US 3270919 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 6, 1966 J. FRANGos ETAL 3,270,919
AEROSOL DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed April 1e, 1964 United States Patent O "ice 3,27tl,919 AERS'UL DISPENSHNG APPARATUS John `Frangos, Brooklyn, NY., and Mitten Schwarz, Westport, Conn., assigner-s to Revlon, inc., New York, NX. Filed Apr. 16, 1964, Ser. No. 360,225 1 Claim. (Cl. Z22-d2) This invention relates to dispensing uid from pressure containers under propelling actioin of an aerosol or other propellant wthin the container and, more particularly, to valving and dispensing apparatus whereby a metered dose of material is dispensed upon each operation of a self-contained valve and dosaging mechanism `for separate attachment to any of a variety of otherwise unvalved aerosol containers.
As will be understood, a wide variety of materials may be dispensed from pressurized containers under the action of gaseous or vaporiza'ble propellant therein as with the so-called aerosol types of packaging. Generally in situations of this character, the material to be dispensed is admixed with a propellant (gas or highly volatile liquid, etc.) in a sealed container having a valved eduction tube therein whereby opening the valve prevides for the propellant to force the material to be dispensed up the eduction tube and out of the container.
Among the many materials which are conventionally so packaged and dispensed may be noted certain medicaments for inhalation therapy (such as stimulants for symptomatic emergency treatment of heart patients, vasoactive pharamaceuticals, etc.) as well as expensive and potent perfumes and similar materials where it is desired to have each application or dose rather carefully limited to no more than a relatively small amount and within considerably closer tolerances than may be readily achieved or assured merely by the individual users voluntary or critical control of the dispensing mechanism itself.
If it is attempted to build into the conventional valving structure in each such aerosol dispenser or container an arrangement for metering each dose to within close tolerance critical limits, some difficulties may be experienced from a variety of sources. For example, the very nature of emergency inhalation therapy pharmaceuticals :and expensive perfumes may indicate the desirability of having the entire container and valving mechanism formed as a relatively small vial with the entire metering and dosaging mechanism and dispensing valve arrangement having a gross outside diameter of not much more than 1/2 inch or 5%; inch, and to be capable of dispensing metered doses of no more than 35-50 mg. of the material within the container upon each operation of the dispenser or valve. Also, for medical reasons and/or to comply with government regulations, such as those of the Federal Food and Drug Administration, it may be desired to have each such tiny dosage accurately dispensed to within 5% tolerance variations from dose to dose.
Considering such small dosages and close tolerance accuracy requirements, especially when combined with a desire to maintain -the entire metering and dosaging apparatus and valve mechanism to relatively tiny sizes, and when the organic and/ or solvent nature of the particular materials and propellants therefor is further considered, substantial diliiculty may be encountere-d in manufacturing such small valving and dosaging apparatus to such close tolerance accuracy and utilizing adequately resistant )materials for continued and repeated accurately reproducible dosaging performance at costs which remain, even with large production, within the desirably low range, especially when the user may exhaust each small container and Ibe forced to replace it within a relatively short space of time such as once a month or something of that order.
Furthermore, although the aerosol dispensing of such materials may be highly desirable (as compared to air Patented Sept. 6, 1966 pressure atomizers, eye droppers, etc.) ffor a variety of practical and medical and commercial reasons, the aerosol technique may be considered as having certain limitations which do not permit, for example, ready refilling of a used container (as is possible with regular atomizers or pharmacy-dispensed bottles) by anyone who does not have an adequate apparatus for doing so. Also, the utilization of aerosol-dispensed arrangement, particularly in the foregoing situations, may interject an extra and unnecessary element of cost, especially if an accurate metering valve must be factory-incorporated into each small container and repurchased anew by the user frequently whenever the container is exhausted.
According to this invention, however, there are provided inexpensive metering valve arrangements as a separate unit which may tbe accurately manufactured to the desired tolerances and utilized with a variety of refill containers or vials of desira-bly small size and substantially less expensive construction, thereby to provide minimal expense and the desired accurate metering valve or dosaging arrangement which may be utilized with any of a plurality of inexpensive and non-valved refill containers, thus to avoid the necessity of repurchasing a metering or dosaging or valving arrangement each time the container is exhausted and/ or of using a less expensive or cheaply manufactured metering valve for critical dosaging operations; and, as a further feature of this invention, there is also provided for changing the removable valving arrangement from one container to another, even before the container is exhausted and without venting the pressurized container or admitting air into the sterile contents thereof even during removal and/ or replacement of the valving arrangement.
With the 'foregoing and .additional objects in mind, this invention will now be described in more detail, and other objects and advantages hereof will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a view in elevation of an aerosol container and dosaging and metering valving apparatus embodying and for practicing this invention;
FlG. 2 is a view on a somewhat larger scale and in axial section of the separable metering and dosaging valve arrangement of FIG. 1 and the mating portion of the container thereof shown as separate and prior to engagenient;
FIG. 3 is a View similar to FIG. 2 but showing the dosaging and metering arrangement engaged with the replaceable pressurized container and with the valve shown in the position of dispensing a metered dose; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary detail of a modification for the metering end of the valve mechanism of FIGS. 2 and 3 especially adapted for use with materials having a tendency to cause swelling and distortion of rubber and/ or plastic washers.
Referring to the drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views thereof, apparatus embodying and for practicing this invention is illustrated as comprising a container 10 (which may be of glass, plastic, metal, etc., in known manner) having a top closure 11 culminating in a threaded neck portion 12 (FIG. 2) encasing an interior portion 13 from which depends an eduction tube 14 leading to adjacent the bottom of the container and up which eduction tube liquid or fluid materials to be dispensed are forced by the pressure of the propellant within the container. The top surface l5 of threaded neck portion 12 is formed of relatively soft `and thin piercible metal or plastic, and overlies in protective manner a self-sealing soft rubber seal 16 adapted in conjunction with neck portion 12 and top surface 15 to maintain pressurized conditions within the container, yet to be readily pierced by a sharp instrument and with soft seal 16 being adapted, in known manner, to maintain a seal around any instrument piercing therethrough into container and to be self-closing upon the withdrawal of any such piercing means.
As will be apparent from the foregoing, container 10 yand closure 11 and the aforementioned sealing means are provided separately and without any valving means whatsoever for dispensing fluid from container 10, thus readily providing for packaging and selling the container 10 and fluid material therein in surgically sterile condition if desired and/or otherwise completely enclosed and isolated from air as may be important with the sale of pharmaceutical products. A separate and detachable and reusable metering valve and dosaging arrangement is indicated generally at as including a hollow valve body 21 having at the bottom thereof an internally threaded skirt portion 22 for threaded engagement over and around threaded neck 12 on container 10.
Valve 20 also includes a valve stem 23 reciprocable in valve body 21 and preferably carrying at the top thereof a control button or cap 24 having therein a dispensing orifice 25. Valve stem 23 communicates between the inside and outside valve body 21 through a seal 30, and includes a shoulder portion 31 against which acts a spring 32 tending to urge valve stem 23 into upward or closed position as shown in FIG. 2. Also forming a part of valve stem 23 is a metering valve member 35 having a reduced diameter or off-set portion 36 at the bottom thereof. At the lower portion of hollow valve body 21 is a lower seal 37 through which passes metering valve portions 35 and 36 with the related configuration indicated generally by comparison of FIGS. 2 and 3 whereby, when the valve stem 23 is in the upper position shown in FIG. 2, reduced diameter portion 36 is adjacent seal 37 and extending through a passage through the seal adjacent to reduced diameter portion, while, in the lower position of the assembly as in FIG. 3, metering valve portion 35 completely closes the opening through seal 37 against the passage of material therethrough.
Also at the bottom of valve body 21 is a sharp or pointed piercing inlet nipple 40, substantially entirely within threaded skirt 22, and arranged so that the lower piercing end of nipple 40 will pierce surface 15 and seal 16 in the closure of container 10 upon threading skirt 22 of metering valve 20 onto and around threaded neck 12 to provide the arrangement of these particular parts noted in FIG. 3 and also to provide communication with inlet nipple 40 and eduction tube 14 within container 10.
An outlet port 41 is provided in valve stem 23 and communicating through the side thereof into an axial passage therethrough. In the normal or ofi` position of the valve arrangement indicated in FIG. 2, outlet port or opening 41 is above seal 30 and out of communication with the interior of hollow valve body 21. In the lower dispensing position of the arrangement indicated in FIG. 3, however, depressing valve stein 23 against the action of spring 32 has moved outlet port 41 to below seal 30 and into a position of ow communication between the inside of hollow valve body 21 and the axial passage in valve stem 23 for the passage and ejection of materials from valve body 21 up hollow stem 23 and out dispensing nozzle orifice in cap 24. As will also be apparent from the foregoing, the coordination of diinensioning and relationships of the parts is arranged, in well understood manner, so that the metering valve portion will close and seal with lower seal 37 when valve stem 23 is depressed suiciently for outlet port 41 therein to be moved below or out of sealing engagement with upper seal 30, whereas any time outlet port 41 is raised sufficiently to be in sealing engagement with or above upper seal 30, only reduced diameter portion 36 of the metering valve stem is adjacent lower seal 37 to permit passage of material from eduction tube 14 up past seal 37 into hollow valve body 21.
As will be apparent from the foregoing, threading metering valve assembly 20 onto threaded neck 12 of container 10 causes piercing inlet nipple 40 to pierce rubber seal 16 and provide flow communication between inside of container 10, through eduction tube 14 therein, and the interior hollow valve body 21 so that material within the container may be forced upwardly by propellant therein to fill hollow valve body 21 because of reduced diameter portion 36 being out of sealing engagement with lower seal 37.
So long as valve stem 23 is in the upper or `closed position of FIG. 2, there is no escape of material from valve body 21. When cap 24 and valve stem 23 are depressed, however, into the position of FIG. 3, outlet port 41 is moved below upper seal 30 and permits flow of any material within valve body 21 outwardly through stem 23 and dispensing orice 25 under the action of propellant therein. In such depressed position, metering valve 35 is in sealing engagement with lower seal 37, then preventing further ow of material from eduction tube 14 into main valve body 21, so the only material which can be dispensed up hollow stem 23 is that quantity which was previously contained within valve body 21. Upon release of stem 23 and upward movement thereof under the action of spring 32, of course, reduced diameter portion 36 then is moved adjacent lower seal 37 and an additional quantity of material fills valve body 21, awaiting a subsequent dispensing upon depressing valve stem 23. In this manner, and depending upon the volumetric capacity of valve body 21, an accurately controlled and readily reproducible metered dosage of material is dispensed through dispensing orifice 25 each time valve stem 23 is depressed, and with the quantity of such dosage being accurately controlled merely through the selection and design of the particular size or internal effective storing capacity of valve body 21.
With certain materials and/or solvents thereof to be dispensed from container 10, however, there may be some constituents present which have a swelling or other disruptive action on a material such as rubber or synthetic elastomers which might be utilized for lower seal 37 and with the result that the central opening therein may tend to swell sufiiciently to inhibit or interrupt passage of material therethrough even when it is only reduced to diameter portion 36 which is adjacent lower seal 37. In such situations, it may be preferred to utilize, instead of merely a reduced diameter portion on mixing metering valve stem 35, an arrangement somewhat as diagrammed in FIG. 4.
In this arrangement, the lower portion of metering valve stem 35, instead of carrying a reduced diameter portion 36, is formed of. substantially the same outside diameter throughout its whole length, but includes an axial passage 45 therein and inlet port 46. In the raised position of the needling valve arrangement shown in FIG. 4 (i.e., with main valve raised as in FIG. 2), material from Within container 1t) flows up eduction tube 14 and piercing inlet nipple 40 and through passage 45 in the valve stem to emerge therefrom through port 46 into the inside of valve body 21. When the metering valve is to be closed (as in the dispensing position of the arrangement indicated in FIG. 3), depressing main valve 23 and metering valve stem 35 aixed thereto moves port 46 to a position in vsealing engagement with or below lower seal 37 so as to prevent further fiow of material from the container 10 into valve body 21. Since the diameter of the entire metering valve stem in this embodiment is substantially the same, any swelling effects which may occur on lower seal 37 'are prevented from interfering with the free and rapid flow of material from the container to the measured capacity interior of valve body 21.
Accordingly, there are provided in accordance herewith arrangements of apparatus whereby precisely manufactured and accurate metering and dosaging valve means are available as a small and reusable separate and det-achable unit for use with virtually any number of diierent sealed pressurized containers 10, and with the enhanced consideration that, since none of the sealed units is valved in any manner, each of them is not only less expensive than if it had valving means incorporated therein, but also more easily manufactured and more readily susceptible to specialized handling considerations and techniques as may be desired with medicaments or pharmaceuticals, and as are conventional with the manufacture and sale of certain pharmaceuticals in rubber-sealed vials for use with hypodermic syringes, and the like. Thus, both the containers and the reusable dosaging valve mechanisms may be made virtually as small as desired (the diameter of the entire valving arrangement being only a fraction of an inch, even for accommodating dosages of around 35-50 mg. of material) and the vials themselves may be made as small as desired without the added cost of having a valving and metering arrangement incorporated in each vial without the possibility of any reuse thereof. Similarly, as noted above, since the user need obtain but one dosaging device 20, regardless of how many vials 10 he may require over a period of time, a precisely and close tolerance manufactured dosaging device is permissible without the need for such stringent economies (perhaps productive of manufacturing in accuracies) as would be the case if a new metering device had to be purchased each time the contents of a vial or container 10 were exhausted or had to be replaced. Furthermore, since the vial seal 16 is of the known self-sealing rubber type conventionally used for pharmaceutical vials and since piercing inlet 40 need not be much larger than a large hypodermic needle, the disclosed arrangement permits switching the dosaging device 20 from one vial to another even before th`e contents of either are exhausted and without admitting air into vials or otherwise disturbing what may be the sterile contents thereof.
While the forms of apparatus herein described are preferred embodiments of this invention, this invention is not limited to these precise forms of apparatus and changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of this invention which is defined in the appended claim.
What is claimed is:
In metering valve apparatus of the character described for repeated application as a dispenser of a measured quantity of materials including a gaseous propellant from any one of a number of sealed containers having a threaded neck with a pierceable seal thereon, the combination which comprises a hollow axially extending valve body having top and bottom walls defining therebetween a volume measuring chamber the capaci-ty of which determines said measured quantity of materials to be dispensed, a valve stem axially reciprocable in said valve body and extending axially through both said top and bottom walls, first sealing means disposed adjacent said top wall of said valve body and surrounding said valve stern in sealing engagement therewith, second sealing means -adjacent said bottom wall of said valve body and surrounding said valve stem in sealing engagement therewith, means at the upper end of said valve stem and above said top Wall of said valve body forming an ejection orifice, a radial port in said stem axially spaced below said ejection orilice, `an axially extending internal passage in said valve stem interconnecting said radial port with said ejection oriiice providing flow. communication from said volume measuring chamber and said orifice through said port and axial `passage when said valve stem is moved to a position where said port is below said irst sealing means and within said volume measuring charnber, a reduced diameter portion at the lower end of said valve stem and extending through said second sealing means providing ow communication into said volume measuring chamber when said valve stem is in a position such that said reduced diameter portion is adjacent said second sealing means but preventing said ow into said chamber when said reduced diameter portion is wholly below said second sealing means, the axial spacing relationships of said radial port and said reduced diameter portion of said valve stem being correlated with the axial extent of said volume measuring chamber between said first and second sealing means such that said radial por-t is above said rst sealing means w-henever said reduced diameter portion permits flow throughV said second sealing means into said chamber and said reduced diameter portion is below said second sealing means preventing ilow into said -chamber whenever said radial port is below said first sealing means permitting flow through said axial passage from said chamber, biasing means effective on said valve stem and within said chamber for urging said valve upwardly toward the position where said radial port is above said first sealing means, an abutment on said valve stem for engaging said top wall of said valve body for limiting said upward movement of said stem, a threaded skirt depending from said valve body for engaging said neck portion on said se-aled containers, a generally cylindrical and pointed hollow nipple depending from said valve body and coaxially within said skirt and in flow communication with said chamber for piercing the sealed top of said containers as said skirt is threaded `down on to said neck portion thereof, said hollow nipple being disposed to receive slidably said reduced diameter por-tion of said valve Stem when said valve stem is depressed against the action of said 'biasing means and the hollow internal diameter of said nipple being llarger than said reduced diameter portion of said valve stem permitting -ow of material through said hollow nipple into said chamber.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,554,352 5/195'1 Ward et al. 2,802,696 8/ 1957 Galehazzi i-- 222-82 2,873,886 2/1959 Miskel et al. 222-91 2,968,427 1/ 1961 Meshberg.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
RAPHAEL M. LUPO, `LOUIS J. DEMBO, Examiners.
W. SOBIN, Assistant Examiner.