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Publication numberUS3523563 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 11, 1970
Filing dateSep 26, 1967
Priority dateSep 26, 1967
Publication numberUS 3523563 A, US 3523563A, US-A-3523563, US3523563 A, US3523563A
InventorsMirando Louis
Original AssigneeMirando Louis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Integrally formed self-sealing valve having additionally integral means to render valve airtight
US 3523563 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Louis Mirando 34 Coach Lane, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey Appl. No. 670,720

Filed Sept. 26, 1967 Patented Aug. 11, 1970 INTEGRALLY FORMED SELF-SEALING VALVE HAVING ADDITIONALLY INTEGRAL MEANS TO 525.1; 9/315, 314:46/34, 35, 37, 87, 88, 90; 5/348, 349; 152/429; 229/625; 206/lnflatible Adhesive References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,568,976 9/1951 Andrews 137/525.1X 2,697,229 12/1954 Krueger..... 137/223X 2/1955 Andrews 137/223 Primary Examiner- Harold W. Weakley Attorney-Albert C. Johnston, Robert E. lsner. Lewis H. Eslinger and Alvin Sinderbrand ABSTRACT: The described valve is intended to be used primarily with miniaturized inflatable toys such as dolls, balls, animals, etc. The miniaturized toys are of the type that are shipped flat and are inflated by the user, usually by blowing into the valve. The valve consists of several layers which are forced apart by the insertion of a tube or rod through which the miniaturized inflatable toy is inflated. When the rod is removed the valve seals itself closed to prevent the escape of air. This is accomplished by having a plurality of layers which adhere to one another either because of the tackiness of the material from which the valve is made or because ofthe internal pressure within the article that has been inflated.

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INVENTOR. E 00/5 M99000 INTEGRALLY FORMED SELF-SEALING VALVE HAVING ADDITIONALLY INTEGRAL MEANS T0 RENDER VALVE AIR'IIGIIT This invention relates generally to valves and more specifically to a valve to be used for inflating miniaturized inflatable items such as balls, dolls, etc., and in which the valve is self sealing.

ln the prior art there are numerous examples of valves which are used to inflate itemssuch as beach balls, life rafts, etc. As a general rule these prior art types of valves basically consist of a tube formed integrally with the item to be inflated. In order to inflate the item air is blown through the tube into the item to be inflated and this is continued until the item has expanded to its fullyinflated position. When this occurs, the mouth or other inflating item is withdrawn from the valve and the valve is immediately closed by means of an attached cap or cork which effectively seals the tube and prevents the escape of air from inside the inflated item.

In the course of sealing the inflating tube a small amount of air does escape from the interior of he inflated item. The item is generally so large, however, that the amount of air which escapes in the process of closing the valve is negligible with respect to the total volume of air within the inflated item. Thus, the amount of air which escapes during closure of the valve does not materially effect the inflated condition of the article.

tree ornaments, small dolls six to eight inches tall and various other small play items. With items of this type the volume which it takes to inflate them is very small and if they are sup plied with these prior art types of valves the amount of air which escapes during sealing of the inflating valve is large when compared to the total volume of air within the inflated article. In the case of a small doll, for example, if only a small amount of the air is lost while closing the valve, the doll will not be fully inflated and, therefore, is not as attractive in appearance or in play value. In view of these disadvantages of prior art valves it has heretofore been considered impossible to manufacture miniaturized inflatable items.

In view of the foregoing, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a valve for inflating miniaturized items and in which the valve is self-sealing.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a valve for inclusion with inflatable miniaturized items and which will permit the entrance of air in order to inflate the item but which will prevent the escape of any air either during inflation or thereafter.

,A further object of the present invention is to provide a valve for inclusion with miniaturized inflatable items and which will permit selective inflation of the miniaturized item by the insertion of an inflating tube within the valve, and

which upon removal of the tube will not permit the escape f ny Yet anotlieibbjYdfth present invention is to provide a valve for inclusion with miniaturized inflatable items and present invention will appear from a reading of the followingv detailed description of several preferred embodiments of the invention which are to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like components in the several ,vie'ws are identified by the same reference numeral.

' ln the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a miniaturized inflatable item in the form of a Christmas tree ornament and shows one of the valves of the present invention which is an external valve;

FIG. 2 is a cross section taken on the line 2-2 of FIG. I; FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but illustrating the insertiori of a tube into the valve in order to permit inflation of the miniaturized inflatable item;

1 FIG/4 is a perspective view on an enlarged scale of the valve illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but with the valve being shown in its closed position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a disassembled valve in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating another form of valve in accordance with the present invention, the

v valve shown being of the internal type;

\ sealed;

FIG. 1 l is a cross-section taken on the line 11-11 of FIG. 9; FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 9 but before the inflating Q tube has been inserted in the valve of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is another view similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating another valve in accordance with the present invention, the illustrated valve being of the internal type and referred to as a ball valve;

FIG. 14 is a cross-section taken on the line 14-14 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 14 but illustrating the valve with the inflating tube inserted in order to inflate the miniaturized inflatable item;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the valve illustrated in;FIG. 13, the valve being shown in its disassembled condition;

- FIG. 17 is a cross-section of the ornament and valveand showing the ornament being inflated;

FIG. 18 is a view similar to FIG. 17 but after inflation is completed and the valve sealed;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a greeting card or other item and showing another type of valve in accordance with the present invention included in an item in which it is desired to obtain animated movement;

FIG. 20 is a view similar to FIG. 19 but with the valve being actuated in order to inflate the miniaturized inflatable item and obtain its desired animated movement.

FIG. 21 is a cross-section taken on the line 21-21 of FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the valve illustrated in .FIG. 21; and

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a book incorporating ornamental articles having a valve in accordance with the present invention.

Referring now to the figures, and particularly to FIGS. 1 through 6, the valve 10 is shown as an external valve that is formed integrally with an ornament such as a Christmas-tree ornament which is designated in general by the numeral 11. It is to be understood, however, that the miniaturized inflatable item which is illustrated in the form of a Christmas tree ornament 11 may take any desired shape such as a miniaturized inflatable doll, ball or other miniaturized inflatable items having play value.

The advantage of the valve 10 illustrated in FIGS. l through 6 is that it can be made in one operation with the miniaturized inflatable item 11. The valve 10 as illustrated in FIG. 1 is an external valve.

The miniaturized inflatable item 11 illustrated in FIG. I consists of a top wall I2 and a bottom wall 13 which are heat sealed around the edges to form the miniaturized inflatable item 11. In FIG. 6 there are illustrated on an enlarged scale the portions of the valve 10.

In the formation of the miniaturized inflatable item 11 with the integral external valve 10 the top wall 12 and bottom wall 13 are first cut from flexible vinyl sheeting, such as polyvinylchloride. The flexible vinyl sheeting must be of the type which contains one surface which is tacky or glossy such that when it is brought into contact with a similar surface of another piece of flexible vinyl sheeting the two tacky or glossy surfaces if pressed together will form an airtight bond.

In assembling the miniaturized inflatable item 11 the bottom wall 13 which has been cut into the desired shape from a piece of flexible vinyl sheeting is first positioned on a suitable jig. The valve portion of the bottom wall 13 then has positioned thereover in overlapping position the locking flap 14. It is to be noted that the locking flap 14 does not overlie the entire surface of the bottom wall 13, but only that portion of the bottom wall 13 which is to form the valve 10. The locking flap 14 is also formed from flexible vinyl sheeting having one surface thereof which is tacky or glossy. The tacky surface is positioned upwardly so that it is not in engagement with the bottom wall 13. The top wall 12 is then positioned to overlap the bottom wall 13 and the locking flap 14. It is important to the operation of the invention that the tacky side of the top wall 12 be positioned to come into contact with the locking flap 14 for a purpose to be presently described.

When the top and bottom walls 12 and 13 and the locking flap 14 have been positioned as illustrated and described they are heat sealed along the edges to form the miniaturized inflatable item 11. The last operation in the formation of the ornament I1 is to provide the valve 10 with the sealed cut out portion 15 in the form of a slot for a purpose to be presently described.

It is to be noted that the portion of the top wall 12 which is to form a part of the valve 10 is cut off along the edge 16 so that when the valve 10 is assembled the top wall 12 does not extend to the end of either the bottom wall 13 or the locking flap 14.

In order to inflate the miniaturized inflatable item 11 a straw or other inflating tube 17 is inserted in the valve 10 between the locking flap l4 and the top wall 12. This opening is provided since the top wall 12 has been cut off along the edge 16 thereby preventing the sealing of the top wall 12 to the locking flap 14 along the edge 16. As the inflating tube 17 is inserted between the locking flap l4 and the top wall 12 these two portions are forced apart. As air is blown through the tube 17 the pressure thereof, completely forces the top wall 12 away from the locking flap 14 thereby permitting air to enter their terior of the ornament 11 and permit its inflation. When the ornament II is completely inflated, the inflating tube 17 is withdrawn. As the tube 17 is withdrawn from the valve 10 the valve 10 is gently squeezed to bring the top wall 12 into engagement with the locking flap 14. Since the glossy or tacky surfaces of the vinyl top wall 12 and locking flap 14 are in abutting relationship once they are squeezed together they form an effective seal preventing the escape of air from the interior of the inflated ornament 11. Once the ornament 11 is inflated and it is desired to insure any escape of air over a long period of time, the valve 10 can be bent over on itself as illustrated in FIG. 5 with the end of the valve being inserted through the slot 15. This in essence forms a double seal against the escape of air from the interior of the inflated ornament 11.

It is important that the slot 15 be formed with the proper width and length and positioning from the edges of the valve 10. These various dimensions must be selected experimentally depending on the type of material used, its gauge size and the size of the valve. If the slot 15 is not carefully sized, the valve 10 will either leak or else make inflation extremely difficult.

In FIGS. 7 through 12 there are illustrated another form of valve 10in accordance with the present invention, the valve illustrated in these figures being of the internal type. The ornament 11 again consists of a top wall 12 and a bottom wall 13 which is heat sealed along the edges to form the ornament 11.

The valve 10 illustrated in FIGS. 7 through l2 consists of two strips of flexible vinyl sheeting 18 and 19 which are sealed along their edges to form a tube 20. The flexible vinyl sheeting from which the valve 10 is made again consists of a vinyl such as polyvinylchloride having one surface which is glossy or tacky. In forming the tube 20 the strips 18 and 19 are so positioned that the glossy or tacky surfaces are adjacent one another and form the interior surfaces of the tube 20. In the assembled position as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the tube 20 extends inwardly within the ornament 11, the tube 20 being accessible through the opening 21.

In order to assemble the ornament 11 by means of the tube 20 an inflating rod 17 is inserted within the opening 21 and into the tube 20. The entry of the inflating rod 17 forces the strips 18 and 19 apart and these strips are forced further apart when air is blown through the inflating rod 17. The air flows through the inflating rod 17 and through the tube 20 into the interior of the ornament 11 thereby inflating the same.

When the ornament is completely inflated the inflating rod 17 is withdrawn from the tube 20. As the inflating rod 17 is withdrawn from the tube 20 the strips 18 and 19 are forced together and since the adjacent surfaces are tacky or glossy they are sealed together to prevent the escape of air from the interior of the ornament 11. The strips 18 and 19 are forced together because the pressure within the ornament 11 is greater than atmospheric pressure. This, accordingly, exerts a pressure on the strips 18 and 19 forcing them together and into sealing engagement. If it is desired to accelerate the sealing together of the strips 18 and 19 gentle finger pressure can be applied to the tube 20 thereby forcing the strips 18 and 19 into sealing engagement. When this sealing engagement is completed the inflating rod 17 is withdrawn without the escape of any air from the interior of the ornament 11.

When it is desired to deflate the ornament 11 the rod 17 is simply inserted within the tube 20 forcing the strips 18 and 19 apart. As soon as these strips 18 and 19 are separated the seal is broken and air will escape from the interior of the ornament 11 through the tube 20 and to the atmosphere.

In FIGS. 13 through 18 there is shown yet another type of valve which is of the internal type and is to be used to inflate a miniaturized inflatable ornament 11. The valve illustrated in these figures is of the globular type and is again made from a flexible vinyl sheeting of polyvinylchloride in which one surface of the sheet is glossy or tacky, such that when the two glossy or tacky surfaces are brought into engagement they form an airtight seal.

As illustrated in FIG. 16 the valve 10 is preferably globular in shape and consists of a top half 22 and a bottom half 23. The edges of the top and bottom halves 22 and 23 are heat sealed together and this unit in turn is heat sealed within the ornament 11 to present only an opening 24.

When it is, desired to inflate the ornament 11 with the valve illustrated in FIGS. 13 through 18 an inflating rod 17 is inserted in the opening 24 and air is blown through the rod. The combination of the entry of the rod 17 into the opening 24 together with the air being forced through the rod 17 forces the bottom half 23 of the valve 10 away from the top half 22 of the valve 10. Either the top half 22 or the bottom half 23 of the valve 10 is provided with a centralized aperture 25.

As air is blown through the inflating rod 17 the air passes into the space between the top and bottom halves 22 and 23 of the valve 10 and then through the aperture 25 in the bottom half 23 of the valve 10 and thence into the interior of the inflatable miniature ornament 11 to inflate the same. Once the ornament 11 is inflated the inflating rod is withdrawn from the opening 24. As this withdrawal occurs the top and bottom halves 22 and 23 of the valve 10 are forced together since the pressure within the inflated ornament 11 is greater than atmospheric pressure. As the top and bottom halves 22 and 23 of the valve 10 are forced together the tacky surface of the top half 22 comes into contact with the tacky surface of the bottom half 23 and as these tacky surfaces are forced together they form an airtight seal. If desired, this sealing can be accelerated by applying finger pressure to the exterior of the valve 10. This forces the top and bottom halves 22 and 23 of the valve 10 together to thereby accelerate the formation of the airtight seal.

Another form of valve in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 19 through 22. In this embodiment the valve 10 basically consists of a porous compressible sponge-like material which is sealed between two pieces of flexible material such as plastic to form an airtight compartment 27. The airtight compartment 27 has provided on the upper wall thereof an aperture 28. The compartment 27 also has extending therefrom and connecting with the interior of the compartment 27 a tube 29 which projects into the interior of the miniature inflatable ornament 11.

In the illustrated case the ornament 11 is in the form of a Santa Claus and it is desired to obtain animated movement of the mouth portion 30. The compartment 27 with the spongelilt'e material 26 therein is accordingly positioned adjacent the body of the ornament 11 with the tube 29 extending from the compartment 27 and projecting into the head portion of the ornament 11 which is to be inflated. Upon inflation of the head portion of the ornament 11 the mouth portion 30 thereof is forced away from the remainder of the body in order to simulate animation.

' It is essential to the operation of the valve illustrated in FIGS. 19 through 22 that the tube 29 be provided with a constricted portion 31 between the compartment 27 and the end of the tube 29 projecting within the interior of the ornament 11 to be inflated. The constriction 31 must have a smaller diameter than either the diameter of the tube 29 or of the ornament 11 in which the tube 29 extends.

7 1n the operation of the valve illustrated in FIGS. 19 through 22 air under normal atmospheric pressure enters the compartment 27 through the aperture 28 and inflates the sponge-like material 26. In order to inflate the ornament 11 a finger is placed over the aperture 28 of the compartment 27 and pressure is applied to the sponge-like material 26. This pressure forces the air from the sponge-like material 26 through this constricted opening 31 in the tube 29 and into the interior of the ornament 11. In the event that the constricted portion 31 is sealed, the pressure of the air being forced from the spongelike material 26 into the constriction 31 will force the plastic portion forming the constriction 31 apart to thereby open a passage way in the tube 29 and permit the air to flow from the compartment 27 through the tube 29 and into the interior of the ornament 11 to be inflated. This process is continually repeated, i.e., the finger is removed from the aperture 28 permitting air to flow under atmospheric pressure through the aperture 28 into the sponge-like material 26 thereby inflating the same. During this inflating process of the sponge-like material 26 very little air escapes from the article 11 to be inflated due to the constricted opening 31 and the resistance of the sponge-like material 26 which is interposed between the constricted opening 31 and the aperture 28 in the compartment 27. Once the sponge-like material 26 has expanded to its original form which takes place almost instantaneously, the process is repeated thereby forcing more air into the interior of the ornament 11 to be inflated. This process is continuously repeated until the article 11 is completely inflated.

As the inflation continues, the portions of the ornament 11 adjacent the constriction 31 in the tube 29 continues to grow larger due to the expansion of the vinyl material forming the ornament 11. As the ornament 11 continues to grow larger a pressure is exerted on the tube 29 which reduces the diameter of the constriction 31. The more that the ornament 11 is inflated the more pressure is applied to the tube 29 and the smaller the constriction 31 becomes. This process continues until when the ornament 11 is completely inflated the constriction 31 is completely closed thereby sealing the interior of the ornament 11 from the atmosphere.

It is to be noted that the reason that the constriction 31 becomes smaller and smaller as the ornament 11 is inflated is that as the ornament 11 is inflated the portions forming the constriction 31 are forced further and further apart, i.e., these portions are expanded thereby drawing the material forming the tube 29 away thereby slowly decreasing the diameter of the constriction 31 until the area is completely sealed.

1 ln order to deflate the ornament 11 all that is done is to grasp the article 11 with two fingers adjacent the constriction 3 1. As the fingers are pulled apart the vinyl material forming the constricted opening 31 is reformed, that is, the seal is broken. Once this seal is broken air starts to escape from the interior of the inflated article through the tube 29 and thence through the sponge-like material 26 to the atmosphere. Once this process starts it is continuously accelerated and the constriction 31 continues to grow larger and larger until it is normal size and all of the air has escaped from the interior of the ornament 1 1.

It is to be understood that while the miniature inflatable body or ornament has been illustrated in the form of a Christmas tree ornament and the figure of a Santa Claus, that the minature inflatable body may take any desired form, such as animals, dolls, etc. In one form of the invention as illustrated in FIG. 23 the miniature inflatable figures can be mounted on vinyl sheets in such manner as to form cut outs. These sheets in turn can contain characters from various fairy tales and can be inserted in a book as illustrated in order to permit the figures to be removed and formed into three dimensional inflated objects.

What has been described is a valve which permits the instantaneous inflation of miniaturized inflatable items and yet which does not permit the escape of any air after the inflation is completed and the inflating instrument is withdrawn from the valve. The valve is of a self-sealing type, this sealing being affected by the increased pressure within the inflated article forcing the walls of the vinyl valve together. This scaling is also accelerated by the fact that the flexible vinyl material has a tacky surface which forms the interior of the valve portion such that when the wall portions of the valve portion are forced together the tacky material forms an airtight seal.

lclaim:

1. A valve formed integrally with an inflatable body and through which the latter may be inflated, said valve comprising flexible sheets of a plastic material having self-adherent surfaces said flexible sheets being formed into a sleeve with said adherent surfaces in abutting relation, said flexible sleeve having an inlet portion and an outlet portion with said inlet portions opening to the atmosphere, said sheets having an aperture therein extending partly across said sleeve and being spaced from said inlet portion, said sheets being sealed to each other along the margin of said aperture so that fluid under pressure cannot escape from the body through said aperture, said sleeve being longitudinally bendable upon itself to insert said inlet portion through said aperture, said inlet portion being dimensioned relative to said aperture so as to be retained therein following insertion, whereby when pressure is applied to said sheets said adherent surfaces are forced together to form an airtight seal which is further secured against inadvertent interruption by bending of said sleeve and insertion of said inlet portion in said aperture.

2. A self-sealing valve formed integrally with an inflatable body and through which the latter may be inflated, said valve comprising a flexible sleeve attached to said body and commensurating with the interior thereof, said flexible sleeve having an inlet portion and an outlet portion with said inlet portion opening to the atmosphere, a locking flap, said locking flap being interposed in said sleeve and attached to the inner surface thereof, said inner walls of said sleeve and said locking flap being made from a flexible plastic having self-adherent surfaces and said sleeve and said locking flap having an aperture therein extending partly across said sleeve and being spaced from said inlet portion, said inner walls of said sleeve and said locking flap being sealed to each other along the margin of said aperture so that fluid under pressure cannot escape from the body through said aperture, said sleeve being longitudinally bendable upon itself to insert said inlet portion through said aperture, said inlet portion being dimensioned relative to said aperture so as to be retained therein following insertion, whereby an airtight seal is created when said locking flap is pressed against the inner wall of said sleeve which is further secured against inadvertent interruption by bending of said sleeve and insertion of said inlet portion in said aperture, whereby fluid under pressure cannot escape from said inflated body through said valve.

flap to form a mouth for fluid to flow through said sleeve into said body to inflate the same.

6. A valve in accordance with Claim 5, wherein an inflating rod is inserted in said mouth to separate said locking flap from said sleeve to permit fluid under pressure to flow through said sleeve into said body to inflate the same.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4178643 *Sep 26, 1977Dec 18, 1979Cox James E JrValve for inflatable prosthesis
US4263682 *Sep 1, 1978Apr 28, 1981Dow Corning CorporationSelf-sealing valve and fluid fillable article including such a valve
US4287920 *Jul 23, 1979Sep 8, 1981Johnson Jr Glenn WSelf-sealing valve
US4662883 *Jul 17, 1985May 5, 1987Mentor CorporationSelf-sealing valve for fluid fillable device
US4705085 *Dec 9, 1985Nov 10, 1987Brown Dwight CInflatable beverage insulator
US4758198 *Dec 23, 1986Jul 19, 1988Ringstone Co., Ltd.Gas-inflatable toy with plural bladders and valve means
US4775379 *Dec 30, 1986Oct 4, 1988Mentor CorporationSelf-sealing valve for fluid fillable article
US4872558 *Aug 25, 1987Oct 10, 1989Pharo Daniel ABag-in-bag packaging system
US4917382 *Jan 25, 1988Apr 17, 1990Hendershott Philip AInflatable toy article
US4983138 *Nov 1, 1988Jan 8, 1991Mcgrath JohnInflatable container with self-sealing valve
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US5447235 *Jul 18, 1994Sep 5, 1995Air Packaging Technologies, Inc.Bag with squeeze valve and method for packaging an article therein
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US5588532 *Sep 15, 1994Dec 31, 1996Air Packaging Technologies, Inc.Self-sealing inflatable bag and method for packaging an article therein
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US6913803Nov 15, 2002Jul 5, 20053M Innovative Properties CompanyOne-way valve for inflatable package
US6978893Nov 15, 2002Dec 27, 20053M Innovative Properties CompanyInflatable packaging system
US7168566Nov 15, 2002Jan 30, 20073M Innovative Properties CompanyLow profile inflatable package protection system
US7168567Jul 13, 2005Jan 30, 20073M Innovative Properties CompanyInflatable packaging system
Classifications
U.S. Classification141/313, 137/227, 446/220, 383/3
International ClassificationF16K15/00, F16K15/20
Cooperative ClassificationF16K15/202
European ClassificationF16K15/20F