US20050120584A1 - Fabric article treating device and system - Google Patents

Fabric article treating device and system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050120584A1
US20050120584A1 US10/926,925 US92692504A US2005120584A1 US 20050120584 A1 US20050120584 A1 US 20050120584A1 US 92692504 A US92692504 A US 92692504A US 2005120584 A1 US2005120584 A1 US 2005120584A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
reservoir
fabric article
article treating
benefit composition
treating device
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10/926,925
Inventor
Dean DuVal
Kofi Ofosu-Asante
Trace Trajano
Cynthia Bedell
Thomas Ward
Laura Heilman
Mary Combs
Michael Orr
David Knaub
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Procter and Gamble Co
Original Assignee
Procter and Gamble Co
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US37460102P priority Critical
Priority to US42643802P priority
Priority to US10/418,595 priority patent/US7059065B2/en
Priority to US10/697,735 priority patent/US7146749B2/en
Priority to US10/697,734 priority patent/US20040123489A1/en
Priority to US10/697,685 priority patent/US7043855B2/en
Priority to US10/697,736 priority patent/US20040123490A1/en
Priority to US10/762,152 priority patent/US7503127B2/en
Priority to US10/839,549 priority patent/US20040259750A1/en
Priority to US56877104P priority
Priority to US10/842,926 priority patent/US7047663B2/en
Application filed by Procter and Gamble Co filed Critical Procter and Gamble Co
Priority to US10/926,925 priority patent/US20050120584A1/en
Assigned to PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE reassignment PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BEDELL, CYNTHIA MARIA, TRAJANO, TRACE WENDELL DE GUZMAN, WARD, THOMAS EDWARD, ORR, MICHAEL JOSEPH, DUVAL, DEAN LARRY, OFOSU-ASANTE, KOFI, COMBS, MARY JANE, HEILMAN, LAURA LYNN, KNAUB, DAVID RANDALL
Publication of US20050120584A1 publication Critical patent/US20050120584A1/en
Priority claimed from US11/171,101 external-priority patent/US8091253B2/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F58/00Domestic laundry driers
    • D06F58/20General details of domestic laundry driers
    • D06F58/203Laundry conditioning arrangements
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F35/00Washing machines, apparatus, or methods not otherwise provided for
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F39/00Details of washing machines in so far as such details are not special to washing machines of groups D06F21/00 - D06F25/00 or to any particular type of washing machine defined in groups D06F9/00 - D06F19/00 or D06F27/00
    • D06F39/02Devices for adding soap or other washing agents
    • D06F39/022Devices for adding soap or other washing agents in a liquid state
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06FLAUNDERING, DRYING, IRONING, PRESSING OR FOLDING TEXTILE ARTICLES
    • D06F2224/00Safety arrangement concerning the opening or closing of the door

Abstract

A fabric article treating device having an interior dispenser adapted for location inside of a fabric article drying appliance and a reservoir. The interior dispenser and reservoir are adapted for fluid communication with one another. The reservoir contains a benefit composition and is configured to maintain to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/568,771 entitled “Uniform Delivery of Compositions”, filed on May 6, 2004 and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/842,926 entitled “Fabric Article Treating System and Method”, filed on May 11, 2004; which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/839,549 entitled “Processes and Apparatuses for Applying a Benefit Composition to One or More Fabric Articles During a Fabric Enhancement Operation”, filed on May 5, 2004; which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/762,152, entitled “Volatile Material Delivery Method”, filed on Jan. 21, 2004; which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/697,736, entitled “Fabric Article Treating Method and Device Comprising a Heating Means”, filed on Oct. 29, 2003; U.S. Ser. No. 10/697,734, entitled “Thermal Protection of Fabric Article Treating Device”, filed on Oct. 29, 2003; U.S. Ser. No. 10/697,685, entitled “Fabric Article Treating Device Comprising More Than One Housing”, filed on Oct. 29, 2003; and U.S. Ser. No. 10/697,735, entitled “Fabric Article Treating Apparatus with Safety Device and Controller”, filed Oct. 29, 2003; each of which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Ser. No. 10/418,595, entitled “Fabric Article Treating Method and Apparatus”, filed on Apr. 17, 2003, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/374,601, filed Apr. 22, 2002 and U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/426,438, filed Nov. 14, 2002.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a fabric article treating device for use with a fabric article drying appliance, and more specifically to a unique fabric article treating device and system for dispensing a benefit composition.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Fabric article treating methods and/or apparatuses have been evolving over the past twenty years. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,207,683 describes a conventional automatic clothes dryer that incorporates a spray dispenser capable of dispensing liquids into the drum of the dryer. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,642,908, 5,771,604 and 6,067,723 describe other variations of conventional clothes drying appliances.
  • There exists an ongoing need to develop a fabric article treating method and/or apparatus especially an in-home fabric article treating method and/or apparatus that improves/enhances the deposition of fabric article actives or benefit agents on the fabric articles being treated as compared to the currently existing deposition methods and/or apparatuses.
  • One particular challenge presented in the delivery of fabric article actives in the fabric article drying environment is the effect of moisture and heat generated during the drying of the fabric articles. Particularly, storage containers or reservoirs of actives can act as a terrarium, a controlled micro-climate that demonstrates a compact view of the hydrologic cycle. An excess of humidity inside an active storage container or reservoir can lead to major environmental changes, including 1) evaporation of moisture, 2) collection of moisture on headspace surfaces, as on the dome of a terrarium, and 3) perspiration of moisture from the surfaces. When a reservoir in a high humidity and high heat environment such as a fabric article drying appliance functions as a terrarium, thus effectively becoming a mini ecosystem, bacterial and fungal growth is promoted, especially on headspace surfaces such as lids or caps, subject to repeated evaporation and condensation cycles. If the reservoir has an aerobic environment with a constant influx of air, aerobic microorganisms will have an increased opportunity to thrive. The evaporation cycling can also alter an active composition's solute/solvent concentration. As such, it would be advantageous to provide a fabric article treating device comprising a reservoir which minimizes the terrarium effect and minimizes product contamination that could lead to problems such as aerobic microorganism growth or nozzle clogging.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to fabric article treating devices and fabric article treating systems. More particularly, the invention is directed to fabric article treating devices in which the reservoir is configured with minimum head-space or void volume to maintain an anaerobic environment and minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of a benefit composition, and to fabric article treating systems comprising a reservoir which is configured with minimum head-space or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of a benefit composition.
  • One embodiment of the present invention is a fabric article treating device. The fabric article treating device comprises an interior dispenser and a reservoir. The interior dispenser and reservoir are adapted for fluid communication with one another. The reservoir contains a benefit composition, and is configured with minimum headspace or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention is a fabric article treating device. The fabric article treating device comprises an interior dispenser and a reservoir. The interior dispenser and the reservoir are adapted for fluid communication with one another. The reservoir contains a benefit composition, and is configured to provide a sealed environment to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
  • Yet another embodiment of the present invention is a fabric article treating system. The fabric article treating system comprises a fabric article drying appliance having a chamber and a closure structure, the closure structure having a closed position and at least one open position and allowing access to the chamber; a reservoir for containing a benefit composition; a dispenser in communication with the chamber; and a fluid handling system that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir toward the dispenser, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber. The reservoir is configured with minimum head-space or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
  • Yet another embodiment of the present invention is a fabric article treating system. The fabric article treating system comprises a fabric article drying appliance having a chamber and a closure structure, the closure structure having a closed position and at least one open position and allowing access to the chamber; a reservoir for containing a benefit composition; a dispenser in communication with the chamber; a fluid handling system that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir toward the dispenser, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber; a closure structure sensor; and a controller that initiates dispensing of the benefit composition. The controller is configured to prevent the benefit composition from being dispensed when the closure structure sensor indicates that the closure structure is not in the closed position, and the reservoir is configured with minimum head-space or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the invention, it is believed the same will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a second embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a third embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating device according to a sixth embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating system according to a seventh embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary fabric article treating system according to a eighth embodiment of the present invention.
  • The embodiments set forth in the drawings are illustrative in nature and not intended to be limiting of the invention defined by the claims. Moreover, individual features of the drawings and the invention will be more fully apparent and understood in view of the detailed description.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Reference will now be made in detail to various embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals indicate similar elements throughout the views.
  • Definitions
  • The phrase “fabric article treating system” as used herein means a fabric article drying appliance, a non-limiting example of which includes a conventional clothes dryer and/or modifications thereof. The fabric article treating system also includes a fabric article treating apparatus which may be discreet in relation to the fabric article drying appliance and/or it may be integrated into the fabric article drying appliance. Furthermore, the fabric article treating apparatus may be integrated into a readily replaceable portion of the fabric article drying appliance, a non-limiting example of which includes a closure structure of the drying appliance.
  • “Fabric article” or “fabric” as used herein means any article that is customarily cleaned in a conventional laundry process or in a dry cleaning process. The term encompasses articles of fabric including, but not limited to, clothing, linen, drapery, clothing accessories, leather, floor coverings, sheets, towels, rags, canvas, polymer structures, and the like. The term also encompasses other items made in whole or in part of fabric material, such as tote bags, furniture covers, tarpons, shoes, and the like.
  • As used herein, the term “benefit composition” refers to a composition used to deliver a benefit to a fabric article. Non-limiting examples of materials and mixtures thereof which can comprise the benefit composition include: water, softening agents, crispening agents, perfume, water/stain repellants, refreshing agents, antistatic agents, antimicrobic agents, durable press agents, wrinkle resistant agents, odor resistance agents, abrasion resistance agents, solvents, and combinations thereof. The benefit composition may comprise a liquid, a powder, a suspension, or gaseous product, and/or a combination of such. In one embodiment, the benefit composition includes a preservative. Various preservatives which help maintain one or more properties of the benefit composition are generally known in the art and are suitable for use herein. One exemplary preservative is Dantoguard Plus™ (Dimethylol-5,5-Dimethylhydantoin) commercially available from Lonza, (Fairfield, N.J., USA).
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary fabric article treating device 20 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The fabric article treating device 20 comprises an interior dispenser 25 adapted for location inside of a fabric article drying appliance and an exterior reservoir 30 adapted for location outside of the fabric article drying appliance. The interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 are adapted for fluid communication with one another, for example via fluid line 32. In one embodiment, the fluid connection between the interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 comprises tubing configured to allow the benefit composition to be transported from the exterior reservoir 30 to the interior dispenser 25. One exemplary tubing comprises a polymeric tubing with one or more channels or conduits. In one embodiment, the tubing is configured to allow the closure structure on the fabric article drying appliance to maintain a closed position while still permitting dispensing of the benefit composition. The reservoir 30 contains a benefit composition and is configured with minimum head-space or void volume designed to maintain an anaerobic environment within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition. In one exemplary embodiment, the reservoir 30 is removable. In another exemplary embodiment, the reservoir 30 comprises a sealed pouch.
  • The exterior reservoir 30 may be constructed of any material known in the art and which will provide an anaerobic environment within the reservoir. Non-limiting examples of such materials include polymeric materials including but not limited to polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene, nylon, polyester, and the like. Other exemplary materials of construction include aluminum foil. In one embodiment, the reservoir 30 comprises multiple layers of one or more materials. In another embodiment, the reservoir 30 comprises a single or multiple layer barrier film.
  • The interior dispenser 25 may comprise at least one nozzle for the purpose of distributing the benefit composition into the fabric article drying appliance. Misting/atomizing of the benefit composition can be achieved using any suitable spraying device such as a hydraulic nozzle, sonic nebulizer, pressure swirl atomizers, high pressure fog nozzle or the like to deliver target particle size. Non-limiting examples of suitable nozzles include nozzles commercially available from Spray Systems, Inc. of Pomona, Calif. under the Model Nos. 850, 1050, 1250, 1450 and 1650. Another suitable example of a nozzle is a pressure swirl atomizing nozzle made by Seaquist Perfect Dispensing of Cary, Ill. under Model No. DU-3813.
  • In another exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the fabric article treating device 20 further comprises one of corresponding male and female fitments 40, and wherein the reservoir 30, shown as a sealed pouch or carton, comprises the other of the corresponding male and female fitments 42, wherein the female fitment is configured to receive the male fitment to establish the fluid communication between the interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 while preserving the anaerobic environment within the reservoir 30. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the fitment 42 on the reservoir 30 is the female fitment, while the corresponding male fitment 40 is adapted for fluid connection with the dispenser 25, for example via a fluid handling system as described hereafter. Various corresponding male and female fitments which establish fluid communication while preserving an anaerobic environment are generally known in the art and are suitable for use herein. One exemplary fitment that may be utilized is available from IPN USA Corp. of Peachtree City, Ga., available as Clean-Clic® pouch fitments, model SBS-4. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, any fitment combination can be utilized in the present invention provided the fitments are configured to maintain the anaerobic environment within the reservoir 30.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the fabric article treating device 20 further comprises a fluid handling system 55, a power source 50 and a controller 60. In one exemplary embodiment, the fluid handling system 55 is configured to transport the benefit composition from the reservoir 30 to the interior dispenser 25. The interior dispenser 25 is configured to deliver the benefit composition to one or more fabric articles in the fabric article drying appliance. The power source 50 is configured to provide electrical power as needed by the fluid article treating device, such as the controller 60, the fluid handling system 55, sensors, and any electrical needs of a user interface. The controller 60 is configured to regulate the dispensing of the benefit composition. For example, the controller 60 may determine the optimum time to dispense the benefit composition, the quantity of benefit composition to be dispensed and the rate at which to dispense the benefit composition. In one embodiment, the fabric article treating device further comprises a communication link adapted to provide communication between the controller of the fabric article treating device and the fabric article drying appliance. For example, the controller may send and/or receive signals to/from the fabric article drying appliance to determine the optimum benefit composition dispensing conditions such as, time, length, etc.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 4. In this exemplary embodiment, the fabric article treating device 20 further comprises an exterior housing 65. The exterior housing 65 is adapted to receive various components external to a fabric article drying appliance. Optionally, the housing may substantially enclose and protect the components in their assembled form. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the exterior housing may receive the power source 50, the fluid handling system 55, the controller 60 and the exterior reservoir 30. In another embodiment, the exterior housing may comprise a tubing storage area adapted to contain a quantity of fluid line 32 to allow the user to customize the installation of the fabric article treating device for the user's particular fabric article drying appliance. The exterior housing 65 may be constructed with any materials known to one skilled in the art. Exemplary materials include but are not limited to polymers, plastics, ceramics, metals, fabric, wood, and the like.
  • In one exemplary embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 5, the fluid handling system 55 comprises a pump 70. The pump 70 is in communication with the exterior reservoir 30 and the interior dispenser 25 via fluid lines 72 and 74, respectively. The pump 70 is configured to transport benefit composition from the exterior reservoir 30 to the interior dispenser 25 for dispensing of the benefit composition. In one embodiment, the pump 70 comprises a piezo-electric pump. In another embodiment, the pump 70 may comprise a diaphragm pump. As one skilled in the art will appreciate any pump known to one skilled in the art may be utilized to transport the benefit composition from the exterior reservoir 30 to the interior dispenser 25. Other exemplary pumps include piston pumps, peristaltic pumps, and bellows-type pumps.
  • As noted above, one type of pump 70 that can be used in the present invention is a piezo-electric pump. While a piezoelectric pump has certain membranes or laminations which may vibrate in a reciprocating-type fashion, the piezo-electric pumps generally do not have major moving parts, such as rotating shaft and bearings used with a rotator member to displace a fluid or gaseous fluid, that experience wear over time. One commercially available suitable piezo-electric pump usable in the present invention is manufactured by PAR Technologies, LLC, located in Hampton, Va., and marketed as the “LPD-Series” laminated piezo-electric fluid pumps. Pumps which draw a relevantly low current are particularly suitable in certain embodiments.
  • In another embodiment, the exterior reservoir 30 may be positioned in such a way to provide gravitation flow of the benefit composition to the interior dispenser 25. For example, the exterior reservoir 30 may be mounted above the fabric article drying appliance to create static head on the benefit composition to allow dispensing of the benefit composition without the utilization of a pump.
  • Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 6. In this embodiment, as in previously discussed embodiments, the fabric article treating device 20 comprises an interior dispenser 25 adapted for location inside of a fabric article drying appliance and an exterior reservoir 30 adapted for location outside of the fabric article drying appliance. The interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 are adapted for fluid communication with one another. The interior reservoir 30 contains a benefit composition is configured to maintain an anaerobic environment within the reservoir 30 during dispensing of the benefit composition. The device further comprises a controller 60 in electrical communication with a sensor 75. In one exemplary embodiment, the sensor comprises a temperature sensor. In another exemplary embodiment, the sensor 75 comprises a light sensor. In yet another exemplary embodiment, the sensor 75 comprises a motion sensor. The controller 60 is adapted to send and/or receive signals from the sensor 75 and to determine the dispensing conditions for dispensing the benefit composition.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 7, is a fabric article treating system 80. The fabric article treating system 80 comprises a fabric article drying appliance 35 having a chamber 81 and a closure structure 85, for example, a door. The closure structure 85 has a closed position and at least one open position. The closure structure 85 allows access to the chamber 81 of the fabric article drying appliance 35. The fabric article treating system 80 further comprises a reservoir 30 for containing a benefit composition; a dispenser 25 in communication with the chamber 81; and a fluid handling system 55 that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir 30 toward the dispenser 25, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber 81. The reservoir 30 is configured to maintain an anaerobic environment within the reservoir 30 during dispensing of the benefit composition, and as discussed above, the reservoir 30 may be removable. In another embodiment, the reservoir 30 comprises a sealed pouch.
  • Another embodiment of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 8, is a fabric article treating system 80. The fabric article treating system 80 comprises a fabric article drying appliance 35 having a chamber 81 and a closure structure 85. The closure structure 85 has a closed position and at least one open position, wherein the closure structure 85 allows access to the chamber 81. The fabric article treating system 80 further comprises a reservoir 30 for containing a benefit composition and a dispenser 25 in communication with the chamber 81; a fluid handling system 55 that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir 30 toward the dispenser 25, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber 81; a closure structure sensor 88; and a controller 60 that initiates dispensing of the benefit composition. The controller 60 is configured to prevent the benefit composition from being dispensed when the closure structure sensor 88 indicates that the closure structure 85 is not in the closed position. The reservoir 30 is configured to maintain an anaerobic environment within the reservoir 30 during dispensing of the benefit composition. In another embodiment, the fabric article treating system 80 further comprises one or more additional sensors 75 in the chamber in communication with the controller.
  • The exterior reservoir 30 may be mounted on the exterior surface of the fabric article drying appliance 35, such as on the fabric article drying appliance closure structure 85, or a side wall, a top wall, an outer surface of a top-opening lid, or the like, including a stand, wall or other household structure that is separate from the fabric article drying appliance. Moreover, the exterior reservoir 30 may be mounted on any interior surface of the fabric article drying appliance 35, examples of which include, but are not limited to, the interior surface of the closure structure 85, the drum of the fabric article drying appliance, the back wall, the inner surface of a top opening lid, or the like.
  • Optionally, filters and/or filtering techniques can be used to filter the benefit composition, if desired, for example at a point between the reservoir 30 and the outlet of the dispenser 25. Non-limiting examples of this include: utilizing a filter in the interior dispenser 25 prior to dispensing of the benefit compositions. Alternatively, the benefit composition may be filtered prior to dispensing into the reservoir; or a combination of filtering techniques may be employed.
  • The interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 are adapted for fluid communication with one another. In one embodiment, the interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 may be in electrical connection to one another. Non-limiting examples of connecting the interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 may include utilizing a flat cable (also referred to as a ribbon cable), a wire, a wire or group of wires enclosed in a stealth of woven or nonwoven material, a conduit (a non-limiting example of which is a conduit for the benefit composition), or combination thereof. The woven or nonwoven sheet may be used as a method of attaching the interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30. The interior dispenser 25 and the exterior reservoir 30 may be used to provide a means of gravitational counterbalancing so as to reduce unnecessary tension on the wires and/or the connections.
  • The power source 50 may comprise chemical batteries, or any electrical power source, including standard household line voltage, or even solar power. Batteries may be utilized, and are particularly suitable when the fabric article treating device 20 is in the form of an add-on device for an existing fabric article drying appliance 35. However, any appropriate power adapter can be provided to convert an AC power source to the appropriate DC voltages used in any electrical components of the fabric article treating device 20, such as in the fluid handling system 55, the controller 60, and any sensors 75. The power source 50 may also comprise any mechanical power source used to store potential energy. Non-limiting examples include; springs, weights, compressed gases, etc.
  • As noted, the fabric article treating device 20 can include optional sensors 75. Non-limiting examples of optional sensors include a door (or lid sensor), a motion sensor, a humidity sensor, and/or a temperature sensor. One non-limiting example of a door/lid sensor is an optoelectronic device, such as an optocoupler or an optical input sensor, e.g., a phototransistor or photodiode. When the door/lid of the drying appliance is open, the door sensor will change state, and will output a different voltage or current level along an electrical conductor that leads from the door sensor back to the controller. This can be used as a safety device to immediately interrupt the dispensing of the benefit composition from the interior dispenser 25. The optional door sensor could be utilized even when a control system is integrated into the overall conventional control system of the drying appliance. For example, a drying appliance typically has its own door sensor which shuts off the rotating drum of the dryer when the door becomes open. In this instant, the optional door sensor can act as a backup or second door sensor to the dryer's internal original sensor that shuts off the rotating drum. One example which could be used as a door/lid sensor is an NPN Phototransistor, Part No. PNA1801L, manufactured by Panasonic, of Osaka, Japan. In another embodiment, a communication link could be established between the drying appliance and the controller, wherein the drying appliance would send the controller a signal relating to the operational state of the drying appliance (e.g., door open/closed, drying cycle, temperature, etc.).
  • Another type of optional sensor 75 that can be utilized by the fabric article treating device 20 of the present invention is a motion sensor. For fabric article drying appliances 35 which utilize a moving interior, such as a rotating drum, the motion sensor can detect if a fabric article drying appliance is in use. One example of a motion sensor is a vibration and movement sensing switch manufactured by ASSEM Tech Europe Ltd., of Clifton, N.J., available as Model No. CW1600-3. Another type of optional motion sensor that may be used in the present invention uses a light source to direct (infrared) light at a surface, and the relevant motion of that surface can be detected by the intensity and/or frequency of the returning light. Such sensors can measure the actual speed of rotation, if that information is desired.
  • Another optional sensor 75 that can be used in a fabric article treating device 20 of the present invention is a humidity sensor. The optional humidity sensor, together with the controller, may be used to control the amount of composition being dispensed by the interior dispenser 25, and also may be utilized to determine the proper environmental conditions during an operational cycle in which the dispensing event should take place. Additionally, this humidity sensor may be used to maintain a specific humidity by controlling the dispensing the benefit composition such that optimal de-wrinkling and/or other benefits are achieved. Many different types of humidity sensors could be used in conjunction with the present invention, including variable conductivity sensors. One such sensor is manufactured by Honeywell, of Freeport, Ill. under the Model No. HIH-3610-001, although any of the HIH-3610 series may be used.
  • A further optional sensor 75 that can be useful in the fabric article treating device 20 of the present invention is a temperature sensor, such as one that outputs an analog or digital signal along the electrical conductor that leads back to the controller.
  • As noted above, the fabric article treating device 20 may comprise a controller 60. In one embodiment, the controller may be a microcontroller. A suitable microcontroller is manufactured by MicroChip, of Chandler, Ariz. under the Part No. PIC16LS876-04/P. However, other microcontrollers made by different manufacturers could also easily be used. In one exemplary embodiment, the microcontroller includes on-board random access memory (RAM), on-board read only memory (ROM), which comprises electrically programmable non-volatile memory elements, as well as on-board input and output lines for analog and digital signals. The controller may also be used with a crystal clock oscillator, although a RC circuit could be used instead as a clock circuit, if desired. The clock circuit provides the timing of the clock as necessary to operate the controller. In one embodiment, the controller comprises a port that can be interfaced to an optional programmable interface using a communication link, such as RS-232 communication link. The port allows a user to alter the program information of the controller, such as dispensing options, etc.
  • One skilled in the art will appreciate that the controller can be any type of microprocessor or microcontroller circuit commercially available, either with or without on-board RAM, RAM, or digital and analog input/output (I/O). Moreover, a sequential processor may be used to control the fabric article treating device 20, or alternatively a parallel processor architecture or a logic state machine architecture could be used. Furthermore, the controller 60 may be integrated into an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) containing many other logic elements that could be used for various functions, as desired, such functions being optional depending upon the model of the fabric article treating device 20 that will be sold to a consumer. To change model features, the manufacturer need only program the ASIC or the on-board RAM of the controller according to the special parameters of that particular model, while using the same hardware for each of the units.
  • It will also be understood that discrete digital logic could be used instead of any type of microprocessor microcontroller unit, or analog control circuitry could be used along with voltage comparators and analog timers, to control the timing events and to make decisions based on input levels of the various sensors that are provided with the fabric article treating device 20.
  • It will be understood that the present invention can be readily used in other types of fabric “treating” devices, and is not limited solely to clothes “dryers”. In the context of this patent document, the terms “dryer” or “drying apparatus” or “fabric article drying appliance” include devices that may or may not perform a true drying function, but may involve treating fabric without attempting to literally dry the fabric itself. As noted above, the terms “dryer” or “drying apparatus” or “fabric article drying appliance” may include a “dry cleaning” process or apparatus, which may or may not literally involve a step of drying. The term “fabric article drying appliance” as used herein, also refers to any fabric treating device that utilizes moving air directed upon one or more fabric articles, a non-limiting example of which includes a clothes dryer, and modifications thereof. Such devices include both domestic and commercial drying units used in dwellings, laundromats, hotels, and/or industrial settings. In addition, it should be noted that some drying appliances include a drying chamber (or “drum”) that does not literally move or rotate while the drying appliance is operating in the drying cycle. Some such dryers use moving air that passes through the drying chamber, and the chamber does not move while the drying cycle occurs. Such an example dryer has a door or other type of access cover that allows a person to insert the clothing to be dried into the chamber. In many cases, the person hangs the clothes on some type of upper rod within the drying chamber. Once that has been done, the door (or access cover) is closed, and the dryer can begin its drying function. Dispensing of a benefit composition can take place within such a unit, however, care should be taken to ensure that the benefit composition becomes well dispersed within the drying chamber, so that certain fabric items do not receive a very large concentration of the benefit composition while other fabric items receive very little of the benefit composition.
  • Exemplary fabric article treating devices and systems includes those described in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/697,735 filed on Oct. 29, 2003; U.S. application Ser. No. 10/697,685 filed on Oct. 29, 2003; U.S. application Ser. No. 10/697,734 filed on Oct. 29, 2003; U.S. application Ser. No. 10/697,736 filed on Oct. 29, 2003; and U.S. application Ser. No. 10/762,152 filed on 10/762,152.
  • All documents cited in the detailed description of the invention are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; a citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention.
  • While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.

Claims (25)

1. A fabric article treating device, comprising:
an interior dispenser and a reservoir,
wherein the interior dispenser and reservoir are adapted for fluid communication with one another;
wherein the reservoir contains a benefit composition; and
wherein the reservoir is configured with minimum headspace or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
2. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, wherein the reservoir is removable.
3. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, wherein the reservoir comprises a sealed pouch.
4. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, further comprising one of corresponding male and female fitments and wherein the reservoir comprises the other of the corresponding male and female fitments, wherein the female fitment is configured to receive the male fitment to establish the fluid communication between the interior dispenser and the external reservoir while preserving the anaerobic environment within the reservoir.
5. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, further comprising:
a power source;
a fluid handling system; and
a controller.
6. The fabric article treating device of claim 5, wherein the fluid handling system is configured to transport the benefit composition from the reservoir to the interior dispenser, and wherein the interior dispenser is configured to deliver the benefit composition to one or more fabric articles in the fabric article drying appliance.
7. The fabric article treating device of claim 5, further comprising an external housing, wherein the external housing is adapted to receive the power source, the fluid handling system, the controller and the exterior reservoir.
8. The fabric article treating device of claim 5, wherein the fluid handling system includes a piezo-electric pump.
9. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, further comprising a controller and at least one sensor in electrical communication with the controller.
10. The fabric article treating device of claim 9, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a temperature sensor.
11. The fabric article treating device of claim 9, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a light sensor.
12. The fabric article treating device of claim 9, wherein the at least one sensor comprises a motion sensor.
13. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, further comprising a communication link adapted for connection with a fabric drying appliance.
14. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, wherein the reservoir comprises a single or multi-layer barrier film.
15. The fabric article treating device of claim 1, wherein the benefit composition includes a preservative.
16. The fabric article treating device of claim 7, wherein the external housing comprises a tubing storage area.
17. The fabric article treating device of claim 5, wherein the fluid handling system is further configured to filter the benefit composition.
18. A fabric article treating system, comprising:
a fabric article drying appliance having a chamber and a closure structure, the closure structure having a closed position and at least one open position, the closure structure allowing access to the chamber;
a reservoir for containing a benefit composition;
a dispenser in communication with the chamber; and
a fluid handling system that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir toward the dispenser, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber;
wherein the reservoir is configured with minimum headspace or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
19. The fabric article treating system of claim 18, wherein the reservoir is removable.
20. The fabric article treating system of claim 18, wherein the reservoir comprises a sealed pouch.
21. The fabric article treating system of claim 18, further comprising one of a corresponding male and female fitments, and wherein the reservoir comprises the other of the corresponding male or female fitments, wherein the female fitment is adapted to receive the male fitment to establish fluid communication between the dispenser and the reservoir while preserving the anaerobic environment within the reservoir.
22. A fabric article treating system, comprising:
a fabric article drying appliance having a chamber and a closure structure, the closure structure having a closed position and at least one open position, the closure structure allowing access to the chamber;
a reservoir for containing a benefit composition;
a dispenser in communication with the chamber;
a fluid handling system that compels the benefit composition from the reservoir toward the dispenser, thereby dispensing the benefit composition into the chamber;
a closure structure sensor; and
a controller that initiates dispensing of the benefit composition, wherein the controller is configured to prevent the benefit composition from being dispensed when the closure structure sensor indicates that the closure structure is not in the closed position,
wherein the reservoir is configured with minimum headspace or void volume to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
23. The fabric article treating system of claim 22, further comprising one or more additional sensors in the chamber in communication with the controller.
24. The fabric article treating system of claim 22, wherein the fluid handling system is further configured to filter the benefit composition.
25. A fabric article treating device, comprising:
an interior dispenser and a reservoir,
wherein the interior dispenser and reservoir are adapted for fluid communication with one another;
wherein the reservoir contains a benefit composition; and
wherein the reservoir is configured to provide a sealed environment to minimize contamination within the reservoir during dispensing of the benefit composition.
US10/926,925 2002-04-22 2004-08-26 Fabric article treating device and system Abandoned US20050120584A1 (en)

Priority Applications (12)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US37460102P true 2002-04-22 2002-04-22
US42643802P true 2002-11-14 2002-11-14
US10/418,595 US7059065B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2003-04-17 Fabric article treating method and apparatus
US10/697,734 US20040123489A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2003-10-29 Thermal protection of fabric article treating device
US10/697,685 US7043855B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2003-10-29 Fabric article treating device comprising more than one housing
US10/697,735 US7146749B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2003-10-29 Fabric article treating apparatus with safety device and controller
US10/697,736 US20040123490A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2003-10-29 Fabric article treating method and device comprising a heating means
US10/762,152 US7503127B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-01-21 Electrically charged volatile material delivery method
US10/839,549 US20040259750A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-05-05 Processes and apparatuses for applying a benefit composition to one or more fabric articles during a fabric enhancement operation
US56877104P true 2004-05-06 2004-05-06
US10/842,926 US7047663B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-05-11 Fabric article treating system and method
US10/926,925 US20050120584A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-08-26 Fabric article treating device and system

Applications Claiming Priority (7)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10/926,925 US20050120584A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-08-26 Fabric article treating device and system
CA 2553161 CA2553161A1 (en) 2004-01-21 2005-01-21 Fabric article treating device and system
JP2006551289A JP2007519482A (en) 2004-01-21 2005-01-21 Fabric article treating devices and systems
PCT/US2005/001904 WO2005073453A2 (en) 2004-01-21 2005-01-21 Fabric article treating device and system
EP20050711756 EP1706531A2 (en) 2004-01-21 2005-01-21 Fabric article treating device and system
CN 200580002819 CN1910318A (en) 2004-01-21 2005-01-21 Fabric article treating device and system for
US11/171,101 US8091253B2 (en) 2004-08-26 2005-06-30 Fabric article treating device and system

Related Parent Applications (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US10/842,926 Continuation-In-Part US7047663B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-05-11 Fabric article treating system and method
US10/927,211 Continuation-In-Part US20050076533A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-08-26 Fabric article treating device and system with suggestive scent

Related Child Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US11/171,101 Continuation-In-Part US8091253B2 (en) 2002-04-22 2005-06-30 Fabric article treating device and system

Publications (1)

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US20050120584A1 true US20050120584A1 (en) 2005-06-09

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US10/926,925 Abandoned US20050120584A1 (en) 2002-04-22 2004-08-26 Fabric article treating device and system

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US (1) US20050120584A1 (en)
EP (1) EP1706531A2 (en)
JP (1) JP2007519482A (en)
CN (1) CN1910318A (en)
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WO (1) WO2005073453A2 (en)

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US8844160B2 (en) 1997-04-29 2014-09-30 Whirlpool Corporation Modular fabric revitalizing system
US20100018262A1 (en) * 1997-04-29 2010-01-28 Whirlpool Corporation Modular fabric revitalizing system
US20040123490A1 (en) * 2002-04-22 2004-07-01 The Procter & Gamble Company Fabric article treating method and device comprising a heating means
US8091253B2 (en) 2004-08-26 2012-01-10 The Procter & Gamble Company Fabric article treating device and system
US8695228B2 (en) * 2004-11-30 2014-04-15 Lg Electronics Inc. Composite washing system
US20070151310A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-05 Tremitchell Wright Automatic fabric treatment appliance with a manual fabric treatment station
US20070163093A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-19 Tremitchell Wright Fabric revitalizing method uisng low absorbency pads
US20070163096A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-19 Mcallister Karl D Fluid delivery system for a fabric treatment appliance
US20070151312A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-05 Bruce Beihoff C Modular fabric revitalizing system
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US7665227B2 (en) 2005-12-30 2010-02-23 Whirlpool Corporation Fabric revitalizing method using low absorbency pads
US7735345B2 (en) 2005-12-30 2010-06-15 Whirlpool Corporation Automatic fabric treatment appliance with a manual fabric treatment station
US7921578B2 (en) * 2005-12-30 2011-04-12 Whirlpool Corporation Nebulizer system for a fabric treatment appliance
US20070163097A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-19 Metcalfe Ld Low absorbency pad system for a fabric treatment appliance
US20070163095A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-19 Mcallister Karl D Fabric revitalizing system and treatment appliance
US20070163094A1 (en) * 2005-12-30 2007-07-19 Tremitchell Wright Fabric revitalizing method using mist

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WO2005073453A2 (en) 2005-08-11
WO2005073453A3 (en) 2006-03-23
CN1910318A (en) 2007-02-07
EP1706531A2 (en) 2006-10-04
CA2553161A1 (en) 2005-08-11
JP2007519482A (en) 2007-07-19

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