Title:
DISPENSER ASSEMBLY AND METHOD
United States Patent 3824633


Abstract:
A disposable dispenser for fluid-soluble chemicals that must be slowly released at prescribed times, and a method of manufacture of the chemical and the dispenser in unitary form. The novel chemical composition has a relatively high melting point which permits it to be cast into a substantially imperforate protective cup in a fluid condition, and thereafter allowed to set, thereby becoming unitary with the dispenser. In one manufacture embodiment, the chemical solidifies around appropriate attaching means in the cup in a ready-for-use position. One embodiment of the article is a dispenser for antiseptic and/or deodorizing chemicals for a urinal. The chemical is protected from direct action of urine by a substantially imperforate, inverted cup in which the chemical is located. A perforated flange serves to support the dispenser cup in the desired location within the urinal while also serving to allow effective drainage of the urine. The fluid soluble chemical is released in desired amounts only at the effective time of flushing by the turbulence of the flush water. The chemical-water solution then uniformly washes and deodorizes the urine receptable to provide protection from odor, bacteria and disease. The chemical is not again released from the dispenser until flushing occurs at a later time.



Inventors:
VAN VLAHAKIS E
Application Number:
05/294102
Publication Date:
07/23/1974
Filing Date:
10/02/1972
Assignee:
VENUS LABOR INC,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/222
International Classes:
E03D13/00; (IPC1-7): E03D13/00; E03D9/02
Field of Search:
4/109,222,223,231,232,294
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3597772LAVATORY SANITATION BODIES1971-08-10Leavitt
3538520LAVATORY SANITATION BODIES1970-11-10Leavitt
2201530Receptacle and manner of supporting the same1940-05-21Fulol



Primary Examiner:
Artis, Henry K.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dulin, Esq. Jacques M.
Claims:
I claim

1. A disposable dispenser assembly for dispensing fluid-soluble chemicals comprising in unitary combination:

2. The dispenser assembly of claim 1 wherein the substantially imperforate cup is a transparent material.

3. The dispenser assembly of claim 1 wherein the perforated flange and the substantially imperforate cup are molded of a transparent polyolefin.

4. The dispenser assembly of claim 1 wherein the substantially imperforate cup includes means for holding said fluid-soluble chemical in a ready-for-use position within the cup.

5. The dispenser assembly of claim 1 wherein the dispenser is adapted for use in a urinal to provide for dissolution of a fluid-soluble chemical only at times of flushing.

6. The dispenser assembly of claim 5 wherein said fluid-soluble chemical includes a washing agent.

7. The dispenser assembly of claim 6 wherein said fluid-soluble chemical includes germicidal and deodorizing agents.

8. The dispenser assembly of claim 5 wherein said fluid-soluble chemical comprises:

9. The dispenser assembly of claim 8 wherein said acid is selected from phosphoric and citric.

10. The dispenser assembly of claim 8 which includes a colorant thereby indicating by color-coding the chemical contained in the dispenser assembly, and visably indicating when the chemical has been exhausted.

Description:
FIELD

The application relates to dispensers generally and a method of their manufacture. More specifically, the invention relates to dispensers containing fluid-soluble chemicals for selectively dispensing upon contact with solvents for the chemicals. The dispenser is disposable and is simply manufactured in such a manner that the chemical is not wasted. A non-limiting embodiment is a urinal dispenser for controlled release of sanitizing and deodorizing chemicals. Other uses involve dispensing of plant foods and systemics, and animal foods, vitamins, or antibiotics with feed or wash water.

BACKGROUND

One of the earliest efforts at providing health protection for urinals was to use a solid block of para-dichlorobenzene (PDB). These blocks were not positioned in the urinal in any particular way since they were merely tossed in the urinal. Since PDB sublimed at room temperature, it had a characteristic odor in use. However, PDB is substantially insoluble in water. As a result, the PDB was evaporating continuously rather than being used at the proper time of flushing. The blocks evaporated whether or not needed, thus requiring frequent replacement. Because of the relatively rapid, continuous attrition by evaporation, replacement was often missed, in which case there was no protection provided. Since PDB is highly crystalline the blocks tended to crack in use, with the pieces either being flushed away or lodged out of position in the urinal.

Later, perfumes and germicides were added to PDB blocks. This improved the properties of the blocks to provide some cleaning and odor-covering effect. However, the blocks still sublimed at room temperature and were insoluble in water. The feast-or-famine problem of unnecessary use at some times followed by no use at others was not solved. There also remained the problem of non-uniform distribution of the chemical, since the perfumed PDB blocks were still merely thrown into the urinal and oftentimes cracked.

Another approach was to anchor PDB blocks by means of a wire loop hooked over the edge of the urinal or toilet. In an analogous fashion, exposed blocks have been secured to a plastic screen backing. Neither of these methods prevented cracking or subliming.

Most recently, PDB or urine-soluble chemical blocks have been provided in a two-piece assembly composed of a separate screen and an open mesh cup secured to the screen. This did not solve the problem of continuous sublimation in the case of a PDB block being placed in the screen mesh cup. In the case of fluid-soluble chemicals, there remains the problem of wasteful attrition of the chemical by the direct action of the urine impinging on the exposed blocks. Of course, introduction of excess chemicals into the water supply also aggravates the pollution of the water.

In all of the aforementioned methods, the blocks and holder parts were manufactured separately and then assembled in expensive, multistep operations.

The need persists for an easily manufactured, fluid-soluble chemical and dispenser assembly that acts to sanitize and deodorize the urine receptacle in a selective manner, i.e., only during the effective time of flushing.

THE INVENTION

Objects

It is among the objects of the present invention to provide a fluid-soluble chemical and dispenser assembly for selectively dispensing the chemical by fluid action.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved, disposable, fluid-soluble chemical and dispenser assembly for a urinal.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a fluid-soluble chemical dispenser of simple design and compact size.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a universal fluid-soluble chemical dispenser that can be used to dispense diverse chemicals according to need for any desired operation involving dissolution of chemicals by a fluid.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a fluid-soluble chemical dispenser which can be used to dispense fluid-soluble compositions of vitamins, fertilizers, feed supplements, antibiotics, worming agents, insecticides, systemics, to animals and plants through their feed or wash water supply.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a simple, economical process of manufacture of a chemical-containing dispenser by utilizing the dispenser as a mold for the fluid-soluble chemical.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an optional means for securing a fluid-soluble chemical to a dispenser and method of manufacture.

These and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be set forth in more detail below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a fluid-soluble chemical and dispenser assembly adapted for dispensing chemicals only at selected times, in desired amounts, in a substantially uniform fashion. In a principal embodiment, the dispenser comprises an inverted, substantially imperforate cup in which the fluid-soluble chemical is disposed. In use, the assembly is placed in a fluid receptacle in such a manner that the chemical is supported above the normal fluid level by the perforated flange. The fluid-soluble chemical is protected from direct fluid action by the substantially imperforate cup. However, when the fluid level rises, or turbulence in the receptacle is high, the fluid is able to make contact with the exposed undersurface of the chemical. The chemical then dissolves in a preselected quantity into the receptacle area. The dispenser and fluid-soluble chemical are simply manufactured in a unitary assembly by pouring the chemical into the protective cup in a fluid state and allowing it to set. Optionally, appropriate attaching means is provided in the cup to assist in securing the chemical to the dispenser cup in a position ready for use.

DRAWINGS AND DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the following figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is an inverted perspective view of one embodiment of a dispenser in accordance with this invention showing the method of filling the dispenser with a fluid-soluble chemical in a molten condition during manufacture;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a dispenser in accord with the invention in a use position;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a dispenser in accord with the invention, taken along the line 3--3 in FIG. 2.

Referring to FIG. 2, the unitary dispenser assembly 1 includes a substantially imperforate protective dispenser cup 2 and a perforated flange 3, shown around the periphery of the cup. The position of the flange 3 around the periphery of the dispenser cup 2 is by way of illustration only and not by way of limitation. The cup 2 can be placed in any desired location with respect to the flange 3. For example, the flange may be placed part way up the side wall 6 of the cup 2, rather than be coordinate with the lower edge. The cup and flange are molded, for example, by injection molding, in a unitary fashion. The perforated flange 3 serves to retain the dispenser cup 2 in the desired location within a fluid receptacle such as a urinal 20, as illustrated in FIG. 2, while also serving to allow effective drainage of the fluid, as shown by the arrows, down drain 21.

FIG. 1 illustrates the dispenser assembly being filled with a fluid-soluble chemical 4 in a fluid state during manufacture. The method of manufacture consists of molding the unitary dispenser cup 2 and perforated flange 3, thereby forming the appropriate dispenser assembly; preparing the chemical 4 in a fluid state; and then pouring the chemical into the protective cup 2 in the inverted position as shown in FIG. 1. Thus, the inverted dispenser cup acts as a mold for the chemical with the dispenser assembly 1 receiving the fluid chemical 4 and retaining it within the dispenser cup 2 until sufficient time has passed to allow the chemical 4 to solidify, dry or set. Once the chemical 4 has set, dried or solidified, the dispenser assembly 1 and the fluid-soluble chemical 4 becomes a unitary assembly. The dispenser assembly 1 is then ready for use or packaging.

While fluid solution compositions of chemicals may be employed, I prefer to use meltable compositions for ease in manufacture, since drying is not required. By way of example, if the dispenser assembly 1 is to be used for dispensing chemicals in a urinal, a typical composition for a fluid-soluble chemical 4 may include non-ionic surfactants containing a high percentage of ethylene oxide in sufficient quantity to have a melting point above approximately 100° F. Water-soluble polymeric materials of relatively high melting point may then be added as desired to control the melting point of the fluid-soluble chemical 4 so that it can be assured that the chemical will not melt at ambient use temperatures, but will dissolve in the wash or feed water at the required rate. Control of the melting point permits use of various kinds of plastic or other materials such as metal or treated paper, for the dispenser assembly. Where a meltable composition is used, the melting point should be lower than the fusion point of the plastic or other dispenser assembly material.

In addition to the non-ionic surfactants, acids, such as phosphoric and citric, may be employed in the chemical composition to produce a low pH to neutralize urine bases and form soluble, noncorrosive urine salts. Essential oils and colorants may also be added to enhance the odor characteristics and physical appearance of the product. Germicidal components are preferably added to reduce the bacterial count on urinal surfaces.

Other embodiments of the dispenser assembly include specific chemical compositions containing fluid-soluble components, such as vitamins, fertilizers, feed supplements, antibiotics, worming agents, insecticides, purifiers, and systemics to animals and plants through feed or wash water supplies.

No matter what fluid-soluble chemical 4 is used, an optional means for securing the chemical to the cup may be employed. Referring to FIG. 3, projection 5 assists in securing the chemical 4 in a position ready for use within the dispenser cup 2. The fluid chemical 4 poured into the dispenser cup 2 solidifies around the projection 5 securing the chemical 4 in the cup 2.

The perforated flange 3 may be of any durable material having sufficient rigidity to support the cup 2 in use in the fluid receptacle above the normal fluid level, as illustrated in FIG. 2, while at the same time allowing for complete fluid drainage through the flange. The substantially imperforate dispenser cup 2 acts to protect the fluid-soluble chemical 4 from direct fluid action from above the dispenser assembly 1. The dispenser assembly 1 is accordingly of sufficient strength and durability to last for the life of the fluid-soluble chemical 4 and is sufficiently economical to be disposed of upon completion of use.

Typical materials useful for molding the assembly include polyolefins such as polyethylene, polypropylene and the like, styrene or styrene-butadient polymers or copolymers, ABS, acrylics, urethanes, polyvinyl chloride, and the like. I prefer thermoplastic polymers of the polyolefin type.

The perforated flange 3 supports the dispenser assembly 1 in such a manner that only when the fluid level in the fluid receptacle rises, or when the turbulence of fluid in the receptacle is high, will the fluid make contact with the exposed undersurface of the chemical 4. The chemical 4 then dissolves in a preselected quantity into the receptacle area. In this way, the chemical 4 is not wasted and it is economical to dispose of the dispenser assembly 1 upon complete exhaustion of the chemical 4.

The dispenser assembly 1 is preferably of a transparent polymer in order to make it possible to determine when the chemical 4 has been completely exhausted so that a replacement dispenser may be immediately installed and the empty dispenser discarded. In addition to the transparency of the dispenser, the easy determination of the need for a replacement dispenser is aided by placing colorants in the fluid-soluble chemicals 4. In fact, it is highly desirable to color code the chemicals, especially where the dispenser 1 is being used in connection with one of the many varied uses possible for animal or plant. By color-coding the chemicals it is possible to quickly and easily determine that the desired chemical is being administered at any one time.

It should be noted that the triangular, or V-shape, of the dispenser assembly shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 is merely by way of illustration and not by way of limitation. By utilizing the teachings revealed in this disclosure a person of ordinary skill in the art will now be able to design a dispenser assembly in a shape suitable for any particular operation. Accordingly, the dispenser assembly may be of any suitable shape and size and the dispenser cup and perforated flange may be suitably related to perform any desired fluid-soluble chemical dispensing operation.

Another embodiment of the dispenser assembly in connection with plants is to dispense fluid-soluble systemics of a well-known type in a manner consistent with the peculiar needs of a particular plant. For instance, roses should only be watered at the base. Accordingly, the dispenser assembly may be placed adjacent a bubbler located in a bed of roses in a position near the base of the roses by a suitable designed perforated flange. The bubbler may then leach out the systemic in a desired amount while the dispenser assembly shields the petals and upper stems of the roses from the bubbling water.

A further embodiment of the dispenser assembly is to provide a dispenser cup having a selected amount of perforations in the top face 1 on side wall 6 of the cup 2. This embodiment may be employed when it is desired to dispense fluid-soluble chemicals from both fluid action on the under-surface of the chemical and direct fluid action from the side or above the dispenser. For instance, when using the dispenser to dispense systemics to plants, it may be desirable to permit dissolution of the systemic both at regular times of watering through use of a bubbler and during periods of natural percipitation through direct action of the water upon the perforated dispensing cup. Accordingly, the amount of perforation can be varied depending upon whether a high or low level of chemical dispensing is desired during periods of uncontrolled fluid action. I prefer that any perforation of the dispenser cup be limited to around the base of the inverted cup, i.e. adjacent the juncture of the flange and cup side wall 6.

It is to be understood that various modifications within the scope of this invention can be made by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit thereof. I therefore wish my invention to be defined by the scope of the appended claims as broadly as the prior art will permit, and in view of this specification if need be.