US20090158511A1 - Male urinal - Google Patents

Male urinal Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090158511A1
US20090158511A1 US12/004,393 US439307A US2009158511A1 US 20090158511 A1 US20090158511 A1 US 20090158511A1 US 439307 A US439307 A US 439307A US 2009158511 A1 US2009158511 A1 US 2009158511A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
urinal
lid
positioned
front wall
wall
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Abandoned
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US12/004,393
Inventor
Jack E. Maze
II Richard A. Peterson
Roger K. Thompson
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Medline Industries Inc
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Medline Industries Inc
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Priority to US12/004,393 priority Critical patent/US20090158511A1/en
Assigned to MEDLINE INDUSTRIES, INC. reassignment MEDLINE INDUSTRIES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MAZE, JACK E., PETERSON, RICHARD A., II, THOMPSON, ROGER K.
Publication of US20090158511A1 publication Critical patent/US20090158511A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47KSANITARY EQUIPMENT NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; TOILET ACCESSORIES
    • A47K11/00Closets without flushing; Urinals without flushing; Chamber pots; Chairs with toilet conveniences or specially adapted for use with toilets
    • A47K11/12Urinals without flushing

Abstract

A urinal assembly comprising a body comprising a bottom wall, front and back walls, first and second side walls bridging the front and back walls, an open mouth positioned generally opposite the bottom wall, and an attachment feature positioned proximate to the open mouth. The attachment feature includes outer and inner edges and an opening defined by the inner edge. The urinal assembly further comprises a lid including a lid portion and a strap having a fastener positioned at a distal end. The fastener includes a central portion positioned between first and second arms. Each of the first and second arms has a first end coupled to the central portion and a second end positioned a distance away from the central portion. The first and second arms extend through the opening such that the first and second free ends of the arms abut the inner edge of the attachment feature.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to a urinal. More particularly, the present invention relates to an all-plastic, disposable, male urinal with enhanced reinforcing elements, an improved lid-attachment mechanism and automated method for attaching a lid to a urinal, and a leak-resistant lid and which is additionally configured for nesting to allow cost-effective storing, transporting, and/or shipping.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • One piece, all-plastic urinals in widespread use are generally manufactured using an extrusion blow-molding process where a molten tube of polymer is dropped between two halves of a mold. The polymer may include polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyethylene, PET polyester, polyvinyl chloride, another type of thermoplastic polymer, or other suitable polymers. A thermoplastic polymer includes any polymer that may be melted, ground, and re-melted. The mold halves are closed onto the molten tube. Compressed air is then injected into the molten tube forcing the walls of the tube to expand into the mold, thereby taking the shape of the inside of the mold. The mold and molten plastic are cooled so that the plastic retains the permanent shape of the mold.
  • When the mold halves are opened, the urinal is removed from the mold. The urinal generally includes a body having a front wall, a back wall, opposing side walls bridging the front and back walls, and a lower wall forming a bottom of the urinal. A unitary handle projects from the body, near an upper mouth, toward a lower portion of the front wall, whereby a gap is defined between the handle and an upper portion of the front wall. Often, the urinal is provided with a lid, which is adapted to be snap-fitted around a margin of the mouth and which is attached to the handle where the handle meets the body. The lid is attached to the handle via a strap that is unitary with the lid and that includes a loop through which the handle is placed.
  • To be cost effective, the walls of existing urinals are blow-molded in a very thin manner, and the walls are relatively thin. Because the walls are thin, the urinals have a tendency to tip, deform, and/or collapse when gripped and/or handled, particularly when the urinal is full or nearly full. Therefore, it is often difficult for a user to hold, keep upright, carry, and/or empty the contents of existing urinals, which often causes spillage. Current thicker-walled urinals are less likely to collapse but are more difficult to dispose of and more costly to ship due to their greater weight compared to existing thin-walled disposable urinals. Furthermore, thicker-walled urinals are generally more costly to manufacture because they require more material.
  • Lids of existing urinals also have considerable disadvantages. For example, existing urinals utilize lids that are attached to the urinals by placing the urinal handle through a hole in a lid strap attached to the lid. Because the process of attaching the lids to the handle requires maneuvering of the urinals, it must be done manually and is very difficult or cannot be automated. The lids of existing urinals also have a tendency to fall off during packing or shipping. Furthermore, because the movement of existing lids between an open and a closed position is unrestricted, existing lids may fall into the urine flow when the urinal is being emptied and become contaminated. When lids are installed over the mouths of existing urinals, the lids often do not seal properly around the mouths, thereby causing significant leakage of urine from the space between the lids and the mouths of the urinals. The lids of existing urinals are also prone to pop off altogether, thereby causing urine to spill out from the urinals.
  • Another disadvantage of existing urinals is that they are often expensive and/or bulky to store, transport, and/or ship. Because of their often irregular shape, size, and/or dimensions, existing urinals require a substantial amount of space for storing, transporting, and/or shipping. Furthermore, existing urinals are not conducive to side-by-side packing of urinal pairs or to stacking urinals on top of one another. Consequently, existing urinals may be expensive for consumers, manufacturers, hospitals, healthcare facilities, or the like to store, transport, and/or ship.
  • Therefore, there exists a need for a urinal having improved reinforcing elements, an improved lid-attachment mechanism and automated method for attaching a lid to a urinal, and a leak-resistant or leak-proof lid and which additionally is configured for nesting to allow cost-effective storing, transporting, and/or shipping.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to one embodiment of the present invention, a urinal assembly comprises a body comprising a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, first and second side walls bridging the front wall and the back wall, an open mouth positioned generally opposite the bottom wall, and an attachment feature positioned proximate to the open mouth. The attachment feature includes an outer edge, an inner edge, and an opening defined by the inner edge. The urinal assembly further comprises a lid including a lid portion and a strap having a fastener positioned at a distal end. The fastener includes a central portion positioned between first and second arms. Each of the first and second arms has a first end coupled to the central portion and a second free end positioned a distance away from the central portion. The first and second arms extend through the opening such that the first and second free ends of the arms abut the inner edge of the attachment feature.
  • In another embodiment of the present invention, a generally circular lid comprises a generally flat disk portion. The lid further comprises a reinforced area positioned at or near the center of the disk portion. The lid further comprises a cylindrical area surrounding the disk portion. The cylindrical area includes an inner cylindrical surface extending from the disk portion. The inner cylindrical surface has a first circumferential detent. The cylindrical area further includes an upper cylindrical surface extending from the inner cylindrical surface. The upper cylindrical surface has a second circumferential detent. The cylindrical area further includes an outer cylindrical surface extending from the upper cylindrical surface and being generally parallel to the inner cylindrical surface. The outer cylindrical surface includes a third circumferential detent. The outer cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned around the outside of a mouth of a bottle. The inner cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned within the mouth of the bottle, and the upper cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned over a top of the mouth of the bottle. The first, second, and third circumferential detents are configured to form a seal with the mouth of the bottle.
  • In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a plastic urinal comprises a body including a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, and first and second side walls bridging the front wall and the back wall. The front wall defines a first plane generally parallel to a second plane defined by the back wall. The urinal further comprises an open mouth comprising a generally circular portion. The open mouth is positioned generally opposite the bottom wall. The urinal further comprises a handle extending from the front wall. At least one of the front wall, back wall, side walls, and handle includes indentations or raised areas. The indentations or raised areas are configured to increase the strength of the urinal.
  • In a further embodiment of the present invention, a package comprises a plurality of similar urinals. Each urinal has a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall radially coupled to each of the front wall and the back wall, a second side wall positioned generally opposite the first side wall, the second side wall being radially coupled to each of the front wall and the back wall, an open mouth positioned generally opposite the bottom wall, and a handle extending from the front wall forming a gap positioned between the front wall and the handle. A first urinal is inverted in relation to a second urinal such that a handle of the first urinal fits into the gap defined between a handle of the second urinal and a front wall of the second urinal, a back wall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a back wall of a third urinal, a first sidewall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a first or second sidewall of a fourth urinal, and a second sidewall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a first or second sidewall of a fifth urinal.
  • In a process of the present invention, a method of forming a urinal-lid assembly comprises the act of placing a molten tube of a polymer between two mold halves. The method further comprises the act of closing the mold halves onto the molten tube and the blow pin. The method further comprises the act of inserting a blow pin having a diameter similar to the diameter of a desired open mouth of a urinal. The method further comprises the act of injecting compressed air into the molten tube. The method further comprises the act of removing a resulting urinal from the mold. The urinal includes an attachment feature having an opening therethrough. The method further comprises the act of attaching a lid to the urinal by inserting a fastener coupled to the lid through the opening in the attachment feature. The method further comprises the act of snap-fitting the lid onto the mouth of the urinal.
  • The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment or every aspect of the present invention. The detailed description and Figures will describe many of the embodiments and aspects of the present invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of a urinal according to one embodiment of the present concepts.
  • FIG. 2 is a back view of the urinal of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective top view of a mouth and an upper back wall of the urinal of FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the top, side, and front of the urinal of FIGS. 1-3.
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of an attachment feature of a urinal according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 6A is a perspective top view of a lid according to one embodiment of the present concepts.
  • FIG. 6B is a perspective bottom view of the lid of FIG. 6A.
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the lid of FIG. 6A taken through line 7-7.
  • FIG. 8 is a top view of a lid strap according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the urinal of FIGS. 1-4 having the lid of FIGS. 6A-6B attached thereto.
  • FIG. 10 a is a magnified view of Area E of FIG.7.
  • FIG. 10 b is a magnified view of the lid of FIG. 10 a being coupled to a urinal.
  • FIG. 11 is a magnified view of Area F of FIG. 7.
  • FIG. 12 is a flow diagram detailing a method of forming a urinal-cap assembly according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 13 is a top view of a plurality of urinals packaged in a container.
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a male urinal 10 according to one embodiment. The urinal 10 may be blow-molded from a suitable polymer, such as polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, PET polyester, polyvinyl chloride, another type of thermoplastic polymer, or a suitable combination of polymers so as to have a body 14 having a bottom wall 16, a lower front wall 22, a lower back wall 23 positioned generally opposite the lower front wall 22, and first and second lower side walls 24, 26 (see FIG. 2) bridging the lower front and lower back walls 22, 23. The body 14 includes curved edges where the respective walls join one another. The lower front wall 22 is generally curved, which provides for ease of manufacture and strength. Thus, the bottom wall 16 has a custom shape. In one embodiment, the bottom wall 16 has a generally rectangular custom shape.
  • The urinal 10 further includes a neck 30 that is angled relative to the body 14. The neck 30 includes an open mouth 32 having a generally circular portion 34 (see FIG. 3). The generally circular portion 34 may have a diameter ranging from about 5.5 cm to about 7.0 cm (about 2.2 in. to about 2.8 in.). In some embodiments, the generally circular portion 34 has a diameter ranging from about 6.0 cm to about 6.5 cm (2.3 in. to about 2.5 in.). In one embodiment, the generally circular portion 34 has a relatively small diameter of about 5.5 cm (about 2.2 in.) such that the urinal 10 may be more comfortable to use, particularly when the urinal 10 is being used continuously for extended periods of time. The neck 30 further includes an upper front wall 36, an upper back wall 38 positioned generally opposite the upper front wall 36, and first and second upper side walls 40, 42 bridging the upper front and upper back walls 36, 38. The neck 30 is integral with the body 14. More specifically, the upper front wall 36 is integral with the lower front wall 22, the upper back wall 38 is integral with the lower back wall 23, and the first and second upper side walls 40, 42 are integral with the first and second lower side walls 24, 26, respectively. These integrations are a source of increased stiffness of the urinal 10.
  • The urinal 10 may be sized to hold any suitable volume of liquid. In one embodiment, the urinal 10 may hold about 100 mL to about 1000 mL. The urinal 10 may include calibration markers 43 for indicating the amount of liquid contained in the urinal 10.
  • The urinal 10 further includes a handle 44 extending from the upper front wall 36, near the mouth 32, toward the lower front wall 22. The handle 44 is generally parallel to the lower front wall 22, leaving an open area 46 between the handle 44 and the lower front wall 22. The shape of the open area 46 has a dimension, dimension A, through which a bed rail (not shown) may pass as the urinal 10 is fitted over the bed rail on, for example, a hospital bed. Dimension A may be about 2.5 cm to about 3.0 cm (1.0 in. to about 1.2 in.) wide. An enlarged area 48 may be formed at the top of the open area 46 so that the urinal 10 may be conveniently hung in its upright position. This enlarged area 48 may coincide with certain bed rails that have generally flat sides (e.g., not fully round). The enlarged area 48 may assist in easily attaching and removing the urinal 10 from various styles of beds and bed rails.
  • The urinal 10 of the illustrated embodiments includes various reinforcing elements molded into the walls 16, 22-24, 26, 36, 40, 42 and the handle 44 that provide reinforcements to strengthen the urinal 10 without increasing its wall thickness. Although the various reinforcing elements are described and illustrated on a single urinal 10, it is possible that a urinal in accordance with the present concepts may include less than all and/or variations of the reinforcing elements described herein.
  • According to one embodiment, the reinforcing elements include indentations positioned on the lower back wall 23 of the urinal 10 for increasing the strength of the urinal 10. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the indentations include five ribs 50 a-e positioned generally horizontally along the lower back wall 23. In the illustrated embodiments, the ribs 50 a-e are spaced to generally cover the length of the lower back wall 23 and are spaced similar distances apart from one another. The ribs 50 a-e generally follow the contour of the lower back wall 23 and interact with the sidewalls 24, 26, which provides increased strength to the urinal 10.
  • The urinal 10 of the illustrated embodiments further includes reinforcements along the lower front wall 22 for increasing the strength of the urinal 10. As best shown in FIG. 4, the lower front wall 22 includes two columns of cone-like shaped ribs 52 a-h separated by a generally vertical rib 54 running generally through the center of the lower front wall 22. Although not required, the cone-like shaped ribs 52 a-h in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 4 are wider at outer, curved ends 56 a, 56 b of the lower front wall 22 where the lower front wall 22 meets the first and second lower side walls 24, 26 than at the generally vertical rib 54. The generally vertical rib 54 extends along a majority of the length of the lower front wall 22 through the upper front wall 36 and along a majority of the length of the handle 44 and the lower front wall 22, thereby assisting in providing increased strength to the handle 44. This increased strength is desirable when the urinal 10 is hung from a bed rail, in use, and/or being emptied to assist in preventing the urinal 10 from tipping, deforming, and/or collapsing. The combination of the cone-like shaped ribs 52 a-h and the vertical rib 54 provides added strength to the urinal 10.
  • The side walls 24, 26, 40, 42 of the urinal 10 of the illustrated embodiments may also include reinforcing elements molded therein for increasing the strength of the urinal 10. Referring back to FIG. 1, the first lower side wall 24 includes five generally oval grooves 58 a-e. The grooves 58 a-e are positioned near the lower back wall 23 so that a user may place his or her fingers over one or more of the grooves 58 a-e when gripping and/or handling the urinal 10, thereby adding comfort and decreasing the likelihood of the urinal 10 slipping from the user's grip. In the illustrated embodiment, the grooves 58 a-e are similarly sized and are uniformly placed along the length of the first lower side wall 24. Such placement may be desirable so that regardless of what portion of the first lower side wall 24 (e.g., an upper portion, a middle portion, or a lower portion) is contacted by the user's fingers, there is a high likelihood that at least one of the user's fingers will contact at least one of the oval grooves 58 a-e. The grooves 58 a-e also provide added strength to the urinal 10. The second lower side wall 26 may include similar reinforcing elements, other reinforcing elements, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the second lower side wall 26 is substantially identical to the first lower side wall 24 (e.g., includes similarly sized and placed grooves). In other embodiments, the second lower side wall 26 may also include no reinforcing elements.
  • The bottom wall 16 of the urinal 10 described herein may also include reinforcing elements for increasing the strength of the urinal 10. The urinal 10 of the illustrated embodiments, for example, includes notched corners 66 that further assist in providing structural integrity to the urinal 10. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the four corners of the generally rectangular bottom wall 16 include notched corners 66.
  • The neck 30 of the urinal 10 may also include reinforcing elements. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, for example, the first upper side wall 40 includes a first raised area 60 forming a square 62. In one embodiment, a company logo may be included within the square 62. The first upper side wall 40 further includes a second raised area 64 positioned near the mouth 32 and the handle 44. The second raised area 64 of the illustrated embodiment is a generally horizontal line segment that provides reinforcement to the mouth 32, for example, when the urinal 10 is being used, carried, and/or emptied. As shown in FIG. 4, the second raised area 64 may extend to the upper front wall 36. The second upper side wall 42 may include similar reinforcing elements, other reinforcing elements, or combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the second upper side wall 42 is substantially identical to the first upper side wall 40 (e.g., includes similarly sized and placed first and second raised areas). In other embodiments, the second upper side wall 42 may also include no reinforcing elements.
  • It should be noted that any of the indentations and/or raised portions described herein that are used for providing structural reinforcement and adding strength to the urinal 10 are not intended to be limited to the size(s), shape(s), quantity(ies), or position(s) illustrated in the Figures and described above. Rather, the indentations and/or raised portions may be any suitable shape(s), size(s), combinations of shapes and/or sizes, or the like and in any suitable quantity. Furthermore, the indentations and/or raised portions may be positioned in any suitable location(s) on the urinal 10 as desired for providing structural reinforcement. The indentations and/or raised portions may also be uniformly or non-uniformly spaced. It is also contemplated that indentations and raised portions may be used interchangeably. It is contemplated that the indentations and/or raised portions that are used may be selected based on factors such as desired wall thickness, desired liquid capacity, user comfort, cost considerations, or the like.
  • The enlarged area 48 between the handle 44, the upper front wall 36, and the lower front wall 22 is defined by a plurality of generally flat surfaces 65 a-h, enhanced by the generally vertical rib 54 (see FIG. 4), that extend from an upper portion of the lower front wall 22 through the upper front wall 36 to an upper portion of the handle 44 or hung on a bed rail. These generally flat surfaces 65 a-h further strengthen the urinal 10, particularly when a full or nearly full urinal 10 is being held by the handle 44. It is contemplated that a different number of generally flat surfaces 65 a-h may also be used.
  • Referring back to FIG. 1, the lower back wall 23, which is generally planar, defines a first plane. The generally circular portion 34 of the mouth 32 defines a second plane that meets the first plane defined by the lower back wall 23 at an acute Angle B. The Angle B may generally range from about 40° to about 65°. In some embodiments, the Angle B ranges from about 50° to about 55°. The Angle B is generally greater than that of existing urinals. Thus, when in use, the urinal 10 is in a more horizontal position compared to existing urinals. As such, the amount of urine that may spill out of the urinal 10 is generally decreased and accidental tipping of the urinal is minimized. Furthermore, increasing the Angle B makes it easier for a user to position the urinal 10 closer to his body when in use, which is desirable to the user.
  • The lower front wall 22 is also generally planar and defines a third plane, which is substantially parallel to the first plane defined by the lower back wall 23. The generally planar shape of the lower front wall 22 is advantageous because it allows the urinal 10 to be easily coupled to various types of bed rails, including bed rails that have few or no openings, without deforming the shape of the urinal 10 or accidentally locking the urinal 10 to a bed rail.
  • According to another embodiment, the urinal 10 includes a lid attachment feature 68 positioned generally between the mouth 32 and a top, outer part of the handle 44. A close-up view of the attachment feature 68 according to one embodiment is shown in FIG. 5. The attachment feature 68 may be molded from, for example, a suitable polymer(s) such as polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, PET polyester, polyvinyl chloride, another type of thermoplastic polymer, or a suitable combination of polymers and may be formed during the blow-molding process of forming the urinal 10. The attachment feature 68 includes an inner edge 69, an outer edge 70, and an opening 72 defined by the inner edge 69. The thickness t of the attachment feature 68 near a top 74 and bottom 76 is smaller than the thickness t′ at an outer side 78 to assist in preventing the lid from re-closing, once in an open position, which is explained further below. The thickness at the top 74 may be different from the thickness at the bottom 76, so long as the thicknesses are both smaller than the thickness t′ of the outer side 78.
  • Turning now to FIGS. 6A, 6A, a lid 100 is adapted to be snap-fitted around the generally circular portion 34 of the mouth 32 of the urinal 10. The lid 100 may be injection-molded from a similar polymer as the urinal 10 or any other suitable polymer or combination of polymers. The lid 100 includes a lid part 102 and a strap 104 formed integrally therewith. The lid part 102 comprises a generally flat disk portion 106 with a reinforced area 108 positioned at or near the center of the disk portion 106. A cross-sectional view of the lid 100 through line 7-7 of FIG. 6A is shown in FIG. 7.
  • The lid 100 may be attached to the attachment feature 68 (see FIGS. 1, 5) of the urinal 10 via the strap 104. The strap 104 is shown in more detail in FIG. 8. The strap 104 has a length L that is sufficient for the lid part 102 to snap over the mouth 32 of the urinal 10 when the strap 104 is attached to the attachment feature 68. The strap 104 includes a main portion 136 positioned proximate to and extending from the lid portion 102. The main portion 136 may include one or more hinges 137 for assisting in opening and closing the lid 100 when the lid 100 is attached to the urinal 10.
  • The strap 104 further includes a bridge 139 integral with the main portion 136. The width W of the bridge 139 of the illustrated embodiment is smaller than the width W′ of the main portion 136. The strap 104 further includes a fastener 138 extending from and integral with the bridge 139. The main portion 136, the bridge 139, and the fastener 138 define a cutout 149 formed therebetween.
  • The fastener 138 of the illustrated embodiment has an arrow-like shape pointing in a direction generally perpendicular to the length L of the strap 104 and includes a first arm 142 a, a second arm 142 b, and a central portion 144 positioned between the first and second arms 142 a, 142 b. The first and second arms 142 a, 142 b are generally the same size and shape and are generally positioned similarly with respect to the central portion 144. The first and second arms 142 a, 142 b and the central portion 144 are attached to one another at a distal end 146 of the fastener 138. The first and second arms 142 a, 142 b also include free ends 148 a, 148 b positioned generally opposite to the distal end 146 and a distance away from the central portion 144. Although not required, in the illustrated embodiment, the central portion 144 further includes a step 147 positioned proximate to the bridge 139. The step 147 rides along the outer edge 70 of the attachment feature 68 and has an interference fit with the outer side 78.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 9, to attach the lid 100 to the attachment feature 68 of the urinal 10 of FIG. 1, the lid 100 is positioned such that an inner side 150 (see FIG. 6 b) of the lid portion 102 may contact the mouth 32 of the urinal 10 and the distal end 146 of the fastener 138 (see FIG. 8) is adjacent to the attachment feature 68. The distal end 146 of the fastener 138 is then inserted through the opening 72 of the attachment feature 68. As the fastener 138 is pushed through the opening 72, the arms 142 a, 142 b are forced together and are pushed toward the central portion 144. Once the free ends 148 a, 148 b of the fastener 138 are completely pushed through the opening 72, the arms 142 a, 142 b spring back into their original position relative to the central portion 144. The free ends 148 a, 148 b of the arms 142 a, 142 b then abut a portion of the attachment feature 68 surrounding the opening 72, which assists in precluding the fastener 138 from being removed from the opening 72 and the lid 100 from being removed from the urinal 10. The lid 100 can, however, be relatively easily removed from the urinal 10 by pushing the arms 142 a, 142 b towards the central portion 144 while moving the fastener 138 out from the opening 72.
  • The mechanism described above for attaching the lid 100 to the urinal 10 has several advantages over existing attachment mechanisms. For example, referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, to remove the lid 100, one must affirmatively push the arms 142 a, 142 b toward the central portion 144 of the fastener 138 while moving the fastener 138 out from the opening 72. Thus, the lid 100 is less likely to be accidentally or unintentionally detached from the urinal 10. Furthermore, because a portion of the lid 100 (i.e., the fastener 138 of the strap 104) and a portion of the urinal 10 (i.e., the attachment feature 68) must simply be pushed together in order to attach the lid 100 to the urinal 10, the attachment mechanism described herein facilitates automatic assembly of urinal-lid assemblies (e.g., urinal-cap assembly 151 of FIG. 9).
  • Referring to FIGS. 5, 8, and 9, when the lid 100 is attached to the urinal 10 in the manner described above, the varying thickness t, t′ of the attachment feature 68 allows the outer edge 70 of the attachment feature 68 to act as a cam and an end 152 of the main portion 136 of the strap 104 adjacent to the cutout 149 to act as a cam follower. In the illustrated embodiment, the end 152 may travel along the outer edge 70 of the attachment feature 68 as the lid 100 is opened and closed. The length L′ of the cutout 149 is greater than the thickness t of the top 74 and the bottom 76 of the attachment feature 68. The length L′ of the cutout 149 is smaller, however, than the thickness t′ of the outer side 78 of the attachment feature 68. Thus, as a user opens the lid 100 in the direction of Arrow C (see FIG. 9) from a closed position, the end 152 follows along the outer edge 70 of the top 74 of the attachment feature 68. Once the end 152 reaches the thicker outer side 78 of the attachment feature 68, the end 152 becomes obstructed by the outer edge 70 of the outer side 78 and deforms slightly so that it may continue along the path in the direction of Arrow C. When the end 152 reaches the bottom 76 (i.e., the thickness t of the attachment feature 68 decreases), the end 152 is again able to move freely to a fully open position. Because the increased thickness t′ of the outer side 78 inhibits the end 152 from moving back in the direction of Arrow D, the lid 100 is inhibited or prevented from falling into the urine flow when the urinal 10 is being emptied. Thus, the likelihood of contaminating the lid 100 is decreased and the chance of spilling urine onto a patient or bedding is reduced.
  • In another embodiment (not shown), the opening 72 of the attachment feature 68 may act as a cam and the step 147 (see FIG. 8) of the fastener 138 may act as a cam follower. In such an embodiment, the opening 72 may have an elliptical shape having a greater diameter at the top 74 and the bottom 76 than at the outer side 78. Thus, the step 147 (e.g., the cam follower portion) would move more easily at the top 74 and the bottom 72, and the lid 100, once open, would be obstructed from re-closing.
  • In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 8, polymer webs 156 a, 156 b are positioned between each of the first and second arms 142 a, 142 b and the central portion 144 of the fastener 138. The polymeric webs 156 a, 156 b assist in pushing the arms 142 a, 142 b back into the extended position of FIG. 8 after the fastener 138 has been pushed through the attachment feature 68 of the urinal 10. The fastener 138 of FIG. 8 also includes openings 158 a, 158 b positioned between the polymeric webs 156 a, 156 b, the central portion 144, and the arms 142 a, 142 b near the distal end 146. The openings 158 a, 158 b assist in collapsing the arms 142 a, 142 b when the fastener 138 is being pushed through the attachment feature 68 of the urinal 10. In some embodiments, the fastener 138 does not include polymeric webs 156 a, 156 b. In other embodiments, the fastener 138 does not include openings 158 a, 158 b, and the polymeric webs 156 a, 156 b are positioned adjacent to the distal end 146 of the fastener 138.
  • According to one embodiment, the lid 100 includes a triple-seal feature to assist in reducing or eliminating leakage of the urinal 10. Referring to FIG. 10 a, which shows a magnified, cross-sectional view of Area E of the lid 100 of FIG. 7, a first detent 174 is formed on an inner cylindrical surface 176, which extends from the disk portion 106. Referring to FIG. 10 b, which shows the lid 100 of FIG. 10 a being attached to the urinal 10 of FIGS. 1-4 and 9, when the urinal-cap assembly 151 (see FIG. 9) is in a closed position, the first detent 174 abuts an interior surface 177 of the urinal 10 near the mouth 32 (see FIG. 3), so that a first liquid barrier or seal may be formed. The lid portion 102 further includes a second detent 168 formed on an upper cylindrical surface 170, which extends from the inner cylindrical surface 176 and is generally parallel with the disk portion 106. When the urinal-cap assembly 151 is in the closed position of FIG. 10 b, the second detent 168 abuts a top 172 of the mouth 32 of the urinal 10, thereby creating a second liquid barrier or seal. The lid portion 102 further includes a third detent 160 formed on an outer cylindrical surface 162, which extends from the upper cylindrical surface 170. When the urinal-cap assembly 151 is in the closed position of FIG. 10 b, the third detent 160 abuts an outer circular depressed region 166 (see FIGS. 1, 4, 9) circumferentially located around the exterior near the mouth 32 of the urinal 10, thereby creating a third liquid barrier or seal.
  • To close the lid 100, a user may press against the reinforced area 108 (see FIG. 6A). Pressing against the reinforced area 108 deforms the normally flat disk portion 106 such that the diameter of the first detent 174 is pulled in and reduced enough to pass through the interior of the mouth 32. Likewise, the pushing causes the diameter of the third detent 160 to be pushed out and increased enough to fit around the exterior of the mouth 32.
  • After the lid 100 is in place (e.g., the urinal-cap assembly 151 of FIG. 9 is in a closed position), the user may remove the pressure from the reinforced area 108. The memory of the plastic causes the disk portion 106 to resume its generally flat shape, which pushes the first detent 174 against an interior surface near the mouth 32 and the third detent 160 into the outer circular depressed region 166. The second detent 168 is pushed against the top 172 of the mouth 32. The combination of the three barriers or seals formed by the first, second, and third detents 174, 168, and 160, respectively, assist in making the urinal-cap assembly 151 leak-resistant or leak-proof.
  • To open the urinal 10, a tab 178 (see FIGS. 6A, 6B, 7) is raised, which causes a front edge of the lid portion 102 to raise. The lid portion 102 curls enough to free the third detent 160 from the outer circular depressed region 166. A continued lifting of the tab 178 causes the lid portion 102 to peel away from the urinal 10.
  • According to one embodiment, a top side 180 a and a bottom side 180 b of the tab 178 include rounded edges 184 a, 184 b. These rounded edges 184 a, 184 b are illustrated in FIG. 11, which shows a magnified view of Area F of FIG. 7. The rounded edges 184 a, 184 b provide added comfort for a user, which can be particularly beneficial for elderly users or those with sensitive, wounded, and/or broken skin.
  • To further reduce leakage of the urinal 10, in one embodiment, a blow pin (not shown) is inserted into a mouth portion of the urinal 10 during production to create a calibrated neck finish. The calibrated neck finish creates a more precise inside and outside diameter of the mouth 32, which forms a tighter seal with the lid 100. This calibrated neck finish also creates a smooth inside diameter to provide comfort to male users.
  • One non-limiting method of forming a urinal-lid assembly is depicted in the flow diagram of FIG. 12. A molten tube of a plasticized polymer is extruded. The molds is moved around the tube and closed on the tube at step s190. The molten tube is cut and the mold halves move the molten tube into the blow pin position. A blow pin having a diameter similar to the diameter of a desired open mouth of the urinal may be inserted at optional step s191. The blow pin is sized to squeeze the plastic between the inside of the mold neck finish and the outside of the blow pin, thereby creating a seal. Compressed air is injected into the molten tube at step s193. This compressed air pressure causes the molten tube to be expanded into the shape of the urinal mold. The air pressure holds the plastic against the cooled mold surface thus causing the plastic to take the shape of the mold. A resulting urinal is removed from the mold at step s194. When the mold is opened, the urinal remains coupled with the blow pin. A set of transfer arms may remove the urinal from the blow pin and trim the excess plastic from the urinal. The resulting urinal may include an attachment feature having an opening therethrough, as described above. At step s195, a lid is attached to the urinal by inserting a fastener coupled to the lid through the opening in the attachment feature. The lid is snap-fitted onto the mouth of the urinal at step s196. At optional step s197, the urinal is packaged with other like urinals such that the urinal is inverted with respect to a second urinal. Unlike existing urinal-cap assemblies, the methods described herein may be automated because of the ease in which the lid may be attached to the attachment feature of the urinal.
  • FIG. 13 shows urinals 200 similar to those illustrated and described above packaged together in a container 202. The urinals 200 are compactly nested in the container 202. The urinals 200 are packaged in pairs placed adjacent to and stacked on top of one another so that the container 202 includes layered rows of nested urinals 200. The pairs of urinals 200 include one urinal (e.g., urinal 204) that is upright and another urinal (e.g., urinal 206) that is inverted. Specifically, the urinals 200 are configured such that a handle 208 of the upright urinal 204 fits into a gap defined by a handle 210 and a lower front wall 212 of the inverted urinal 206, and the handle 210 of the inverted urinal 206 fits into a gap defined by the handle 208 and a lower front wall 214 of the upright urinal 204. The generally rectangular (e.g., square) structure of the urinals (e.g., urinal 10 of FIGS. 1, 4, 9) described herein formed by the generally parallel lower front wall 22 and lower back wall 23 and the generally parallel first and second lower side walls 24, 26 assist in the snug, compact packing of the urinals 200 in an upright and inverted fashion and the snug, compact packaging of adjacent pairs of urinals 200.
  • In one embodiment, the dimensions of the urinal 10 are such that when packaged, a minimal amount of space in the container 202 is wasted. For example, a standard pallet is about 48 inches (about 122 cm) long and about 40 inches (about 102 cm) wide. Generally, four containers (e.g., container 202 of FIG. 13) measuring about 24 inches (about 61 cm) long and about 20 inches (about 51 cm) wide may be placed on the pallet at one time. In order to maximize the space used within the container 202, each pair of urinals (e.g., urinals 200 of FIG. 12), when placed on their side walls, as in FIG. 13 may be about 12 inches (about 30 cm) long and about 10 inches (about 25 cm) wide. A shown in FIG. 13, the urinals may be formed such that two rows of six urinals 200 (i.e., three pairs) may fit compactly within the container 202. Each container 202 may include four stacks of urinals 200, thereby containing forty-eight urinals 200. Because the urinals 200 may be compactly fit within standard containers 202, most of the space within the container 202 is filled and the cost of shipping or transporting and the space required to store the containers of urinals 200 may be reduced. The tight fit of the lid to the urinal allows for consistent and precise packaging.
  • While the specific examples provided herein, for convenience of description, describe urinals, it should be understood that the embodiments described herein may be applied to any suitable device (such as, for example, a blow-molded milk bottle). Accordingly, the invention is applicable to and the claims are to be construed to cover all equivalent structures.
  • While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (26)

1. A urinal assembly comprising:
a body comprising a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, first and second side walls bridging the front wall and the back wall, an open mouth positioned generally opposite the bottom wall, and an attachment feature positioned proximate to the open mouth, the attachment feature including an outer edge, an inner edge, and an opening defined by the inner edge; and
a lid including a lid portion and a strap having a fastener positioned at a distal end, the fastener including a central portion positioned between first and second arms, each of the first and second arms having a first end coupled to the central portion and a second free end positioned a distance away from the central portion, the first and second arms extending through the opening such that the first and second free ends of the arms abut the inner edge of the attachment feature.
2. The urinal assembly of claim 1, wherein the attachment feature is configured to inhibit the lid from closing when the lid is in an open position.
3. The urinal assembly of claim 1, wherein the inner edge and the outer edge define a first plane generally parallel with the first and second side walls and the central portion of the fastener is generally perpendicular to the first plane.
4. The urinal assembly of claim 3, wherein the strap further includes a main portion and a bridge, the main portion extending from the lid, a top end of the bridge extending from the main portion, the fastener extending from a side of the bridge, the width of the bridge being smaller than the width of the main portion such that a cutout is formed between the main portion, the side of the bridge, and the fastener.
5. The urinal assembly of claim 4, wherein the thickness between the inner edge and the outer edge of the attachment feature varies such that the thickness in one area is greater than the length of the cutout and the thickness in a second area is less than the length of the cutout.
6. The urinal assembly of claim 1, wherein the lid includes at least three circumferential detents for creating at least three seals at or near the open mouth.
7. The urinal assembly of claim 1, wherein the urinal further comprises a handle extending from the front wall.
8. The urinal assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second arms form a arrow-like shape.
9. A generally circular lid comprising:
a generally flat disk portion;
a reinforced area positioned at or near the center of the disk portion; and
a cylindrical area surrounding the disk portion, the cylindrical area including an inner cylindrical surface extending from the disk portion, the inner cylindrical surface having a first circumferential detent, the cylindrical area further including an upper cylindrical surface extending from the inner cylindrical surface, the upper cylindrical surface having a second circumferential detent, the cylindrical area further including an outer cylindrical surface extending from the upper cylindrical surface and being generally parallel to the inner cylindrical surface, the outer cylindrical surface including a third circumferential detent,
wherein the outer cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned around the outside of a mouth of a bottle, the inner cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned within the mouth of the bottle, and the upper cylindrical surface is configured to be positioned over a top of the mouth of the bottle, the first, second, and third circumferential detents being configured to form a seal with the mouth of the bottle.
10. The lid of claim 9, wherein the lid is configured to snap onto the mouth.
11. The lid of claim 9, further comprising a tab integrally attached to the outer cylindrical surface, the tab having a top surface and a bottom surface, each of the top and bottom surfaces having a rounded edge.
12. The lid of claim 9 further comprising a strap extending from the outer cylindrical surface, the strap having a fastener positioned at a distal end, the fastener including a central portion positioned between first and second arms, each of the first and second arms having a first end coupled to the central portion and a second free end positioned a distance away from the central portion.
13. The lid of claim 12, wherein the strap further includes a main portion and a bridge, the main portion extending from the lid, a top end of the bridge extending from the main portion, the fastener extending from a side of the bridge, the width of the bridge being smaller than the width of the main portion such that a cutout is formed between the main portion, the side of the bridge, and the fastener.
14. A plastic urinal comprising:
a body including a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, and first and second side walls bridging the front wall and the back wall, the front wall defining a first plane generally parallel to a second plane defined by the back wall;
an open mouth comprising a generally circular portion, the open mouth being positioned generally opposite the bottom wall; and
a handle extending from the front wall,
wherein at least one of the front wall, back wall, side walls, and handle includes indentations or raised areas, the indentations or raised areas configured to increase the strength of the urinal.
15. The urinal of claim 14, wherein the bottom wall is generally rectangular in shape.
16. The urinal of claim 14, wherein the handle is substantially parallel with the front wall.
17. The urinal of claim 14, wherein the circular portion defines a third plane, the third plane meeting the second plane at an angle ranging from about 40° to about 65°.
18. The urinal of claim 14, further comprising a generally vertical rib extending along a majority of the length of the front wall through a majority of the length of the handle.
19. The urinal of claim 18, wherein the front wall further includes first and second columns of generally horizontal ribs, the first column being positioned along one side of the generally vertical rib and the second column being positioned on an opposite side of the generally vertical rib.
20. The urinal of claim 14, wherein the indentations include a plurality of generally oval-shaped grooves positioned along the length of at least one of the side walls.
21. A package comprising a plurality of similar urinals, each urinal having a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall radially coupled to each of the front wall and the back wall, a second side wall positioned generally opposite the first side wall, the second side wall being radially coupled to each of the front wall and the back wall, an open mouth positioned generally opposite the bottom wall, and a handle extending from the front wall forming a gap positioned between the front wall and the handle,
wherein a first urinal is inverted in relation to a second urinal such that a handle of the first urinal fits into the gap defined between a handle of the second urinal and a front wall of the second urinal, a back wall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a back wall of a third urinal, a first sidewall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a first or second sidewall of a fourth urinal, and a second sidewall of the first urinal is positioned adjacent to a first or second sidewall of a fifth urinal.
22. The package of claim 21, wherein substantially the plurality of urinals span substantially the entire length and width of the container.
23. A method of forming a urinal-lid assembly, the method comprising the acts of:
placing a molten tube of a polymer between two mold halves;
closing the mold halves onto the molten tube and the blow pin;
inserting a blow pin having a diameter similar to the diameter of a desired open mouth of a urinal;
injecting compressed air into the molten tube;
removing a resulting urinal from the mold, the urinal including an attachment feature having an opening therethrough;
attaching a lid to the urinal by inserting a fastener coupled to the lid through the opening in the attachment feature; and
snap-fitting the lid onto the mouth of the urinal.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein each of the acts is automated.
25. The method of claim 23, further comprising the act of packaging the urinal with other like urinals such that the urinal is inverted with respect to a second urinal, wherein the act of packaging the urinals is automated.
26. The method of claim 23, wherein the act of inserting a blow pin creates a smooth interior mouth portion of the urinal.
US12/004,393 2007-12-20 2007-12-20 Male urinal Abandoned US20090158511A1 (en)

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US6968577B1 (en) * 2005-04-07 2005-11-29 Taft Jr Charles Spill resistant portable urinal
USD539139S1 (en) * 2005-07-21 2007-03-27 Mga Entertainment Packaging handle
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US8900229B2 (en) 2007-10-08 2014-12-02 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. High-sensitivity pressure-sensing probe
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US10357310B2 (en) 2008-06-06 2019-07-23 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with bendable tip
US9345533B2 (en) 2008-06-06 2016-05-24 Biosense Webster, Inc. Catheter with bendable tip
US8818485B2 (en) 2008-06-06 2014-08-26 Biosense Webster, Inc. Catheter with bendable tip
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US20100063478A1 (en) * 2008-09-09 2010-03-11 Thomas Vaino Selkee Force-sensing catheter with bonded center strut
US9326700B2 (en) 2008-12-23 2016-05-03 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter display showing tip angle and pressure
US20100222859A1 (en) * 2008-12-30 2010-09-02 Assaf Govari Dual-purpose lasso catheter with irrigation using circumferentially arranged ring bump electrodes
US20100168548A1 (en) * 2008-12-30 2010-07-01 Assaf Govari Dual-Purpose Lasso Catheter with Irrigation
US8475450B2 (en) 2008-12-30 2013-07-02 Biosense Webster, Inc. Dual-purpose lasso catheter with irrigation
US8600472B2 (en) 2008-12-30 2013-12-03 Biosense Webster (Israel), Ltd. Dual-purpose lasso catheter with irrigation using circumferentially arranged ring bump electrodes
US20110130648A1 (en) * 2009-11-30 2011-06-02 Christopher Thomas Beeckler Catheter with pressure measuring tip
US20110137272A1 (en) * 2009-12-03 2011-06-09 Medical Action Industries, Incorporated Safety Ring Lid Closure
US9131981B2 (en) 2009-12-16 2015-09-15 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with helical electrode
US20110144639A1 (en) * 2009-12-16 2011-06-16 Assaf Govari Catheter with helical electrode
US8920415B2 (en) 2009-12-16 2014-12-30 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with helical electrode
US8990039B2 (en) 2009-12-23 2015-03-24 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Calibration system for a pressure-sensitive catheter
US8852130B2 (en) 2009-12-28 2014-10-07 Biosense Webster (Israel), Ltd. Catheter with strain gauge sensor
US8608735B2 (en) 2009-12-30 2013-12-17 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with arcuate end section
US8374670B2 (en) 2010-01-22 2013-02-12 Biosense Webster, Inc. Catheter having a force sensing distal tip
US20110184406A1 (en) * 2010-01-22 2011-07-28 Selkee Thomas V Catheter having a force sensing distal tip
US8798952B2 (en) 2010-06-10 2014-08-05 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Weight-based calibration system for a pressure sensitive catheter
US9603669B2 (en) 2010-06-30 2017-03-28 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Pressure sensing for a multi-arm catheter
US9101396B2 (en) 2010-06-30 2015-08-11 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Pressure sensing for a multi-arm catheter
US8380276B2 (en) 2010-08-16 2013-02-19 Biosense Webster, Inc. Catheter with thin film pressure sensing distal tip
US8731859B2 (en) 2010-10-07 2014-05-20 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Calibration system for a force-sensing catheter
US8979772B2 (en) 2010-11-03 2015-03-17 Biosense Webster (Israel), Ltd. Zero-drift detection and correction in contact force measurements
US9220433B2 (en) 2011-06-30 2015-12-29 Biosense Webster (Israel), Ltd. Catheter with variable arcuate distal section
US9717559B2 (en) 2011-06-30 2017-08-01 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with adjustable arcuate distal section
US9662169B2 (en) 2011-07-30 2017-05-30 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Catheter with flow balancing valve
US9687289B2 (en) 2012-01-04 2017-06-27 Biosense Webster (Israel) Ltd. Contact assessment based on phase measurement
US20150320628A1 (en) * 2014-05-09 2015-11-12 Patricia Carol Sands Ergo-male urinal
US9622930B2 (en) * 2014-05-09 2017-04-18 Patricia Carol Sands Ergo-male urinal
USD771803S1 (en) * 2014-06-26 2016-11-15 Hygie Canada Inc. Portable urinal device
US9629771B2 (en) * 2014-09-04 2017-04-25 Jayne E. KNOWLTON Urinal
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