US 3253753 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 31, 1966 Filed Dec. 30, 1963 R. W. BARTON ETAL CAN CONNECTOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 y 1966 R. w. BARTON" ETAL 3,253,753
CAN CONNECTOR Filed D60. 30, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 cjf y y 1966 R. w. BARTON ETAL 3,253,753
CAN CONNECTOR Filed Dec. 50, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet I5 United States Patent 3,253,753 CAN CONNECTOR Raymond W. Barton and Joe T. Herron, Evansville, Ind., assignors to Mead Johnson & Company, a corporation of Indiana Filed Dec. 30, 1963, Ser. No. 334,440 Claims. (Cl. 222547) This invention is concerned with a can connector and more particularly with a connector which may be inserted into a can and sealed therewith, and through which the contents of the can, as a liquid, may be removed.
This application is a continuation-in-part of Barton et al. application Serial No. 100,160, filed April 3, 1961, now US. Patent No. 3,200,860, and assigned to the assignee of this invention.
The prior application discloses an apparatus and method for filling nursers from a bulk supply, as a can of liquid formula. This invention is concerned with the can outlet fitting or connector through which a connection is made with a can to withdraw the contents therefrom, as
for filling a nurser, and to a can outlet fitting through which an infant may nurse directly from a can.
The can connector has a portion which plugs into an opening in the can, which may be formed with a punch, and is frictionally held therein. The connector fitting has another portion, as a flange, which seals with the can surface to prevent spilling of the can contents during handling, or the entry of foreign matter. In certain embodiments of the invention, the connector includes an air inlet through which air is admitted to the can as contents are withdrawn.
One feature of the invention is the provision of an outlet connector comprising a fitting having a portion insertable through the opening of a can and a second portion extending outwardly from the first for sealed engageof the can, is split to facilitate insertion and to permit complete draining of the can contents.
Still another feature of the invention is the provision of an air inlet for the can. In one form, the air inlet comprises an opening through the body of the first portion of the fitting, while in another embodiment it is provided by a small rib on the sealing flange, which rests on the surface of the can providing air inlet passages on either side thereof.
Yet a further feature of the invention is that the outlet connector has a plug portion with an annular, curved surface which engages curled fingers of the can defining the opening therein. The annular surface of the plug extends beyond the periphery of the can opening, so that the plug snaps into place in the can.
And another feature of the invention is that the connector has formed thereon a nursing nipple.
Further features and advantages of the invention will readily be apparent from the following specification and from the drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a broken sectional view of a bulk container showing an outlet fitting embodying the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an elevation of a can with anipple connector mounted thereon;
FIGURE 3 is a vertical section taken generally along line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a transverse section looking upwardly at the bottom of the nipple, taken along line 44 of FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is a vertical section through the nipple;
FIGURE 6 is a bottom plan view of the nipple;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view illustrating one type of air inlet;
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged fragmentary view illustrating a modified air inlet;
FIGURE 9 is a bottom plan of the nipple of FIG- URE 8;
FIGURE 10 is a fragmentary section taken generally along the line 10'10 of FIGURE 8; and
FIGURE 11 is a view of the end of a nipple illustrating a modified outlet.
The embodiment of the connector shown in FIGURE 1 is particularly adapted for use in the nurser filling systent of the parent application. In that system, expandable nursers are filled from a bulk container of infant nursing formula. The filling operation is carried out by gravity flow of the nursing formula from the bulk container through a sealed connection to the nurser which is supported at a lower level than the container. As the nurser is filled, it expands, and flow stops automatically when the filling is completed. The filling apparatus is closed off and connected with an empty nurser, whereupon the operation can be repeated.
The connector or filling set 15 is shown in detail in FIGURE 1. The bulk container or can 16 has a generally planar end member 17 which is suitably punctured to receive a fitting 18 which carries an elongated tube 19 that reaches substantially to the opposite or lower end of the can. A length of flexible tubing 20 is connected with tube 19 and has aflixed to its opposite end a suitable fitting 21 for connection with the nurser to be filled.
Can connector fitting 18 is provided with an air passage 22 therethrough, which has an enlarged outer portion in which a filtering material, as a wad of cotton 23, is received. The fitting 18 includes a first or plug portion 25 which is inserted through the opening in the end surface 17 of the can, and has a curved wall surface which engages the inturned portions of the can end wall, formed when the can is punctured. Fitting 18 has a shoulder 26 which seats against the end surface 17 of the can. An outwardly extending flange 27 is deformed upon connection of the fitting with the can and seals tightly against the end surface 17. The flange 27 is of a rather thin and flexible material so that a good seal is effected.
The can of bulk formula material preferably has a series of ribs 17a formed in the end surface 17 thereof, adding to the strength of the container. A relatively small circular flat area 17b is left in the center of the end. The opening which is formed in the end of the can to receive fitting 18 is located in the central portion of the area 17b so that the flange 27 has a generally flat surface against which to seal.
The bulk can of formula is punctured and the filling set 15 attached thereto. The bulk can is then placed on an elevated support and the connector fitting 21 inserted into a nurser. Flow to the nurser is by siphon action, which may be started by manually expanding the nurser to reduce the pressure therein, and continues until the nurser is filled. Flexible tube 20 is then shut off by a 3 secured to an end thereof. The upper body 32 of the connector fitting is generally cylindrical in shape and has an enlarged nursing tip 33 provided with a cross-cut slit opening 34.
Details of the construction of one form of the nipple connector are shown in FIGURES 3, 4 and 5. The can 30 has a generally flat end member 36, preferably of an easily puncturable sheet material, as aluminum. A centrally located opening 37 in the can end 36 is defined by a plurality of fingers 38 which extend downwardly into the can and curl away from the opening. The opening may be formed by a suitable punch-type can opener. A punch having a circular cylindrical body with a conical, pointed end has been found satisfactory to form the illustrated opening in an aluminum can end. Such a punch is shown in Barton D. 196,062.
The nipple connector fitting 31 has a first or resilient plug portion 40 which is inserted through the opening 37 into the can. The plug portion has an annular shoulder 41 which extends outwardly beyond the inner edges of curled fingers 38 to grip the fingers and hold the connector fitting to the can. The upper annular surface 42 of the shoulder 41 is curved to complement the curled fingers enhancing the gripping action.
The second or upper portion 45 of the nipple connector includes an annular body 46 which seats against the upper surface of the can. The outer edge 47 of the annular body is spaced from the can surface and a flange 48 extends outwardly from the body and beyond the inner surface 49 which seats against the can (FIGURE Flange 48 is relatively thin and quite flexible, and has an edge 5'0 which is flared outwardly. The flange is deformed upon insertion of the connector into the can (compare FIGURES 5 and 3) with the flange conforming to irregularities of the can end and providing a tight seal therewith.
A central bore 52 through the body of the nipple connector provides a flow passage for the formula to the nursing portion of the nipple.
Plug portion 40 of the nipple connector is preferably slotted longitudinally as indicated at 54 to divide the plug into separate flexible fingers 55 The finger construction provides an increased flexibility in the plug portion to facilitate insertion into the opening in the can. Furthermore, the slots 54 permit complete draining of the can contents into the bore 52 of the nipple. With the four equally spaced slots illustrated in the drawings, substantially all of the contents of the can can be drained regardless of the position in which the nurser is held. This eliminates any concern on the part of the user about the position of the can during feeding.
Preferably, the plug portion of the nurser connector is of a relatively hard material, although flexible, as compared with the upper or nursing portion which is preferably soft and quite flexible. The entire structure may be molded of a rubber material. The characteristics of the plug portion may be achieved by a suitable heat treatment during or subsequent to the molding operation.
It is desirable to provide some means for admitting air to the can to replace the liquid withdrawn during nursing. This is particularly important in a nurser utilizing a nipple with a slit-type opening 34 which acts as a check valve, effectively preventing the entry of air through the nursing outlet. FIGURES 5 and 6 illustrate a can connector with an air inlet opening 60 formed in the annular body portion 46. The air inlet passage adjacent the surface 47 of the connector body has a reduced diameter portion 61 such that air is readily admitted, but the formula will leak out only very slowly, if at all. The lower portion of air inlet pasage 60 opens into the base of one of the slots '54 in the plug portion of the connector so that the incoming air flows readily into the can.
A modified nipple connector is illustrated in FIGURES 8, 9 and 10. Like reference numerals will be used to indicate like parts of the connector. There are two prin- 4 cipal differences. The first is that the slots 54 defining the fingers 55' of the plug portion 40 extend upwardly into but only partially through the connector, and substantially above the annular body 46 of the second nipple portion 45. This adds to the flexibility of the fingers and increases the facility with which the nipple may be inserted into and removed from the opening in the can.
The second difference is in the nature of the air inlet. As best seen in FIGURES 9 and 10, a rib 65 is provided on the under surface of flange 48. This rib spaces a portion of the flange on either side thereof from the surface of the can end 36, permitting air to enter the annular space 66 surrounding body 46, through the small passages 67. The thickness of the annular body 46 prevents it from making an intimate seal with the can surface throughout its entire extent. Accordingly, adequate access for the air from channel 66 to the interior of the can is provided. The air inlet construction of FIGURES 8, 9 and 10 is less susceptible to leakage than is the inlet opening of FIGURES 6 and 7.
A further modification ofthe nipple connector is illustrated in FIGURE 11, where three outlet holes 70 are provided in theend of the nipple, rather than the slit-type opening shown in FIGURES 2-6, 8 and 9. These holes provide a further air inlet in addition to affording an outlet for the formula.
1. An outlet connector for a can having an opening in the surface thereof, comprising: a plug portion insertable through said opening; a second portion extending outwardly from said plug portion for sealed engagement with .said can, said second portion comprising an annular body having a lower surface which seats against the surface of the can and an outer edge spaced from said can surface; said lower surface being recessed to form a flexible flange at the outer extremity thereof, said flexible flange extending outwardly and downwardly from said outer edge to a plane beyond and below the lower surface of said second portion so that said flange conforms to the irregularities of the can. surface to provide a tight seal therewith; and means defining a flow passage for the contents of the can and passing through said connector.
2. The outlet connector of claim 1 wherein said flow passage is defined by a bore extending through both of said portions.
3. An outlet connector as in. claim 1 wherein said plug engages the inner surface of said opening to hold said flange in sealed engagement with the surface of a can.
4. An outlet connector for a can having an opening in a surface thereof, comprising: a plug portion insertable through said opening, said plug portion being provided with longitudinally extending radial slots dividing the plug into separate flexible fingers which increase the flexibility of the plug to facilitate insertion of the plug into the opening; a second portion extending outwardly from said plug portion for sealed engagement with said can, said second portion comprising an annular body having a lower surface which seats against the surface of the can and an outer edge spaced from said can surface; a flexible flange extending outwardly from said outer edge to a plane be yond the lower surface of said second portion so that said flange conforms to the irregularities of the can surface to provide a tight seal therewith; and means defining a flow passage for contents of the can and passing through said connector.
5. An outlet connector fora can having an opening in a surface thereof, comprising: a first portion insertable through said opening; a second portion extending outwardly from the first portion for sealed engagement with said can; said lower surface being recessed to form a flexible flange at the outer extremity thereof, said flexible flange extending outwardly and downwardly from said second portion to a plane beyond and below the point of sealed engagement of said second portion with said can so that said flange conforms to the irregularities of the can surface to provide a tight seal therewith; and means defining a flow passage for the contents of the can and passing through said connector.
6. The outlet connector of claim 5 wherein said flow passage is defined by a bore extending through both portions of said fitting.
7. An outlet connector for a can having an opening in a surface thereof, comprising: a first portion insertable through said opening, said first portion being provided with longitudinal slots dividing said portion into separate flexible fingers which increase the flexibility of said portion to facilitate insertion of the portion into the opening of the can; a second portion extending outwardly from the first portion for sealed engagement with said can; a flexible flange extending outwardly from said second portion to a plane beyond the point of sealed engagement of said second portion with said can so that said flange conforms to the irregularities of the can surface to provide a tight seal therewith; and means defining a flow passage for the contents of the can and passing through said connector.
8. An outlet connector for a can having an opening in the surface thereof, comprising: a plug portion insertable throughsaid opening, said plug portion being provided with longitudinal slots dividing the plug into separate flexible fingers which increase the flexibility of the plug to facilitate insertion of the plug into the opening of the can; a second portion extending outwardly from said plug portion for sealed engagement with said can; and means defining a flow passage for the contents of the can passing through both portions of said connector.
9. The can connector of claim 8 wherein the separate flexible fingers of the plug portion are in parallel longitudinal alignment when said can connector is in a static unconnected position and wherein said fingers are compressed and urged against the can opening when inserted therethrough.
10. An outlet connector for a can having an opening in the surface thereof; a plug portion insertable through said opening, said plug portion being provided with longitudinal slots dividing the plug into separate flexible fingers which increase the flexibility of the plug to facilitate insertion of the plug into the opening of the can; said longitudinal slots being of suflicient width to provide a permanent gap between said fingers after insertion of References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 194,859 9/1877 Bullard.
279,935 6/ 1883 Glattstein.
453,511 6/ 1891 Schimmel. 2,513,272 7/1950 Bowen 222-490 2,628,906 2/1953 Horan 215-11 X 2,628,908 2/1953 Horan 215-11 X 2,628,912 2/1953 Horan 215-11 X 2,687,831 8/ 1954 Miller 222-569 2,727,659 12/ 1955 Nyden 222-566 X 2,780,378 2/1957 Romano 215-11 2,792,976 5/ 1957 Stewart 222-569 2,895,655 7/1959 Persak 222-530 X 2,939,598 6/1960 Donleavy 215-11 3,042,272 7 1962 Anderson 22369 X 3,075,676 1/1963 Borah 222-527 FOREIGN PATENTS 564,063 9/ 1958 Canada.
LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.
FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, EVERETT W. KIRBY,
J. B. MARBET, S. H. TOLLBERG, Assistant Examiners.