US 3531026 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 29, 1970 F. VENUS, JR 3,531,026
ACTUATOR-OVERCAP FOR AEROSOL DISPENSERS Filed March 14, 1969 FIG-.12
42 E 3 qw- 42 LAW 1/ IP38 3 w) INVENTOR FRANK VENUS, JR.
, ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,531,026 ACTUATOR-OVERCAP FOR AEROSOL DISPENSERS Frank Venus, Jr., Watertown, Conn., assignor to The Risdon Manufacturing Company, Naugatuck, Conn., a
corporation of Connecticut Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 703,474, Feb. 6, 1968. This application Mar. 14, 1969, Ser.
Int. Cl. B65d 83/00 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An actuator-overcap assembly for an aerosol dispenser or the like having a valve and projecting valve stem by which to effect dispensing of aerosol product, wherein the valve actuating button and associated cap member are molded in preassembled relation and are provided with mutually engaging, overlapping projections which restrain separation of the parts, prior to being mounted on the aerosol container, .without constituting connecting means integrally joing the two members, the cap and button members having provision for avoiding valve-actuating engagement of the button with the valve stem upon mounting the preassembled members on an aerosol container.
This application is a continuation-in-part of my prior copending application Ser. No. 703,474, filed Feb. 6, 1968, and now abandoned.
This invention pertains to valved fluid dispensing packages of the self-pressurized or aerosol type, and more particularly to an overcap and valve actuator assembly used in such devices.
The packaging in aerosol dispenser form of various fluid products has gained wide acceptance in the consumer trade, owing in large part to the convenience in storing and dispensing of such products which this type of packaging affords. These aerosol packages comprise a fluid container, such as the conventional crown-to'p metal can, in which a valve unit is mounted in the crown end and through which the fiuid product is dispensed upon actuation of the valve by the consumer. Other packages employ glass or plastic containers with valve units similarly incorporated in them. The typical aerosol valve includes a protruding hollow stem through which the product in the container is dispensed upon depressing or tilting the stem to open the valve. An actuator button connected to the valve stem and providing a duct for delivering the product in a controlled form, for example as a spray, foam or solid liquid stream, is conventionally employed to facilitate operation of the valve and to orient the direction of fluid discharge.
It is a primary purpose of this invention to provide an improved valve actuating button and protective overcap assembly for such dispensing packages, and to that end the invention comprises an integrated assembly for attachment to the valved end of an aerosol container to cooperate with and enclose the protruding valve stem therein. The overcap member of the novel assembly is designed to detachably engage frictionally or otherwise the valved end of the aerosol container and to protect the associated actuating button against accidential contact and unintended dispensing of fluid product. It is also a purpose of this invention to provide an actuator button and overcap which, although consisting of separate button and overcap members, constitutes an integrated assembly as manufactured and as supplied to the aerosol Patented Sept. 29, 1970 ice loading plant. This arrangement not only facilitates the operation of attaching the overcap and button to the filled containers at the loading plant but eliminates as sembling two sepaarte parts at the place of manufacture.
Integrated actuator-overcap assemblies for aerosol containers are not broadly new. There are however significant differences in the herein disclosed actuator-overcap assembly from the nearest similar devices of this type. One of these differences resides in the fact that it is designed to be molded of suitable plastic with the components in pre-assembled relation, even though they may not be integrally connected together. The design of the cap and actuator members are such that, being separate, free relative movement between them within limits can take place, yet they will remain in assembled condition even though subjected to considerable rough handling, as oc curs in packaging and shipping of the caps and actuators in bulk quantities to an aerosol loader. The arrangement thus provided has the advantage that, because of the relataive freedom of movement between the separate members, there is easier accommodation of the members to fitment on the container and valve stem of the aerosol dispenser, and greater tolerance for slight initial mispositioning of the container and the actuator-overcap when the two are brought together at the loading station, facilitating automated capping operations. The novel design, accordingly, provides the advantages of an integrally molded one-piece actuator and overcap from the standpoint of keeping these members in assembled condition until placed on the aerosol container, yet avoids the necessity in many earlier one-piece actuator-overcap assemblies of requiring an integral connection between the cap and button members. Such integral connection obviously limits the freedom of movement of the two and has a bearing not only on the manner of accommodating misalignment at the capping station as mentioned above, but also limits the amount of travel and direction of travel of the actuator button relative to the overcap during normal usage. In normal use in operating the valve of the dispensing package, it is frequently desirable to have greater vertical travel of the button and the valve stem to which it is attached than is readily possible where the button is integrally joined to the overcap. Where there is such integral connection, undesirable tilting of the valve stem causing leakage around the sealing gasket can occur when the button is depressed, due to the pivoting action of the button about the point of juncture with the cap member. The present design avoids both of these problems.
A further and important difference of the present actuator-overcap in respect to earlier arrangements lies in the fact that the button or actuator member is so supported by the cap that when the closure assembly is mounted on the valved end of the container at the loading plant, although alignment of the valve stem of the container and stem-receiving socket of the actuator button is assured, the button does not make positive or valve-actuating engagement with the stem. This is accomplished by providing a lost-motion, non-integral connection between the cap and actuator of sufficient extent to prevent such actuation of the valve during the mounting of the closure assembly on the container, even though there may be physical contact established between the button and stem, or by providing means which temporarily restrain the button in the cap member at a level or elevation relative to the valve stem when assembly to the container is completed such that no physical contact between the button and valve stem is established until the first use by the consumer.
Finally, the present invention provides the further advantage of an overcap-actuator design incorporating a totally recessed actuator button in combination with the foregoing other design features, which further reduces opportunity for accidental and unintended operation of the valve and permits vertical stacking of aerosol packages on a display shelf.
While the omission of any integral connection between the overcap and actuator button, at least of the heavy hinge type common to many prior art devices of this type, is generally desired in the context of the present invention, there may still be incorporated a light, readily rupturable integral web connection between the cap and button mem bers as initially molded if it is desired to provide visual indication to the purchaser that the package has not been tampered with prior to his purchase. The novel design hereinafter more fully disclosed permits the inclusion of such a readily broken web integrally connecting the cap and button members, without eliminating the other features and advantages to which the invention is primarily directed.
Several embodiments of the invention are shown in the accompanying drawings and described below. Such arrangements are illustrative of ways of implementing the inventive concept and it will become apparent that various other specifically different arrangements ambodying that concept will be possible. The drawings and description which follow, accordingly, are intended to be illustrative and not limiting of the invention.
In the drawings,
FIG. 1 is a perspective view looking down on an overcap and actuating button assembly on the invention, as seen in normal mounted position on the valved end of an aerosol container, the latter being only partially shown;
FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the device in section on line 2-2 of FIG. 1, the parts here being shown in an initial condition in which the overcap and button have been mounted on a container but before any use made to effect dispensing;
FIG. 3 is a similar view taken on line 3-3 in FIG. 1, the parts here being shown in relative position after first actuation of the valve by the user;
FIG. 4 is a view in front elevation of the device of FIG. 1 but showing a modified actuator locking arrangement;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of still another form of overcap and actuator button assembly incorporating the invention;
FIG. 6 is a view in side elevation of the device seen in FIG. 5, mounted on an aerosol container, parts being broken away for clarity of illustration; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary view in side elevation of a detail of the assembly seen in FIGS. 5 and 6.
The actuator-overcap assembly seen in FIG. 1 in adapted to be mounted on the valved end of a typical aerosol container, a portion of which is shown at 21 in the drawing. The assembly consists of a cap member 22 comprising an open-ended skirted cylinder formed with an internal detent lip 24 at its skirt end which is adapted to be forced over the shoulder of chime of the container to cause the cap to grip the container and be retained on it.
A button member 26 is loosely disposed in the opposite open end of cap 22, conforming generally with the inner periphery thereof and substantially closing that end of the cap but freely slidable axially thereof. To protect the button from accidental contact and operation of the as sociated valve stem in the assembled package, the button is completely recessed below the upper rim 28 of the cap. Button 26 is formed centrally at its under face with a depending hub portion 30 having a socket 3-2 with a flared entrance on the under face of the hub. Socket 32 is adapted to telescopingly receive and form a fluid tight connection with the exposed end of the usual tubular valve stem of the typical aerosol valve 33. The button also is formed with a laterally projecting hollow spout 34, and a duct 36 communicates the interior of socket 32 with the discharge spout 34. The wall of cap 22 is apertured or recessed at 38 to allow for the lateral projection of spout 34, such aperture being sufficiently larger than the spout to permit both free axial and rotational movement between the button and the cap within limits.
The cap and button are formed, preferable of molded plastic, in the preassembled position shown in the drawings and are retained in such condition prior to attachment of the aerosol container by the projecting spout 34 in conjunction with circumferentially spaced radial projections and cooperating receiving apertures on the respective members to provide trapped, i.e. overlapping, portions of the two members which, although not integrally interconnected, are thus restrained against separation.
As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 more particularly, button 26 is provided with diametrically opposed stub axles 40, and cap 22 is formed with cooperating recesses 42 into which the respective stub axles project. Axles 40 and their cooperating recesses 42 are so sized as to form a loose, sloppy or lost motion fit, especially in the axial direction of the dispenser, with the result that the cap and button members are relatively freely movable within the limits defined by this loose interfitting or overlapping construction. As seen in the illustration, recesses 42 are elon gated in the axial direction of the cap to allow substantial free axial movement of the button in that direction. The purpose is two-fold. As seen in FIG. 2, when the actuatorovercap assembly is mounted on the aerosol container, the freedom of the actuator button 26 to move axially provides a non-positive or non-actuating engagement with the valve stem. This ensures against product discharge at the aerosol loading plant during the capping operation, to avoid a messy package and exposed product in the dispensing spout. Yet the assembly is ready for immediate customer use merely by depressing button 26 to force stem 33 into socket 32, as seen in FIG. 3.
In addition, recesses 42 in the cap are each provided near their axially outward ends with a lateral socket 43 having a constriction or neck 44 serving as a detent for movement of the stub axles into and out of the respective sockets 43. Recesses 42 thus form bayonet slots so that when button 26 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 1, stub axles 40' of the button are snapped into the respective lateral sockets 43- of the slot and are retained in such position by the detent 44. In this latter condition of course the button and cap are restrained against relative axial movement. Such an arrangement is of advantage where it is desired to provide the customer with a positive lock in the actuator-overcap assembly to prevent actuation of the valve and discharge of fluid product from an aerosol package to which the assembly is attached. To permit normal valve operation, it is merely necessary to rotate the button in a clockwise direction against the resistance of the detent until the stub axles are freed from the lateral slot portions 43. Spout 34 makes a handy finger hold for the user in effecting this rotational movement of the button.
In the modified arrangement of FIG. 4, the cap and actuator button are essentially the same but a different actuator locking provision is incorporated. Here, aperture 138 in cap portion 122 has a step- 139 and a detent 140' formed in the horizontal portion of the step. Spout 134 can be shifted laterally to overlie the step in the normal upper (non-actuated) position of the button, in which shifted position the button can no longer be depressed axially. A small rib 135 on the under face of the spout cooperates with detent to retain the parts in this locked position.
The modified form of actuator-overcap shown in FIGS. 5-7 functions in virtually identical manner to the foregoing assemblies but the retentive, peripherally overlapping arrangement in the button and cap members is of slightly different configuration from that of the foregoing design. Here cap 50 has provision at its lower end for securing it to the valved end of a dispensing container, and button 52 is loosely received in fully recessed relation in the opposite open end of the cap and generally conforms with the open inner periphery of the cap. Button 52 is formed with a valve stem receiving hub 54 having an internal socket (not shown) for connection to the end of the aerosol valve stem 33, and has a laterally projecting spout 56 which makes internal connection to the socket, all as before. Again the side wall of the cap '50 is apertured to freely accept the side discharge spout 56.
Provision for molding and retaining the cap and button members of FIGS. -7 in preassembled condition is effected by means of sets of cooperating projections on both the button and cap members. Describing one such set with particular reference to FIG. 7, this comprises an external radial projection 58 on button 52 and a pair of internal chordal projections 60 on the inner periphery of cap 50 opposite projection 58. Projections 60 are spaced axially of the cap so as to straddle projections 58 of the button and form recesses therefor trapping the button in the cap. A plurality of sets of such projecting members is formed about the periphery of the respective cap and button members, there being four such sets arranged in a quadrant in the particularly illustrated form of the device here shown. The number of sets of these projections is not critical but there should in general be at least two where there is a projecting spout, or three such sets in the absence of such a spout in order to assure retention of the cap and button members. As is shown more particularly in the detailed view seen in FIG. 7, sutficient axial spacing between internal projections 60 may be provided to effect the aforesaid lost-motion connection and prevent accidental operation of the valve during mounting of the actuator-overcap assembly on a container. As an alternative to the last arrangement, the axial position and spacing of chordal projections 60 or cap 50 can be set, as shown in FIG. 6, to support button 52 at a level in the cap such that its hub 54 is slightly above and out of contact with valve stem 33 when the closure assembly is first mounted on the aerosol container. Again, however, when the customer depresses button 52 the first time the device is used, this forces radial projections '58 to snap down over the lower chordal projections 60 and effect engagement of the valve stem 33 by button 52.
There is also illustrated in the embodiment of the invention appearing in FIG. 5 a readily rupturable web of material integrally connecting the button and-cap assemblies, this being in the form of a bridging Web 62. This bridging Web 62 is thin and easily broken when the purchaser desires to use the aerosol package by merely depressing button 52. The unbroken web is thus a further visual indication that the dispenser has not been used.
What is claimed is:
1. An actuator-overcap for an aerosol dispenser having a valve with an axially projecting tubular discharge stem longitudinally depressible to open the valve and permit fluid product to be discharged through the stem, said actuator-overcap comprising an open-ended cylindrical cap member having provision at its lower end for mounting it to the valved end of a dispenser and for enclosing said valved end, and and aperture in its side wall;
a button member fully recessed in and substantially fillin gthe upper open end of said cap member with the inner periphery of said cap and the outer periphery of said button in closely spaced but relatively slidable juxtaposition, said button having a socket formed in its undersurface for fluid tight reception therein of the stem of a dispenser, a laterally projecting spout having a discharge orifice at its outer end and internal duct means communicating said socket with said orifice, said laterally projecting spout extending through said aperture in said side wall of said cap member, said aperture being sufficiently larger than said spout to allow limited axial and rotational movement of said button relative to said p; radially projecting means formed in the periphery of one of said cap and button members, and cooperating recess means formed in the other and receiving said projections to trap said members loosely together, said radially projecting and receiving recess means providing a lost-motion connection axially of the members and being disposed at an axial location to avoid valve-actuating contact of said button member with the valve stem of a dispenser when the actuator-overcap assembly is mounted on the valved end of the dispenser. 2. An actuator-overcap for an aerosol dispenser having a valve with an axially projecting tubular discharge stem longitudinally depressible to open the valve and permit fluid product to be discharged through the stern, said actuator-overcap comprising an open-ended cylindrical cap member having provision at its lower end for mounting it to the valved end of a dispenser and for enclosing said valved end, and a circular inner periphery at the opening in its upper end; 21 button member having a circular outer periphery and being fully recessed in and substantially filling the upper open end of said cap member, with the inner of periphery of said cap and the outer periphery of said button in closely spaced but relatively slidable juxtaposition, said button having a socket formed in its undersurface for fluid tight reception therein of the stern of the dispenser, a discharge orifice in said button and internal duct means communicating said socket with said orifice; radially projecting diametrically opposed stub axles on the circular periphery of said button, and cooperating recess formed in the adjacent periphery of said cap, said recesses being elongated axially of said cap to provide a lost motion connection axially of the cap and button members, said recesses being contoured to provide lateral sockets having restricted entry ways for the rotative reception of said stub axles to lock said button against axial movement relative to said cap. 3. An actuator-overcap for an aerosol dispenser having a valve with an axially projecting tubular discharge stern longitudinally depressible to open the valve and permit fluid product to be discharged through the stem, said actuator-overcap comprising an open-ended cylindrical cap member having provision at its lower end for mounting it to the valved end of a dispenser and for enclosing said valved end; a button member fully recessed in an substantially filling the upper end of said cap member with the inner periphery of said cap and the outer periphery of said button in closely spaced but relatively slidable juxtaposition, said button having a socket formed on its undersurface for fluid tight reception therein of the stern of the dispenser, a discharge orifice in said button and internal duct means communicating said socket with said orifice; said cap and button members being formed in their adjacent peripheries with sets of cooperating radial projections, wherein each set consists of a single projection on one of said members and a pair of pro jections forming a recess between them on the other of said members, with the first projection overlapping and being loosely straddled by the projections in said other member to trap said members axially of said cap and provide an axial lost motion connection. 4. An actuator-overcap for an aerosol dispenser as defined in claim 3, wherein said sets of projections are po- 7 sitioned axially of said actuator-overcap assembly at a References Cited location which prevents direct contact of said button with UNITED STATES PATENTS the valve stem of the dispenser during mounting of the actuator-overcap assembly on the dispenser, the overlap- 3,347,423 10/1967 Rahn et al 222-153X ping of said projections being of such limited radial eX- 3,252,626 5/1966 Belka ZZZ-402.11 tent as to permit said actuator member to be forced in- 3,291,346 12/1966 Marrafiino 222 136 Wardly of said overcap member to engage the stem of the valve thereby after assembly to the container. STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner