US 3919856 A
The present invention is related to a self-chilling container having a passage through which presurized refrigerant exits into the atmosphere. The container has a shield-like safety device over said passage and a means for insuring the positioning of the shield, when the container is open, so as to remain over the passage and deflect downwardly any unevaporated refrigerant. These structures are effective to prevent unevaporated refrigerant from contacting a user operating the container. The invention is also related to a method for fabricating the container which is not only economical in manufacture but further insures the proper positioning of the shield relative to the refrigerant passage.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Beck [ 5] Nov. 18, 1975 1 SELF-CHILLING CONTAINER WITH SAFETY DEVICE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME  Inventor: William D. Beck, 851 S. High St.,
Columbus, Ohio 43206 221 Filed: Mar.20, 1974 21 Appl. No.:453,099
Related US. Application Data  Division of Ser. No. 348,486, April 6, 1973.
3.759.060 9/1973 Chase 62/60 Primary Examinew-William J. Wye Attorney, Agent, or FirmCushman, Darby & Cushman ABSTRACT The present invention is related to a self-chilling container having a passage through which presurized refrigerant exits into the atmosphere. The container has a shield-like safety device over said passage and a means for insuring the positioning of the shield, when the container is open, so as to remain over the passage and deflect downwardly any unevaporated refrigerant. These structures are effective to prevent unevaporated refrigerant from contacting a user operating the container. The invention is also related to a method for fabricating the container which is not only economical in manufacture but further insures the proper positioning of the shield relative to the refrigerant passage.
5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent NOV. 18, 1975 3,919,856
SELF -CHILLING CONTAINER WITH SAFETY DEVICE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME This is a division of application Ser. No. 348,486 filed Apr. 6, 1973.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention is directed towards a refrigerant unit that is disposed within a container having a beverage. l
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART There are numerous prior art cooling devices wherein a refrigerant device is centrally disposed within a container storing a beverage that is to be cooled. Such devices use refrigerant of the type which is under pressure. When exposed to the atmosphere, the refrigerant is evaporated and released thereto. If, however, the refrigerant is expelled from the container before it has evaporated, there is a risk of injury to the consumer, e.g., if some of the liquid strikes an eye. In addition, such devices are quite expensive, in part because of the number of manufacturing steps required. Typical of this prior art is U.S. Pat. No. 3,320,767 to Whalen, wherein a self-chilling disposable container is disclosed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the instant invention to provide a safety device for self-chilling containers and a method for producing the same, wherein the aforementioned disadvantages prevalent in the prior art are overcome. This object is accomplished in part by means of a shield device selectively removable from a refrigerant release passage and a control means therefor. The control means forms part of a typical tear-tab used on beverage containers; it is operatively connected with the shield device for insuring the proper positioning of the shield device over said passage as it is removed therefrom by a consumer lifting the tear-tab to dispense the contents of the container. By this arrangement, the cooperation of the shield device and the control means is effective to deflect and/or temporarily trap any unevaporated refrigerant, whereby the possibility of harm arising from pressurized unevaporated refrigerant contacting a consumer is greatly reduced. The said object of the invention is also accomplished in part by an improved method whereby the component parts are joined together in a simple operation. The method includes the steps of securing a stem-seal mounted on a filled refrigerant canister to a shield device which is operatively connected to the tear-tab on a lid for the container. By this arrangement, the shield device is appropriately secured and positioned relative to said passage so that, as the shield device is moved with the tear-tab to remove the contents from the container, the shield device will remain in such a position as to deflect and/or temporarily trap unevaporated refrigerant.
Other objects, advantages. novel features of the invention, will become apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of a container made in accordance with the principles of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-section partly in elevation of the container of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-section, partly in elevation, on an en- 0 larged scale, of the container of FIGS. 1 and 2 along line 3-3 of FIG. 1 and showing the container after it has been opened;
FIG. 4 is a detailed perspective view, partially fragmented, showing the shield device and the tear-tab of the container of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Now referring to the FIGURES of the drawings, there is disclosed a self-chilling container made in accordance with the principles of the present invention wherein a refrigerant unit 12 is centrally disposed and concentrically arranged within a container means 14. The container is of a conventional type and is defined by an annular wall member 16 having a bottom member 18 located at one end and a top or lid member 20 located at the opposite end thereof. Any of a number of methods, such as crimping, are effective to secure the lid to the container. Container 14 is effective to hold the material 22 that is to be chilled. It is to be understood that this material can be of any type that is de sired to be cooled; preferably, it should be free flowing.
As better seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the refrigerant unit 12 is comprised of a storage canister 24, having a raised neck portion 26, a head portion 28 and an aperture 30 located at the top of the head portion. The canister defines a chamber 32 wherein liquid refrigerant, such as Freon, is introduced and maintained under pressure, by means hereinafter to be described, for subsequent dispensing to the atmosphere through the aperture 30.
A washer member 34 is preferably made from plastic material, such as polyurethane. The washer has an aperture 36 extending therethrough so that when the washer is inserted within the head portion 28, the aperture 36 is in line with respect to the aperture 30. A compound-type sealant 38 is applied to the outer surface of the head portion 28 that is to come into contact with the lid 20. This sealant compound is subsequently compressed, by means hereinafter described, so as to further provide an effective seal that will prevent contamination of the material 22.
Located below the washer 34 is a porous disc 40 that acts as a diffuser member for the liquid refrigerant. Inasmuch as it is the evaporation of the liquid refrigerant that provides the cooling, it is necessary to insure that the evaporation will take place within the canister so as to maximize the cooling effect. The diffuser disc is ef fective to prevent as much as possible the escape of unevaporated liquid refrigerant from the canister 24, so that a larger portion of the liquid is evaporated therein. The porous disc can be manufactured from any of a variety of materials as long as the materials are effective to diffuse liquid passing therethrough.
The self-chilling container is provided with another sealing means which is effective to prevent any intermingling between the pressurized refrigerant and the material 22, thereby preventing contamination of the latter. As best viewed in FIG. 3, a flat annular surface 3 42 is defined on the neck portion 26. This flat annular surface provides an annular seat for the reception thereon of a generally annular sealing collar 44. The sealing collar is preferably made of a plastic material and is so dimensioned as to be preferably snugly fitted over the head portion 28. As seen in the FIGS. 2 and 3 the sealing collar 44 is sandwiched between the annular surface 42 and the bottom of the lid 20. In this manner it cooperates with the sealant compound 38 and prevents any unevaporated liquid refrigerant from entering the container 14.
A flexible generally longitudinally extending stemseal 46, preferably made of a plastic material, is inserted within the apertures 30 and 36 so that the topmost portion thereof extends above the head portion 28. The stem-seal is effective to prevent the refrigerant from escaping from the canister until the canister is opened.
The head portion 28 and the stem-seal 46 are both inserted within a recess 48. The recess is integrally and centrally formed on the lid member and also has a central passageway or aperture 50 extending therethrough. The stem-seal is so positioned that it extends through this aperture 50.
Fastened on the lid member 20 is a typical off-center tear-tab 52 that is conventionally riveted or otherwise suitably fastened as shown at 54. Score lines 56 are also integrally formed about the riveted region on the lid member and define a frangible closure means 58 which, upon being opened, will provide an egress for the material stored in the container 14. The off-center tear-tab includes a conventional pullring 60 having a generally circular opening 62. A groove 64 extends along the periphery of this circular opening 62 and receives the improved shield device 66 made in accordance with the principles of this invention.
The shield device 66 can take any of a number of forms, however, in this particular embodiment it is shown as a generally convex member in the form of an inverted cup-shaped plug or dome-shaped member. The device 66 is comprised of a generally flat lateral edge or flange 68 and a generally inner concave surface 70. The generally flat flange 68 is snugly fitted within the groove 64 of the pull ring 60. The inner concave surface 70 is especially effective to deflect downwardly and/or temporarily trap any exiting unevaporated refrigerant. The inner concave surface 70 is also designed to contact the uppermost portion of the longitudinally extending stem-seal 46. Thereafter, the two are heat welded or adhesively bonded together when the head portion 28 is inserted within the recess 48 of the lid. In this manner the stem-seal becomes integral with the shield device 66 and the tear-tab opening means 52 (see FIG. 4).
A control means for controlling the relative ease with which the tear-tab 52 is pulled upwardly and to insure the proper positioning of the shield device 66 over the apertures and 36, is defined by a groove or recess 72. Preferably the groove or recess takes the form of a substantially V-shaped channel that extends transversely to the longitudinal extent of the tear-tab. One side 74 of the recess 72 is larger in dimension than the opposite side 76. Both sides of this recess are effective to provide a means which limits the otherwise generally vertically upward movement of the tear-tab so as to insure the proper positioning of the shield device 66 in an inclined position above the aperture 52, thereby having the shield device downwardly deflect and/or temporarily trap any unevaporated liquid refrigerant.
Additionally, the recess 72 is effective to divide the generally upward movement of the tear-tab 52 into an easy segment and a difficult" segment. By the term easy, it is meant that the consumer applies less of a force in lifting the tear-tab 52 upwardly than during the difficult segment thereof. The segmented generally upward movements of the tear-tab are effective to pro mote an efficient cooling of the material 22 by permitting the refrigerant to be exposed to the atmosphere first, thereby promoting the chilling before the material is able to be dispensed through the closure means 58.
The self-chilling arrangement 10 made in accordance with the principles of this invention is manufactured in the following manner. After the washer 34 and the porous disc 40 are inserted, as hereinabove described, within the head portion 28, a pressurized liquid refrigerant is introduced through the apertures 30 and 36 respectively, so as to fill the the chamber 30. The longitudinally extending stem-seal 46 is then inserted into said apertures so as to maintain the pressurized refrigerant within the canister. Thus, an independent refrigerant unit is produced that can be efficiently and effectively shipped from the manufacturer of the refrigerant to a manufacture of the container. The result of this separate manufacture of the refrigerant units from the container units is a more efficient division of labor and cost.
The annular collar 44 is snugly fitted upon the raised neck portion 26 so as to be seated upon the annular surface 42. The remainder of the head portion is coated by the sealant compound 38. Thereafter, the head portion and the extending stem-seal are inserted within the recess 48 so that the stem-seal extends through the aperture 52 within said recess 48. Conventional means such as rolling or crimping are then applied so as to effectively press the recess 48 about the head portion, and thereby sealing secure the two together. As aforenoted, the tear-tab 52 and the shield device 66 attached therewith are riveted to the lid 20 by the rivet 54. As is more clearly shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 the tear-tab and shield are located so as to be in a generally horizontal position. In this horizontal position, as the refrigerant unit is inserted within the recess 48 on the lid 20, the top end of the stemseal 46 abuts the inner concave surface 70 at the center thereof. The stem-seal is permanently affixed to the shield device by any of several conventional techniques, such as by heat welding or adhesive bonding. As is apparent, as the sheild device is lifted upwardly with the tear-tab 52, the stem-seal is removed from the apertures 30 and 36 so as to expose the refrigerant to the atmosphere.
From the foregoing detailed description of the preferred embodiment it will be understood that the apparatus of the invention operates in the following manner. In order to effectuate the chilling process of the mate rial 22, the pull-ring 60 is grasped by the fingers of a consumer and is lifted generally vertically upwardly. By lifting the pull-ring generally vertically upwardly, the stem-seal 46 is removed from the refrigerant unit 12 so as to expose the pressurized refrigerant to the atmosphere. As this occurs the refrigerant is permitted to evaporate to the atmoshere by exiting through the apertures 30 and 36, thereby cooling the material 22, within the container. If for any reason the diffuser disc 40 is not able to prevent all of the refrigerant from evaporating within the canister chamber 30, the inner concave surface 70 and the lateral edge 68 attached therewith deflect downwardly and/or temporarily trap exiting liquid refrigerant. Thus, a consumer is protected from any deleterious harm arising from contact with the unevaporated refrigerant.
As hereinabove mentioned, the recess 72 is effective to maintain the shield device in this relatively inclined position so as to deflect downwardly the unevaporated refrigerant. A further consequence of this downward deflection is that a portion of the liquid refrigerant will fall upon the top surface of the lid and as the refrigerant evaporates, the container is further chilled.
Through the process of heat welding or adhesive bonding, the stem-seal 46 is integrally attached to the central portion of the inner concave surface 70. By fixing the stem-seal to the shield device 66, the stem-seal is removable from the apertures and 36 upon the simultaneous upward lifting of the tear-tab 52. As noted, this first permits the refrigerant to evaporate so as to chill the material within the container prior to the teartab removing the frangible closure means 58. Also by attaching the stem-seal to the central portion of the inner concave surface 70, it locates the shield device over the exiting apertures 30 and 36 so that any unevaporated refrigerant is trapped temporarily and/or deflected downwardly by said inner concave surface so as to preclude contact with the consumer operating the self-chilling arrangment 10. Also by forming a recess 72 on the tear-tab that extends transversely to the lon' gitudinal extent thereof, a control means is formed which insures the proper inclined position of the shield device 66 over the exiting apertures, while also segmenting the upward movements of the tear-tab. The two segments defined are effective to promote a uniform chilling of the material within the container.
As hereinbefore described, the recess 72 is located on the teartab so as to control the path as well as the rate and sequence at which the pull-ring is lifted upwardly. Until the sides 74 and 76 of the recess 72 abut each other the upward movement of the pull-ring 60 is effected rather easily, thereby permitting the evapora tion of the refrigerant within the chamber 30, so as to commence the cooling of the material 22 within the container. After said sides of the recess 72 contact with each other, it is more difficult for the consumer to lift the pull-ring 60 upwardly so as to open of the frangible closure means 58 to permit dispensing of the chilled material. Thus. the recess 72 is effective to control the rate and sequence of upward movement of the pullring so that during the first or aforenoted easy segment of the movement (i.e. until the sides 74 and 76 abut each other), this movement is effected relatively quickly. During the subsequent second or difficult segment of the upward movement (i.e. after the sides 74 and 76 abut each other) the upward movment of the pull-ring so as to open the frangible closure means 58 is performed at a slower rate than during the easy segment. During the first segment of the upward movement of the pull-ring the refrigerant is permitted to evaporate, thereby chilling the contents of the container before the frangible closure means is opened. This prevents the dispensing of material 22 which may not be properly chilled. Therefore, the recess 72 not only insures the proper positioning of the shield device 66 over the openings 30 and 36 so as to deflect and/or temporarily trap the unevaporated refrigerant. but also it insures the uniform cooling of the material prior to dispensing 6 from the container, by effecting the cooling before opening the frangible closure means 58.
Also as is apparent from the aforenoted description. the method whereby the lid 20 and the canister 24 are firmly secured together not only provides an economical means of assembly, but also centrally locates the stem-seal 46 relative to the inner concave surface of the shield device 66. As noted, the use of a stem-seal provides a means whereby the manufacturer of the refrigerant unit 12 can effectively and economically transport the same to the manufacturer of the container.
Although the herein shown and described invention is conceived to be the most practical and preferred em bodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention which is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent structures and methods for manufacturing.
What is claimed as novel and unobvious and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A method for producing a self-chilling unit of the type wherein: a container housing material to be chilled has joined thereto a lid and centrally connected to the lid a canister for storing pressurized refrigerant, manually operated refrigerant release means having an opening therein effective to cooperate with apertures in the lid and canister so as to expose the refrigerant to the atmosphere thereby commencing cooling by having the refrigerant evaporate,
a shield member and a stem-seal member cooperate with manually operated release means and groove means also cooperating with the manually operated release means so that as the manually operated release means is moved between a first position, whereat the stem-seal is effective to have the refrigerant means sealed, to a second position, whereat the stem-seal permits the refrigerant to exit through the apertures to the atmosphere, the shield means and the groove means cooperating with the manually operated means insure that the shield means during the movement from said first to said second positions, is positioned so as to deflect any unevaporated refrigerant exiting from the apertures comprising the steps of:
a. confining a refrigerant in the canister by introducing through the apertures the refrigerant under pressure;
b. sealing the confined refrigerant by inserting the stem-seal into the aperture so that a portion thereof also extends into the atmosphere,
c. thereafter positioning the stem-seal through the aperture in the lid so that the stem-seal abuts the shield member on the manually operated refrigerant release means in a region that is centrally disposed relative to and d. securing the canister to the container in a region surrounding the stem-seal and shield member by mechanical working so as to cause a tight frictional engagement therebetween; and
e. affixing the stem-seal to shield member at the region of abutment therebetween, whereby upon lifting said shield member, the canister is opened.
2. The method as defined in claim 1 further including the steps of:
a. joining the lid and canister to the container by applying a mechanical force sufficient to create a tight frictional engagement therebetween.
3. The method as defined in claim 1 wherein the method for forming the self-chilling container includes the preliminary step of:
a. forming a groove adjacent one end of the manually operated release means that extends transverse to the longitudinal extent thereof.
4. The method as defined in claim 1 wherein the method for forming the self-chilling container includes the preliminary steps of:
a. positioning the shield member within an opening of the manually operated release means.
5. A method for centrally conjoining a sealing means, that cooperates with an aperture in a canister to seal pressurized refrigerant within the canister, to the inner surface of a dome-like shield member which cooperates with a manually operated refrigerant release means operably mounted on a lid having an aperture and being connected to a container for housing material to be chilled by the refrigerant means comprisingthe steps of:
a. confining the refrigerant in the canister by introducing through the aperature the refrigerant under pressure;
b. sealing the confined refrigerant by inserting sealing means into the aperture so that a portion of the sealing means also extends into the atmosphere;
c. positioning the sealing means through the aperture in the lid so that the sealing means abuts the shield member on the manually operated refrigerant release means in a region that is centrally disposed relative thereto;
d. securing the canister to the container in a region surrounding the sealing means and shield member by mechanical working so as to cause a tight-frictional engagement therebetween; and
e. affixing the sealing means to shield member at the region of abutment therebetween.