US 3204855 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
P 7, 19-65 I. D. BOYNTON ETAL 3,204,855
FLEXIBLE CONTAINER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 29, 1963 S 3 w w m, o D a b 62901 6 A. W 0 d Wm ATTORNEY P 1965 l. D. BOYNTON ETAL 3,204,855
FLEXIBLE CONTAINER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 29, 1965 nllll'" m m M ATTORNEY Sept. 7, 19 65 1. D. BOYNTON ETAL 3,
FLEXIBLE CONTAINER 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed April 29, 1965 INVENTORS Y w 2m o n 3 B Q as r6 United States Patent 3,204,855 FLEXIBLE CONTAINER Ira D. Boynton, Lexington, and George A. Wood, South Lincoln, Mass, assignors, by mesne assignments, to International Latex Corporation, Dover, Del., a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 29, 1963, Ser. No. 276,259 7 Claims. (Cl. 22953) This invention provides an improved flexible disposable bottle for infant nursing devices. More specifically, the invention provides a disposable collapsible bag or container which serves as a nursing bottle and is constructed to simplify assembly of the bag onto a supporting holder for attachment of a nursing nipple to complete the nursing unit, and to maintain the inner surface of the bag in sterile condition prior to use.
Nursing devices with disposable collapsible bags for containing milk or other liquids to be fed to an infant have become quite popular. The disposable bags are provided in convenient pre-sterilized condition, and then are thrown away after a single use. This eliminates the sterilization necessary in the case of the more conventional plastic or glass nursing bottles which must be reused. Such disposable bags are generally thin-walled plastic tubes which collapse as their liquid contents are withdrawn. They are not self-supporting and must be mounted over a supporting holder to which is attached a nursing nipple to. close the open mouth of the bag. Constructions typical of such nursing unit assemblies are those shown in US. Patents Nos. 2,604,222, 2,624,485 and 3,075,666. As shown in these patents, the bag is placed within the supporting ring or cylindrical bottle holder and the open end of the bag is drawn over the mouth of the holder and folded downwardly over the outer surface of the holder. The bottle is then filled and a nursing nipple is suitably attached to the holder to close the open mouth of the bag.
To mount the disposable bottle on the supporting ring or bottle holder while maintaining sterile conditions, mechanical devices have been proposed, such as the bag applicator shown in US. 2,900,779. Use of mechanical means for assembly of the bag to the holder complicates the use of the nursing device and requires sterilization of another item. In addition the chances of desterilization or contamination are increased in handling the mechanical applicator. On th other hand, if manual operation is attempted the bag cannot be opened and grasped at its open month without the fingers contaminating the interior of the bag when drawing it over the mouth of the bottle holder.
It is a primary objective of the present invention to provide a disposable bag of such construction that it may be assembled to the bottle holder without using mechanical means and at the same time may be maintained sterile. The invention advances the art by eliminating the mechanical expander and providing a disposable bottle construction which facilitates manual assembly of the bag on the holder and yet assures that the interior surfaces of the bag will remain in sterile condition prior to use and during the assembly operation.
The collapsible disposable bag of the invention is provided in the shape of a flattened tube when not in use and is expandable to tubular shape when filled. It has an openable mouth at one end and integral tab-like extensions are provided around a part of the periphery of the bag mouth for manually mounting the bag over the holder rim. The tabs are preferably peripherally opposing and of sufiicient width to be suitable for grasping with the fingertips in order to draw the bag mouth over the lip of the holder without touching the sterile interior surfaces of the bag.
The invention is described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawingswhich illustrate complete specific embodiments of the invention and are not to be regarded as a limitation thereon in which:
FIGURE 1 is a schematic view in elevation of a disposable bag for a nursing unit made. in accordance with the invention; v
FIGURE 2 is a schematic .view of themanual assembly of thedisposable bag using the tab extensions to draw the mouth of the bag over the holder rim;
FIGURE 3 is a View in cross-section with parts broken away of a nursing device showing the disposable bag of the invention mounted within the holder, filled with liquid and with the nursing nipple assembled thereon;
FIGURE 4 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the disposable bag of the invention made in continuous strip form with the bags detachable one from the other;
FIGURE 5 is a diagrammatic view of .analternative form for making the disposable bags of the invention in continuous strip form detachable one from the other;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged view showing a modified construction of the bag of. the invention in which the tab extensions are formed by tearing ofi perforated corner sections;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged view of the upper end of a disposable bag showing a modified perforated construc tion for forming the tab extensions at the mouth of the disposable bag at the time of use;
FIGURE 8 is still another modification of a disposable bag made for individual packing and constructed to remain sterile until use; and
FIGURE 9 is a sectional view taken on line 9-9 of FIGURE 8.
Referring now to FIGURE 1 there is shown a typical flexible collapsible bag .10 of suitable thin gauge plastic material having a closed bottom end 11 formed by an appropriate heat seal 12. The bag is of tubular shape and when not in use is normally in flattened condition and suitable for packaging-in roll form when produced as a continuous strip. An open end 13 of the bag 10 is provided with upstanding tab extensions 14 on opposing pee ripheral portions of the bag. Alternatively, the bag may be described as having an open mouth provided with cutaway corners 15 which in turn form upstanding'tabs 14 at the mouth of the bag. Perforations 16 may be provided at the base of the tabs 14 to facilitate removal of the tabs after they have served their purpose. This line of perforations also may function as a reference line for placing the disposable bags on the holder in substantially the same position each time. In this way uniform readings of the liquid volume are obtained where'the volume markings of necessity are on the rigid holder.
It is preferred that the tabs be sufiiciently wide so that when they are grasped between the fingers and a pull is o exerted thereon, the bag mouth will open to facilitate drawing it over the holder rim. In general, it is preferred to have the tabs extend over more than half the periphery of the bag mouth to facilitate opening. Where two tabs are provided the cutout portions 15 preferably are less than about one half of the periphery of the bag mouth. However, the tabs may be made narrower where three or four are distributed around the periphery and simultaneous pull on all tabs opens the bag mouth for the assembly operation.
The ease with which the tabbed bag is mounted on the holder is illustrated in FIGURE 2. The bag 10 is inserted into the interior of the holder 1 through the open mouth 2. Tab 14a on one side of the disposable bag 10 is grasped between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand and tab 14b is grasped between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Then a pull is exerted on both tabs to open the mouth of the bag and draw it over the rim of the bottle holder mouth 2, the cutout portions 15 between the tabs facilitating this operation. The bag is drawn downwardly over the outer peripheral surface of the bottle holder to a point such that only the sterile inner surface of the bag forms the contact area 17 (below the tab tear off line 16) over which a sterile nipple 3 is placed. The nipple is most easily placed on the bottle holder by inverting the nipple skirt 5 (FIGURE 3) and then pivoting it downwardly to clamp the bag between the outer periphery of the holder and the inner periphery of the nipple skirt.
FIGURE 3 shows the complete nursing unit assembly filled and ready for use. The bag 10 is preferably made of such diameter that when filled with liquid it engages the sides of theholder 1 in a relatively smooth or unw-rinkled expanded condition. The tab tear off line 16 may be located at the base 6 of nipple skirt 5. However, as shown in FIGURE 3, it may be desirable to draw the bag farther down on the outer periphery of the holder and turn the lower portion of the bag mouth upwardly about the outer peripheral surface of the nipple ski-rt 5. In this manner, the bag assists in locking the nipple in place to prevent accidental removal of the nipple and spilling of the contents.
The improved bag of the invention is adaptable for manufacture in continuous strip form so that it may be packaged in roll form for convenience in dispensing. In addition, the roll form is advantageous for sterilization of the bags within the package. The roll form also maintains sterility after opening of the package as each bag may be separately detached from the roll when required for use without removing the roll from the box or package.
. In FIGURE 4 is shown one embodiment of the disposable bags of the invention made in continuous strip form. The bags 10'are made as a continuous extruded plastic tube which is transversely heat sealed at spaced intervals 12 equal to desired bag length and the strip is perforated across its widthat 19 adjacent each heat seal to facilitate detaching individual bags from the strip. As shown in FIGURE 4 cutouts 15 are formed in the strip to produce the tab extensions 14 at the mouth of each bag with the perforations 16 being disposed across the bottom of the tab extensions 14 so that the tabs may be readily detached from the bag after mounting the bag on the holder. A partial heat seal 18 may be provided across the bags 10 below the cutout portions 15 to maintain sterility. A pull on the sides of the bag opens this seal when the bag is to be used.
In FIGURE 5 is shown an alternative manner of producing the disposable bags of the invention in continuous strip form without extruding a closed tube as in the emboditnent shown in FIGURE 4. A fiat strip 20 of plastic, such as polyethylene, polypropylene or various alloys or mixtures of'the two, is folded upon itself to form one closed edge 21 and an open edge 22. The sheet is then passed to suitable heat sealing, cutting and perforating stations whereheat seals 23 are formed transversely be- 7 tween the walls 24 and 25 of the strip 20 at spaced intervals based on the selected bag width. Perforation lines 26 are formed in each of the transverse heat sealed zones 23 and at the open edge 22 cutouts 30 are formed in alignment with the lines of perforations 26 in transverse heat sealed zones 23. The cutouts 30 along the open edge of the folded strip 20 in turn form the desired tab extensions 31 on opposing sides of the bag in its flattened condition. Because the bags are formed with an unsealed edge 22 providing open months for the bags, it is preferred to provide partial heat seals 32 below the open bag mouth at the base of the tab extensions 31 to maintain the interior of the bag in sterile condition until the bag is ready for use. At such time an individual bag is detached from the strip or roll along a perforated line 26 and the bag mouth is then pulled open rupturing the partial heat seal 32 after which the bag may be mounted on the holder as shown in FIGURE 2.
In FIGURES 6, 7 and 8 are shown preferred constructions of the disposable bag in which the tabs are actually formed at the time the individual bag is required for use by tearing off sections 15 which are made detachably integral with the mouth portion 13 of the bag 10. In FIGURE 6 the bag mouth is provided with the usual line of transverse perforations 19 for separating the individual bag from the strip or roll. However, instead of cutouts 15 being formed in the production or manufacture of the bags, the corners of the bag mouth (when lying in flattened condition) are simply provided with a line of weakening or perforations which makes the corner portions 15 easily removablefrom the bag 10 when it is required for use. With the corner portions removed tab extensions '14 are formed for manually mounting the bag on the holder. In FIG. 7 the bag has lines of weakening peripherally disuniting the tab extension 14. The lines of weakening may be characterized by a series of relatively short perforations 35 which extend vertically downwardly from the periphery of the bag mouth to define the common sides of the tabs 14 and cutout sections 15. However, the perforation pattern of FIGURE 7 has a virtually completely out bottom section 36' extending arcuately from the vertical line of perforations 35 completely out to the bag edge. Only one small connecting strip 37 serves to prevent this lower edge of cutout 15 from flapping or being displaced. This almost severed bottom edge allows easy separation when the corners 15 are pulled off. This construction also permits use of the bag without prior removal of the corner sections 15. When the mouth of the bag is opened and pulled apart to draw it over the lip of a holder, the perforations 35 tear down on one or the other side of each corner section 15. The elongated cuts 36 allow separation of the corner 15 without building up such stress that tears initiate in the bag below the tear-ofi? line where it changes direction. The very small connecting members 37 easily break when the arcuate edge is stressed in pulling the bag mouth over the rim of the'holder. The corner sections 15 are thus left attached to one or the other of tabs 14 and are removed when the tab is pulled off after the assembly of the bag on the holder. This combines the removal of corner sections 15 and tabs 14 into a single tear-off operation and eliminates production of small loose pieces of plastic around the formula preparation site.
FIGURES 8 and 9 illustrate a bag construction suitable for individual packaging. The bag 10 with the usual bottom seal 12 is also provided with a protective top 40 having a seal 41. When it is desired to use the bag the top 40 is removed by tearing along perforation lines 42 to form an open mouth bag having tab exten sions 14. v r
In addition, reinforcing or stiffening strips 43 may be provided near the upper edges of tabs 14 to facilitate opening the bag mouth and drawing it over the rim of the holder. This is particularly advantageous when the bag mouth must be stretched in the assembly operation.
The disposable bag of the invention is eminently suitable for use with nursing units such as shown in US. Patent 3,075,666 in which the diameter of the plastic bag is slightly smaller than the outside diameter of the bottle holder so that the bag must be slightly stretched when drawn over the mouth of the holder. This permits the bag to contact the lip of the holder tightly and eliminates wrinkles which might cause leaking of the contents.
The disposable bottle of the invention is also suitable for application to ordinary conventional nursing bottles as a disposable liner and for other nursing units, such as shown in U.S. Patent 2,624,485, where it may be desirable to have the diameter of the disposable bottle larger than the outer diameter of the mouth of the holder. In such cases where the nipple is attached to the bottle or bottle holder by screw caps, a slight amount of wrinkling or folding of the bag over the rim of the holder will not cause leaking.
The material for the bottle, as mentioned above, may be any suitable relatively flexible plastic or elastomeric substance, such as regenerated cellulose, polyvinylidene chloride, polyethylene, polypropylene, alloys of polyethylene and polypropylene in various blends, natural or synthetic rubber or other rubbery or plastic materials which provide suitable strength in thin walled bag form.
Although it is a particular advantage of the invention to have perforations at the base of the tab extensions on the disposable bottle for removal of the tabs after they have served their purpose in mounting the bottle on the holder, it is not essential that such perforations be provided. The tabs may be left attached to the body portions of the disposable bottle and simply encircle the upper portion of the holder below the nipple or may be turned upwardly to shield the nipple and keep it sterile when the unit is stored for use.
Also, although it is preferred to provide cutout portions of substantial width and with arcuate bottom portions, the tabs may tubular bag, preferably diametrically opposed. This is particularly satisfactory where the tension exerted at the bottom of the slits will not tear the plastic bag, for example, where the bag diameter is greater than the holder diameter.
Various modifications other than those mentioned above will be obvious to those skilled in the art and are to be considered included within the scope of the invention which is defined by the appended claims.
1. An internally sterile flexible collapsible plastic container adapted to be placed in a relatively stiff generally cylindrical open mouth holder with the top of the container pulled out and down over the top of the generally cylindrical holder, said container being made of two thicknesses of sheet plastic continuously joined together around the edges thereof and being devoid of any openings from the exterior into its sterile interior, a transverse seal extending fully across and closing the top region of said container, a transverse line of localized weakening extending across the top end of said container for localized parting, and a second line of localized weakening extending longitudinally of the container from the transverse line of weakening down a substantial distance therefrom, the locus of said container immediately below the bottom of said second line of weakening constituting in use the mouth of the container, whereby the pulling apart of said lines of weakening will form diametrically opposed tab extensions of suflicient length to be well grasped by the fingers to facilitate pulling the mouth of I the container outwardly and downwardly over the top edge of the generally cylindrical holder without the be formed by mere slits in the 6 fingers ever having touched the sterile inside of the container from its mouth down.
' 2. A plastic container according to claim 1 in which the second line of weakening which extends longitudinally of the container downwardly from the transverse line of weakening terminates in an arcuate line of weakening which extends laterally from said downwardly extending line of weakening.
3. A- plastic container according to claim 1, in which said container has a small degree of elasticity and when expanded to tubular form has .a rest diameter less than the outside diameter of said generally cylindrical open mouth holder, whereby the container is adapted to be manually mounted in said holder by applying substantially equal diverging forces to said tab extensions to open and stretch the mouth of said container into a generally circular configuration to be folded outwardly and downwardly over the top of said holder.
4. A continuous series of internally sterile separable flexible plastic containers adapted for continuous manufacture by forming a thin flexible plastic tube and flattening same and sealing and weakening predetermined areas of same; said flattened tube having a series of longitudinally spaced transverse seals extending fully across the width thereof defining the individual containers, transverse lines of localized weakening defining lines of detachment between adjacent containers, and second lines of localized weakening extending longitudinally of said flattened tube from said transverse lines of weakening down a substantial distance therefrom, the locus of each container immediately below the bottom of said second lines of weakening constituting in use the mouth of the container, the transverse lines of weakening being adapted to be broken open manually to separate the individual containers, and the second lines of weakening being adapted to be broken open manually to form tab extensions on said containers which extend for approximately and are of suflicient depth to be well grasped by the fingers, whereby the tab extensions may be grasped by the fingers to facilitate pulling the mouth of the container outward-1y and downwardly over the top edge of a generally cylindrical holder without the fingers ever having touched the sterile inside of the container from its mouth down.
5. Plastic containers according to claim 4 in which the second line of weakening that extends longitudinally of said flattened tube from said transverse line of weakening terminates in an arcuate line of weakening extending laterally from said longitudinally extending line of weakening.
6. In a nursing unit which comprises a tubular open top holder having at its open top an outwardly extending annular rib and below that an annular groove of less diameter, an internally sterile flexible collapsible container having a sealed upper marginal portion, said upper marginal portion when opened being adapted to be folded outwardly and downwardly over the annular rib and groove on the holder, and a nipple having a peripheral skirt adapted to clamp the upper marginal portion of said container over said annular rib and in said groove on the holder, the improvement which comprises providing said container with a transverse line of localized weakening extending fully across said upper marginal portion of the container, and a second line of localized weakening extending longitudinally from the transverse line of weakening down a substantial distance therefrom, the locus of said container immediately below said second line of localized weakening constituting in use the mouth of said container, whereby the transverse line of weakening may be manually parted to open the sealed upper marginal portion and said second line of weakening may be manually pulled apart to form tab extensions on the mouth of said container of suflicient length to be well portion of said container outwardly and downwardly over the annularrib and the annular groove into position to receive the nipple without the fingers ever having contasted the sterile interior surface of the container.
7. A nursing unit according to claim 6 in which the second line of weakening which extends longitudinally from said transverse line of weakening terminatesin an arcuate line of weakening extending laterally from said longitudinally extending line of weakening.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Gray 220-65 Poppe 220-65 Piazze et al 206-59 Carkin 215-11 Fitz Gerald 215-11 I-Iofifstein 215-11 FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Primary Examiner.