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Publication numberUS3323276 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 6, 1967
Filing dateFeb 28, 1966
Priority dateFeb 28, 1966
Publication numberUS 3323276 A, US 3323276A, US-A-3323276, US3323276 A, US3323276A
InventorsJohn W Thomas
Original AssigneeAluminum Co Of America
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Closures and methods for applying same
US 3323276 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 6, 1967 J, w, THOMAS CLOSURES AND METHODS FOR APPLYING SAME Filed Feb 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 HIIIHHII IIIHIIIIIIIH INVENTOR. JOHN H. THOMAS iwp fw A f I orney June 6, 1967 J, w, THOMAS CLOSURES AND METHODS FOR APPLYING SAME 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 28, 1966 IN l/EN TOR. JOHN W. THOMA S y A I I am ey June 1967 r J. w. THOMAS 3,323,276

CLOSURES AND METHODS FOR APPLYING SAME Filed Feb. 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet .3

I E:- I34 l'86 so /40| I46 66 56 52 1 mime INVE/V TOR.

JOHN W. THOMA S A I farney June 6, 1967 J. w. THOMAS 3,323,276

CLOSURES AND METHODS FOR APPLYING SAME Filed Feb. 28. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 4- Ill/MENTOR. 8 JOHN W THOMAS y a wasiw Attorney United States Patent 3,323,276 crosoruzs AND METHODS FOR APPLYING SAME This invention is generally concerned with the art of packaging and is more specifically addressed to axially nestable closure elements or fitments capable of unitized assembly and adapted to be aflixed on containers in a single station tool setup to provide hermetically sealed unitized tamperproof packages responding to authorized fracture and removal of a protective shroud or overseal portion thereof to produce a single use non-refillable throw-way contents-dispensing package.

Tamperproof or pilferproof packages incorporating nestable closure elements and/or fitments falling within the scope and practice of the invention lend themselves to packaging and dispensing sterilized portions or servings of fluids, including medicinal and/ or sterilized potable liquids, a prime example of which is dietetic liquid formulae for infant consumption, in which latter case a package of the invention is preferably provided in the form of a non-refillable vacuumized container or bottle having a flexible feeding nipple permanently sealed and secured thereto and over which a shroud is removably secured to protect the nipple against contamination prior to authorized expo-sure of the nipple and dispensing use of the package.

It is therefore a primary object of the invention to provide a unitized closure assembly adapted tobe affixed to a container to provide a non-refillable protectively shrouded tamperproof package.

Another object of the invention is to provide a closure assembly comprising several separately fabricated elements in axially concentric unitized nested assembly adapted to be affixed as a single unit in a single station closure-applying operation.

A further object of the invention is to provide a novel method for applying closure elements or fitments of the invention on containers by application of axial and resultant circumferential forces generated by a single integrated tool setup.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be fully understood and appreciated from consideration of the following specification.

Closure elements typical of the invention, prior to and after integrated afiixation to containers to provide tamperproof non-refillable packages in accordance with the practice and advantages of the invention, are hereinafter fully described in the following specification in conjunction with the appened illustrations, in which:

FIG. 1 represents an exploded view, in partial sectional elevation, of several separate elements prior to axially nested assembly thereof, to provide a preferred unitized closure assembly in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 represents a unitized closure assembly, in partial sectional elevation, of the elements of FIG. 1 typical of an article of manufacture adapted to be afiixed to a container in a single tool setup to provide a tamperproof nonrefillable package;

FIG. 3 represents a fragmentary sectional elevational view of a modification of one of the elements illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 represents a fragmentary sectional elevational view of a modification of another of the elements of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 represents a sectional plan view taken on the plane 55 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 represents a composite sectional view of the unitized closure assembly of FIG. 2 prior to and after affixation thereof on an underlying complementary container;

FIG. 7 represents a partial sectional elevational view of the afi'ixed unitized closure assembly of FIG. 6 with the protective shroud authorizedly removed;

FIG. 8 represents a tool setup, in partial sectional elevation, employed in atfixing closure assemblies of the invention on underlying containers; and

FIG. 9 represents the tool setup of FIG. 8 illustrating completion of a closure afiixation operation on a container.

Exemplary embodiments and modifications of unitized closure assemblies of the invention, capable of fulfilling the requirements of an article of manufacture, comprise and are structurally definable in terms of closure elements or fitments including an apertured sealing disk and overlying contents dispensing member, such as a flexible infant-feeding nipple, adapted to be sealed against or ad jacent an upwardly directed sealing finish of a container or bottle, in combination with an inner locking ferrule engageable against an upwardly directed surface of an outwardly extending base of the flexible nipple and having a depending generally cylindrical skirt adapted to be permanently deformed below an outwardly projecting retaining means carried by an exterior side finish of the container, contiguous with the top sealing finish thereof, to thereby provide permanently clamped. and sealed affixation of the nipple and sealing disk in respect to the sealing finish or finishes of the container. The depending skirt of the inner locking ferrule is also provided with inwardly projecting means below the undersurface of the marginal edge of the sealing disk in restraint of axial separation of an axially nested unitized sub-assembly comprising the nipple, sealing disk and inner locking ferrule. Furthermore, the inner locking ferrule skirt is provided with an outwardly projecting configuration or means in aid of permanent aflixation of the aforesaid unitized subassembly on its underlying container, as will be hereinafter explained.

In further characterization of unitized closure assemblies of the invention, a protective shroud or overseal is provided in axially nestable overlying relationship to the contents dispensing member, and in the case of the feeding nipple the shroud is configured to provide an upstanding tubular dome portion for enclosing the conventional teat portion of the feeding nipple and terminates in an outwardly directed radial base flange substantially coextensive in radial extent to the underlying nipple base and overlying flange of the inner locking ferrule engaging thereagainst.

An outer closure securing ferrule is also required as a component part of unitized closure assemblies satisfying a preferred practice of the invention. The outer ferrule is provided With an inwardly directed upper flange in overlying registry with the upwardly directed surface of the base flange of the protective shroud and also has a depending generally cylindrical skirt of axial length substantially equivalent to at least the axial thickness of the superimposed shroud base flange, flexible nipple base and sealing disk, as well as the axial extent of the depending skirt of the inner locking ferrule in the plane of its previously-mentioned outwardly projecting configuration, where the outer ferrule skirt is outwardly expanded or shouldered to engage with the aforesaid outwardly projecting configuration of the inner locking ferrule, as well as dependingly circumferentially encircling the same. The outer ferrule skirt is also axially extended some pre- 3 selected axial distance below its aforesaid outwardly shouldered configuration to permit independent securement of the outer ferrule to its container.

An essential structural feature in unitization of the closure assembly thus far described is the provision of interiorly inwardly projecting means within the axial length of the depending skirt of the outer ferrule in underlying axial interference and axial restraining relationship in respect to the inner locking ferrule to thusprovide a unitized axially nestable multi-part closure assembly in accordance with the invention.

Authorized removal of the outer ferrule and protective shroud to expose a permanently secured and sealed contents dispensing member, following aflixation of a unit ary closure assembly on a container as hereinafter described, is accomplished by providing a digitally rupturable tell-tale fracture Zone in the outer ferrule.

In more detail, and referring to the illustrations appended hereto, a container 10, such as a molded or blown glass or plastic bottle, is provided having an entrance opening defined by an upwardly directed substantially flat closure sealing surface or finish 12 and a lateral or side finish 14 contiguous therewith. Axially below the side finish 14 a lateral projection, such as the locking bead 16, provides an inwardly extending groove 18 below and radially outwardly beyond which a spiral thread 20 is provided, the minimum circumferential root diameter trace of which thread is in excess of the outer circumferential trace of the locking bead 16. The spiral thread 20, or equivalent outwardly projecting closure attaching means, terminates at its axial lower end in a lateral projection, such as the locking shoulder or bead 22, it being understood that the circumferential tnaces defining the side or lateral surfaces 14, bead 16, groove 18, threads 20 and locking shoulder 22 are concentric within regularly experienced manufacturing tolerances.

A unitized closure assembly adapted to be afiixed to the container 10, in accordance with a practice of the invention, will be best appreciated in respect to its individual elements and unitized assembly thereof on reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. With particular initial reference to the exploded view illustrated in FIG. 1, it will be observed that a subsequently unitized closure assembly satisfying the invention includes a contents dispensing member, such as a flexible natural or synthetic rubber infant-feeding nipple 30, having an upstanding teat portion 32 and a laterally outwardly directed base 34, As herein selected for purposes of illustration, the nipple 30 terminates in a perforated discharge mammilla or suckling orifice 36, and the base 34 presents a relatively flat undersurface 38 preferably upwardly centrally recessed at 40 and having a marginal edge downwardly directed feather. edge rim 42 of generally. transverse inverted substantially triangular configuration, the apex of which is downwardly directed.

' In addition, the upwardly directed surface of the nipple base 34 is preferably inwardly and upwardly stepped or shouldered at 44 to provide adjacent substantially horizontal flat stepped surfaces 46 and 48, the latter being inwardly disposed and providing a thickened inner flange cross-section adjacent the lower end of the teat extension 32 of the nipple. One ormore atmospheric vent apertures.

50 are also provided axially through the nipple base 34.

A substantially rigid sealing disk 52 has been selected for undersurface marginal sealing disposition against the upwardly directedsealing finish 12 of container -and uppersurface underlying contact against the underside surface 38 of the nipple base 34. In this regard, it will be observed that the underlying marginal annular edge area of the sealing disk52 is provided with a sealing material 54, which can take the form of a flowed-in elastomeric sealing compound or an annular cut-ring elastomeric gasket. The sealing disk52 is otherwise preferably provided with one or more apertures 56 for communication between the interior of the container 10 and per- 4- forated suckling or discharge mammilla orifice 36 of the nipple 30, and is also preferably depressed to provide an annular groove 53 within which apertures 56 are preferably located.

An inner locking ferrule 58 of aluminum, or similar permanently deformable material, is preferably employed in unitized closure assemblies fabricated and assembled in accordance with the invention. The locking ferrule 58 is provided with an inwardly directed top flange 60 and a contiguously depending generally cylindrical skirt 62. The radial extent of the top flange 60 is such as to preferably provide coextensive overlying clamping engagement against the outer downwardly stepped annular surface 46 of the nipple base 34, with the immediately depending contiguous skirt portion 64 thereof being selected to concentrically encircle the peripheral outer marginal edges of the nipple base 34 and sealing disk 52, the depending skirt 62 being otherwise provided with inwardly projecting means, illustrated as an inwardly depressed continuous circumferential groove 66, or circumferentially spaced nibs or indentations 68 (FIG. 3), axially below and in interference and restraint against axial downward withdrawal of the nipple 30 and sealing disk 52 nested within the inner locking ferrule 58 (FIG. 2). It will thus be observed that the nipple 30 and sealing disk 52 are restrained in unitized sub-assembly within the inner locking ferrule 58.

In addition, and in respect to inner locking ferrule 58, the depending skirt 62 thereof is outwardly extended or projected to provide a circumferentially enlarged entrance to the lower open end thereof. This has been accomplished by downward divergence of the depending skirt at 70 followed by a contiguous right cylindrical extension thereof terminating in an outwardly directed circumferential bead 72. In effect, the diverging and beaded treatment of the depending skirt 62 of the inner locking ferrule 58, herein described, serves to provide an outwardly projecting configuration axially below the inwardly projecting axial restraining means 66 or 68 above described. The circumferential bead 72 is preferably indented, notched, or inwardly nibbed at spaced intervals 74, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the purpose of which will be hereinafter described.

A protective shroud 76 is provided for overlying enclosing disposition in respect to the nipple 36. The shroud 76 is provided with an upstanding tubular dome projection or extension 78 and radially outwardly extending base flange 80 and has been chosen in the form of a blanked and drawn aluminum or equivalent metallic member. Manifestly many other commercially available materials, such as molded resilient natural or synthetic relatively hard rubber, or the like, could be employed for the shroud 76.

If desired, the shroud 76 may be configurated at its closed end to provide a concave inner surface area 82 substantially complementary to the upper outer convex mammilla surface 36 of the nipple teat extension 32 for assembled surface engagement and sealing contact against the suckling or discharge orifice of the nipple 30. However, this sealing contact is neither essential nor has it been illustrated as a significant feature of the invention.

An outer ferrule 84, fabriacted from aluminum or similar permanently deformable sheet material, is an essential element of unitized closure assemblies satisfying the invention. This ferrule has an inwardly directed upper flange 86 and generally cylindrical depending skirt 88 contiguous therewith. The flange 8-6 is selected in radial inward extent to overlie substantially the full radial extent of the base flange 80 of the protective shroud 76 in axial registry therewithin.

Depending skirt 88 of the outer ferrule is outwardly shouldered at 90 to provide an annular internal shouldered surface in overlying axial registry and interferable axial contact against the outwardly projecting configuration or bead 72 of the inner ferrule 58, the skirt 88 depending downwardly from the shoulder 90 in encircling or surrounding disposition of the bead 72 a sufl'icient axial distance to circumferentially overlie the thread configuration 20 on the container 10, where the skirt 88 may be again slightly outwardly expanded to overlie the lower locking bead or similar outward projection 22 on the container or bottle 10.

The outer ferrule 84 serves the dual purpose of a clamping member, through engagement of its upper flange 86 against the upwardly directed surface of the shroud base flange 80, and as a means for unitizing the closure assembly (FIG. 2) by the provision of inwardly projecting means, such as a circumferentially inwardly depressed continuous groove 92, or circumferentially inwardly depressed and spaced nibs 94 (FIG. 4), in axial inwardly directed interference and underlying restrain against axial withdrawal of the inner locking ferrule 58 and the latters associated or integrated nipple 30 and sealing disk 52.

The outer ferrule 84 is also provided with a digitally rupturable fracture zone or band 96 illustrated in the form of a circumferential line or band of interrupted slots axially below the depressed groove 92 in the skirt 88 thereof. The skirt 88 is also preferably provided with a circumferential band of flutes 98, or is otherwise suitably roughened as by knurling, to permit digital grasping of the same in the intended practice of the invention. The line or zone of rupturable fracture, identified at 96, it may if desired be located in a valley formed between the outwardly projected beads 100 and 102 which will serve to protect against any raw fractured edge developed during authorized opening of a package of the invention.

The five individual closure elements illustrated in the exploded view of FIG. 1 are each capable of individual fabriaction; are concentrically and axially nestable; and respond under axially applied assembly pressure, within the elastic limit of the material or materials of the inner locking ferrule 58 and outer ferrule 84, to overcome inwardly projecting interference in the form of the inner ferrule inwardly depressed groove 66 or nibs 68, as well as the outer ferrule inwardly depressed groove 92 or nibs 94, Without destroying the effective axial restraint performed thereby, to produce the unitized closure assembly of FIG. 2, which is herein termed a snap-interlocking assembly of the five individual closure elements.

Affixation of the unitized closure assembly of FIG. 2, in hermetically sealed tamperproof condition on a bottle or container 10, is best illustrated in FIG. 6. Therein the unitized closure assembly of FIG. 2 of the invention is illustrated loosely supported upon the upper sealing finish 12 of the container, left of center, and in affixed condition on the container, right of center.

While unitized interlocking assembly of a multi-part closure has been provided under the practice of the invention thus far described thereby permitting conventional hoppering, conveying and initial loose application of a unitized closure assembly of the invention upon its complementary container, final affixation of such unitized closure assemblies on containers presents a problemfor which this invention provides a solution. Comparison of the affixed closure assembly on the right of center to that of the loosely applied closure on the left of center of FIG. 6 will clearly reveal that permanent sealing securement of the nipple 30 and disk 52 on the container 10, to effect a non-refillable package, has had to be accomplished by permanent deformation of the inner locking ferrule 58 by application of forces exterior to the outer ferrule 84. This affixation problem has been satisfactorily resolved and is hereinafter described in terms of process or method steps, practice of which, in simplified form, is now described in terms of the single tool setup illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9.

In a preferred practice of the invention, axially nestably unitized closure elements of the invention (FIG. 2), loosely or unsecuredly supported on their underlying containers, are delivered in sequential order into axial alignment beneath a tool setup 106 of a closure affixing mechanism. The mechanism 106 (FIGS. 8 and 9) responds to relative axial movement towards and away from a so loosely supported closure assembly to frictionally engage the exterior surface of the protective shroud 76 thereof Within the throat formed by a natural or synthetic rubber O-ring 1% carried within the channel groove 110 in the interior wall 112 of a top pressure block element 114 to thereby cause axial separation of the container 10 and its unitized closure assembly (FIG. 8).

In the thus axially separated condition of the unitized closure assembly and container or bottle 18, best revealed in FIG. 8, live steam or inert atmosphere or vapor, or mixtures thereof, may be injected under pressure from a supply manifold 116 through upwardly directed jet apertures 118 within the depending skirt of the outer ferrule 84 to flush all interior surfaces of the unitized closure assembly of FIG. 2 in direct communication with the interior of the outer ferrule 84, thus sterilizing such treated surfaces. Similarly, downwardly directed jets 120 Will serve to flush out the head space of container 10 and sterilize the container mouth areas contiguous therewith. As will be fully appreciated, trapped steam within the head space of a subsequently hermetically sealed container 10 will be productive of a vacuumized unitized closure-containing package under the practice of the invention.

Permanent sealing and affixation of closures falling within the scope of the invention, illustrated on the right of center of FIG. 6 as well as in FIG. 9, is carried out and accomplished by providing an outer sleeve element 122 in surrounding relative axial translatory supporting assembly in respect to the interior top pressure block 114 of the tool setup 106. Examination of FIGS. 8 and 9 will reveal that the sleeve element 122 is interiorly shouldered at 126 for supporting engagement on a circumferential ledge 124 provided at the juncture of the top pressure block 114 and a central reduced projection 128 thereof. In addition, integrated interconnection between the surrounding sleeve 122 and pressure block 114 is accomplished by a cross-bar or transverse pin 13d fixedly carried by an actuating shaft or plunger 132, opposite lateral projecting portions of the pin 130 being received within diametrically opposite elongate apertures or slots 134 in the reduced projection 128 of the pressure block 114, with further extending contiguous opposite end portions of the pin 130 being fixedly received within opposite aligned bores 136 in the head of the sleeve element 122. It will be observed that the described pin and slot connection here described provides for unitary axial movement of the pressure block 114 and outer sleeve 122 in a downward direction in response to downward movement of actuating shaft 132. On the other hand, axial upward movement of sleeve 122, shaft 132 and interconnecting transverse pin 130, relative to the pressure block 114, is possible within the length of the elongate slots 134 in the reduced extension 128 of the block member 114 in adjustment to accommodate variations in container heights, sealing surfaces and unitized closure assembly skirt lengths.

Following steam or other vapor or gas treatment and introduction thereof Within the container 10 head space, and with the pressure block 114 and surrounding sleeve 122 disposed as illustrated in FIG. 8, the next step in the practice of the invention entails hermetic sealing and afiixation of closure assemblies of the invention on their complementary containers in the manner illustrated in FIG. 9. This is accomplished by way of relative axial movement between the container 10 and unitized closure assembly identified in entirety in FIGS. 8 and 9 by the reference numeral 160. The relative axial movement for this purpose may be accomplished from the disposition of the closure, tool and container elements disclosed in FIG. 8 to that of their disposition in FIG. 9 by raising the container It) or lowering the actuating shaft 132, or as a result of combined relative axial movement thereof towards each other to bring about abutting contact between the underside substantially flat horizontal annular pressure-exerting surface 140 of the pressure block 114 and underlying similarly substantially flat horizontal upwardly directed annular surface of the outer ferrule flange 86 (FIGS. 1 and 2) to thereby compress the flexible nipple base 34 and sealing disk elastomeric liner or gasket 54 to "hermetically seal the mouth entrance to the container 10 defined by the annular sealing finish 12 thereof. The resultant axially applied force or pressure exerted by the pressure block 114 is resisted by the resilient properties of the flexible nipple base 34, and its upwardly stepped annular surfaces 46 and 48, as well as by a similar property of the sealing material or gasket 54 of the sealing disk 52, and the resisting rigid characteristic of the container ltl, up to a pressure preferably preselected in amount to compressibly deform the upstanding or stepped annular area 48 of the nipple base 34 in substantially coextensive coplanar radial alignment with the upwardly directed surface of the inner ferrule flange 6t} (FIGS. 1, 6 and 9). If desired, an annular flowed-in elastomeric sealing medium 142 may be provided within the depending flange 144 of the metallic shroud base flange 80 to provide a positive seal between it and the outwardly directed annular surface area of the depending skirt portion 64 of the inner locking ferrule 58 adjacent thereto.

Displacement of the upstanding or stepped portion 48 of the nipple base 34 in providing the aforesaid hermetic seal against the container finish 12 also reacts to displace and transform the underside of the nipple base 34 to eliminate its centrally disposed recess 40 and seal off the apertures 56 in hte sealing disk 52, substantially horizontal flat superimposed contact being established between the upwardly directed surface of the disk 52 and overlying initially recessed downwardly directed undersurface of the nipple base 34. The outer edge peripheral inverted triangular bead or rim 42 of the nipple base 34 insures filling any circumferential gap between an outer peripheral flanged edge of the sealing disk 52 and inner circumferential surface of the inner locking ferrule depending skirt 64 radially spaced therefrom.

It will be observed from FIGS. 8 and 9 that the axial thrust developed between the annular pressure-applying surface 140 of the pressure block 114 and underlying upper flange 86 of the outer ferrule 84-, as well as any axial or relative axial movement between the pressure block 114 and container It), in accomplishment of the above-described hermetic seal across the container finish 12, is directly reflected in axial movement of the sleeve 122 in engagement of its lower throat-defining shouldered entrance edge 146 against the outwardly extending shoulder 90 of the outer ferrule 84, and as a result of relative axial movement between the inner and outer ferrules 58 and 84, respectively, and engagement of the inner surface of the shoulder 90 of the outer ferrule 84 against the outwardly projecting bead 72 carried by the inner ferrule 58, the inner ferrule bead 72, and/or a portion of the depending skirt 62 contiguous therewith, is circumferentially permanently deformed or inwardly collapsed into axially locking condition in respect to the outwardly projecting shoulder or bead 16 on the container 10. The detents or notches 74 (FIG. in the bead 72 react in this regard and serve as circumferentially spaced hinge points in the radially inwardly directed collapse of the initial circumferential trace of the bead 72.

At this stage of the practice of the method of the invention, the hermetic seal between the underside of the sealing disk 52 and container finish 12 has not only been established, but the inner locking ferrule 58 has been permanently secured to the container to retain the hermetically sealed condition of the sub-assembly comprising the flexible nipple 30, sealing disk 52 and inner 8 locking ferrule 58 upon the container 1-0, as a non-refill'- able package.

Without disturbing the axial thrust exerted by the pressure block 114 and surrounding sleeve 122, one or more conventional thread rolling disks or rollers 148 are brought into position, as. through oscillatable movement thereof, for permanently conforming an axial length of the depending skirt 88 of the outer ferrule 84 to the thread 20 on the container 10. In similar manner, a flange turning disk or roller 150, as through similar oscillatable movement, is employed to permanently deform and lock the lower edge of the depending skirt 88 beneath the outwardly projecting shoulder or bead 22 on the container ltl. The thread rolling rollers or disks 148 and flanging roller or disk 150 may be rotated about the vertical axis of the container 10, unitized closure assembly, and tool setup 106, as illustrated in FIG. 9, or the disks 148 and 150 may be brought intoengagement with the depending skirt 88 of the outer ferrule (FIG. 9) and the tool setup 106 and container-unitized closure assembly rotated about their aligned vertical axes in performance of the threading and securing method steps of the invention. In practice, the thread rolling step may substantially, if not completely, eliminate the depressed groove 92. and/or nibs 94 in the outer ferrule skirt 88'.

Authorized removal of. the outer tamperproof ferrule 84 and its underlying clampingly secured protective shroud 76 is accomplished by digitally rotating the outer ferrule 84' up the threads 26 of the container 10 to thus sever or rupture the. fracture zone 96 and leave the lower terminal inturned tell-tale band thereof on the container 10 (FIG. 7). Removal of the so ruptured ferrule and release of the shroud also relieves the axially exerted compressive clamping pressure of the shroud base flange against the inwardly disposed upstanding or stepped flange area 48 of the flexible nipple base 34 to permit upward flexing of the same to unseal the apertures 56 in the sealing disk 52 and thereby establish communication between the interior of container 10 and the suckling orifice 36 of the nipple 30. Also, removal of the protective shroud 76, in the event hermetic sealing had established concave in nor surface contact between the interior surface 82 of the shroud and exterior mammilla surface 36 of the nipple 30, will manifestly break any such sealing contact.

The authorized dispensing or open condition of packages, initially prepared and sealed in accordance with the invention hereinabove described, as a result of normal sucking pressure developed at the apertured mammilla 36 of the nipple 30, has been observed to activate the atmospheric vent or vents 50 (FIG. 7) to balance interior and exterior pressure conditions in the intended use of the packages. Location of the vent or vents 50, on the other hand, is optional so long as the location thereof is not radially inwardly of the apertures 56 in the disk 52.

Having selected a specific example and embodiments of unitized closure assembly for purposes only of illustrating and describing the practice of the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A unitized closure system including inner and outer axially nested dependingly skirted securing fitments and a flexibly resilient container closing member within the inner securing fitment, said closure system being characterized by:

(a) the container closing member having a radially outward extending flexibly compressible flange for overlying relationship to an upwardly directed sealing surface of a rigid container in axial registry therewith,

(-b) the inner securing fitment having an upper inwardly directed portion contiguous with its depending skirt overlying an upwardly facing surface of the container closing member,

(c) the outer axially nested securing fitment having an inwardly directed top portion contiguous with its depending skirt overlying an upwardly directed surface '9 of the inner fitment inwardly directed upper portion,

(d) said depending skirt of said outer securing fitment being axially longer than the depending skirt of said inner securing fitment,

(e) said axially nested depending skirts of said inner and outer securing fitments providing axially interfering means in response to compressive deformation of said container closing member flexible flange in compressive sealing attitude thereof in respect to said rigid container,

(f) said axially interfering means on axial relative movement between said depending nested skirts of said inner and outer securing fitments being adapted to effect radial inward permanent locking engagement of a lower terminal portion of the inner securing fitment on said container, and

(g) said depending skirt of said outer securing fitment being adapted to be axially removably secured to said container axially below said inner securing fitment.

2. The closure system in accordance with claim 1 in which the outer removable securing fitment is provided with a digitally fracturable zone indicative of authorized removal thereof.

3. A unitized closure assembly including in combination a flexible feeding nipple, an underlying rigid sealing disk, and a removable protective shroud overlying and enclosing said nipple, said unitized closure assembly being adapted to be axially placed over an exterior finish of a container, the nipple and disk permanently sealed thereto, and the shroud removably secured thereto, said unitized closure assembly comprising:

(a) the nipple having a radially outward extending flexible base in overlying disposition in respect to an upwardly directed surface of the sealing disk, with the disk having an undersurface marginal edge area capable of resilient sealing contact against a sealing finish of the container, V

(b) the disk having an aperture therethrough located marginally inwardly of its marginal edge sealing area and terminating beneath the nipple base,

(c) an inner locking ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange overlying the base of said nipple and a generally cylindrical depending skirt surrounding and extending below the outer marginal edges of the nipple base and sealing disk therewithin,

. (d) said inner ferrule skirt having inwardly directed means belowsaid disk in axial restraint of the nipple baserand disk therewithin and having in addition an outwardly directed configuration axially below said inwardly directed means,

(e) the protective shroud having a radially outwardly extending base flange overlying an upwardly directed surface of the top flange of the inner locking ferrule as well as overlying an otherwise upwardly directed surface of the nipple base radially inward of the top flange of the inner ferrule,

(f) an outer ferrule adapted to be removably secured to the container and having an inwardly directed top flange overlying an upwardly directed surface of the base flange of the shroud and a generally cylindrical depending skirt surrounding said inner ferrule skirt and extending axially below the same, and

(g) said outer ferrule depending skirt being outwardly shouldered to increase the circumference thereof and accommodate the outwardly directed configuration of the inner ferrule depending skirt with the shoulder axially engageable with an upwardly directed surface of the outwardly directed configuration of the inner ferrule depending skirt and incorporating inwardly projecting means 'below its shoulder underlying said inner ferrule depending skirt in restraint of axial withdrawal of said inner ferrule.

4. The unitized closure assembly in accordance with claim 3 in which the marginal edge sealing area of the sealing disk is provided with an terial.

5. The unitized closure assembly in accordance with claim 3 in which the depending skirt of the outer ferrule is provided with a digitally fracturable .Zone axially below said inner ferrule depending skirt indicative of authorized removal thereof.

6. A unitized closure assembly including a flexible feeding nipple and an underlying rigid sealing disk in combination with a removable protective shroud overlying and enclosing said nipple, said unitized closure assembly being adapted to be axially placed over an exterior finish of a container, the nipple and disk permanently sealed thereto and the shroud removably secured thereto, said unitized closure assembly comprising:

(a) the nipple having a radially outward extending flexible base in overlying disposition in respect to an upwardly directed surface of the sealing disk, with the disk having an undersurface marginal edge area capable of resilient sealing contact against a sealing finish of the container adapted for registry therewith,

(b) the disk having an annular depressed groove radially inwardly of its marginal edge sealing area and an aperture in said groove providing communication therethrough and terminating beneath the nipple base,

(0) an inner locking ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange overlying the base of said nipple and a generally cylindrical depending skirt surrounding and extending below the outer marginal edges of the nipple base and sealing disk in contacting stacked relationship thereof,

(d) said inner ferrule skirt having inwardly directed means below said disk in axial restraint of the nipple and disk nested therewithin and having in addition an outwardly directed configuration below said inwardly directed means,

(e) the protective shroud having a radially outwardly extending base flange overlying an upwardly directed surface of the top flange of the inner locking ferrule and an otherwise upwardly directed surface of the nipple base radially inward of the top flange of the inner ferrule,

(f) an outer ferrule adapted to be removably secured to the container and having an inwardly directed top flange overlying the upwardly directed surface of the base flange of the shroud and a generally cylindrical depending skirt surrounding said inner ferrule skirt and extending axially below the same, and

(g) said outer ferrule depending skirt being outwardly shouldered to increase the circumference thereof and accommodate the outwardly directed configuration of the inner ferrule depending skirt with the shoulder axially engageable with an upwardly directed surface of the outwardly directed configuration of the inner ferrule depending skirt and incorporating inwardly projecting means below its shoulder underlying said inner ferrule depending skirt in restraint of axial withdrawal of said inner ferrule.

7. The unitized closure assembly in accordance with claim 6 in which the radially outward extending flexible base is upwardly stepped radially inwardly from the sealing finish of the container adapted for registry therewith.

8. The method of aflixing closure fitments on containers comprising axially nestable permanently deformable inner and outer skirted securing fitments and a flexibly deformable container closure member within the inner securing member, the steps comprising:

(a) axially disposing the closure member with a downwardly directed annular surface thereof loosely supported on an upwardly directed sealing surface of the container,

(b) axially registering and disposing the inner skirted securing fitment with an underside inwardly directed upper surface contiguous with its depending skirt in elastomeric sealing ma- 1 1 contact with the closure member overlying the sealing surface of the container,

() axially registering and disposing the outer skirted securing fitment in nested relationship and upper surface engagement with said inner securing fitment with interengagement of a skirt portion of the outer securing fitment overlying, circumferentially confining and extending axially below a terminal lower edge outwardly projecting means carried by said inner securing fitment,

(d) exerting axial pressure on an upwardly exposed surface of said outer securing fitment overlying the sealing surface of said container against the resistance thereof to compressibly deform the flexible container closure member into sealing relationship with the underlying sealing surface of the container and develop relative axial movement between the inner and outer securing fitments,

(e) laterally confining the depending skirt of said outer securing fitment during the aforesaid relative axial movement axially passed the terminal lower edge outwardly projecting means carried by said inner securing fitment to thereby deform the same inwardly into permanent locked engagement with the container axially below its sealing surface,

(f) maintaining the axially exerted pressure and lateral confinement of the depending skirt of said outer securing fitment, and

(g) permanently conforming the depending skirt of said outer securing fitment axially below the permanently secured inner securing fitment in removable securement thereof on said container.

9. The method of permanetly aflflxing a flexibly deformable contents dispensing member in combination with an inner permanently locking ferrule on an upwardly directed sealing finish of a container, and providing a protective shroud enclosing said contents dispensing member in removable relationship on said container, said inner locking ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange engageable against an upwardly directed surface of said contents dispensing member and a generally cylindrical depending skirt, an outer ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange clampingly engageable with a lateral-base flange of said shroud'and-having a generally cylindrical depending skirt axially overlying and extending below the inner ferrule depending skirt, and said outer ferrule dependingskirt having an outwardly projecting configuration engageable against an underlying outwardly projecting configuration of said inner ferrule depending skirt, said method comprising the steps:

(a) axially loosely placing the dispensing member overlying an upwardly directed sealing finish defining an open entrance to said container with the depending skirts of the inner and outer ferrules coaxial to a side finish contiguous with the upwardly directed sealing finish of the container,

(b) exerting axial pressure on the top flange of the outer ferrule againstthe resistance of the underlying container to compressibly deform the flexible contents dispensing member and establish sealing relationship thereof on the container sealing surface,

(c) laterally confining the outwardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the outer ferrule during axial translation thereof passed the outwardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the inner ferrule to thereby deform the latter configurati-on inwardly into permanent locked engagement with an outwardly projecting means carried by the side finish of the container,

(d) maintaining the axially exerted pressure and lateral confinement of the outer ferrule, and

(e) permanently deforming the outer ferrule depending skirt under an axially spaced lower outwardly projecting. means carried by the side finish of the container to complete afiixation of the unitized closure assembly on the container.

10. The method of affixing a unitized closure assembly comprising a flexible contents dispensing member in combination with an inner locking ferrule on an upwardly directed sealing finish of a container, and providing a protective shroud enclosing said contents dispensing member in removable relationship on said container, said inner locking ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange engageable against an upwardly directed surface of said contents dispensing member and a generally cylindrical depending skirt, an outer ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange clampingly engageable with a lateral base flange of said shroud and having a generally cylindrical depending skirt axially overlying and extending below the inner ferrule depending skirt, the depending skirt of said inner ferrule incorporating means restraining axial separation of the contents dispensing member therefrom and the axially overlying depending skirts of said inner and outer ferrules incorporating means restraining axial separation of the unitized closure assembly, and said outer ferrule depending skirt having an outwardly projecting configuration engageable against an underlying outwardly projecting configuration of said inner ferrule depending skirt, said method comprising the steps:

(a) axially loosely placing the unitized closure assembly over the entrance to a complementary underlying container with the contents dispensing member overlying an upwardly directed sealing finish defining an open entrance to said container with the depending skirts of the inner and outer ferrules coaxial to a side finish contiguous with the upwardly directed sealing finish of the container, I

(b) exerting axial pressure on the top flange of the outer ferrule against the resistance of the underlying container to compressibly deform the flexible contents dispensing member and establish sealing relationship on the container sealing surface while axially translating the outer ferrule downwardly relative to the inner ferrule,

(c) laterally confining the outwardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the outer ferrule during axial translation thereof passed the outwardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the inner ferrule to thereby deform the latter configuration inwardly into permanent locked engagement with an outwardly projecting means carried by the side finish of the container,

(d) maintaining the axially exerted pressure and lateral confinement of the outer fer-rule, and

(e) permanently deforming the outer ferrule depending skirt under an axially spaced lower outwardly projecting means carried by the side finish of the container to complete aflixation of the unitized closure assembly on the container.

11. The method of affixing a unitized closure assembly comprising a flexible nipple having a laterally extending base in combination with a rigid sealing disk underlying said nipple base and having an annular marginal elastomeric sealing area and an annular depressed groove with an aperture therethrough inwardly spaced from its sealing area, an inner locking ferrule for permanently securing and sealing the nipple base and sealing disk with the elastomeric sealing area of the disk in contact with an upwardly directed sealing finish of a container, a protective enclosing shroud for said nipple having a lateral base flange overlying an upwardly directed surface of the nipple base, and a removable outer ferrule for securing said shroud in tamperproof relationship on said container, said inner ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange engageable with an upwardly directed surface of said nipple base and a generally cylindrical depending skirt, said outer ferrule having an inwardly directed top flange clampingly engageable with an upwardly directed surface of the base flange of said shroud and having a generally cylindrical depending skirt axially overlying and extending below the inner ferrule depending skirt, the depending skirt of said inner ferrule incorporating means restraining axial separatiOn of the nipple and sealing disk therefrom and the axially overlying depending skirts of said inner and outer ferrules incorporating means restraining axial separation of the unitized closure assembly, and said outer ferrule depending skirt having an outwardly projecting configuration engageable against an underlying outwardly projecting configuration carried by said inner ferrule depending skirt, said method comprising the steps:

(a) axially loosely placing the unitized closure assembly over the entrance to a complementary underlying container with the elastomeric sealing area of the sealing disk supported on an upwardly directed sealing finish of the container defining the entrance thereto and the depending skirts of the inner and outer ferrules coaxial to a side finish contiguous with the upwardly directed sealing finish of the container,

(b) exerting axial pressure on the top flange of the outer ferrule against the resistance of the container to compressibly deform the flexible nipple base and elastomeric sealing area of the sealing disk to establish sealing relationship of the sealing disk against the upwardly directed sealing finish of the container and sealing relationship between the flexible nipple base and upwardly directed surface of the underlying sealing disk to fill the depressed groove and aperture therein while establishing axial downward movement of the outer ferrule relative to the inner ferrule,

(c) laterally confining the outwardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the outer ferrule during its axial downward movement passed the out- Wardly projecting configuration of the depending skirt of the inner ferrule to thereby deform the latter configuration inwardly into permanent locked engagement with an outwardly projecting means carried by the side finish of the container,

(d) maintaining the axially exerted pressure and lateral confinement of the outer ferrule, and

(e) permanently deforming the outer ferrule depending skirt under an axially spaced lower outwardly projecting means carried by the side finish of the container to complete aflixation of the unitized closure assembly on the container.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.

25 D. F. NORTON, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2409788 *Oct 21, 1942Oct 22, 1946Aluminum Co Of AmericaMethod for applying closures to containers
US2982432 *Feb 25, 1959May 2, 1961Ross M MehlNursing unit
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3516564 *Jan 30, 1969Jun 23, 1970Aluminum Co Of AmericaNipple assembly and package
US3779413 *Jun 18, 1971Dec 18, 1973West CoPrimary nurser assembly
US3862654 *Mar 12, 1973Jan 28, 1975West Laboratories IncFinger protecting ampoule cap
US4356680 *Jan 14, 1981Nov 2, 1982Metal Closures LimitedMethod of applying closures to containers
US4818114 *Jun 12, 1987Apr 4, 1989Ghavi Melinda MShaker top for baby bottles
US5150801 *Mar 21, 1989Sep 29, 1992Wolfgang HeldDetachable cap for a bottle neck
US5636958 *Feb 10, 1995Jun 10, 1997Nestech Machine Systems, Inc.Slitter for tamper-evident closures
Classifications
U.S. Classification53/488, 413/10, 215/11.6
International ClassificationA61J11/00, B65D41/34
Cooperative ClassificationA61J11/008, B65D41/348
European ClassificationB65D41/34F, A61J11/00Z2