CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority on a Canadian application no. CA 2,482,538 filed Oct. 21, 2004. All documents above are herein incorporated by reference.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to dispenser spouts. More specifically, the present invention is concerned with a multi-position multi-function dispenser spout.
Devices for closing milk or juice cartons for example often include screw top covers provided with a peelable seal ensuring non-alteration of the content of the container. Other devices used in the case of salt or dish soap containers for example generally allow a leak-free closing of the container. Usually, the first time, a pre-cut section in the wall of the container must be opened, and then the device is operative. However, it commonly suffers from leakage or lack of hermeticity.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore, there is a need in the art for a dispenser spout obviating the shortcomings of the prior art.
More specifically, there is provided a spout to be installed on an element, comprising: a back part, secured to an aperture in a wall of the element; and a semi-rigid foldable part, connected to the back part; wherein the semi-rigid foldable part folds against the back part in a tight fitting arrangement in a closed position of the spout, and the foldable part is pulled outward from the back part in an opened position of the spout.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.
In the appended drawings:
FIG. 1 shows a) a front view and b) a sectional view, in a closed position, of a dispenser spout according to an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the dispenser spout of FIG. 1, a) in an opened position of the spout and b) in a closed position of the spout; and
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 3 show views of a spout of the present invention made by injection molding.
There is generally provided a multi-position and multi-function dispenser spout, for connection to an opening in a wall of a container intended for liquid or semi-solid materials, such as milk cartons, juice cartons or bottles, or salt containers for example. The dispenser spout allows hermetically closing the container in a closed position thereof and pouring the material contained in the container in an open position thereof.
As illustrated in the FIG. 1 of the appended drawings, a dispenser spout 10 according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises a back part 14 and a foldable part 12.
The back part 14 is a rigid part, with a conical section for example, as illustrated. It is connectable to a wall of a container (not shown) vis-a-vis an opening thereof.
The foldable part 12 is a thin part for semi-rigidity, and it may also have a conical section, as illustrated. The foldable part 12 of the pouring spout 10 is typically made in a semi-rigid material such as a plastic material for example. It allows closing and opening the opening of the container, and pouring a material from the container, as will be described hereinbelow.
The container may be made in a waxed carton, plastic, metal or any material as known in the art.
A tamper-proof membrane (not shown) may be provided covering an outer surface of the foldable part 12. Furthermore, a sealing membrane 16 may be provided between the back part 14 and the foldable part 12 to ensure hermeticity and protection of the content of the container while in a closed position, prior to a first opening thereof. The first time the dispenser spout is opened, the tamper-proof membrane is pealed off and the sealing membrane 16 between the back part 14 and the foldable part 12 is automatically torn off by pulling on the foldable part 12 toward the open position of the spout.
Once the tamper-proof membrane and the sealing membrane 16 are torn, the dispenser spout may have two stable positions.
As seen in FIG. 2, the pouring spout 10 may be in an open position (FIG. 2 a), wherein the foldable part 12 forms a pouring lip guiding the material to be poured out of the container, and in a closed position (FIG. 2 b), wherein the foldable part 12 is folded back against the back part 14 so as to provide an hermetic sealing. The transition from the open position (FIG. 2 a) to the closed position (FIG. 2 b) and vice-versa is allowed by the flexibility of the foldable part 12. In both positions, the dispenser spout 10 is secured to the container and the foldable part 12 maintains its shape.
As may be seen in FIG. 2 b, an upper part of the back part 14 may have a rounded shape with a diameter slightly smaller than a section of the foldable part 12, so that an upper part of the foldable part 12 presses on the upper part of the back part 14 in the closed position (see top arrow FIG. 2 b).
Moreover, the back part 14 may end up in a thinner part 18 slightly bent towards the foldable part 12, so that, once in the closed position, the foldable part 12 presses on the thinner part 18 (see bottom arrow FIG. 2 b).
The open position allows pouring part of the content of the container through the opening thereof, while in the closed position, wherein the foldable part 12 folds back into a tight fitting arrangement with the back part 14, the opening of the container is closed.
A handle 20 may be provided on an the outer surface of the foldable part 12 for ease of pulling it from the closed position to the open position, and to push it back from the open position to the closed position.
A number of variations of the present invention may be contemplated. For example, the back part 14 may be the part used for pouring out the content of the container. Obviously, the shape of the present dispenser spout may be varied.
People in the art will appreciate that the present dispenser spout is simple, cost effective and efficient. Once located in connection to an aperture of a container, it allows hermetically sealing the container, in the closed position thereof, as well as pouring material out therefrom when in the open position thereof.
Interestingly, the present dispenser spout may be adapted to packaging of any non-solid material such as liquids and granular materials, including salt, powder, rice and grains, spices or herbs for example. It allows an improved hermeticity as well as a more effective pouring. A variety of containers may be fitted with such dispenser spout sprout, including for example cartons, plastic containers or metal containers, provided the dispenser spout is located in connection to an aperture on a wall of the container.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, the spout is made in a plastic material, by injection molding for example, which allows molding the back part and the foldable part as a one-piece. Alternatively, the back part may be molded in plastic and the foldable part molded in rubber prior to being assembled together.
FIG. 3 show a spout fabricated by injection moding. The foldable part is molded by injection from the handle 20 through injection canals 22 used for uniformly spreading the material in a mould during molding (FIG. 3 d). The resulting ribs further contribute to the semi-rigidity of the foldable part on its conical section.
A quartered piece 24, molded in the back part 14 at places of attachment of the foldable part 12, may be positioned at the junction between the back part 14 and the foldable part 12, matching the curvature of the back part 14 in the embodiment described in FIG. 1 a for example, for improved hermeticity and imperviousness of the spout in the closed position. It is further found that such quartered piece 24 contributes to an efficient injection of material during molding of the spout.
Due to a low cost of fabrication, the present dispenser spout may be part of a discardable packaging.
The present spout may be used in connection to a variety of containers, as described hereinabove, and further including for example child cups or waste containers. The spout may be molded in a cover or any part of a container, such as in a removable cap for a cup of tea or coffee or a liquid container for example.
It may be further contemplated adapting such dispenser spout in miscellaneous applications, including, for example, vent holes for a tent, for a protective helmet or ski eyeglasses. Made in a plastic material as described hereinabove, or in a reinforced fabric, a plastic or composite film, the dispenser spout may be connected to an aperture of any of the aforementioned items so that the open position thereof stands downwards for example, thereby allowing ventilation while preserving impermeability.
Alternatively, the present dispenser spout may be used as a closing valve or a backpressure valve, whereby the transition between the closed and the open positions thereof is actuated by a change in pressure at an inlet or at an outlet of a container for example. Such backpressure valve may be useful for example when connected to a cooking plate, especially in microwaves, or in a pump installation.
Although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of embodiments thereof, it may be modified, without departing from the nature and teachings of the subject invention as defined in the appended claims.