US 3610454 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,376,991 4/l968 Deaver ABSTRACT: The disclosure pertains to so-called safety" containers and closures or caps which may utilize conventional threads or thread means for attachment purposes and which may utilize conventional sealing structures or means for sealing purposes. These structures of this invention utilize cooperating holding means on a cap and a container. Such holding means are adapted to cause temporary deformation between the container and the cap as the cap is threaded on the container so that the holding means can "snap" past one another to a position in which the cap is latched against movement along the thread means When a cap is so held. it may be removed by forcing the closure towards the container. compressing the sealing means until such time as the holding means are offset with respect to one another. The closure may then be removed from the container in a conventional manner.
PATENTEDUCT Si n 3.610.454
sum 1 OF 3 45 52 lA/I/EA/TGR DELL M. MAL/CK Eon A20 D OER/AN A 77'0EWEY PATENTEUGDT 5mm 3,610,454
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MII/ENTOR DELL M MAL/CK EOWAED D. OER/AN A 7TORNE Y SAFETY CONTAINER AND CLOSURE STRUCTURES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many different inherently dangerous or potentially dangerous materials are commonly packaged in container-closure structures which are capable of being easily opened. Thus, for example, such materials are frequently packaged in containers closed by screw-on-type caps or in containers closed by caps which are merely snapped into place. There is always a danger that a child may open a container closed in either of these manners so as to gain access to dangerous or potentially dangerous materials within them.
As a result of a recognition of this danger, a number of efforts have been made to develop so-called "safety" closures. In general such closures may be defined as closures which are more difficult to open than conventional closures as indicated in the preceding. Normally such safety closures have required two different types of movements in order to remove them from a container. It is believed that the complexity of the movements necessary to remove such closures from a container make them safer from undesired opening than prior related structures as briefly indicated.
An understanding of this invention does not require a detailed analysis of prior related "safety" closures. In a general manner it is considered that such closures are shown not to have been completely satisfactory because of the fact they are not commonly used in many applications where it would seem that safety should require their use. Frequently such prior closures have been comparatively complex and therefore expensive. Frequently there has been some question about the satisfactory, reliable performance of such closures. Certain of such closures are considered to be relatively difficult to produce at an economical cost. In the field of container closures even extremely small cost considerations on a per closure basis are important because of the large number of closures utilized.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An objective of this invention is to provide new and improved safety" containers and closures which overcome various limitations and disadvantages of prior related structures such as are briefly indicated in the preceding. Another objective of this invention is to provide combined structures which may utilize a conventional container neck and a conventional cap or closure. This is considered important.
Although in some circumstances it may be desirable or necessary to provide especially constructed molds or tooling to create combined safety containers and closures of this invention, the molds and tooling for certain conventional container necks and closures or caps may be modified at a very low expense in order to provide safety closures and containers of this invention. Obviously wherever this can be accomlished the advantages of the invention can be achieved economically. This is considered to be particularly significant in enabling safety structures as herein described to be marketed at a cost which is substantially the same as the cost of prior conventional structures.
Further objectives of this invention are to provide safety closures and containers adapted to be used in combination with one another; which may be formed at substantially the same cost as existing containers and closures; which may be assembled together utilizing existing assembly equipment; which are of such a nature as to avoid or minimize certain tolerance problems presently encountered with the threads used on existing containers and closures; which adequately seal against fluid leakage, and which are capable of giving satisfactory. reliable performance.
These objectives are achieved in accordance with this invention through the use of what may be a conventional container neck and what may be a conventional container cap having a top and a skirt surrounding the container neck. Such conventional structures include a compressible sealing member or means forming a seal between the end of the neck and the top of the cap and mating thread means such as partial bayonet threads or a continuous one or more turn threads to secure the closure to the neck.
A structure of this invention utilized in addition to these elements cooperating holding means on the neck and on the skirt which are capable of engaging one another as the closure is applied to the neck so as to cause temporary deformation enabling the holding means to snap past one another to a position in which the holding means are engaged so as to latch the cap against movement along the threaded means. With a structure of this invention the sealing means is compressed to form a seal when the holding means are so engaged. To remove the closure it is moved towards the neck so as to further compress the sealing means and so as to offset the holding means with respect to one another so that the closure is capable of being unthreaded with respect to the container neck.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The manner in which the various objectives of the invention noted are achieved and further details of the invention will be apparent from a detailed consideration of the remainder of the specification and the accompanying drawings of which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a presently preferred embodiment of form of a container neck and closure of this invention used in combination with one another;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken at line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view showing part of the interior of the closure illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view showing part of the exterior of the container neck shown in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are projections corresponding to a sectional view taken at line 5-5 of FIG. 1 illustrating aspects of the use of the container and closure shown in FIG. I;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view corresponding to FIG. 2 of a modified form or embodiment of a container neck and closure of the invention;
FIG. 9 is an isometric view showing part of the interior of the closure indicated in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is an isometric view showing part of the exterior of the container neck indicated in FIG. 8;
FIGS. ll, 12 and 13 are projections corresponding to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, respectively, illustrating aspects of the use of the container and closure shown in FIG. 8;
FIG. I4 is a cross-sectional view corresponding to FIG. 2 of a further modified container neck and closure of the invention;
FIG. 15 is an isometric view showing part of the interior of the closure illustrated in FIG. 14;
FIG. I6 is an isometric view showing part of the exterior of the container neck illustrated in FIG. 14;
FIGS. I7, I8 and 19 are projections corresponding to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, respectively. illustrating aspects of the use of the container and closure shown in FIG. I4.
The features of this invention may be embodied within other structures than these illustrated, through the use of routine engineering skill.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIGS. I through 4 of the drawings there is shown a part of a container 20 having a cylindrical neck 22. This neck 22 has normally open end 24 and a base 26. The neck 22 is adapted to be closed through the use of a closure 30 having a top 32 and a dependent skirt 34 which is spaced from the exterior of the neck 22 when the closure 30 is used. Conventional multiturn threads 36 and 38 are formed on the neck 22 and on the interior of the skirt 34 respectively for securing the closure 30 to the neck 22 in such a manner that a compressed deformable sealing member 40 forms a seal between the top 32 and the end 24. The particular sealing member 40 illustrated is a compressible gasket formed of an elastomeric material. It is to be understood, however, that other known compressible sealing means may be employed between the neck 22 and the top 32.
With the present invention the neck 22 is provided with a small lug 42 adjacent to the end 24. This lug 42 is spaced from the threads 36 and is provided with an upwardly facing, sloping surface 44. A corresponding lug 46 is located on the interior of the skirt 34 adjacent to the top 32. This lug 46 has another downwardly facing sloping surface 48 which is adapted to engage and slide against the surface 44 when the closure 30 is being screwed down on the neck 22 by the use of the threads 36 and 38 as indicated in FIG. 5.
Such engagement will impede the rotation of the closure 30 and cause a temporary deformation in an axial direction between the neck 22 and the closure 30 as force is applied until such time as the lugs 42 and 46 snap past one another. At this time substantially perpendicular surfaces 50 and 52 on lugs 42 and 46, respectively, will slide into place so that they abut one another as indicated in FIG. 6. In this closed position the lugs 42 and 46 will have the effect of latching the closure 30 to the neck 22 so that the closure 30 cannot be unscrewed off of the neck 22. The sealing member 40 is to be dimensioned so that it will gradually be compressed to form a tight seal against the neck 22 when the closure 30 is latched in this position. Thus. the seal will be formed without easing the sealing pressure.
From this description it will be seen that the lugs 42 and 46 act essentially as cooperating holding means so as to hold the closure 30 against undesired rotation. For these holding means to be operative in the intended manner either the closure top 32 or the neck 22 or both must be capable of some temporary deformation to allow the lugs 42 and 46 to be snapped past one another. The resiliency necessary to accomplish this can easily be achieved by forming either the closure 30 or the neck 22 or both out of a common polyolefin material such as polyethylene or polypropylene. Other physically related materials can, of course, be used.
when these parts are formed of such materials, the sealing member 40 will normally be formed integrally with the closure 30 so as to have a known, different shape than indicated in FIG. 2. The neck 22 and the closure 30 may be formed of other materials such as metal or glass. It is necessary that either the closure 30 or the neck 22 be capable of temporary deformation so as to allow the lugs 42 and 44 to snap past one another.
In order to remove the closure 30 from the neck 22 it is necessary to push this closure 30 towards the container to a sufficient extent so that the lugs 42 and 46 are offset with respect to one another as indicated in FIG. 7 of the drawing. When these lugs 42 and 46 are so offset, the threads 36 and 38 will also be offset slightly as indicated in this Figure. When this offset condition has been achieved. this closure may be turned so as to move the lugs 42 and 46 away from one another and may be then unthreaded in a conventional manner. In order for this mode of operation to be achieved the sealing member must be sufficiently compressible so as to permit the relative movement between the lugs 42 and 46 described.
In FIGS. 8-10 of the drawing there is shown a part of a container having a cylindrical neck 62 provided with a normally open end 64 and having a base 66. This container 60 is adapted to be utilized with a closure having a top 72 and a dependent cylindrical skirt 74. A single thread 76 extends less than 360 around the exterior of the neck 62. A mating thread 78 of a similar length extends the same distance around the interior of the skirt 74.
A known resilient, elastomeric sealing member 80 is located on the interior seal against the end 64 of the neck 62. The sealing member 80 has the form of a compressible washer. Other known compressible sealing means can be utilized in place of this precise sealing member 80. Such other sealing means may be integral with the closure 70.
The container 60 is provided with a small lug 82 at the end of the thread 76 which is a slight distance below and out of alignment with the thread 76. This lug 82 has an outwardly facing sloping surface 84 which is adapted to be engaged by a corresponding inwardly facing, sloping surface 88 on a lug 86 within the interior of the skirt 74. This lug 86 is in alignment with the thread 78 and is spaced from the end of this thread 78. The lugs 82 and 86 are provided with flat surfaces and 92, respectively.
The use of the closure 70 upon the container 60 is very similar to the closure 30 upon the container 20. In use the closure 70 is attached to the neck 62 by being moved as shown by the arrow in FIG. II. As such motion continues, the surfaces 84 and 88 will engage and will cause temporary deformation in a radial direction until such time as the lugs 82 and 86 snap past one another allowing the surfaces 90 and 92 to come together to a closed position as shown in FIG. 12. The position where this happens will coincide with the sealing member 80 being compressed sufficiently so as to form a seal.
To remove the closure 70 from the container 60 it is necessary to compress the closure 70 towards the container 60 so as to further compress the sealing member 80. This will cause the lugs 82 and 86 to be offset from one another as indicated in FIG. 13 of the drawing from the closed position as shown in FIG. 12. When in such an offset position the closure 70 may be turned in the direction of the arrow shown in FIG. 13 so as to be removed from the container 60.
In order to achieve this mode of operation it is necessary to provide for temporary deformation sufficient for the lugs 82 and 86 constituting cooperating holding means to be snapped past one another. As with the container 20 and the closure 30 such temporary deformation may be achieved by forming the container 60 or the closure 70 or both out of a material which is somewhat resilient and is capable of temporary deformation. Materials as are indicated in connection with the container 20 and the closure 30 may be used.
In FIGS. 14 to 16 of the drawing there is shown a part of a container which carries a neck 102 having a normally open end I04. A base 106 of this neck is attached to and forms a part of container 100. This neck 102 is adapted to be closed by a closure 110 having a top 112 and a dependent cylindrical skirt 114. The neck 102 carries sloping projections 116 which are adapted to mate with corresponding sloping projections I 18 on the interior of the skirt 114. These projections I I6 and 118 are partial threads such as are used in bayonet-type joints; hence, may be classified as bayonet connections.
When they are attached to one another a seal is formed between the neck 102 and the top 112 by means of a sealing member 120. This sealing member 120 has the form of an inwardly directed, sloping flange formed integrally with the neck 102. Other equivalent sealing means capable of being compressed may be utilized. In order for the sealing member 120 to be operative it is necessary for this member 120 and the entire neck to be formed of an appropriate resilient, somewhat flexible material such as materials as indicated in the preced Each of the projections 116 is provided with a lug extension 122 having a downwardly facing, sloping surface 124. Each of the projections I18 is in line with a lug 126 on the skirt 114 which has an upwardly facing, sloping surface 128 which corresponds to the surface 124. During the movement of the closure 110 so as to place it upon the container 100 in the direction of the arrow shown in FIG. 17, these projections 116 and 118 are moved along one another by rotation of the closure 110 until such time as the surfaces 124 and 128 mate against and slide against one another so as to cause temporary axial deformation sufficient so that the lugs 122 and 126 can snap past one another to a latched position as indicated in FIG. 18. In this position flat surfaces 130 and 132 on the lugs 122 and 126 respectively fit against one another so as to prevent movement of the closure 110 off of the container 100 in a conventional manner.
The closure 110 can. however, be removed as indicated in FIG. I9 by pushing it towards the base 106 so as to offset the lugs 122 and 126 with respect to one another. This will of course place the projections 116 and X18 offset from one another as indicated in FIG. 19. The closure 110 may then be turned in the direction of the arrow shown in this figure so as to detach it from the neck 102.
Because of the fact that the neck 102 is formed of the flexible material which provides for the operative character of the sealing member 120, the closure 1 may be formed of a comparatively rigid material incapable of temporary deformation. It however may also be formed of a comparatively flexible material such as a polyolefin so that that both the neck 102 and the skirt "4 temporarily deform during the assembly of the closure 110 upon the neck 102.
Normally the threads on closures formed of such comparatively flexible materials must be formed with a comparatively high degree of precision so that these closures will satisfactorily fit upon the threaded necks of containers. Similarly the container necks used with such closures must normally be fomted within relatively close tolerances for satisfactory operation to be achieved. One benefit of the present invention is that the thread means utilized need not be formed to quite such close tolerances as have previously been required. This is because with the present invention what may be considered as a latching action is achieved. This latching action prevents inadvertent or undesired movement of a closure with respect to a container once the closure has been torqued down into an operative position in which a seal is formed. This is considered to be a particularly advantageous aspect of the invention.
From a consideration of the preceding it will be realized that the various "lugs" described are holding means which serve two purposes. These lugs include surfaces which serve as cams or cam means to cause temporary deformation as indicated. These lugs also serve as latch means or structures after such deformation has been achieved so as to lock a closure against movement along the thread means described. With various structures indicated what in effect is a snap-type action based on the inherent resiliency or flexibility of a material in either the closure or the container neck or both is achieved. This is to be contrasted with prior related structures which do not utilize the properties of a material within a closure or container neck or both so as to obtain the type of action set forth.
I. The combination of:
a cylindrical container neck having an open end and a base;
a closure having a top and a dependent cylindrical skirt positioned on said neck with said top overlying said end and said skirt surrounding said end;
sealing means for forming a seal between said closure and said neck located between said top and said end so as to form a seal therebetween;
mating thread means on the interior of said skirt and on the exterior of said neck for detachably securing said closure to said neck;
in which the improvement comprises:
cooperating holding means on the exterior of said neck and the interior of said skirt for latching said closure with respect to said neck so as to prevent movement of said closure by the movement between said thread means;
said holding means being separate from said thread means;
said neck and said closure being formed of materials permitting temporary deformation between them during the use of said holding means;
said holding means being capable of engaging one another during movement of said closure onto said neck along said thread means so as to cause temporary deformation between said closure and said neck sufficient to enable said holding means to snap past one another;
said sealing means being compressible to form a seal between said closure and said neck during movement of said closure onto said neck alon said thread means; said holding means being capab e of engaging one another during movement of said closure onto said neck along said thread means without releasing sealing pressure caused by the compression of said sealing means between closure and said neck; said closure being capable of being moved relative to said neck after engagement of said holding means so as to compress said sealing means so as to permit said closure to be moved toward said base of said neck in order to offset said holding means with respect to one another; said closure being capable of being removed from said neck when said holding means are offset with respect to one another by being twisted on said thread means. 2. The combination claimed in claim I wherein: said neck and said closure are fonned of a deformable material. 3. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: said neck is formed of a deformable material. 4. The combination claimed in claim 3 wherein: said sealing means is integral with said neck. 5. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: said closure is formed of a deformable material. 6. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: each of said holding means comprises a lug. said lugs having sloping surfaces which cause temporary radial deformation when said closure is being located upon said container neck. 7. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: each of said holding means comprises a lug, said lugs having sloping surfaces which causes temporary axial deformation when said closure is being located upon said container neck. 8. The claimed in claim I wherein: each of said thread means comprises a multiturn thread and each of said holding means comprises a lug, said lugs having sloping surfaces which mate against one another during the location of said closure upon said neck so as to cause deformation in a direction axial to the axis of said neck. 9. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: each of said thread means comprises a thread extending less than 360" around an axis; each of said holding means comprises a lug, said lugs having sloping surfaces which mate against one another during the location of said closure upon said neck so as to cause deformation in a direction radial to the axis of said neck. 10. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: each of said thread means comprises a plurality of partial threads; each of said holding means comprises a lug, said lugs having sloping surfaces which mate against one another during the location of said closure upon said neck so as to cause deformation in a direction axial to the axis of said neck. 11. The combination claimed in claim 1 wherein: said container neck is formed of a flexible resilient material. said sealing means comprises an inwardly directed. sloping flange formed integrally with said neck, said sealing means contacts the interior of said top of said closure so as to form a seal therewith upon the assembly of said closure upon said neck.