US 3507666 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 21, 1970 G.W. CHENEY ET AL 3,507,665 Y PROCESS AND DESIGN OF ASEPTICALLY FILLED INFANT NURSER Filed July 25, 1966 mvlzwola. GRANT 14/. CHEN/5Y4 BY ANTHONY LACARBONE Z OM, #WZ
ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,507,666 PROCESS AND DESIGN OF ASEPTICALLY FILLED INFANT NURSER Grant W. Cheney, Lakewood, Ohio, and Anthony J. Carbone, Midland, Mich., assignors to The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Mich., a corporation of Delaware Filed July 25, 1966, Ser. No. 567,567 Int. Cl. A61j 9/00 U.S. Cl. 99-171 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The nipple of each nurser may be pierced and protected with a nipple guard.
This invention relates to aseptically filled infant nursers and to the method and apparatus for forming and filling them.
Recent developments in the field of infant formula feeding have been characterized by an emphasis on convenience packaging. The trend has been toward a disposable, pre-sterilized unit containing a measured volume of formula sufficient for one feeding. Generally, the present practice is to provide a package which is prepared for consumption at the point of use by some defined process that may involve, for example, affixing a nipple to the package or transferring the formula from a bulk container to a feeding unit by means of a sanitary transfer set.
The present packages and methods for preparing the packages for use are generally unsatisfactory, for one reason or another. For example, when a formula sterilization process is used, the high temperature (265 F., 710 minutes) associated with the process requires that the product be packaged in a heat resistant material such as glass or metal during this operation. A rubber nipple is provided with the container and is afiixed to it before use, to provide a composite package for feeding.
In accordance with another of the present practices, the formula is bulk packaged, sterilized and shipped in a metal container. Subsequently, it is transferred to a feeding unit fabricated from plastic or some like material which has been sterilized by suitable means without exposure to autoclaving temperatures.
Although the above packaging concepts have eliminated the need to refrigerate the product and to sterilize the formula and feeding unit before use, it would be particularly advantageous, both fro-m a convenience standpoint and to reduce the possibility of contamination, to have a package which would eliminate the above-mentioned as well as other similar preparatory operations that are generally required at the present time. In addition, it is desirable to eliminate the need of a composite packaging system, in View of its relatively high cost.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention ice to provide improved aseptically filled infant nursers, and improved methods and apparatus for forming and filling them.
More particularly, it is an object to provide an improved method for forming a one-piece, all plastic infant nurser, and to fill the infant nurser with sterile formula under hygienic conditions.
In this respect, it is contemplated that the infant nurser will be sanitary and in need of no further processing before consumption.
Still another object is to provide a disposable, presterilized infant nurser containing a measured volume of formula suificient for one feeding.
Still another object is to provide improved infant nursers of the described type having a pierced nipple which is protected by a nipple guard. In this respect, it is further contemplated that the nipple guard be tack laminated to the nipple area during the forming process to eliminate the need of thereafter applying the nipple guard and hence, the possibility of contamination of the nipple before the nipple guard is afiixed to it.
A still further object is to provide improved infant nursers which have the properties commonly associated with the rubber nipples accepted by the trade.
Still another object is to provide improved methods and apparatus for forming and filling infant nursers of the described type.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The above objectives are accomplished by, generally, blow molding a one-piece, all plastic infant nurser, and filling the infant nurser with a measured volume of sterile formula under hygienic conditions while the latter is still in the blow mold and therefore effectively isolated from possible contamination. A nipple guard, in the form of a thin gage film, may be tack laminated to the nipple, during the blowing process. Also, a hole may be pierced in the nipple before the guard is applied, to eliminate the need of providing with each infant nurser a disposable sterile pin for piercing the nipple.
The invention accordingly comprises the several steps and the relation of one or more of such steps with respect to each of the others, the apparatus embodying features of construction, combination and arrangement of parts which are adapted to effect such steps, and the product which possesses the characteristics, properties and relation of elements, all as exemplified in the detailed disclosure hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
,For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a infant nurser exemplary of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the infant nurser of FIG. 2;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view, taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view, taken along lines 44 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view, taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 6 is a partial side plan view of one half of a blow mold, illustrating the manner in which the infant nursers are formed and filled therein;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged partial view illustrating the retractable filling tube;
FIG. 8 is a view illustrating a number of the infant nursers, prior to being severed from the filling tube; and
FIG. 9 is a partial view of a mold cavity, illustrating the manner in which a nipple guard is affixed to the nipple during the blowing operation.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Referring now to the drawings, in FIGS. 1-4 there is illustrated an infant nurser 10 having a body portion 12 which is generally elliptical in shape, a nipple portion 14 integrally formed on one end of the body portion, and a heat seal 15 on the opposite end of the body portion for sealing it. The infant nurser 10 is filled with a measured volume of formula generally sufficient for one feeding, and is preferably fabricated of a material having the texture, feel, flexibility and other similar characteristics of the material which is commonly associated with the rubber nipples presently accepted by the trade. Several of the materials which are found to be satisfactory and acceptable are polyethylene copolymers such as ethylenevinyl acetate and a material manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company of Midland, Mich. and distributed under the trademark Zetafin. The nipple 16 is preferably pierced and a nipple guard 18 afiixed to the nipple 16, during the forming operation to prevent the formula packaged therein and the nipple from being contaminated.
To form the infant nursers 10, a parison is extruded, preferably using a ram accumulator so that the walls thereof are of uniform thickness, in an elliptical shape, as generally indicated by the dot-dash lines 20 in FIG. 5. One end of the parison is pinched off so as to provide a hermetic seal 22 (FIG. 6) during each cycle of operation, as explained more fully below. The parison is clamped by a multiple cavity mold 24 (FIGS. 5 and 6) and blown, in the manner generally well-known in the industry to produce the configuration shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, using sterile air introduced into the mold 24 through a retractable blow tube 25. A one-piece retractable nipple insert 26 is retained in positional alignment with the mold 24 and the cavities therein by means of a positive pressure applied to it in a fashion so as to provide air slip vents 28 which permit air slip techniques to be employed to form the nipples 16.
When the parison is clamped within the blow mold 24, longitudinally extending seams 30 are formed on opposite sides of the body portion 12 of the nurser 10. Also, a manifold 32 which is generally circular in shape, as can be best seen in FIG. 5, is formed integrally with each of the infant nursers 10 formed in the blow mold 24.
After the plastic is sufliciently cooled, blowing pressures are relieved, and a predetermined amount of sterile formula is introduced into the manifold 32 and the infant nursers 10 within the blow mold 24, through a retractable fill tube 34. Since the filling process is formed in the blow mold, the manifold and the infant nursers are effectively isolated, and the possibility of contamination is therefore virtually eliminated.
The sterile formula introduced into the manifold 32 and the infant nursers 10 establish a fill line 35, below the opened end of the manifold 32. The fill tube 34 is preferably adapted to extend into the manifold in a fashion such as to prevent the sterile formula from contacting and cooling the parison walls forming the end of the manifold. By exercising care to introduce the fill tube 34 in this manner, the parison retains sufficient heat so that a double heat seal 36 and 38 (FIG. 7) can be formed therein, in spaced relation, by pinching or otherwise forming them, without the need for further heat input. Alternatively, the heat seals 36 and 38 can be formed with a sealing bar, an ultrasonic sealer, or the like.
After the heat seals 36 and 38 are formed, the parison is severed between the two heat seals by cutting means such as a fly knife (not shown). The heat seal 36 forms the heat seal 22 of FIG. 6, during the next cycle of operation. After the parison is sealed and severed in the described manner, the sterile formula is effectively hermetically sealed within the manifold 32 and the infant nursers 10 formed in the bolw mold 24. The entire assembly of infant nursers and manifold are then ejected from the blow mold 24 by means of an eject rack (not shown), and the eject rack is rotated to drain the manifold 32 and to permit sterile formula therein to flow into the individual infant nursers 10, as illustrated in FIG. 8. After the individual nursers are filled to a predetermined level in the described manner, sealing means such as a sealing bar, an ultrasonic sealer or the like next forms the heat seal 15 across the width of the body portions 12 of the nursers 10, adjacent the manifold 32, to seal the formula in them. The infant nursers 10' are severed from the manifold 32 either simultaneously with this later heat sealing operation or subsequent thereto by means of cutting means such as a fly knife or the like.
Simultaneously with the heat sealing and cutting operation, the nipples 16 are pierced with appropriate means, and a nipple guard 42 in the form of a thin gage film (FIG. 9) is positioned in alignment with the nipples 16. Mold means 44 are advanced to wrap the nipple guard 42 about the nipple 16 and to tack laminate the nipple guard to the infant nursers 10.
The nipple 16 can be pierced and the nipple guard 42 applied during the blowing operation, to further preclude a possibility of contamination. In such a case, the retractable nipple insert 26 is modified to incorporate piercing means (not shown) which are operable to form a hole in the end of the nipple 16, after the latter is formed. The nipple insert 26 is then retracted and a thin gage heated plastic film is introduced between the nipples 16 and the nipple insert 26. The piercing means are rendered inoperative, and the nipple insert 26 again advanced so as to wrap the plastic film about the nipples 16, to form a nipple guard. Being heated, the plastic film is tack laminated to the nipples 16.
It can therefore be seen that a disposable, pre-sterilized infant nurser containing a measured volume of formula sufiicient for one feeding is easily and quickly provided, at relatively low cost.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efilciently attained, and since certain changes may be made in carrying out the above process, in the described product, and in the constructions set forth without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Now that the invention has been described, What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A method for forming disposable, pre-sterilized infant nursers and filling said nursers with a measured amount of formula comprising the steps of: extruding a parison and sealing one end thereof, blow molding simultaneously within a mold provided with a retractable nipple insert a plurality of hollow nurser bodies from said parison with an integral nipple at one end of the body and at the other end of the body extending into a configuration defined as a passageway in communication with said bodies, piercing said nipple, retracting said nipple insert in the vicinity of said nipples, introducing a sheet of heated plastic film between said nipples, and said nipple insert, advancing said nipple insert to said mold to tack laminate said plastic to said nipples to provide a nipple guard for said nipples, filling said nurser bodies by inserting a measured volume of sterile formula in said passageway, sealing said passageway severing the parison, removing the filled bodies from the mold, sealing individually said bodies 5 6 adjacent said passageway, and severing said bodies along 3,296,345 1/1967 Dietz 185 said seal to form individual nursers. 3,386,604 6/ 1968 Fields 215-1l References Cited RAYMOND N. JONES, Primary Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 W. A. SIMONS, Assistant Examiner 2,628,911 2/1953 Horan 99--171 2,879,911 3/1959 Garred 215-11 215 11 2,991,500 8/1961 Hagen 26498 3,193,125 8/1965 Fischer 215-11