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Publication numberUS3214062 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 26, 1965
Filing dateFeb 23, 1965
Priority dateFeb 23, 1965
Publication numberUS 3214062 A, US 3214062A, US-A-3214062, US3214062 A, US3214062A
InventorsMahon Joseph J
Original AssigneeGen Time Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Actuating device for aerosol dispenser
US 3214062 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 26, 1965 J. J. MAHON ACTUATING DEVICE FOR AEROSOL DISPENSER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 23, 1965 N V 0 RM Y mM M J R D 7 5 MA w a y B Oct. 26, 1965 J. J. MAHON ACTUATING DEVICE FOR AEROSOL DISPENSER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 23, 1965 IN VENTOR JOSEPH J. MAHON OZM ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,214,062 ACTUATING DEVICE FOR AEROSOL DISPENSER Joseph J. Mahon, Litchfield, Conn., assignor to General Time Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Feb. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 434,472 14 Claims. (Cl. 22270) This invention relates to timing devices and more particularly to novel improvements for actuating automatically and periodically a spray dispenser, more commonly termed an aerosol container or can. More specifically, the improved timing device comprising the present invention is primarily adapted to automatically and periodically control the opening and closure of a metered valve by means of operating a valve head, both of which form part of a commercially available can. The valve may be of the type disclosed in Patent 2,721,010, issued to Philip Meshberg, October 18, 1955.

A low torque, inexpensive motor of the synchronous type is the prime mover and rotates a cam means that controls various angular positions of a pair of levers. The levers are mounted to pivot on a common axis and are coupled by a spring. When the spring is tensioned during cam rotation the levers are urged to rotate in opposite dirct-ions about the common axis. That is, the cam means is unitarily formed and is provided with a first cam track and a second cam track, each track being characterized by a drop-off. The first track is engageable with one of the levers, herein termed a first lever, that operates the valve head to effect an aerosol spray. The second track is engageable with the other of the pair of levers, referred to herein as a second lever, that conditions the first lever by means of the spring coupling to cause a valve opening operation and also controls valve closure following a spray emission. The valve opening and closure operations are accomplished smoothly yet with considerable rapidity, as will readily become apparent hereinafter.

In the past numerous devices have been developed for automatically controlling the spray emitted from an aerosol can at a timed interval but some have been found to be too harsh in action and therefore produce objectionable noise. Others have been found to be too expensive for commercial acceptance; while others have lacked reliability.

It is characteristic in most of the prior devices to employ a geared-down output to the valve actuating means. If the valve actuation to open position is gradual (as in Patent 2,928,573), the liquified gas within the can will frequently spit and sputter instead of being released in a smooth spray. The same holds true on the valve closure operation; if done slowly a metered valve has a tendency to discharge in a blob when there should be no discharge whatever. Consequently on the next valve opening operation there is no discharge at all from the valve due to the metering reservoir being emptied.

In other exemplified devices the valve head or valve button is struck a hammer blow during actuation. This not only contributes to noise generation but causes damage to the mechanism and particularly to the valve which is of quite inexpensive and fragile construction.

Therefore, it is the principal object of this invention to provide an improved mechanism for automatically and periodically actuating the valve of an aerosol container.

Another object is to provide such a mechanism that is smooth, reliable and relatively quiet in operation.

In keeping with the above objects, it is a further object to provide a cam and lever arrangement wherein a pair of levers are gradually conditioned prior to valve actuation 3,214,062 Patented Oct. 26, 1965 to minimize noise generation and spread out the work load imposed on the motor throughout a spray cycle.

Moreover, it is still a further object to provide such a cam and lever arrangement wherein the levers pivot in scissor-like fashion but independently about a common axis.

A further object is to rapidly and positively operate the valve after conditioning the levers to prevent misoperation of the valve.

A still further object is to provide a novel control cam which is multi-tracked yet unitary.

Consistent with the above objects, it is a primary object to provide such a mechanism that is simple in operation and inexpensive to manufacture.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view illustrating the mechanism of the present invention mounted in a suitable housing and in cooperative association with the valve assembly of an aerosol can (full lines) which is also mounted within the housing. The mechanism is illustrated at a period in a spray cycle just prior to valve actuation. A spare aerosol can is also mounted within the housing and shown in dot and dash lines;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the assembly shown partially in section;

FIG. 3 is a partially exploded, front perspective view of the valve actuating mechanism of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 are progressive views of the valve actuating mechanism going through a spray cycle; and

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken substantially along lines 7-7 of FIG. 1 showing particularly the mounting of the multi-lever control for the valve actuating mechanism and the drive gear therefor.

Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, a main housing generally indicated at includes a backplate 16 with top and bottom forwardly extending flanges 17 and 18, respectively. Bottom flange 18 has a series of dimples 19 and a tab 20 formed upwardly therefrom, all of which serve to position a pair of aerosol cans 21 within the housing 15. The aerosol can 21 at the left in FIG. 1, and shown in full lines, is the one in immediate use in connection with the following description, while the aerosol can shown in dot and dash lines serves as a spare. Slots formed in the backplate 16, one of which is indicated at 22 in FIG. 1, may be utilized to wall mount housing 15.

An inner bracket 23 is fixed within the main housing 15 and mounts a novel valve actuating mechanism, to be described in detail hereinafter. Bracket 23 includes an upper, forwardly extending flange 24, a rearwardly extending flange 25 and a pair of legs 26 having tabs 27 formed forwardly therefrom. Upper flange 24 is fixed to top flange 17 as by rivets 28 and tabs 27 are fixed to bottom flange 18 as by rivets 29. An opening 30 is provided between legs 26 to accommodate the aerosol cans 21 while an upright face 31 of bracket 23 serves to square a valve head 32 which is part of the assembly of can 21 so that the spray issuing therefrom will be emitted directly outwardly (see particularly FIG. 2). Rearward 1y extending flange 25 serves to brace the upright face 31 and aids in enclosing a motor 33 which is suitably mounted on face 31. A pair of baffles 34 which are fixed as by tabs 35 in flange 25 and face 31 complete the sealotf of the motor. Perforations 36 (FIG. 2) are provided in top flange 17 to release the heat generated by the coil of the motor 33. Motor 33 may be the well known A.C., synchronous type which is commercially obtainable. In the preferred embodiment disclosed herein motor 33 is rated to rotate its output pinion 37 at /5 rpm. when its leads are connected to a 115 volt 6O cycle power source. Pinion 37 is meshed with a gear 39 which it constantly rotates when power is applied to the motor. The stepdown between pinion 37 and gear 39 is a 9:1 ratio. Accordingly, gear 39 completes a 360 excursion once every 15 minutes. The immediate foregoing is set out as one example of establishing a cyclic excursion and should in no way be construed as a limiting factor. Various cycle times may be incorporated in conjunction with the mechanism to be described without departing from the spirit of the invention.

As best seen in FIG. 7, gear 39 is staked to a bushing 40 which rotates about a stud 41. Stud 41 is rigidly fixed to upright face 31 as by staking or peening. Bushing 40 has a knurled portion indicated at 42 to which a multitrack cam member 43 is fixed as by force fitting. A thrust washer 44 is placed between the stud head and the front face of cam member 43. From the assembly just described it will be apparent that gear 39, bushing 40 and cam member 43 rotate in unison while stud 41 is stationary. Due to their relative compactness, it should be noted that bushing 40, cam member 43 and gear 39 could conceivably be molded as a single unit for simplicity of assembly.

Cam member 43 is preferably of Delrin and, as can be seen in the various views, formed with a first lobe 45 which has a substantially concentric peripheral cam track 46, interrupted by an opening indicated at 47. Opening 47 serves as a drop-off for a tab 49 that is adapted to ride on periphery 46 of cam member 43. Tab 49 forms part of a valve actuating lever 50, the operation of which will be subsequently described. A second lobe 52 of cam member 43 has an eccentric cam track 52a at its periphery that terminates in a rounded portion 52b. Cam track 52a coacts with a tab 53 of a conditioning lever 54. Levers 50 and 54 are coupled by a relatively strong tension spring 55 and are mounted for pivotal movement about a common axis. Such mounting is best seen in FIG. 2 wherein a headed stud 56 is shown staked to upright plate 31. Lever 54 is loosely mounted on stud 56 between the head thereof and the forward face of a bushing 57. Lever 50 is separated from lever 54 by the width of bushing 57 and is pressed on a shoulder 58 thereof. Thus lever 54 is free to piovt about fixed stud 56 while lever50 and bushing 57 rotate as a unit about said stud. Consequently levers 50 and 54 freely rotate on a common axis but independently of each other.

With particular reference now to FIGS. 1, 4, and 6, operation of the valve actuating mechanism will now be described. In FIG. 1 spring 55 is shown fully tensioned as tab 53 of lever 54 approaches the peripheral apex of cam lobe 52. At such attitude, cam lobes 45 and 52 have effected a smooth, scissor-like action of levers 50 and 54 as they were gradually pivoted apart during rotation of gear 39. This tenses the spring 55 between the levers 50 and 54. As pinion 37 rotates gear 39 in the direction of the arrow from the FIG. 1 to the FIG. 4 position tab 49 of lever 50 lowers gradually around a rounded-off portion of radius 59 formed on cam lobe 45 under the ten-. sion of spring 55, thereby gradually lowering lever 50. Such arrangement is an important feature of this invention as a protrusion 51 of lever 50 is gently moved into contact with the upper portion of valve head 32 without perceptibly moving said valve head (see FIG. 4). Moreover, with the slight movement imposed on cam member 43 and thus gear 39, any free movement existing between gear 39, pinion 37 and the motor gear train (not shown) is gradually taken up. That is, if a relatively sudden slipoff of tab 49 from cam track 46 were allowed, cam member 43 would be rapidly displaced. Thus gear 39 would instantly take up the lost motion between gear 39 and pinion 37 causing the driven teeth of gear 39 to clash with the drive teeth of pinion 37. By,virtue of the generously rounded-off portion 59, gear 39 moves slightly faster than pinion 37 and thereby quietly takes up the lost motion between the driven teeth 39 and drive teeth 37 and, in turn, of the entire motor gear train while lever 50 is simultaneously lowered into contact with valve head 32. Consequently, when lever 50 later drops off cam track 46 and thus pivots rapidly downwardly under the urge of tensioned spring 55, the valve head 32 is pressed rapidly downwardly to the position shown in FIG. 5. The action taking place between the FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 positions is almost immediately thereby eliminating the undesired clatter generated by clicking gears commonly known as backlash. Such action also avoids subjecting the gear train to sudden shock which generally results in bearing damage and excessive wear on the gear teeth. Furthermore, due to the fact that protrusion 51 is first gently eased into contact with valve head 32, a pressure action instead of a hammering blow ensues When the valve head is depressed which further diminishes undue wear and damage, and any noise that might be generated during a spray effecting operation.

The above-described action is necessarily very rapid, it being well known to those skilled in the art that due to the nature of the so-called metering valve, gradual lowering of the valve head results in malfunction. That is, the valve when gradually lowered will more often than not sputter and spit or dispense in drippings instead of a steady, well-defined spray.

The same holds true in connection with the return to elevated position of the valve head 32. This action should also be rapid and accomplished with a minimum of noise generation. Therefore it is important to note that in FIG. 5 tab 53 of lever 54 is shown at the apex of cam lobe 52 which, like the portion 59 of cam lobe 45, is also rounded as at 52b. When the teeth of pinion 37 are again in driving relationship with the teeth of gear 39 and tab 53 rides up the rounded, portion 52b, spring 55 imparts a slight forward movement to cam member 43 and again takes the lost motion in the gear train in the same manner as stated above. Shortly thereafter, the rounded portion 52b of lobe 52 is rotated beyond tab 53 whereupon lever 54 is rapidly drawn upwardly by spring 55 against tab 49 of lever 50. This action is aided by the internal compression spring (not shown) forming part of the valve mechaism which also propels the valve head 32 upwardly. The latter action allows the reservoir within the valve body to be replenished and await the next spray cycle before being emptied.

With the mechanism now in the FIG. 6 position, gear 39 continues to rotate cam member 43. Subsequently periphery 46 of lobe 45 engages tab 49 and slightly elevates levers 50 and 54 thereupon removing protrusion 51 from contact with valve head 32. Upon further rotation of cam member 43 eccentric lobe 52 thereof again engages tab 53 and gradually lowers lever 54 until the mechanism again approaches the FIG. 1 position. Consequently spring 55 is ever so gradually tensioned thereby spreading out the work load imposed on the drive motor over the major portion of the spray cycle and thus permits a low torque, inexpensive motor to be employed for actuating an efficient yet inexpensive automatic valve operating mechanism used in conjunction with an aerosol can.

Having described the invention by making detailed ref-' erence to the preferred forms of the elements thereof it is obvious that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, while the invention in the preferred embodiment has been described in connection with a metered valve, use of an unmetered valve is possible if a relatively prolonged spray is desired at longer time intervals between sprays. It is therefore understood that this invention is: not limited to the exact arrangement disclosed except as limited by the state of the art to which this invention pertains.

What is'claimed is:

1. In a timing device of the class described for periodically operating a valve to effect an aerosol spray, the combination of:

timing means,

cam means uniformly driven by said timing means,

a pair of levers engageable with said cam means,

means providing a common axis laterally spaced from said cam means, said levers pivotable about said common axis,

a resilient coupling for said levers, said coupling urging said levers in opposite rotational directions about said common axis,

and means including said cam means and coupling for periodically causing said levers to rapidly pivot about said common axis and operate said valve to effect said aerosol spray.

2. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said cam means includes means for causing at least one of said levers to first gradually then rapidly pivot about said axis to effect said aerosol spray.

3. In a timing device of the class described for periodically operating avalve to effect an aerosol spray, the combination of:

timing means,

unitary cam means having a first and a second lobe,

said cam means driven by said timing means,

a pair of levers, one engageable with said first cam lobe, the other engageable with said second cam lobe,

means providing a common axis laterally spaced from said cam means, said levers pivotable about said axis,

a spring to couple and urge said levers in opposite rotational directions about said axis,

and means including said spring and cam means for periodically causing said levers to rapidly pivot about said axis and operate said valve to effect said aerosol spray.

4. The combination defined in claim 3 wherein said cam means includes means for causing at least one of said levers to first gradually then rapidly pivot about said axis to effect said aerosol spray.

5. In a timing device of the class described for periodically operating a valve head to actuate a valve and effect an aerosol spray, the combination of:

timing means,

unitary cam means having a first and a second track,

said cam means driven by said timing means,

a first lever and a second lever, said first lever at one end thereof engageable with said first cam track, said second lever at one end thereof engageable with said second cam track,

pivotal means for said levers laterally spaced from said cam means,

and a spring to couple and urge said levers in opposite rotational directions about said pivotal means, said cam means, spring and pivotal means periodically causing said levers to sequentially operate said valve and effect the aerosol spray.

6. The combination defined in claim 5 wherein said first cam track is provided with a rounded-off portion terminating in a drop-off whereby said first lever is initially eased into contact with said valve head by said spring before actuating said valve to effect an aerosol spray.

7. In a timing device of the class described for periodically operating a valve head to actuate a valve and effect an aerosol spray cycle, the combination of:

timing means,

a drive pinion rotated at a predetermined rate of speed by said timing means,

unitary cam means having a driven gear fixed thereto, said driven gear meshed with said drive pinion, said cam means having a first and a second track, said first track provided with a rounded-off portion,

a first lever and a second lever, said first lever at one end thereof engageable with said first cam track, said first lever located adjacent said valve head and held out of engagement therewith by said first cam track, said second lever at one end thereof engageable with said second cam track,

pivot means for said levers laterally spaced from said cam means,

and a spring to couple and urge said levers in opposite rotational directions about said pivot means whereby said rounded-off portion of said first cam track periodically allows said first lever to be eased into contact with said valve head before actuating said valve to efiect the aerosol spray.

8. The combination defined in claim 7 wherein said rounded-off portion is in the form of a radius which while causing said first lever to be eased into contact with the valve head simultaneously causes said cam means and drive gear to be moved slightly in excess of the predetermined rate of speed of the drive pinion before actuating said valve to elfect the aerosol spray.

9. The combination defined in claim 7 wherein said second cam track is provided with a rounded-off portion to allow said spring to move said cam means and driven gear slightly in excess of said predetermined speed of the drive pinion prior to the completion of the spray cycle.

10. In a timing device of the class described for periodically operating a valve to first open and then close the valve to effect an aerosol spray cycle, the combination of:

timing means,

unitary cam means having a first and a second track, said first track having a drop-off, said second track having a drop-off, said cam means uniformly driven by said timing means,

a first lever and a second lever, said first lever at one end thereof engageable with said first cam track and adapted to align with said first track drop-01f during rotation of said cam means, said second lever at one end thereof engageable with said second cam track and adapted to align with said second track drop-off during rotation of said cam means,

pivotal means for said levers laterally spaced from said cam means,

and a spring to couple and urge said levers in opposite directions about said pivotal means, whereby when said first lever periodically aligns with said first cam track drop-off said valve is operated to open condition and when said second lever aligns with said second cam track drop-off said valve is operated to closed condition to effect said aerosol spray cycle.

11. In a timing device of the class described having a housing for holding and positioning a container provided with a valve, a valve stem and a valve head fixed thereto which is normally spring-urged to maintain the valve in closed condition and periodically operable to efiect operation of the valve and cause an aerosol spray cycle, the combination of:

timing means,

cam means rotationally driven by said timing means,

an operating lever and a conditioning lever controlled by said cam means,

common pivotal means for said levers, said pivotal means spaced from said cam means,

a spring arranged between and anchored to said levers,

said spring increasingly tensioned to gradually condition said levers during cam rotation,

and means integral with said cam means for allowing periodic release of said operating lever to rapidly operate said valve head to eifect said aerosol spray and subsequently releasing said conditioning lever to allow rapid return of said valve head to said normal condition.

12. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said integral means includes contoured portions whereby said combination of:

timing means mounted on said housing,

a unitary cam having first and second tracks, said cam rotatably driven by said timing means,

said first track substantially concentric about its periphery which is interrupted by a drop-01f.

said second track being non-concentric and having a drop-ofi,

a first lever having a tab engageable with said periphery of said first track,

a second lever having a tab engageable with said sec- 2 0nd track,

said levers pivotable about a common axis,

and a spring arranged between and connecting said levers for urging them in opposite rotational directions whereby when said timing means rotates said cam said non-concentric track thereof gradually pivots said second lever and increasingly tensions said spring until said tab on said first lever is aligned with said first track drop-01f whereupon said first lever under the urge of said spring operates said valve head to cause the aerosol spray.

14. The combination defined in claim 13 wherein said second lever tab when later aligned with said second track 0 drop-off allows return of said valve head to said normally closed condition.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/61 Harris 74-3.52

3,091,126 5/63 Bowen 74-3.54

References Cited by the Applicant UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,018,056 1/62 Montgomery.

LOUIS I. DEMBO, Primary Examiner. HADD S. LANE, Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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US3091126 *Jan 19, 1960May 28, 1963Smith & Sons Ltd SAdjustable clockwork driven mechanism for moving an actuating member at pre-selected times from one limit of movement to another
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3388834 *Mar 20, 1967Jun 18, 1968Charles M. HartSpray dispenser
US3411670 *Sep 11, 1967Nov 19, 1968Edward L BrownAutomatic dispenser for pressurized liquid
US3677441 *Nov 16, 1970Jul 18, 1972Virginia Chemicals IncMultiple aerosol dispenser
US4579261 *Apr 9, 1984Apr 1, 1986Cws AgRoom spray dispenser
US5249718 *Mar 16, 1992Oct 5, 1993Technical ConceptsAutomatic pump-type spray dispenser
US6293442 *May 16, 2000Sep 25, 2001Girard D. MollayanTimed aerosol spray dispenser
US6517009Mar 30, 2001Feb 11, 2003Gotit Ltd.Automatic spray dispenser
US6540155Dec 18, 1998Apr 1, 2003Gotit Ltd.Automatic spray dispenser
US8342363 *Sep 16, 2011Jan 1, 2013S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Compact spray device
US8573447 *Mar 17, 2011Nov 5, 2013Dispensing Dynamics InternationalDispensing system
US8678233Nov 22, 2011Mar 25, 2014S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Compact spray device
US8881945Sep 19, 2012Nov 11, 2014S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Spray dispenser
US9044522Sep 19, 2012Jun 2, 2015S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Spray dispenser
US9108782Oct 15, 2012Aug 18, 2015S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Dispensing systems with improved sensing capabilities
US9156603Aug 12, 2013Oct 13, 2015Dispensing Dynamics InternationalDispensing System
US9457951Oct 13, 2014Oct 4, 2016S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Compact spray device
US9522775Oct 15, 2013Dec 20, 2016Smart Wave Technologies Corp.Aerosol dispensing apparatus
US20030121926 *Oct 3, 2002Jul 3, 2003Creative Edge Design Group, Ltd.Stackable, thin-walled containers
US20110226805 *Mar 17, 2011Sep 22, 2011Dispensing Dynamics InternationalDispensing system
US20120000932 *Sep 16, 2011Jan 5, 2012Carpenter M ScottCompact Spray Device
US20170095127 *Oct 2, 2015Apr 6, 2017Fernando Castillo SanchoAll-purpose dispenser for spraying and funnelled dosing of liquids
USD361375Aug 17, 1994Aug 15, 1995Amrep, Inc.Aerosol dispensing cabinet
WO2012125205A1 *Mar 7, 2012Sep 20, 2012Dispensing Dynamics InternationalDispensing system
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/649, 222/504, 222/498, 74/3.54
International ClassificationB65D83/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/262
European ClassificationB65D83/26B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 27, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: GENERAL TIME CONTROLS, INC., 135 SOUTH MAIN ST., T
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:GENERAL TIME CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE.;REEL/FRAME:003947/0446
Effective date: 19811001
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GENERAL TIME CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE.;REEL/FRAME:003947/0446