US 3199703 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug 10, 1965 c. c. ALEXANDER 3,199,703
CONTAINER CLOSURE Filed June 15, 1964 FIG?. 35' IIIIIHHIIIIHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIII mvENron: C I AUDE C. A LEXAN DER A'I'TYS United States Patent O The present invention relates to new and useful iinprovernents in container closures.
More particularly the present invention is an improvement on tamper-proof closures of the type shown in application Serial No. 6,655 entitled Container Closure, now Patent No. 3,l58,278 granted November 24, 1964. The closure shown in this application comprises a cap portion adapted to lit over the open upper end of a container and a retaining ring portion in the form of a corrugated skirt formed integrally with the cap portion and connected thereto by tracturable bridge means. This closure is designed for a container such as a bottle or the lilre having a reduced neck portion with spiral threads and a series of spaced axially extending ribs bel w the threaded portion. When the closure is assembled to the bottle, the retaining ring, which has a series of axially extending circumferential grooves, engages over the ribs whereby relative turning of the retaining ring relative to the bottle is prevented. he cylindrical side Wall oi the cap portion is pressed against the side wall of the contianer to form threads in the cap portion corresponding or conforming to the threads on the container. Thus, when it is desired to remove the cap portion from the container, the cap portion is rotated in a direction to unscrew it thereby fracturing the bridges connecting the cap portion to the retaining ring, the retaining ring being prevented from turning relative to the bottle.
The ribs on tA e bottle and the grooves in the retaining ring are suitably oriented so that upon fracturing ot the bridges, the retaining ring drops downwardly relative to the cap portion to give a visual indication that the container has been opened. After the cap portion has been removed, the retaining ring which has been severed from the cap portion may be easily removed from the container and discarded.
Even though this closure is extremely effective in its use as a tamper-proof closure, nevertheless, there are some ditculties and problems with the closure especially in the larger diameter sizes which the present invention is designed to overcome. For example, in some instances the lower edge of the corrugated retaining ring presents a sharp or raw edge which may present a handling problern especially when applied to containers for drugs or the lilie which may be handled by hospital personnel with rubber gloves. Additionally, it has been found that in the manufacturing pr cess when the caps are tumbling about, these sharp raw edges have a tendency to rub olf coating and metal particles. These particles which tend to adhere to the rubber inner liner of the cap may contaminate the contents of a container to which the cap is applied. Additionally, the corrugated retaininCr ring detracts sornewhat from the overall appearance of the closure. A further problem especially in the larger diameter closures is that since they are generally made oi thin gage metal, the retaining ring in some instances is deformed into an oval shape during handling in the manufactoring process to a point where they do not lit on the container. ln these instances a closure can foul up the operation of the automatic capping machinery.
The closure of the present invention is designed to overcome these problems and still provide a truly tamper-prooi construction. To this end in accordance with the present invention the closure comprises a cap portion having a generally cylindrical side wall which is adapted to be pressed to conform with threads on a bottle or the like and a retaining ring which depends from the sidewall of the cap portion and which is detachably connected thereto by tracturable bridge means. In the present instance, however, the retaining ring is a two-wall construction formed by reversely turning the lower portion of the closure on itself to provide a substantially cylindrical outer Wall section and an inner wall section shaped to provide a series of circumferentialy spaced grooves which cooperate with and engage over ribs on the neclc of the bottle. The inner and outer wall sections form a retaining ring having a rounded lower edge.
ln use, therefore, when the Cap portion is unscrewed from the container, the ribs engaging Within the grooves in the inner wall section of the retaining ring prevent turning thereof relative to the bottle so that the cap portion may be removed. When the cap portion is severed from the retaining ring, the ring drops slightly relative to the cap to provide visual indicating means that the cap has een opened thereby providing a truly tamper-proof arrangement. Thereaiter, the retaining ring may be taken od the bottle and discarded.
The advantage of the double wall retaining ring is that the lower edge is rounded thereby eliminating the rough and sharp edges on the prior construction which may present handling dangers in some applications. Furthermore, the rounded edge at the bottom of the retaining ring serves as a pilot in the capping machinery to guide the cap onto the bottle top. Additionally the rounded edge eliminates the problem of chipping or damage of the caps when they are tumbling about in the manufacturing process. Further, the double wall contruction is structurally strong thereby minimizing the problem of distortion oi the retaining ring in handling which as noted above, might present great difficulties in the capping machinery. `While it may appear that the provision of a two wall retaining ring increases the cost of the closure, it has been found that the entire closure may be made of a thinner gage metal and provide a more sturdy and stable construction so that actually a cost saving is realized insoiar as cost of material is concerned.
These and other objectives of the present invention and the various features and details of the construction and operation thereof are hereinafter more fully set forth and described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FG. l is a side elevational View of a container closure in accordance with the present invention with parts broken away to show the construction thereof prior to being secured to a container;
PEG. 2 is a side view with parts broken away of the closure prior to formation of the two Wall retaining ring;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the upper end of a container to which the closure of the present invention is adapted to be applied;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the closure oi the present invention positioned over the neck of a container;
FG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary View similar to Flin. 4 illustrating the closure secured to the threaded neck of the container;
FIG. 6 is also an enlarged fragmentary sectional view similar to FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrating the position of the retaining ring after the upper cap portion has been detached therefrom; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on lines 7 7 of FIG. 4 illustrating the interengaging relation between the retaining ring portion of the closure and the axial ribs on the neck of the container.
Referring now to the drawing, reference numeral tl designates generally a container closure in accordance with the present invention adapted to be secured over alegres the opening in a container 12. The container 12 may be a bottle or the like such as that illustrated having a reduced neck portion 14 with a spiral thread 16 or other similar locking means formed thereon. An annular flange 1S is formed on the neck of the container beneath'the threaded portion 16 and disposed about the outer periphery of the flange 18 is a series of spaced axially extending ribs 29 which extend from the bottom of the flange 13 toward the top portion thereof and which as lillustrated, taper inwardly at their upper ends to 'facilitate placement of the closure element on the container.
The closure element 10, which is preferably formed of a thin, readily deformable sheet metal, such as aluminum but may also be formed of any other suitable materlal, comprises a cap portion 30 adapted to fit over the open upper end of the container 12 to close the same and a retaining ring portion 32 in the present instance formed integrally with the cap portion 30 and depending from lthe lower edge thereof. The cap portion has a side wall 31 and a circular end wall 33. The retaining ring portion 32 of the closure is secured to the lower edge of the slide wall 31 of the cap portion by fracturable means so that it may be easily severed from the cap portion 30 when the cap portion is twisted relative to the retaining ring 32. Preferably the fracturable means comprises a series of bridge connections 34 between the cap portion 30 and retaining ring 32 defining7 a series of elongated slots 36 separating the cap portion 30 and the retaining ring 32 intermediate the bridges 34 as illustrated for example in FIG. 1. It is to he noted that any ydesirable number of bridges 34 may be used and all that is necessary is that the connection between the retaining ring 32 and the cap portion 30 be such that the cap may be readily broken or severed from the retaining ring 32 upon the application of a twisting force to the cap portion 30 when the retaining ring 32 is held stationary.
If desired, the top of the cap portion 30 may be generally crown shaped as indicated at 4Q and knurled about its outer periphery to facilitate gripping the cap portion 33 by the hand of the user. Additionally, a sealing member 42 may be nested in the crown portion of the cap to seat against the axial end rim of the container to provide a seal when the closure is applied to the container. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the crown is of larger diameter than the diameter of a circle defined by the inner extremity of the undulations of the retaining ring thereby to prevent nesting of the closures during production and facilitate their use in an Vautomatic'cap feeding machine.
In accordance with the present invention, the retaining ring portion 32 comprises an outer wall section 5t) of generally cylindrical form and an inner wall section 52 coextensive with the outer wall section. In the present instance, the inner and outer wall sections are formed integrally, the inner wall section 52 being a continuation of the outer wall section and being formed by reversely bending the retaining ring on itself thereby to provide a rounded edge at the bottom periphery of the retaining ring as at 54. The retaining ring 32 is providedV with means to engage the container in a manner to prevent relative rotation between the container and the retaining ring 32 while permitting limited axial movement of the retaining ring relative to the container. To this end the inner wall section 52 is formed with a plurality of undulations providing a plurality of axially extending grooves 56 extending entirely about the circumference of the inner wall section 52 of the retaining ring. There is a uniform spacing between each of the grooves 56 so that the retaining ring may readily t down over the flange 15 of the container with the ribs 20 engaging within the grooves 56. The grooves 56 in the inner wall section S2 of the retaining ring are closely spaced together and further the grooves and ribs have a relatively small transverse dimension with respect to the circumference of the retaining ring and container so that there is no need to accurately index the closure with respect to the container when applying the same thereto. With this construction, as long as the closure and container are in substantial axial alignment during the application of the closure to the container, the closure will readily seat on the neck of the container upon application of a small axial force,.and the tapered portion of the ribs 2) will cause rotational movement of the closure member so that the ribs 29 readily enter the grooves 56 in the retaining ring.
In the process of manufacturing a container closure in accordance with the present invention, suitable stamping apparatus is provided to shape the closure so that it is generally in the form illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the lower portion of the closure is in the form of a substantially cylindrical depending skirt 70 connected to a band 72 below the bridges 34 by a frusto-conical wall 74. The skirt 76 is then reversely bent on itself to form inner and outer confronting wall sections and then by suitable means the inner wall section is shaped to provide the series of grooves 56 and an inturned terminal rim 76 confrontingY and substantially parallel to the frusto-conical wall 74.
Consider now assembly of the closure to a container. The closure member is positioned over the neck of the container so that the seal 42 abuts the axial end face of the neck and the grooves S6 engage over the ribs 20 as shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 7. A compressive radial force is then applied to the cylindrical side wall 31 of the cap portion so that the side wall conforms to the portion of the neck of the container confronting it thereby forming threads 68 in the cap portion corresponding or conforming to the threads 16 on the container. When so assembled, the inner terminal lip 75 of the inner wall section 52 is spaced from the upper end of the ribs 20 (see FIGS. 4 and 5). Now, when it is desired to remove the closure member from the container to use the contents of the container, the cap portion 30 of the closure is rotated in a direction to unscrew the cap portion. Since the retaining ring 32 is retained against rotational movement with the cap portion due to engagement of the ribs 2o in the grooves 56, the unscrewing of the cap portion 33 causes fracturing of the bridge members 34. When the bridge members 34 are broken, the retaining ring 32 drops axially downwardly until the lip '76 engages the top of the ribs 2G to the position shown in FIG. 6 so that if the cap portion 30 is again applied to the bottle, there is a substantial gap between the cap and the retaining ringV 32 providing a visual indication that the container has been previously opened. Thus, a truly tamper-proof construction is provided. After the cap portion 3G has been removed from the container, the retaining ring 32 may be readily removed from the container along a straight path axially thereof.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that the present invention provides a novel tamper-proof closure for a container which is effective in sealing a container and which may be easily removed when desired. Further it will be apparent that the presentinvention provides a novel tamper-proof closure which may be applied to a container by automatic capping mechanism. Further, the double-wall retaining ring provides a comparatively stable and rigid construction thereby minimizing the chance of bending the cap out of shape during handling thereof which would tend to jam the capping machinery. This Vconstruction also has the advantage `of providing a cap having a pleasing outer ornamental appearance and one devoid of sharp or jagged edges,
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described herein, it is to be understood that changes and modifications may be made therein within the scope of the following claims.
1. In combination, a container and a closure member adapted to lne-removably secured to the container; said container having an open ended neck portion with at least one external spiral thread portion thereon, an annular ange on said neck at the opposite side of said thread portion from the open end of said neck, said flange having a series of ribs positioned about the periphery thereof extending generally parallel to the axis of said neck portion, said closure member including a generally cylindrical cap portion having one end seated on the neck of said container to close the same and an annular side wall extending downwardly from said one end, a retaining ring portion depending from said cap portion and connected to the annular side wall of said cap portion in a position coaxial with the cap portion by fracturable bridge means, said retaining ring comprising a generally cylindrical outer wall section and an inner wall section confronting the outer wall section and spaced radially inwardly therefrom, said inner and outer wall sections formed integrally to deiine a rounded lower edge, a plurality of grooves on said inner wall section extending generally parallel to the axis of said retaining ring and formed about the periphery of said inner wall section, the free terminal end of said inner wall section terminating in an inwardly directed frusto-conical rim overlying the ribs on the container, said closure member positioned over said container neck portion with the grooves engaging the ribs on said container to prevent 6 rotation of said retaining ring relative to the container, and the annular side wall of said cap portion being deformed to conform to the shape of the spiral thread portion on said container neck.
2. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein said grooves terminate short of the junction between said retaining ring and said cap portion and wherein the ribs on said container flange terminate in rounded end portions short ot the end of the flange adjacent the container thread portion.
3. The combination claimed in claim 2 wherein the rounded ends of said ribs are spaced from the ends of said grooves when said closure member is positioned over said container neck portion.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS 1,250,611 12/60` France.
940,119 10/63 Great Britain.
FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Primary Examiner.