US 20060226171 A1
A high performance squeeze bottle dispenser includes an internal product-containing bag which is in fluid communication with a dispensing nozzle. The dispensing nozzle is airtight to prevent air from escaping back into the bag when pressurization of the bottle is released. A one-way air valve in a wall of the bottle admits air into the interior of the bottle around the outside of the product bag to provide a pumping action which pressurizes the interior of the bottle to cause product expulsion through the nozzle. An inversion collar projects into the bag so that the bag folds inwardly upon itself and up into the collar as product is expelled. The collar may also include an upper inside dome-shaped surface which matches the shape of the inside of the bottom of the bag to achieve near-complete expulsion of product to reduce waste.
1. A dispenser, comprising:
a non-rigid airtight bottle with sidewalls adapted for manual compression;
a cap located at the top of said bottle, said cap including a liquid dispensing nozzle, said nozzle configured to prevent air from entering the bottle;
a flexible bag for holding a liquid, said bag located within said bottle and extending downward from said cap, said bag being in fluid communication with said dispensing nozzle;
a collar located within said bag and extending downward from a top of said bottle approximately one-half of the bag's length; and
a one-way, air-admitting valve located on a wall of the bottle such that successive amounts of the liquid are dispensed from said nozzle as said bottle is repeatedly squeezed.
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14. A dispenser comprising:
an airtight chamber adapted for manual pressurization;
a dispensing nozzle in fluid communication with an interior volume of said chamber, said nozzle configured to prevent air from entering the chamber;
an elongate flexible bag for holding a flowable substance, said bag located within said chamber and being in fluid communication with said dispensing nozzle;
a collar located within said elongate bag extending downwardly from a top of said bag approximately one-half of the bag's length; and
a one-way air-admitting valve located on a wall of said chamber such that the flowable substance is dispensed from said nozzle as said chamber is pressurized.
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The present invention relates to a bag-in-bottle type squeeze bottle having an inner receptacle incorporating a flexible bag for containing and dispensing various types of fluid products. More specifically, it pertains to flexible bag dispensers that include product bags which invert as they empty.
Squeeze type bottle dispensers are well known for use in packaging and dispensing various types of liquid products including those which are more viscous such as toothpaste. In order to improve the product expulsion of viscous materials, bag-in-bottle type dispensers have been employed because the more viscous products are difficult to expel from regular dispensers. Some dispensers include internal means for inverting the bag in upon itself to enhance their performance. Another general type is a pump dispenser which utilizes a piston pump to create the internal air pressure necessary to dispense the product. Since the pressure increase is not created by deformation of the dispenser walls, the walls may be rigid.
Since it is more economical to produce non-bag type dispensers, the less viscous and more liquid products are not routinely supplied in bag type squeeze bottles. This is also because they benefit just as much from gravity flow as from squeezing the bottle. Furthermore, without proper valving which maintains the internal bottle air pressure, the more liquid products tend to fall to the bottom of the bag leaving an air space at the top of the bag which must be expelled each time before the liquid is discharged. This adversely affects the performance of the dispenser. Hence, bag type squeeze dispensers are not used for liquid beverages.
A general problem with bag-in-bottle type squeeze dispensers of the prior art is that the discharge of dispensed product is less than complete, creating waste. This occurs because the bags and the inside of the bottles are not dimensioned and configured to closely match, nor are the bags sufficiently resilient so that they may conform to the shape of the inside surfaces of the bottle upon full expulsion. Many dispensers require gravity to create or assist the flow which can require an awkward position of the dispenser. In highly competitive sports, there is a need for a very efficient squeeze bottle for sports drinks that produces maximum output with minimum effort and little or no discharge delay.
There is therefore a need in the art for a liquid bag type squeeze bottle which eliminates trapped air in the product bag so that the liquid can be quickly and easily dispensed. There is a further need for a bag type squeeze bottle which provides near complete expulsion of product to reduce waste and which does not require gravity to produce or assist flow.
Prior art patents of which the applicant is aware which disclose squeeze bottle type dispensers having internal product bags include U.S. Pat. No. 2,608,320 issued to Harrison; U.S. Pat. No. 4,842,165 issued to Van Coney; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,920 issued to Reiboldt. While these dispensers are suitable for viscous products, they have the limitations discussed above with respect to dispensing less viscous, highly liquid products.
In order to overcome the deficiencies in the art described above, the present invention has been devised which employs a unique structure that provides a bag type squeeze bottle with excellent performance when used for dispensing highly liquid products such as water and sports drinks. It should be understood however that the present invention is not limited to these specific products.
This capability is provided by a combination of bottle valving and bag materials together with structural dimensions that are mutually compatible. A dispensing nozzle is employed which is not only substantially liquid-tight but also airtight. This prevents air from escaping back into the bag when pressure on the outside of the squeeze bottle is released. The tendency for re-admitting air into the bag is also mitigated by the use of an efficient umbrella type one-way bottle air valve with a high flow rate. These structures are utilized in combination with a highly resilient bottle that quickly snaps back to its normal shape when squeezing pressure is released. This allows the interior of the bottle to be recharged with air quickly and without producing any adverse effects on the product bag that would increase its tendency for drawing air back through the nozzle and into the bag.
The invention also uses an inversion collar to hold the bag at its midpoint so that the bag folds inwardly upon itself and up into the collar as liquid product is expelled. This enhances the performance of the bottle and prevents product from being trapped between irregular folds in the bag as it is compressed by the internal air pressure of the bottle. To ensure that the greatest amount of product is expelled to eliminate waste, both the bag and the internal surfaces of the inversion collar are tapered with the inside dimensions of the bag closely matched to the inside dimensions of the collar. This, together with the use of a bag material which has elasticity, permits the bag to readily conform to the inside shape of the inversion collar and/or the cap which holds the dispensing nozzle. The use of a resilient bag also permits it to be assembled by stretching it over the outside of the collar. This produces an extremely tight shrink fit between the bag and the outside surface of the collar so that product cannot become trapped around the outside of the collar thus further reducing waste. The collar may also include an upper inside dome-shaped surface which matches the shape of the inside surface of the bottom of the bag.
Constructed in this way, the present dispenser provides a high performance, pressurizable container which produces maximum discharge with minimum effort and little or no discharge delay. As a further attribute, the dispenser provides near complete expulsion of product to reduce waste. And finally, the dispenser does not require gravity to produce or assist flow.
While the present invention will be described with the reference to a specific embodiment, the following descriptive is illustrative of the invention and is not to be construed as limiting the invention. Various modifications to the present invention can be made to the preferred embodiment by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. It will be noted here that for better understanding like components are designated by the reference numerals throughout the various figures of drawing which follow.
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It should be understood that there may be other modifications and changes to the present invention that will be obvious to those of skill in the art from the foregoing description, however, the present invention should be limited only by the following claims and their legal equivalents. For example, although the preferred embodiment was described with respect to liquid beverages, it should be understood that the dispenser of the invention may be used for non-food products as well. In addition, the dispenser may be used for highly viscous materials such as pastes.