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Publication numberUS20090151649 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/957,186
Publication dateJun 18, 2009
Filing dateDec 14, 2007
Priority dateDec 14, 2007
Also published asUS8192776, US20110156307
Publication number11957186, 957186, US 2009/0151649 A1, US 2009/151649 A1, US 20090151649 A1, US 20090151649A1, US 2009151649 A1, US 2009151649A1, US-A1-20090151649, US-A1-2009151649, US2009/0151649A1, US2009/151649A1, US20090151649 A1, US20090151649A1, US2009151649 A1, US2009151649A1
InventorsBradley Ryan Vardy, Joel Clayton Yinger, Peter Robinson Brown
Original AssigneeSummit Applied Technologies, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Chewable animal toy
US 20090151649 A1
Abstract
A chewable animal toy having an edible core and a tearable outer shell molded around the edible core such that a portion of the edible core protrudes from the outer shell is provided. Further provided is a mold unit for making the chewable animal toy having a first mold half including a first mold cavity and a second mold half having a second mold cavity. The second mold half is engageable with the first mold half such that the first and second mold cavities cooperatively define an outer shell mold cavity. A first pocket is defined between the first and second mold halves that is adapted to receive a first protruding portion of the edible core. A first shut off defined within the first pocket is adapted to surround the first protruding portion of the edible core such that it is substantially isolated from the outer shell mold cavity.
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Claims(25)
1. A chewable animal toy, comprising:
(a) an edible core; and
(b) a tearable outer shell molded around the edible core such that a portion of the edible core protrudes from the outer shell.
2. The chewable animal toy of claim 1, wherein the outer shell comprises an elongate center section with relatively large first and second ends.
3. The chewable animal toy of claim 2, wherein the edible core protrudes from the first and second ends of the outer shell.
4. The chewable animal toy of claim 1, wherein the outer shell includes a plurality of through-holes that expose a portion of the edible core.
5. The chewable animal toy of claim 1, wherein an exterior portion of the outer shell includes a plurality of protrusions formed thereon.
6. The chewable animal toy of claim 1, wherein the outer shell is made from a non-toxic thermoplastic material.
7. The chewable animal toy of claim 6, wherein the non-toxic material is blended with a health additive that is released from the outer shell when the outer shell is chewed on.
8. The chewable animal toy of claim 1, wherein the edible core is raw hide.
9. A chewable dog toy, comprising:
(a) an edible core; and
(b) a plastic outer shell molded around a portion of the edible core, wherein at least a portion of the outer shell is removable from the edible core when a dog chews on the outer shell.
10. The chewable dog toy of claim 9, wherein the outer shell comprises an elongate center section with relatively large first and second ends.
11. The chewable dog toy of claim 10, wherein the edible core protrudes from the first and second ends of the outer shell.
12. The chewable dog toy of claim 9, wherein the outer shell includes a plurality of through-holes that expose a portion of the edible core.
13. The chewable dog toy of claim 9, wherein an exterior portion of the outer shell includes a plurality of protrusions formed thereon.
14. The chewable dog toy of claim 9, wherein the outer shell is made from a non-toxic thermoplastic material.
15. The chewable animal toy of claim 14, wherein the non-toxic material is blended with a health additive that is released from the outer shell when a dog chews on the outer shell.
16. The chewable dog toy of claim 9, wherein the edible core is raw hide.
17. A mold unit for making a chewable animal toy, the chewable animal toy having an edible core and a plastic tearable outer shell molded around the edible core such that a portion of the edible core protrudes from the outer shell, the mold unit comprising:
(a) a first mold half having a first mold cavity;
(b) a second mold half having a second mold cavity, wherein the second mold half is engageable with the first mold half such that the first and second mold cavities cooperatively define an outer shell mold cavity; and
(c) a first pocket defined between the first and second mold halves that is adapted to receive a first protruding portion of the edible core; and
(d) a first shut off defined within the first pocket, the first shut off adapted to surround the first protruding portion of the edible core such that the first protruding portion is substantially isolated from the outer shell mold cavity.
18. The mold assembly of claim 17, further comprising a second pocket defined between the first and second mold halves that is adapted to receive a second protruding portion of the edible core.
19. The mold assembly of claim 18, further comprising a second shut off defined within the second pocket and adapted to surround the second protruding portion of the edible core such that the second protruding portion is substantially isolated from the outer shell mold.
20. The mold assembly of claim 17, wherein the first shut off is defined by first and second semi-circular closure elements that surround and compress the edible core when the first mold half engages the second mold half.
21. The mold assembly of claim 17, wherein the first shut off is defined by a first crescent-shaped closure element that engages a first substantially semi-circular closure element.
22. The mold assembly of claim 21, wherein the first crescent-shaped closure element compresses the first protruding portion of the edible core within the first substantially semi-circular closure element when the first mold half engages the second mold half.
23. A method for making a chewable animal toy, the chewable animal toy having an edible core and a plastic tearable outer shell molded around the edible core such that a portion of the edible core protrudes from the outer shell, the method comprising:
(a) providing a mold unit having a first mold half with a first mold cavity and a second mold half with a second mold cavity;
(b) positioning the edible core within the first mold cavity;
(c) isolating a first protruding portion of the edible core from the first mold cavity;
(c) engaging the first mold half with the second mold half such that the first and second mold cavities cooperatively define an outer shell mold cavity around a majority of the edible core;
(d) injecting material into the outer shell mold cavity to form the outer shell around the edible core such that the protruding portion of the edible core remains exposed.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the mold unit includes a first pocket defined between the first and second mold halves that is adapted to receive the first protruding portion of the edible core.
25. The method of claim 24, further comprising a first shut off defined within the first pocket, the first shut off adapted to surround and compress the first protruding portion of the edible core such that the first protruding portion is substantially isolated from the outer shell mold cavity.
Description
BACKGROUND

Many pet owners give their pet a toy or a treat to occupy the pet and/or to alleviate pain from teething. This is especially true for dogs. These toys or treats will often prevent the dog from becoming bored or from damaging things such as furniture, carpeting, walls, shoes, etc. However, most dog toys occupy the dog's attention for only a short period of time. Many of the toys are made from a durable material, such as vinyl or a hard nylon polymer, that do not “give or break down,” causing the average dog to quickly become bored and lose interest in the toy. In addition, many veterinarians maintain that these harder and more durable toys pose an increased risk of chipped or broken teeth, as well as other mouth injuries in the animal. Consumable dog treats normally keep the dog interested because of the flavor; however, most treats are consumed by the dog within a very short period of time. The present disclosure provides an animal toy that is both durable and safe and that entertains the animal for a substantial amount of time.

SUMMARY

A chewable animal toy having an edible core and a tearable outer shell molded around the edible core such that a portion of the edible core protrudes from the outer shell is provided. Further provided is a mold unit for making the chewable animal toy having a first mold half including a first mold cavity and a second mold half having a second mold cavity. The second mold half is engageable with the first mold half such that the first and second mold cavities cooperatively define an outer shell mold cavity. A first pocket is defined between the first and second mold halves that is adapted to receive a first protruding portion of the edible core. A first shut off defined within the first pocket is adapted to surround the first protruding portion of the edible core such that it is substantially isolated from the outer shell mold cavity.

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of the present disclosure will become more readily appreciated by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a representative embodiment of a chewable animal toy constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1, taken substantially across lines 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1, taken substantially across lines 3-3;

FIG. 4A is a partially exploded isometric view of a representative embodiment of a mold unit for manufacturing the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4B is an isometric view of the mold unit of FIG. 4A shown receiving a portion of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4C is an isometric view of the mold unit of FIG. 4A shown with a portion of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1 received therein;

FIG. 4D is an isometric cutaway view of the mold unit of FIG. 4A, wherein the mold unit is shown in the closed position with a portion of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1 received therein;

FIG. 4E is an isometric view of the mold unit of FIG. 4A, wherein the mold unit is shown having formed the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of a mold unit for manufacturing the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1, wherein the mold unit is in the open position and receiving a portion of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the mold unit of FIG. 5A, wherein the mold unit is shown in the closed position with a portion of the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1 received therein; and

FIG. 5C is a cross-sectional view of the mold unit of FIG. 5A, wherein the mold unit is shown having formed the chewable animal toy of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a representative embodiment of a chewable animal toy 10 is depicted. The chewable animal toy 10 includes an outer shell 12 overmolded around a portion of an edible core 14. The outer shell 12 is preferably formed in the shape of a dog bone, however, it should be appreciated that any other suitable shape may instead be used if, for instance, the chewable toy 10 was intended to be used for an animal other than a dog or for a different breed of dogs. Thus, although the preferred embodiment of the chewable animal toy 10 will be described hereinafter for use by a dog, the chewable animal toy 10 may instead be used by any other animal or different breeds of the same animal.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the chewable animal toy 10 will now be described in detail. The outer shell 12 of the chewable animal toy 10 includes an elongated portion 16 and first and second enlarged ends 18 and 20 that together form the shape of a dog bone or another desired shape. A plurality of through-holes 30 and 32 may be formed in the elongated portion 16 or another portion of the outer shell 12 to allow the edible core 14 to be at least somewhat exposed for smelling or tasting a portion of the edible core 14. The outer shell 12 may also include a plurality of ribs, bumps, grooves, protrusions, channels, etc., formed on the exterior of the outer shell 12 that may aid in cleaning the animal's teeth when the animal chews on the outer shell 12.

The edible core 14 disposed within the outer shell 12 is any suitable shape and size such that a portion of the edible core 14 also protrudes outwardly from the outer shell 12. Preferably, the edible core 14 is elongated and substantially circular in cross-section and extends along the length of the outer shell 12. However, the edible core 14 is greater in length than the outer shell 12 such that the edible core 14 protrudes outwardly from the first and second ends 18 and 20 of the outer shell 12 to define first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14. It should be appreciated that the edible core 14 may be any suitable shape and size such that a majority of the edible core 14 is enclosed within the outer shell 12, and at least a portion of the edible core 14 protrudes outwardly from the outer shell 12 or is otherwise exposed, such as by the through-holes 30 and 32. The first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14 as well as the portion of the edible core 14 exposed by the through-holes 30 and 32 allow the animal to smell the edible core 14 within the outer shell 12 to motivate the animal to engage the chewable toy 10.

Although any suitable materials may be used to form the chewable animal toy 10, the outer shell 12 is made from a suitable rigid or semi-rigid material that is sufficiently durable such that animals are entertained for a substantial period of time when chewing on the toy 10. Preferably, the outer shell 12 is formed with a suitable thermoplastic material of a desired hardness and durability, depending on the type and breed of animal for which the chewable animal toy 10 is intended. The different materials could include: thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), polyolefins (polypropylene, and polyethylene), polyurethanes, and nylons. Generally, the hardness of these resins would range from 40 shore A to 90 shore A. In the preferred embodiment, the outer shell 12 is formed with TPEs or TPE urethane blends with a hardness in the range of 40-70 shore A. Preferably, the material is of a hardness such that it has a high tear threshold so that the animal may not tear through the outer shell 12 in a short amount of time, but rather, the animal must chew on the outer shell 12 for a significant amount of time in order to tear pieces of the outer shell 12 and expose the edible core 14.

The outer shell 12 is formed with an FDA approved or other non-toxic material. In this manner, the animal will not be harmed in the event that a piece of the outer shell 12 breaks off and is swallowed by the animal. The material for the outer shell 12 may be blended with other materials or additives prior to the molding of the outer shell 12, such as color concentrates, blowing agents, or health additives. Certain additives may benefit the animal while it is chewing on the outer shell 12, such as additives that kill bacteria that cause bad breath or gum disease, fluorides that strengthen teeth, or additives that control tarter buildup. Such additives can be effectively compounded with the base resin of the thermoplastic material such that it is released into the animal's mouth when the toy 10 is chewed on.

The edible core 14 may be made from any suitable, edible material that is appetizing to the animal using the chewable animal toy 10. For instance, if a dog will be using the chewable animal toy 10, the edible core 14 may be made from rawhide, compressed food, or other treat-like substances.

Referring to FIGS. 4A-4E, a preferred method of manufacturing the chewable toy 10 will now be described in detail; however, it should be appreciated that any other suitable method may instead be used. The chewable toy 10 is preferably made from a well known molding process, such as injection molding. The process includes the use of an injection molding machine, which may be any suitable injection molding machine having an injection unit and a mold unit. The injection unit (not shown) is designed to feed raw material into the mold unit in any manner well known in the art. Thus, for the sake of brevity, the injection unit will not be hereinafter described in detail.

The mold unit 34 is adapted to mold the outer shell 12 over a portion of the edible core 14. The mold unit 34 includes first and second halves 36 and 38 having first and second mold cavities 40 and 42 formed therein. The first and second mold cavities 40 and 42 cooperatively define a mold for forming the outer shell 12 when the first mold half 36 engages the second mold half 38 and are secured together, i.e., when the mold unit 34 is in the “closed” position (see FIG. 4D). The mold unit 34 is moved between open and closed positions by a suitable clamp unit (not shown) that is well known in the art.

The clamp unit moves the mold unit 34 between open and closed positions by moving at least one of the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 towards the other of the first and second mold halves 36 and 38. Preferably, the first mold half 36 is positioned next to the second mold half 38 such that at least one of the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 is moved horizontally toward the other mold half to secure the mold unit 34 in the closed position. In the alternative, the first mold half 36 may be positioned directly beneath the second mold half 38 such that at least one of the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 is moved vertically toward the other mold half to secure the mold unit 34 in the closed position.

Referring to FIGS. 4A-4E, the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 are shown hingedly connected together such that the first or second mold half 36 or 38 is moved about the hinge pivot to move the mold unit 34 into a closed position. Although it is possible to position the mold halves 36 and 38 as such, it is preferred that the mold halves 36 and 38 are positioned so that the mold unit 34 may be closed by moving the mold halves 36 and 38 toward each other in a vertical or horizontal fashion, as described above. Accordingly, it should be appreciated that the position of the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 shown in FIGS. 4A-4E is for illustrative and descriptive purposes only, and should not be seen as limiting the scope of the present disclosure.

The mold unit 34 includes first and second pockets formed on each end of the outer shell mold for receiving the first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14 when the mold unit 34 is in the closed position. The first pocket formed at one end of the mold unit 34 is defined by a first cavity 44 formed in the first mold half 36 adjacent to the first mold cavity 40 and a second cavity 46 formed in the second mold half 38 adjacent to the second mold cavity 42. Similarly, the second pocket formed at the opposite end of the outer shell mold is defined by a first cavity 48 formed in the first mold half 36 adjacent to the first mold cavity 40 and a second cavity 50 formed in the second mold half 38 adjacent to the second mold cavity 42. The first and second pockets provide an area for isolating the first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14 from the injected material.

To aid in positioning the edible core 14 within the first and second mold cavities 40 and 42, a first set of retaining pins 52 are formed within the first and second mold cavities 40 and 42 and extend from the center of the mold cavities 40 and 42. The first set of retaining pins 52 retain the edible core 14 within the mold unit 34 such that the edible core 14 is substantially centered between the first and second mold cavities 40 and 42 when the mold unit 34 is closed. A second and third set of retaining pins 54 and 58 are formed within the first mold cavity 40 to secure the edible core 14 in its centered position within the first mold half 36 as the mold unit 34 is being moved into the closed position.

The second set of retaining pins 54 are positioned near one end of the mold cavity 40 and spaced from each other for receiving one end of the edible core 14 therebetween. The third set of retaining pins 58 are positioned near the other end of the mold cavity 40 and spaced from each other for receiving the other end of the edible core 14 therebetween. The second and third sets of retaining pins 54 and 58 secure the edible core 14 in a substantially centered position within the first mold cavity 40 as the first and second mold halves 36 and 38 are moved towards each other into the closed position. Thus, if the mold halves 36 and 38 are positioned such that they must move horizontally toward each other, the edible core 14 does not fall out of the first mold cavity 40.

In addition to positioning the edible core 14 within the first and second mold cavities 40 and 42, the first set of retaining pins 52 form the plurality of through-holes 30 within the outer shell 12 during the molding process, and the second and third sets of retaining pins 54 and 58 form the plurality of through-holes 32 within the outer shell 12 during the molding process.

The mold unit 34 includes first and second shut-offs for preventing the first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14 from being covered by the injected material during the molding process. The first shut-off is defined by a first shut-off body 56 a having a first semi-circular closure element 62 a formed in its upper end and a second shut-off body 56 b (not shown) having a second semi-circular closure element 62 b formed in its upper end. The first shut-off body 56 a is received within a first opening 66 formed in the first cavity 44 such that the first semi-circular closure element 62 a is positioned within the first cavity 44 adjacent to the first mold cavity 40. The second shut-off body 56 b (not shown) is received within a second opening (not shown) formed in the second cavity 46 such that the second semi-circular closure element 62 b is positioned within the second cavity 46 adjacent to the second mold cavity 42. The first and second shut-off bodies 56 a and 56 b are secured within the openings in any suitable manner, such as by bolting a bottom portion of the bodies 56 a and 56 b to an exterior portion of the mold unit 34. (See FIGS. 5A-5C).

The first and second closure elements 62 a and 62 b are adapted to surround and compress the first protruding end 22 of the edible core 14 when the first and second halves 36 and 38 of the mold unit 34 are clamped together. By surrounding the edible core 14 within the first and second closure elements 62 a and 62 b, the first protruding end 22 of the edible core 14 is effectively “sealed” or “shut” off to prevent injected material from passing into the first pocket and covering the first protruding end 22. As such, the first protruding end 22 remains exposed in the finished, molded chewable toy 10, as shown in FIG. 4E. Moreover, by compressing the uneven edible core 14, the first shut-off stops the injected material in a precise location and prevent undesired edge flash.

The second shut-off is similarly defined by first and second shut-off bodies 60 a and 60 b (not shown) having first and second semi-circular closure elements 64 a and 64 b formed in their upper ends. The first shut-off body 60 a is received within a first opening 70 formed in the first cavity 48 such that the first semi-circular closure element 64 a is positioned within the first cavity 48 adjacent to the first mold cavity 40. The second shut-off body 60 b is received within a second opening (not shown) formed in the second cavity 50 such that the second semi-circular closure element 64 b is positioned within the second cavity 50 adjacent to the second mold cavity 42. Similar to the first shut-off, the first and second closure elements 64 a and 64 b of the second shut-off are adapted to surround and compress the second protruding end 26 of the edible core 14 to prevent the injected material from passing into the second pocket and covering the second protruding end 26. It will be appreciated that the mold unit 34 will further include one or more ports (not shown) for receiving molten plastic into the mold unit 34.

Referring to FIGS. 5A-5C, an alternate embodiment of a shut-off for use with the mold unit 34 is depicted. The shut-off is defined by a first shut-off body 156 a having a crescent-shaped closure element 160 a formed therein and a second shut-off body 156 b having a crescent-receiving closure element 160 b formed therein. The crescent-shaped closure element 160 a engages the crescent-receiving closure element 160 b when the first and second halves 36 and 38 of the mold unit 34 are clamped together. The crescent-shaped closure element 160 a is smaller in width than the crescent-receiving closure element 160 b such that the crescent-shaped closure element 160 a is at least partially receivable within the crescent-receiving closure element 160 b. As such, when the edible core 14 is positioned between the closure elements 160 a and 160 b, the crescent-shaped closure element 160 a will compress the edible core 14 within the crescent-receiving closure element 160 and prevent any injected material from covering the first or second protruding end 22 or 26 of the edible core 14.

The chewable animal toy 10 may be given to animals such as dogs to occupy the dog, as well as to provide health benefits to the dog. Generally, the dog will become immediately engaged with the chewable animal toy 10 after receiving its from its owner because the dog can smell and taste the first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14. After chewing off the first and second protruding ends 22 and 26, the dog will likely remain engaged with the chewable toy 10 for several hours as it continues to chew on the outer shell 12 to expose the edible core 14. The plurality of through holes 30 and 32 formed in the outer shell 12, as well as the exposed, first and second protruding ends 22 and 26 of the edible core 14, allows the dog to smell and partially taste the edible core 14 disposed within the outer shell 12. The smell keeps the dog engaged and motivates the dog to remove portions of the outer shell 12. As the dog chews on the outer shell 12, the dog removes pieces of the outer shell 12 to further expose the edible core 14 for consumption. After the outer shell 12 has been completely removed from the edible core 14, the dog may continue playing and chewing on the remaining portions of the outer shell 12, as it would with a standard plastic chew toy.

The chewable animal toy 10 may be designed for a specific animal or a specific breed of animal to provide the appropriate level of difficulty for the animal when removing the outer shell 12. In this manner, the animal does not become bored or disengaged easily. For instance, a chewable animal toy 10 designed for a large, strong dog, such as a pit bull, may include a harder or more durable outer shell 12 that is more difficult to remove, whereas a chewable animal toy 10 for a smaller dog, such as a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian, may include an outer shell 12 that is easier to remove. Similarly, the edible core 14 of a chewable toy 10 for larger dogs may be an edible substance that is more difficult to consume, such as rawhide, wherein the edible core 14 for a chewable toy 10 designed for a smaller dog may be a substance that is easier to consumer, such as compressed food. In this manner, the chewable animal toy 10 provides the appropriate level of entertainment for a variety of animals.

While illustrative embodiments have been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7909003 *Mar 15, 2007Mar 22, 2011J. W. Pet Company, Inc.Chew toys comprising biologically degradable material
US8127720Dec 3, 2010Mar 6, 2012J.W. Pet Company, Inc.Chew toys comprising biologically degradable material
US8367130 *Aug 19, 2011Feb 5, 2013Ourpet's CompanyEdible pet treat packaging
US8776729 *Apr 13, 2011Jul 15, 2014Forcans Inc.Pet dental chew
US20110290197 *Dec 1, 2011Koo Bon GillPet dental chew
Classifications
U.S. Classification119/710, 426/512, 249/160, 119/709
International ClassificationA23P1/10, B28B7/00, A01K29/00
Cooperative ClassificationA23N17/005, A01K15/026
European ClassificationA01K15/02C1, A23N17/00D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 17, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: SUMMIT APPLIED TECHNOLOGIES, INC., WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:VARDY, BRADLEY RYAN;YINGER, JOEL CLAYTON;BROWN, PETER ROBINSON;REEL/FRAME:020255/0947;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071212 TO 20071214