CONTAINER WITH DISPENSER

- MEAD WESTVACO CORPORATION

A dispensing container (300) includes a cavity (110) for storing products (310), an inner wall (122), and an outer wall (200). Each of the inner wall (122) and the outer wall (200) include an opening (130, 220). The inner wall (122) and the outer wall (200) can be positioned relative to one another such that the openings (130, 220) align or misalign. The dispensing container (300) is thereby placed in an open condition or a closed condition.

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Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/939,589, filed May 22, 2007, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates generally to containers and, more specifically, to containers with dispensers.

BACKGROUND

Products such as pharmaceuticals and tobacco plugs are commonly dispensed as loose-fill products. The packaging and dispensing of such products requires continuous improvement to address issues such as child resistance, cost, and ergonomics in a new and better way. As dispensing containers can be relatively expensive to make, complicated to manufacture, and complicated to use, a need exists for improved dispensers.

SUMMARY

The various embodiments of the present disclosure overcome the shortcomings of the prior art by providing a dispensing container that can be used to dispense loose-fill products such as candy or tobacco plugs. The dispensing container is ergonomically shaped, uses a small amount of material, and includes a user friendly dispenser.

According to an exemplary embodiment, a dispensing container includes a cavity that is configured to store products. The cavity is bordered by an inside wall and an outside wall where the inside wall is nested against the outside wall. The inside wall and the outside wall are configured to move or slide relative to one another and each includes an opening. The outside wall and the inside wall can slide relative to one another to align or misalign the openings. When the openings are aligned, products in the cavity can be dispensed and when the openings are misaligned the outside wall covers the inside wall opening to prevent products from being dispensed. Each of the inside wall and the outside wall can include multiple openings, certain of which can align to allow access to the cavity.

As used herein, the term “opening” is used expansively to include notches, cutouts, apertures, cuts, slots, an arrangement of severance lines, flaps, detachable tabs, a gap, combinations thereof and the like.

According to an exemplary embodiment, a band is wrapped around a body such that the band provides the outer wall and the body provides the inner wall. The body includes a body opening and the band includes a band opening. The body can be formed from plastic, paperboard, combinations thereof, and the like. For example, the body can be thermoformed from plastic. The band can be formed from paperboard, paper, plastic, a laminated panel, fabric, mesh, other sheet material, combinations thereof, and the like. The band may be substantially flexible or substantially rigid. In certain embodiments where the band is flexible, the band conforms to the shape of the body.

The body can be configured to facilitate dispensing products. For example, the body can have a tapered shape that is configured to guide products towards an end of the cavity when the body is in a certain orientation. In such embodiments, the body opening is positioned proximate the end of the cavity such that products that are guided to the end of the cavity can be easily accessed through the body opening. Also, the body can be elongated or otherwise configured to ergonomically fit in a user's hand. The flexibility of the band allows the body to have various shapes as the band can conform to the shape of the body.

The body can include multiple cavities, each with a body opening. In such embodiments, a single band can be configured to cover certain of the body openings while a band opening aligns with one or more of other of the body openings. Alternatively, the band can be configured with multiple openings to align with each of the body openings simultaneously. In still other embodiments, the dispensing container can include multiple bands, each controlling whether products can be dispensed from one or more of the cavities.

The dispensing container can include a track. As used herein the term “track” includes one or more elements that are configured to constrain the movement of the band to an endless path around the body. In general, the track can include any combination of elements that are configured to contact one another along an endless path to substantially prevent movement in a direction that is transverse to the endless path. For example, a track can include one or more ribs, beams, tongues, ridges, or side walls that is received in or configured to contact a groove, recess, channel, or side wall. Thus, a track can be provided as an endless rib is received in an endless channel.

In an exemplary embodiment, a track is provided as the body includes an endless channel in which the band is received as the band is wrapped around the body. The channel includes raised side walls on either side of an intermediate recessed base wall. The band is allowed to move in either direction along the path defined by the channel but is prevented from escaping the channel. The raised side walls contact or are proximate the side edges of the band and prevent the band from moving in a direction that is transverse to the path. In this embodiment, the body opening is formed in the recessed base wall.

In another exemplary embodiment, the track is provided as the band includes two substantially raised ribs on either side of a recessed intermediate section. The body includes a raised intermediate section that defines an endless path. The band is wrapped around the body with the raised intermediate section of the body being received in the recessed intermediate section of the band. The raised ribs of the band are substantially in contact with side walls of the raised intermediate section.

According to another exemplary embodiment, two structures combine to form a body with a cavity. A wall of one of the structures nests inside a wall of the other of the structures. For example, each of the structures can be cup-like structures that are thermoformed from plastic so as to be substantially rigid. The open ends of the cup-like structures can be brought together to form the body and the cavity.

The foregoing has broadly outlined some of the aspects and features of the present disclosure, which should be construed to be merely illustrative of various potential applications of the disclosure. Other beneficial results can be obtained by applying the disclosed information in a different manner or by combining various aspects of the disclosed embodiments. Accordingly, other aspects and a more comprehensive understanding of the teachings may be obtained by referring to the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in addition to the scope defined by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a body, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a band, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 3 and 4 are perspective views of a dispensing container formed from the body of FIG. 1 and from the band of FIG. 2, illustrating closed and open conditions respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present disclosure are disclosed herein. It must be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the disclosure that may be embodied in various and alternative forms, and combinations thereof. As used herein, the word “exemplary” is used expansively to refer to embodiments that serve as illustrations, specimens, models, or patterns. The figures are not necessarily to scale and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. In other instances, well-known components, systems, materials, or methods have not been described in detail in order to avoid obscuring the present disclosure. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present disclosure.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, the drawings illustrate certain of the various aspects of an exemplary embodiment of a dispensing container 300. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the dispensing container 300 includes a body 100 and a band 200. It should be understood that the body 100 and the band 200 are structures that are provided for the non-limiting purpose of illustrating the various features of the disclosure. It is contemplated that the teachings of the disclosure can be applied to dispensing containers formed from different structures.

Referring to FIG. 1, the illustrated body 100 includes a cavity 110 for storing products 310 (shown in FIG. 4). The illustrated body 100 is configured to have an ergonomic shape that can easily be handled by a user, to facilitate dispensing the products 310, and to receive the band 200. The illustrated body 100 is elongated with opposed ends 112a, 112b, includes a tubular structure with a substantially elliptical cross-section, and has substantially flat opposed sides 114a, 114b. Depressions 116a, 116b in the sides 114a, 114b are configured to receive a user's fingers to hold and orient the body 100. The body 100 can have various shapes. Where the body has a tubular structure, the cross section of the tubular structure can be circular, a polygon, and the like. Where the cross-section of the tubular structure is circular, the body can be substantially disc-shaped.

The body 100 further includes a channel 120 that is configured to receive the band 200. The width of the illustrated channel 120 is substantially equal to the width of the illustrated band 200 and the depth of the illustrated channel 120 is substantially equal to the thickness of the illustrated band 200. The channel 120 defines an endless path around the body 100 and includes a recessed base wall 122 and raised side walls 124a, 124b. The recessed base wall 122 is a portion of the tubular structure and has a substantially constant elliptical cross section. The illustrated side walls 124a, 124b are substantially parallel to one another and each define endless edges.

A body opening 130 is formed in the recessed base wall 122 of the channel 120. The body opening 130 is dimensioned and positioned to dispense products 310 from the cavity 110. In the illustrated embodiment, the body opening 130 is positioned proximate the first end 112a of the body 100. As the body 100 is oriented with the first end 112a below the second end 112b, the products 310 move to the first end 112a and come to rest against the inside surface of the recessed base wall 122 at the first end 112a where the products 310 are easily removed through the body opening 130. The narrow, tapered shape of the body 100 guides the products 310 toward the first end 112a. In alternative embodiments, the body 100 can include multiple openings and the openings can be alternatively positioned, for example, away from the ends 112a, 112b.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the illustrated band 200 is a substantially elongated panel with opposed ends 210a, 210b and opposed side edges 212a, 212b. The opposed side edges 212a, 212b are substantially parallel to one another and the width of the band 200 is substantially equal to the width of the channel 120. The band 200 includes a band opening 220 that is dimensioned and positioned to cooperate with the body opening 130 as described in further detail below. In alternative embodiments, the band can include multiple openings.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, an exemplary method of assembling the illustrated dispensing container 300 is now described. The band 200 is wrapped around the recessed base wall 122 of the body 100 with the ends 210a, 210b at least partially overlapping. The ends 210a, 210b are secured to one another with any of glue or other adhesive, VELCRO®, tape, staples, mechanical fasteners, combinations thereof, and the like. Thereby, the band 200 forms a tubular structure in which the tubular structure of the body 100 is nested.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, as the band 200 is received in the channel 120, the side edges 212a, 212b are endless and are proximate the side walls 124a, 124b. The side walls 124a, 124b can contact the side edges 212a, 212b to prevent the band 200 from exiting the endless path defined by the channel 120.

Referring to FIG. 3, to close the dispensing container 300, the band 200 is moved along the path defined by the channel 120 such that the band opening 220 is misaligned with the body opening 130. Referring to FIG. 4, to open the dispensing container 300, the band 200 is moved along the path such that the band opening 220 is misaligned with the body opening 130. Once the openings 130, 220 are aligned, products 310 can be dispensed from the cavity 110 as described above by orienting the body 100 such that the first end 112a is below the second end 112b and removing a product 310 through the aligned openings 130, 220.

The dispensing container 300 can be configured to be releasably secured in the closed condition or in the open condition. For example, the recessed base wall 122 can include a detent that can be received in recesses in the band 200. The position of each of the recesses corresponds to one of the band 200 position where the dispensing container 300 is in an open condition and the band 200 position where the dispensing container 300 is in a closed condition. Other combinations of elements can be substituted for the detent and recesses including VELCRO®, mechanical fasteners, notch and post arrangements, combinations thereof, and the like.

In alternative embodiments, the body 100 can include multiple cavities. For example, a longitudinal wall can extend between the ends 112a, 112b and bisect the body opening 130. Thereby, the body opening 130 allows access to each of the cavities. Alternatively, each cavity can have a body opening and the body openings and one or more band openings can be configured to not allow simultaneous access to the cavities.

The present disclosure has been illustrated in relation to a particular embodiment which is intended in all respects to be illustrative rather than restrictive. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the present disclosure is capable of many modifications and variations without departing from the scope of the disclosure. For example, as used herein, directional references such as “top”, “base”, “bottom”, “end”, “side”, “inner”, “outer”, “upper”, “middle”, “lower”, “front” and “rear” do not limit the respective parts of the dispensing container to such orientation, but merely serve to distinguish these walls from one another.

The above-described embodiments are merely exemplary illustrations of implementations set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Variations, modifications, and combinations may be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the scope of the claims. All such variations, modifications, and combinations are included herein by the scope of this disclosure and the following claims.

Claims

1. A dispensing container, comprising:

a body comprising a cavity and a first opening to the cavity; and
a band wrapped around the body, the band comprising a second opening.

2. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the band can move relative to the body.

3. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the band is substantially flexible.

4. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the band comprises a plurality of openings.

5. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the body comprises a plurality of openings.

6. The dispensing container of claim 5, comprising a plurality of bands.

7. The dispensing container of claim 5, wherein the band comprises a plurality of openings.

8. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the body comprises a plurality of cavities.

9. The dispensing container of claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of cavities comprises a respective opening.

10. The dispensing container of claim 9, comprising a plurality of bands.

11. The dispensing container of claim 9, wherein the band comprises a plurality of openings.

12. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the body is elongated and comprises a first end.

13. The dispensing container of claim 12, wherein the first opening is positioned proximate to the first end.

14. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein the body further comprises a channel.

15. The dispensing container of claim 14, wherein at least a portion of the band is configured to set in the channel.

16. The dispensing container of claim 14, wherein the channel defines an endless path around the body.

17. The dispensing container of claim 14, wherein the channel comprises the first opening.

18. The dispensing container of claim 14, wherein the channel comprises opposed side walls.

19. The dispensing container of claim 18, wherein at least a portion of opposed side edges of the band substantially contact at least a portion of the opposed side walls of the channel.

20. The dispensing container of claim 1, wherein each of the body and the band is configured such that the band can be releasably secured with respect to the body.

21. The dispensing container of claim 20, wherein the body includes a detent.

22. The dispensing container of claim 21, wherein the band includes a recess.

23. A dispensing container, comprising:

a first structure comprising an inner wall that at least partially defines a cavity, the inner wall comprising at least a first opening; and
a second structure comprising an outer wall comprising a second opening, the inner wall nesting inside the outer wall.

24. The dispensing container of claim 23, wherein the second structure at least partially defines the cavity.

25. The dispensing container of claim 23, wherein the first structure and the second structure are configured to be releasably secured to one another.

26. The dispensing container of claim 23, wherein one of the first structure and the second structure comprises a channel.

27. The dispensing container of claim 26, wherein the other of the first structure and the second structure comprises a rib that is received in the channel.

28. The dispensing container of claim 26, wherein the channel defines an endless path around the one of the first structure and the second structure.

29. The dispensing container of claim 26, wherein the channel comprises one of the first opening and the second opening.

Patent History

Publication number: 20100163561
Type: Application
Filed: May 22, 2008
Publication Date: Jul 1, 2010
Applicant: MEAD WESTVACO CORPORATION (Glen Allen, VA)
Inventors: Jeremy D. Mowery (Raleigh, NC), John A. Gelardi (Wake Forest, NC)
Application Number: 12/600,860

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Warped Cover Flexed Into Operative Position (220/305)
International Classification: B65D 83/04 (20060101);