US20140370784A1 - Breast form with underwire and method of manufacturing thereof - Google Patents

Breast form with underwire and method of manufacturing thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140370784A1
US20140370784A1 US13/918,757 US201313918757A US2014370784A1 US 20140370784 A1 US20140370784 A1 US 20140370784A1 US 201313918757 A US201313918757 A US 201313918757A US 2014370784 A1 US2014370784 A1 US 2014370784A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
breast form
method
breast
underwire
housing strip
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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
US13/918,757
Inventor
Dennis H. Chen
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Bragel International Inc
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Bragel International Inc
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Application filed by Bragel International Inc filed Critical Bragel International Inc
Priority to US13/918,757 priority Critical patent/US20140370784A1/en
Assigned to BRAGEL INTERNATIONAL, INC. reassignment BRAGEL INTERNATIONAL, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CHEN, DENNIS H.
Publication of US20140370784A1 publication Critical patent/US20140370784A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C3/00Brassieres
    • A41C3/10Brassieres with stiffening or bust-forming inserts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C5/00Machines, appliances, or methods for manufacturing corsets or brassieres
    • A41C5/005Machines, appliances, or methods for manufacturing corsets or brassieres by moulding
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C3/00Brassieres
    • A41C3/12Component parts
    • A41C3/14Stiffening or bust-forming inserts
    • A41C3/142Stiffening inserts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C3/00Brassieres
    • A41C3/12Component parts
    • A41C3/14Stiffening or bust-forming inserts
    • A41C3/144Pads
    • A41C3/146Pads containing liquid or gel filling
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C5/00Machines, appliances, or methods for manufacturing corsets or brassieres
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41CCORSETS; BRASSIERES
    • A41C3/00Brassieres
    • A41C3/0007Brassieres with stay means

Abstract

A method of manufacturing a breast form includes forming an underwire subassembly by placing a housing strip disposed on a support wire, positioning the underwire subassembly on a bag filled with a liquid silicone composition, and permanently affixing the underwire subassembly to the bag.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a breast form with underwire and a method of manufacturing thereof.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Various devices and methods are available to women who wish to enhance the appearance of their breasts. Generally, women may either undergo a surgical procedure to be fitted with breast implants, or may use some form of externally worn article to enhance the appearance of their breasts. To accommodate women wishing to avoid the dangers involved with surgical breast implants, several efforts have been made to provide externally worn articles that have the look and feel of natural breasts, yet are non-permanent and health-risk free. Such externally worn devices have included a wide range of foam pads, push-up bras, gelled breast inserts to be worn between the user's breasts and a bra, and other breast form enhancement systems.
  • A key feature of such an externally worn article is that it look and feel natural so as to complement and not detract from the existing female breast that it is used to enhance. A popular type of breast form has been made from a silicone gel material that is completely encased by plastic film material. The advantage of this type of breast form is that it looks like a natural human breast when worn and feels natural to the user, thus enhancing the self-image and confidence of the user. Other breast forms, such as foam pads, water-filled pads and the like, may not afford the user these important qualities but, rather, may look unnatural and feel foreign.
  • In addition to the demand for devices and methods for enhancing breast size and shape, there is also a demand for being able to use those devices and methods while wearing a full-range of clothing. For example, women wearing a backless dress or a halter top will not want to wear a traditional bra. As a result, bras and breast form systems have been developed that are both backless and strapless.
  • Women having larger breasts may further desire a breast form that provides extra support and lift, as larger breast sizes may tend to sag compared with smaller breast sizes. In order to provide this extra support and lift for larger breast sizes, breast forms including an underwire disposed at a lower portion of the breast forms have been developed. The underwire provides reinforcement to counteract the natural downward position of large breasts, and thus helps counteract sagging.
  • Breast forms made from fabric and the like typically have the underwire installed into the breast form by sewing or molding the wire directly into the inner surface of the bra cups. However, these methods result in high manufacturing and labor costs due to the labor-intensive nature of sewing and molding. Additionally, these methods of incorporating an underwire into a bra are not feasible for silicone gel breast forms surrounded by a plastic film material. As a result, there is a need for an efficient and low-cost method of manufacturing a silicone gel breast form that includes an integral underwire for support.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide an efficient and low-cost method of manufacturing a silicone gel breast form including an integral underwire for support.
  • According to an aspect of an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method of manufacturing a breast form, the method including forming an underwire subassembly by placing a housing strip disposed on a support wire, positioning the underwire subassembly on a bag filled with a liquid silicone composition, and permanently affixing the underwire subassembly to the bag.
  • The permanent affixing may include compressing the bag and the underwire subassembly between a floating member and a bottom mold; and heating the floating member and the bottom mold.
  • The positioning may include applying an adhesive to a bottom surface of the housing strip, and placing the housing strip on the bag.
  • The underwire subassembly may be located at a lower part of the breast form.
  • The underwire subassembly may form a crescent shape along the lower part of the breast form.
  • Ends of the support wire may be wrapped with tape.
  • The support wire may be round.
  • The support wire may be flat.
  • The support wire may be comprised of steel.
  • The support wire may be coated with plastic.
  • The housing strip may be comprised of a thermoplastic material.
  • The housing strip may be comprised of polyurethane.
  • According to another aspect of an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a breast form including two thermoplastic films coupled to each other along edges of each of the two thermoplastic films, a silicone gel sealed within the two thermoplastic films, and an underwire subassembly attached to one of the two thermoplastic films, wherein the underwire subassembly includes a housing strip disposed on a support wire.
  • The housing strip may have a thickness in a range from about 10 millimeters to about 50 millimeters.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an underwire subassembly according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIGS. 2 to 4 are cross-sectional views illustrating a method of manufacturing a breast form according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2A is an enlarged view of the method of manufacturing a breast form shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view showing a breast form manufactured by the method of manufacturing disclosed in FIGS. 2 to 4 according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Embodiments of the present invention include a body of silicone gel encased in a thin plastic film material (e.g., a polyurethane sheath, pouch, or bag) having the shape of a human female breast. The breast form, therefore, is configured having a generally convex portion facing outwardly away from the user and a generally concave portion at an opposite side of the breast form that faces toward and against the body of the user. Additionally, attached and integral to the thin plastic film material of the breast form is an underwire subassembly. The underwire subassembly includes a housing strip or tape disposed atop a wire.
  • According to embodiments of the present invention, a breast form is made by forming a temporarily sealed bag between two films of thermoplastic material and introducing a liquid silicone composition into the bag. The filled bag and a strip of plastic, which may be a tape, disposed on top of a wire are placed between a top mold, a floating member, and a bottom mold. The molds are heated to open the temporarily sealed portions of the thermoplastic films and to allow the liquid silicone composition to migrate between mold surfaces and form the desired shape of the breast form. The molds are also heated to cure the liquid silicone material, to weld the films encasing the silicone material together, and to affix the underwire subassembly to one of the thermoplastic films. The cured breast form is then trimmed for shipping.
  • A portion of the method of making embodiments of the present invention the patented method disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,693,164, entitled “Method of Making Breast Enhancers”. The teachings and disclosures of U.S. Pat. No. 5,693,164 are fully incorporated herein by reference. Embodiments of the present invention further include a method for affixing an underwire subassembly that includes a housing material on top of a wire to a breast form.
  • FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an underwire subassembly according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, an underwire subassembly 10 is shown. The underwire subassembly 10 includes a housing strip 12 and a support wire 16. The housing strip 12 is configured to encase and cover the support wire 16 within a breast form 14. The housing strip 12 allows the wire to be properly positioned on the breast form 14 and provides the means for permanently attaching the underwire subassembly 10 to the breast form 14 during the process of manufacturing.
  • Although FIG. 1 shows the underwire subassembly 10 as a crescent shape, embodiments of the present invention are not limited thereto. The underwire subassembly may have any number of suitable shapes, such as a linear shape.
  • The housing strip 12 may be made of a plastic material. For example, the housing strip 12 may be made of a thermoplastic material such as polyurethane. However, embodiments of the present invention are not limited thereto.
  • The support wire 16 may be formed of steel. In embodiments where the support wire 16 is formed of steel, the support wire 16 may be coated with plastic. The plastic coating may be added to protect the wire from corrosion and for cosmetic purposes.
  • The body of the support wire 16 may be formed to be a flat shape. However, the body shape of the support wire 16 is not limited thereto, as the support wire 16 may have other body shapes including, for example, a round shape. The support wire 16 may also be painted or coated to be any desired color.
  • To reduce a chance that the support wire 16 may puncture any portion of the breast form (e.g., the housing strip 12 or the thermoplastic film surrounding the silicone gel), the ends of the support wire 16 may be wrapped in a tape or other wrapping 18. The tape 18 provides a harrier between the ends of the support wire 16, which may be sharp, and the other elements of the breast form.
  • However, a support wire according to embodiments of the present invention is not limited to the above disclosure. It will be understood that embodiments of the present invention may include any shape, length, size, or body form of the support wire as needed to achieve a desired support for breasts of a user. Further, embodiments of the present invention may include any number of support wires to achieve the same.
  • FIGS. 2 to 4 are cross-sectional views illustrating a method of manufacturing a breast form according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 illustrates two symmetrically opposite sections A and B for manufacturing two symmetrically opposite breast forms. U.S. Pat. No. 5,693,164, which has been incorporated by reference, further details aspects of a method of manufacturing having some similarities with the present embodiment, except for example the incorporation of the underwire subassembly 10 as part of the process. Referring to FIG. 2, a top mold 50, a floating member 52, and a bottom mold 54 are shown in both sections A and B. Sections A and B further respectively illustrate the method before and after a vacuum is applied to the bottom mold 54.
  • FIG. 2, section A shows the underwire subassembly 10 temporarily placed upon or affixed to a bag 56 filled with a liquid silicone composition 58. The bag 56 may be formed and may contain the liquid silicone composition 58 by temporarily sealing a circumference of a first thermoplastic film 60 and a second thermoplastic film 62. The first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 may be made of polyurethane, and by extension the bag 56 may also be made of polyurethane.
  • The underwire subassembly 10 may be temporarily attached to the bag 56 by coating a bottom surface of the housing strip 12 with an adhesive. This adhesive allows the underwire subassembly 10 to be temporarily, but securely, positioned atop the bag 56 before the bag 56 is compressed by the floating member 52. As shown in FIG. 2, the underwire subassembly 10 protrudes significantly from the bag 56 as the underwire subassembly 10 is in a pre-compressed state. This method of temporarily affixing an underwire subassembly to a liquid silicone composition filled bag is not limited to merely the utilization of an adhesive coated on a housing strip, as other methods may be used.
  • FIG. 2, section B illustrates when a vacuum is applied through the bottom mold 54 by an external vacuum source. The vacuum acts to draw the liquid silicone filled bag 56 into the bottom mold 54 and against the concave surface 64 of the bottom mold 54. When the bag 56 is drawn in, the underwire subassembly 10 that is temporarily attached to the bag 56 is likewise drawn in towards the bottom mold 54.
  • FIG. 2A is an enlarged view of the method of manufacturing the breast form shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 2A illustrates in detail the placement and structure of the underwire subassembly 10. Referring to FIG. 2A, the housing strip 12 is disposed over the support wire 16 so that the support wire 16 is encased and interposed between the housing strip 12 and the first thermoplastic film 60. FIG. 2A further illustrates an adhesive 70 disposed on the bottom surface of the housing strip 12 to temporarily adjoin the housing strip 12 encasing the support wire 16 to the first thermoplastic film 60.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, sections A and B, the top mold 50 is lowered onto the bottom mold 54, resulting in the floating member 52 being lowered into the concave surface 64 of the bottom mold 54 so that the convex external surface 66 of the floating member 52 presses against an adjacent surface of the liquid silicone filled bag 56 and the underwire subassembly 10, as shown in FIG. 3, section A.
  • The vacuum is removed from the bottom mold 54 once the top mold 50 and the bottom mold 54 are compressively engaged together. At least one of the floating member 52 or the bottom mold 54 is heated to a suitable temperature for a suitable amount of time to open the temporary seal forming the bag 56.
  • Opening the temporary seal causes the liquid silicone composition 58 to disperse throughout the open volume existing between the first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 contained between the concave surface 64 of the bottom mold 54 and the convex surface 66 of the floating member 52. As the temporary seal is opened and the liquid silicone composition 58 disperses, the underwire subassembly 10 remains attached to the first thermoplastic film 60. The compression force exerted by the floating member 52 causes the liquid silicone composition 58 to migrate and fill previously unoccupied portions of the mold cavity, while securing the underwire subassembly 10 to remain in position and attached to the first thermoplastic film 60.
  • Application of heat to the top mold 50 and the bottom mold 54, after the temporary seal has been opened, welds together the portions of the first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 sandwiched between the top mold 50 and the bottom mold 54 to entrap the liquid silicone composition 58 therein. Further application of heat to the floating member 52 and the bottom mold 54 acts to cure the liquid silicone composition 58 to form a silicone gel. The volume of silicone gel is encased between the welded together first thermoplastic film 60 and second thermoplastic film 62.
  • Furthermore, the application of heat to the floating member 52 welds the underwire subassembly 10 to the breast form. Specifically, the application of heat welds the housing strip 12 to the first thermoplastic film 60 to securely encase the support wire 16 between the housing strip 12 and the first thermoplastic film 60, thereby permanently and integrally affixing the support wire 16 to the breast form.
  • After the liquid silicone composition 58 is cured, the first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 welded together, and the underwire subassembly 10 permanently affixed to the breast form, the heaters are turned off and the top mold 50, floating member 52, and the bottom mold 54 are cooled. The floating member 52 is also raised.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, sections A and B, after the breast form 68 is removed from the bottom mold 54, the welded together edges of the first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 are trimmed of any unwanted excess portions. In contrast to the underwire subassembly 10 shown in FIG. 2, FIG. 4 shows the underwire subassembly 10 in its final and permanently attached form.
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view showing a breast form manufactured by the method of manufacturing disclosed in FIGS. 2 to 4 according to an embodiment of the present invention. However, it should be understood that other manufacturing methods may be used to achieve a similar finished product. Referring to FIG. 5, a silicone gel 100 is encased within the first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 opposite the first thermoplastic film 60. The underwire subassembly 10 includes the housing strip 12 and the support wire 16 formed in a crescent shape along the bottom portion of the breast form 68. The ends of the support wire 16 are wrapped in tape 18.
  • The housing strip 12 of the breast form 68 may have a thickness in a range of about 10 millimeters to about 50 millimeters. The first thermoplastic film 60 and the second thermoplastic film 62 may each have a thickness in a range of about 1 millimeter to about 4 millimeters. The above disclosed thickness range of the housing strip is an example of a range for securely encasing the support wire and for decreasing a possibility that the support wire punctures the housing strip. The above disclosed thickness range of the thermoplastic films is an example of a range for securely housing the silicone gel, while being thin and lightweight. However, embodiments of the present invention are not limited to the thicknesses disclosed above, as any suitable thickness of the housing strip and the thermoplastic films may be used.
  • A corner of the breast form 68 may be attached to a connector, as shown in FIG. 5. The corner of the breast form 68 may include a tapping plate (not shown) for securing the connector to the breast form 68. The tapping plate may include another layer of material over the first thermoplastic film 60. The layer of material of the tapping plate may have a thickness in a range of about 2 millimeters to about 10 millimeters. Embodiments of the present invention are not limited to utilizing a tapping plate, however, as any other suitable method of securing a connector to a breast form may be used.
  • The present breast form 68 may include a permanently grown, re-usable adhesive backing. Referring to FIG. 5, the breast form 68 defines two surfaces relative to the user, an interior surface 102 facing towards the user's breast or skin, and an exterior surface 104 facing opposite the interior surface and away from the user's breast or skin. An adhesive may be permanently coated along the interior surface 102 of the breast form 68. The adhesive may be a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) and may be permanently applied to the interior surface 102. The amount of adhesive to be adjoined to the interior surface 102 may vary, as may the portions of the interior surface 102 that have the adhesive. Various factors may contribute to the amount and placement of the adhesive such as the size, shape, and weight of the breast form.
  • Unlike some adhesives, the adhesive used with embodiments of the present invention may not readily shift once it is positioned on the user and may be re-used repeatedly without losing its adhesive properties. The adhesive may have an adhesion force to the interior surface 102 that is greater than a cohesion force to the user's skin. The adhesive may be further able to withstand tremendous movement and pressure from the user without slipping and may even be subjected to water or sweat without degeneration of the adhesive properties. Furthermore, if the adhesive becomes dirty (i.e., collects unwanted particles such as dust, lint, or debris), it may be cleaned with soap and water to remove the unwanted particles and to fully restore the adhesive properties.
  • Example embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed herein, and although specific terms are employed, they are used in, and are to be interpreted in, a generic and descriptive sense only, and not for purposes of limitation. In some instances, as would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art as of the filing of the present application, features, characteristics, and/or elements described in connection with a particular embodiment may be used singly or in combination with features, characteristics, and/or elements described in connection with other embodiments, unless otherwise specifically indicated. Accordingly, it will be understood by those of skill in the art that various changes in form and details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims, and equivalents thereof.

Claims (25)

What is claimed is:
1. A method of manufacturing a breast form, the method comprising:
forming an underwire subassembly by placing a housing strip disposed on a support wire;
positioning the underwire subassembly on a bag filled with a liquid silicone composition; and
permanently affixing the underwire subassembly to the bag.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the permanent affixing comprises:
compressing the bag and the underwire subassembly between a floating member and a bottom mold; and
heating the floating member and the bottom mold.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the positioning comprises:
applying an adhesive to a bottom surface of the housing strip; and
placing the housing strip on the bag.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising applying a permanent adhesive to an interior surface of the breast form.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the underwire subassembly is located at a lower part of the breast form.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the underwire subassembly forms a crescent shape along the lower part of the breast form.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein ends of the support wire are wrapped with tape.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the support wire is round.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the support wire is flat.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein the support wire comprises steel.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the support wire is coated with plastic.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein the housing strip comprises a thermoplastic material.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the housing strip comprises polyurethane.
14. A breast form comprising:
two thermoplastic films coupled to each other along edges of each of the two thermoplastic films;
a silicone gel sealed within the two thermoplastic films; and
an underwire subassembly attached to one of the two thermoplastic films, wherein the underwire subassembly comprises a housing strip disposed on a support wire.
15. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the housing strip has a thickness in a range from about 10 millimeters to about 50 millimeters.
16. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the underwire subassembly is located at a lower part of the breast form.
17. The breast form according to claim 16, wherein the underwire subassembly forms a crescent shape along the lower part of the breast form.
18. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein ends of the wire are wrapped with tape.
19. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the wire is round.
20. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the wire is flat.
21. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the wire comprises steel.
22. The breast form according to claim 21, wherein the wire is coated with plastic.
23. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein the housing strip comprises a thermoplastic material.
24. The breast form according to claim 23, wherein the housing strip comprises polyurethane.
25. The breast form according to claim 14, wherein an interior surface of the breast form is coated with a permanent adhesive.
US13/918,757 2013-06-14 2013-06-14 Breast form with underwire and method of manufacturing thereof Abandoned US20140370784A1 (en)

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US10136682B1 (en) * 2017-09-12 2018-11-27 Jacqueline Butler Marcella Breast-lifting and cooling accessory

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