Title:
Container configured for controllably dispensing flowable materials having a relatively thick consistency
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus configured for dispensing flowable materials comprises a canister, a straining member, a lid, means for pressurizing a cavity of the canister and a dispensing tube assembly. The canister has a fill port and means for pressurizing the canister. The straining member is removably mounted within the fill port. The lid is removably mounted on the fill port. The lid and the fill port are jointly configured for providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid is mounted on the fill port. The dispensing tube assembly is communicatively attached to the canister. The dispensing tube is configured for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly.



Inventors:
Hall, Jesse J. (Troutville, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/054222
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/09/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/399, 222/401, 222/566, 222/189.06
International Classes:
B65D83/14; B65D83/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICOLAS, FREDERICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond M. Galasso (Simon, Galasso & Frantz PLC P.O. Box 26503, Austin, TX, 78755-0503, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus configured for dispensing flowable materials, comprising: a canister having a fill port, means attached to the canister for pressurizing a cavity of the canister; a straining member removably mounted within the fill port; a lid removably mounted on the fill port, wherein the lid and the fill port are jointly configured for providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid is mounted on the fill port; and a dispensing tube assembly communicatively attached to the canister, wherein the dispensing tube is configured for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: the dispensing tube assembly is attached to the canister adjacent to a bottom portion of the canister; said means for pressurizing is attached to the canister adjacent to a top portion of the canister; and the fill port is attached to the canister adjacent the top portion of the canister.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a removable dispensing tip attached to the dispensing tube assembly, wherein the removable dispensing tip has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective-flow control of said flowable material.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, further comprising: a removable dispensing tip attached to the dispensing tube assembly, wherein the removable dispensing tip has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches and wherein the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the removable dispensing tip.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a removable dispensing tip attached to the dispensing tube assembly, wherein: said means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve; the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material; a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches; the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material; the removable dispensing tip has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches; and the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the removable dispensing tip.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein: the dispensing tube assembly is attached to the canister adjacent to a bottom portion of the canister; said means for pressurizing is attached to the canister adjacent to a top portion of the canister; and the fill port is attached to the canister adjacent the top portion of the canister.

11. A packaged product including components configured for facilitating dispensing of flowable materials, said components comprising: a canister having a fill port; means for pressurizing a cavity of the canister; a straining member configured for being removably mountable within the fill port; a lid configured for being removably mountable on the fill port, wherein the lid and the fill port are jointly configured for providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid is mounted on the fill port; a dispensing tube assembly configured for being communicatively attachable to the canister and for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly; and a plurality of removable dispensing tips configured for being individually attachable to the dispensing tube assembly, wherein a first one of said tips has a different outlet cross-sectional area than a second one of said tips.

12. The packaged product of claim 11 wherein said means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve.

13. The packaged product of claim 11 each one of said removable dispensing tips has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches.

14. The packaged product of claim 11 wherein a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches.

15. The packaged product of claim 14 wherein the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material.

16. The packaged product of claim 15 wherein: each one of said removable dispensing tips has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches; and the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the removable dispensing tip.

17. The packaged product of claim 11 wherein the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material.

18. The packaged product of claim 11 wherein: said means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve; each one of said removable dispensing tips has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches; a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches; the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material; the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the removable dispensing tip.

19. A packaged product configured for dispensing a flowable material, comprising: an enclosed canister having a fill port, wherein a cavity of the canister is at least partially filled with a flowable masonry material; means for pressurizing the cavity of the canister; a dispensing tube assembly communicatively attached to the canister for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly; and a plurality of removable dispensing tips configured for being individually attachable to the dispensing tube assembly, wherein a first one of said tips has a different outlet cross-sectional area than a second one of said tips.

20. The packaged product of claim 19 wherein: said means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve; each one of said removable dispensing tips has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches; a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches; the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of said flowable material; the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the removable dispensing tip.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to containers configured for holding flowable materials and, more particularly, to containers configured for selectively dispensing flowable materials from within.

BACKGROUND

Applying flowable construction materials, which have a relatively thick consistency, in a controlled and professional manner using conventional techniques is a time-consuming and tedious task. Flowable masonry materials such as grout and mortar are prime examples of such flowable construction materials. Roof patching materials, concrete patching materials, caulk, adhesives and the like are also examples of such flowable construction materials.

Conventional approaches for dispensing flowable construction materials exhibit one or more shortcomings. Pre-packaged tubes of material (e.g., tubes of caulk) offer relatively small volume and their associated cost is relatively high. Conventional buckets of material do not provide for selectively controlled and uniform dispensing. Conventional grout bags are physically demanding, offer limited control and uniformity of dispensing, and are prone to clogging. Accordingly, a container configured for dispensing flowable construction materials that have a relatively thick consistency and that overcomes the shortcomings of conventional approaches and/or apparatuses for dispensing flowable materials is novel, useful and advantageous.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Apparatuses in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein reduce the physical challenge associated with applying flowable materials having a relatively thick consistency (e.g., grout and mortar). Such apparatuses are operated by air pressure and, compared to conventional techniques, reduce the time to apply such materials by a significant and beneficial amount. These apparatuses are easy to operate and can accommodate a variety of different types of flowable construction materials. In addition to being easy to operate, they are less messy to use and are capable of holding significantly more flowable material than a conventional dispensing means (e.g., a grout bag).

In one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, an, apparatus configured for dispensing flowable materials comprises a canister, a straining member, means for pressurizing a cavity of the canister, a lid and a dispensing tube assembly. The canister has a fill port. The straining member is removably mounted within the fill port. The lid is removably mounted on the fill port. The lid and the fill port are jointly configured for providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid is mounted on the fill port. The dispensing tube assembly is communicatively attached to the canister. The dispensing tube is configured for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly.

In another embodiment, a packaged product includes components configured for facilitating dispensing of flowable materials. The components include a canister, a straining member, a lid, means for pressurizing a cavity of the canister, a dispensing tube assembly and a plurality of removable dispensing tips. The canister includes a fill port. The straining member is configured for being removably mountable within the fill port. The lid is configured for being removably mountable on the fill port. The lid and the fill port are jointly configured providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid is mounted on the fill port. The dispensing tube assembly is configured for being attachable to the canister and for enabling flowable material from within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly. The plurality of removable dispensing tips is configured for being individually attachable to the dispensing tube assembly. A first one of the tips has a different outlet cross-sectional area than a second one of the tips.

In another embodiment, a packaged product is configured for dispensing a flowable material, comprises an enclosed canister, means for pressurizing a cavity of the canister, a dispensing tube assembly and a plurality of removable dispensing tips. The canister has a fill port and means for pressurizing the canister. A cavity of the canister is at least partially filled with a flowable material having a relatively thick consistency. The dispensing tube assembly is communicatively attached to the canister for enabling flowable material within the cavity of the canister to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly. The plurality of removable dispensing tips is configured for being individually attachable to the dispensing tube assembly. A first one of the tips has a different outlet cross-sectional area than a second one of the tips.

A flowable material having a relatively thick consistency is defined herein to be a flowable material having a consistency that, under nominally atmospheric pressure, does not readily flow through a typical size orifice of a hand held, manually powered, and/or hand operated apparatus (e.g., an orifice smaller than about 0.2 square inches. Thus, such flowable materials are not capable of being readily, reliably and/or controllably dispensed through a dispensing tube assembly configured in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein. Grout and mortar are examples of flowable materials having such a relatively thick consistency.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the means for pressurizing includes at least one of an air hose coupling including a one-way check valve, a water hose coupling including a one-way check valve and a manual pump device including a one way check valve.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the dispensing tube assembly is attached to the canister adjacent to a bottom portion of the canister, the means for pressurizing is attached to the canister adjacent to a top portion of the canister and the fill port is attached to the canister adjacent the top portion of the canister.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a removable dispensing tip is attached to the dispensing tube assembly and has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches to about 0.2 square inches.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches, whereby the flow path is compatible with flowable materials having a relatively thick consistency.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the maximum outlet cross-sectional area of a set of provided removable dispensing tips.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the dispensing tube assembly includes a control valve for enabling selective flow control of the flowable material.

These and other objects and embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of an apparatus configured for dispensing flowable materials in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein.

FIG. 2 depicts a set of removable dispensing tips in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of an apparatus 10 configured for dispensing flowable materials in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein. The apparatus 10 includes a canister 12, a straining member 14, a lid 16, an air hose coupling 18, a dispensing tube assembly 20 and a dispensing tip 21. Preferably, but not necessarily, the canister 12, the straining member 14, the lid 16, the air hose coupling 18, the dispensing tube assembly 20 and the dispensing tip 21 are discrete components that are configured for being interconnected. In one example, the canister 12, the straining member 14, the lid 16, the air hose coupling 18 and the dispensing tube assembly 20 are respectively configured for enabling the straining member 14, the lid 16, the air hose coupling 18 and the dispensing tube assembly 20 to be attached to the canister 12. Similarly, the dispensing tube assembly 20 and the dispensing tip 21 are preferably, but not necessarily, configured for enabling the dispensing tip 21 to be detachably mounted on the dispensing tube assembly 20. The various components of the apparatus 12 may be made from one or more known materials (e.g., plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, composite lamination, etc).

The canister 12 includes a fill port 22 configured for having the lid 16 attached thereto. Preferably, but not necessarily, the fill port 22 is attached to the canister 12 adjacent a top portion of the canister 12. The straining member 14 is removably mounted within the fill port 22 and serves the purpose for preventing relatively large pieces of contaminants and/or the flowable material from clogging the dispensing tube assembly 20. A screen molded from plastic and a screen formed from metal are examples of the straining member 14.

The lid 16 is removably mounted on the fill port 22. The lid 16 and the fill port 22 are jointly configured for providing a substantially air-tight seal therebetween when the lid 16 is mounted on the fill port 22. In one embodiment, a seal (e.g., an O-ring) is mounted on the lid 16 or the fill port 22 for providing the substantially air-tight seal.

The canister 12 includes means for enabling the dispensing tube assembly 20 to be attached to the canister 12. A suitably configured port or nipple is an example of the means for enabling the dispensing tube assembly 20 to be attached to the canister 12. The dispensing tube assembly 20 is communicatively attached to the canister 16 and is configured for enabling flowable material within a cavity of the canister 12 to be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly 20. Preferably, but not necessarily, the dispensing tube assembly 20 is attached to the canister 12 adjacent a bottom portion of the canister 12, whereby pumping losses associated with gravity are reduced and head pressure generated by the flowable material are exploited.

The dispensing tube assembly 20 includes a control valve 23 and, preferably, but not necessarily, includes a flexible tube portion 24 and a rigid tube portion 26. In the depicted embodiment, the control valve 23 is connected between the flexible tube portion 24 and the rigid tube portion 26. The flexible tube portion is attached to the canister 12 in a manner enabling flowable material to be communicated from within the cavity of the canister 12 through the dispensing tube assembly 20. The control valve 23 is configured for enabling selective flow control of the flowable material.

The air hose coupling 18 is an example of a means for pressurizing the cavity of the canister 12. The air hose coupling 18 preferably, but not necessarily, includes a one-way check valve for limiting loss of pressurization through the air hose coupling 18. Through such pressurization, flowable material having a relatively thick consistency (e.g., grout and mortar) within the cavity of the canister 12 may be selectively dispensed through the dispensing tube assembly 20.

In use, an air hose is connected to the air hose coupling 18 for enabling air pressure (e.g., regulated air pressure) to pressurize the cavity of the canister 12. At least about 5 psi of pressurization will be required for suitable dispensing flow able materials such as grout and mortar. Accordingly, the canister 12, the lid 16, the filler port 22 and the dispensing tube assembly 20 need to be suitably configured for being exposed to at least about 5 psi of pressure (e.g., include o-ring seals as required).

The air hose coupling 18 may alternatively be replaced with an alternate means for pressurizing the cavity of the canister 12. Examples of such alternate means include, but are not limited to, a water hose coupling and an integral pump device, which each have a one-way check valve for limiting loss of pressurization (e.g., a manual or electrically operated hand pump device). Preferably, but not necessarily, the means for pressurizing the canister 12 is attached to the canister 12 adjacent a top portion of the canister 12.

To accommodate flowable materials with relatively thick consistencies (e.g., mortar and grout), it is preferred that a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly 20 have a suitably configured minimum cross-sectional area and that the minimum cross-sectional area of the flow path is at least the same as the outlet cross-sectional area of the dispensing tip 21. In this manner, suitable volumetric flow of the flowable material to the dispensing tip 21 will be maintained at a level suitable for providing a constant, reliable and dense delivery and dispensing of the flowable material. To provide for such suitable volumetric flow, in one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the control valve 23 includes a relatively large flow passage (e.g., a ball type valve), the dispensing tip 21 has an outlet cross-sectional area of from about 0.01 square inches (e.g., a round cross-sectional profile having about a ⅛″ diameter) to about 0.2 square inches (e.g., a round cross-sectional profile having about a ½″ diameter) and the minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is about 0.05 square inches (e.g., a round cross-sectional profile having about a ¼″ diameter). Preferably, the minimum cross-sectional area of a flow path defined by the dispensing tube assembly is not less than the cross sectional area of the outlet of the dispensing tip 21. While specific values of cross-sectional areas have been stated, they should not be considered as limited to such values. Actual cross sectional area may be larger and/or smaller than those disclosed herein.

It is disclosed herein that the apparatus 10 may be provided in the form of a packaged product that is sold in an assembled form or form that needs at least partial assembly. Where the apparatus is sold in a form that needs at least partial assembly, the components of the apparatus 12 are appropriately configured for being attachable to and/or mountable on related components. It is also disclosed that the packaged product may include a particular flowable material provided in cavity of the canister 12 and that the canister 12 is enclosed (e.g., the filler port 22 is permanently sealed closed by the manufacturer).

It is disclosed herein that the dispensing tip 21 may be fixedly or removably attached to the dispensing tube assembly 20. In the case where the dispensing tip 21 is fixedly attached to the dispensing tube assembly 20, the outlet cross-sectional area of the dispensing tip 21 is sized for providing typical and suitable dispensing characteristics for a plurality of different types of applications, flowable materials and/or material consistencies. In the case where in the dispensing tip 21 is removably attached to the dispensing tube assembly 20, a set 28 of removable dispensing tips 21, as depicted in FIG. 2, may be provided. In one embodiment, at least two of the set 28 of removable dispensing tips 21 have different size outlets 30. In this manner, the set 28 of removable dispensing tips 21 may accommodate a plurality of different types of applications, flowable materials and/or material consistencies.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, chemical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of such inventive disclosures. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.





 
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