Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20080149666 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/953,282
Publication dateJun 26, 2008
Filing dateDec 10, 2007
Priority dateDec 11, 2006
Also published asCA2672194A1, EP2125547A2, WO2008073875A2, WO2008073875A3
Publication number11953282, 953282, US 2008/0149666 A1, US 2008/149666 A1, US 20080149666 A1, US 20080149666A1, US 2008149666 A1, US 2008149666A1, US-A1-20080149666, US-A1-2008149666, US2008/0149666A1, US2008/149666A1, US20080149666 A1, US20080149666A1, US2008149666 A1, US2008149666A1
InventorsRoger J. LaFlamme, Daniel M. Wyner, Richard B. Fox, Robert J. Mileti
Original AssigneePoly-D, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispensing stand-up pouch
US 20080149666 A1
Abstract
The stand-up fluid dispensing device (10, 100) includes a container (42) with an outer surface, opening, interior fluid storage region (44) therein and an exterior outer region. A support structure (60) is affixed to the container (42) to maintain the container (42) in an upright condition at all times. Throughout the life of the product and regardless of amount of media (12) in the device (10, 100), it will remain standing upright to better display the package at all times. The support structure (60) is preferably a jacket filled with a gas, such as air. The jacket (60) can include a plurality of pockets (62), such as tubes filled with air. The stand-up fluid dispensing device (10, 100) may also include a metering pump (64) that can include a leakage control mechanism to control the dispensing of media (12) from the device (10, 100).
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(21)
1. A stand-up fluid dispensing device, comprising:
a container having an outer surface and an opening; the container defining an interior fluid storage region therein, and an exterior outer region; and
a support structure affixed to the container to maintain the container in an upright condition.
2. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 1, wherein the support structure is affixed to the outer surface of the container.
3. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 1, wherein the support structure is a jacket filled with a gas.
4. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 1, wherein the gas is air.
5. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 3, wherein the jacket includes a plurality of pockets filled with a gas.
5. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 3, wherein the jacket includes a plurality of tubular members filled with a gas.
6. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 1, further comprising:
a flexible metering housing, having a metering chamber therein with a predetermined volume, disposed in fluid communication with the fluid storage region via the first opening; a first valve disposed between the container and the flexible metering housing and permitting unidirectional fluid flow from the interior fluid storage region of the container into the metering chamber thereby filling the predetermined volume of the metering chamber; the flexible metering housing further including an metering housing output port;
a second valve, having a second valve output port, in fluid communication with the metering housing output port and permitting unidirectional fluid flow from the metering chamber to the exterior outer region of the container of a volume of fluid substantially equal to the predetermined volume of the flexible metering housing.
7. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 6, further comprising:
a fluid conduit connected at one end to the second valve output port and at the other end to a exit port defined by the container.
8. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 6, further comprising:
a fluid conduit disposed between the metering housing output port and the second valve.
9. The fluid dispensing device of claim 6, wherein the first valve and the second valve are one-way check valves.
10. The fluid dispensing device of claim 6, further comprising:
standoff means connected to the metering housing and proximal to the first valve to prevent the first valve from being blocked.
11. The fluid dispensing device of claim 10, wherein the standoff means is at least one leg.
12. The fluid dispensing device of claim 10, wherein the standoff means is a spring.
13. The fluid dispensing device of claim 1, wherein the container is a gusseted stand-up pouch.
14. A stand-up fluid dispensing device, comprising:
a stand-up container having an outer surface and an opening; the container defining an interior fluid storage region therein, and an exterior outer region;
a flexible metering housing, having a metering chamber therein with a predetermined volume, disposed in fluid communication with the fluid storage region via the first opening; a first valve disposed between the container and the flexible metering housing and permitting unidirectional fluid flow from the interior fluid storage region of the container into the metering chamber thereby filling the predetermined volume of the metering chamber; the flexible metering housing further including an metering housing output port;
a second valve, having a second valve output port, in fluid communication with the metering housing output port and permitting unidirectional fluid flow from the metering chamber to the exterior outer region of the container of a volume of fluid substantially equal to the predetermined volume of the flexible metering housing.
15. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 14, further comprising:
a fluid conduit connected at one end to the second valve output port and at the other end to a exit port defined by the container.
16. The stand-up fluid dispensing device of claim 14, further comprising:
a fluid conduit disposed between the metering housing output port and the second valve.
17. The fluid dispensing device of claim 14, wherein the first valve and the second valve are one-way check valves.
18. The fluid dispensing device of claim 14, further comprising:
standoff means connected to the metering housing and proximal to the first valve to prevent the first valve from being blocked.
19. The fluid dispensing device of claim 18, wherein the standoff means is at least one leg.
20. The fluid dispensing device of claim 18, wherein the standoff means is a spring.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from prior U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/869,420 filed on Dec. 11, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to dispensing devices and packages for various types of materials. More specifically, the present invention relates to devices that can dispense media, such as fluids and gels and other materials, from a source of such media.

Various types of fluid material and media are employed for different purposes through commerce and industry. For example, there are various products in the personal care, home care, air care, transportation care, and food industries that require some type of dispensing of media, such as a fluid material, from a source of such media. When this material is sold in commerce, it must be contained and stored in some type of container. When that product is used, it must be dispensed from its storage container to a location for use.

In the prior art, there are many different types of dispensers for delivering fluid material. For example, a flexible container body with a nozzle tip is commonly provided for such a purpose. An application of such use is for the dispensing of ketchup where the container body is squeezed by the user to urge the fluid material out from the nozzle tip and accurately to a desired location. The amount of fluid delivered is determined by the how much the user squeezed the container body. However, this yields erratic results where more or less fluid material is delivered on each successive squeeze of the container body. Also, the container must be held upright to avoid leakage because no valves are employed.

In another example of a prior art dispensing device, a flexible container holds a volume of fluid material to be delivered. A single one-way check valve is provided as an exit port from the flexible container. When the flexible body is squeezed, the material is urged out under pressure through the valve.

There is also a need in the prior art to provide a dispenser of media that is easy to manufacture yet is able to stand upright or in a desired orientation at the point of sale and during all stages of use of the dispenser until all of the media has been dispensed.

To address this problem, gusseted packages have become very popular for many different types of dispensers, such as those for beverages. They are typically inexpensive and easy to manufacture. Essentially, a gusseted body formed from sheets of container material is provided where a base is constructed so that the package can stand upright on its own. There are literally hundreds of stand up pouches (SUP) used in the packaging industry. These pouches may include an exit port or some kind of a removable cap to allow the user to empty or dispense the liquid. The designs of these SUPs generally incorporate the use of pleats or gussets to allow for some expansion and provide a flat or level bottom that will stand-up on the store shelf.

The media in SUPs, such as fluid, is contained within the container body. A nozzle or orifice is provided at one end of the dispenser which is typically closed off with a cap. When dispensing is needed, the package is picked up and squeezed to urge media out through the nozzle. A valve is often used to control flow of media. While these gusseted packages are common, they can sometimes be difficult to manufacture and are limited in shape due to the requirements of the gusseting to ensure that the package can stand upright when not in use.

Also, there are problems with known SUP dispensing devices in that they are very expensive to manufacture. It is difficult to dispense the media in an accurate and controlled manner. Moreover, these SUPs construction require a cap to seal the package between uses. Also, they cannot be sufficiently compressed to assist in removal of all of the media contained therein.

When a SUP is full, the material therein tends to push outward on the container body of the SUP to cause it to maintain its upright condition. However, as the media is emptied from the SUP, it typically tends to collapse and/or tip over because the media therein is no longer present to help maintain the SUP in a stand-up condition. As a result, it is common for the SUP to be place on its side to avoid the inconvenience of it tipping over. When this happens, the SUP no longer positioned upright and the product's appearance suffers as a result. In that connection, the logo, branding and other indicia, such as the contents of the dispenser can no longer be easily seen when the SUP is not standing upright as when it was when full at the original time of purchase.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a dispenser that is easy to manufacture that can stand upright or in a given configuration on its own at all stages of the use of the product within the dispenser. There is a need for a dispenser that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye yet can still house and dispense media in a controlled, accurate and metered manner. There is a need for a SUP dispenser that obviates the need for use of a cap between uses and that can provide metered delivery of the media therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention preserves the advantages of prior art dispensing devices that are capable of dispensing various types of media, such as, liquids, gels and solids. The present invention is capable of dispensing in a metered fashion any type of such media, including beverages, lotions and powders. The SUP dispenser of the present invention stays upright regardless of the amount of media product remaining in the dispenser. In addition, it provides new advantages not found in currently available devices and overcomes many disadvantages of such currently available devices.

The invention is generally directed to a novel and unique SUP type dispenser for dispensing media. Many types of media may be dispensed using the present invention and liquids is one example and will be discussed in detail herein. This invention shall not be considered to be limited to the dispensing of liquids. It is understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art can modify the present invention to accommodate any such media.

The present invention is a stand-up fluid dispensing device (SUP) that preferably includes a container having an outer surface and an opening. The container defines an interior fluid storage region therein and an exterior outer region. A support structure is affixed to the container to maintain the container in an upright condition. Therefore, throughout the life of the product and regardless of amount of media in the device, it remains standing upright to better display and store the package at all times. More specifically, the indicia on the package, such as the manufacturer's name, branding and description of contents continues to be clearly displayed during the entire life of the product.

The support structure can be any type of rigid member or members but is preferably a jacket filled with a gas, such as air, positioned about the container of the media. The jacket can include a plurality of pockets, such as tubes filled with air. The stand-up fluid dispensing device may also include a metering pump mechanism to control the dispensing of media from the device. The metering pump mechanism preferably includes two one-way valves.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a SUP dispensing device that can remain standing at all times regardless of the amount of media present in the dispenser.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a fluid dispensing device that can deliver a substantially equal volume of fluid material from each dispensing operation of the SUP.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a fluid dispensing device that is easy and inexpensive to manufacture.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a fluid dispensing device that includes a support structure to keep the SUP upright at all times that is easily incorporated into existing SUP configurations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features which are characteristic of the present invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, the invention's preferred embodiments, together with further objects and attendant advantages, will be best understood by reference to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the dispensing stand-up pouch of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the pouch of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3A is a top view of the pouch of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3B is a bottom view of the pouch of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view through the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a close-up perspective view of the metering housing with stand-off legs;

FIG. 6 is a close-up perspective view of the metering housing with coil spring;

FIG. 7 is a front view of an embodiment of the stand-up pouch of the present invention with an air jacket support structure;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the stand-up pouch of the present invention illustrating the construction thereof; and

FIG. 9 is a front view of another embodiment of the stand-up pouch of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a front view of yet another embodiment of the stand-up pouch of the present invention with an air jacket support structure;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the metering dispensing system of the present invention that includes improved valving to prevent the inadvertent or accidental dispensing of liquid therefrom;

FIG. 12 a is a front exploded perspective view of the metering dispensing system shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 b is a front exploded perspective view of the metering pump mechanism formed as a standalone unit;

FIG. 13 is a perspective cross-sectional view, through the line 12-12 of FIG. 10, of the metering dispensing system of the present invention illustrating the improved valving;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view through the line 12-12 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view through the line 12-12 of FIG. 10 illustrating actual dispensing of the fluid; and

FIG. 16 is a perspective cross-sectional view, through the line 12-12, of the metering dispensing system of the present invention illustrating the creation of additional backflow through the exit channel by internal pressure to the one-way outlet valve.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention is generally directed to a novel and unique SUP type dispenser 10 for dispensing media 12. Many types of media 12 may be dispensed using the present invention and liquids is one example and will be discussed in detail herein. This invention shall not be considered to be limited to the dispensing of liquids. It is understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art can modify the present invention to accommodate any such media 12.

The present invention is an improved dispenser 10 over prior art containers, bottles and gusseted dispensers. First, in general, the present invention includes a SUP that has a support structure positioned thereabout to maintain the SUP in an upright condition at all times and regardless of the amount of media product left remaining in the dispenser.

Also, the present invention provides for a SUP with a metering dosing pump for controlled dispensing and delivery from the SUP. For example, the metered dosing pump construction set forth in commonly owned Ser. No. 11/074,817, filed on Mar. 8, 2006 in a gusseted SUP type package, which is incorporated herein by reference, is optimally used in the present invention.

Turning first to FIGS. 1-3, the SUP 10 is equipped with a dosing and metering pump 26 of the type which is shown in detail in FIG. 4 and discussed in detail below. It is envisioned that a low cost dispensing and dosing feature is added to SUP dispensing packages 10 without requiring an outside shell is required. The dosing and metering pump 26 is incorporated directly into the SUP 10. In FIGS. 1-3, the pump 26 is located proximal to the top of the SUP 10 where it is envisioned that the SUP 10 can be grasped by the hand of the user so their thumb depresses the pump while securing the SUP 10 on the opposing side with their other fingers, such as their index finger. The pump 26 dispenses liquid through an exit port 14 for use. It should be understood that the pump 26 and exit port 14 can be located anywhere on the SUP 10 depending on the configuration of the SUP 10 and the type and characteristics of the media 12 to be dispensed. The bottom of the SUP 10 provides a level or flat surface 16, as in FIG. 2, via edges 18, as seen in FIG. 3B, to help maintain it upright.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a cross-sectional view through the line 4-4 of FIG. 1 is shown to illustrate the inner construction of the SUP dispenser 10 of the present invention. A two-valve pump 26 is mounted to, for example, the front face 20 of the SUP 10 with a hidden exit tube 22 provided. A single pump of the pump mechanism 26 causes a known metered amount of media 12 to exit the exit tube 22 at location A. The size and shape of the dosing can be customized to the application and media 12 at hand. Similarly, the exit location A can be anywhere on the package 10 depending on the application and type of media 12, and the like.

The use of the two-valve pump 26 in a SUP 10 eliminates the need for a cap that must be removed and then re-applied between uses. This is a significant advance in the art. Also, the SUP construction 10 of the present invention can employ a series of pleats 24, as seen in FIG. 2, to assist in evacuating all of the media 12 from the SUP 10. As a result, the SUP 10 can unfold and fold so the appearance of the SUP 10 is acceptable at all times. Since the pleats 24 allow for the package 10 to expand, the SUP 10 can even be “wrung out” to permit virtually all of the liquid 12 to be evacuated. However, these pleats or gussets 24 are optional components and may be used, if desired.

Still referring to FIG. 4, a cross-sectional view through the line 4-4 of FIG. 1 is shown to illustrate the internal construction of the dispensing device 10 of the stand-up dispenser of the present invention. A container body 42 is provided which includes a fluid storage region 12 that contains a volume of fluid material 12 therein. The container 42 is preferably made of a flexible material, such as plastic or nylon. Thus, as fluid material 12 is evacuated from within the container body 42, it will collapse gradually for a compact structure, if desired. However, as below, a support structure may be employed to prevent such gradual collapsing to keep the SUP 10 upright at all times.

A metering housing 26 is provided at a first opening 28 of the container body 42. The metering housing 26 includes an intake one-way valve 30, such as a check valve, to pull fluid 12 from the fluid storage region 44 of the container body 42 into a metering chamber 32 of a predetermined size. Any type of valve can be used to suit the given application. The intake valve 30 is positioned in a base plate 34 of the metering housing 26. An intake tube (not shown) can be connected to the base plate 34 to help reach areas in the inside of the container 42 that included fluid 12 to be dispensed but that cannot be reached. Fluid 12 can only flow in one way from the fluid storage region 44 into the metering chamber 32. The metering chamber 32 is defined by a flexible membrane 36 in the form of a button or bulb which is accessible and manipulatable by the user. The button 36 is preferably clear to provide an indicator to the consumer when the metered dosage of fluid material 12 is ready for delivery.

An output valve 40 is provided in fluid communication with the metering chamber 32 of the metering housing 26. Thus, the fluid residing in the metering chamber can only exit through the output valve 40 via exit port 22. The output valve 40 can be in many different configurations. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the output valve 40 is a collapsible tube that acts as a valve due to interior and exterior pressure exerted thereon, as indicated by arrows B.

In the preferred embodiment, the metering housing 36 and exit port 22 are on the same side of the dispenser 10. Certain applications may require that the exit port 22 be on a side opposite to the metering housing 36. In that case, a fluid conduit (now shown) may be provided to direct the exit of fluid 12 at any location through the container body 42. Therefore, a fluid conduit can be directed and located to exit at any point through the container body 42 depending on the application at hand. Also, the output valve 40 may be located at the exit port 22, as an alternative depending on the requirements of the application.

Still referring to FIG. 4, the operation of the dispensing device 10 is further explained. The button 36 of the metering housing 26 is depressed to initiate a vacuum operation. More specifically, when the button 36 is further released, fluid 12 is pulled from the fluid storage region 44 of the container body 20 into the metering chamber 32 which is configured to be of a certain known volume. The act of releasing the button 36 fills the metering chamber 32 to substantial capacity. Thus, a metered amount of fluid material 12 is contained within the metering chamber 32 in preparation for delivery. The size of the metering chamber 32 can be selected according to the type of fluid material 12 to be dispensed and the application therefor and the desired dosage volume.

A further depression of the button 36 urges the measured volume of fluid 12 within the metering chamber 32 to be exited out through the output valve 40 of the metering housing 26. This known amount of fluid material 12 is then delivered through the exit port 22 for use.

Referring back to FIG. 1, an efficient method of manufacturing a quality dispensing device 10 is to employ heat welding to construct the container 42. For example, a two side panels 42 a, 42 b as in FIG. 3A, are typically heat welded to each other and to a bottom panel 42 c, as in FIG. 3B, about their periphery to form a SUP container 42, generally, with an interior fluid storage region 44 therein.

Turning now to FIGS. 1, 4, 5 and 6, further enhancements to the metering housing 26 construction is shown in detail. As seen in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, a number of stand-off legs 50 emanate downwardly from the base plate 34 of the metering housing 26. These legs 50 prevent the base plate 34 from completely bottoming out and block flow of fluid material 12 into the intake valve 30. The stand-off legs 50 are particularly useful when the volume of fluid material 12 left in the container 42 is running low and the container 42 is becoming relative flat in configuration. In this situation, there is a possibility that the aforesaid bottoming out may occur. However, the use of the stand-off legs 50 of FIG. 5 prevent this from occurring.

FIG. 6, with reference back to FIGS. 1 and 4, illustrates a further optional modification of the metering housing 26 to ensure that maximum suction is achieved and that the entire metering chamber 32 is filled upon each depression and release of the button 36. A spring-biasing structure 52 resides within the button or bulb structure 36 of the metering housing 26. Thus, the button 36 recovers quickly while providing a strong suction or vacuum to fill the interior of the metering chamber 32 with the desired metered volume of fluid material 24. A coil spring is preferred for the spring-biasing structure 52 but other spring-biasing structures, such as leaf springs and foam material may be employed for this purpose. While it is preferred that spring back of the button 36 occurs without any additional spring-biasing, such as by a spring in FIG. 6, use of such a spring-biasing structure 52 may be desired in certain uses of the present invention but is not in any way required.

Also, the SUP construction 10 of the present invention can employ a support structure, generally referred to as 60, to maintain the SUP package 10 in an upright condition even while product is being depleted therefrom and when it is even almost empty. Thus, the support structure can be used to maintain a SUP upright at all times because even a SUP does not fully stand up upright, especially when most of the product is removed from the package. Also, a non-SUP package, such as a flat pouch, can equipped to enable that non-SUP pouch package to stand upright at all times, as well.

As seen FIGS. 7-10, details of the support structure that may include a frame or skeleton to assist in keeping the pouch 10 in a stand-up condition. The frame 60 can be integrated into the pouch 10 or connected to the exterior or interior thereof. Such a frame 60 is optional and can be used if desired. This would be particularly useful if a pouch 10 does not include gusseted bottom to form a support for keeping it upright. Many times, even if the bottom is gusseted, the SUP 10 collapses when product is depleted therefrom. Also, this support structure 60, which is used to keep the pouch 10 standing upright, is preferably inflatable to provide a stable structure to help keep the dispenser 10 of the present invention standing upright while using the same materials and manufacturing techniques that are already being used to form the container of the SUP 10.

Referring now to FIG. 7, a stand-up dispenser, generally shown as 100, is shown that is equipped with a support structure 60 that is in the configuration of a inflatable jacket that surrounds the container body 10. In this case, it can be seen that the inflatable jacket 60 keeps the container body 10 standing upright even though the container body 10 itself does not include gussets and is not a stand-up pouch on its own. Of course, the support structure 60 can also be used with a SUP container 10 to further enhance and improve the overall stand-up qualities thereof.

The inflatable jacket 60 is positioned about the container 10 that houses the product media 12 to be dispensed. The inflatable jacket 60 is preferably a number of tubes 62 filled with air or some other type of gas or liquid. As can be seen in FIG. 7, the tubes 62 are arranged so that when they are inflated during the manufacturing process, the create a structure 60 that stands on its own. When the container 10 is gradually depleted of product media 12, it will attempt to collapse due to gravity. Since it is attached to the inflatable support structure jacket 60, which is rigid in construction, the container 10 will also remain upright at all times achieving the desired advantages discussed in detail above.

FIG. 8 illustrates further details concerning construction of an embodiment of a container 10 equipped with a support structure 60 in the form of an inflatable jacket with an optional metering pump 64 installed thereon. The support jacket 60 includes one or more tubular or bladder members 62 that is filled with air. A top film 66 is provided on the outer surface of the bladder 62 while a bottom film 68 is provided on the inner surface of the bladder 62. Preferably, two bladders 62 or two array of inflatable members 62 are provided with the aforesaid inner film 68 and outer film 66. The two members are mated together with the dispensing pouch 10, as in FIG. 9, sandwiched therebetween. A longitudinal weld 70 preferably secures the two halves together about the pouch 10 to complete the overall stand-up dispenser 100. FIG. 10 illustrates the finished dispenser 100 with the inflatable jacket 60 installed thereon to maintain the over dispenser 100 in an upright condition at all times.

The pump 26 and construction for dispensing the liquid can be carried out in many different ways. In another embodiment of the pump and dispensing system, the construction may be configured to include improved valving over the configuration of FIG. 4 to avoid leakage to prevent accidental dispensing of liquid. Details of this configuration is also the subject matter of commonly owned Ser. No. 11/951,351, filed on Dec. 6, 2007. Such a leak resistant configuration can be easily incorporated into a SUP dispenser of the present invention and also equipped with a support structure described herein.

Turning now to FIGS. 11-16, details are shown of a device 300 that includes the improved valving of the present invention that prevents inadvertent or accidental dispensing of liquid 302 even when pressure is placed on the dome pump 326 or storage container 320. FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of a metering dispenser 300 that employs the improved valving in accordance with the present invention. An outer storage container 320 is provided that may be formed of two sheets of material 304, 306 secured together, such as by welding, or a tube of material. A metering pump, generally referred to as 326, pulls liquid 302 from the storage container 320, meters it, and then dispenses it via an exit port 308.

FIG. 12 a shows an exploded view of the top sheet 304 of material that forms a top portion of the storage container 320 and the metering pump 326 that are shown in FIG. 11. The metering pump 326 is installed onto a sheet of material 304, which serves as the top wall of the storage container 320. The sheet of material 304 includes a one way flapper valve 310, preferably of thin film construction, that may be configured to be normally open. Flapper valve 310 may also be configured to lay flat when at rest. Similar to that shown in FIG. 4, a metering housing 312, in the form of a flexible housing, is positioned above the one-way flapper valve 310. A base plate 314 with a flow aperture 316 therethough is positioned below the sheet of material 304 and the flapper valve 310. The base plate 314 may be convex to assist in operation of the pump 326, as will be described below. The flexible housing 312 and the base plate 314 are welded at their respective peripheries to the sheet 304 to form the pump construction. An additional length of material 318 is welded to the sheet of the material 304 at its longitudinal edges to create an exit pathway 322 for the dispensed liquid 302. The weld lines 324 are shown on the top sheet of material 304 to achieve this direction of flow of liquid 302. In this particular embodiment, the exit pathway 322 is positioned on the upper surface of the top sheet of material 304 that forms the storage container 320 for the dispensing device 300. Since the additional length of material 318 and the top sheet of material 304 lie very closely to one another, this structure also serves as an exit valve to prevent further unwanted flow of liquid 302 from the device 300.

In this embodiment, the one way flapper valve 310 is integrated into the top sheet of material 304 of the storage container 320, as seen in FIG. 12 a for welding of the flexible housing 312, base plate 314 and additional sheet of material 318 thereto. This length of material 318 may be attached to the top or bottom of the skirt 312 a of housing 312. Length of material 318 may be extended (not shown) to include a ring of film material that is attached to the bottom of the skirt 312. It is also possible that the pumping mechanism be of a discrete standalone construction 426 that can be incorporated into a storage container body 320. FIG. 12 b illustrates such a standalone pump construction 426 that can be installed under a sheet of a material 402 that forms a wall of the storage container (not shown). In that connection, the flexible dome housing 404 is preferably routed through an aperture 406 in the sheet of the material 402 and welded in place to skirt 404 a, as desired. The exit pathway 406 and valve 408 can be welded to the sheet of material 402 along their respective longitudinal lengths at 414 to sheet 418. A base plate 410 with liquid flow through aperture 412 can also be welded to the bottom surface thereof. Or, the free end of the exit pathway 406 and valve can be welded on its opposing sides to the primary weld that seals the storage container, as seen in FIG. 11 so that the exit pathway co-terminates with the edge of the storage container 320.

Turning now to FIGS. 13-15 further details of the operation of the a standalone pump construction 426 with improved valving of the present invention is shown. Additional sheet of material is not shown for ease of illustration and for clarity. FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective cross-sectional view and FIG. 14 illustrates a cross-sectional view through the line 12-12 of FIG. 11. It is this valving that prevents any advertent or accidental dispensing of liquid 302 from the storage container 320 when pressure is accidentally or inadvertently applied to the dome pump housing 404. Stand-off legs 422 are provided on the underside of the top of the flexible dome pump housing 404 and the base plate 410 is provided in a convex configuration to ensure that the flow through aperture 412 through the base plate 410 is sealed only when desired. Stand-off legs 424 are also provided on the bottom of the base plate 410 to assist in sealing the one-way flapper valve 408 and to prevent a vacuum suction as described above.

More specifically, the dispensing operation actually requires application of force to the flexible dome housing 404 of the dome pump 426, as well as the stand-off legs 424 on the bottom of the base plate 410. Since it is unlikely that force would be inadvertently or accidentally applied to these two areas simultaneously, the likelihood of accidental or inadvertent dispensing of liquid is substantially eliminated.

In the dome pump 426 of the present invention, the base plate 410, through which the flow through aperture 412 passes, is preferably slightly convex, although it may be flat, if desired. Resting above the aperture 412 and within the cavity 405 of the dome is a flapper valve 408 of preferably thin film construction. It is possible that this flapper valve 408 be configured of a normally open condition but also may be configured to lie flat when at rest. As long as the plate 410 with the aperture remains convex, the flapper valve 408 does not seal against the aperture 412 such that any inadvertent contact with the flexible dome pump housing 404 does not result in the dispensing of the product. Instead, since the flapper valve 408 is open, liquid product residing inside the cavity 405 of the flexible pump housing 404 will tend to simply flow back through the inlet aperture 412 to the reservoir within the storage container itself, as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 14, rather than flow undesirably out through the exit valve to outside of the dispenser 400. In use, if a person has the dispenser in their pocket or purse and pressure is accidentally or unintentionally placed on the flexible housing 404 of the dome pump 426, liquid will not flow outside the dispenser thereby preventing a mess from being made due to unintentionally dispensed product.

FIG. 15 illustrates intentional dispensing of liquid 302. When it is desired to actually dispense the liquid product 302, the user's thumb 430 can depress the flexible dome 404 and the user's index finger 432 can invert the base plate 410 from convex to concave, by application of force against the stand-off legs 424, such that flexible dome 404, with the assistance of the stand-off legs 422 under the flexible dome, securely seals and provides a positive lock of the flapper valve 408 over and about the aperture 412 thereby closing the liquid flow passage back into the reservoir 434 of the storage container 320. It is also possible that the base plate 410 is concave and then is inverted to a convex configuration. Other fingers of the user may be used to carry out this operation. Thus, the only path for the liquid 302 contained within the cavity 405 of dome 404 is to exit through the one-way outlet valve 436 for intended dispensing of the product, as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 15.

It should be understood that the stand-off legs 422 on the bottom of the flexible dome housing 404 and the stand-off legs 424 on the bottom of the base plate 410 can be modified in size, length and configuration to adjust the amount of squeezing necessary by the user's fingers 430, 432 to effectuate sealing of the flapper valve 408. For example, preferably four stand-off legs 422 are provided on the bottom of the flexible dome housing 404 in a 22 array and can be 1/32 of an inch in length. It is also possible that these stand-off legs 422 can be a single downwardly depending wall, such as in the shape of a circle or square. Such an array is configured to downwardly press against the one-way flapper valve 408 outside of the diameter of the aperture 412 through the base plate 410 to provide a good seal of the flapper valve 408 to the base plate 410.

It should be understood that the operation of the 326 pump configuration of FIG. 12 a is similar in operation to the pump 426 shown in FIGS. 12 b through 15. The pump 326 of FIG. 12 a may be installed onto a container, similar to pump 426, to controllably dispense liquid therefrom. More specifically, pump 326 is also operated in a fashion similar to pump 426 whereby flapper 310 is secured into a closed condition by the user's fingers as shown in FIG. 15. While the operation is the same as pump 426, the construction of pump 326 of FIG. 12 a is slightly different, as described above, to best accommodate a given container environment.

Similarly, the amount of convexity of the base plate 410 can be modified to adjust the amount of squeezing pressure to carry out the sealing of the one-way flapper valve 408. Still further, it is possible that the stand-off legs 422 on the inside of the flexible dome 404 and/or the stand-off legs 424 on the bottom of the base plate 410 can be omitted depending on the required configuration of the pump 426 and the type of material to be dispensed.

Turning now to FIG. 16, the present invention provides further structure to prevent unwanted dispensing of liquid. In addition to the improved valving, as above, automatic shut-off of the exit port passageway 436, when pressure is exerted on the exterior of the storage container 320, serves to prevent leakage. In FIG. 16, when pressured is applied to the outside of the storage container or pouch 320, as indicated by arrows referenced A, the exit port passageway 436 tends to collapse, flatten and squeeze closed. As a result, any material residing in the passageway is urged back into the cavity 405 of the flexible dome housing 404, as indicated by arrow referenced B. As a result, unwanted leakage is prevented when accidental or unintentional pressure is placed on the storage container 320.

The embodiments of FIGS. 11-16 are well suited for providing controlled metered delivery of liquid 302 in an type of container or pouch dispenser configuration, such as stand-up pouches (SUP) gusseted pouches, printed pouches, reclosable zipper pouches as well as pouches and other vessels that include some type of tear away or punch hole exit port. For example, a hand cleaner dispenser with a tear away exit port would be particularly well-suited for pump configurations shown in FIGS. 11-16.

In general, the present invention can include valve geometry that can easily be modified to handle a large range of viscosities by, for example: 1) modifying the channel width 406; 2) creating backflow pressure through weld footprints; 3) modifying the shape of the channel 406; 4) modifying the size and shape of the flow aperture 412 through the base plate 410; 5) modifying the size, length and configuration of the stand-off legs 422 on the dome housing and the stand-off legs 424 on the bottom of the base plate 410; and 6) modifying the size, shape, flex and configuration of the one-way flapper valve 408. Also, the valve position can easily be modified to adjust the automatic shut-off pressure.

The dispensing device of the present invention has a wide array of applications of use to take advantage of the unique metered dosage leak resistant capabilities of the present invention. Virtually any dispenser with any type of applicator material or combinations of applicator materials in different configurations can employ the present invention.

For example, the cleaning products and personal care industry has particular application in the controlled and metered dispensing of bath and shower gels. Also, medicines, cosmetics, hair care products, such a shampoos, skin care products, such as lotions, insect repellants and sunscreen products can employ the present invention. Also, various home products can be delivered in a device according to the present invention. These include products for furniture cleaning and polishing, tub and shower cleaning, floor cleaning and polishing, window cleaning, odor elimination, oven cleaning, laundry cleaning and apparel treatment. Also, air treatment devices can employ the present invention. Cleaning products can be dispensed in a controlled fashion, such as those for cleaning cars, bikes, planes and trucks. The food industry has numerous potential applications, particularly for the dispensing of condiments, sauces and vitamins.

Further, the location where the fluid material 24 is delivered to the surface of the device can be easily modified to suit the given application. For example, the material 24 can be delivered to the same side of the container 20 as in FIGS. 10 and 11 or to the opposing side, as in FIGS. 1-3. The materials used for the container 20 and the metering housing 26, while preferably flexible plastic, can be any suitable material for the application at hand. Also, the container 20 can be made of a different material than the metering housing 26.

The dispensers 10, 100 of the present invention have a wide array of applications of use to take advantage of the unique metered dosage capability of the present invention and the structural support member.

For example, the personal care industry has particular application in the controlled and metered dispensing of bath and shower gels. Also, medicines, cosmetics, hair care products, such a shampoos, skin care products, such as lotions, insect repellants and sunscreen products can employ the present invention. It is particularly useful for these products to remain standing upright to conserve space in a drawer or cabinet rather than lay flat after product media has been dispensed therefrom.

Also, various home products can be delivered in a device 10 according to the present invention. These include products for furniture cleaning and polishing, tub and shower cleaning, floor cleaning and polishing, window cleaning, odor elimination, oven cleaning, laundry cleaning and apparel treatment. Also, air treatment devices can employ the present invention.

Still further, cleaning products can be dispensed in a controlled fashion, such as those for cleaning cars, bikes, planes and trucks. The food industry has numerous potential applications, particularly for the dispensing of condiments, sauces and vitamins.

To employ the dispensing device 10, 100 of the present invention, the size and construction of the metering housing 26 as well as the positioning of where the fluid material 12 is delivered to the surface of the device can be easily modified to suit the given application. The materials used for the container 42 and the metering housing 26, while preferably flexible plastic, can be any suitable material for the application at hand. Also, the container 42 can be made of a different material than the metering housing 26.

The support structure is preferably an inflatable jacket 60 but can be of many different types of configurations. A single bladder 62 can be employed about the container pouch 10 or two bladders 62 that mate together, as described above. Or, a plurality of many inflatable members 62 can be welded together to form the desired support structure, as in FIG. 7.

In view of the foregoing, a new and unique SUP media dispenser 10, 100, which is well suited for liquids, gels and other media, is provided. The new dispenser facilitates the delivery of liquids and other media, optionally in a metered and dosed manner, while providing an attractive appearance that is maintained throughout the use of the product. It should be understood that the present invention is not only applicable to packages of the stand-up (SUP) type but also to any type of pouch, dispenser or container. Such a product may or may not have features, such as gussets, pleats, and the like, to assist in the evacuation of the media. The new and novel dispenser 10, 100 is provided that can deliver consistent metered dosages such fluid material 12 while standing up or in a desired orientation at all times.

It would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to the illustrated embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention. All such modifications and changes are intended to be covered by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8061566 *Mar 20, 2008Nov 22, 2011Sealed Air Corporation (Us)Metering dispensing system with improved valving to prevent accidental dispensing of liquid therefrom
US8590752 *Apr 11, 2011Nov 26, 2013Sealed Air Corporation (Us)Metered dispensing system with nested boat fitment
US8919613 *Apr 7, 2011Dec 30, 2014Sealed Air Corporation (Us)Metered dispensing system with stepped flange interface
US8991648Jul 12, 2011Mar 31, 2015Gojo Industries, Inc.Shut-off system for a dispenser
US20110248049 *Apr 7, 2011Oct 13, 2011Mileti Robert JMetered Dispensing System With Stepped Flange Interface
US20110248050 *Apr 11, 2011Oct 13, 2011Mileti Robert JMetered Dispensing System With Stepped Flange Interface
US20130341354 *Mar 10, 2013Dec 26, 2013Gojo Industries, Inc.Portable liquid dispenser
WO2013169682A1 *May 7, 2013Nov 14, 2013The Procter & Gamble CompanyFlexible containers
WO2013169683A1 *May 7, 2013Nov 14, 2013The Procter & Gamble CompanyFlexible containers
WO2013169686A1 *May 7, 2013Nov 14, 2013The Procter & Gamble CompanyFlexible containers with multiple product volumes
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/105, 222/183
International ClassificationB65D35/56, B67D7/06, B67D99/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D77/04, B65D75/5872, B65D47/2056, B65D75/525, B65D35/40, B65D75/008
European ClassificationB65D77/04, B65D75/52F, B65D75/00E, B65D47/20E4, B65D35/40, B65D75/58G3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 12, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: POLY-D, LLC, CONNECTICUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LAFLAMME, ROGER J.;FOX, RICHARD B.;MILETI, ROBERT J.;ANDOTHERS;REEL/FRAME:020231/0894;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071210 TO 20071211
Jun 3, 2010ASAssignment
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:POLY-D LLC;REEL/FRAME:024483/0083
Owner name: SEALED AIR CORPORATION (US), NEW JERSEY
Owner name: SEALED AIR CORPORATION (US),NEW JERSEY
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:POLY-D LLC;REEL/FRAME:024483/0083
Effective date: 20100525
Owner name: SEALED AIR CORPORATION (US),NEW JERSEY
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:POLY-D LLC;REEL/FRAME:24483/83
Effective date: 20100525
Owner name: SEALED AIR CORPORATION (US), NEW JERSEY
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:POLY-D LLC;REEL/FRAME:024483/0083
Effective date: 20100525