US20110315720A1 - Dispenser with twist lock fitting - Google Patents

Dispenser with twist lock fitting Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110315720A1
US20110315720A1 US12/824,440 US82444010A US2011315720A1 US 20110315720 A1 US20110315720 A1 US 20110315720A1 US 82444010 A US82444010 A US 82444010A US 2011315720 A1 US2011315720 A1 US 2011315720A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
reservoir
dispenser
product
twist
outlet
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
US12/824,440
Inventor
Clinton J. Marshall
Les Greer, JR.
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UNICEP PACKAGING LLC
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Unicep Packaging Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Unicep Packaging Inc filed Critical Unicep Packaging Inc
Priority to US12/824,440 priority Critical patent/US20110315720A1/en
Assigned to UNICEP PACKAGING, INC. reassignment UNICEP PACKAGING, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GREER, JR., LES, MARSHALL, CLINTON J.
Publication of US20110315720A1 publication Critical patent/US20110315720A1/en
Assigned to UNICEP PACKAGING, LLC reassignment UNICEP PACKAGING, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: UNICEP PACKAGING, INC.
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B3/00Packaging plastic material, semiliquids, liquids or mixed solids and liquids, in individual containers or receptacles, e.g. bags, sacks, boxes, cartons, cans, or jars
    • B65B3/26Methods or devices for controlling the quantity of the material fed or filled
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C49/00Blow-moulding, i.e. blowing a preform or parison to a desired shape within a mould; Apparatus therefor
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B3/00Packaging plastic material, semiliquids, liquids or mixed solids and liquids, in individual containers or receptacles, e.g. bags, sacks, boxes, cartons, cans, or jars
    • B65B3/02Machines characterised by the incorporation of means for making the containers or receptacles
    • B65B3/022Making containers by moulding of a thermoplastic material
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D35/00Pliable tubular containers adapted to be permanently or temporarily deformed to expel contents, e.g. collapsible tubes for toothpaste or other plastic or semi-liquid material; Holders therefor
    • B65D35/24Pliable tubular containers adapted to be permanently or temporarily deformed to expel contents, e.g. collapsible tubes for toothpaste or other plastic or semi-liquid material; Holders therefor with auxiliary devices
    • B65D35/36Pliable tubular containers adapted to be permanently or temporarily deformed to expel contents, e.g. collapsible tubes for toothpaste or other plastic or semi-liquid material; Holders therefor with auxiliary devices for applying contents to surfaces
    • B65D35/38Nozzles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D47/00Closures with filling and discharging, or with discharging, devices
    • B65D47/04Closures with discharging devices other than pumps
    • B65D47/06Closures with discharging devices other than pumps with pouring spouts or tubes; with discharge nozzles or passages
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D47/00Closures with filling and discharging, or with discharging, devices
    • B65D47/04Closures with discharging devices other than pumps
    • B65D47/06Closures with discharging devices other than pumps with pouring spouts or tubes; with discharge nozzles or passages
    • B65D47/18Closures with discharging devices other than pumps with pouring spouts or tubes; with discharge nozzles or passages for discharging drops; Droppers
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C49/00Blow-moulding, i.e. blowing a preform or parison to a desired shape within a mould; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C49/02Combined blow-moulding and manufacture of the preform or the parison
    • B29C49/06Injection blow-moulding

Abstract

A dispenser for dispensing a unit measure of a product includes a twist-locking mechanism. The twist-locking mechanism included on the dispenser engages a twist-locking mechanism on a dispensing accessory device, locking the accessory device to the dispenser. The disposable dispenser may include a cap frangibly coupled to the housing of the dispenser, the cap to be removed when dispensing the product. The disposable dispenser may be formed of a single material that is suitable for a blow-fill-seal process.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • Containers exist for holding and selectively dispensing products such as pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, foods, adhesives, lubricants, and the like. Such devices may consist of a reservoir for holding the product and a closure to secure the product inside the container. Some containers also include a dispenser such as a dropper, measuring spoon, or cup to aid in dispensing the product to a user. For example, droppers are often built into the lid of a medicine bottle to dispense medicine, such as cold medicines, vitamins or the like, to children. In private households, such dispensers are used by adults to selectively dispense a desired dose of product to children. However, it is often difficult for a person without specialized training to determine the proper amount of product to be administered, measure the dose, and then dispense the product. Further, it may be difficult or time consuming to dispense a product when it is not packaged within a container having a desired dispensing accessory (e.g., needle, applicator, etc.).
  • SUMMARY
  • This summary is provided to introduce simplified concepts of unit-measure dispensers having twist-locking mechanisms. The dispensers are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended for use in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.
  • In one implementation, the dispenser comprises a housing having a reservoir for containing a unit-measure of product to be dispensed. A unit-measure of product may include any pre-determined measure of product for a particular application. The unit-measure of product may be, for example, a single dose of a medication, or a pre-measured application of a vitamin supplement, or the like. In other embodiments, the unit-measure may be, for example a multi-dose regimen of a prescribed treatment, or the like. In still other examples, the unit-measure may include one unit of a multi-unit dose of a product. The dispenser may also include at least one other reservoir for containing another product to be dispensed. The reservoir has an outlet for dispensing product from the reservoir. In implementations having more than one reservoir, the outlet may be configured to dispense product from each reservoir concurrently. The dispenser may also include a cap frangibly coupled to the housing and sealing the outlet of the reservoir to prevent the product from escaping the reservoir prior to use. Additionally, the unit-measure dispenser includes a twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing. The twist-locking mechanism engages an accessory device, and mates the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing.
  • In some implementations, the dispenser may be pre-filled with a product to be dispensed. In one implementation, the pre-filled dispenser comprises a housing having a reservoir containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed. In implementations having more than one reservoir, each reservoir may be filled with a unit-measure of a different product. An outlet is disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the unit-measure of product from the reservoir. The dispenser may also include a cap frangibly coupled to the housing and sealing the outlet of the reservoir to prevent the product from escaping the reservoir prior to use. The dispenser may also include a dispensing accessory device for dispensing of the product from the outlet once the cap has been removed. The pre-filled dispenser also includes a twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing, which engages the accessory device, and mates the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing.
  • In some implementations, the dispensers may be manufactured via a blow-fill-seal process. Other manufacturing techniques are also contemplated, for example, a blow-molding process, an injection molding process or any other manufacturing process suitable for forming the dispenser. Depending on the product to be housed in the dispenser and the manufacturing process, the dispenser may comprise a polymer, such as polyethylene, ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymer or any other suitable polymer, mixture or the like that is suitable for forming the dispenser. For example, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or, polypropylene (PP) may be used to form the dispenser.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The detailed description is set forth with reference to the accompanying figures. In the figures, the left-most digit(s) of a reference number identifies the figure in which the reference number first appears. The use of the same reference numbers in different figures indicates similar or identical items.
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate perspective views of an example dispenser comprising a housing having a twist-locking mechanism. Also shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B is an example accessory device having an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism. FIG. 1A shows the example accessory device prior to engaging with the housing of the dispenser, and FIG. 1B shows the example accessory device engaged to the housing of the dispenser using the twist-locking mechanism.
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate profile views of the dispenser shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate section views of the dispenser shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, showing additional details of the dispenser and an example accessory device. FIG. 3A also shows an example of a removed cap.
  • FIG. 4 shows schematic drawings of some examples of alternate accessory devices.
  • FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate perspective views of an alternate embodiment of a dispenser, having multiple reservoirs.
  • FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate perspective views of an example embodiment of a dispenser having a twist-locking mechanism of opposite gender.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an example process 700 of using a unit-measure dispenser.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an example process 800 of manufacturing a unit-measure dispenser.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION Overview
  • This disclosure is directed to unit-measure dispensers that include twist-locking mechanisms. The dispensers are generally described as being disposable; however re-usable (multi-use) unit-measure dispensers are also within the scope of the disclosure. An example dispenser has a housing with a reservoir for containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed. In alternate embodiments, the reservoir may be sized to contain the unit-measure of product. For example, in one embodiment, the reservoir may be a 10 cubic centimeter container. In other embodiments, the reservoir may be larger or smaller, depending on the intended use(s) of the dispenser.
  • The reservoir may be flexible and able to force a unit-measure of product from the reservoir through an outlet disposed on the reservoir. Alternately, the reservoir could be rigid and product could drain through the outlet by another method (e.g., gravity, vacuum, etc.) The outlet may be sealed by a cap, preventing the unit-measure of product from escaping the reservoir prior to use. If the cap is included, the cap may be frangibly coupled to the housing and configured to seal the outlet of the reservoir. A frangibly coupled cap may comprise, for example, an interface that is weaker relative to the cap and outlet, so as to break upon application of a predetermined force to allow product to escape the reservoir during use. In alternate embodiments, the cap may include a tab, a handle, or the like, for gripping and/or twisting by a user to remove the cap. Alternatively, the cap may comprise an integral portion of the housing, which is snapped off at use.
  • In some implementations, the dispenser has a twist-locking mechanism comprising a guided or threaded mechanism, where the twist-locking mechanism is configured to engage an accessory device and to mate the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing. An accessory device may include any type of device that aids in the dispensing and/or application of the product from the outlet of the reservoir (e.g., a needle, a spoon, a static mixer, a barb, a tube, a dropper, an applicator, etc.).
  • In some implementations, the accessory device may include an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism designed to engage the twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing. In some embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism may comprise a luer fitting available from many manufacturers/dealers such as Value Plastics, Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., or the like. In alternate embodiments, other types of twist-locking fittings may be used, such as threaded connectors, bayonet fittings, compression fittings, quick-disconnect fittings, and the like.
  • Illustrative Dispenser
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B are perspective views of an illustrative dispenser 102 comprising a housing 104 and a twist-locking mechanism 106 disposed generally on the housing 104. The twist-locking mechanism 106 is configured to engage an accessory device 108, to lock the accessory device 108 to the housing 104. FIG. 1A shows the accessory device 108 disengaged from the twist-locking mechanism 106, and FIG. 1B shows the accessory device 108 engaged to the twist-locking mechanism 106. In the engaged position, the accessory device 108 may aid in dispensing product from the dispenser. For example, the accessory device may be a needle, aiding dispensing an injectable vaccine into a person or animal. In another example, the accessory may comprise a spoon or dropper for dispensing a medicinal product to a patient.
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B are profile views of the illustrative dispenser 102. In some embodiments, the accessory device 108 includes an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 202, configured to be engaged by the twist-locking mechanism 106 of the housing 104. The housing 104 includes a reservoir 204 for containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed and an outlet 206 disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the product from the reservoir 204.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B, the housing 104 may comprise a squeezable reservoir 204 and an outlet 206 integral to the reservoir 204. While, the drawings illustrate a housing comprising a squeezable reservoir 204, other reservoirs are contemplated. For example, in other embodiments, the reservoir 204 may be rigid and the product may be configured to be poured out of the outlet 206. In that case, to assist in evacuating the product from the reservoir 204, the outlet 206 may be made larger and/or a second vent hole may be provided to allow air to enter the reservoir 204 as the product is evacuated.
  • Referring back to the embodiment of FIGS. 1A and 2A, the outlet 206 is illustrated as being generally nipple-shaped, however other shapes are contemplated. For example, outlet 206 may be disc-shaped, spoon-shaped, cone-shaped or any other shape suitable for dispensing product from the reservoir 204.
  • In some embodiments, the outlet 206 has mating surfaces configured to mate with mating surfaces of the accessory device 108. Mating surfaces on the outlet 206 may include a cylindrical peripheral surface 110. That is, the peripheral surface 110 of the outlet 206 may have a cylindrical shape. In other embodiments, the peripheral surface 110 of the outlet 206 may have another shape (e.g., elliptical, polygonal, etc.) Mating surfaces on the outlet 206 may also include an abutting axial end surface 112. That is, the end surface 112 of the outlet 206 may be shaped to abut a mating surface on the accessory device 108 (e.g., planar, sloping, notched, ridged, etc.).
  • Accordingly, the accessory device 108 may have a mating surface generally shaped to match the shape of the outlet 206. That is, the accessory mating surface may be complimentary in shape to the shape of the outlet 206.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate section views of the dispenser 102. The section views provide additional detail of the dispenser 102 with the accessory device 108 being disengaged from the twist-locking mechanism 106 (FIG. 3A) and the accessory device 108 being engaged by the twist-locking mechanism 106 (FIG. 3B).
  • In some embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 may include guides 302, such as grooves, tabs, threads, detents, or the like, for engaging the accessory device 108. In some embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 is a luer fitting. In an embodiment, the twist-locking mechanism 106 is configured to lock the accessory device 108 to the housing 104 by a relative rotation of the accessory device 108 and the housing 104 of less than 360 degrees. In other embodiments, more or less rotation is used to lock the accessory device 108 to the twist-locking mechanism 106. In alternate embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 may be a male gender or a female gender twist-locking mechanism 106. Accordingly, the twist-locking mechanism 106 may be configured to engage an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 202 disposed on the accessory device 108. In alternate embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 and the opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 202 comprise one each of male and female luer fittings.
  • In some embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 is configured to permanently lock the accessory device 108 to the housing 104. In alternate embodiments, the twist-locking mechanism 106 may be configured to removably lock the accessory device 108 to the housing 104. For example, a user may desire a first accessory device (e.g., a stirring device) to be locked to the housing 104 initially. Then, the user may desire the first accessory device to be removed and a second accessory device (e.g., an applicator, dropper, etc.) to be locked to the housing 104 afterwards, for application/dispensing.
  • In some embodiments, the dispenser 102 may include a cap 304 frangibly coupled to the housing 104 and sealing the outlet 206 of the reservoir 204 to prevent product from escaping the reservoir 204 prior to use. The cap 304 may be any type of device that is configured to seal the outlet 206 (e.g., a tab, a knob, a seal, a lid, etc.) and is configured to be removed (e.g., break off, etc.) from the outlet 206 upon application of a predetermined force. When the cap 304 is removed, the product is free to escape from the reservoir 204 through the outlet 206. In FIG. 3, the cap 304 is shown as a tab, and is shown unattached from the outlet 206 and the housing 104. In some embodiments, the cap 304 is removed from the outlet 206 prior to engaging the accessory device 108 with the twist-locking mechanism 106. In alternate embodiments, the cap 304 is removed from the outlet 206 by a rotation or bending of the cap 304 relative to the housing 104.
  • In an alternate embodiment, the cap 304 may comprise an integral portion of the housing 104, which is snapped off at use. For example, the housing 104 may be produced (e.g., by injection molding or the like) such that a portion of the housing 104 is intended to be removed (e.g., broken off, twisted off, cut off, etc.) for dispensing product from the reservoir 204. In other words, the cap 304 may be molded as part of the housing 104.
  • In alternate embodiments, the cap 304 may be disposed on the outlet 206 of the reservoir 204. Additionally, the outlet 206 may be disposed on the twist-locking mechanism 106. In one example, the outlet 206 and the twist-locking mechanism 106 extend axially from the reservoir 104. In other embodiments, other configurations are used, as described herein.
  • In some embodiments, the dispenser may include a single unit-measure of product in the reservoir 204. The unit-measure of product may include any pre-determined measure of product for a particular application. The unit-measure of product may be, for example, a single dose of a medication (e.g., 5 milliliters of an antihistamine product), or a pre-measured application of a vitamin supplement (e.g., 1000 international units of a vitamin D supplement), or the like. In other embodiments, the unit-measure may be, for example a multi-dose regimen of a prescribed treatment, or the like.
  • In some embodiments, the reservoir 204 may be sealed at the end opposite the outlet 206. For example, the reservoir 204 may be sealed after filling the reservoir 204 with product, as will be discussed hereafter. As illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the reservoir 204 may be sealed with a seal 306 to prevent the product from escaping.
  • While FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B illustrate the dispenser 102 as comprising a plurality of constituents (i.e., a housing 104, a cap 304, a twist-locking mechanism 106), the dispenser 102 may be formed as an integral unit of a single material. For example, the dispenser 102 and each of the constituents may be formed, using a variety of manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, blow molding, or a blow-fill-seal process. Depending on the product to be contained and the manufacturing process used, the dispenser 102 may be made of a polymer, such as polyethylene, ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymer, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) or any other suitable polymer, mixture or the like that is suitable for forming the dispenser 102. Furthermore, while dispenser 102 is illustrated as being substantially funnel-shaped, the dispenser 102 may comprise any other shape suitable for selectively dispensing a unit-measure of product. For example, the general shape of the dispenser 102 may be substantially cone-shaped, tube-shaped, rectangular-shape, polygonal, oval-shaped, or combinations of any of these. Additionally, the cross-section of the dispenser 102 may be substantially rectangular-shape, polygonal, oval-shaped, or combinations of any of these. Moreover, while the end of the dispenser 102 opposite the outlet 206 is shown as being substantially flat, the end may alternatively be crimped (e.g., in the case where the dispenser is formed by a blow-fill-seal process).
  • FIG. 4 illustrates some examples of an accessory device 108. An accessory device 108 may include any type of device that aids in the dispensing and/or application of the product from the outlet of the reservoir (e.g., a needle, a spoon, a static mixer, a barb, a tube, a dropper, an applicator, etc.). Persons having skill in the art will recognize that in alternate embodiments other devices may be included as an accessory device 108 (e.g., a brush, etc.).
  • In an alternate embodiment, an accessory device 108 may have multiple twist-locking mechanisms. For example, the accessory device 108 may be configured to mate to multiple outlets of multiple reservoirs concurrently. This may allow the accessory device 108 to dispense product from multiple reservoirs concurrently, for example, mixing the product (e.g., epoxy, medicine, etc.) as it is dispensed.
  • Alternative Illustrative Dispensers
  • FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate an alternative embodiment 502 of the dispenser 102 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate two perspective views of a dispenser 502 having multiple reservoirs. In the figures, the housing 104 includes a first reservoir 504 and a second reservoir 506. The reservoirs 504 and 506 are separated by a divider 508 that runs the length of the housing 104, including through the outlet 206. Accordingly, each reservoir 504 and 506 may be configured to contain a unit-measure of a product.
  • In alternate embodiments, the reservoirs 504 and 506 may contain the same or different products. The outlet 206 is disposed on each reservoir 504 and 506 such that the products from the reservoirs 504 and 506 can be dispensed concurrently through the outlet 206.
  • For example, the reservoirs 504 and 506 may each contain a component that when mixed, form a unit measure of an epoxy or a medicine. The components remain isolated in the reservoirs 504 and 506 until they are evacuated concurrently through the outlet 206, mixing in the desired proportions. Thus, the evacuation of the components through the outlet 206 also dispenses a unit measure of mixed product. In one embodiment of this example, the accessory device 108 may comprise, for example, a static mixer to further mix the product during dispensing.
  • While the illustrations in FIGS. 5A and 5B show a dispenser 502 having two chambers or reservoirs (504 and 506), it is contemplated that a dispenser 502 may have additional chambers or reservoirs as desired for convenience of product dispensing.
  • FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate an alternative embodiment 602 of the dispenser 102 shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate two perspective views of a dispenser 602 having a twist-locking mechanism 606 of an opposite gender than that of the dispenser 102. Where the dispenser 102 is illustrated with a male twist-locking mechanism 106, the dispenser 602 is illustrated with a female twist-locking mechanism 606. Both are contemplated within the scope of this disclosure.
  • In some embodiments, the dispenser 602 has a housing 104 with a twist-locking mechanism 606 disposed thereon. The twist-locking mechanism 606 may be integral to the outlet 604 or disposed on the outlet 604, as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. Accordingly, an accessory device 108 may have an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 608 (here, a male twist-locking mechanism 608), such that the accessory device 108 may be engaged by the twist-locking mechanism 606. The opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 608 may be integral to the accessory device 108 or disposed on the accessory device 108, as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. Further, as shown in the illustration of FIG. 6B, the accessory device 108 may be configured to extend into the outlet 604 as part of being engaged by the twist-locking mechanism 606. In alternative embodiments, other variations of twist-locking mechanisms 606 and 608 may be used to engage the accessory device 108 to the housing 104.
  • Example Process for Using a Unit-Measure Dispenser
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an example process 700 for using a unit-measure dispenser, such as dispenser 102. For instance, this process may be performed by a user to selectively use the unit-measure dispenser. More specifically, this process may be performed by a user that may or may not be formally trained in the application of precise doses or measures of product. By way of example and not limitation, the process may be performed at a medical facility (e.g., emergency care center, hospital, doctor's office, or the like), a private residence, a manufacturing facility (e.g., prior to the distribution of the unit-measure dispenser), or the like. While FIG. 7 illustrates a process for using a unit-measure dispenser configured to dispense a unit-measure of product, this process may apply to the use of a dispenser configured to dispense any amount and/or any type of product. For example, the unit-measure dispenser may dispense a unit-measure (or other desired amount) of chain lube to a bicycle chain, adhesive to bond two materials, or the like.
  • Process 700 includes an operation 702, which represents a user selectively removing a frangibly coupled cap (e.g., cap 304) if it is present, from a housing (e.g., housing 104) by applying a predetermined force to the cap. For example, the predetermined force may be applied to a cap configured to break off of the housing upon receiving the predetermined force (e.g., bending and/or twisting force). Next, process 700 proceeds to operation 704, which represents engaging an accessory device (e.g., accessory device 108) with a twist-locking mechanism (e.g., twist-locking mechanism 106) disposed on the housing. At operation 706, the accessory device is mated to the outlet (e.g., outlet 206) of a reservoir (e.g., reservoir 204) configured to contain product to be dispensed. The accessory device is also locked to the housing the twist-locking mechanism by this operation. Subsequently, at operation 708, the user dispenses a unit-measure of product from the reservoir by squeezing, pouring, or otherwise evacuating the product from the dispenser.
  • Example Process for Manufacturing a Unit-Measure Dispenser
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an example process 800 for manufacturing a unit-measure dispenser (e.g., dispenser 102) based at least in part on material characteristics of the particular unit-measure dispenser. For instance, this process may be performed to manufacture a unit-measure dispenser comprising a unit formed of a single material. For example, the unit-measure dispenser and each of the unit-measure dispenser's constituents may be formed of a polymer, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymer or any other suitable polymer, mixture or the like that is suitable for forming the unit-measure dispenser. In some instances, the process may be performed at a manufacturing facility prior to the shipping of the unit-measure dispenser. Additionally, the manufacturing facility may be capable of aseptic processing for producing unit measure dispensers. While FIG. 8 illustrates a process for manufacturing a unit-measure dispenser configured to dispense a unit-measure of product, this process may apply to the manufacturing of any type of dispenser. For example, the unit-measure dispenser may be for dispensing a unit-measure of chain lube to a bicycle chain, a unit-measure of adhesive to bond materials, or a unit-measure of energy drink. Additionally, this process may apply to manufacturing any type of dispenser formed of any other suitable materials capable of being manufactured by injection molding, blow molding, blow-fill-seal processing, or any other suitable manufacturing process.
  • Process 800 includes an operation 802, which represents heating a first material (e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymer) to a first temperature of about 130 degrees Celsius. Next, process 800 proceeds to operation 804, which represents enclosing the first material in a mold. The mold comprises a shape to form a first body. The mold includes cavities and protrusions to form a reservoir (e.g., reservoir 204) for containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed, an outlet (e.g., outlet 206) disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the product from the reservoir, and a twist-locking mechanism (e.g., twist-locking mechanism 106) configured to engage an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism (e.g., opposite gender twist-locking mechanism 202) disposed on an accessory device (e.g., accessory device 108) and to mate the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing. In some embodiments, the mold also includes cavities and protrusions to form a cap (e.g., cap 304) frangibly coupled to the first body and sealing the outlet to prevent product from escaping the reservoir through the outlet prior to use. Process 800 continues to operation 806, where, a mandrel is used to inflate the first material in the mold to form the first body. Operation 806 is followed by operation 808 where the first body formed of the first material is cooled to about 50 degrees Celsius. Following operation 808, at operation 810, and subsequent to the cooling of the first body formed of the first material, a mandrel is used to fill the first body with a unit-measure of a product (e.g., medicine, vitamins, or other product). After operation 810, process 800 continues with operation 812, where the first body is sealed (e.g., with another mold, with a crimping device, etc.) thereby forming the unit-measure dispenser with a unit-measure of product contained therein.
  • CONCLUSION
  • Although embodiments have been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts of the embodiments described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as illustrative forms of implementing the invention. For example, while embodiments are described having certain shapes, sizes, and configurations, these shapes, sizes, and configurations are merely illustrative. Also, while one example manufacturing process is described, dispensers according to this disclosure may be made using any other suitable manufacturing process.

Claims (25)

1. A dispenser comprising:
a housing including:
a reservoir for containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed;
an outlet disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the product from the reservoir; and
a twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing, the twist-locking mechanism configured to engage an accessory device and to mate the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing.
2. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the twist-locking mechanism is configured to lock the accessory device to the housing by a relative rotation of the accessory device and the housing of less than 360 degrees.
3. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the twist-locking mechanism comprises a luer fitting.
4. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the twist-locking mechanism is configured to engage an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism disposed on the accessory device.
5. The dispenser of claim 4, wherein the twist-locking mechanism is a male gender twist-locking mechanism.
6. The dispenser of claim 4, wherein the twist-locking mechanism is a female gender twist-locking mechanism.
7. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the accessory device comprises at least one of: a needle, a spoon, a static mixer, a barb, a tube, a dropper, or an applicator.
8. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the dispenser is injection molded, blow molded, injection blow molded, or formed by a blow-fill-seal process.
9. The dispenser of claim 1, further comprising a cap frangibly coupled to the housing and sealing the outlet of the reservoir to prevent the product from escaping the reservoir prior to use.
10. The dispenser of claim 9, wherein the cap is disposed on the outlet of the reservoir and the outlet of the reservoir is disposed on the twist-locking mechanism.
11. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein the outlet comprises mating surfaces configured to mate with accessory device mating surfaces, the mating surfaces including a cylindrical peripheral surface and an abutting axial end surface.
12. The dispenser of claim 1, further comprising a single unit measure of product contained in the reservoir of the housing.
13. The dispenser of claim 1, further comprising another reservoir for containing a unit measure of another product to be dispensed,
wherein the outlet is further disposed on the other reservoir such that the product and the other product can be dispensed concurrently through the outlet.
14. A unit-measure dispenser comprising:
a plastic housing including:
a reservoir containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed;
an outlet disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the product from the reservoir; and
a cap frangibly coupled to the housing and sealing the outlet of the reservoir to prevent the product from escaping the reservoir prior to use;
a dispensing accessory device for dispensing of the product from the outlet after removal of the cap from the housing; and
a twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing, the twist-locking mechanism configured to engage an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism disposed on the dispensing accessory device and to mate the dispensing accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing.
15. The unit-measure dispenser of claim 14, wherein the twist-locking mechanism is configured to lock the accessory device to the housing by a relative rotation of the accessory device and the housing of less than 360 degrees.
16. The unit-measure dispenser of claim 14, wherein the twist-locking mechanism comprises a luer fitting.
17. The dispenser of claim 14, wherein the cap is molded as part of the housing.
18. The dispenser of claim 14, wherein the outlet comprises mating surfaces configured to mate with accessory device mating surfaces, the mating surfaces including a cylindrical peripheral surface and an abutting axial end surface.
19. The unit-measure dispenser of claim 14, wherein the accessory device comprises at least one of: a needle, a spoon, a static mixer, a barb, a tube, a dropper, or an applicator.
20. The unit-measure dispenser of claim 14, further comprising another reservoir for containing a unit measure of another product to be dispensed, wherein the outlet is further disposed on the other reservoir such that the product and the other product can be dispensed concurrently through the outlet.
21. A method of manufacturing a unit-measure dispenser, the method comprising:
heating a first material to a first temperature;
enclosing the first material in a mold, the mold comprising a shape to form a first body, including a reservoir for containing a unit-measure of a product to be dispensed, an outlet disposed on the reservoir for dispensing the product from the reservoir, and a twist-locking mechanism disposed on the housing, the twist-locking mechanism configured to engage an opposite gender twist-locking mechanism disposed on an accessory device and to mate the accessory device to the outlet of the reservoir while locking the accessory device to the housing;
inflating the first material in the mold to form the first body;
cooling the first body formed of the first material;
filling the reservoir of the first body with a unit-measure of the product to be dispensed; and
sealing the first body to prevent the second material from escaping the first body prior to use.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein the twist-locking mechanism and the opposite gender twist-locking mechanism comprise one each of male and female luer fittings.
23. The method of claim 21, wherein the accessory device comprises at least one of: a needle, a spoon, a static mixer, a barb, a tube, a dropper, or an applicator.
24. The method of claim 21, the mold further including a shape to form a cap frangibly coupled to the first body and sealing the outlet to prevent the product from escaping the reservoir through the outlet prior to use.
25. The method of claim 21, the mold further including a shape to form another reservoir for containing a unit-measure of another product to be dispensed, and an outlet on the other reservoir such that the product and the other product can be dispensed concurrently through the outlet;
the method further comprising filling the other reservoir of the first body with a unit-measure of a third material comprising the other product to be dispensed; and
sealing the first body to prevent the third material from escaping the first body prior to use.
US12/824,440 2010-06-28 2010-06-28 Dispenser with twist lock fitting Abandoned US20110315720A1 (en)

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USD777909S1 (en) 2015-07-10 2017-01-31 3M Innovative Properties Company Liquid applicator body

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