made of thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers.
12. A container according to claim 6 wherein said label is adhered to an external side of the squeezable wall of the container by in-mold labeling.
13. A container according to claim 6 wherein said label has an average thickness of at least about 150 micrometers.
14. A container according to claim 6 wherein a ratio of the thickness of the label to the thickness of the wall of the bottle to which the label adheres is from about 1:5 to about 5:1.
15. A container according to claim 6 wherein two labels at least partly made of a thermoplastic elastomer having a Shore A hardness of at least 35 are adhered to diametrically opposite sides of said outer squeezable, resilient wall.
16. A container for dispensing a detergent composition in a washing machine drum, said container comprising a hollow body having at least one wall, wherein at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness of at least about 35 adheres to said wall.
17. A container according to claim 16 wherein said wall is non-squeezable.
18. A container according to claim 16 wherein said wall is deformable within the drum of the washing machine by wash liquor loaded textile articles and resilient to return to its original shape when the deforming force is removed.
19. A container according to claim 16 wherein said label is at least partly made of thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers.
20. A container according to claim 16 wherein said thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer is a blend of a thermoplastic polyolefin with a curable rubber selected from the group consisting of ethylene-propylene copolymer rubber, ethylene-propylene-diene rubber, butyl rubber, natural rubber, nitrile rubber, polyisoprene rubber, polychloroprene rubber, copolymer of C4-7 isomonoolefin and para-C1-8 alkyl styrene or its halogenated derivatives, polybutadiene rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber, styrene/conjugated diene/styrene block copolymer, styrene block copolymer and their variants, and mixtures thereof.
21. A method of improving the resilience of a container having a squeezable wall, said method comprising the step of adhering a label made at least partly of an elastomer having a Shore A hardness of at least about 35 to said squeezable wall.
Description
FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to containers for delivering a composition comprising a wall on which at least one label made of an elastomeric material is adhered to and their use. The wall may be squeezable and resilient.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Flowable compositions such as shampoos and hair dyes are commonly packaged in simple containers, for example containers having the shape of a bottle. The walls of the bottle define an inner reservoir in which the composition is contained. These bottles may be used upside down in order to have the flowable compositions delivered though the bottle's neck.

[0003] For relatively viscous compositions (as it is often the case for hair care compositions, and in particular hair dye compositions), it is common to select the material of the walls of the bottle from resilient plastic materials capable of being squeezed and recovering their initial shape after squeezing. As the user squeezes the walls of the bottle, the internal pressure inside the container raises, which causes the product to be delivered out of the container faster than if subjected to gravity only.

[0004] More complicated squeezable containers of the bag-in-bottle type have been proposed (see for example U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,920, Reiboldt et al). These containers comprise an outer squeezable wall, an inner collapsible layer defining a reservoir containing the composition, a buffer zone separating said squeezable wall from said inner collapsible layer, and preferably valve means operable to control entry of air into the buffer zone and exit of the composition from the reservoir. The squeezing of the wall forces the composition from the reservoir through a dispensing passage. The main advantage of these containers is that they can be used in any orientation and not necessarily upside-down, which is especially useful for delivering hair care compositions such as hair dyes directly to the hair of the user.

[0005] It is often required to squeeze the above-mentioned containers several times in order to deliver a sufficient amount of the product. Repeated squeezing is however tiring for the user, especially if the bottle lacks resilience (ability to regain its original shape).

[0006] Reusable dosing devices comprising a hollow body that may be filled with a detergent composition for delivering a laundry composition within the drums of the washing machine have been proposed in the past and are often referred to as dosing balls. Dosing balls having squeezable, resilient walls have been proposed. For example EP 0,368,680 discloses a container having the general shape of an hollow sphere formed by a resilient wall and provided with an opening for filling and dispensing a detergent composition, for example a liquid detergent. The sphere may be filled with a detergent composition and then placed in the drum of a washing machine. The rotation of the drum causes repeated compressions of the wall of the ball by the wet clothes, which are followed by the flexing back of the wall to its original shape when the pressure is released by further rotation of the drum. This combination of compression and flexing back creates a pumping effect that successively sucks and expels the wash liquor in and out of the body of the ball where it mixes or dissolves the content of the ball during the wash program. Dosing balls having a non-squeezable wall and in which no noticeable squeezing effect takes place have also been proposed. The wash liquor enters the ball through an opening, mixes with the detergent composition and is released through another or the same opening.

[0007] In the case of squeezable containers (e.g. shampoo bottles or dosing balls), increasing the thickness of the squeezable wall may result in an increase of the resilience, and said wall may reform its shape quicker. However users typically do not like thick plastic walls as these can be harder to squeeze. These containers may also be more expensive to manufacture as more material is required to form the wall.

[0008] Paper or thin plastic film labels having information printed on them are commonly used on the walls of containers for providing information to the user, such as the composition's formula, the best-to-use-before date or the method of use.

[0009] It has also been proposed to use labels to improve the intrinsic properties of containers. JP 3027032, Noda et al., discloses labeled squeeze containers for viscous liquids wherein the container body is made of a thermoplastic resin having an elasticity modulus of between 500 to 4000 kg/cm2. The labels are made of synthetic resins (e.g. polyethylene) and have a thickness of from 50 to 100 μm. The labels are said to improve the deformation characteristics and restorative capability after squeezing.

[0010] JP 10086922, Yoshii et al., discloses labeled squeeze bottles wherein the body of the bottle is made of a thermoplastic resin having a lower rigidity than the label (the difference in rigidity is at least 5000 kg/cm2). The preferred material used for the label is a polypropylene synthetic paper having a three-layer structure and the preferred thickness of the label is of between 60 and 120 μm. The labeled bottle is said to improve the bottle elastic contraction and recovery.

[0011] JP 3027033, Noda et al., discloses labeled squeeze containers similar to those of JP 3027032, being further provided that the label has an elasticity modulus greater than the modulus of the container. JP 3027032, JP 3027033 and JP 10086922 all disclose relatively thin labels (<0.1 mm) made of relatively hard materials (e.g. polypropylene).

[0012] Sport water bottles comprising two rubber pads have been commercialized.

[0013] It has now been found that elastomer labels adhered to the walls of a container could considerably increase the resilience of the “labelized” container. This may make it easier for the user to deliver the composition and can reduce the “fatigue” (cumulative effect of repeated squeezings which can lead to failure) of the wall of the container. Containers labeled with an elastomeric material also have the additional advantages of providing a better grip (anti-slip) for the user and are aesthetically pleasing to the touch and sight. Another advantage is that thinner walls can be used as the label increases the overall strength of the containers. The labels for use in the present invention are made of “soft” elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness of at least 35.

SUMMARY

[0014] A first embodiment of the present invention is directed to a container for delivering a flowable composition comprising:

[0015] a reservoir containing the flowable composition,

[0016] delivery means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir,

[0017] wherein said flowable composition has a viscosity (Brookfield RVT, Spindle 5, 50 rpm, 25° C.) of at least about 1 Pa.s (1,000 cps), and

[0018] characterized in that said reservoir comprises a squeezable, resilient wall to which adheres at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least about 35.

[0019] A second embodiment of the present invention is directed to containers of the “bag-in-bottle” type for delivering a flowable composition comprising:

[0020] an outer squeezable wall,

[0021] an inner collapsible layer defining a reservoir containing the composition,

[0022] a buffer zone separating said squeezable outer wall from said inner collapsible layer, and

[0023] delivery means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir,

[0024] wherein a label made of an elastomer having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least about 35 adheres to said outer squeezable wall.

[0025] A third embodiment of the present invention is directed to a container for dispensing a detergent composition in a washing machine drum, said container comprising a hollow body having at least one wall, characterized in that at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least about 35 adheres to said wall.

[0026] The present invention is further directed to a method of delivering a composition, preferably a cosmetic composition, to a substrate, preferably hair, wherein said method comprises the step of squeezing the elastomer label of the above mentioned containers.

[0027] Other advantages and novel features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which simply illustrates various modes contemplated for carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other different obvious aspects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions are illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] While the specification concludes with claims which particularly point out and distinctly claim the present invention, it is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description of preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify like elements and wherein:

[0029]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a squeeze bottle with two labels adhered to diametrically opposite surfaces of the wall of the bottle.

[0030]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a squeeze bottle with two substantially flat labels adhered to opposite surfaces of the wall of the bottle.

[0031]FIG. 3 is a frontal view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

[0032]FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 2.

[0033]FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a “bag-in-bottle” type container with two labels adhered to diametrically opposite surfaces of the wall of the bottle.

[0034]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the assembled elements of FIG. 5.

[0035]FIG. 7 shows the assembled container of FIG. 6 with a brush/comb like applicator removably secured over the outlet of the spout.

[0036]FIG. 8 shows a cross section of the assembled container of FIG. 6 with a surface applicator removably secured over the outlet of the spout.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0037] All cited references are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties. Citation of any reference is not an admission regarding any determination as to its availability as prior art to the claimed invention.

[0038] Label

[0039] The present invention comprises at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least 35. The Shore A hardness parameter is commonly used in the industry to measure the softness of rubber and other like materials and is commonly used by suppliers of raw material to characterize their product. The inventors have found that labels made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least about 35, preferably of from about 40 to about 80, more preferably of from about 50 to about 70 provide the container to which they are adhered with excellent resilience. These elastomeric materials may also provide a “soft-touch” feel to the label that is pleasant for the user.

[0040] The term “label” as used herein does not imply that information, for example information regarding the product, is displayed in the label. The label according to the present invention may or may not have any information displayed on them.

[0041] When relating to the label, the term “made” and “at least partly made” may be used interchangeably.

[0042] Although the surface area of the container's wall covered by the label is not critical, it is preferred that the label is large enough to be easily squeezed by 1) the user's hand in the case of a bottle for a viscous product or 2) wet laundry in the case of a container for dispensing a detergent composition in the drum of washing machine and to provide the container with an adequate level of resilience. Although the label could potentially cover the whole surface of the squeezable wall, this may not be economical as elastomeric materials are relatively expensive. It is therefore preferred that the label covers from about 5 to about 60, preferably from about 10 to about 40, more preferably from about 15 to about 35 percent of the surface area of the squeezable wall. The minimum surface area of each label should preferably be at least about 1, more preferably at least about 5, even more preferably at least about 10 square centimeters.

[0043] The shape of the label is not critical. Labels with simple shapes such as bands, squares, rectangles, rectangles with round corners, circles or ovals are easy to manufacture and to adhere to the wall of the container. More complicated shapes having an aesthetical appeal can also be used, in particular shapes such as letters can be carved in the label and provide a further aesthetic character to the container. For a container having the general form of a bottle, it was found that labels having an elongated shape and adhered along the same direction as the axis of the body of the bottle provide excellent resilience to the bottle.

[0044] An extensive list of suitable elastomeric material is disclosed in WO00/08622 page 4 line 24 to page 7 line 36. Preferred elastomeric materials for use herein are thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers (TPE), including but not limited to blends of a thermoplastic polyolefin with a curable rubber selected from ethylene-propylene copolymer rubber, ethylene-propylene-diene rubber, butyl rubber, natural rubber, nitrile rubber, polyisoprene rubber, polychloroprene rubber, copolymer of C4-7 isomonoolefin and para-C1-8 alkyl styrene or its halogenated derivatives, polybutadiene rubber, styrene-butadiene rubber, or—styrene/conjugated diene/styrene block copolymer, styrene block copolymer and their variants, and mixtures thereof. Especially useful examples of these thermoplastic polyolefin elastomers include monoolefin rubber such as EPDM rubbers, commercially available under the Trademark SANTOPRENE from Advanced Elastomers Systems (US).

[0045] There is no theoretical limitation to the number of labels adhered to the wall of the container. A single label can be used for each container, but two labels adhered to opposite sides of the container are advantageous as the user will normally squeeze the container on both labels (with his thumb on one side and the other fingers on the opposite side).

[0046] Non limiting ways of adhering the label to the squeezable, resilient wall include heat fusing, gluing and other means for attaching permanently or semi-permanently the label to the squeezable, resilient wall.

[0047] Better resilience is obtained when the thickness (i.e. the average thickness if the label is not of uniform thickness) of the label is of from about 250 to about 2000 micrometers, more preferably from about 300 to about 1500 micrometers, even more preferably from about 500 to about 1000 micrometers.

[0048] Finally the label according to the present invention may be an element of multi-layered label, for example comprising one or more paper layer(s).

[0049] Squeezable, Resilient Wall

[0050] Flowable compositions are often packaged in containers comprising at least one squeezable wall made of a resilient material. It is also known to dispense detergent compositions directly in the drum of a washing machine from a dosing ball having a hollow body with resilient walls. The squeezing of the wall increases the pressure inside the container, which delivers the flowable compositions out of the container through suitable delivery means. “Resilient” means that the material can reform in shape when the squeezing pressure is released. The term “flexible” and “squeezable” may be used herein interchangeably. The resilient material is usually a deformable plastic and may be selected from polyethylene (including low-density polyethylene, medium-density polyethylene and high-density polyethylene), polypropylene, ethylene propylene, copolymer resin, ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer resin, other polyolefin resins, polyamide resins, ionomer resins, ABS resins, polyvinylchloride, polyethylene terephtalate resins and other synthetic resins, and mixtures thereof. The plastic may be, for example, transparent or coloured. Preferred materials for the squeezable wall are selected from low density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene and mixtures thereof. Containers made of the above mentioned thermoplastic materials are usually manufactured using extrusion or injection blow molding-processes.

[0051] It is preferred that the ratio of the thickness of the label to the thickness (i.e. the average thickness if the wall is not of uniform thickness) of the wall of the bottle to which the label is adhered is in the range of from about 1:5 to about 5:1, preferably from about 1:3 to about 3:1, more preferably from about 1:2 to about 2:1. These preferred ratios were found to provide containers with even better properties in terms of resilience and ease to use.

[0052] Delivery Means

[0053] The present invention comprises delivery means for delivering the composition out of the reservoir when the container is squeezed. The delivery means may be a simple orifice in the reservoir, as is generally the case for dosing ball device used in the laundry field. For other applications such as the delivery of cosmetic products, the delivery means may protrude from the container to direct the flow of the composition to one or more general directions in order to reduce messiness. A simple example of such delivery means protruding from the reservoir is shown in FIG. 1 where the container has the general form of a bottle and the delivery means is the neck of the bottle.

[0054] Examples of delivery means particularly adapted to the delivery of a composition to hair are line applicators in which the flowable composition is delivered through a single outlet, surface applicators in which the flowable composition is delivered through a plurality of outlets onto a surface, and brush/comb-like applicators in which the flowable composition is delivered through a plurality of outlets and dispersed by a plurality of elongate parting members. Examples of such applicators are shown in FIGS. 5-8 below. A detailed description of these applicators can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,302,607, Burrowes et al.

[0055] The delivery means may be of unitary construction with the container, or may be comprised of different elements, at least some of which being releasably secured to the container. For example, FIGS. 1-8 below show containers having the general form of a bottle having a threaded neck on which different applicators may be releasably secured (e.g. a spout, a brush/comb-like applicator, or a surface applicator).

[0056] Containers Containing a Composition Having a Viscosity of at Least about 1 Pa.s.

[0057] A first embodiment of the present invention is directed to a container containing a flowable composition, said container comprising:

[0058] a reservoir containing the flowable composition,

[0059] means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir,

[0060] wherein said flowable composition contained in said reservoir has a viscosity (Brookfield RVT, Spindle 5, 50 rpm, 25° C.) of at least about 1 Pa.s (1,000 cps); and

[0061] wherein said reservoir comprises a squeezable, resilient wall to which adheres at least one label made of an elastomer having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least 35.

[0062] Compositions having a viscosity of at least about 1 Pa.s (1,000 cps) are relatively viscous and cannot be efficiently delivered from a conventional container (e.g. a bottle) as gravity alone is not sufficient to make these compositions leave the container quickly enough. These compositions are therefore usually packaged in squeezable containers wherein the user can exert a pressure on the wall of the container to force the composition through the delivery means. However, repeated squeezing is often necessary to deliver a sufficient amount of the composition, and it is therefore important for the convenience of the user that the wall of the container quickly regains its original shape to allow quick delivery of the product.

[0063] It has now been found that adhering a label as described above to the squeezable, resilient wall of the container could substantially increase the resilience of said wall, helping the squeezed wall of the container to regain its shape quicker. It is therefore an object of the present invention to increase the resilience of squeezable containers comprising a composition having a viscosity of at least about 1 Pa.s.

[0064] Examples of containers for delivering a flowable composition having a viscosity of at least about 1 Pa.s according to this first embodiment will now be described in greater details, by way of example only, with reference to FIG. 1 for a first container and FIGS. 2-4 for a second container.

[0065] In FIG. 1, a container 10 having the general form of a bottle comprises a reservoir 12 obtained by blow-molding (for example made of polypropylene) and two labels 14 a, 14 b made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least 35 (for example made of a material such as a SANTOPRENE (RTM) elastomer). The composition to be delivered is contained inside the reservoir 12.

[0066] The reservoir 12 comprises a closed lower end 16, a squeezable wall 18 on which the labels 14 a, 14 b have been adhered to, for example by an in-mold labeling method, and an open neck 20 on the upper end. The open neck 20 may be formed with an external thread 21 adapted to cooperate with a cap 22 which may be a one-piece plastics molding.

[0067] The two labels 14 a, 14 b have been placed on opposite sides of the reservoir 12 in order to provide a better grip for the user. The user can squeeze this bottle by pressing one label with his thumb or palm base and the opposite label with the other fingers. The reservoir 12, and in particular its squeezable wall 18, have a substantially cylindrical shape with a narrowing upper end 24. The labels are flush with the cylindrical squeezable wall 18 and follow the curvatures of the wall 18.

[0068] FIGS. 2-4 represent a bottle similar to the bottle of FIG. 1 with the cap 22 screwed on the neck of the bottle. In order to provide even better grip and aesthetics to the container, the cylindrical symmetry of the reservoir 12 has however been altered by providing a substantially (more than 70% of the total surface of the labels) flat surface to which the labels 14 a, 14 b have been adhered. Such substantially flat surfaces can be easily obtained by a blow-molding method using an adapted mold and can be used for all the containers according to the present invention.

[0069] Bag-in-bottle type container

[0070] A second embodiment of the present invention is directed to containers of the bag-in-bottle type for delivering a flowable composition, wherein a label made of a thermoplastic elastomer having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least 35 is adhered to the outer squeezable wall of the container.

[0071] Bag-in-bottle type containers as defined herein comprise:

[0072] an outer squeezable, resilient wall,

[0073] an inner collapsible layer distinct from said outer squeezable wall, said inner collapsible layer defining a reservoir containing the composition,

[0074] a buffer zone separating said squeezable outer wall from said inner collapsible layer, and

[0075] delivery means for delivering the composition out of the reservoir.

[0076] In a preferred embodiment of said bag-in-bottle type containers, said delivery means further includes:

[0077] a first passageway distinct from a second passageway, the first passage way being in communication with the buffer zone and the second passageway being in communication with the reservoir, and

[0078] valve means operable to control entry of air into the buffer zone through the first passageway and exit of the flowable composition from the reservoir through the second passage way.

[0079] WO 99/26511, Oder, describes an improved bag-in-bottle type container wherein the valve means are of unitary construction.

[0080] U.S. Pat. No. 6,332,726, Yamamoto et al. describes a bag-in-bottle type container that comprises a flexible outer layer and an inner layer laminated on the outer layer so as to be freely therefrom as the composition is delivered and the buffer zone expands.

[0081] Bag-in-bottle type containers have the advantage that the flowable composition contained can be delivered at any orientation of the container, unlike conventional bottle type containers that must be used with the delivery means orientated downwards. However, even for relatively non-viscous compositions, bag-in-bottle type containers require the user to repeatedly squeeze the outer squeezable wall of the container in order to force the composition through the delivery means.

[0082] It has now been found that adhering at least one label according to the present invention to the outer squeezable wall of bag-in-bottle type containers advantageously increases the resilience of the said wall, making repeated squeezing easier for the user.

[0083] A bag-in-bottle type container according to this second embodiment of the present invention will now be briefly described, by way of example only, with reference to FIGS. 5-8. This bag-in-bottle type container is similar to the bag-in-bottle type container described in more detail in WO 99/26511, with the addition of two labels according to the present invention on its squeezable wall in order to improve the resilience of the container and its grip. A short summary of the elements of said container will now follow, further details on these elements (apart from the labels according to the present invention) and the way they interact being available in WO 99/26511.

[0084] The container 26 having the general form of a bottle comprises:

[0085] a hollow body 28 (for example made of polypropylene) obtained by blow-molding and comprising a squeezable, resilient wall 30, and an open neck 32,

[0086] an inner collapsible layer in the form of a flexible bag 34 for containing the composition to be delivered,

[0087] a buffer zone 36 separating said outer squeezable, resilient wall from said inner collapsible layer as shown in FIG. 8,

[0088] delivery means for delivering the flowable composition out of the reservoir, said delivery means comprising a support tube 38, an insert 40, a valve 42, a spout 44 and optionally a surface applicator 46 or brush/comb like applicator 48, and

[0089] two labels 50 a, 50 b (for example made of a SANTOPRENE (RTM) material) according to the present invention that are adhered to diametrically opposed sides of the squeezable, resilient wall 30.

[0090] These labels are flush with the wall 30 of the container 26 and follow its cylindrical curvature but could also be substantially flat.

[0091] The flexible bag 34 may be formed of two overlapping sheets 52 of the same shape which are sealed together around most of their common periphery to form a side sealed sachet having an upper opening 54 and a lower V-shaped edge 56. The bag is insertable into the body 28 through the neck 32 to form a container with an outer squeezable, resilient wall 30 and an inner collapsible layer (sheets 52) separated from another by a buffer zone 36 as shown in FIG. 8.

[0092] The support tube 38, which may have a plurality of holes 58 along its length, is insertable into the bag through the open neck 32 and provides an at least partially rigid channel.

[0093] The insert 40 is partially insertable into the bag through the open neck 32 and is partially insertable into the bottle through the neck. The insert 40 and the bag 34 can alternatively by of unitary construction.

[0094] This container may be used to deliver an oxidative hair dye composition. In this case, the bag 34 will typically be already partially filled with a first material such as hydrogen peroxide when supplied to the user. At least a second material (such as a composition comprising oxidative hair dye precursors) will then be added to the first material in the reservoir prior to use. A complete disclosure of how this second material can be added to the bag 34 is disclosed in WO 99/26511.

[0095] To prepare for the discharge of the composition to be delivered, the spout 44 may be attached to the insert 40. A valve member 42, which may be of unitary construction, is attachable to the spout 44. The valve member 42 includes an inlet part in the form of an annular flapper valve 60 which acts as a one-way check valve to control entry of air through the air inlets 62. The valve member also includes an outlet part in the form of a central quadralobe valve 64 which acts as a one-way check valve to control exit of the composition through the passageway 66 shown on FIG. 8.

[0096] The composition is delivered from the bag 34 to the outlet 68 in the spout when the squeezable, resilient wall of the hollow body is squeezed by the user. This compresses the air in the buffer zone 36 and, as the air cannot escape, partly collapses the bag 34 so that some of the composition is forced out through the tube 38, the tubular member 70 of the insert 40 and the quadrilobe valve 64, which opens to let the composition therethrough. When the user stops squeezing, the resilient wall 30 quickly reforms in shape so that the buffer zone expands. The quadrilobe valve 64 closes to prevent suckback of the composition beyond the quadrilobe valve 64 and the bag 34 maintains its partially collapsed state. At the same time the air is sucked into the buffer zone past the flapper valve 60, which opens to let air in through the air inlets 62. The user may repeat squeezing with whatever pressure and frequency is deemed appropriate to the circumstances.

[0097]FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the assembled elements described above.

[0098]FIG. 7 shows the assembled container of FIG. 6 with a brush/comb like applicator removably secured over the outlet of the spout. This applicator is especially useful for delivering a composition to the hair.

[0099]FIG. 8 shows a cross section of the assembled container of FIG. 6 with a surface applicator removably secured over the outlet of the spout, which is also adapted to deliver a composition to the hair.

[0100] Further details on the function of the brush/comb like applicator, surface applicator and any elements shown in FIGS. 5-8 apart from the labels are available in WO99/26511.

[0101] Device for Dispensing a Detergent Composition

[0102] A third embodiment of the present invention is directed to a container for dispensing a detergent composition in a washing machine drum, said container comprising a hollow body having at least one wall, characterized in that at least one label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least about 35 adheres to said wall.

[0103] The wall may be squeezable within the drum of the washing machine by wash liquor loaded textile articles and resilient to return to the original shape when the deforming force is removed. As for the other embodiments described above, the label then improves the resilience of the wall of the container on which it is adhered. This provides a better pumping action for the container. For example, the containers disclosed in EP-A-0,368,680 may have their pumping properties improved by the labels according to the present invention.

[0104] It was also found that dosing balls having at least one non-squeezable wall could benefit from having a label made of an elastomeric material having a Shore A hardness (ASTM D 2240) of at least 35 adhering to said non-squeezable wall. The “soft-touch” provided by the rubber label is more gentle to the laundry load than other plastic material conventionally used in dosing balls (squeezable or not). The present invention is therefore also directed to a container for delivering a detergent composition inside the drum of a washing machine wherein the wall is non-squeezable and/or non-resilient.

[0105] The same materials and configurations discussed above for the wall(s) and the label(s) may be used. Non-squeezable walls may be obtained by increasing the thickness of the walls or by using less flexible plastic material. The container may have the general shape of a hollow sphere. Examples of suitable containers on which the label may be adhered to are disclosed in EP 0,368,680. In particular the features claimed in EP 0,368,680B1 (see claims 1 to 4) may be advantageously used for the containers according to this embodiment of the invention. The label may cover part or the whole of the surface of the walls, preferably the external surface. The label or labels may have various shapes, for example in the case of spherical container a label could be adhered along the equatorial line of the sphere or along a longitudinal line.

[0106] The hollow body may preferably have a smooth external surface and may be provided with a single permanently open filling and dispensing device through which the body is filled with detergent and through which the detergent is dispensed.

[0107] The detergent products used with the ball may be in the form of powders or liquids. For liquids, a viscosity of at least about 0.250 Pa.s (250 cps), preferably from about 0.250 to about 500 Pa.s (250-500 cps) is preferred. The viscosity may be measured as indicated above.

[0108] The container (e.g a dosing ball) may be filled with the detergent composition by the user through an opening, and the filled container then introduced in the drum of the washing machine before starting the wash. The container may preferably be reusable, i.e. should be able to withstand the conditions encountered in the drum of the washing machine during a wash program.

[0109] Manufacture

[0110] Various methods are known for adhering labels to a container. A commonly used method for plastic containers obtained by extrusion or injection blow-molding is the in-mold labeling method (ILM). In this method, the label is secured inside the cavity of an open split-mold, a hot parison (extrusion blow-molding process) or preform (injection blow-molding process) of the thermoplastic material forming the outer wall of the container is then introduced in the mold, the mold closed and a pressurized fluid is blown into the parison or preform to expand it. The label integrates the walls of the container as the expanding parison or preform reaches the surface of the mold. After cooling, the mold is opened and the container released. For further details on the in-mold labeling method see for example U.S. Pat. No. 3,108,850 Brandt or U.S. Pat. No. 4,802,295, Darr.

[0111] Although other methods such as gluing can be used to adhere the label to the wall, the in-mold labeling method is preferred as it provides several advantages:

[0112] the manufacture of the wall, which may be squeezable, of the container and the adhesion of the label are combined in a single stage,

[0113] the need for glue is eliminated,

[0114] the label becomes a structural part of the container, improving the resiliency properties of the wall,

[0115] the label is flush with the surface of the wall, reducing the risk of peeling.

[0116] Method of Use

[0117] The containers according to the present invention are especially useful to deliver viscous liquid compositions such as foods, medical products, detergents, industrial chemical and cosmetics. These compositions are usually packaged in squeezable containers. As discussed above, the user will advantageously squeeze the container by manually pressing the label(s) adhered to the outer wall of the container. The containers may also be used to deliver a detergent composition, which may be in a solid or liquid form, directly in the drum of a washing machine. In addition to providing the container with better resilience, the labeled bottles also have the additional advantages of providing a better grip (anti-slip) for the user and are aesthetically pleasing to the touch and sight.

[0118] The consumer can use the labeled containers of the present invention similarly to any regular squeeze containers. Regular containers such as those of claim 1 can be used with the delivery means pointing downwards, the products (e.g. shampoo) being for example delivered in the non-squeezing hand of the user, or the delivery means pointing upwards for bag-in-bottle type containers, for example for delivering hair-dye compositions directly to the hair of the user.

[0119] Having shown and described various embodiments of the present invention, further adaptations of the present invention as described herein can be accomplished by appropriate modifications by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. Several of these potential modifications and alternatives have been mentioned, and others will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, while exemplary embodiments of the inventive system have been discussed for illustrative purposes, it should be understood that the elements described may be constantly updated and improved by technological advances. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be considered in terms of the following claims and is understood not to be limited to the details of structure, operation or process steps as shown and described in the specification and drawings.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7377859 *May 5, 2004May 27, 2008Underscore Golf LlcDecorative grip and method for making
US7527077Feb 25, 2005May 5, 2009The Procter & Gamble CompanyMulti-phase personal care compositions, processes for making and providing, and articles of commerce
US7531497Sep 15, 2005May 12, 2009The Procter & Gamble CompanyPersonal care composition containing a cleansing phase and a benefit phase
US7666825Aug 5, 2005Feb 23, 2010The Procter & Gamble Companysurfactant component comprises at least one branched anionic surfactant selected from sodium trideceth sulfate, sodium tridecyl sulfate, ammonium trideceth sulfate, ammonium tridecyl sulfate, monomethyl branched surfactants; stability and lather volume to be attained at lower surfactant levels
US7802446Feb 9, 2006Sep 28, 2010Reactor Spirits Norway Ltd.Bottle
US20110000266 *Nov 10, 2008Jan 6, 2011Reckitt Benckiser N.V.Dispensing Device
US20120250354 *Feb 21, 2012Oct 4, 2012Funai Electric Co., Ltd.Illuminator for Display and Display
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/105, 222/212
International ClassificationB65D83/00, B65D77/06, B65D25/20, B65D23/08, B65D25/38, B65D1/32
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/0055, B65D1/32, B65D23/0864
European ClassificationB65D1/32, B65D83/00B, B65D23/08D3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 3, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HUSBAND, PETER ANTONY;SMITH, CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE;REEL/FRAME:013776/0196;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030430 TO 20030516