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Publication numberUS3828973 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1974
Filing dateOct 25, 1972
Priority dateOct 25, 1972
Also published asCA1004643A, CA1004643A1, CA1009985A, CA1009985A1, DE2353520A1, DE2353570A1
Publication numberUS 3828973 A, US 3828973A, US-A-3828973, US3828973 A, US3828973A
InventorsBirrell P
Original AssigneeCornelius Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of and means for dispensing
US 3828973 A
Abstract
Method and means for dispensing from replaceable containers provided with diaphragm-like closures, wherein the closure is movably controlled to control the flow of contents from the container. Several forms of dispensers are provided, adapted for containers for flowable particulate material, liquids, or gas. Several forms of closures especially adapted therefor are also disclosed.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Birrell METHOD OF AND MEANS FOR DISPENSING 2,526,349 10/1950 Grace............. 2,822,959 2,961,132 3,193,146

Peter Leslie Birrell, Delta, Br. Columbia, Canada [73] Assignee: The Cornelius Company, Golden Soehnlen et a1 [75] inventor:

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ABSTRACT Method and means for dispensing from replaceable containers provided with diaphragm-like closures, wherein the closure is movably controlled to control the flow of contents from the container. Several forms of dispensers are provided, adapted for containers for 7 5 .1 w mmm 5 5 yy w HZ m IDJ 2 23 2 my ann 2% 35 m89,.iJ/ 4-1 "I35 i 2 .2 0 6 2 6 .0 2 "y "2% "2 "2 2 n .75 n 0 H 5 m m" 2 m mmw r H mw u "SO00 h n 5 G WO m29 s R U F 2 UN 5 55 rt [1 flowable particulate material, liquids, or gas. Several forms of closures especially adapted therefor are also disclosed.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 40 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENIEDAUB: 31m

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SNEEIMIF 4 E mum METHOD OF AND MEANS FOR DISPENSING This invention relates to a new method of and means for dispensing from containers.

Convenience packaging in mass production, and automation in dispensing mode of flowable products of particulate, liquid and gaseous forms has been accelerating in recent time. Assurance of genuineness of trademarked products from the manufacturer to the ultimate consumer has become increasingly a matter of concern. Non-reusable sealing closures applied to the containers before they pass from the hands of the manufacturer or processor have provided some assurance to the package purchaser. However, such closures have been of no value after opening to control the flow of contents from the container in a dispenser. Further, with the growing use of dispensers for various flowable products, it has become more and more difficult to prevent trademarked product substitution. Another difficulty has been the likelihood of product deterioration when the container closures have been opened for dispensing, and especially where it is deliberately impossible or inconvenient to remove a container after it is in the dispensing mode.

An important object of the present invention is to overcome the disadvantages, deficiencies, inefficiencies, short-comings, and problems in prior structures and methods in this art and to attain important advantages and improvements in dispensing from containers for flowable contents and providing assurance of product genuineness.

Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved method of and means for dispensing A further object of the invention is to provide a method of and means for utilizing an opened container closure for controlling flow of contents from the container.

Still another object of the invention is to provide new and improved means for utilizing container closures for interim resealing of the containers in dispensers.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide new and improved container closure means for dispenseroriented containers.

Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent from the following description of certain preferred embodiments thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, although variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts embodied in the disclosure, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view showing a container provided with a closure especially adapted for dispensing according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged plan view of the inner face of the closure taken substantially as indicated by the line IIII of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional detail view taken substantially along the line III-III of FIG. 2 and showing the closure member in sealingrelation to the container;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary elevational view showing a modified attachment of the sealing closure to the container;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevational view showing another modified attachment of the sealing closure to the container;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary elevational and vertical sectional detail view through'a dispenser with which the container is associated;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 but showing the container and dispenser in the dispensing mode;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional plan view taken substantially along the line VIIIVIII of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary vertical sectional elevational detail view showing a modified container, seal and dispen'ser arrangement;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional detail view showing the sealing structure at the joint between the container lip and the dispenser of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an isometric view of a novel dispenser cap structure;

FIG. 12 is a vertical sectional detail view showing the dispenser cap of FIG. 11 in the dispensing mode with a container equipped with a closure according to the invention;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged sectional detail view taken substantially along th line XIIIXIII of FIG. 12 showing the arrangement of elements before the container closure is opened;

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary exploded view showing a novel closure cap for the sealed container;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the cap of FIG. 14 showing its inner side;

FIG. 16 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional elevational detail view taken substantially along the line XVIXVI of FIG. 14;

FIG. 17 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional detail view through pressurized gas container and closure means associated with dispensing means; and

FIG. 18 is a similar view showing the parts in the dispensing mode.

On reference to FIGS. 1 and2, a representative form of replaceable container 20 for use in a dispenser is depictedwhich may be made from any desired material' suitable for the purpose, such as glass, rigid or semirigid plastic, metal, or other material, and which is provided with a normally open mouth 20a defined by a neck 21. In this instance the container 20 is illustrated as especially suitable for packaging of flowable material 22 in a particulate form such as granular, powdered, or the like. Where the container is employed in the food industry, the material 22 typically is a commodity such as coffee of the instant type, of the freezedried type, ground coffee, instant tea, coffee additive such as powdered cream substitute, instant soup ingredients, or any other food product that can be desirably dispensed for consumption. However, the contents 22 can be any desirable nonfood commodity which is capable of being dispensed.

Secured across the mouth 20a of the container 20 is a unitary diaphragm-like closure such as a preferably tamperproof non-reusable seal 23 for retaining the contents within'the container 20. The closure 23 is of a disk construction which readily enables it to be made from suitable thermoplastic sheet material by a vacuum forming process. Typical of such a material is 0.010

inch medium or high impact styrene film. In one desirable construction, the unitary closure 23 comprises an particularly to a lip 27 provided on the end of the neck 21. For this purpose, the margin 25 has an axially extending continuous perimeter flange 28 dimensioned to embrace the outer perimeter of the lip 27 to which the flange 28 is secured in fixed relation as by means of bonding with a suitable cement or adhesive 28a (FIG. 3) and/or by vacuum within the container 20.

In FIG. 4, there is shown another means for securing the marginal flange 28 of seal 23 to the container 20. A laterally projecting lip-bead 29 of the container 20' is of complementary shape to the flange 28 which is snapped thereover, and heat shrunk if desired. The flange 28' has a number of circumferentially spaced holes 30 to facilitate application to the container lip bead 29.

Instead of a continuous bead 29, the lip of a container 20" may be provided with circumferentially spaced, downwardly shouldered retaining projections 31 (FIG. which engage in the holes 30 in the marginal flange 28 of the closure. The shouldered projections 31 and the holes 30 may be spaced about the lip of the container in complementary relation according to a product identification code. Thereby, only complementally coded closures and containers will provide for matching of the projections and holes. A mismatch will cause interference with and likely damage the closure during assembly with the container, and if a mismatched assembly slips by, interference with reception in a dispenser can be expected.

Whatever manner of securing the flange may be, permanency of attachment is the principal criterion to the extent that in order to open the closure 23, clear evidence of such opening will persist. This does not mean that-the container may not be adapted for recycling by returning it to the product source for refilling and rescaling with a new tamper-proof closure 23.

A suitable protective, removable cap 33 is initially provided to engage upon the neck 21 in enclosing relation to the closure 23 until it is desired to discharge the contents 22 from the container. As shown, the cap 33 is of the screw-on type having an internally threaded annular flange 34 which is threadedly engageable with a complementary peripheral thread 35 on the container neck. The closure 23 may, as shown, be relied on as the usual sealing disk or ring within the crown of the cap 33, but if preferred such a sealing disk or ring may be carried by the cap.

Pursuant to the invention, the unitary closure 23 is constructed and arranged to enable assembling of the container 20 at its mouth end to a dispenser, then opening the closure, and by means of the opened closure controlling the flow of contents from the container 20. To this end, a dispenser structure 36 is constructed and arranged to receive the container 20 after the cap 33 has been removed from the container 20 and the container is inverted, as shown in FIG. 6. To support the container 20 in stable relation in the dispensing mode, the dispenser 36 has a housing with an integral collar 37 of substantial height into which the mouth end portion of the container 20 fits reasonably snugly but with a free sliding engagement. By having the collar 37 of substantial height, protection against attempts to defeat the non-reusable closure 23 is provided. In a lower portion of the collar 37, an internally threaded throat 38 receives the external thread 35 of the container neck 21. If preferred, both the neck 21 and the throat 38 may be complementary for a straight-in sliding fit instead of a threaded fit.

The dispenser 36 includes means for opening and supporting the closure 23 to control flow of the contents 22 from the container 20. For this purpose, an O- ring 39 is mounted in an annular inwardly opening shallow groove 40 adjacent to the lower inside end of the throat 38 so that the O-ring 39 projects radially inwardly into intercepting, shouldering relation to the outer edge of the margin 25 of the closure 23. As the container is moved axially inwardly toward the shoulder provided by the O-ring 39, an annular shoulder 41 at juncture of the margin 25 and the flange 28 of the closure 23 is thrust toward and into engagement with a flat shoulder'on the O-ring 39 which resists further axial inward movement of the margin 25. However, a limited range of further axially inward movement of the container is provided for, during which the restraining action of the O-ring 39 causes the closure 23 to be opened for discharge of the contents from the container 20.

In a desirable construction of the closure 23 which will enable opening by placing the container 20 into the dispensing mode, and until opened, at least, will permit sealed cooperation with the container lip, a rupturable connection 32 is provided between the seal margin 25 and the body 24 of the closure 23. As seen in FIG. 2, the rupturable connection 32 comprises partial separation of the closure-23 along a generally circular or circumferential line of weakness comprising discontinuous or partial separations or slits 42, 43 and intervening solid integral connections 44. The slits 42 and 43 may be formed on a common radius. The ends of the slits 42, 43 are preferably radially offset, and in this instance, the entire slits 42, 43 are in the form of altemating relatively slightly radially offset circumferentially elongated arcs having between their adjacent ends the short solid, spoke-like connections 44 of the material of the closure 23 connecting the continuous annular margin 25 with a continuous annular sealing area 45 of the closure body 24 radially inwardly along the slits 42, 43. Although a larger or smaller number of the slits 42, 43 may be employed depending upon conditions such as diameter of closure, means for opening the closure, and the like, in the illustrated arrangement especially suitable for a closure on the order of 2% to 3 inches in diameter, there are three of the slits 42 and three of the slits 43. Although the slits 42 and 43 may be precut by completely incising through the material of the closure, the slits 42, 43 may be formed as thinned scorings in the material of the closure 23 rupturable by radial separating tension, with the connections 44 serving as reinforcements, but rupturable by radial separating, tensioning force slightly greater than that required for separating the thinned slits 42 and 43. Thereby, the slits may open before the connections 44 are ruptured whether or not the slits 42, 43 are fully precut or are only partially cut or pressed into the material of the closure 23. By having the adjacent ends of the slits 42, 43 relatively offset, and substantially aligned with one another on a radius of the closure, efficient rupturing of the connections 44 during container thrust-in for open ing the closure 23 is facilitated.

An out-turned annular reinforcing terminal 47 on the rim flange 28 provides a stiffness against undesirable distortions during pre-application as well as during the opening, shouldering, and thrusting of the shoulder 41 against the shoulder provided by the O-ring 39. Such shouldering of the shoulder 41 is enhanced by the generally convergent relation of the margin 25 and the flange 28 in the opening mode and wherein the shoulder 41 extends to a slightly greater diameter than the outside diameter of the lip 27 (FIGS. 3 and 6).

As the container thrusts downwardly during opening of the closure 23, the closure shoulder 41 engages the shoulder-like O-ring 39 and is stopped thereby. The continuing axially downward movement of the container thrusts the lip 27 against the annular area 45 of the closure 23 and effects rupturing of the connections 44 and drives the separated inner main body portion 24 of the closure 23 axially inwardly, i.e., downwardly past the O-ring 39. By having the radially outer slits 42 formed on a slightly larger diameter than the inside diameter of the O-ring 39, the discontinuous perimeter provided for the body portion 24 by the edges at these slits provides symmetrical wiper tongues 48 which are forced under slight stress past the O-ring 39 as the container lip 27 thrusts the separated body 24 axially inwardly. Normally the severed, separated body 24 will then drop downwardly away from the container lip 27 under weight of the container contents. However, should the body 24 resist separation from the container 20 for any reason such as vacuum due to vacuum packing of the contents 22, positive dislodgement of the body 24 will be effected by reversing movement of the container in an axially outward or upward direction, wherein the wiper tongues 48 catch on theO-ring 39 and strip the annular seal area 45 from the lip 27.

To improve sealing of the seal area 45 of the container lip 27, especially for vacuum packing, a sealing ring 49 (FIG. 3) may be applied to the lip-engaging surface of the area 45. For this purpose the sealing ring 49 may be applied as a coating on the annular area 45 or may be provided as a separately formed ring of suitable plastic or elastomeric sealing material. Desirably assembly guide and centering means for the sealing ring are provided on the closure 23 in the form of a narrow angular off-setting flange 50 along the inner edge of the area 45 projecting in generally the same direction as the flange 28, and serving also as stiffening or reinforcment in this area. Thereby, the flanges 28and 50, in effect, provide an annular groove within whichthe sealing material 49 is readily received and retained to effect a hermetic seal with the container lip 27 for vacuum packing.

Additional reinforcement for the body portion 24 of the closure 23 is provided by a set of radially extending circumferentially spaced vane-like agitating ribs 51 projecting from the same face of the body portion 24 as the annular intermediate reinforcing flange 50 and having oblique outer end faces 52 on the ribs extending in a plane with the flange 50. The ribs 51 are hollow and are receptive of driving means described below. Thereby, the end faces 52 provide centering means within the lip 27 facilitating assembly of the closure 23 with the container 20. During rupture of the closure and in cooperation with the flange 50, the rib ends 52 can abut the inside diameter of the neck 21 and thereby also prevent radial pulling or distorting of the body 24 during opening of the closure 23. In particular, the reinforcement provided by the flange 50 and the ribs 51 holds the area 45 of the closure firmly against warping or pulling outwardly as the margin is thrust generally away from the body 24 by action of the O-ring 39 during opening of the closure 23. It may be observed in FIG. 2, that there are desirably at least as many of the ribs 51 as there are tear connections 44 and that the radial ribs 51 are in angular alignment with the connections 44 whereby to enhance the reinforcing, pluralresistance cooperation of the ribs 51 with the area 45 during the connection-rupturing strain incident to opening of the seal 23.

After the closure 23 has been opened, the separated marginal portion 25, together with the flanges 28 and 47 cooperate with the O-ring 39 to seal the joint between the container 20 and the dispenser 36, as best visualized in H6. 7. This is especially valuable where quality of the product being dispensed should be protected at least to a reasonable extent from volatilization or other deteriorating effects of free exposure to atmosphere.

Upon the shoulders 41 encountering the O-ring 39 during movement of the container into dispensing position, the person manipulating the container will feel the inevitable resistance to inward or downward thrust, and may gauge the moderate inward force which will complete opening of the closure 23 because of the mechanically advantageous relationship of the closure margin 25 in its engagement with the O-ring 39. Should the container 20 than be forced inwardly beyond the point of full opening, it will be positively stopped by safety stop means or shoulder 53 which is formed as an annular ledge under the O-ring 39,projecting radially inwardly to a lesser extent than the inside diameter of the O-ring 39, but to a greater extent than the inside diameter' of the throat 38. Thereby, the end of the container thread 35 nearest the lip 27 is intercepted by the shoulder 53 against which the O-ring 39 is pressed as a cushion.

Means are provided for supporting the opened closure to control flow of the contents 22 from the container 20.,To this end, the dispenser 36 includes a spindle 54 mounted co-axially relative to the throat 38 and located ,to receive and support the body portion 24 of the opened closure 23 as it drops downwardly from the container lip 27, and as best shown in FIG. 7, in a manner to provide an annularly arranged orifice 55a between the radially outer annular area 45 and a metering surface means or overhanging shoulder formation 55 at the lower end of the dispenser throat. This formation 55 provides an offsetting juncture with a tubular and in this instance cylindrical larger diameter wall 57 defining therein a dispensing chamber 58 to receive the flowable product from the container. In this embodiment, the shoulder formation 55 comprises the underside of the shoulder 53.

For maintaining the body 24 centered, the spindle 54 is provided with a means comprising coaxial upwardly projecting centering boss 59 which is adapted to be received within a complementary hollow embossment 66 formed centrally in the body 24 and projecting axially in the same direction as the ribs 51. To stabilize support of the body 24 on the spindle 54, an annular seat 61 is provided about the base of the boss 59 engaged by an annular seating area 62 of the body about the embossment 60. To enhance its flow controlling function, the

body 24 radially outwardly from the seating area 62 preferably slopes frustoconically to the reinforcing offsetting flange 50, and the annular peripheral area 45 continues the slope to the severed edge of the body 24. As shown, the slope may be about 15 from a flat plane,

providing a shallow angle of repose for the material discharging from the container 20. Flow of material through the orifice 55a defined between the perimeter area 45 of the body 24 and the container lip 27 and the formation 55 will normally be throttled, but is readily effected by moving the body 24. In such movement, the ribs 51 serve as impeller and/or stirring vanes, and to enhance their impeller and/or stirring action are desirably constructed substantially as shown with their crests extending in a substantially flat plane with the seating area 62. Thereby the ribs 51 extend to progressively greater height radially relative to the sloping area of the body 24 intervening between the ribs 51 and down which the material slides toward the orifice 55a.

Material-flow-inducing movement of the body 24 is effected by movement of the spindle 54 which is mentally keyed closure 23. Instead of a single key and keyway, a combination of such keys and keyways may be employed of selected size and arrangement to pro,- vide a code for an authorized product, namely one which bears the same trademark on the container as appears to the view of the public on the dispenser 36. Relative circumferential orientation of the keying and complemental keyway(s) enables reception of the closure 23 by the dispenser boss 59.

As best seen in FIG. 6, after the shoulder 41 has engaged the Oring 39, the crown or top of the boss 59 is then at a proper elevation to abut a shoulder 65 on the lower end of the key 63 to hold the body 24 from moving down into the closure opening position until the key 63 has been registered with the keyway 64. With relative angular movement between the shoulder 65 and the boss 59, the shoulder 65 slides along the crown of the boss 59 until registration with the keyway 64 is attained whereupon the key 63 drops into the keyway 64. Before the connections 44 rupture, resilient flexibility of the closure 23 enables it to yield and avoid damage or development of undue frictional resistance. Radial slant of the rib ends 52 provides clearance to enable axial flexing. This arrangement allows random axial orientation between the key 63 and the container thread 35 at initial product filling and container sealing.

Adequate draft is provided on the matching telescoping surfaces of the boss 59 and the embossment 60 as well as the key 63 and the keyway 64 structure to enable easy reception and easy separation. In addition, the ribs 51 and the offsetting reinforcing flange 50 are constructed with ample draft so that the closure will readily nest with like closures for packaging prior to assembly with a container 20. Reception of one body 24 upon the other as is shown in FIG. 7, by way of illustration is also enabled, so that it is not necessary to remove each body 24 every time a fresh container of product is inserted into the dispenser 36. After several successive bodies 24 have accumulated, they may be removed and discarded.

In operation of the dispenser 36, product passing through the orifice 55a as modulated by impeller or stirring action of the body 24 may drop into volumetric metering measuring or apportioning pockets 67a defined between radial vanes 67 (FIG. 7) on the spindle 59. Rotation of the spindle effects progressive registration of the measuring pockets 67a with a dispensing chute 68 which discharges into a desired receptacle such as a cup.

Apart from key coding described above, another means to defeat loading of spurious product intothe dispenser, comprisesone or more spill-out openings 69 in the dispenser collar 37. If it is attempted to insert an unsealed filled container 20 into the collar 37, the product will spill out through the openings 69. The openings 69 are desirably located in such a position as to be inaccessible from the outside of the collar 37 and may also be in such a position relative to mechanism of the dispenser 37 as to cause the same to jam if any significant amount of particulate product is permitted to escape through the spill openings 69. This device also deters any attempt to remove the container 20 before all of the contents have been discharged therefrom.

In the-slightly modified'structure of FIGS. 9 and 10, the container 20" is adapted to be inserted mouth end first into the collar 37 of the dispenser 36' in substantially the same manner as described for the container 20 in respect to the dispenser 36, except that in this instance the arrangement is such that the container is adapted to be inserted by straight axial sliding motion instead of the threaded arrangement already described, although if preferred the container 20" and the dispenser may be equipped with complementary threads. The flowable contents within the container 20" are protectively sealed by means of a closure 23" which may be constructed substantially the same as the closure 23, but is shown as a simpler form which may be manufactured in the same manner from thin thermoplastic sheet material, vacuum formed to shape. About its margin the closure 23" is provided with an attachment flange 70 of generally S-shape radial cross-section which interengages with the lip portion 27 of the container 20" within an annular outwardly facing peripheral groove 71 defined at the lip edge by an annular rib 72 for interlocking cooperation with the attachment flange 70 in retaining the unruptured closure 23" on the container.

Means for opening the closure 23' comprises an annular shoulder 73 constructed as a ledge at the inner end of the throat 38', facing axially upwardly and of a diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the rib 72. As the container is moved downwardly and the rib 72 mo ygs past the shoulder 73, the retaining flange 70 will be separated from the body 24' by gravity and the weight of the container contents. The body 24' drops downwardly away from the container lip 27' to open the container 20" for discharge of contents. As best seen in FIG. 10, the severed flange 70 is squeezed by the shoulder 73 toward a stop shoulder 74 defining an opposing side of the groove 71 and providing a positive limit against axial downward overthrust movement of the container 20", with the crumpled flange 70 providing a seal in the joint between the container lip 27 and the dispenser throat 38'.

Upon dropping into open position (FIG. 9), the body 24 engages upon a stem or spindle 75 which has an upwardly extending boss or tip 77 of geometrical shape,

Le, of conical shape. The tip 77 is received in a complementary embossment 78 formed in the body 24' which slopes away from the embossment in the direction of product flow from the container 20" toward the'perimeter of the body 24' which controls .the flow in cooperation with the container lip 27 and an overhanging annular area 79 at the lower end of the throat 38. This arrangement, with an annular reinforcing and metering flange 80 about the perimeter of the body 24, defines an orifice through which the body 24 is adapted to controlproduct flow by movement of the body 24 by means of the spindle 75 which'is equipped to reciprocate vertically by suitable means (not shown). A coding key structure may be provided on the embossment 78 and the spindle tip on the order of key 63 and the keyway 64.

In another modified structure shown in FIGS. 11-13, a manually held or bracket-mounted dispenser 81 is in the form of a cap-like nozzle device adapted to be molded from a suitable material such as a food grade of plastic providing a generally cylindrical body 81a with a frustoconical dispensing nozzle 82 having a central discharge or dispensing opening 83. Means are provided for attaching the dispenser 81 to the container 20, such as by threaded engagement, for which purpose the collar-like body 81a of the device is provided with internal threads 84 engageable with the threads 35 of the container 20.

Means are provided on the dispenser 81 for opening and for supporting the closure 23 to control flow of the contents from the container 20, namely a set of thin longitudinally extending radially arranged vanes 85 which may be integrally molded with the inside of the funnel-like spout 82 and provided with resiliently flexible ears 87 which are adapted to engage within the grooves defined by the ribs 51 of the closure 23. The free ends of the ears 87 extend to a plane which is axially between the ends of the threads 84 so that when the sealed container 20 is received within the dispenser 81 by relative threaded engagement, the ears 87 will be engaged by the closure 23 and bent over substantially as shown in FIG. 13 as the relative assembly of the container 20 and dispenser 81 progresses. As this occurs, a sensible reaction results at least vibrationally, and possibly also audibly as the flexed ears 87 snap across the grooves in the closure ribs 51. Then, if it is desired to open the closure 23, a simple reverse relative rotation of the container 20 and the dispenser 81 by unscrewing the dispenser will cause a ratcheting interlock, i.e., the bent-over cars 87 will act as drive pawls in the grooves of the ribs 51 serving as ratchet teeth, thereby holding the closure 23 corotative with the dispenser 81 whereby to break the frangible connections 44 between the margin 25 and the main body 24 of the closure 23, Thereupon, the ears 87 can straighten inside the grooves in the ribs 51 of the closure 23 and by the complementary edge configuration of the ears 87, support the body 24 in centered relation within the dispenser 81 wherein the edge of the severed body 24 is in limited peripherally spaced relation to the surrounding wall of the dispenser body 81a and defining with the lip 27 of the container 20 and the dispenser 81 an annu lar orifice for product, the flow of which is thus controlled by the disk.

Means are provided to enable effecting a sealed engagement of the container lip 27 with the peripheral area 45 of the closure when it is desired to close the container protectively during interim periods between dispensing product therefrom. To this end, a sealing anvil shoulder ring 88 is carried within the dispenser 81 about the vanes 85 in spaced product flow clearance relation to the surrounding inner wall of the dispenser 81, and with spaced flow-through openings 89 in the lower end of the ring 88 along the funnel wall of the spout 82. On its outer end the ring 88 provides an annu lar shoulder 90 which receives the annular area 45 of the body 24 thereagainst and against which the annular area 45 is adapted to be clamped sealingly by the container lip 27 by relatively threading the container neck 21 tightly into the dispenser 81. Although if preferred the ring 88 may be molded integrally with the body 81a of the dispenser 81, it may be constructed as a separate ring and secured in any desired manner such as by adhesive bonding in the operative position within the dispenser 81. Inadvertent separation of the dispenser 81 from the container 20 is avoided by provision of a flexible annular generally radially inwardly directed retaining flange 91 on the upper end of the dispenser 81 and which flange 91 is of a diameter to be snapped into the annular groove area at the end of the thread 35. Additionally, the annular retaining flange 91 serves as a seal to provide reasonable protection against contamination, volatilization or other deteriorating effects. When it is desired to remove the dispenser 81 from the container 20 the flange 91 can be readily snapped or ex panded free from the container thread 35. Mounting of the dispenser 81 in a wall bracket or the like is facilitated by providing longitudinally extending circumferentially spaced ribs 91a on the outer cylindrical wall of the dispenser to engage interlockingly with complementary ribs of the bracket to hold the dispenser 81 non-rotatably so that the container 20 can be rotated readily to effect opening of the closure 23 and also resealing as desired. In manual use, the ribs 91a may serve similarly as knurling to improve finger-grip on the dispenser 81.

A tamper-proof cap 92 (FIGS. 14 and 15) may be provided for the container 20 and which cap 92 will protect the closure 23 against damage in storage or transit, and will maintain the closure inviolate until the cap is removed. Within a flange 92a of the cap 92, a thread 93 is provided for engagement with the thread 35 of the container neck 21. The cap 92 may be molded from a suitable plastic material such as polypropylene and is provided with one or more tramperproof lugs 94 on the freeend portion of the cap flange 92a. Each of the lugs 94 is separated by a U-shaped slot 94a from the flange 92a except for frangible integral connections 95 at the mouth or edge of the flange 92a. While the connections 95 are frangible when shearing loads are imposed, they are possessed of resilience in torsional stress. Thereby, each of the lugs 94 is adapted to be swung about an axis through the connections 95 from a normal locking position as shown at the left side of FIG. 15 in solid lines and in broken lines in FIG. 16 into an outwardly displaced released position as shown at the right of FIG. 15 and in full lines in FIG. 16. To

retain the lug 94 in these positions, small detents 97 are provided on the respective-opposite ends of the lug 94 spaced from the pivotal connections 95. When the lug 94 is, pushed into the outwardly displaced position (e.g. by hand or by the lip 27 of the container acting on a cam surface 98a), the detents 97 will catch on the opposite outside edges defining the slot 94a and thus hold the lug 94 so thatan interference flange 98 on the inner face of the lug 94 will be shifted into clearance relation to the inner surface of the flange 92a to enable screwing the cap 92 onto the container without interference. Then, after the cap 92 has been screwed into place on the container 20, radially inward force against the respective lug 94 will snap it back into its inner or normal position where the flange 98 is in interference relation to the container thread 35. In this position it is impossible to again displace the lug outwardly without leaving evidence of tampering because the detents 97 now engage with the inner edges along the separating slot 94a. To remove the cap 92 it is necessary to remove the lug 94 by fracturing the connections 95, thereby leaving obvious evidence of tampering. Removal is effected when the interference flange 98 comes into engagement with the nearest container thread 35 and continued unscrewing of the cap 92 places transverse or shear strain on the connections 95 causing them to rupture, and to render the lug free as indicated schematically at-the left of FIG. 15. If preferred, the cap 92 may have the lug 94 molded in the outwardly displaced position in a clearance relation to the inner surface of the flange 92a to enable screwing the cap 92 onto the container 20 without interference Another feature of the cap 92 whch may be utilized in combination with the break-away lugs 94 or which may be utilized separately therefrom to give evidence of tampering resides in means on the inside of the cap 92 for effecting opening of the closure 23 by manipulation of the cap 92. By way of example, such means are shown as comprising radially extending and axially projecting resiliently flexible ratcheting vanes 99 carried by, and preferably integral with the inner surface of the crown wall of the cap 92 and adapted to function on the order of the drive pawl vanes or tongues 87 of the cap dispenser in FIG. 11. When the cap 92 is screwed onto the container 20 having the closure 23, the tongue vanes 99 on engaging the closure 23 are bent over in the trailing direction relative to the rotary screw-on movement of the cap 92. Then, when the cap 92 is turned in reverse for opening, the free ends of the tongues 99 acting as drive pawls enter into the grooves defined by the hollow ribs 51 of the body 24, and pro vide an angular thrust and rupture the points of connection 44 between the marginal slits 42, 43 as described in respect to the action of the tongues 87. Hence, when the dispenser is equipped with the closure-opening tongues 99, removal of the cap 92 necessarily opens the closure 23. After the closure 23 has been opened, when it is desired to seal the container 20 to preserve the remaining contents until further need arises, the body 24 carried in the cap 92 or replaced in the cap 92 or on the container lip 27 can be secured firmly in place sealingly by tightening the cap 92 in closing relation onto the container neck 21.

Having reference to FIGS. 17 and 18, an arrangement is shown for controlling flow of pressurized contents from a container or tank 141, such as for pressurized gas. The container 141 is provided with a fitting 142 providing a discharge mouth which is normally open but arranged to be closed and sealed hermetically by means of a rupturable closure 143. In this instance, the fitting 142 is provided with means comprising an externally threaded nipple 144 having a frustoconical tip 145 on which is engaged a complementary annular marginal sealing flange 147 of the closure 143. Sealingly clamping the flange 147 to the tip are means comprising an internally threaded thimble 148 screwed onto the nipple 144 with the aid of a wrenchengageable rear end collar flange 149 and having an annular frustoconical centrally apertured outer end flange 150 engaging and clamping the sealing flange 147. In its primary sealing condition, the closure 143 strongly resists gas pressure displacement by virtue of its generally tubular inwardly projecting shape extending into an axial bore 151 within the nipple. While the closure 143 may be made from suitably molded or formed plastic, it may also be made from a suitable preferably malleable or shearable metal. For storage and shipment, a closure cap (not shown) may be engaged on the thimble 148 which is desirably externally threaded.

For dispensing gas from the container 141, a dispenser fitting 152 is adapted to be connected with the nipple 144 and is provided with means for opening and for supporting the closure 143 to control flow of contents from the container 141. To thisend, the fitting 152 comprises means including a nut-like member 153 which is adapted to be screwed onto the thimble 148 in place of the closure cap and has a seal opening element 154 integral therewith in the form of a tubular punching plunger having a shearing edge 155 confronting and cooperable with a shearing edge 157 on the tip 145 to rupture and separate the sealing flange 147 from the body of the closure 143 by simply screwing in the member 153. As opening of the closure 143 is effected, a shoulder 158 on its freed margin engages in sealing relation with the end of the plunger 154 which is desirably provided with sealing means such as a ring 159. To assure firm sealing engagement .of the shoulder 158 with the plunger 154, biasing means such as a coiled compression spring 160 is seated on apartition 161 across the inner end portion of the bore 151 through which a flow limiting port or orifice 162 opens encircled by a spring-centering projection or boss 163. At its outer end the spring 160 thrusts against the closure 143 through a thrust head 164.

For dispensing gas, means are provided for pushing the closure 143 in opposition to its biasing spring 160. To this end, the fitting 152 includes a supporting and controlling plunger 165 which extends freely through a gas delivery passage 167 in the member 153 and axially through the punching plunger 154. Operation of the plunger 165 is adapted to be effected by means of a handwheel 168 provided with a tubular transmission stem 169 within which is threadedly engaged a driving head 170 of the plunger 165. By rotation of the wheel 168 the plunger 165 can be reciprocably moved inwardly or outwardly, being guided for this purpose by fins 171 for free passage of gas in a passage 172 in a tubular guide member 173 having a dispensing branch duct 174 to which may be coupled a conduit 175 to carry the gas to point of consumption. Attachment of the branched member 174 to the member 153 is by means of a coupling 177.

When gas is required, the wheel 168 is turned to drive the plunger 165 axially inwardly into engagement with the body of the closure 143, as shown in FIG. 22,

which is thereby pushed in opposition to the spring 160 and gas pressure away from the seal 159 along the bore 151 which is tapered to become wider inwardly so that a selected flow of gas can be effected by the control closure for discharging the same.

13 shifting of the closure 143 along the bore 151. In order for the tapered bore 151 to coact progressively with the outer periphery of the freed body of the closure 143, the effective flow area of the progressively varying orifice must be less than the effective flow area of the opening 162. To close the seal, turning of the wheel 168 to withdraw the plunger 165 returns the seal body by spring and gas pressure to its sealing engagement with the sealing element 159. To hold the plunger 165 against rotation during advancement or retraction, one of the fins 171 is disposed in a longitudinal guideway 178.

In order to prevent escape of gas in the interval between shear-opening of the closure 143 and sealing engagement of the seal 159 with the closure shoulder 158, sealing means are provided in the form of an O-ring 179 mounted in the outer perimeter of the punch 154 to seal the sliding joint between it and the edge of the flange 150.

As a product assurance and error preventing safety feature, coding means may be provided, such as on the closure 143 and the plunger 165. To this end, respective selected keying configurations are provided which will prevent registration unless they are complementary and match, comprising a longitudinal keywayformation 180 in the closure 143 in which a lateral keying lug 181 on the thrust tip end of the plunger 165 is receptive if complementary. By having. the thrust end portion of the plunger 165 project normally beyond the shearing edge 155, only properly coded keyway and key registration will permit coupling the dispenser assembly 152 to the fitting 142 of the container 141.

It will be understood that variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of this invention.

I claim as my invention:

1. A dispenser for flowable material adapted to be coupled with a replaceable container filled with such material and provided with an initially close unitary diaphragm-like closure having a relatively movable body portion which can provide a dispensing capability through such closure, said dispenser comprising:

a. a dispenser housing receptive of and manually detachable from the closure end of the container;

b. means carried by said housing for initially opening the closure about the periphery'of the body portion by effecting relative movement of the body portion with respect to the container; and

c. means carried by said housing for supporting the body portion of the opened closure, said supporting means being selectably movable to enable a modulated annular flow of the material through the closure about the body portion.

2. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said opening means and said supporting means form a unitary element.

3. A dispenser according to claim 1 including selectably movable metering means .carried on said housing, and receptive of flowable material passed through the 4. A dispenser according to claim 3 in which said metering means is of the volumetric type.

5. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said opening means is so arranged that said relative movement is in an axial direction.

6. A dispenser according to claim 1 including means of a noncircular cross-section forming part of said sup-' 10. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said dispenser housing has means for axially interlocking with complementary structure on the container, said housing having a spill-out opening of such axial extent as to overlap the upper end of said interlocking means.

11. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said opening means comprises an annular structure engageable in encircling shear relation with an outer marginal portion of the closure for severing it from the body portion during reception of the container into said hous- 12. A dispenser according to claim 11 in which said annular structure is arranged to urge the severed marginal portion axially in sealing relation against an encircling formation on the container, for forming a seal between the housing and the opened container.

13. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said housing is in the form of a cap having means for axially interlocking with complementary structure on the container, said supporting means being disposed within said cap.

14. A'dispenser according to claim 13 in which said opening means comprises resiliently flexible pawl tongues receptive in grooves in the closure.

15. A dispenser according to claim 13 including means on said cap for clamping the outer periphery of the body portion sealingly against thecontainer.

16. A dispenser according to claim 1, including:

a. a container having a closure end through which a discharge passage extends, said passage converging in a downstream direction to a seat on said housing;

b. an initially closed diaphragm-like closure having a relatively movable cup-shaped body portion disposed in said converging passage and capable of providing a dispensing capability through said closure, said body portion being sealingly engageable with said seat; and

c. the movement of said supporting means disposing said body portion at selected positions along said converging passage to vary flow rate.

17. A dispenser according to claim 16 in which said container has an orifice at the upstream end of said discharge passage, the effective flow area about said body portion encompassing the effective flow area of said orifice.

18. A dispenser according to claim 1- including means defining aflow limiting orifice leading downstream to a converging passage in which said body portion is axially movable, said body portion with the wall of said converging passage defining an annular variable orifice, said flow limiting orifice having an effective flow area intermediate the range of available effective flow areas of said variable orifice.

19. A dispenser for flowable particulate material adapted to be coupled with a replaceable inverted container filled with such material, said dispenser comprismg:

a. a dispenser housing receptive of and manually detachable from the closure end of the container;

b. a unitary diaphragm-like closure member having a central body portion and a continuous margin portion adapted to be secured to the container at its 1 mouth to initially seal it, there being a generally circular line of weakness in said member defined by adjacent edges of said portions;

c. means carried by said housing for cooperating with complemental structure on one of said portions for initially. opening said closure member about the periphery of said body portion by effecting relative movement of said body portion with respect to the container; and

. means carried by said housing for cooperating with complemental structure on said body portion for supporting said body portion of the opened closure member in axially spaced relation to said margin portion as a modulating element for cooperating with the discharge end of the container for determining theeffective size of the resulting dispensing opening around said body portion, said supporting means being selectably movable to enable a modulated annular flow of the material through said margin portion and about said body portion.

20. A method of dispensing by gravity from an initially sealed container, comprising:

a. providing a quantity of flowable particulate material in the initially sealed container;

b. rupturing a lower surface of the container along a generally circular line to thereby provide a dc.-

tached body portion encircled by such rupture line;

c. supporting the detached body portion at a position remote from its original sealed position and spaced from the container surface to define an annular orifice thereabout; and j (1. moving the body portion with respect to the container to agitate the material at such orifice above the body portion to assist the flow of the material therethrough.

21. A method of dispensing according to claim in which said moving of the body portion is about its own axis.

22. A method of dispensing according to claim 20 in which said moving of the body portion is along its own axis.

23. A method of dispensing according to claim 20 which includes moving the body portion into an abutting sealing relation with the container.

24. A method of dispensing according to claim 20 in which said rupturing is provided by rotating the prospective body portion about its own axis.

25. A dispensing closure for the discharge end of a storage container, such container being adapted to be replaceably coupled in an inverted position with a separate dispenser mechanism, comprising a unitary diaphragm-like member having a central body portion and a continuous margin portion adapted to be secured to the. container at its mouth to initially seal it, there being a generally circular line of weakness insaid member,

said line of weakness being defined by adjacent edges of said portions, said body portion being a prospective modulating element for cooperation with the discharge end of the container after opening at said line of weakness, means on oneof said portions for cooperating with complemental structure on the dispenser mechanism for effecting relative movement between said portions to effect such opening, and means on said body portion for cooperating with complemental support structure on the dispenser mechanism for effecting relative axial spacing between said portions for determining the effective size of the resulting dispensing opening around said body portion.

26. A dispensing closure according to claim 25 in which said first-named cooperating means is a shoulder on said margin portion.

27. A dispensing closure according to claim 25 in which said body portion has at least one radial rib for projecting toward the interior of the container.

28. A dispensing closure according to claim 27 in which said line of weakness has portions with ends adjacent to each other and in angular alignment with said rib.

29. A dispensing closure according to claim 25 in which said body portion is of generally frustoconical shape. 30. A dispensing closure according to claim 25 i whichthe diameter of the circular line of weakness is which terminate angularly adjacent to and radially offset from each other.

32. A dispensing closure according to claim 31 in which adjacent ones of said arcuate portions have different diameters.

33. A dispensing closure according to claim 25in which an annular area of sealing material is disposed on the peripheral border of said body portion.

34. A dispensing closure according to claim 25 in which said body portion has a hollow indentation for projecting into the discharge end and receptive of an element of the dispenser mechanism for acting on said body portion.

35. A dispensing closure according to claim 34 in which said indentation is disposed centrally of said body portion and is of generally frustoconical configuration. 36. A dispensing closure according to claim 34 in which said indentation is of noncircular cross-section receptive of an element of the dispenser mechanism of complementary configuration.

37. A dispensing closure according to claim 34 in which said indentation comprises at least one hollow radial rib.

38. A dispensing closure according to claim 37 in which said line of weakness has portions with ends adjacent to each other and in angular alignment with said rib.

39. A dispensing closure according to claim 37 in which said body portion is of generally frustoconical shape, and the axial height of said rib increases in a radially outward direction.

40. A dispensing closure according to claim 34 in which said indentation includes a plurality of surfaces jointly lying in a frustoconical locus for centering said closure with respect to the discharge end.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3960298 *Apr 19, 1974Jun 1, 1976The Cornelius CompanyContainer assembly for use with a separator dispenser
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US6386392May 22, 2000May 14, 2002The Procter & Gamble CompanyReservoirs for use with cleaning devices
US6685056Jul 28, 2000Feb 3, 2004The Procter & Gamble CompanyDispensing device comprising a reservoir and attachment means provided with protected piercing means
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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/1, 222/325, 222/82, 222/88
International ClassificationB65D83/06, B65D47/04, B65D47/38, B65D47/20, B67D3/00, B65D47/00, B65D47/36, B65D47/28
Cooperative ClassificationB67D3/0032, B65D47/38, B65D47/00, B65D83/06
European ClassificationB67D3/00H2, B65D47/38, B65D83/06, B65D47/00