US 3418059 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 24, 1968 H. K. ROBE 3,413,059
msrnusnn PACKAGE FOR PLOWABLE MATERIALS AND us'rnon OF FORMING SAME Filed larch 20, 1967 v 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIE--3- yg fg- HARLAN KARL R065 AT T OI'NEYS H. K. ROBE DISPENSER PACKAGE FOR FLOWABLE MATERIALS Dec. 24, 1968 AND METHOD OF FORMING SAME 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 20, 1967 INVENTOR. HARL/M/ KARI. ROBE swwzz ATTOANEYS Dec. 24, 1968 H. K. ROBE 3 3 DISPENSER PACKAGE FOR FLOWABLE MATERIALS AND METHOD OF FORMING SAME Fnec March 20, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIE ."Z'B- INVENTOR.
HARM/V K419i ROBE rron/5 1 5 United States Patent DISPENSER PACKAGE FOR FLOWABLE MATERIALS AND METHOD OF FORM- ING SAME Harlan K. Robe, Robe Associates, 1833 Edgewood Drive, Palo Alto, Calif. 94303 Filed Mar. 20, 1967, Ser. No. 624,520 7 Claims. (Cl. 401266) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A dispenser package in the form of a flexible pouch having a constricted throat orifice separating the main portion of the pouch from a dispenser portion having one or more dispensing outlets, the pouch also having one or more secondary throats at the dispensing outlets, the throats serving to smooth out the fiow material being pressed from the pouch. In one form of the invention, the dispenser portion of the pouch is flattened and stiflened to provide a spreader. The walls of the pouch may be thickened to make them stiffer at the throat and at the dispenser portion. Relatively stiff members are arranged on opposite sides of the pouch for protection and to assist in expelling the contents. A method is provided for forming the pouch by sealing together stacked sheets of plastic around a periphery to form a pouch of the desired configuration and, in another version, by forming a tube, gathering the tube material at spaced locations and applying heat to form a thickened, stiffened portion for the throat orifice.
Background of the invention This invention relates to a dispenser package for flowable materials and the method of forming same. More particularly, the invention relates to flexible walled containers which may be squeezed to extrude the contents through an outlet.
It has long been known to package relatively viscous flowable materials in flexible walled tubes in such manner that the contents will be ejected in desired amounts when the tube is squeezed. When flexible plastic became widely available, an increasing variety of flowable materials were packaged in flexible wall plastic containers in the nature of closed tubes or pouches.
The previously known dispenser packages have one fault in common. When variations occur in squeezing pressure, the material will often spurt in an uncontrolled way from the outlet and sometimes miss the object at which it is directed. This is particularly true as the viscosity of the contents becomes less and the size of the outlet decreases. Such uncontrolled Spurting is wasteful of the contents and creates many clean-up problems.
Another fault shared by conventional flexible wall dispenser packages is the difiiculty encountered in removing all of the contents. This is wasteful and prevents real accuracy in providing pre-measured portions. A related problem occurs where it is desirable or necessary for the user to be able to squeeze out the contents of the package with one hand. Pressing out all or nearly all of the contents of prior dispenser packages usually requires two hands.
The usual flexible wall dispenser packages often must be provided with separate protective packaging, and this can prove to be expensive. The need for protective packaging increases as the flexible walls become thinner and the contents become more liquid and provide less internal support for the package walls.
3,418,059 Patented Dec. 24, 1968 Summary of the invention The dispenser package of the present invention incorporates a restricted orifice means internally of the package which serves to prevent unwanted spurting, gushing, or skipping as the contents of the package are being extruded. The interior of the package widens out again from the orifice so that sudden variations in pressure on the main portion of the package will be absorbed and damped out by a surge chamber eifect between the orifice and the outlet opening or openings. Advantage is taken of this surge chamber effect by making the crosssectional area of the outlet opening, or the combined cross-sectional area of multiple outlet openings, larger than the cross-sectional area of the orifice.
Further suppression of Spurting, in situations where it is desirable, is accomplished by forming a plurality of secondary throat orifices adjacent to and communicating with a plurality of outlet openings. These outlet openings are of larger cross-sectional area than the cross-sectional areas of the corresponding secondary orifices and the surge chamber effect is repeated with respect to each of the streams of material passing through the secondary orifices.
When used for dispensing spreadable materials, such as soft margarine, honey, thick glues, flowable cements, etc., the dispenser package of the present invention is widened adjacent to the outlet openings to provide a spreader having a spreading edge. When necessary, stiffness is imparted to the spreader by forming the walls thereof of a stiffer material than the body of the pouch. This may be by thickening the pouch material to make it stiffer, by forming the spreader walls of a different material, or by reinforcing the pouch material at the spreader. Each of these modes presents certain advantages.
Squeezing means is provided for making sure that substantially the entire contents are expressed from the flexible pouch. The squeezing means also provides the additional advantages of one hand operation and built-in protection of the package which can eliminate the necessity for separate protective packaging. The squeezing means consists basically of a pair of members formed of rigid or semi-flexible material which is much stiffer than the walls of the pouch. These members may be integrated into the pouch construction or can be separate. When separate, it is desirable to provide means for attaching the pouch to the squeezing means.
For use in dispensing materials where no spreading action is required or desired, the dispenser package of the present invention may be provided with a narrow dispensing tip, preferably made rigid in the manner described in connection with the spreader. The constricted orifice may be provided in this tip, and a plug device, such as a pin or small screw, may be engaged in the throat orifice to seal in the contents of the pouch and keep the orifice open for repeated use.
The present invention also contemplates a method of forming the flexible wall pouch by sealing together two sheets of plastic around a periphery defining the pouch and the constricted throat and a method of forming the pouch from a continuous web of sheet plastic and providing the pouch with an integrally formed, stiffened dispensing tip.
It is therefore a principal object of the present invention to provide a dispenser package for flowable materials in which the contents may be squeezed from the package in a smooth and continuous stream without uncontrolled Spurting and gushing.
Another object of the invention is to provide a dispenser package adapted for squeezing out of the contents and which incorporates a relatively stiff spreader having an edge adapted for spreading the contents as they are extruded from the package.
A further object of the invention is to provide a dispenser package of the character described which is formed so that substantially all of the contents may be squeezed from the package, and this may be accomplished with one hand.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a dispenser package of the character described which does not require separate protective packaging in relatively rigid walled containers.
Another object of the invention is to provide a dispenser package of the character set forth which is formed with an integral, stiffened tip adapted for placing the contents of the package in desired locations as the contents are extruded from the package.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a method of forming a dispenser package of the character described from low cost, readily available materials in a rapid and inexpensive manner.
Other objects and features of advantage will become apparent from the following specification and claims.
Brief description the drawings FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a dispenser package constructed in accordance with the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of a flexible pouch similar to the pouch forming a portion of the dispenser package illustrated in FIG. 1, but having a different dispensing outlet configuration.
FIGURE 3 is a plan view of a different form of flexible pouch constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the manner of opening the pouch.
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a modified form of flexible pouch shown in operative position for applying a spread to a slice of bread.
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of the dispensing end of a dispensing end of a dispenser package constructed in accordance with the present invention and having an integrally formed dispensing tip.
FIGURE 6 is a schematic view illustrating a method of forming a flexible pouch having an integral dispensing tip in accordance with the present invention.
FIGURE 7A is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of the lower portion of a pair of mold members illustrated in FIGURE 6 and schematically shows a device for cutting off the end of the dispensing tip and forming a depression therein.
FIGURE 7B is a view similar to FIGURE 7A, but illustrating the cut-off and forming device in another position.
While I have shown only the preferred forms of my invention, it should be understood that various changes or modifications may be made within the scope of the claims attached hereto without departing from the spirit of the invention.
Referring to the drawings in detail, it will be seen that the dispenser package of the present invention includes a flexible pouch 11 adapted to contain a flowable material and having provision for a dispensing outlet 12, the pouch 11 being formed to provide a constricted throat orifice 13 between the main portion 14 of the pouch and the portion 16 of the pouch adjacent to the dispensing outlet 12, the orifice 13 being of smaller cross-sectional area than the dispensing outlet whereby irregularities in the flow of material from the portion 14, caused by irregular squeezing pressure on the pouch, will be smoothed out before the material passes through the dispensing outlet 12.
The pouch 11 may be formed of any material capable of providing flexible walls defining the pouch. The material chosen should be capable of standing the flexing and pressures to be encountered without bursting, and should also be inert to the materials contained. Suitable materials may be chosen from a wide variety of low-cost, readily available plastics. The pouch 11 may be formed of sheet material, or it may be molded or cast. Therefore, any suitable material can be used, so long as it possesses the described characteristics.
The dispenser package illustrated in FIGURES 1 through 4 of the drawings may be used to spread the contents of the package on a flat surface as they are squeezed from the package. For this purpose, the portion 16 of the pouch adjacent to the dispensing outlet 12 widens out sufficiently to provide a spreader 17 having one or more openings 18 along the spreading edge 19 to provide the dispensing outlet 12. Preferably, the openings 18 are arranged to provide an even flow of material from the package over the width of the spreader. For this purpose, a single opening 18 may be provided in the form of a slit extending along the spreader edge 19, or the openings 18 may consist of a plurality of perforations arrayed evenly along the spreader edge, as illustrated in FIGURE 1.
The manner of gripping the dispenser package and using the spreader may best be seen in FIGURE 4 of the drawings. As shown therein, the main portion 14 of the flexible wall pouch 11 is gripped in the hand 21 of the user with the spreader 17 extending therefrom in position to be used to spread out the contents of the package as they are extruded from the spreader edge 19. As there shown, the package is being used to dispense a spread, such as soft margarine or mayonnaise, onto a slice of bread 22. It should be noted, however, that the present invention is also useful for spreading out many other flowable materials such as, for example, flowable cements and protective coatings.
In the form of the invention illustrated in FIGURE 4 of the invention, the smoothing out action of the constricted throat orifice 13 is enhanced by the provision of a plurality of secondary constricted throat orifices 23 communicating the portion 16 of pouch 11 with corresponding openings 18 providing the outlet 12. Of course, the openings 18 are larger in cross-sectional area than the secondary constricted throat orifices 23 so the latter will also act to further smooth out the flow of material as it emanates from the openings 18.
The described stiffening of the spreader 17 may be accomplished by thickening the material of the pouch 11 at the spreader, either by providing a thicker wall section or attaching reinforcing laminations. Where it is desired to provide the outlet 12 in the form of a single slit 24, the slit may be formed in the spreading edge 19 or may be provided in either of the walls of the spreader 17, see FIGURE 2.
It is often desirable to be able to squeeze out all of the contents of a dispenser package of the general character described herein. For this purpose, a squeezer means 26 is provided, see FIGURE 1. The means 26 is formed to be gripped by one hand and serves as a handle for the package as well as a squeezer.
As shown in FIGURE 1, the squeezer means 26 includes a pair of relatively stilf members 27 and 28 disposed on opposite sides of the pouch 11 so that movement of the members 27 and 28 toward each other will exert pressure on the pouch and force out the contents. Preferably, one of the members 27 or 28 is attached to the pouch 11 to keep the latter from moving relative to the means 26 when pressure is exerted.
In order to protect conventional dispenser packages against damage, etc., it is often necessary to encase them in a relatively rigid package. This is expensive and is largely avoided by applicants means 26 which serve also to provide necessary reinforcement and protection for the pouch 11.
As shown in FIGURE 1 of the drawings, the members 27 and 28 are connected together at the end of the pouch remote from the outlet 12. This connection may either be hinged or be a rigid connection, as shown. As the members 27 and 28 are moved toward each other, the contents of the pouch 11 will be displaced first from the end opposite the outlet 12. This effect is increased by forming the members 27 and 28 to diverge more rapidly toward their distal ends so that pressing of the members 27 and 28 toward each other will squeeze the pouch 11 progressively toward the dispenser outlet 12.
The dispenser package of the present invention is also adapted for depositing its contents in relatively inaccessible locations. For this purpose, the pouch 11 is formed with an elongated tip 31. Preferably, the tip 31 is stiffened, and this stiffening may be provided by thickening the pouch walls thereat as shown in FIGURE 5 of the drawings. The extreme end of tip 31 is open to provide the dispensing outlet 12, but is formed with a dished in or dimpled portion leading back to the constricted throat orifice 13. A small, elongated object, such as pin 32, or a small screw, may be removably mounted in the orifice 13 to protect the contents of the pouch and to keep the orifice 13 open for repeated use.
As an important feature of the present invention, a method is provided for forming the flexible pouch 11 from sheet material. In this method, a stacked pair of sheets of flexible material are sealed together around a periphery 33 to provide the pouch 11. Confronting areas 34 and 36 of the sheets are sealed together interiorly of the periphery 33 to provide the main pouch portion 14 and the dispensing portion 16 separated by the constricted throat orifice 13 defined by the unsealed areas of the sheets.
Where it is desired to provide the secondary constricted throat orifices 23, the sheets are sealed together along the spreading edge 19 in a plurality of triangular areas 37. As may be seen in FIGURE 3, severing of the sheets from the rest of the package along the edge 19 will then form a plurality of dispensing openings 18 separated from the dispenser portion 16 by secondary constricted throat orifices 23 defined by the unsealed areas.
As shown in FIGURE 6 of the drawings, the flexible pouch dispenser package of the present invention may be formed from a web 41 of thermoplastic sheet material. This is accomplished by forming and sealing the web into a tube 42, gathering the material of the tube at spaced intervals, and applying heat to the gathered material to form a thickened portion for a constricted throat orifice 13. This method is illustrated schematically in FIGURE 6 of the drawings. As there shown, a roll 43 of thermoplastic sheet material feeds a continuous web 41 to a forming roller 44 which cooperates with a heat sealing device 46 to form the material into the tube 42. As the tube 42 progresses downwardly, the material is gathered together by a plurality of elongated members 47 extending radially with respect to the tube and adapted to be moved inwardly toward the center of the tube.
The gathered material then progresses downwardly between two forming dies 48 and 49 adapted to move together and press against the gathered material. The desired heating action is supplied by heating the die members 48 and 49 in a conventional manner, such as by the use of electrical heating elements (not shown).
As soon as the material of the tube 42 is gathered together by the action of members 47, a desired quantity of flowable material 51 is introduced into the tube above the gathered portion by a downwardly extending probe 52.
As soon as the gathered material is fused by the application of heat, the tube 42 is pulled downwardly by a sufficient distance to allow the operation of the measured portion of flowable material. Thus, a continuous string of dispenser packages is formed and these may either be severed, or sold together in a string. In the latter case, it is preferred to weaken the material at a suitable location so the pouches may readily be detached from the string.
FIGURES 7A and 7B of the drawings schematically illustrate a device for providing the indentation in the end of the probe formed by the gathered, fused material, see the foregoing discussion in connection with FIGURE 5 of the drawings. As shown in FIGURES 7A and 7B, the said device is mounted at the lower ends of the mold members 48 and 49 and consists essentially of a plurality of jaws or fingers 53 mounted to swing inwardly from the position shown in FIGURE 7A to the position shown in FIGURE 7B. The fingers 53 are heated, preferably by the same means used to heat the mold members 48 and 49 and, as they swing inwardly, the fingers 53 sever the fused material and form the indentation at the tip. After the indentation is formed, the arms 53 swing back out of the way.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the dispenser package of the present invention is particularly versatile both as to the materials which may be dispensed and the dispensing situations in which the package is useful. Additional advantages are provided by one-handed operation, the provision of a squeezing device which provides both a handle and protection for the package, by the constricted throat orifice construction which smoothes out and eliminates unwanted spurting or gushing, and by being able to form the package either with a narrow dispensing tip or a broad spreader. The dispenser package may be easily and rapidly formed from inexpensive and readily available materials by the method of the present invention, which may be adapted to produce a wide variety of packages from a wide variety of starting materials.
1. A dispenser package for flowable materials, comprising a flexible pouch adapted to contain the flowable material and having provision for a dispensing outlet, said pouch being formed to provide an integral constricted throat orifice between the main portion of the pouch and the portion of the pouch adjacent to said dispensing outlet, said orifice being of smaller cross-sectional area than said dispensing outlet whereby irregularities in the flow of material from said main portion of the pouch caused by irregular squeezing pressure on the pouch will be smoothed out before the material passes through the dispensing outlet, said portion of the pouch adjacent to said dispensing outlet being widened out, and said dispensing outlet being provided in the form of a plurality of perforations arrayed along an edge of said portion, said portion being formed with a plurality of secondary constricted throat orifices between each of said perforations and said first named constricted throat orifice, with each of said secondary constricted throat orifices being of smaller cross-sectional area than said perforations so as to further smooth out the flow of material through said perforations.
2. A dispenser package as described in claim 1 and wherein said portion of said pouch adjacent to said dispensing outlet is stiffened to provide an integral spreader, and stiffening of said spreader is accomplished by thickening the material of the pouch thereat.
3. A dispenser package as described in claim 1 and wherein said pouch is provided with a squeezer device for expressing the contents of said pouch through said dispensing outlet,
4. A dispenser package as described in claim 3 and wherein said squeezer device includes a pair of relatively stiff members disposed on opposite sides of said pouch.
5. A dispenser package as described in claim 4 and wherein one of said members is attached to said pouch.
6. A dispenser package as described in claim 4 and wherein said members are connected at the end of the pouch remote from said dispensing out et.
7. A dispenser package as described in claim 6 and wherein said members are rigidly connected and are formed of relatively stiff semi-flexible material, said members being formed to diverge more rapidly toward their distal ends whereby pressing of said members toward each other will squeeze said pouch progressively toward said dispensing outlet.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Mussinan 222-92 X Brooks 222-541 X Hubbard 222-103 Merle 222-103 Scherer 222-541 Burbank 53-28 X Grady 53-193 Rausing.
Johnson 222-107 X Anderson et a1. 15-595 Reggio 15-539 LeBrooy 222-107 X FOREIGN PATENTS Belgium. Great Britain. Great Britain.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
KENNETH N. LEIMER, Assistant Examiner.
US. Cl. X.R.