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Publication numberUS20060278656 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/452,586
Publication dateDec 14, 2006
Filing dateJun 14, 2006
Priority dateJun 14, 2005
Publication number11452586, 452586, US 2006/0278656 A1, US 2006/278656 A1, US 20060278656 A1, US 20060278656A1, US 2006278656 A1, US 2006278656A1, US-A1-20060278656, US-A1-2006278656, US2006/0278656A1, US2006/278656A1, US20060278656 A1, US20060278656A1, US2006278656 A1, US2006278656A1
InventorsScott Ross
Original AssigneeScott Ross
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spout handle and nozzle assembly
US 20060278656 A1
Abstract
A valve assembly has a spout having a central opening in communication with an interior of the bag, and a circumferential interior sidewall. There is a sliding valve disposed within the central opening, the sliding valve having an open position wherein contents of the bag can flow through the valve, and a closed position, where the valve is sealed against the interior sidewall of the spout. There is a valve actuator connected to a dispensing apparatus. The valve actuator moves the sliding valve from a closed position to an open position when the spout is placed on the actuator, and the actuator moves the sliding valve from an open position to a closed position when the spout is removed from the valve actuator. The sliding valve remains in its set open or closed position until it is moved by the actuator. This arrangement prevents leakage of the container when the container is not being used in a dispensing apparatus.
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Claims(8)
1. A valve assembly for dispensing liquid from a bag-in-box container, comprising:
a spout having a central opening in communication with an interior of the bag, and a circumferential interior sidewall;
a sliding valve disposed within the central opening, said sliding valve having an open position wherein contents of the bag can flow through the valve, and a closed position, where the valve is sealed against the interior sidewall; and
a valve actuator adapted to be connected to a dispensing apparatus, said valve actuator moving the sliding valve from a closed position to an open position when said spout is placed on said actuator, and said valve actuator moving said sliding valve from an open position to a closed position when said spout is removed from said valve actuator.
2. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein the sliding valve has a plurality of gripping fingers disposed around a circumference of the valve and the actuator has a circumferential groove, and wherein in the closed position, the gripping fingers press against the interior sidewall of the spout and keep the valve closed, and in the open position, the gripping fingers are pressed inward into the groove of the actuator, to allow the valve to slide within the central opening.
3. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve has at least one aperture therethrough, such that in the open position, the at least one aperture is in communication with an interior of the container to allow fluid from the container to flow through the at least one aperture, and wherein in the closed position, the at least one aperture is sealed from the fluid in the container.
4. The assembly according to claim 3, wherein the actuator has a channel running longitudinally therethrough, such that in the open position, fluid from the container runs through the at least one aperture of the valve and into the channel of the actuator.
5. The assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a support structure surrounding the spout, said support structure retaining said spout on an outside of said bag-in-box container.
6. The assembly according to claim 5, wherein said support structure has a handle so that said bag-in-box container can be carried by said handle.
7. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein said sliding valve has a concave front surface and said actuator has a convex end portion, such that said convex end portion fits within said concave front surface to move the valve between open and closed positions.
8. The assembly according to claim 1, wherein the spout has a threaded exterior sidewall.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 USC 119(e) of United States Provisional Application No. 60/690,327 filed on Jun. 14, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a valve assembly for use with a bag-in-box type liquid container. The valve assembly comprises a spout, a sliding valve within the spout and an actuator for actuating the valve, along with a support handle, for use with a bag in box container intended to carry a liquid such as juice or other fluids therein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bag-in-box type fluid containers are well known. Such containers are usually formed by a bag created from a film material which is intended to carry a liquid therein, with the bag then being fully enclosed by a corrugated box. The bag is produced with a fluid exit opening to which is scaled an exit port sealingly engaged to the fluid exit opening. The method of securing the exit port to the fluid exit opening is usually dependent upon the material of which the bag is produced, and certainly includes such procedures as heat sealing, adhesive sealing, and the like. The box has an opening corresponding to the exit port of the bag so that the bag can be contained within the box and have the exit port extending outwardly from the corrugated box. In many applications, the bag-in-box assembly is installed in a device which has a valve assembly of some type such that once the box is installed in the assembly, the valve may be alternately opened and closed to permit fluid to exit from the bag for consumption.

The advantage that such containers have over other older containers is that the fluid contained within the bag will stay fresher for much longer periods of time and the product has an extended shelf life. Furthermore, such assemblies do not require air holes in the container in order to permit the fluid to flow and exit from the container into the consumer's vessel.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,390,814 describes a bag-in-box container for containing a pharmaceutical fluid. That invention provides a fitment which may be interposed between the plastic pouch with the box, and the valve so that the valve may be rigidly secured to the pouch. The fitment is constructed from a rigid plastic which is thermally welded to the pouch by a sealing sleeve and otherwise then affixed to the valve so that the valve is securely fitted to the pouch. The valve permits fluid to be extracted from the pouch with the fitment extending outwardly from the box through an aperture. The description indicates that various valve structures may be used in connection with the pouch, including a flap valve, or a ball check valve.

United States Pat. No. 6,561,386 to Martens discloses a ball check valve assembly for use with bag-in-box type containers, where the exit port of the container is fitted with a ball check valve. The valve is opened upon placement of the valve onto a fitting in the dispensing machine, which pushes the spring-loaded ball upward into the container to release the contents of the container. This system has many disadvantages, however, because the ball is easily released, and the contents are particularly prone to leaking out of the valve. In addition to the mess created by leaking containers, it also increases the risk of contamination of the contents inside the containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a bag-in-box liquid containing assembly having an improved valve assembly that permits a juice to be efficiently dispensed from the bag without the risk of leakage or contamination.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a valve assembly which has a support structure to prevent the valve from collapsing inside the container.

These and other objects are accomplished by a valve assembly comprising a spout having a central opening in communication with an interior of the bag, and a circumferential interior sidewall. There is a sliding valve disposed within the central opening. The sliding valve has an open position where contents of the bag are in communication with an aperture in the valve and can thus flow out of the spout, and a closed position, where the apertures in the valve are sealed against the interior sidewall of the spout. There is a valve actuator connected to a dispensing apparatus. The valve actuator moves the sliding valve from a closed position to an open position when the spout is placed on the actuator, and the valve actuator moves the sliding valve from an open position to a closed position when the spout is removed from the valve actuator. The actuator has a channel extending through the center of the actuator, to allow the liquid to flow through and into the dispensing appartus when the valve is in the open position. The sliding valve remains in its set open or closed position until it is moved by the actuator. This arrangement prevents leakage of the container when the container is not being used in a dispensing apparatus.

The sliding valve has a plurality of gripping fingers disposed around a circumference of the valve. The actuator has a corresponding circumferential groove. When the valve is in the closed position, the gripping fingers press against an interior sidewall of the spout and keep the valve closed, preventing inadvertent sliding of the valve. In the open position, actuator pushes the sliding valve inward toward the box and the gripping fingers are pressed inward and into the groove of the actuator, to allow the valve to slide within the central opening. This keeps the valve and actuator moving securely together.

There is a support structure surrounding the spout, to retain the spout on an outside of the bag-in-box container. In containers lacking the ring, excess inward pressure on the spout, either during transit or by the dispensing machine can cause the spout to collapse into the box and be difficult to use. The structure comprises a ring that surrounds the base of the spout and covers the opening of the box where the spout emerges, so that excess pressure on the spout is diffused by the ring and does not allow the spout to collapse. The support ring can be connected to a handle so that the bag-in-box container can be carried by the handle. The support ring and handle are preferably made from a stiff, durable molded plastic.

In a preferred embodiment, the sliding valve has a concave front surface and the actuator has a convex end portion, such that the convex end portion fits within the concave front surface to move the valve between open and closed positions. The rounded concave/convex arrangement also facilitates placement of the valve on the actuator, because the valve does not have to be aligned perfectly vertically in order to fit onto the actuator. This is important, because the containers can be heavy. The rounded shape provides a self-correcting alignment of the valve and actuator.

The spout preferably has an threaded exterior sidewall so that the spout can accommodate sealing caps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed as an illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a top view of the spout, valve and handle assembly connected to a bag-in-box container;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the spout, valve and actuator in a closed position;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the spout, valve and actuator in an open position; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the container being mounted onto a beverage dispensing apparatus holding the actuator.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Turning in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a top view of a bag-in-box liquid container 10, which is attached to a spout 20 having a sliding valve 30 disposed within the central opening of spout 20. Sliding valve 30 has a series of fingers 31 surrounding its lower periphery. As shown in FIG. 2, fingers 31 abut the inside wall 21 of spout 20 when valve 30 is in a closed position, and keep valve 30 in the closed position. Valve 30 has a set of apertures 35, which remain sealed against interior wall 21 of spout 20 to prevent any liquid in bag 10 from escaping when valve 30 is in the closed position.

To open valve 30, an actuator 40 is inserted into the rounded inner cavity 32 of valve 30, as shown in FIG. 3. Once actuator 40 is fully inserted, as shown in FIG. 3, fingers 31 of valve 30 become released from inside wall 21, and wrap around actuator 40 into groove 41, which runs around the circumference of actuator 40. This releases valve 30 from spout 20, and as valve 30 moves toward the interior of bag 10, as pushed by actuator 40, apertures 35 come into communication with the interior of bag 12, and liquid from bag 12 is free to run through the apertures and into the channel 45 extending through the length of actuator 40.

To close valve 30, actuator 40 is pulled out of spout 20, which slides valve 30 toward a distal end of spout 20, thus causing apertures 35 to be sealed against inside wall 32 and shut off any fluid flow. Pulling actuator 40 fully out of spout 20 then causes fingers 31 to spring out from groove 41 and come to rest again against the end portion of inside wall 21, to fix valve 30 in the closed position.

Because valve 30 cannot be easily moved unless it is pushed or pulled by actuator 40, valve 30 is less prone to inadvertent openings, thus, decreasing the risk if leakage and contamination. Standard ball valves are easily actuated during transit and leakage and contamination of the product is common.

Spout 20 can be equipped with external threads 24, to which a cap can be connected, if desired. In addition, threaded fittings from the dispensing machine could also be connected to spout 20 via threads 24.

As shown in FIG. 1, a support structure 50 can be attached to spout 20, to prevent spout 20 from collapsing into container 10 under pressure. Structure 50 has a ring 51 disposed between container 10 and a flange 23 on spout 20 to fix spout 20 in place. Structure 50 can be equipped with a handle 52 to allow container 10 to be easily carried.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of a bag-in-box container 10, having spout 20, being placed on an actuator 40, which is installed in a beverage dispensing machine 60.

Accordingly, while only a few embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it is obvious that many changes and modifications may be made thereunto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8113385Jul 8, 2011Feb 14, 2012Handy & HarmanAdhesive dispenser system
US8132693Jul 8, 2011Mar 13, 2012Handy & HarmanAdhesive dispenser system
US8167170 *Jun 14, 2007May 1, 2012Handy & HarmanAdhesive dispenser system
US8342372Aug 26, 2010Jan 1, 2013Handy & HarmanAdhesive dispenser system
US8474658Mar 30, 2012Jul 2, 2013Handy & HarmanAdhesive dispenser system
WO2008119337A2 *Apr 2, 2008Oct 9, 2008Spiegel MargretDiaphragm pump for the carbonation of degasified beer
WO2014081294A2 *Nov 22, 2013May 30, 2014Heineken Supply Chain B.V.Beverage dispensing assembly and container for use in a beverage dispensing assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/105
International ClassificationB65D35/56
Cooperative ClassificationB65D77/067, B67D1/0829, B67D2001/0827, B67D7/0288
European ClassificationB65D77/06B2A, B67D1/08B, B67D7/02G
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 9, 2012ASAssignment
Owner name: FCC, LLC, D/B/A FIRST CAPITAL, NEW YORK
Effective date: 20120928
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:LEMON-X CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:029108/0811
Aug 18, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LEMON-X CORPORATION, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ROSS, SCOTT;REEL/FRAME:018185/0889
Effective date: 20060627