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Publication numberUS20070006872 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/225,320
Publication dateJan 11, 2007
Filing dateSep 13, 2005
Priority dateJul 6, 2005
Publication number11225320, 225320, US 2007/0006872 A1, US 2007/006872 A1, US 20070006872 A1, US 20070006872A1, US 2007006872 A1, US 2007006872A1, US-A1-20070006872, US-A1-2007006872, US2007/0006872A1, US2007/006872A1, US20070006872 A1, US20070006872A1, US2007006872 A1, US2007006872A1
InventorsMark Strachan
Original AssigneeMark Strachan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for and method of making an arrangement for changing the temperature of a product
US 20070006872 A1
Abstract
A modular product cup is mounted in an outer container of standardized dimensions in an arrangement for changing the temperature of the product in the cup. The cup can come from different product suppliers, each able to use its product cup in the arrangement to promote wide commercial acceptance.
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Claims(18)
1. A system for making an arrangement for selectably changing a temperature of a product, comprising:
a) an outer container having a side wall bounding an interior of standardized dimensions and spaced radially from an axis;
b) a breakable membrane fixedly mounted within, and subdividing, the interior of the container into a pair of compartments;
c) a pair of reactants respectively contained in the compartments and kept apart by the membrane prior to use;
d) a breaking member mounted within the interior of the container for breaking the membrane, to allow the reactants to mix and form a chemical reaction; and
e) a product cup having a chamber for containing the product whose temperature is changed by the chemical reaction, the product cup having modular dimensions for reception by the standardized dimensions of the container, the product cup being fixedly mounted within the interior of the container after the reception of the product cup.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the container is constituted of a thermally insulating material, and wherein the cup is constituted of a thermally conductive material.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein the container is constituted of a thermally insulating material, and wherein the cup is constituted of a plastic material.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the container and the cup have abutting flanges spin-welded together.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the product cup has a capacity of 7.5 to 8.0 ounces for the product.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the container has an internal shoulder on which the membrane is adhered.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the side wall is annular, wherein the container has an internal annular shoulder, and wherein the membrane is a foil having an annular periphery adhered to the shoulder.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the container has an internal shoulder on which the membrane is mounted, and wherein the breaking member is mounted on the membrane.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the breaking member has a plurality of radial arms having inner ends hingedly connected together, and a plurality of abutments at outer ends of the arms, each abutment being in contact with the side wall within the interior of the container and being movable toward the axis upon exertion of radial pressure on the side wall of the container.
10. The system of claim 1, wherein the reactants are water and anhydrous calcium oxide or calcium chloride.
11. The system of claim 1, wherein the cup has a flange; and a seal for sealing the cup, the seal including an annular rim mechanically crimped over the flange of the cup, and a peelable diaphragm detachably mounted on the rim, the diaphragm having a pull tab for enabling the diaphragm to be at least partly peeled from the rim.
12. The system of claim 1, and an apertured lid mounted with snap action over the container and the cup.
13. A method of making an arrangement for selectably changing a temperature of a product, comprising the steps of:
a) forming a container with a side wall bounding an interior of standardized dimensions, the side wall surrounding, and being spaced radially from, an axis;
b) subdividing the interior of the container into a pair of compartments by mounting a breakable membrane within the container;
c) at least partly filling a pair of reactants respectively into the compartments;
d) mounting a breaking member within the interior of the container;
e) forming a product cup with modular dimensions for reception by the standardized dimensions of the container;
f) at least partly filling the cup with the product; and
g) fixedly mounting the cup within the interior of the container.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of forming the product cup is performed by different manufacturers.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the fixedly mounting step is performed by spin-welding the cup inside the container.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of forming the product cup is performed by constituting the cup of a thermally conductive material.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of forming the product cup is performed by constituting the cup of a plastic material.
18. The method of claim 13, wherein the step of forming the product cup is performed by forming the cup of one type of material on a production line, and of another type of material on the same production line.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/175,818, filed Jul. 6, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to an arrangement that adds or removes heat from a product, such as a food, beverage, medicine, or like product and, more particularly, to a system for and a method of making the arrangement that promotes wide commercial acceptance.

2. Description of the Related Art

Self-heating or self-cooling arrangements are known in which a product, typically a beverage, is heated or cooled by employing two chemical reactants which are stable when separated, but which produce an exothermic or an endothermic reaction when mixed. U.S. Pat. No. 4,793,323 shows one example of a single-use, self-heating arrangement container for liquids or solids, in which a breakable membrane keeps the reactants apart, and a breakable member is actuated by a user to break the membrane and allow the reactants to mix to form the chemical reaction that changes the temperature of the product.

As advantageous as the known self-heating arrangements are, each is custom-made. More specifically, each self-heating arrangement is designed with proprietary dimensions so that a product cup supplied by one supplier with one set of dimensions cannot be interchangeably used with a product cup supplied by a different supplier with a different set of dimensions. Commercial acceptance of custom-made, self-heating arrangements has been limited.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a general object of this invention to promote wide commercial acceptance of arrangements that add or remove heat from a product.

FEATURES OF THE INVENTION

In keeping with the above objects and others which will become apparent hereinafter, one feature of the present invention resides, briefly stated, in a system for, and a method of, making an arrangement for changing a temperature of a product, typically a food or a beverage, comprising an outer container, preferably made of a thermally insulating material, having a side wall bounding an interior and spaced radially from an axis, and a product cup, preferably made of a thermally conductive material, or a thermoformed plastic material, the cup having a chamber for containing the product.

A breakable membrane, for example a circular, thin foil, is fixedly mounted within, and subdivides, the interior of the container into a pair of compartments. The container is formed with an internal annular shoulder, and a circular periphery of the membrane is adhered to the shoulder. A pair of reactants is respectively contained in the compartments, and the reactants are kept apart by the membrane prior to use. For example, the reactants may be water and anhydrous calcium oxide or calcium chloride which, when mixed, produce an exothermic chemical reaction.

A breaking member is mounted within the interior of the container in a juxtaposed relationship with the membrane. The breaking member is at least partially supported by the internal shoulder of the container. A radial pressure may be exerted by the user on the side wall of the container, and this radial pressure causes the breaking member to break the membrane and allow the reactants to mix and produce the chemical reaction that will be used to change the temperature of the product in the cup.

In accordance with this invention, the product cup is made of modular dimensions, and the interior of the outer container is made of standardized dimensions for reception of the modular cup. After the modular cup is received in the outer container, juxtaposed flanges on the cup and the container are fused together, preferably by spin welding. Thus, the modular cup having a standard size can be supplied from different suppliers, thereby promoting wide commercial acceptance.

Also, it is conventional for some suppliers to supply a product in a cup made of a plastic material on a production line. This product cup is not intended to have its temperature changed by a self-heating arrangement. However, now, in accordance with this invention, the product cup can be fitted into, and utilized in, a self-heating arrangement In case a more rapid heating of the product within the cup is desired, the cup can be fabricated at least in part of a thermally conductive material. Due to the modular sizing of the product cup, a different production line is not necessary, thereby further enhancing commercial acceptance of this arrangement.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an arrangement in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view of the arrangement of FIG. 1 after assembly;

FIG. 3 is a view analogous to FIG. 2, after exertion of radial pressure on a side wall of an outer container;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of a breaking member for use in the arrangement of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the breaking member of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a partially removed seal on a product cup for use in the arrangement of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of a sip lid for use in the arrangement of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As best shown in FIGS. 1-2, an arrangement in accordance with this invention includes an outer container 10 having a side wall 12 bounding an interior, an inner product cup 14 fixedly mounted within the interior of the container 10, a breakable membrane 16 fixedly mounted within the interior of the container 10 and subdividing the interior into a pair of compartments 18, 20, a pair of reactants 22, 24 respectively contained in the compartments 18, 20 and kept apart by the membrane 16 prior to use, and a breaking member 26 mounted within the container 10, preferably above the membrane 16, and operative for breaking the membrane 16, as described below, to allow the reactants 22, 24 to mix and form a chemical reaction that changes the temperature of a product contained in the cup 14. A seal 28 seals the product within the cup 14. An apertured sip lid 30 is optionally mounted over the seal 28 and over the container 10.

The container 10 is symmetrical about an upright axis 32, and the side wall 12 circumferentially surrounds the axis 32. The side wall 12 is preferably frusto-conical or cylindrical. The container 10 is formed with an interior annular shoulder 34 on which a circular periphery of the membrane 26 is adhesively secured. A circular periphery of the breaking member 26 also rests on the shoulder 34. The compartment 18 above the membrane 16 is filled with one of the reactants 22, for example, water, and the compartment 20 below the membrane 16 is filled with the other of the reactants 24, for example, anhydrous calcium oxide or calcium chloride. Other reactants are contemplated by this invention, and the positions of the reactants could be reversed, that is, the water could be in the lower compartment, while the anhydrous calcium oxide or calcium chloride could be in the upper compartment. The container 10 is preferably constituted of a thermally insulating material, for example, a thermoformed foamed polypropylene, and the side wall 12 is preferably deformable radially inwardly, as described in detail below.

The inner product cup 14 contains the product and can consist of a thermoformed plastic material, or is preferably constituted of a thermally conductive material, for example, a polyethylene coating over an aluminum core formed by a deep draw stamping process. The product can be virtually anything, but is preferably a beverage, such as coffee or tea, or a soup, or a foodstuff. The seal 28 seals the product within the cup. The seal 28, as best shown in FIGS. 4 and 8, includes an annular rim 36 mechanically crimped over a radial annular flange 38 of the cup 14, and a diaphragm 40 adhesively mounted on the rim 36 and peelably removable from the rim 36 by pulling on a pull tab 42. The rim, diaphragm and pull tab are preferably constituted of aluminum which is stamped and die cut into their illustrated shapes. The seal 28 hermetically seals the product before and during the temperature change. Once the temperature change has been achieved, the pull tab is pulled to at least partially remove the diaphragm and gain access to the product.

The membrane 16 is a thin, tearable foil die cut into a circular shape and preferably constituted of aluminum. An adhesive at its periphery adheres the membrane to the shoulder 34 and is preferably thermally activated.

The breaking member 26, as best seen in FIGS. 6-7, is an injected molded polypropylene plastic operative to pierce and tear the membrane 16. The breaking member 26 has a plurality of radial arms 44, 46, 48, 50 having inner ends connected by respective living hinges 52 to a central, pointed barb 54 that lies along the axis 32 and faces the membrane 16. A plurality of abutments 56, 58, 60, 62 is connected by respective living hinges 64 at outer ends of the arms. The abutments are curved to conform to the curvature of the side wall 12 against which the abutments contact (see FIG. 5).

As shown in FIG. 2, the membrane 16 is intact, and the breaking member 26 rests on the membrane 16 and the shoulder 34. If a radial pressure is exerted on the side wall 12 adjacent the shoulder 34, as schematically illustrated by the opposing fingers 66 of a user's hand moving in the directions of arrows 68, then the side wall 12 deforms inwardly, the abutments are pushed inwardly, the living hinges 64 bend, the arms are pushed downwardly, the living hinges 52 bend, and the pointed barb 54 moves downwardly and pierces the membrane 16. The reactant 22 in the upper compartment 18 flows downwardly through the ruptured membrane and chemically reacts with the reactant 24 in the lower compartment 20.

To promote the speed and efficiency of the chemical reaction, the user can shake the arrangement, typically for about 10-20 seconds, and can even invert the arrangement and allow it to stand, typically for less than two minutes. In the preferred embodiment, about 28 grams of a granulated calcium chloride (grain size 1-2 mm) are used. The liquid reactant need not be pure water, but can be mixed with an acid, such as oxalic acid. In about one minute's time, the temperature of the exothermic reaction caused when water and calcium chloride interact rises from a room temperature of about 19 C. to a temperature of about 60 C., which is sufficient to heat the product within the cup.

The radial pressure is exerted between the opposing fingers 66. As shown, there are four zones, one corresponding to each abutment 56, 58, 60, 62, at which the finger pressure should be applied. These zones can be highlighted and marked on the side wall 12. Otherwise, it is sufficient for the user to merely hold the container in his or her hand and grip tightly as if making a fist. This radial squeezing is continued until resistance is felt when the side wall 12 engages the cup 14. This cup thus serves as a safety stop for preventing the user from completely crushing the arrangement. A label can be applied on the side wall which not only provides sales and marketing information, but also prominently displays the finger pressure zones.

Once the recommended waiting period has elapsed, the arrangement is returned to its original upright position, and the pull tab 42 is pulled back to either partially or completely remove the diaphragm 40 depending upon the type of product in the cup and how it will be consumed. For example, a spoon requires more room to access soup within the cup as compared to a beverage which is directly sipped. If the product is a beverage, such as coffee, then the sip lid 30 is snapped over the opened seal, and the beverage is consumed through an aperture 70 (see FIG. 9).

In accordance with this invention, the product cup is made of modular dimensions, for example, a 7.5 to 8.0 ounce cup, and the interior of the outer container is made of standardized dimensions for reception of the modular cup. The modular cup of standardized size can thus be supplied from different suppliers, each supplier having the opportunity to use its modular cup in the arrangement of this invention without any retooling being necessary.

It is conventional for some food and beverage suppliers to package their respective products in a cup, usually of a plastic material. For example, a soup can be packaged in a cup and sold to consumers who might heat the soup in a microwave oven prior to consumption. This invention proposes that the product cup, e.g., the soup-containing cup, be made of modular dimensions so that it can easily be received in the outer container of this invention, and then sold in a self-heating arrangement in which the aforementioned microwave oven is not used. If other suppliers follow suit, then the self-heating arrangement of this invention is more versatile, and multiple suppliers can use this invention.

The use of a plastic product cup is not ideal due to the extra time needed to change the temperature of the product. Therefore, it is preferred if the product cup is made, at least in part, of a thermally conductive material. Due to the modular size of the product cup, a different production line is not necessary to fabricate the thermally conductive cup.

It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, also may find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.

While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a system for and a method of making an arrangement for selectably changing the temperature of a product, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8001959Nov 14, 2006Aug 23, 2011Heat Wave Technologies, LlcSelf-heating container
US20110162635 *Jan 6, 2010Jul 7, 2011Shaam P SundharSelf heating beverage cup
Classifications
U.S. Classification126/263.09
International ClassificationF24J1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF24J1/00
European ClassificationF24J1/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 23, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ESSES, EZRA, NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHAMMAH, DANIEL;REEL/FRAME:020001/0231
Effective date: 20070606
Sep 13, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: DANIEL CHAMMAH, FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STRACHAN, MARK;REEL/FRAME:016978/0724
Effective date: 20050908