US 3767078 A
A dispenser wherein a resilient bladder is stretched over a curved surface presented by a supporting rib which extends into the dispenser. Both the bladder and the supporting rib are elongated and are anchored at one end in a dispensing valve assembly mounted in a wall of the dispenser. The bladder is open at its anchored end and communicates with a valved passage in the valve assembly so as to discharge its contents therethrough. At its opposite end, the bladder is closed and, to make sure that it will expel all of its contents, is attached to the supporting rib in such a manner as to put the body of the bladder into tension along its length.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ 1 Oct. 23, 1973 United States Patent [1 1 Gortz et a1.
1 1 BLADDER TYPE DISPENSER FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Inventors: Norman Gortz, 11151 Coventry PL,
1,257,105 2/1961 France 220/63 R Santa Ana; Michael B. Maccarone, 8?? (human hvme both of Primary ExaminerGeorge E. Lowrance a l Attorney-Fowler, Knobbe and Martens  Filed: Nov. 3, 1970 Appl. No.: 86,506
 ABSTRACT A dispenser wherein a resilient bladder is stretched over a curved surface presented by a supporting rib which extends into the dispenser. Both the bladder  US. 220/63 R, 220/85 B, 222/95, 222/386.5 B6511 25/14, B65d 35/28 and the supporting rib are elongated and are anchored at one end in a dispensing valve assembly mounted in a wall of the dispenser. The bladderis open at its an-  Int.  Field of Search chored end and communicates with a valved passage in the valve assembly so as to discharge its contents therethrough. At its opposite end, the bladder is closed and, to make sure that it will expel all of its contents, is attached to the supporting rib in such a 5 K 63 55 82 32 W22 2 .2 2 .22 S T m N m W m d u A m" t q .l C Rm "6 n E d r. T c .O r. nA rlnu nTmmwm ESKSBS 8 D E 44 6566 19999 mwww U l 6540 1 10 939 m 9859 5 .1 2232 manner as to put the body of the bladder into tension along its length.
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BLADDER TYPE DISPENSER The present invention relates generally to pressurized fluid dispensers and more specifically to a dispenser in which the required pressure is provided by a resilient bladder which expands elastically when it reaches its contents and which then contracts to expel those contents. In order to insure that the bladder will expel practically all of its contents, it is prestressed over a surface in such a manner that its opposing walls continue to press toward one another even when the bladder is empty.
A pressurized dispenser of this type is disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,506,005. The present inventors are also two of the inventors of this patent. In one embodiment of the patented dispenser, a cylindrical mandrel extends from the floor of the dispenser body toward its top, where a valve assembly is seated. A resilient bladder which is closed at one end and open at the opposite end is attached at its open end to the valve assembly and is prestressed by being pulled over the mandrel. This is done by pressing the tip of the mandrel against the closed end of the cylindrical bladder so as to fold the closed end of the bladder back into itself. In this way the mandrel not only pushed the bottom portion of the bladder back into the top portion, but it also stretches both portions of the bladder radially outwardly and against one another. This manner of prestressing a bladder requires that the prestressing mandrel be aligned carefully with the tubular bladder.
An improved pressurized dispenser utilizing a prestretched bladder is disclosed in Patent application Ser. No. 887,189 filed by the inventors of the present invention on Dec. 22, i969. In the improved dispenser the mandrel is tapered from its base toward its tip and the closed end of the bladder is formed by a disk-like membrane which is capable of flexing between a concave position and a convex position when the tip of the mandrel is pressed against it, thereby helping to align the membrane with the mandrel. Both the provision of the flexible membrane and the tapered mendrel help to ease the assembly of the mandrel into the bladder.
In accordance with an important feature of the present invention the bladder is prestressed longitudinally rather than radially in such a manner that this prestressing can be achieved before the final assembly of the pressurized container. More particularly, there is provided for final assembly into a substantially rigid outer container a preassembled inner pressurized capsule which includes a .valve assembly, an elongated prestressing member which extends from the valve assembly, and a resilient bladder which is stretched longitudinally along the prestressing member with its inlet end being anchored in the valve assembly and its opposite, closed end being attached to the prestressing member. After the capsule has been assembled, it may then be inserted into an opening in the outer container in which it may be anchored by any one of a number of alternative means, preferred ones of which are disclosed herein.
Normally, with the pressurized capsule in place in the container, the prestressing member extends generally parallel to the wall of the container and stops short of its base. This arrangement has several advantages. First, since the bladder expands asymmetrically relative to the supporting member the capsule need not be axially mounted in the container. And, for the same reason, the container can take various shapes. Second,
since the bladder is stretched longitudinally to lie flat on the supporting member, it tends to expand evenly as it is filled, without localized bulging. Third, by mounting the supporting member near one wall sector and well above the base of the container, the bladder is given more room to expand before hitting any portion thereof. As a result, the bladder receives most of its contents before abutting against the container, thus reducing the ultimate pressure exerted by the filled bladder against the container. A fourth advantage of the pressurized capsule concept, wherein a bladder is stretched longitudinally upon a support member, is that theamount of pressure exerted by the bladder upon its contents can be readily changed by increasing or reducing the extent by which the bladder is elongated longitudinally in its stretched condition. Thus, fluids of different consistency can be accommodated without changing the dimensions of either the bladder or of the supporting member upon which it is stretched.
In accordance with a related feature of the present invention, the pressurized capsule is made sufficiently versatile to permit its use both in an upright container, in which the valve assembly is in an end wall of the container, and in a normally supine container, in which the valve assembly enters the outer container through an upwardly facing side wall. In carrying out this aspect of the invention, the prestressing member, which is typically in the shape of a rib or a spoon, is bendable relative to the valve assembly so that it can be inserted through the side wall of the horizontal type of dispenser and, once inserted, can be bent so as to move toward the bottom wall of the container.
Another related feature of the present invention, which is not necessarily limited to use with a preassembled capsule type of dispenser, is the provision of a flexible'bag liner inside the resilient bladder. The combination of a flexible bag and the resilient bladder around it is particularly useful in instances where the bladder is to receive a fluid which might damage the bladder or which might in turn be spoiled thereby. In such cases, the bag insert can be chosen to be compatible with the fluid which is to be dispensed, without having the resilience which is required of the bladder to expel all of its contents. In other words, in the case of a fluid which is difficult to handle, a single material need not have both the mechanical characteristics required of the bladder and the chemical characteristics required to be compatible with the contents of the bladder. To the contrary, a common bladder material can be used with all fluids, with a bag insert being used in case of those incompatible with it. In accordance with this feature of the invention, the bag insert is made to belarger when it is filled than the bladder when it is contracted. The bag is folded before insertion into the bladder and is unfolded and thus increases in size as the fluid is injected into the bag, which in turn causes the bladder to stretch and thus expand.
Also disclosed herein is a novel manner of anchoring the bladder in the valve assembly. In accordance with this feature of the invention, the valve assembly includes a pair of cylindrical gland members which between them define an annular space in which the inelt end of the bladder is held clamped. The outer gland member is locked into the container and the inner gland member contains a valved passage through which fluid enters into and is discharged from the bladder. Advantageously, the prestressing rib member is anchored in a slot provided for that purpose in the outer gland member.
The pressurized capsule of the present invention lends itself to use either individually, that is one container per capsule, or in combination with one or more similar capsules. Thus, there is disclosed herein a multiple chamber container in which each chamber contains its individual pressurized capsule. All of the capsules expel their contents through a single valve assembly which may either Intermix their contents during the discharging process or alternatively may keep their contents segregated by means of individual discharge orifices. The pressurized capsule concept makes this type of multi-chamber container quite practical since the entire multi-capsule assembly can be preassembled prior to insertion into the multi-chamber container.
The present invention and its advantages will be more clearly understood with reference to the following description of several embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a cross section through an exemplary upright pressurized dispenser in which a bladder is stretched longitudinally along a supporting member or rib which is rigidly anchored in a valve assembly to which the neck of the bladder is also attached, the bladder being shown in profile in its empty state;
FIG. 2 is a cross section of the dispenser illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the bladder in plan view in its empty state;
FIG. 3 is a cross section similar to FIG. '1 but with the bladder shown in a partially filled state;
FIG. 4 is a cross section similar to FIG. 3 but with the bladder being shown in its filled state;
FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 illustrate different container shapes and capsule locations made possible by the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a cross section through a pressurized dispenser which is normally supine and in which the pressurized capsule features a hinged support member to facilitate insertion of the capsule into the container;
FIG. 9 is a cross section similar to FIG. 8 but with the bladder shown in its filled state and with the hinged supporting member shown displaced from its original position by the filled bladder;
FIG. 10 is an end view of the dispenser illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9 to illustrate its cross section;
FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the hinge portion of the support member illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9;
FIG. 12 is a side view of the hinge assembly shown in FIG. 11 with the support member shown in its erect position upon the valve assembly to which it is hinged;
FIG. 13 illustrates an upright container basically like those illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 but with an actuator having a built in look to prevent inadvertent discharging of the bladder;
FIG. 14 is a detailed cross section through a dispenser assembly including a valve assembly and an actuator therefor and characterized by the fact that the valve assembly has a pair of gland members which clamp the neck of the bladder between them and which are in turn held together by means of a locking cap;
FIG. 15 is an exploded perspective view of the valve and actuator assembly shown in cross section in FIG. 14;
FIG. 16 is a cross section through an alternative type of dispenser assembly characterized by the fact that it too includes a pair of gland members which clamp the neck of the bladder between them, but which interlock without the aid of a separate locking cap, thus permitting the bladder to be filled prior to the insertion of the valve mechanism into the valve assembly;
FIG. 17 is an exploded perspective view of the base of the support member and of the bottom portion of the outer gland member of the valve assembly to show the manner in which they interfit;
FIGS. 18a-18d illustrate different alternate cross sections for the bladder support member shown in FIG. 16;
FIG. 19 is an exploded perspective view of an actuator cap of the type shown in cross section in FIG. 13, particularly illustrating its stop elements;
FIG. 20 is an exploded perspective of a valve assembly and of the root portion of an alternative type of bladder support member which is characterized by the fact that the support member extends transversely relative to the principal axis of the valve assembly;
FIG. 21 is a side view showing a valve assembly in which a bladder support member is flexibly anchored so as to permit it to assume both an erect position, shown in solid lines, in which it extends generally parallel to the axis of the valve assembly and a second position, shown in dotted lines, in which the support member extends transversely relative to the principal axis of the valve assembly;
FIG. 22 is an exploded perspectve view of the valve assembly and bladder support member illustrated in FIG. 21;
FIGS. 23 and 23a illustrate in cross section one manner of anchoring an end of the bladder upon the bladder support member, featuring a clip in which the end of the bladder is crimped and which is provided with a button-type fastener anchored in a slot provided or that purpose in the bladder support member;
FIGS. 24 and 24a illustrate in cross section and in exploded perspective view a method of anchoring the bladder upon the bladder support member wherein the terminal portion of the bladder is locked between the bladder support member and a clip, with the clip having a plunger which crimps the bladder into an. opening in the bladder support member;
FIGS. 25 and 25a are cross sections through yet another type of bladder and bladder support member wherein the bladder is attached to the bladder support member by means of a crimp-type fastener having an integral extension which snaps into a slot provided in the end of the bladder support member;
FIGS. 26 and 26a show in plan view and cross section an embodiment in which the bladder terminates in a tab having a beaded end by means of which the bladder is anchored in a slot provided near the tip of the bladder support member;
FIGS. 27 and 27a illustrate in plan view and cross section yet another alternative embodiment in which the bladder has a tab at its end with a hole therethrough, the bladder being attached to the bladder support member by means of a hollow rivet which extends through the hole in the tab into a countersunk hole in the support member;
FIGS. 28a-28s show alternative configurations which the bladder may assume;
FIG. 29 is a cross section through a multiple chamber container in which each chamber contains an individual pressurized capsule;
FIG. 30 illustrates in cross section an exemplary pressurized capsule wherein the resilient bladder contains a folded bag as a liner, the cross section being taken before the bladder has been stretched upon its associated support member;
FIG. 31 is a cross section taken along line 31-31 of FIG. 30 showing the shape of the radially accordion folded bag within the bladder before the latter has been stretched;
FIG. 32 is a cross section similar to FIG. 31, but taken after the bladder has been stretched, and showing its walls flattened and the folded bag between them compressed; and
FIGS. 33a and 33b are cross sections through an exemplary upright dispenser utilizing the bladder-bag combination of FIGS. 30-32 and showing them in the partially and fully expanded states.
Referring to FIGS. 1-4, an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in the form of an upright pressurized dispenser 11 whose principal components are an outer container 13 and a pressurized capsule 15 mounted rigidly therein. The pressurized capsule 15 includes an elongate resilient bladder 17 having wall means 19 defining a fluid chamber 21 interior of the bladder and a fluid outlet 23 in communication with the interior of the bladder. The capsule 15 also includes, as a principal element, a rigid elongate member defining a support surface 25 exterior of the bladder 17 against which the bladder is stretched longitudinally so as to maintain the bladder wall means 19 in tension and the bladder 17 substantially empty in its contracted position, which is illustrated in FIG. 1. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4 the elongate bladder 17 is sausage-shaped, being closed at one end 27 and having an open neck 29 (better shown in FIG. 16).
The elongate support surface 25 along which the bladder 17 is stretched is preferably defined by a generally spoon-shaped or spatulate rib 31, which is slightly arched so as to give the support surface 25 a longitudinally convex configuration. In accordance with the invention, the closed bladder end 27 is attached to the tip 33 of the spatulate rib 31, this attachment preferably being by means of a clip 35, the tip 33 of the rib being thickened in order to provide room for means to receive the clip 35. In further keeping with the invention, the opposite end, or neck 29 of the bladder 17, as well as the base 37 of the rib 31, are anchored in a valve assembly 39 which in turn is mounted in a raised neck portion 41 extending from an end wall 43 of the container 13. As will be described in greater detail hereinafter, the valve assembly 39 includes a valved passage which is normally blocked and which is in communication with the bladder outlet 23. Seated in the valve assembly 39 is an actuator 45 having a hollow plunger 47 which extends into the valve assembly 39 and which serves to open its valved passage. The actuator 45 is better shown and will be described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 14. Suffice it to say at this point that it contains a passage through which fluid flows when the valved passage ofthe valve assembly 39 in unblocked. Partly for aesthetic purposes and partly to prevent the actuator 45 from being dislodged, a protective cap 48 is snapped around the end wall 43 of the container 13, the cap having a generally circular opening 49 through its top to provide clearance for the central portion of the actuator 45 and having a slot through its side to provide clearance for the dispensing spout 51 of the actuator.
The bladder 17, which is preferably made of an elastomeric material, is shown partially filled in FIG. 3 and in a substantially filled state in FIG. 4. Typically, filling is accomplished by injecting the desired contents of the bladder 17 under pressure through the valve assembly 39, with its actuator 45 removed. The amount of pressure required will depend upon the contractive force of the bladder, a factor which is determined by the bladder wall thickness and the extent to which the bladder is elongated upon the rib 31 from its normally unstretched condition. As the bladder 17 receives its contents and expands, it will displace the air normally residing in the container 13 so that provision is made for the escape of such air, this being preferably by providing sufficient clearance for this purpose between the container neck portion 41 and the valve assembly 39 seated therein.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 3 and 4, it may be observed that, as the bladder receives its contents it expands both laterally, principally away from the supporting surface 25 toward the wall sector 53 opposite the support surface 25, and downwardly toward the container bottom 55. The important point to note is that the expansion of the bladder laterally and downward is substantially even and that there is no untoward bulging or ballooning of any particular portion of the bladder wall 19.
After the pressurized dispenser 11 has been filled, the actuator 45 is installed in the valve assembly 39 and the protective cap 48 is snapped in place. In this condition the dispenser 11 may be stored for subsequent use. The contents of the bladder 17 are prevented from escaping through the valve assembly 39 due to the normally blocked state of its valved passage. When it is desired to withdraw some or all of the contents of the dispenser 11, the actuator 45 is depressed, thereby unblocking the valved passage in the assembly 39. This permits the fluid contents of the bladder 17 to be expelled under the contractive force of the bladder wall 19. If the actuator 45 is held depressed long enough or often enough, the bladder 17 will eventually return to its initial state shown in FIG. 1 because of its initially longitudinally stretched condition in which it is held upon the supporting rib 31. In this way the waste attendant to substantially less than all of the bladder contents being expelled is eliminated.
FIGS, 5, 6, and 7 show some of the variations in the configurations of the container 13 which are made possible by the pressurized capsule concept illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. In FIG. 5 the container is shown to be circular in cross section and the pressurized capsule 15, as indicated by its actuator 45, is shown to be alternatively positioned either axially, in solid lines, or away from the axis of the container, in dashed lines. In FIG. 6, axial and offset locations for the pressurized capsule 15 are shown with reference to a container 13 having an oval cross section, and a generally rectangularly cross sectioned container 13 is illustrated with three alternative pressurized capsule locations in FIG. 7. This flexibility in container configuration and in capsule location is made possible by the fact that the bladder 17 expands asymmetrically with reference to the supporting rib 31 so that the supporting rib can be easily offset toward a wall sector of a container and the bladder 17 will still be able to expand properly toward the opposite wall sectors of the container, ultimately conforming thereto.
Referring next to FIGS. 14, and 16, two alternative constructions fo the valve assembly 39 will be described next. Generally, the valve assembly shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 is intended for situations where the bladder 17 is to receive its contents through the completed valve assembly 39. On the other hand, the alternative valve embodiment shown in FIG. 16 makes possible the filling of the bladder 17 through the valve assembly prior to its completion which, as will be seen later, permits the filling to occur more quickly.
Referring specifically to FIGS. 14 and 15, the valve assembly 39 illustrated there is comprised of an inner gland 63 and an outer gland 65 held together by a locking cap 67 and clamping between them the neck 29 of the bladder 17. The remaining principal parts of the valve assembly 39 are a valve stem 69, a valve seat gasket 71 on the valve stem 69, and a valve spring 73 compressed between the valve stem 69 and the inner gland 63. The inner gland 63 has a slightly tapered cylindrical outer wall 75 onto which the tubular open end, or neck 29 of the bladder 17 is pushed. The tapered wall 75 terminates in an outwardly flared peripheral surface 77 and the bladder neck 29 is pushed up on the tapered gland surface 75 until it rides out onto the peripheral surface 77. With the bladder neck 29 in this position the outer gland 65 is moved axially along the bladder 17 until it is in the position shown in FIG. 14 in which a slightly tapered inner wall 79 of the outer gland 65 is opposite the tapered outer wall 75 of the inner gland 63. In this position the inner and outer glands 63 and 65 clamp the bladder neck 29 between them, thereby producing a tight and sealing fit. The bladder neck 29 is further secured by a pinching ring action produced by a peripheral convex rim 81 which is at the upper end of the tapered inner wall 79 and which is opposite the flared inner gland surface 77. Just outside the peripheral rim 81 the gland member has a peripheral well portion 83 so as to provide room for alternative bladder neck configurations, wherein the extreme end of the bladder is provided with a bead for even more secure anchoring thereof. Examples of such beaded bladder necks appear in FIG. 28.
Having assembled the inner and outer glands 63 and 65 with the bladder neck 29 between them, the next .step is to insert the valve spring 73 inside the inner gland 63 wherein it is supported by a set of radially inwardly extending remaining fingers 85. Seated on top of the valve spring 73 is the valve stem 69 which is held centered in the valve spring 73 by means of an axially extending seating guide 87. The valve stem 69 includes in addition to the guide 87, a valve disk 89 having fingers 90 extending radially therefrom to hold it in place against the force of the spring 73, and a slotted cylindrical stem which is illustrated as being comprised of a set of prongs 91. The valve seat gasket 71 which is preferably made of an elastomeric material and which is essentially right cylindrical with a cylindrical inner surface 93, may be mounted upon the valve stem 69 prior to its assembly into the inner gland 63, with the inner surface 93 of the gasket 71 fitting snugly but axially slideably upon the valve stem prongs 91.
At its upper end the inner gland 63 has a peripheral, radially outwardly extending ledge or rim 95 having an inner cylindrical surface 97 terminating at its bottom in a radially inwardly extending narrow ledge 99. Seated in the space within the rim and defined by the surfaces 97 and 99 is the valve seat gasket 71. The gasket has a cylindrical outer surface 101 which is dimensioned to provide a press fit against the gland inner surface 97 and to be restrained against axial movement toward the bottom of the inner gland 63 by the ledge surface 99.
The next element to be added to the assembly is the locking cap 67 which is principally comprised of a disk 103 having a peripheral rim 105 from which a plurality of flexible locking fingers 107 depend. The locking fingers 107 include a beam portion 109 which is capable of flexing radially outwardly and which terminates in a locking tip 111. Collaborating with the locking fingers 107 is a tapered rim 113 at the top of the outer gland 65. The outer gland upper rim 113 and the locking cap finger tips 111 are provided with cooperating cam surfaces 115 and 117 respectively. When the locking cap 71 is pushed axially onto the outer gland 65, the camming surfaces 117 ride axially along the camming surfaces 115 forcing the fingers 107 radially outwardly until the finger tips 111 pass the bottom of the outer gland upper rim 113 at which point the fingers snap radially inwardly and lock the cap upon the gland 65.
After the construction of the valve assembly 39 has progressed to the stage just described, normally the next step is to attach the closed end 27 of the bladder 17 to the tip 33 of the supporting rib 31 and to insert the base 37 of the supporting rib into the valve assembly 39. Since this aspect of the pressurized container 1 1 forms an important part of the invention, it will be described in greater detail hereinafter. Let it be assumed for purposes of the present description that this step has been accomplished. With the bladder 17 and the supporting rib 31 in place, the next step is to insert the valve assembly 39, with the supporting rib 31 extending downwardly therefrom as seen in FIG. 1, into the container neck 41. Two means for securing the valve assembly 39 in the container neck 41 are illustrated in FIG. 14. The first means includes a set of flexible fingers 119 which are integral with the outer gland 65 and which extend radially outwardly from the outer cylindrical surface 121 thereof. The fingers 119 include outwardly angled flexible shanks 123 terminating in stop surfaces 125 which are generally parallel to the underside of the end wall 43 of the container 13. The peripheral surfaces 127 of the outer gland retaining finers 119 are axially tapered so as to present camming surfaces whereby the fingers 119 are compressed radially as the valve assembly 39 is pushed through the opening in the end wall 43. Once the fingers 119 and in particular their camming surfaces 126 have cleared the end wall 43 they snap radially outwardly and retain the valve assembly 39 in the end wall 43, with the finger stop surfaces 125 preventing radial movement of the valve assembly relative to the end wall.
A second, and alternative, means for securing the valve assembly 39 is shown in dashed lines in FIG. 14 as a set wof flexible retaining fingers extending upwardly from the container end wall 43 as having radially inwardly extending tips 142 which hold the valve assembly 39 captive.
Once the valve assembly 39 has been installed in the container 13, the unit is ready to receive its fluid content. With the type of valve assembly llustrated in FIG. 14 this is done by utilizing the valving action of the valve stem 69 and the valve seat gasket 71. In particular, filling of the bladder 17 takes place through a cylindrical axial opening 127 in the locking cap 67. As seen in FIG. 14, the valve stem prongs 91 bear not only against the gasket 71 but also are seated in the locking cap opening 127 with which they are in sliding engagement. Normally the components of the valve assembly 39 define a valved passage which extends through the inner gland 63 and through the locking cap opening 127, which passage is blocked by the combined action of the gasket 71 and the valve stem 69. The blocking of the passage 129 is accomplished by the intimate engagement of the convex peripheral upper edge 131 of the valve stem disk 89 and of the abutting bottom inner corner 133 of the gasket 71 which is deformed by the surface 131 into a peripheral concave configuration. The passage 129 is unblocked by moving the valve stem 69 axially relative to the remaining parts of the valve assembly 39, typically by inserting a hollow plunger into the cap opening 127 so as to press against the valve stem prongs 91. When this happens, the valve stem convex surface 131 separates from the gasket corner 133 and fluid is allowed to flow from the' bottom portion of the valved passage 129 between the normally abutting peripheral surfaces 131 and 133 and between the valve stem prongs 91 out through the upper portion of the valved passage 129, defined by the locking cap axial opening 127. The valve assembly 39 is returned to its locked state by releasing axial pressure from the valve stem 69, whose disk 89 is promptly returned by the valve spring 73 into sealing engagement with the gasket 71.
Thus, to fill the bladder 17 through the valve assembly 39 a filling spigot (not shown) is normally inserted through the cap opening 127 so as to depress the valve stem 69 and fluid is then fed under pressure through the valve assembly 39 into the bladder 17. When the bladder 17 has received its desired contents and has sufficiently expanded to accommodate such contents, the filling spigot is lifted out of the valve assembly 39 and the filling step is considered complete. All that remains is to snap the actuator 45 into place. The actuator 45 illustrated in FIG. 14 is slightly different from that shown in FIGS. l-4. It is comprised of a cap portion 135 having a skirt 137 riding on the neck 41 of the container 13 so as to guide the actuator 45 between its released and depressed states and an axially extending tubular plunger 139 which is received in the locking cap opening 127. The plunger 139 has a passage 141 therein which is continued through a radially extending spout 143. When the actuator 45 is depressed toward the container 13, its plunger 139 unseats the valve stem 69, opens the passage 129, and allows fluid to be discharged through the actuator passage 141.
Turning now to the manner in which the supporting member 31 is rigidly anchored in the valve assembly 39, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, as best shown in FIG. 17, the member 31 assumes an arcuate shape at its base extending over approximately '1 80 of arc. Extending from the base of the support member 31 is an arcuate tongue 145 approximately bisected by a slot 147. Cooperating with the tongue 145 is an annular groove 149 formed by a pair of concentric cylindrical walls 151 and 153 at the base of the outer gland 65. A set of ribs 155 connect the inner and outer gland wall members 151 and 153 across the annular groove 149. The width of the annular groove 149 is designed so as to assure that it will grab tightly the arcuate tongue 145 at the base of the support member 31. Similarly, the ribs 155 have a thickness designed to cause them to be tightly engaged with the slot 147 between the segmented halves of the arcuate tongue 145. The purpose of the particular mounting arrangement illustrated in FIG. 17 is to permit the support member 31 to be mounted ithe outer gland in any one of four different positions spaced apart, a flexibility in design which has advantages in certain applications.
FIG. 16 shows an alternative arrangement for the valve assembly 39. The alternative valve assembly of FIG. 16 includes the same principal elements as those contained in the valve assembly of FIG. 14 and are identified with the same reference numerals, but with the suffix a added for clarity. The basic difference between the valve assemblies of FIGS. 14 and 16 is in the manner in which they are held together. The valve assembly of FIG. 14 is held together by the locking cap 67 which interlocks with the outer gland member 65, capturing the remaining elements of the valve assembly 39 between them. In contrast, the inner and outer gland members 63a and 65a of the valve assembly 39 in FIG. 16 interlock without the aid of the locking cap 71a, which permits them to secure the bladder neck 29 between them before the valve stem 69, thevalve spring 73 and'the valve gasket 71 have been installed. This in turn has the advantage of permitting fluid to be injected through the inner gland member 63a into the bladder 17 without interference by the aforementioned valve elements, and hence more quickly.
Turning more specifically to the elements of the modified valve assembly of FIG. 16, the inner gland member 63a is provided at its upper end with an out wardly flaring peripheral cam surface 157. Cooperating with the cam surface 157 are a set of locking fingers 159 which extend upwardly from the rim of the outer gland members 65a. The locking fingers 159 terminate in radially inwardly pointed tips 161 having inwardly sloping cam surfaces 163. The locking fingers 159 are flexible and bend radially outwardly as the outer gland 65a is pushed onto the inner gland 63a, the bladder neck 29first having been pulled onto the inner gland 63a, with the inner gland cam surface 157 bearing against the outer gland finger cam surfaces 163. When the outer gland finger tips 161 pass above the top of the inner gland 63a, the locking fingers 159 snap back radially inwardly securely to capture the inner gland 63a inside the outer gland 65a.
With the outer gland 65a locked around the inner gland 63a and with the bladder neck 29 clamped between them, the assembly shown in FIG. 16 may be pressed into the end wall 43 of the container 13 (FIG. 1) in preparation for filling of the bladder 17. One effective way of accomplishing this is to apply a vacuum between the inner walls of the outer container 13 and the wall 19 of the bladder 17. The bladder wall thickness may be designed for this purpose to be such that the atmospheric pressure inside the bladder is capable of inflating the bladder 17 to its ultimate size which is typically the fully inflated state shown in FIG. 4. In certain instances where it is desired that the bladder 17 be expanded with greater force than that made possible by the pressure differential between simple atmospheric pressure inside the bladder and a near vacuum in the space between the bladder and the container 13, an ambient pressure which is greater than atmospheric may be maintained in the space where the pressurized container 11 is being filled.
After the bladder 17 has been inflated by the pressure differential created between the inside of the bladder and the space between the bladder and the container wall, the substance to be filled is injected into the bladder through the inner gland 63a as if an open bottle were being filled, since the bladder will typically adhere to the wall of the container. Once filling has been accomplished, the pressure differential must be maintained until the remaining valve elements have been installed. This is so since the bladder 17 is now stretched and if the pressure differential were released, the bladder would contract and would expel its contents. Therefore, while the pressure differential is still maintained, the valve spring 73a, the valve stem 69a and the gasket 71a are installed inside the inner gland 63a after which the locking cap 67a is snapped in place. It will be noted from FIG. 16 that the locking cap 67a has the same type of locking fingers 107a as its counterpart in FIG. 14 and that it engages with the rim of the outer gland 65 a in the same manner as explained with reference to FIGS. 14 and 15. There is shown in FIG. 16 an optional additional element which is a securing ring 165 that can be slipped around the locking fingers 107a to prevent them from accidentally spreading apart.
vFIGS. 13 and 19 illustrate an alternative design for the actuator 45 and the locking cap 67 illustrated in FIG. 15. Basically, the actuator, labeled 45b and locking cap labeled 67b,include a pair of stop surfaces 167 and 169. As in FIG. 14, the actuator 45b of FIGS. 13 and 19 has a hollow plunger 13% which is slideably disposed in the axial passage 127b housing the valve stem 69 (not shown in FIGS. 13 and 19). As explained before, when the actuator 45b is depressed, the plunger 139b slides down in the axial valve passage 127b so as to unseat the valve stem 69. The actuator 45b is rotatable upon the locking cap 67b, with the stop surfaces 167 and 169 abutting one another when the actuator is rotated to a particular position (shown by dashed lines in FIG. 13) so as to prevent the actuator from being depressed. In particular, the surfaces 167 and 169 are formed by radially extending tabs, one of which depends from the actuator 45b, and the other of which rises from the top surface of the locking cap 67b. A pair of detents 171 and 173 are located on the tabs 167 and 169 and they interlock so as to yieldably resist the actuator 45b from rotating out'of its locked position once placed therein. I
In assembling the bladder 17 and the support member 31 to the valve assembly 39, the first step is to clamp the bladder neck 29 between the inner and outer gland members 63 and 65 either as explained with reference to FIG. 14 or as outlined in connection with FIG. 16. Then the opposite or'closed end 27 of the' bladder 17 is attached to the tip 33 of the supporting rib 31. Finally, the arcuate tongue 145 at the base of the support member31 is slipped into the annular groove 149 at the base of the outer gland 65. The length of the bladder 17 relative to that of the supporting rib 31 is designed so as to place the bladder 17 in tension along its length. In this state one of its walls 17a (FIG. 16) lies flat against the support surface 25 of the support member 31, while its opposite wall 17b is constrained to lie flat against its first wall 17a along the length of the bladder except for the area near the base of the support member 31. As a result, the bladder tends to be empty throughout its length except for a small volume 175 just below the bladder neck 29. The support surface 25 presented by the support member 31 changes from a generally semi-circular concave area near the base of the support member to one which is only slightly curved and which may be either convex with tapered edges (FIG. 18a), convex with flat edges (FIG. 18b), straight (FIG. 18c), or concave (FIG. 18d). These last four possible cross sections are merely illustrative of the variations in cross section which are possible.
The particular bladder support member 31 to which reference has been made thus far is best suited for use in upright containers such as that shown in FIGS. 1-4. this type of support member 31 may extend either parallel to the axis of the valve assembly 39, as shown in FIG. 16, or at a slight angle, as illustrated in FIG. 14. Alternatively, however, instead of extending substantially directly away from the valve assembly 39, the support member 31 may also extend transversely therefrom as shown in FIG. 20. In that figure, there is shown a modified valve assembly 390 having alocking cap 67c similar to that illustrated in FIG. 14 and an outer gland 65c having an arcuate slot 177 in its side terminating in a pair of semi-circular depressions 179. Also illustrated is a modified bladder support member 310 whose'.stem terminates in an arcuate collar 181 having enlarged ends 183 designed to fit into the depressions 179. The arcuate collar 181 is sufficiently flexible to permit it to be snappedinto the slot 177 with the depressions 179 in the gland 650 being spaced slightly farther apart than the enlarged ends 183 so that they snap into place only after the collar 181 has been slightly deformed, after which the ends 183 snap in place and the support member 310 is held rigidly in place upon the valve assembly 39c.
The embodiment shown in FIG. 20 is suitable for use in containers of the type shown in FIGS. 8, 9, and 10 wherein the container is normally supine, that is it lies on its side and in which the valve assembly extends from the upper side of the container. Alternative designs suitable for use with this type of container are shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 and in FIGS. 11 and 12. Basically, these alternative designs feature-a bladder support-member 31 which is mounted flexibly relative to the valve assembly 39 so that it is capable of extending both axially and laterally therefrom. The simplest of the two alternatives is shown in FIGS. 21 and 22' and includes a tab 185 which extends from the arcuate base of the bladder support member 31d. A set of slots 186 are distributed peripherally along the bottom of the outer gland 65d and are designed snugly to receive the tab 185.
Just as in the case of the mounting arrangement shown in FIG. 17, the bladder support member 31d shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 can be installed in nay of several alternative positions, depending upon the slot 186 into which the tab 185 is inserted. Once in place in the outer gland 65d, the support member 31d tends naturally to extend axially therefrom. Moreover, it tends to remain in this erect position due to the pull of the bladder 17 which is stretched along its support surface 25d. The support member 31d may be left in this position if it is desired to use the assembly in an upright container such as that shown in FIGS. l-4. Onthe other hand, if it is desired to use it in a horizontally disposed container such as that shown in FIGS..8-l0, then the support member 31d would be flexed during the process of the valve assembly 39d being installed into the opening provided for it in the side of the container, as indicated in dotted lines in FIG. 21.
The second alternative for providing a valve support member which can be used in a horizontally disposed container is to mount the support member upon the valve assembly by means of a hinge. As best shown in FIGS. 8-12, a supine dispenser featuring a hinged support member 31c includes a container 13a having a flat bottom wall and a flat top wall having a slightly thickened portion 43e supporting a raised neck 4le. A valve assembly 392 is seated in the wall portion 43c in the neck 41c. The hinged bladder support member 31e best shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 includes a flat neck 187 having a pair of spaced apart hinge members 189 thereon. The valve assembly 39e includes, as in the other embodiments, a locking cap 67c and an outer gland member 65e, the latter having a single hinge member 191 dimensioned to fit between the hinge members 189. With the hinges 189 and 191 aligned, a hinge pin 193 is inserted into them, thus completing the hinged attachment of the support member 31 e to the valve assembly 39c.
It will be understood that the completion the hinge will occur after the bladder neck 29 has been clamped into the bladder assembly 39e and after the closed end 27 of the bladder 17 has been attached to the end 33 of the support member 31c.
As in the case of the support member 31d shown in will tend to pull the support member 31e into an erect position in which it extends axially away from the valve assembly 39e. A pair of stop surfaces 195 at the upper end of the support member 31e serve to determine the erect position of the support member, these stop surfaces bearing against the bottom surface 197 of the outer gland 65e. In this position the combination of the valve assembly 392, the bladder 17 and the bladder support member 31e can be used in an upright container such as that shown in FIGS. l-4. Primarily, however, they are intended to be used with the support member 31 bent at an angle with the axis of the valve assembly 396 as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. After the bladder 17 has been attached to the support member 31e and the latter has been hinged to the valve assembly 39e the support member 31e with the bladder 17 stretched thereupon is inserted through the opening in the thickened wall portion 432 and upon meeting the bottom of the container 13a is bent thereby into the position shown in FIG. 8. Upon inflation of the bladder 17 (either due to a pressure differential achieved by-a vacuum between it and the container 13c, or as a result of receiving its ultimate contents), the inflated bladder lifts the support member 31a away from the surface of the container 132 and toward its top. If desired, a stop surface 198 may be provided by means of a tongue 199 which extends from between the hinge membersl89 substantially parallel to the stop surfaces 195. The tongue 199 would serve to determine the extreme raised position of the support member 31a by bearing against the outside of the outer gland 65c.
The bladder 17, while usually generally elongated in shape, may vary in other details. Some of these variations are illustrated in FIG. 28.
The simplest form of bladder is that illustrated in FIG. 28a. It is open at one end, closed at the opposite end, has a wall of uniform cross section and may be produced by dip processing. An alternative form shown in FIGS. 28b and 28c is comprised ofa tube 1712 which is originally open at both of its ends and whose bottom end is closed by folding it back upon itself by means of a clip 201. The clip 201 may carry a suitable pin 203 by which the closed end of the tube may be. attached to the tip of the bladder support member.
Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 28d, the bladder may be slightly tapered from its open end to its closed end and may carry a beaded rim 204 to facilitate its anchoring in the valve assembly 39 as illustrated in FIG. 16. In addition to the flat and beaded terminations for the bladder 17, other terminations may also be used, some of which are illustrated in FIGS. 28e-28i. The purpose of these possible variations is to facilitate the anchoring of the bladder neck 29 between the inner and outer glands 63 and 65. Thus, the bladder neck FIGS. 21 and 22 the contractive force of the bladde may be flared (FIG. 28c), beaded (FIG. 28f), flanged (FIG. 28g), outwardly flanged and funneled with a beaded end (FIG. 28h), or simply outwardly flanged (FIG. 28:).
Additional variations in bladder configuration may also occur at its closed end. Thus, as shown in FIGS. 28j and 28k a tab 205 may extend from the blind end of the bladder shown in side view in FIG. 28 j and in cross section in FIG. 28k. An opening 207 extends through the tab 205 and the bladder 17j is attached to the tip of the support member 31 by means of a fastener through the opening 207. Alternatively, as shown by FIGS. 281 and 28m, which illustrate the same bladder bottom portion in plan and side view, a tab 209 may extend from the blind end of the bladder terminating in a bead 211 which may be inserted in a slot provided for that purpose in the tip of the support member 31. The bead 211 may extend axially from the tab 209 or it may be offset slightly to one side as shown in FIG. 28n, wherein an offset bead 214 extends from a-tab 212 depending from the bottom ofthe bladder 17n.
Yet another variation may occur in the shape of the bladder at its closed end. It may be slightly pointed (FIG. 280), or it may be flat (FIG. 28p), rather than being hemispherical in the manner illustrated in FIG. 28a. I
- Finally, the bladder may be circular in cross section (FIG. 28q), oval (FIG. 28r), or rectangular (FIG. 28s). The flattened configurations represented by FIGS. 28r and 28s have certain advantages for larger sized bladders in that they tend naturally to flatten, and therefore require less pull to cause their opposite walls to contact one another than is the case with a bladder of circular cross section, such as that illustrated in FIG. 28q.
Alternative means for attaching the closed end of the bladder 17 to the tip of the bladder support member 31 are shown in FIGS. 23-27. As shown in FIG. 23a, one manner of attaching the bladder to the tip 33 of the bladder support member 31 is to provide a slot 213 in the tip 33 and to clamp the end of the bladder 17 inside a deformable clip 215 having a pin 217 extending therefrom and adapted to he slipped into and to be retained in the slot 213. The particular clip illustrated in FIGS. 23 and 23a is made of a continuous strip of metal through the center of which the pin 217 extends, and in which the pin is anchored by a roughly pyramidshaped head 219. The opposite end of the pin 21! is in the form of a ball 221 which once inserted through the widened eye of the slot 213 and slipped down through the slot is securely retained therein. The bladder 17 is shown crimped between the opposite wall portions of the clamp 215 in FIG. 23.
A non-metallic, typically plastic, fastener which is also designed primarily for use with a bladder having a closed or blind end, such as that illustrated in FIG. 28a is shown in FIGS. 24 and 24a. The non-metallic clip of FIGS. 24 and 240 includes a back wall portion 225 from which a 'pair of opposed flexible anchoring arms 227 and 229 extend. The flexible arms-227 and 229 terminate in a pair of latching tips 231 and 233 which are adapted to be inserted into a corresponding pair of slots 235 and 237 in the support member tip 33, as best shown in FIG. 24. By virtue of cam surfaces carried by the latching tips 231 and 233 and by the slots 235 and 237, as the arms 227 and 229 of the clip 223 are inserted into the slots 235 and 237 they are forced to bend toward one another until the latching tips 231 and 233 clear the edges of the slots 235 and 237, after which they snap back and are captured therein.
A plunger 239' extends from between the arms 227 and 229 and into a registering depression 241 in the tip 33. The bladder 17 is attached to the tip 33 of the bladder support member 31 by laying its extreme end on top of the depression 241 and between the slots 235 and 237. With the bladder in this position, the clip 223 is snapped in place upon the support member tip 33 as a result of which the plunger 239 enters the depression 241, clamping and crimping the walls of the bladder 17 securely between them.
Yet another approach to attaching the bladder 17 to the support member 31 is shown in FIGS. 25 and 25a wherein a one-piece deformable clip 243 is illustrated. The clip 243 has a rear portion 243a in which the bladder 17 may be inserted and afront portion 243b which is initially flat and which in that flat state may be inserted into a flat slot 245 extending through the tip 33. Once the bladder 17 has been inserted into the clip 243 and the clip has been pushed into the slot 245 a crimping tool is applied to the bottom 247 of the clip 243 and also to its head 243b. By means of the crimping tool the clip bottom 247 and the clip head 243b are pushed toward one another which has the effect both of crimping the bladder 17 within the clip 243 and of riveting the head 243b of the clip within the slot 245.
In cases where the bladder embodiments with the beaded bottoms, such as those shown in FIGS. 28l,
28m, and 28n, are used, they are held as shown in FIGS. 26 and 26a within a slot in the support member tip 33.
' Finally, theclosed end of a bladder may be attached to the tip 33 of the bladder support member 31 by providing the bladder with a perforated tab as shown in FIGS. 28j and 28k and fastening-the tab through the perforation as shown in FIGS. 27 and 27a. In particular, the tip 33 of the support member 31 has a cylindrical opening 249 extending therethrough, the opening having a constricted portion on the back side of the tip and a wider'portion entering from the front side of the tip which forms part of the bladder support surface 25. The bladder 17 is fastened upon'the tip 33 by first inserting a hollow rivet 251 through the narrow end of the opening 249, then stretching the bladder so as to hang its tab by means of the opening in that tab upon the shank of the rivet 251 and finally crimping the rivet so as to flatten its head, thereby anchoring it securely in the opening 249 while at the same time crimping its flaring opposite end against the bladder tab 205.
Some or all of the features described hereinabove may be applied not only in a container having a single chamber and asingle pressurized capsule but also in a multi-chamber container wherein each chamber contains its individual pressurized capsule. An example of such a device is illustrated in FIG. 29. Shown there is a single container 253 containing a first and a second chamber 255 and 257 separated by a common wall 259. The shapes of the individual chambers 255 and 257 are determined by the desired overall cross sectional configuration of the container 253 which may be rectangular or any other shape dictated by functional or aesthetic considerations.
Extending into the respective chambers 255 and 257 are identical pressurized capsules 261 and 263 which are shown as being identical to the pressurized capsule 15 illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. A single actuator 265 Is provided to control the valve assemblies of the respective capsules 261 and 263. In particular, the actuator 265 is provided with a pair of spaced-apart hollow plungers 267 and 269 which enter into respective ones of the valve assemblies and which serve to draw fluid through those valve assemblies when the actuator 265 is depressed. Both of the plungers 267 and 269 are vented through a common passage 270 leading to and through the spout (not shown) of the actuator 265, thereby providing a mixing of the two fluids contained in the respective capsules.
Alternatively, separate spouts may be provided where the contents of the capsules are to be dispensed concurrently but separately. Naturally, separate actuators, one for each of the capsules 261 and 263 may also be provided where it is desired that their contents be dispensed both separately and independently.
Yet another important alternative to the aforementioned embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 30-33; The embodiment of FIGS. 30-33 is similar to that illustrated in'FIG. 16 in that an elon'gatedbladder l7fis anchored at its neck 29f between an interlocking inner gland 63f and outer gland 65f and wherein the valve spring, valve stem, and valve gasket (not shown) are held in their operative positions inside the inner gland 65fby a locking cap 67fin the same manner illustrated in and explained with reference to FIG. 16. In addition to these components, however, the assembly illustrated in FIGS. 30-33 also includes a flexible bag 27] inside the bladder 17f. As explained in the introductory portion of this description, the function of the flexible bag 271 is to provide an inner lining for the bladder 17f which separates the bladder wall from the bladder contents. The configuration of the bag 27] shown in FIGS. 30-33 is one which is believed to be particularly suit able or insertion into an elongated bladder. While the bladder 17] is made capable of expanding by virtue of its resiliency, the bag 271 is given the same capability by appropriate folds therein. Thus, to permit the bag 271 to expand longitudinally its bottom portion 273 is folded back into its top portion 275 so that the bottom and top bag portions 273 and 275 are adjacent one another. The top bag portion 275 then extends around the neck 29f of the bladder 17f so as to be clamped, together with the bladder neck 29], between the inner and outer gland members 63] and 65f. In addition, the longitudinally folded bag, with its walls 273 and 275