The present invention relates to applicator systems capable of delivering a flowable composition from a container at any orientation of the container.
An applicator system capable of all orientation delivery is disclosed in JP 7-022951U.
Such an applicator system, hereinafter referred to as an applicator system of the kind described, comprises:
a container including an inner collapsible layer distinct from an outer deformable layer, the inner collapsible layer defining a reservoir, and the outer deformable layer being separated from the inner collapsible layer by a buffer zone;
a dispenser including a first passageway distinct from a second passageway, the first passageway being in communication with the buffer zone and the second passageway being in communication with the reservoir; and
valve means operable to control entry of air into the buffer zone through the first passageway and exit of flowable composition from the reservoir through the second passageway.
However, a one-way flapper valve is provided to control the entry of the air into the buffer zone through the first passageway, and a physically separate one-way flapper valve is provided to control the exit of the flowable composition from the reservoir through the second passageway.
It would be commercially desirable if an applicator system of the kind described could be simplified, allowing assembly to be easier and thus allowing manufacture to be more efficient.
Such a simplification is achieved by the present invention, in which an applicator system of the kind described is characterised in that the valve means is of unitary construction.
It would be possible for the container to be a delaminating container, in which the inner collapsible layer progressively peels away from the outer deformable layer, but the inner collapsible layer may alternatively comprise a flexible bag.
Preferably, an inlet part of the valve means controlling the first passageway is a flapper valve.
To avoid reliance on a single air inlet, which may become blocked by any of the flowable composition dripping down the outside of the dispenser, the first passageway may include a plurality of circumferentially spaced air inlets, and the flapper valve may be of annular shape.
Preferably, an outlet part of the valve means controlling the second passageway is a quadrolobe valve a quadrolobe valve opens from the centre, rather than the side, and is thus capable of achieving a smoother flow during exit of the flowable composition from the reservoir.
It will be appreciated that assembly is particularly simple if the valve means is a push fit with the dispenser.
More particularly, the quadrolobe valve may be a push fit within the second passageway.
It will also be appreciated that assembly of the dispenser with the container can be simplified if the dispenser is a simple direct or indirect push fit with the container.
In one arrangement, the dispenser is a push fit within an insert, and the insert is a push fit within a neck of the container, the insert having an annular channel surrounding a tubular member, with the annular channel including at least one opening forming part of the first passageway, and the tubular member contacting the valve means and forming part of the second passageway.
An applicator system, according to the present invention, will now be described in greater detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a cap, a bottle, a flexible bag, a support tube, an insert, a valve, a spout, a sponge pad, a comb housing and a comb—all being components in a hair colouring kit embodying the present 5 invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-sectional view showing the cap when secured to the bottle;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the insert;
FIG. 4 is a schematic cross-sectional view, taken per10 pendicularly to the cross-sectional view of FIG. 2, showing a dye container when docked with the insert to allow dye in the dye container to be added to the flexible bag;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the spout when secured to the bottle; 15 FIG. 6 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-sectional view of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 5 but showing the sponge pad when secured to the spout;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 7; 20 FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the comb housing when secured to the bottle with the comb secured to the comb housing;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 9; and
FIGS. 11 and 12 are, respectively, cross-sectional views 25 of the comb and the comb housing before being secured together.
The accompanying drawings illustrate a hair colouring kit embodying all aspects of the present invention—the different inventive aspects, for which protection is being
30 sought in the present and several contemporaneous patent applications, relate to a delivery system as well as to various applicators and applicator systems for use in delivering a flowable composition.
Although the flowable composition is preferably a hair
35 colouring composition, no aspect of the present invention is restricted to such a specific flowable composition. Other examples of flowable compositions are: medicaments e.g. for petcare; foodstuffs e.g. cake mixes; cleaning fluids e.g. for garmentcare or carpetcare; cosmetics e.g. body lotions or
40 moisturisers; adhesives or lubricants.
Use of a hair colouring composition can be problematical.
One problem is that the hair colouring composition may need to be prepared from two or more component materials
45 just prior to use. This means that the component materials need to be stored separately in a manner allowing a user to mix the component materials when required. Typically, one of the component materials is hydrogen peroxide and another of the component materials is a dye. The user must
50 not, however, be exposed to any danger or any risk of staining when adding the dye to the hydrogen peroxide.
Another problem is that the hair colouring composition may need to be applied to the hair through an applicator at any angle. If the applicator is fed from a simple squeeze
55 bottle, the applicator will be ready for use in any orientation when the squeeze bottle is full. However, as the squeeze bottle is progressively emptied, it is found that the applicator is not ready for immediate use in any orientation, but may first need to be primed to offset the effect of any suckback
60 of the hair colouring composition. This makes it difficult to control the application of the hair colouring composition, particularly to the hairline whilst avoiding staining of the skin.
The present hair colouring kit not only allows the hair 65 colouring composition to be prepared just prior to use, but has applicators fed by a user-controlled delivery system in which the hair colouring composition is discharged by a