DEVICE FOR DISPENSING MATERIAL
A device for dispensing material comprising a pressurized container assembly, a tilt action valve connected to the container assembly, and a two-piece actuator, including a lower piece and an upper piece, where the upper piece has a discharge nozzle orifice and also a portion to be moved by a user in the single direction of the discharge orifice to open the tilt action valve and discharge the material in the single direction.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/362,534, filed Jul. 8, 2010.FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to devices for dispensing material, particularly high viscosity material including, but not limited to, oral care substances such as denture adhesives.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Dispensers that are difficult to operate can be of concern to consumers, particularly those with limited manual dexterity and/or eyesight. Although a product may be excellent, if it is in a dispenser that is hard to operate, a consumer may settle for another product that is in an easier to operate dispenser.
Many products are dispensed through pressurized containers. One example of a pressurized dispensing system is the bag-in-can system. In such a system, a valve, such as a tilt action valve, is sealed on a can, which contains a bag. Inside the bag is the product to be dispensed, and outside of the bag but within the can is a propellant. The user moves an actuator that is attached to the valve, which causes the valve to open. When the valve opens, the propellant pushes against the bag, forcing the product out of the bag and through the valve. A nozzle on top of the actuator may control the spread of the dispensed product. Other pressurized containers include the bag-on-valve system or a piston-in-can system.
One challenge of these pressurized container systems for consumers can be the ergonomics of holding the can while pressing the actuator. Certain strength and motor control is required, especially if the product needs to be dispensed in a very controlled manner. In addition, many actuators may be manipulated in any direction to open a tilt action valve, causing unpredictability as to what direction the product will be dispensed. All of these difficulties are especially acute if the user has limited vision and/or manual dexterity.
Therefore, there remains a need for dispensing devices, including pressurized container systems with tilt action valves, that are easy to operate and that offer controlled dispensing of the product. There remains a need for such devices to have actuators that are simple for the user to manipulate. There remains a need for such devices to be able to dispense very viscous material, while not requiring strenuous effort on the part of the user.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a device for dispensing material, particularly high viscosity material including, but not limited to, oral care substances such as denture adhesives. The present invention relates to a device for dispensing material comprising a pressurized container assembly, a tilt action valve, and a two-piece actuator, including a lower piece and an upper piece, where the upper piece has a discharge nozzle orifice and also a portion to be moved by a user in the single direction of the discharge orifice to open the tilt action valve and discharge the material in the single direction.
The accompanying figures show non-limiting embodiments of devices for dispensing material that incorporate various aspects of the present invention.
While the specification concludes with claims that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention, it is believed the present invention will be better understood from the following description.
Referring to the drawings,
The pressurized container assembly may be one of many known in the art. In some embodiments, a bag-in-can aerosol assembly may be used, similar to that known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,393,842, issued Jul. 23, 1968 to Bruce et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 6,196,275, issued Mar. 6, 2001 to Yazawa et al. disclose bag-in-can aerosol assemblies of the type that may be used in the present invention. Another pressurized container assembly that may be used in the present device is the bag-on-valve assembly, in which the bag containing the material to be dispensed is connected directly on the valve. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,523,767, issued Apr. 28, 2009 to Pericard offers disclosure and examples of bag-on-valve assemblies. Other embodiments may comprise a piston can assembly, also known as bag-in-piston or piston-in-can assembly, for example, as disclosed in US 2007/0184010, published Aug. 9, 2007. In other embodiments, the pressurized container assembly may be a tube-in-sleeve assembly, for example those disclosed U.S. application Ser. Nos. 13/085,677 filed Apr. 13, 2011 and 13/092,577 filed Apr. 22, 2011. Those with ordinary skill in the art would understand that any of these or other pressurized container assemblies may be used in the present device.
One type of valve assembly that may be used with pressurized dispensing systems, such as the bag-in-can assembly, may be a tilt action valve. In general, the tilt action valve of the present invention may be similar to those known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,824,075, issued Apr. 25, 1989 to Holzboog and U.S. Pat. No. 5,785,301, issued Jul. 28, 1998 to Scheindel disclose tilt action valves of the type that may be used in the present invention. Other examples of valves and valve systems are disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0133301 to Chan et al., published on Jun. 3, 2010, along with those disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2010/0133295 to Chan et al., published on Jun. 3, 2010.
Some embodiments may comprise a high delivery rate tilt action valve, which allows for dispensing of high viscosity materials. One of ordinary skill in the art would be familiar with valves that are considered high delivery rate valves.
High viscosity materials may include, but are not limited to, denture adhesives such as those described in U.S. published applications 2007/0185233, to Rajaiah et al., published Aug. 9, 2007 and 2009/0239972, to Rajaiah et al., published Sep. 24, 2009. In some embodiments, the viscosity of the material to be dispensed by the present invention is greater than about 300 Pa-s. In other embodiments, the viscosity may be greater than about 400 Pa-s, greater than about 500 Pa-s, or greater than about 600 Pa-s. In some embodiments, the viscosity may be any combination of the range from about 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, or 600 Pa-s to about 400, 500, 600, 1000, 2000, 4000, or 6000 Pa-s. In some embodiments, the viscosity of the material to be dispensed from the present invention may be from about 300 Pa-s to about 6000 Pa-s, in other embodiments from about 300 Pa-s to about 3000 Pa-s, in other embodiments from about 400 Pa-s to about 2000 Pa-s, and in still other embodiments from about 500 Pa-s to about 1000 Pa-s. (Viscosities are measured by the test method disclosed in US published application 2009/0239972).
The present invention also comprises an actuator. The actuator of the present invention has two pieces, an upper piece and a lower piece. One purpose for the actuator to be two pieces, rather than just one, is to restrict the movement of the tilt action valve to a single direction. As can be seen in
Another advantage of the two-piece actuators of the present invention is that replacement is possible for just the upper piece. A common problem in dispensing devices is the clogging of the nozzle and actuator in general that can make the remaining material unusable. Should the material become clogged, a possible solution may be to replace just the upper piece of the actuator, allowing the lower piece and its connections to the rest of the device to remain unaltered.
There are several benefits to limiting the dispersion of the material to a single direction. The single direction of dispersion gives a specific orientation for the user. It is clear to the user how to hold the device and how to move the actuator, and it is also easy for the user to control and direct the material being dispensed. The present invention can require less strength and/or motor control than a device that dispenses in numerous directions. Additionally, a user of the present invention may dispense material while easily viewing the area that it is being dispensed into. In some embodiments, the angle between the can and either the length of the nozzle or the direction of the dispensed material may be small, from about 10 degrees to about 90 degrees, in some embodiments from about 30 degrees to about 70 degrees, further aiding visibility and control for the user. A user may also hold the device and dispense the material easily with just one hand. This may be especially useful if the material to be dispensed, for example, is a denture adhesive, whereby the user could hold the denture in one hand and apply the denture adhesive onto the denture with the present device. Also, the small angle created between the length of the can and either the length of the nozzle or the direction of the dispensed material allows a user to dispense the material in a downward direction without tilting the can very much or not at all.
The present invention, as it relates to dispensing a denture adhesive, and more particularly a high-viscosity denture adhesive, is especially advantageous. Denture adhesives have typically been contained in tubes and dispensed by the user simply squeezing the tube. But such denture adhesives are known to have difficulties such as oozing and erosion. Some newer formulas for denture adhesives have higher viscosities, offering consumers the benefits of minimizing the oozing and/or erosion difficulties. But these higher viscosity denture adhesives could be difficult to dispense from a tube, meaning they necessitate new dispensing solutions. The present invention offers not only a solution to the increased force required to dispense a higher viscosity material from a container, but also provides benefits critical to the needs of denture adhesive users. For example, the advantages of the restriction of movement to a single direction or a limited range of directions, the small angle between the can and the dispensed material that aids visibility, and the one-handed operation all allow dispensing with less strength and/or motor coordination. The combined benefits of the two-piece actuator of the present devices provides intuitiveness and helps to overcome limited dexterity and eyesight.
Other advantages of the present invention include that the portion of the upper piece to be moved by the user, that is, the actuator button, may be off-center. The button may also be relatively large, having a surface area of any combination in the range of about 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0 square centimeters to about 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, or 5.0 square centimeters. The large surface area may make it easier for a user to move the actuator button because the user may use a finger or a thumb, or even multiple fingers and/or thumb to move the actuator button.
The nozzle portion of the upper piece of the actuator comprises a discharge nozzle orifice. In some embodiments, the nozzle length, shape, and profile are designed to allow the material to be dispensed in narrow crevices. The nozzle length and shape of the nozzle may also contribute to good visibility of the nozzle tip as the user dispenses the material. In general, the entire two-piece actuator may have an outer surface that decreases in cross-section from the lower piece toward the discharge nozzle orifice.
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While restriction of the upper piece to movement in a single direction aids in the simplicity and ease of use for the present invention, some embodiments of the present invention may be able to dispense a material in a slightly wider zone. In some embodiments, the entire actuator may be pivotable about the longitudinal axis within a sector subtending 90 degrees. Within this 90 degrees, the upper piece may be pivotable about any axis perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. In effect, this allows the user to dispense the material within a sector of 90 degrees. Thus, the user still has the ease and predictability of a restricted direction for the dispensed material, but there is a greater range.
The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as “40 mm” is intended to mean “about 40 mm.”
All documents cited in the Detailed Description of the Invention are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; the citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention. To the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this written document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to the term in this written document shall govern.
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is to be understood that the scope of the claims is not limited to the specific components, methods, conditions, devices, or parameters described herein, and that the terminology used herein is not intended to be limiting of the claimed invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of the invention.
1. A device for dispensing material, said device comprising:
- (a) a pressurized container assembly;
- (b) a tilt action valve connected to said container assembly; and
- (c) a two-piece actuator mechanism, including a lower piece and an upper piece, said upper piece with a discharge nozzle orifice, said upper piece having a portion to be moved by a user in a single direction of said discharge orifice to open said tilt action valve and discharge material in said direction.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said tilt action valve has a stem and wherein said lower piece of said actuator has a slot through which said upper piece extends to communicate with said tilt action valve stem.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the pressurized container assembly is a bag-in-can aerosol assembly.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the portion of the upper piece to be moved by a user has a surface area from about 2.0 square centimeters to about 4.0 square centimeters.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein the viscosity of said material is from about 300 Pa-s to about 3000 Pa-s.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein said material is a denture adhesive.
7. The device of claim 1, wherein the angle between the length of the pressurized container assembly and the direction of the discharged material is from about 10 degrees to about 90 degrees.
8. The device of claim 1, wherein the user may dispense the material by using one hand.
9. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cover about said two-piece actuator.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein said tilt action valve has a high delivery rate.
11. The device of claim 1, wherein said two-piece actuator has an outer surface which decreases in cross section from said lower piece toward said discharge nozzle orifice.
12. The device of claim 1, wherein said material is dispensed only in the direction that said upper piece portion is moved.
13. A two-piece actuator mechanism having a longitudinal axis, including a lower piece complementary to an upper piece, said upper piece being pivotable about a single axis perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.
14. The actuator of claim 13, wherein said upper piece has an extending portion that fits into a slot in said lower piece.
15. The actuator of claim 14, wherein a stem of a tilt action valve protrudes through the slot of the lower piece in the opposite direction from the upper piece extending portion and fits inside the upper piece extending portion, wherein the pivoting of the upper piece opens the valve, allowing a material to dispense through the valve.
16. The actuator of claim 15, wherein the valve is connected to a container having an inner chamber with the material to be dispensed therein and an outer chamber with propellant therein.
17. The actuator of claim 15, wherein the material to be dispensed is a denture adhesive.
18. A two-piece actuator mechanism having a longitudinal axis, including a lower piece complementary to an upper piece, said lower piece having a slot through which said upper piece extends to communicate with a stem of a tilt action valve, said actuator being pivotable about said longitudinal axis within a sector subtending 90 degrees.
19. The actuator of claim 18, wherein said upper piece is pivotable about axes perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.
20. The actuator of claim 19, wherein the relative motion between said upper and lower pieces opens the valve, allowing a material to flow through the valve.
International Classification: B65D 83/00 (20060101);