US 3731854 A
An aerosol container liner of flexible material having a plurality of longitudinally aligned pleats extending inwardly in the general direction of orderly liner collapse under the influence of a surrounding propellant. The liner comprises longitudinally arranged tiers of pleats joined by foldable, intermediate, hinge portions blending the adjoining pleats.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Ullitfi all Casey States Patent 1  COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER LINER  Inventor: Don E. Casey, 645 Neil Avenue,
1 Columbus, Ohio 43215 22 Filed: July 12, 1971 21 App1.No.: 161,840
 U.S. C1. ..222/386.5, ZZZ/402.1, 239/304  Int. Cl ..G0lf 11/00 [581 Field of Search ..222/386.5, 94, 95,
[ 11 May8, 1973 3,421,661 1/1969- Price ..222/94 FOREIGN PATENTS CR APPLICATIONS 1,101,729 3/1961 Germany ..222/386.5
Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-James M. Slattery Att()rney-Cennam0, Kremblas & Foster  ABSTRACT An aerosol container liner of flexible material having a plurality of longitudinally aligned. pleats extending inwardly in the general direction of orderly liner collapse under the influence of a surrounding propellant. The liner comprises longitudinally arranged tiers of pleats joined by foldable, intermediate, hinge portions blending the adjoining pleats.
11 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PATENTED HAY 8 5973 SHEET 2 BF 3 INVENTOR DON E.CASEY Caliban) .Knmt/aa 30.41"
ATTORNEYS PATENTEUHAY 8 191a SHEET 3 [IF 3 FIG. I3
FIGIZ FIG. IO
M w l F INVENTOR DON E. CASEY ATTORNEYS v COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER LINER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to containers and more particularly relates to an aerosol type container having an inner, pleated collapsible liner.
Aerosol containers are widely used for storing and conveniently dispensing a great variety of products. Modern aerosol containers often include a product containing receptacle. This receptacle is a liner which is capable of collapsing under the influence of propellant housed between the liner and a surrounding outer, rigid, or semi-rigid container body. An end unit or closure of the container includes a manually operable, valve-actuated dispensing mechanism which is in communication with the interior of the liner. Thus, upon depressing or otherwise actuating the dispensing mechanism, the particular product packaged within the liner is dispensed to atmosphere as the liner collapses under the influence of the propellant.
A typical aerosolcontainer body has a top crown portion joined to its cylindrical side wall portion by a conventional, compressed double seam. The crown has an open-mouth or filler hole at its central top surrounded by a tiller ring formed by an annular outward curl. A valve cap carrying a manual valve dispensing mechanism is sealingly engaged to the crown at the tiller ring.
In the assembly of a conventional aerosol barrier pack container, the crown is initially attached to the cylindrical side wall. The liner is then inserted through the bottom end of the can and forced axially toward the top until the neck and mouth of the liner is passed through the filler hole. The liner mouth is ordinarily provided with an annular curl section matingly seating against the filler ring curl. Above the annular segment is a slightly oversized retaining shoulder which extends outwardly to form a neck. This construction requires that the oversized shoulder be forced through the tiller hole, distorting it somewhat, and the liners mating curl portion be force fit and snapped into place to retain the liner in the crown. Most of the neck outwardly from the shoulder is then cut away and the valve cap is engaged on the filler ring curl clamping the liners mating curl portion intermediate the filler ring curl and the valve cap curl.
The conventional container bottom for a can is attached by a double seam similar to that used to attach the crown to the cylindrical container body. The liner is filled with the dispensable product and the valve is assembled. The container is then filled with a suitable propellant such as air or Freon.
E. J. Boik in US. Pat. No. 3,549,058 shows an annularly pleated inner liner for an aerosol container. Because the pleats of the annularly pleated liner are transverse to the inward flow of product through the valve, the entire container is spun during filling to force the product outwardly and thereby assure that air pockets are eliminated from the pleat areas.
Another problem inherent in the annularly pleated container liner is that its expansion or inflation within the container body is limited. The annular pleats can not unfold and open outwardly to a position lying against the interior walls of the outer rigid container body because the inner crease of each pleat is circular and would require substantial stretching to reach the interior walls. Thus the annularly pleated liner can not occupy as great a proportion of interior volume of the rigid container body as might be desired.
In collapsing as dispensed product is expelled from the annularly pleated liner, the side walls of the liner and the bottom of the liner move axially toward the valve. Often this collapse in uneven and disorderly in that one side of the bottom may move substantially ahead of the other side and thus the bottom may become substantially obliquely inclined to the central axis during collapse of the liner.
Additionally, the axial movement of the annular pleats restricts the use of an annularly pleated liner to a cylindrical container body. A tapered-wall container body could not efficiently be filled using an annularly pleated liner because the bottom and side walls can not move inwardly toward the central axis following any taper as the liner collapses.
There is a need, therefore, for a container liner which can be inserted through the filler hole of the container body crown from the top of the container so that the liner may easily be used with glass container bodies which have unitary bottoms and with the integral one piece metal container bodies formed by impact extrusion as is conventionally practiced in producing one piece aluminum can bodies. There is additionally a need for a container liner which eliminates the step of cutting away the excess neck portion of the liner and which eliminates the need for spinning the container during the filling operation. There is furthermore a need for a container liner which will collapse in an orderly manner without distortion or destruction of the liner so that its repeated use in recycling is practical. There is further a need for a container liner which can conform to noncylindrical container body shapes and which is capable of occupying a substantially greater proportion of the container bodys interior volume. There is also a need for a container liner which will permit its valve to be molded with the. container liner as a unitary structure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is a container liner adapted for use in a container body for receiving a dispensable product and for exhausting the product under the influence of a propellant separated from the product by the liner. The liner comprises a flexible walled inwardly collapsible receptacle having a mouth portion for sealing engagement with the closure of the container. The liner has a plurality of pleats extending inwardly in the general direction of the orderly collapse of the liner.
It is an object of the invention to provide an improved container liner.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which may be easily used with glass containers and with one piece cans which have unitary bottoms.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which may be inserted from the top of the container through the filler hole which is of smaller diameter than the container body walls.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner having pleats aligned in the direction of product flow into and out of the container.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which permits greater conformity of the liner with the interior of the container body so that the liner and the product it contains occupies a greater proportion of interior volume of the container body.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which can conform to noncylindrical shapes of container bodies.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which will collapse in an orderly manner and does not deform or destroy the interior liner so that the container may be recycled.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which can eliminate the steps of removing excess liner neck from the crown area of the liner and which further can permit the container valve to be molded as a unitary part of the liner.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container liner which can eliminate the necessity of spinning the container during the filling operation.
Further objects and features of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and claims when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings illustrating several embodiments of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view in vertical section of the preferred embodiment of the invention showing the liner in quarter section to reveal a portion of its interior.
FIG. 2 is a view in horizontal section of the container liner illustrated in FIG. 1 taken substantially along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a view in vertical section taken substantially along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating a hinge portion of the liner.
FIG. 4 is a view in perspective as in FIG. 3 but showing the hinge portion in the folded position.
FIG. 5 is a view in perspective of the container liner illustrated in FIG. 1 in its entirely filled condition.
FIG. 6 is a view in perspective of the container liner illustrated in FIG. 1 in a partially collapsed position.
FIG. 7 is a view in perspective of the container liner illustrated in FIG. 1 in its nearly fully collapsed condition.
FIG. 8 is a view in vertical section of the container liner illustrated in FIG. 1 being inserted through the filler hole of the container body illustrating the method of assembly.
FIG. 9 is a view in vertical section illustrating an alternative propellant filling structure embodying the invention.
FIG. 10 is a view in vertical section of an alternative embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 11 is a view in horizontal section taken substantially along the lines 11-11 of FIG. 10 illustrating the liner ofthe embodiment of FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is a view in perspective of yet another alternative embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 13 is a view in perspective of still another alternative embodiment of the invention.
4 FIG. 14 is a view in perspective of yet another alternative embodiment of the invention.
In describing the embodiments of the invention illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended to be limited to specific terms so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIGS. 1-4, the preferred embodiment is housed in a generally rigid container body comprising a cylindrical container wall 10 and a bottom 12 sealingly and rigidly attached to the side wall 10 by means of a conventional double seam 14. A crown 16 is similarly attached to the top end of the cylindrical side wall 10 by means of a similar double seam 18. A propellant filler hole occupied by a sealant plug 20 is formed in the center of the bottom 12. The top of the crown 16 has a filler hole mouth formed by an outward curl 22 annularly surrounding and defining the filler hole. A valve cap 24 is clamped on the crown curl 22 and carries a valve means 26 having a pushbutton 28 for actuating the valve to dispense product through an outlet 30.
The preferred liner 32 is manufactured by blow molding, for example, from a flexible material such as polyethylene or polypropylene in combination with nylon. It has three longitudinally arranged tiers of Iongitudinally aligned pleats, a side wall tier 34 joined at its bottom to the bottom tier 36 and joined at its top to a top or crown tier 38. The top of the liner is formed into a liner mouth having a curl 40 sealingly compressed between the crown curl 22 and the valve cap cur] 23. All of the pleats such as the pleat 42 extend generally inwardly in the general direction of the orderly liner collapse. The pleats are aligned either parallel to the longitudinal axis of the container in the case of the side wall pleats 32 or transversely of this axis as in the case of the bottom pleats 36 and the crown pleats 38. The bottom pleats 36 are conically arranged to form an upwardly concave bottom and are joined to the side wall pleats 32 along the lines of intersection of the planes forming the pleats. The bottom pleats 36 could be convex to extend downwardly. This, however, would cause considerable lengthening of the liner as it collapses. It may be observed that if the cylindrical wall of the container body is immediately adjacent the side wall pleats and the bottom is upwardly concave, then the bottom will be unable, under internal pressure, to pop out" and become convex. The outer skirt of the bottom will be restrained from expansion by the cylindrical side wall.
The crown pleats 38 are frusto-conically arranged. The uppermost part of the crown tier of pleats immediately below the liner curl 40 is a smooth walled portion 41 (see FIG. 8) having no pleats. This portion permits an inward bow of this top portion so that the crown pleats may move inwardly to a radial position less than the radius of the rigidly held curl 40. The crown pleats 38 are joined to the side wall pleats 32 by foldable intermediate hinge portions such as hinge portion 44 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. These hinge portions blend the adjoining pleats and are preferably inwardly concave so that they will be folded inwardly during collapse of the liner to the position illustrated in FIG. 4. The depth of the side wall pleats, for example from the outer crease 46 to the inner crease 48, is
preferably greater than the depth of the crown pleats, for example, from the crease 50 to the crease 52. This construction causes the opposed side wall pleats to contact each other near the axis of the container during collapse while keeping the crown pleats somewhat spaced to assure a passage for the remaining contents of the liner.
Referring to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, the dispensing of product from the container begins with the liner 32 entirely or inflated or filled as illustrated in FIG. 5. The inner creases of the side wall 32, such as the crease 48 are able to flex and unfold outwardly nearly to the cylindrical side wall 10 of the container body. The container should not be over filled so that the inner creases such as the crease 48 would extend radially further out than the outer creases such as crease 46.
As the valve button 28 is periodically depressed to dispense product from the interior of the liner, the propellant causes the liner 32 to begin collapsing radially inwardly toward the longitudinal axis of the liner. The center point of the conically arranged bottom tier of pleats 36 will move upwardly and the side wall pleats 32 will move inwardly as product is dispensed. As the liner collapses toward the intermediately collapsed position illustrated in FIG. 6, the crown pleats 38 will converge into approximate straight line alignment with the side wall pleats 32. This of course, will cause slight axial lengthening of the liner and therefore adequate space for this lengthening must be provided when the axial length of the container body 10 is designed. As the side wall pleats and the crown pleats 38 become linearly aligned, the hinge portions, such as the hinge portion 44 illustrated in FIG. 3 will fold inwardly to the position illustrated in FIG. 4.
As more product continues to be periodically dispensed from the liner 32, the side walls, carrying the hinge portions, move further inwardly toward the central axis of the container. Ultimately, the innermost creases of the side wall pleats 32 will come together and meet along the central axis. Subsequent withdrawal of product from the liner may cause the smooth portion above the crown pleats 38 to bow inwardly slightly as illustrated in FIG. 7.
Of course, if the container is now refilled, the opposite sequence of events will occur until the liner returns to the position illustrated in FIG. 5.
In manufacturing and assembling the preferred embodiment of the invention, the crown 16 is initially attached to the cylindrical side wall 10. If the container body has a separate bottom, it may be attached to the container side wall 10 as illustrated in FIG. 1. The liner is then collapsed to its intermediate position similar to that illustrated in FIG. 6 or to a more fully collapsed position and inserted through the filler hole mouth as illustrated in FIG. 8. The liner is inserted until its curl 40 seats upon the curl 22 around the filler hole mouth of the crown 16. The top of the liner may be provided with a small annular shoulder spaced below its curl 40 and slightly larger in exterior diameter than the interior diameter of the curl 22 of the crown. When the liner is inserted in the container body, such a shoulder will snap through the tiller hole mouth and lie beneath the curl to prevent the liner from falling out of the container body if assembly is done with the container inverted. Finally, assembly is completed with the valve cap 24 pressed over the curl 40 of the liner to clamp the liner curl 40 intermediate the valve cap curl 23 and the filler hole curl 22. Because the liner advantageously collapses radially inwardly towards the longitudinal axis of the container and because the liner may be inserted in a collapsed form, the liner can be inserted through the tiller hole mouth of the crown. Therefore, this liner can be used with a container body having a continuous unitary bottom which makes insertion of the liner through the bottom impossible.
FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 illustrate an alternative embodiment of the invention having alternative major and minor pleats. For example, the major pleat 102 has an adjoining minor pleat 104. When the liner is substantially filled, the minor pleats will have a relatively shallow angle of radial depth. This arrangement permits the liner 100 to occupy an even greater proportion of the total inner volume of the exterior, rigid container body 106. Folding during collapse will be essentially the same as that described above except the inner creases of the minor pleats will not reach the longitudinal axis of the container.
FIG. 12 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which the top crown portion is relatively small and the majority of the liner 200 comprises a cylindrically tier of pleats forming a side wall portion 202. This structure would be particularly desirable for use in small aerosol sprays such as used for concentrated mouth fresheners.
FIG. 13 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the invention in which the upper tier of pleats 302 is substantially cylindrically arranged and the intermediate tier of pleats 304 is frusto-conically arranged. The bottom tier of pleats for the embodiments of FIGS. 12 and 13, although not shown, may be identical to the bottom tiers illustrated in connection with the preferred embodiments of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1.
FIG. 14 illustrates still another embodiment of the invention. The liner 400 illustrated in FIG. 14 has 5 tiers of longitudinal, inwardly directed pleats. The crown tier 402 is joined to an intermediate cylindrical tier 404 which in turn is connected by suitable hinge portions to a frusto-conically arranged shoulder tier 406. This in turn is connected by suitable hinge portions to the major cylindrically arranged tier of pleats 408 which in turn is connected to a bottom not shown. The embodiment of FIG. 14 illustrates that the concept of the invention can be extended to permit construction of liners which can conform to container body shapes of various different kinds. The liner 400 will, during collapse, eventually arrive at a configuration somewhat similar to that illustrated in FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the invention for permitting the propellant to be injected into the space between the container body wall and the wall of the liner 500. The liner 500 has an inwardly tapered, frusto-conical top tier of pleats 502 which has a beaded coupling neck 504 molded to its top as a unitary part thereof. The filler cap 506 is provided with the curl similar to that already described and is also provided with a central housing 510 having an internal groove 507 for receiving snugly the bead 505 of the neck 504. A valve 509 is supported in the housing 510 and is sealingly connected by the housing 510 to the liner neck 504. A pushbutton 512 is conventionally mounted in the valve 509. This construction permits the propellant inlet bore 514 and its sealing plug 516 to be positioned in the flat portion of the valve cap 506. Alternatively, with the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9 or with the embodiments illustrated in other figures, the propellant inlet hole could be positioned through the crown 520 and be provided with a sealing plug 520 illustrated in phantom in FIG. 9. This filling method and structure is particularly advantageous for use with most one piece extruded cans or glass containers which ordinarily have a flat bottom and therefore have no concave area where a downwardly protruding rubber sealant plug can be placed.
From the above description it can be appreciated that I have provided a container liner which may easily be used in glass and extruded can containers because it can be inserted through the crown filler hole. The improved liner advantageously has pleats aligned in the direction of product flow and is capable of closely conforming to the interior of the outer rigid container body. The liner eliminates the manufacturing steps of cutting away the excess liner neck and of spinning during filling.
it is to be understood that while the detailed drawings and specific examples given describe preferred embodiments of the invention, they are for the purposes of illustration only that the apparatus of the invention is not limited to the precise details and conditions disclosed and that various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention which is defined by the following claims.
1. A container liner adapted for use in a generally rigid container for receiving a dispensable product and for exhausting said product under the influence of a propellant separated from said product by said liner, the liner comprising:
a flexible walled, inwardly collapsible receptacle having a mouth portion for sealing engagement with a closure of said container, and having a unitary main body portion comprising a plurality of longitudinally arranged tiers of generally longitudinally aligned pleats flexibly joined at their ends.
2. A liner according to claim 1 wherein the tiers include at least a top tier joined to said mouth portion, a bottom tier enclosing the bottom end of said receptacle and an intermediate tier, and wherein the top and bottom tiers are aligned transverse of the axis of the receptacle.
3. A liner according to claimv 1 wherein said liner comprises in a selected position, a bottom end portion comprising a plurality of conically arranged pleats intersecting said axis and a top portion comprising a plurality of frusto-conically arranged pleats aligned transverse of said axis.
4. A liner according to claim 3 wherein said mouth is formed symmetrically about said axis at the extreme of said top portion.
5. A liner according to claim 3 wherein the pleats of adjoining tiers are connected by foldable, intermediate, hinge portions blending the adjoining pleats for being folded by the collapse of said liner.
6. A liner according to claim 5 wherein said pleats comprise alternate major and minor pleats.
7. A liner according to claim 5 wherein said hinge portions are inwardly concave for being folded inwardly during collapse of said liner.
8. A liner according to claim 5 wherein said bottom portion pleats intersect the pleats of the adjoining tier of pleats.
9. A liner according to claim 1 wherein a propellant filler hole retaining a sealing plug is provided in a crown portion of said container body.
10. A liner according to claim 1 wherein a propellant filler hole retaining a sealing plug is provided in a valve cap portion of said container body.
11. A liner according to claim 1 wherein said mouth is molded into a coupling and is coupled directly to a valve.