US 3823851 A
A dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluent product from a container comprises a molded housing having a recess in which a removable heating probe is received. The product is heated prior to being discharged by means of a series of passageways which convey the product adjacent the heated probe. Improved heat transfer to the product and reduced manufacturing costs are obtained by forming the passageways from channels molded into the inside surface of the probe-receiving recess and a heat-conductive sleeve inserted into the recess between the probe and the inside surface. The sleeve may be made removable to enable access to the passageways for cleaning where the dispenser is to be used with multiple products. Furthermore, since the probe is removable and does not come in direct contact with the product, it may be conveniently used with other dispensing devices.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 I Waters [111 3,823,851 51 July 16,1974
1 1 DEVICE FOR DISPENSING HEATED FLUENT PRODUCTS  Inventor: Robert S. Waters, Lancaster, Pa.  Assignee: Schick Incorporated, Lancaster, Pa.  Filed: May 10, 1973  Appl. No.: 359,026
 U.S. Cl. 222/146 HA, 219/302, 219/305  Int. Cl B67d 5/62  Field of Search 222/146 HA, 146 HE;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,576,558 11/1951 Bede 219/305 X 3,417,173 12/1968 Harrison i. 219/302 3,443,060 5/1969 Smith 219/305 X 3,493,720 2/1970 Francis .Q 222/146 HA Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Assistant Examiner-Larry Martin  ABSTRACT A dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluent product from a container comprises a molded housing having a recess in'which a removable heating probe is received. The product is heated prior to being discharged by means of a series of passageways which convey the product adjacent the heated probe. improved heat transfer to the product and reduced manufacturing costs are obtained by forming the passageways from channels molded into the inside surface of the probe-receiving recess and a heat-conductive sleeve inserted into the recess between the probe and the inside surface. The sleeve may be made removable to enable access to the passageways for cleaning where the dispenser is to be used with multiple products. Furthermore, since the probe is removable and does not come in direct contact with the product, it may be conveniently usedwith other dispensing devices.
10 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates in general to a dispensing device, and more particularly to a dispensing device which can be attached to the discharge nozzle of a pressurized aerosol-type container or a compressible manual pump-type container to heat the contents thereof as they are discharged for use or consumption.
In recent years various fluid products such as cosmetics, shaving cream, food products, etc. have been packaged either in aerosol form, i.e., packaged in a can under gaseous pressure to render them expendable from the can in controlled amounts by virtue of such pressure and in response to manipulation of a springbiased valve mechanism, or in compressible container form wherein they are dispensed by manual compression of the container. Many of these fluent products benefit from being heated prior to being dispensed. For example, heated shaving cream is more pleasant to use and more effectivein softening the beard when the user is finished shaving, and various food products, such as cheese whips, are tastier and more easily served when heated. Y
While numerous heating devices have been proposed for heating fluid products such as shaving cream to a desired temperature, these devices have generally not been entirely satisfactory. One reason is that the desired temperatures have not been obtainable because of insufficient heat transfer between the electrical heating element employed within the dispensing device and the fluid product as it moves to the dispensing port of the device. In the case of shaving cream, this problem is aggravated by the natural expansion of the propellent gas dispersed throughout the product and its cooling effect as it expends from aliquid to a gas. Attempts at increasing the contact between the heating element and the product have not solved the problem because this necessarily increases the transit time of the product and the waste left in the dispenser after eachuse.
Another disadvantage of the prior-art dispensing devices has been the difficulty of cleaning the devices between uses and when changing products. This is be cause the prior-art devices utilized a complex labrynth of passageways encircling an integral heating element from multiple directions, which made access for cleaning virtually impossible, and resulted in contamination of subsequent products by remnants of a previously used product. Moreover, the presence of the integral heating element and its associated circuitry made submersion of the device in water for cleaning impracticable.
To be competitive in the high volume low-profit margin consumer appliance field, the dispensing device must be inexpensive to construct, and must be reliable and simple in operation. Unfortunately, the integral electrical heating element and associated control circuitry in the prior-art devices made these devices relatively expensive, particularly where it was desired to utilize different dispensing devices for different products. Furthermore, the complex arrangement of passageways made manufacturing the prior-art devices relatively expensive, since multiple molding operations were required together with additional boring or canning processes, to obtain a suitable housing for the devices.
SUMMARY or THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide a new and improved dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product.
it is a more specific object of the present invention to provide an improved dispensing device for dispensing heated fluid products contained in aerosol-type containers or the like.
it is a still more specific object of the present invention to provide a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container which is more economical to manufacture.
It is another more specific object of the present invention to provide a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product which can be manufactured by means of a single economical molding operation.
lt is another more specific object of the present invention toprovide a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product which utilizes a removable heating probe.
It is another more specific object of the present invention to provide a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product which is easier to clean.
. In accordance with the invention, a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end comprises a housing having means for receiving the product container and a recess for receiving a heated probe, and a channel molded into the inside surface of the recess. Means comprising a heat-conductive sleeve inserted into the probe-receiving recess are provided for forming in conjunction with the channel, a passageway for the product in close proximity to the probe whereby the product is heated by the probe as it passes through the passageway. The dispensing device further comprises a dispensing port communicating with one end of the passageway, and means comprising a receiving port adapted to receive the discharge nozzle of the product container and communicating with the other end of the passageway for causing the product to be conveyed along the passageway for heating and delivery to a user through the dispensing port.
In further accord with the invention, a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end, comprises a housing having means for receiving the product container and a cylindrical recess for receiving a heating probe, and a plurality of communicating channels, at least two of which are molded into and extend longitudinally along the inside surface of the recess, and at least one of which extends between the longitudinally extending channels on the outside surface of the housing. Means comprising a cylindrical heat-conductive sleeve inserted into the probe-receiving recess are pro- .vided forforming in conjunction with the longitudinally extending channels, passageways for the product in close proximity to the probe whereby the product is heated by the probe as it passes through the longitudinal passageways, the sleeve further having a flange portion overlying the external channel whereby the external channel formsan interconnecting passageway between the longitudinally-extending passageways. Further provided are means comprising a receiving port adapted to receive the discharge nozzle of the product container and communicating with the interconnected passageways for causing the product to be conveyed along the passageways for heating and delivery to a user through the dispensing port.
In further accord with the invention, a dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end, comprises a heating probe having a heat transfer portion at one end, and a housing having means for receiving the product container, a recess for receiving the heat transfer portion of the heating probe, and a dispensing port for delivering the product to a user. Means comprising a plurality of passageways are further provided for carrying the product from the dischargenozzle to the dispensing port in sufficiently close proximity to the heating element such that the product is heated prior to discharge.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS its use in connection with an aerosol-type fluid product.
4 recess 12 at its front and a probereceiving recess (not shown) for receiving a heating probe 13 at its rear. The
housing is adaptedto receive the major portion of the body of a container 14 of a product to be dispensed, the container being inverted and inserted into a complementarily shaped opening at the top margin of the housing. The housing maybe flared or otherwise widened at its bottom margin so as to form a base portion of wider dimensions for added stability while sitting on a flat surface. 9
Referring to FIG. 3, the heating probe 13 received by housing 11 is seen to consist of a handle portion of progressively narrowing rectangular cross-section, and a cylindrical heat transfer'portion 16 which extends fromthe wide end of the handle and into the recess'in housing 12. A power cord 17 extends from the narrow end of the handle to convey line current to the probe.
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view ofthe dispensing dea vice of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the removable heating probe utilized in connection with the dispensing device shown in FIGS. l-3.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the dispensing device taken along lines 4--4 of FIG. 2. I
FIG. 5 is a top view of'the dispensing device with the product container removed. a
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 6-6 ofFlG.4. r a
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 7-7 of FIG. 4. v
FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic view showing the fluid passageways of the dispensing device of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED I EMBODIMENT Although it will be appreciated that the principles of the present invention may be applied to a number of different forms of dispensing devices, the invention finds particular utility with respect to small table-top dispensing appliances, and accordingly will be described with particular reference to an exemplary embodiment wherein the dispensing device receives a pressurized aerosol-type container in an upper portion thereof, wherein the product is discharged under pressure from the container and thereupon passes through one or more passageways adjacent a heating surface to emerge heated from a dispensing opening disposed in the lower portion of the device. I
Referring now to the Figures in greater detail, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2, a table-top dispensing device 10 constructed'in accordance with the invention is seen to comprise a housing 11 of generally fr ustoconical form having a wedgeshaped product dispensing Referring now to the cross-sectional view of housing 11 shown in FIG. 4, the heat transfer portion 16 of probe 13 is seen to be received by a cylindrical recess 18 molded into the rear of the housing just above its widened base margin. This recess is preferably lined with a cylindrically shaped sleeve 21 which is open at one end and closed at its other end to form a liquidtight receptacle for probe 13. Preferably, sleeve 21,
which may be formed of aluminum or a similar high-heat-conductivity metal, includes a rim portion 22 surrounding its open end to form interconnecting passageways for the product, as will be described presently.
The heat transfer portion 16 of heating probe 13 is seen to comprise a cylindrically shaped sheath 23 com plementary in dimensions to the probe-receiving recess 18. This sheath, which is preferably constructed of a high-heat-conductivity metalsuch as stainless-steel, is closed at its exposed end and opens into the interior of the handle portion 15 of the probe at its other end. The handle portion consists of a housing 24 molded of a high-temperature thermoplastic material such as polypropylene. The heater sheath 23 is attached to this housing by means of an outwardly-facing rim portion 25 which engages an appropriately dimensioned slot about the periphery of an end opening of housing 24. To heat the heat transfer portion of the probe to a desired temperature, an electrical heater element 26,
which may be conventional ceramic-body type element, is positioned within and concentric to sheath 23. The heater element includes a hollow center core section within which a thermostat 27 is positioned.
To supply electrical current to'theheating element one side of the incoming line, as represetted by line cord 17, is connected by a safety fuse 28 to one terminal of heating element 26. The other terminal of element 26 is connected to the other side of the AC line through thermostat 27, which interrupts current flow tothe heating element when the temperature sensed within the element exceeds a predetermined maximum level. A neon indicator lamp 29 is shunt-connected across thermostat 27 to provide an indication that the probe has reached operating temperature.
container 13 in place and secured by retainer ring 30, or may be marketed separately with the intent that the user insert the product container into the housing.
The product container 14, which is in this case a conventional aerosol-type container, has a manuallyactuated discharge nozzle 31 which seats against a receiving port 32 molded into the housing. The receiving port is connected by a passageway 33, which is also molded into the housing, to the rear of the housing, adjacent the recess provided for receiving probe 13.
Referring now to FIG. 6, a channel 34 molded into the outside surface of the housing extends from the terminus of passageway 33 arcuately about the probereceiving recess, and then downwardly to one end of a channel 35, which is molded into the inside surface of the probe-receiving recess 18 and extends longitudinally therewith. Channel 35 extends the entire length of recess 18 and connects with another channel 36, which is also molded into housing 11, but at the inside end of recess 18. Channel 36 extends arcuately about the axis of the recess until it connects with another longitudinallyrextending channel 37. This channel, like channel 35, extends longitudinally along theinside surface of the probe-receiving recess to the outside surface of housing 11. There, adjacent the periphery ofrecess 18, it connects with a channel 38 which, like channel 34, is molded into the outside surface of the housing. Channel 38 extends arcuately around the mouth of the recess to connect with another longitudinallyextending channel 39. This channel extends part way along the probe-receiving recess to dispensing port 40, which dispenses the product intoirecess 11.
The arrangement of the channels midway along the axis of recess 18 can be seen in FIG. 7. There, passageway 33 is seen to extend longitudinally but separately from recess 18 and the three channels 35, 37 and 39. Also, the interconnecting channel 36 is shown disposed at the opposite end of the recess.
It will be appreciated 9 that the channels 34-39 molded into housing 11 cannot function for their intended purpose of conveying the fluid product to port 40 absent a covering over their open side. In accordance with the presentinvention, this covering is provided in dispensing device 10 by sleeve 21, the body portion of the sleeve covering channels 35, 37 and 39, the flange portion 22 of the sleeve covering channels 34 and 38, and the end cap portion of the sleeve covering channel 36. Alternatively, it will be appreciated that where the sleeve 21 is omitted, the'same result could be obtained from the heat transfer portion 16 of heater probe 13, the latter element being then dimensioned to closely engage the inside surface of recess 18. In either case, the insertion of the sleeve or probe effectively converts the three-sided channels to four-sided passageways, and to avoid confusion the channels will henceforth be referred to as such.v
The inter-relationship of passageways 33-39 can be seen byreference to FIG. 8, housing 11 and probe 13 being omitted therein for clarity. The flow of the product from product container 14 to the dispensing port is indicated therein by arrows as it progresses through the passageways.
The novel provision of open-sided channels instead of enclosed passageways in housing 11 is of great advantage in manufacturing the dispensing device, since it obviates the need for molding a complex labrynth of interconnecting passageways into the housing and thereby enables the housing to be formed by a simple single-step molding process. All that is necessary is to mold the channels into the housing with the initial housing molding operation, and then in a subsequent step in the assembly process insert the sleeve 21 into position. When sleeve 21 has been firmly seated, all passageways are complete and the product is ready for service.
The alternative would be to employ a multiple-step molding process, which would necessitate one or more drilling operations to establish the passageways or one or more canning operations to provide successive molds for the same purpose. Needless to say, this would substantially increase the cost of the finished product.
Another advantage of the present configuration is that by removing heating probe 13 and sleeve 21 it is possible to thoroughly clean all of the interconnecting passageways. This was not possible with the prior-art devices because the passageways were established at the time of the initial molding operation and therefore ready access to the passageways could be obtained only with great difficulty. Furthermore, with the present unit, once the electrical probe with its associated electrical circuitry is removed from housing 11, the entire housing can be emersed in water and all remnants of the previously-used product can be washed or brushed away.
' While container 14 has heretofore been shown as an aerosol-type can-like container, it will be appreciated that other types of dispensers or containers can be used with a dispensing device constructed in accordance with the invention. For example, it would be possible to utilize a containerhaving flexible sidewalls wherein the user, by squeezing the walls, forces the product out into the dispensing device. Alternately, a plunger-like arrangement could be provided such that when the plunger is depressed by the user a quantity of the product is forced out into the dispensing device. It will further be appreciated that various sizes and shapes of product containers and heating probes can be provided, by suitably shaping housing 11 to receive these shapes and sizes. For example, container 14 and/or probe 13 could be square in cross-section, the respective receiving portions of housing 11 being then shaped in like cross-section to receive these elements. Also, other configurations could be employed for the product conveying passageways, such as a spiral configuration about the inside surface of the probe-receiving recess.
In operation, once line cord 17 has been connected to a source of line current and heating probe 13 has reached operating temperature, all the user need do to obtain a heated quantity of the product is to depress container 14. This forces nozzle 31, against the product receiving port 32, opening the internal valve of the container and discharging the product under pressure into passageway 33. The product progresses along passageway 33 until it reaches passageway 34. There, by virtue of the overlying flange portion 22 of the aluminum sleeve 21, the product is forced along passageway 34 until it reaches passageway 35, at which point it proceeds lengthwise to and adjacent the heating probe 13 by virtue of the overlying sleeve 21.
When the product reaches the end of passageway 35, it proceeds'into the arcuate interconnecting passageway 36, which it will be recalled is formed by a channel 7 molded into the rear of the probe-receiving recess 18 and the overlying end face of sleeve 21.The product then proceeds back along passageway 37, which is also formed by a channel molded into housing 11 and the overlying probe sleeve, until the product reaches passageway 38. The latter passageway, formed by a channel molded into the rear face of the housing 20 and the overlying flange portion 22 of probe sleeve 21, directs the product arcuately around the probe opening to passageway 39. This passageway directs the product longitudinally to aperture 40, through which it exits to the product dispensing recess 12.
As the product proceeds along passageways 35-39 it is in direct contact with the sleeve 21, which we have seen to be formed of a high-heat-conductivity metal such as aluminum. Since this sleeve is in turn in contact with heater sheath 23, also a metal of high-heatconductivity, which in turn is in contact with theelectric heater element 26, a high degree of heat transfer is obtained between probe 13 and the product. Thus, the product is thoroughly heated to a desired temperature by the time it is dispensed through aperture 40 to the user. V g
The ceramic heater element'26 is supplied with current by way of line cord 17, the high-temperature fuse 28 and the thermostatic switch 27. Fuse 28 is provided to interrupt current flow to the ceramic heating element should thermostat 27 fail for any reason and the 1 temperature in the probe become excessive. Normally,
thermostat 27 opens when the probe reaches a predetermined maximum temperature, typically in the order of 180 F, and closes when the temperature of the probe falls to approximately 160 F. By virtue of the thermal mass of electric heater element 26 heat is retained in the probe even when the heating element is not energized, so that a relatively uniform temperature in the range of 160 to 185 is obtained in practice.
The neon lamp 29 is connected across thermostat 27, and as such serves to indicate when the thermostat is open and the probe isat operating temperature, When the thermostat is closed, lamp 29 is shorted and does not light, whereas when the thermostat is open the lamp is connected to the AC line by way of heater element 26. Since the resistance of the lamp is very high compared with the heater element, essentially the total AC line voltage appears across the lamp and causes the lamp to be illuminated. The very small current flow through the lamp brings about negligible heating of heating element 26. I Upon completion of a dispensing operation, probe 1 may be removed from the dispensing device and used, if desired, in connection with other devices for dispensing other products. This results in a significant cost sav ing, since only one heating probe need be purchased for repeated use with various products and dispensers.
The provision of sleeve 21 around the probe sheath 23 facilitates this, since the probe is not in contact with the dispensed product and therefore need not be cleaned between uses. The dispenser housing 11 may be discarded after the container 14 has beencompletely exhausted, or may be utilized in conjunction with another container for either the same or a different product.
Should it be desired to use the dispenser housing to dispense another product, the various passageways of the housing can be readily cleaned after probe 13 and the aluminum sleeve 21 have been removed, as previously described. It will be appreciated that other shapes and sizes of probes can be used, and that housing ll may have other sizes and'shapes of recesses to receive other shapes of probes. I i
Thus, a dispensing device has been shown and described for dispensing a heated fluid product which is more efficient in operation and more economical to manufacture. The use of a novel passageway configuration results in improved heat transfer to the product, improved access to the passageways for cleaning, fewer component parts, and a simplified and more economical manufacturing process.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects, and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
I claim: t
l. A dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end, said device comprising, in combinationr a housing having means for receiving said product container, a recess for receiving a heating probe, and a dispensing port for delivering said product to auser;
means comprising a passageway in ,said housing for conveying said product from said discharge nozzle to said dispensing port, at least a portion of said passageway comprising in part a pair of longitudinally extendingchannels molded into the inside surface of said probe-receiving recess; and
means comprising a heat-conductive sleeve contacting the inside surface of said recess for forming, in
, conjunction with said. longitudinally extending channels, said portion of said passageway.
2. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein a third channel is provided extending across the inside end of said recess to connect said longitudinally extending channels.
3. A dispensing device as defined in claim 2 wherein said sleeve includes an endcap abutting said inside end of said probe-receiving recess to form, in conjunction with said portion of said third channel, a portion of said passageway for said product. I
4. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said heat-conductive sleeve comprises the heat transfer portion of said heating probe.
5. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said heat-conductive sleeve is removable from said.
housing to facilitate cleaning of said passageway.
6. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said container comprises an aerosol-type container in which said fluid product is contained under pressure.
7. A dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end, said device comprising, in combination:
extending channels on the outside surface of said housing;
means comprising a cylindrical heat-conductive sleeve inserted into said probe-receiving recess for forming, in conjunction with said longitudinally ex- I 10 product from a container having a discharge nozzle at one end, said device comprising, in combination:
a housing having means for receiving said product tending channels, passageways for said product in container, a recess for receiving a heating probe,
close proximity to said probe whereby said product and a dispensing port for delivering said product to is heated by said probe as it passes through said a user; longitudinal passageways, said sleeve further havmeans comprising a passageway in said housing for ing a flange portion overlying said external channel conveying said product from said discharge nozzle whereby said external channel forms an interconto said dispensing port, at least a first portion of necting passageway between said longitudinallysaid passageway comprising in part a first channel extending passageways; and molded into the inside surface of said probemeans comprising a receiving port adapted to receive receiving recess, and at least a second portion of said discharge nozzle of said product container and said passageway comprising in part a second chancommunicating with said interconnected passagenel extending along the outside surface of said ways for causing said product to be conveyed along 5 housing and communicating with said first channel;
said passageways for heating and delivery to a user through said dispensing port.
8. A dispensing device as defined in claim 7 wherein said heat-conductive cylindrical sleeve is removable from said housing to facilitate cleaning of said passageways.
9. A dispensing device as defined in claim 7 wherein said container comprises an aerosol-type container in which said fluid product is contained under pressure.
10. A dispensing device for dispensing a heated fluid and means comprising a heat-conductive sleeve having a sageway.