US 3415403 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Filed Dec. 14, 1966 INVENTOR.
United States Patent O 3,415,403 CLOSURE APPARATUS Ralph V. Bordell, Homewood, Ill., assignor to Bennett Industries, Inc., Peotone, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 14, 1966, Ser. No. 601,794 6 Claims. (Cl. 21S-42) ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE An improved container has a threaded annular projecting neck with at least one resilient llug member being pro'- vided thereon. A closure, adapted for closure over the neck, includes thread means designed to engage thread means on the neck and further includes a separably attached annular collar having at least one lug engaging ratchet tooth member, which member is adapted to interlock with the lug means on the container neck in order to lockingly hold the closure onto the container neck. The lug means on the container neck are chamfered and preferably are tapered from top to bottom in order that such lug means becomes more resistant to exing as the closure is threaded onto the container neck.
This invention generally relates to containers and more particularly to a container closure taking the form of a positively locking threadable plastic cap.
The advantages of furnishing containers with closures fabricated of plastic are well known. For example, plastic closures are cheaper and easier to manufacture than vclosures made from other substances (eg, metals). Moreover, plastic closures are more durable and create less -contamination of the container contents than closures made from other materials since plastics are generally resistant to most forms of corrosive attack.
In spite of wide acceptance and usage, plastic closures still present problems which, in some application, limit their usefulness. For example, the design of a closure device with a plastic cap which is both convenient to use and tamper proof has proven to be diiicult. In order to successfully market goods such as foods, medicines, chemicals, and other products requiring a Ihigh degree of purity, means must be provided to insure that the container has not been opened or tampered with. Many forms of seals have been devised to join a cap with a container body in such a way that tampering with the closure apparatus will be easily detected. One common form of seal is a piece of plastic tape or paper which ovenlaps the cap and container body in a manner requiring mutilation before the cap can be removed. While such a seal is tamper proof, it is unsightly since the ragged edges thereof commonly remain attached to the cap and container body after opening. Moreover, such seals are relatively expensive since they must be separately applied to the container and closure.
Moreover, diiiiculties have been encountered in designing a threaded plastic closure which will not loosen during shipment or handling and w-hich provides a convenient, removable seal. It is well known that any nonlocking plastic cap threaded onto a non-plastic container neck, even though mechanically tightened, will normally loosen due to differential expansion and contraction of the cap and neck. Even if both the cap and neck are formed of plastic, loosening can also result from flexing action therebetween as the container is jarred during shipment. Moreover, the use of seals with threaded closure devices has proven to be expensive because assembly normally .requi'res a two-step operation consisting of threading the cap and affixing the seal. v
From the above discussion it is obvious that the container arts would be advanced by the development of a ICC threadable plastic closure device which could' be positively applied to the container body to provide a sealed, tamper proof container combination, yet which is readily removable and reclosable to facilitate discharge of the container contents.
Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide an improved threadable plastic closure which can be locked to prevent loosening of the cap and. tampering with the contents of a container without detection thereof.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a closure device which can be applied to a container in a single step in order to achieve a locked, tamper proof container combination.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a closure device which can be locked in place by hand tightening without using special tools and which can be `easily removed.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a locking closure device which can be used to effectively reseal the container after the locking device has been reumoved.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a threaidable plastic closure including interlocking means which are urged into locking engagement with mating interlocking means located on a container neck as the closure is threaded onto the neck.
The foregoing and other objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will hereinafter appear, and, for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, exemplary embodiments of the present invention are shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a front view of one embodiment of the present invention as used in connection with an exemplary container body s-hown therein;
FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view, partially in section, of the container closure;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary elevational view of the neck portion of the container body;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view of the container closure illustrating the ratchet teeth provided thereon;
FIGURE 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6--6 in FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary view lof a modified closure in accordance with the present invention.
Brieily described, the present invention takes the form of a closure arrangement for a container comprising: a container body having an opening formed therein, an annular projecting neck being integrally formed around the opening in the container body, with thread means being provided on the neck. At least one resilient lug member is provided on the neck, and a closure is adapted for placement over the neck and includes a top wall structure and a cylindrical depending side wall structure, with thread means being provided on the closure side wall structure, the thread means being adapted to threadably engage the thread means on the neck, whereby relative rotational motion between the closure and the container body in a first direction causes the closure to be drawn downwardly over the neck. An annular collar is separably attached to the closure side wall structure, and at `least one lug engaging ratchet tooth member is provided on the collar, the said tooth member being adapted to interlock with the lug means on the container neck when the closure has been threaded onto the container neck thereby to preclude relative rotational motion between the closure and the convtainer body in a direction opposite to the said rst direc- '.tion, whereby the closure is maintained in locked, sealed tight engagement with the container body and whereby when the collar is separated from the side wall structure of the closure, the closure may be rotated in said opposite direction in order to threadably remove the closure from the neck.
With reference to the drawings, FIGURE 1 illustrates the preferred embodiment of the present invention in the form of a closure 8 associated with a container body 9. Obviously, closure device 8 may be used with many forms of container bodies and is not limited in its applications to a container body of the precise design illustrated in FIG- URE 1. The closure 8 and container body 9 are preferably molded of suitable plastics (e.g., polyethylene and the like) and may be fabricated by conventional molding techniques Well known to the art (e.g., blow-molding and injection molding).
As best shown in FIGURE 2, closure 8 comprises a cap portion 10 and a collar portion 12. More specifically, cap 10 comprises a top wall structure 13, a cylindrical depending side wall structure 15, a series f threads 16 being provided on the inner surface of side wall structure 15.
While the top wall structure 13 of cap 10 is shown to be generally flat in the drawings, as will be obvious to those skilled in the art, the cap could be modified to accommodate a push-pull type flex spout of the type disclosed in Smith U.S. Patent No. 3,040,938, and, of course, other well known modifications could be made in the over-all cap structure without departing from the teachings of the present invention.
As seen in FIGURES 2 and 5, collar 12 comprises a cylindrical wall structure 31 having a plurality of ratchet teeth 32 formed on the inner surface thereof. Teeth 32 have faces 34 for a purpose that will hereinafter be described. Although sixteen teeth are included in the preferred embodiment herein, the advantages of the present invention may be achieved with substantially any number thereof.
Collar 12 is preferably integrally molded with depending wall structure 15 of cap 10. As shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, collar 12 is separated therefrom by a horizontal groove 22, which permits collar 12 to be severed from cap by cutting with a knife along groove 22. Alternatively, as shown in FIGURE 7, collar 12 may be jointed to wall structure by perforations 22' or other means for facilitating separation thereof as will be hereinafter described in detail. Groove 22 may also be molded more ,deeply than shown in FIGURE 2 in order to allow separation of cap 10 and collar 12 without use of a knife. If groove 22 is molded sutliciently deep, the relatively thin layer of plastic between cap 10 and collar 12 will crack if sufficient torque is appied to cap 10 in a counterclockwise direction. Also, a pull tab could be mounted on collar 12 to facilitate separation of the collar and capside wall structure collar 12.
As can best be seen in FIGURE 3, a anged neck is integrally attached at its lower end to a top wall structure 18 of container body 9. While top Wall structure 18 is downwardly tapered, as will be obvious to those skilled in the art, the top wall structure may also be flat. Thus, the flanged neck may be provided on substantially any top Wall structure.
Neck 20 has molded thereon a series of exterior threads 14 which are designed to matingly engage threads 16 of cap portion 10. As shown in FIGURES 3 and 5, neck 20 has molded thereon a plurality of lugs 24. Each lug 24 has a tooth engaging face 29 adapted to matingly engage the corresponding face 34 of a ratchet tooth 32 (see FIGURE 6) to prevent movement of the collar 12 in a counterclockwise direction (as viewed in FIGURE 6). Each lug is chamfered at 30, chamber 30 being wider at the top than at the bottom. The difference in width of chamfer 30 provides a diminishing flexing action of the lug 24 as the closure 8 is threaded onto neck 20. While chamfer 30 is preferably tapered, chamfers of uniform cross-section are nonetheless encompassed by the concepts of the present invention. It should be understood that, although four lugs 24 are disclosed in the preferred embodiment herein,
the results of the present invention may be achieved with any number of lugs.
In operation, cap 10 and collar 12 may be easily locked in position on neck 20 by threading cap threads 16 onto neck threads 14. As cap 10 is progressively drawn downwardly onto neck 20 by the threading operation, ratchet teeth 32 of collar 12 are gradually revolved down and around lugs 24. As the teeth contact the lugs, the lugs flex inwardly, and, due to their inheret resiliency, snap back outwardly. As the teeth 32 approach the thicker portion of each lug 24 (i.e., the portion where chamfer 30 is smallest), lugs 24 become more resistant to fiexing. Eventually, a point is reached in which lugs 24 resist further flexing and the collar 12 is at this point locked in position, since the engagement of corresponding faces 29, 34 precludes counterrotation of closure 8 with respect to the container body 9. At this point top wa'll structure 13 preferably engages the upper surface of neck 20 thereby effectively sealing the container. Of course, a conventional sealing gasket (not shown) could be interposed between neck 20 and top wall structure 13. Even if chamfer 30 is not tapered, the closure will be locked in sealed tight condition when this point is reached.
The entire closing and locking operaton can be accomplished Without the use of special tools. In fact, closure 8 can be tightened and locked on neck 20 by merely rotating closure 8 with the hand. Moreover, once the closure S is in its locked position, the contents of container 9 are sealed within the container, since tamper proof closure 8 cannot be removed from neck 20 without separating collar 12 from cap 10.
When removal of closure 8 is desired, collar 12 is severed from cap 10 by drawing a knife around the circumference of groove 22, or, alternatively, if groove 22 is sufiiciently deep, separation may be eected by twisting cap 10 sharply in a counterclockwise direction to crack the plastic in groove 22. After separation is completed, cap 10 may be easily removed from neck 20 by merely unscrewing the former from the latter. After removal, cap 10 operates as a conventional threaded closure and may `be easily screwed onto neck assembly 11 to achieve a sealed reclosure thereof. Consequently, while the present closure apparatus is effective to lock closure 8 on neck 20 to prevent loosening thereof and tampering therewith prior to the initial opening (i.e., during shipment and storage), it is also effective to provide a means of tightly reclosing the container body to preserve the contents thereof after the initial opening.
Furthermore, the previously described initial sealing and locking of closure 8 on container body 9 is achieved with a minimum effort since the mechanical advantage supplied by the threading operation of cap 10 on neck 20 is utilized to urge ratchet teeth 32 into locking and sealing engagement with lugs 24.
While the particular arrangement shown in the drawings (i.e., lugs provided on the container neck and ratchet teeth provided in association with the closure) form Athe preferred structure for the subject invention, the reverse arrangement may also be satisfactorily employed (that is, a plurality of ratchet teeth may be provided on the container neck, with flexible lugs being provided on the inner surface of the collar portion of the cap). Of course, if such `a reversal of elements is employed, the lower portion of the lugs should be more flexible and the upper portion less flexible. SuchV an arrangement may be readily achieved by providing a chamfer that is the reverse of that illustrated in FIGURE 3 (i.e., wider at the bottom than at the top). Likewise, the arrangement shown in the drawing could be modified by chamfering the ratchet teeth in order to make them flexible and by making the lugs solid and relatively inflexible.
In accordance with the present invention, a novel, useful container closure arrangement is provided, one which is inexpensive to manufacture and simple to use, yet which is effective to provide a locked, uid-tight seal prior to the initial opening and to provide for satisfactory closing and reopening `after the initial opening of the container.
What is claimed is:
1. A closure arrangement for a `container comprising:
a container body having an opening formed therein;
an integrally formed annular projecting neck `around the opening in the container body;
thread means on the neck;
at least one resilient lug member on the neck;
a closure adapted for placement over the neck and including a top wall structure and a cylindrical de pending side wall structure;
thread means on the closure side wall structure and adapted to threadably engage the thread means on the neck whereby relative rotational motion between the closure and the container body in a rst direction causes the closure to be drawn downwardly over the neck;
an annular collar separably attached to the closure side wall structure; and
at least one lug engaging ratchet tooth member on the collar adapted to interlock with the lug member on the container neck when the closure has been threaded onto the container neck thereby to preclude relative rotational motion between the closure and the container body in a direction opposite to the said rst direction,
the face of the lug member that is adapted to interlock with a corresponding lug engaging ratchet tooth being chamfered whereby the lug member eXes inwardly out of the path of `the ratchet tooth during relative rotational motion between the closure and container body in said first direction, the said lug member being adapted to flex outwardly thereafter to its Irespective normal position as the ratchet tooth Inoves therepast so as to restore the lug member into such position as to cooperate with the ratchet tooth to preclude relative rotational motion between the closure and the container body in said opposite direction,
whereby the closure is maintained in locked, sealed tight engagement with the container body and whereby when the collar is separated from the side wall structure of the closure, the closure may be rotated in said opposite direction in order to threadably remove the closure from the neck.
2. An arrangement, as claimed in claim 1, wherein the lug member is wider circumferentially at its bottom than at its top.
3. An arrangement, as claimed in claim 2, wherein the container body, closure, and annular collar are all molded from polyethylene plastic.
4. Anarrangement, as -claimed in claim 3, wherein a plurality of lug members are provided on the container neck at equally spaced intervals and below the thread means thereon and wherein a plurality of lug engaging ratchet teeth are provided on the collar at equally spaced intervals, at least as many teeth being provided on the collar as lug members are provided on the container neck, whereby when the closure is in locked, sealed tight engagement with the container body, each of the lug members interlocks with a corresponding lug engaging tooth on the collar.
5. An arrangement, as claimed in claim 3, wherein the annular collar is separably attached to the closure side wall structure by means of a segment of plastic having a thickness relatively thinner than the closure side wall structure and collar.
6. An arrangement, as claimed in claim 3, wherein the annular collar is separably attached to the closure side wall structure by means of a segment of plastic having a plurality of `perforations formed therein thereby to form a severance line.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,124,874 7/1938 Conner et al. 215-42 3,310,191 3/1967 Kern et al 21S-42 3,314,564 4/1967 Anderson et al. 215-42 X FOREIGN PATENTS 847,332 9/ 1960 Great Britain.
DONALD F. NORTON, Primary Examiner.