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Publication numberUS20060179794 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/379,064
Publication dateAug 17, 2006
Filing dateApr 18, 2006
Priority dateApr 26, 2000
Also published asUS20050085780, US20050085781
Publication number11379064, 379064, US 2006/0179794 A1, US 2006/179794 A1, US 20060179794 A1, US 20060179794A1, US 2006179794 A1, US 2006179794A1, US-A1-20060179794, US-A1-2006179794, US2006/0179794A1, US2006/179794A1, US20060179794 A1, US20060179794A1, US2006179794 A1, US2006179794A1
InventorsNadia Corlett
Original AssigneeDiaperoos, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Carrying vacuum-packaged diaper in pocket on person
US 20060179794 A1
Abstract
A method of traveling with a disposable diaper on one's person includes: first, vacuum-packaging a disposable diaper such that the vacuum-packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person and, thereafter, placing said vacuum-packaged diaper in a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, and traveling with said disposed packaged diaper in the pocket of the article of clothing on one's person. The vacuum-packaged diaper includes a packaging made from a substantially flexible material and a disposable diaper contained within the packaging in a compressed condition. The packaging is hermetically sealed at negative pressure such that a pressure differential acts upon the packaging to maintain the diaper in the compressed condition when the packaged diaper is carried in the pocket.
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Claims(27)
1. A method of traveling with a disposable diaper on one's person, comprising the steps of:
(a) first, packaging a disposable diaper such that the packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, said packaging including,
(i) compressing the disposable diaper from a first condition to a second, compressed condition, and
(ii) retaining the disposable diaper in the second, compressed condition by,
(A) locating the diaper in an interior space defined by a substantially flexible material,
(B) creating a negative pressure within the interior space, and
(C) hermetically sealing the diaper at the negative pressure within the interior space of the flexible material such that, when placed within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, a pressure differential acts upon the flexible material to maintain the diaper in the compressed condition; and
(b) thereafter,
(i) placing said packaged diaper in a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, and
(ii) traveling with said disposed packaged diaper in the pocket of the article of clothing on one's person.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of a jacket that is worn on one's person.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said packaged diaper is the only diaper contained within the interior space of the flexible material.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the flexible material comprises a thermoplastic shrink-wrap material.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said step (a) of packaging the disposable diaper further includes, prior to said compressing, reconfiguring the diaper.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein said step of reconfiguring the disposable diaper includes folding the diaper.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein said folding includes forming three widthwise folds in the disposable diaper.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein said three widthwise folds are about evenly spaced along a length of the diaper between opposed ends of the diaper.
9. The method of claim 5, wherein said step of reconfiguring the disposable diaper includes rolling the diaper such that the disposable diaper is cylindrical in shape.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper from a first condition to a second includes compressing the diaper in a normal condition without folding the diaper.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes reducing at least two of height, width, and length dimensions of the disposable diaper.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein at least two of the height, width, and length dimensions of the disposable diaper are reduced without folding or rolling of the diaper during said compressing.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes reducing each of height, width, and length dimensions of the disposable diaper.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the height, width, and length dimensions of the disposable diaper are reduced without folding or rolling of the diaper during said compressing.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%.
17. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes reducing at least two of width, thickness, and diameter dimensions of the disposable diaper.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein at least two of the width, thickness, and diameter dimensions of the disposable diaper are reduced without folding or rolling of the diaper during said compressing.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%.
20. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes reducing each of width, thickness, and diameter dimensions of the disposable diaper.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein the width, thickness, and diameter dimensions of the disposable diaper are reduced without folding or rolling of the diaper during said compressing.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%.
23. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes compressing the diaper such that a volume of the diaper is reduced by at least 30%.
24. The method of claim 1, wherein said compressing of the disposable diaper includes compressing the diaper such that a volume of the diaper is reduced by 50%.
25. A method of traveling with a disposable diaper on one's person, comprising the steps of:
(a) first, packaging a disposable diaper such that the packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, said packaging including,
(i) folding the disposable diaper by forming three widthwise folds in the disposable diaper evenly spaced along a length of the diaper between opposed ends of the diaper,
(ii) after said folding,
(A) compressing the disposable diaper from a first condition to a second, compressed condition such that each of the height, width, and length dimensions of the disposable diaper is reduced without folding of the diaper during said compressing, and such that at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%, and
(B) retaining the disposable diaper in the second, compressed condition by,
(1) locating the diaper in an interior space defined by a substantially flexible material,
(2) creating a negative pressure within the interior space, and
(3) hermetically sealing the diaper at the negative pressure within the interior space of the flexible material such that, when placed within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, a pressure differential acts upon the flexible material to maintain the diaper in the compressed condition; and
(b) thereafter,
(i) placing said packaged diaper in a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, and
(ii) traveling with said disposed packaged diaper in the pocket of the article of clothing on one's person.
26. A method of traveling with a disposable diaper on one's person, comprising the steps of:
(a) first, packaging a disposable diaper such that the packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, said packaging including,
(i) rolling the disposable diaper such that the disposable diaper is cylindrical in shape,
(ii) after said rolling,
(A) compressing the disposable diaper from a first condition to a second, compressed condition such that each of the width, thickness, and diameter dimensions of the disposable diaper is reduced without rolling of the diaper during said compressing, and such that at least one of the reduced dimensions is reduced by at least 30%, and
(B) retaining the disposable diaper in the second, compressed condition by,
(1) locating the diaper in an interior space defined by a substantially flexible material,
(2) creating a negative pressure within the interior space, and
(3) hermetically sealing the diaper at the negative pressure within the interior space of the flexible material such that, when placed within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, a pressure differential acts upon the flexible material to maintain the diaper in the compressed condition; and
(b) thereafter,
(i) placing said packaged diaper in a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, and
(ii) traveling with said disposed packaged diaper in the pocket of the article of clothing on one's person.
27. A method of traveling with a disposable diaper on one's person, comprising the steps of:
(a) first, vacuum-packaging a disposable diaper such that the vacuum-packaged diaper is dimensioned to fit within a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, said vacuum-packaged diaper comprising,
(i) packaging made from a substantially flexible material, and
(ii) a disposable diaper contained within the packaging in a compressed condition,
(iii) wherein the packaging is hermetically sealed at negative pressure such that a pressure differential acts upon the packaging to maintain the diaper in the compressed condition; and
(b) thereafter,
(i) placing said vacuum-packaged diaper in a pocket of an article of clothing on one's person, and
(ii) traveling with said disposed packaged diaper in the pocket of the article of clothing on one's person.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of, and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 120 to, U.S. application Ser. No. 09/560,246 filed Apr. 26, 2000, pending, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

1. Field of the Present Invention

The present invention relates to absorbent articles such as diapers and sanitary napkins. More particularly, the present invention relates to absorbent articles that are packaged at reduced volume to become ultra-compact and highly portable.

2. Description of the Related Art

One of the drawbacks of disposable diapers is portability, particularly during travel, either long-distance travel or simply to the neighborhood store. Parents need to pack a sufficient number of diapers in a diaper bag to last the duration of the trip. However, while not necessarily heavy, disposable diapers are bulky and occupy a large amount of space. Accordingly, a diaper bag in tow with traveling parents is cumbersome and a nuisance. Indeed, a single disposable diaper may not fit into most purses or a jacket breast pocket even for short trips.

In view of the foregoing, there remains a need in the art for absorbent articles that are compact and portable.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention, a set of compact absorbent articles includes a plurality of absorbent articles and a packaging. Each of the absorbent articles, such as a diaper or a sanitary napkin, is reconfigurable from a normal condition to a compressed condition. The packaging includes a plurality of compartments each for receiving one of the absorbent articles in the compressed condition. Each of the absorbent articles has three dimensions, at least one of which is reduced when the absorbent article is in the compressed condition, with each of the absorbent articles being retained by the packaging when in the compressed condition.

According to various aspects of the invention, the packaging may have release seams disposed between the compartments, so that a user can remove an individual article in its compartment from the other articles in the packaging. Also, each of the absorbent articles may be vacuumed sealed at negative pressure in the packaging. In addition, the dimension that is reduced may be reduced by at least 30% when the absorbent articles are in the compressed condition. Further, each of the absorbent articles may be reconfigured from the normal condition to the compressed condition by negative pressure, physical force, rolling, or folding.

Regarding advantages, the individually packaged compressed absorbent articles are highly compact and, accordingly, readily portable. In addition, a packaged absorbent article can be easily carried in a purse or a breast pocket of a blazer. In a multipack packaging embodiment, the multipack may be conveniently carried in, e.g., a bag, with individual absorbent articles removed from the multipack as needed.

Additional aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective schematic view of an absorbent article of the invention shown in a normal (i.e., uncompressed) condition;

FIG. 2 is a perspective schematic view of the absorbent article shown in a compressed condition;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the absorbent article in the normal condition taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the absorbent article in the compressed condition taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a reconfigured absorbent article of the invention, particularly illustrating the article in a rolled configuration;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a reconfigured absorbent article of the invention, particularly illustrating the article in a folded configuration;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the rolled absorbent article of FIG. 5, particularly illustrating the rolled article in a compressed condition;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the folded absorbent article of FIG. 6, particularly illustrating the folded article in a compressed condition;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the compressed rolled absorbent article retained by packaging; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-section view of the compressed folded absorbent article retained by packaging.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring more particularly to the drawings, an absorbent article is shown in FIG. 1 and generally is indicated by reference numeral 10. The absorbent article 10, which may be a diaper or a sanitary napkin, is a three-dimensional object occupying a volume of space Vn schematically represented by the product of a length ln, a width wn, and a thickness tn, i.e., Vn=ln times wn times tn. The absorbent article 10 is compressible in at least one dimension but preferably in all three dimensions so that the volume of space that the article 10 occupies is reduced or compressed.

For example, the absorbent article 10 is shown in FIG. 2 with compressed length, width, and thickness dimensions lc, wc, and tc, each of which is respectively less than the uncompressed or “normal” length, width, and thickness dimensions ln, wn, and tn of FIG. 1. Accordingly, a compressed volume Vc of the absorbent article 10 is less than the normal volume Vn thereof. For example, in accordance with the present invention, the absorbent article 10 is compressible such that the compressed volume Vc is at least one third less and preferably at least one half less than the normal volume Vn; that is, the compressed volume Vc of the absorbent article is at least 30% less and is preferably at least 50% less than the uncompressed volume Vn. In accordance with the principles of the present invention, the absorbent article 10 is retained in the compressed condition, for example, by vacuum packaging, thereby providing an ultra-compact and highly portable absorbent article. The absorbent article 10 retained in the compressed condition may then be easily and conveniently carried by a user until needed.

The absorbent article 10 is illustrated schematically in the drawings but may be configured as any type of absorbent article as known in the art, for example, a diaper, either infant or adult, a feminine sanitary napkin, and so on. The absorbent article 10 is made from resilient and compressible material that is able to retain fluid. Examples of diapers are disclosed in U.S. Statutory Invention Registration No. H1674 and U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,520,674; 5,522,810; 5,855,574; 5,876,393; and 5,980,500. Examples of feminine sanitary napkins are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,490,847; 5,653,702; 5,792,131; 5,797,894; and 6,015,934. The disclosure of each of these patents is incorporated herein by reference.

Being made from resilient absorptive material, exemplary article 10 is compressible in at least one dimension. However, to minimize the amount of compressed volume Vc, it is preferable for the absorbent article 10 to be compressible in three dimensions, as mentioned above. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 3, exemplary article 10 includes absorptive material 12 with inter-fiber spaces 14. To reduce at least one of the three dimensions, the absorbent article 10 is compressed, thereby substantially eliminating the inter-fiber spaces 14 and rendering the absorptive material 12 more dense, which is shown in FIG. 4.

To compress, the absorbent article 10 may be subject to compressive force, thereby forcing air out of the inter-fiber spaces 14 and compressing the absorptive material 12. Alternatively, the absorbent article 10 may be subject to vacuum, thereby drawing air out of the inter-fiber spaces 14 and compressing the absorptive material 12. Once compressed, the absorbent article 10 is retained to maintain the compact and highly portable configuration, for example, by shrink-wrap thermoplastic packaging at a vacuum or negative pressure, which will be discussed in more detail below. To use, the retaining packaging is disengaged or opened, allowing the absorbent article 10 to expand and return to its normal condition under the resiliency and elasticity of the absorptive material 12, which is also discussed in more detail below.

As mentioned above, the absorbent article 10 is shown in a normal condition in FIGS. 1 and 3 in which the article is unstressed, uncompressed, and ready for use. Prior to being placed in the compressed condition as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the absorbent article 10 may be reconfigured, for example, by rolling, as schematically shown in FIG. 5, or by folding, as schematically shown in FIG. 6. When reconfigured, the absorbent article 10 has at least three dimensions, for example, a width wr, a thickness tr and a diameter dr, as shown in FIG. 5, or a length lr a width wr, a thickness tr and a height hr as shown in FIG. 6.

After being placed in a reconfigured condition, the absorbent article 10 may then be compressed as discussed above, thereby placing the article in a compressed condition. If reconfigured by rolling, as shown in FIG. 5, then when compressed, the absorbent article 10 takes on the compressed condition shown in FIG. 7 with compressed dimensions of a width wc, a thickness tc, and a diameter dc. If reconfigured by folding, as shown in FIG. 6, then when compressed, the absorbent article 10 takes on the compressed condition shown in FIG. 8 with compressed dimensions of a length lc, a width wc, a thickness tc, and a height hc. Analogous to the description above in relation to FIGS. 1 and 2, at least one of the compressed dimensions, but preferably all of the compressed dimensions of the absorbent article 10, are respectively less than the reconfigured dimensions thereof.

After being compressed, the absorbent article 10 may then be retained to maintain the compressed condition, for example, with packaging 16 as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, thereby yielding an individually packaged article 18. As mentioned above, the packaging 16 may be a thermoplastic material that allows the compressed absorbent article 10 to be hermetically sealed therein. Alternatively, the packaging 16 may be any other material suitable for retaining the absorbent article 10 in the compressed condition. The packaging 16 ensures that the absorbent article 10 is clean and sanitary when the packaged article 18 is opened for use.

Those skilled in the art will understand that the preceding exemplary embodiments of the present invention provide the foundation for numerous alternatives and modifications thereto. These and other modifications are also within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to that precisely as shown and described above but by the scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7178312 *Mar 31, 2005Feb 20, 2007Diaperoos, LlcPressing and vacuum-packing diaper
US7181893 *Mar 31, 2005Feb 27, 2007Diaperoos, LlcVacuum-packing diaper and pressing encasement
US7181894 *Mar 31, 2005Feb 27, 2007Diaperoos, LlcPressing and vacuum-sealing diaper in vacuum chamber
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/429, 53/432, 53/438, 53/430
International ClassificationA61F13/20, A61F13/15, B65B63/04, B65B63/02, B65B31/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61F13/55115
European ClassificationA61F13/551A4