Title:
Container and a lock therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a container which consists of a container body or a lower part and a lock and is characterized in that the lower part of the container and/or the lock are elastically deformable by a high restoring force at least in one parallel area in order to produce vacuum in the closed container.



Inventors:
Schlattl, Oliver (Passau, DE)
Schlattl, Ralph (Ruderting, DE)
Application Number:
10/565543
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/23/2004
Assignee:
ALFA-PRO PRODUCTS GMBH (Ruderting, DE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/524.8, 206/544, 220/913
International Classes:
B65D81/20; A45C11/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090050520Construct for heating a rounded food item in a microwave ovenFebruary, 2009Cambay
20070068831Method and apparatus for collecting sharpsMarch, 2007Klein
20030111359Pocket-held containerJune, 2003Seliga et al.
20040173492Reclosable packages and method for forming, filling and sealing such packagesSeptember, 2004James Jr. et al.
20060138002TOILET BRUSH AND HOLDERJune, 2006Gillissie et al.
20080087561Topping ToolApril, 2008Faller et al.
20060251833Films for inflatable cushionsNovember, 2006Gavin et al.
20070163895Combination personal care products and air freshenersJuly, 2007Kirby et al.
20090250362Protective Transport BagOctober, 2009Melmon et al.
20090045077Coin book operable to display rim of coinFebruary, 2009Counts
20040060840Container identification systemApril, 2004Williams et al.



Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Welsh Flaxman & Gitler (2000 Duke Street , Suite 100, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container with a container body or lower element and with a closure, characterized in that the lower container element and/or the closure is elastically deformable in at least one partial section with a high restoring force for creating a vacuum in the closed container.

2. The container according to claim 1, wherein the lower container element and/or the closure are formed at least in one partial section by a wall section made of an elastic material with a high restoring force.

3. The container according to claim 1, wherein the lower container element and/or the closure outside of the at least one elastically deformable wall section is made of a hard material.

4. The container according to claim 3, wherein the at least one elastically deformable wall section is formed by a membrane-like wall section of the closure.

5. The container according to claim 1, wherein the at least one elastically deformable partial section is formed by an accordion-like wall section of the closure and/or of the lower container element.

6. The container according claim 1, wherein the at least one elastically deformable partial section is formed by a convex wall section forming a bulge or a reduction.

7. The container according to claim 1, further comprising means on the at least one elastically deformable section for increasing the restoring force.

8. The container according to claim 1, wherein at least one ventilation opening that can be closed by a sealing element is provided on the closure and/or on the lower container element.

9. The container according to claim 8, wherein the ventilation opening is provided in the container closure or lid.

10. The container according to claim 8, wherein the ventilation opening is provided in the container body or in the lower container element.

11. The container according to claim 8, wherein the sealing element of the at least one ventilation opening is a manually controllable valve.

12. The container according to claim 8, wherein the sealing element on the ventilation opening is an automatic valve.

13. The container according to claim 12, wherein the valve comprises a valve body, which comprises an elastic or spring-action section that works together with a valve seat on the ventilation opening.

14. The container according to claim 13, wherein the valve body consists of a first section made of a hard material for fastening the valve body and of an elastically deformable section provided on the first section that works together with the valve.

15. The container according to claim 14, wherein the valve body is made of plastic, using the two-component injection molding process.

16. The container according to claim 1, wherein the elastically deformable wall section is manufactured as one piece with the container closure and/or the container body or lower element, made of plastic using the two-component injection molding process.

17. The container according to claim 1, wherein the at least one deformable section is formed by an element that is connected with the container closure and/or the container body or lower element, by gluing, welding or joining.

18. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container closure is fastened on the container body or lower element in an airtight and/or gastight manner.

19. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure comprises an edge forming a circular groove and that when the container is closed one edge of the lower container element is held by a groove.

20. The container according to claim 19, wherein the groove and the edge of the container body or lower container element comprise a self-sealing, wedge-shaped or approximately wedge-shaped cross section.

21. The container according to claim 19, wherein a circular seal is provided in the groove and/or a circular seal made of a soft elastic material is provided on the edge of the lower container element or container body.

22. The container according to claim 21, wherein the seal is fastened to the closure and/or on the container body or lower element, for example by being molded on, using a two-component injection molding process.

23. The container according to claim 19, wherein the groove holding the edge of the container body or lower element is formed by a groove of a circular seal.

24. The container according to claim 1, wherein the at least one elastically deformable section is formed by a seal between the closure and the container body or lower element.

25. The container according to claim 1, comprising a container for keeping food fresh with a lower container element and a container lid.

26. The container according to claim 25, wherein the elastically deformable section is a section of the container lid.

27. The container according to claim 25, wherein the elastic deformable section is formed by an elastically deformable wall section.

28. The container according to claim 25, wherein the elastically deformable section is formed by an accordion-like section of the walls of the container body.

29. The container according to claim, wherein the elastically deformable section is formed by a convex section with reinforcing elements.

30. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container body is designed as a can.

31. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container closure is linked to the container body and/or can be locked on the container body by means of a bent-lever closure.

32. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container is a butter dish with a dome-shaped container lid and an essentially bottle-shaped lower container element.

33. The container according to claim 32, wherein the deformable section on the container lid is designed for example in the form of an accordion-like section.

34. The container according to claim 32, wherein the deformable section is formed by a seal between the container lid and the lower container element.

35. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container in a closed condition is deformed by the at least one elastic section in the direction of the container axis and/or radially to the container axis.

36. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container closure can be screwed onto the container body or the lower container element.

37. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure can be pressed onto the container body or the lower container element.

38. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container body and/or the closure or the container lid are designed so that the containers can be stacked.

39. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container body or the lower container element has a round, oval or square cross section.

40. The container according to claim 1, wherein the container body or the lower container element is a bottle.

41. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure is formed by a cap with an inner seal that can be placed on the mouth of the bottle, wherein the cap is made of the permanently elastic material in at least one partial section of its bottom.

42. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure forms an outwardly closed hollow body, which when the closure is placed on the container is connected with the interior of the container, and that the hollow body is made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force at least in one partial section of its peripheral wall.

43. The container according to claim 42, wherein the elastic material with a high restoring force is an elastomer.

44. The container according to claim 1, comprising means for increasing the restoring force of material sections made of a permanently elastic material, preferably material sections provided in grooves in the accordion-like wall section, ring-shaped material sections enclosing the container on its periphery.

45. The container according to claim 1, comprising a sealing element forming the elastically deformable section has a cross section with a larger cross section side in the axis direction parallel to the container axis than in an axis direction extending perpendicular to the same.

46. The container according to claim 1, comprising means for limiting the movement stroke of the at least one elastic section, by belts or stops bridging the at least one elastically deformable section.

47. The container according claim 1, wherein the at least one elastically deformable section is formed by a reduction or bulge enclosing the container axis in a ring-shaped manner.

48. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure consists of a ring-shaped closure body with a seal that can be placed on the respective container and of a membrane closing the opening of the ring-shaped closure body, said membrane being made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force.

49. The container according to claim 48, wherein the closure body forms a protruding edge on one side opposing the seal.

50. The container according to claim 48, wherein the closure comprises a closure body designed as a hollow body with an opening enclosed by a ring seal and that the hollow body is made in at least one partial section of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force.

51. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure is a re-closable closure for closing a container until the contents of the container are ultimately consumed.

52. The container according to claim 1, wherein the closure and/or the container body outside of the elastically deformable section are made of a material other than plastic, such as glass or metal.

53. A closure for a container, wherein the closure is elastically deformable in at least one partial section with a high restoring force for creating a vacuum in the closed container.

54. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure at least in one partial section of one wall section is formed from an elastic material with a high restoring force.

55. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure outside of the at least one elastically deformable wall section is made of a hard material.

56. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the at least one elastically deformable wall section is formed from a membrane-like wall section of the closure.

57. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the at least one elastically deformable partial section is formed from an accordion-like wall section of the closure.

58. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the at least one elastically deformable partial section is formed by a convex wall section forming a bulge or a reduction.

59. A closure according to claim 53, further comprising means on the at least one elastically deformable section for increasing the restoring force.

60. A closure according to claim 53, further comprising at least one ventilation opening that can be closed by a sealing element is provided on the closure.

61. A closure according to claim 60, wherein the sealing element of the at least one ventilation opening is a manually controllable valve.

62. A closure according to claim 60, wherein the sealing element on the ventilation opening is an automatic valve.

63. A closure according to claim 62, wherein the valve comprises a valve body, which comprises an elastic or spring-action section that works together with a valve seat on the ventilation opening.

64. A closure according to claim 63, wherein the valve body consists of a first section made of a hard material for fastening the valve body and of an elastically deformable section provided on the first section that works together with the valve.

65. A closure according to claim 64, wherein the valve body is made of plastic, using the two-component injection molding process.

66. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the elastically deformable wall section is manufactured as one piece with the closure, of plastic using the two-component injection molding process.

67. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the at least one deformable section is formed from an element that is connected with the container closure, by gluing, welding or joining.

68. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the container closure can be fastened on the container body or lower element (2-2u) in an airtight and/or gastight manner.

69. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure comprises an edge forming a circular groove and that when the container is closed, one edge of the lower container element is held by a groove.

70. A closure according to claim 69, wherein the groove and the edge of the container body or lower container element comprise a self-sealing, wedge-shaped or approximately wedge-shaped cross section.

71. A closure according to claim 53, wherein a circular seal is provided in the groove and/or a circular seal made of a soft elastic material is provided on the edge of the lower container element or container body.

72. A closure according to claim 71, wherein the seal is fastened to the closure by being molded on, using a two-component injection molding process.

73. A closure according to claim 69, wherein the groove holding the edge of the container body or lower element is formed by a groove of a circular seal.

74. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the at least one elastically deformable section is formed by a seal (25) on the closure.

75. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure can be screwed onto the container body or the lower container element.

76. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure can be pressed onto the container body or the lower container element.

77. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure is formed by a cap with an inner seal that can be placed on the mouth of a bottle, wherein the cap is made of the permanently elastic material in at least one partial section of its bottom.

78. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure forms an outwardly closed hollow body, which when the closure is placed on the container is connected with the interior of the container, and that the hollow body is made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force at least in one partial section of its peripheral wall.

79. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the elastic material with a high restoring force is an elastomer.

80. A closure according to claim 53, comprising a sealing element forming the elastically deformable section having a cross section with a larger cross section side in the axis direction parallel to the container axis than in an axis direction extending perpendicular to the same.

81. A closure according to claim 53, further comprising means for limiting the movement stroke of the at least one elastic section, by belts or stops bridging the at least one elastically deformable section.

82. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure consists of a ring-shaped closure body with a seal that can be placed on the respective container and of a membrane closing the opening of the ring-shaped closure body, said membrane being made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force.

83. A closure according to claim 82, wherein the closure body forms a protruding edge on one side opposing the seal.

84. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure comprises a closure body designed as a hollow body with an opening enclosed by a ring seal and that the hollow body is made in at least one partial section of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force.

85. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure is a re-closable closure for closing a container until the contents of the container are ultimately consumed.

86. A closure according to claim 53, wherein the closure outside of the elastically deformable section is made of a material other than plastic, such as glass or metal.

87. An automatic valve for closing an opening, with a valve seat enclosing the opening and with a valve body, which comprises one elastic or spring-action section working together with the opening, wherein the valve body consists of one first section made of a hard material for fastening the valve body and of one elastically deformable section provided on the first section that works together with the valve.

88. The valve according to claim 87, wherein the valve body is made of plastic, using the two-component injection molding process.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the household, and in other areas, it is often necessary to store products, for example foods and beverages and also other products, tightly sealed and/or in a low-oxygen atmosphere.

It is an object of the invention is to present a container that enables this in an improved manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The container according to the invention is designed so that after being filled with the respective product, a vacuum can be applied to the closed container or its interior by manual deformation of at least one wall section, not only reducing the oxygen content in the container but also sealing the container especially tightly and with a high closing force.

The vacuum in the interior of the container can be produced in a wide variety of manners, for example by manually pressing in one elastic wall section of the container body and/or of the closure or by compressing or pressing together the container body or lower container element and/or the closure in one direction of the container axis, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described below based on numerous exemplary embodiments with reference to the following Figures:

FIGS. 1-4 show one possible embodiment in side view, top view and in cross section of an airtight container;

FIGS. 5-7 show in depictions similar to FIGS. 1-4 as a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 8 and 9 depict the valve body of FIG. 11;

FIGS. 10 and 11 show as a further embodiment a container;

FIGS. 12 and 13 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 14 and 15 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 16, 17 and 18 show as a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 19 and 20 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 21 and 22 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 23 and 24 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 25 and 26 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 27-30 show an alternate embodiment of a container;

FIGS. 31-33 show as a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 34-36 show a container 1 m with a lower container element;

FIGS. 37-40 show as a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 41-44 show a container with a lower element;

FIGS. 45-47 show as a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 48-51 show a further possible embodiment a container;

FIGS. 52-53 show an alternate copy of a container;

FIGS. 54-59 show seals for various bottle configurations;

FIGS. 60-62 show as a further possible embodiment a closure for closing any type of container;

FIGS. 63 and 64 depict a dispenser in which a plurality of closures can be stored;

FIGS. 65-69 show in various depictions a closure which can be used with the container:

FIG. 70 shows in various positions the embodiment of the seal area between a container body or lower element and a container lid;

FIGS. 71-73 show as a further possible embodiment a container; and

FIGS. 74, 75, 76 and 77 show a further possible embodiment of a container or the bottle body.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-4 show one possible embodiment in side view, top view and in cross section of an airtight container 1, which is used in particular for storing food, but also for other products that need to be kept fresh.

The container 1 consists essentially of a lower container element 2, which is designed in the shape of a bowl and can be sealed tightly by placing a lid 3 on its top, open side. The lid 3 comprises a lid bottom 4 and a lid edge 5, the latter overlapping the top container edge 6 of the closed container 1 with a circular groove formed on the inside and outside of the lid edge.

The bottom 4 is formed in one section by an elastically deformable bottom area 4.1 (membrane). This bottom area 4.1 is designed so that it is deformable in the manner of a bellows or membrane while exhibiting a high restoring force. FIG. 3 shows the bottom area 4.1 in its non-deformed condition. FIG. 4 shows the bottom area 4.1 in a deformed condition, i.e. pressed into the interior of the container. The bottom section 4.1 consists of a permanently elastic material with a high restoring force, i.e. with a restoring force of 100% or virtually 100%. A suitable product for this would be, for example, a product with the brand name “Styroflex” available from BASF.

On the bottom 4 of the lid 3 outside of the bottom section 4.1, a valve is provided that can be manually opened and closed, in the manner that an axially movable cap 7.2 is provided on a cylinder-shaped valve body 7.1 formed onto the lid bottom 4, said cap releasing an opening of the valve body 7.1 in its raised position from valve 1 depicted in FIG. 3 and closing the opening of the valve body 7.1 and therefore of the valve 7 in its position depicted in FIG. 4.

A product is stored by placing it in the open container element 2. Afterwards, the container element 2 is closed with the lid 3 and, with the valve 7 open, the bottom section 4.1 is pressed manually into the interior of the container, causing air to be displaced from the interior of the container via the opened valve 7. Afterwards, while the bottom sections 4.1 is still deformed, the valve is closed, so that the restoring force of the bottom section 4.1 causes a vacuum in the interior of the container, which (vacuum) prolongs the freshness of the product inside the container and ensures pressing of the lid 3 against the container element 2 with a high closing force, thus sealing the container 1 reliably and tightly.

FIGS. 5-7 show in depictions similar to FIGS. 1-4 as a further possible embodiment a container 1a, which comprises a container body 2a and a lid 3a and differs from the container 1a only in that instead of the manually controllable valve 7, an automatic valve 8 is provided. The latter consists of a valve housing 9 formed into the lid bottom 4 outside of the bottom section 4.1 with a valve opening 10 and a valve seat enclosing said valve opening, and of a valve body 11, which is fastened in the valve housing 9 in a suitable manner, for example by being screwed in or locked into place.

As depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9, the valve body 11 consists of two parts with differing elasticity, namely of the part shown in these figures as the upper part 11.1, with which the valve body 11 is held in the valve housing 9 or in the recess forming said housing and which is made of a harder material, and of the valve body sections 11.2, which is made of a soft elastic material and forms the part of the valve body 11 that works together with the valve seat. Just as the other parts of the container 1a, the valve body 11 is made of plastic, namely as a two-component injection-molded part. FIG. 8 shows the valve 8 in closed condition. FIG. 9 shows the valve 8 in closed condition. If the bottom area 4.1 is pressed manually into the interior of the container after closing the container 1a, the thus compressed air can escape from the interior of the container through the valve 8, i.e. by elastic deformation of the valve body section 11.2, namely through the valve opening 10 in the area of the opened valve seat and along the axial grooves 12, which are provided on the inner surface of the valve housing 9. If the pressed down or deformed bottom section 4.1 is released, it returns to its original position due to its restoring force. The lack of internal pressure in the container 1a causes the valve 8 to close automatically. This causes a vacuum to form in the interior of the container 1a, prolonging the storage life of the product in the interior of the container and also ensuring a high closing force of the container lid 3a, also as a result of the large-surface design of the container lid 3a.

FIGS. 10 and 11 show as a further embodiment a container 1b, which comprises a container body 2b and a lid 3b and which largely corresponds to the container 1a. The elastically deformable bottom section 4.1 of this container or container lid 3b is manufactured as a separate element, which is connected with the remaining container lid 3b in a suitable manner, for example by being pressed on, screwed on or another suitable method. In this embodiment it is possible to manufacture the lid 3b (with the exception of the bottom section 4.1) of a hard, less elastic material, for example plastic, and to use a material with higher elasticity, but a high restoring force, for the bottom section 4.1.

FIGS. 12 and 13 show a container 1c, which comprises a container body 2c and a lid 3c and which differs form the container of FIGS. 1-4 essentially in that instead of the valve 7, a closure plug 14 is provided for closing an opening in the container lid 3c and is connected with the remaining lid 3c by means of a flexible connector 15. The closure plug 14 is for example formed onto the remaining lid with the connector 15 or is manufactured as a separate molded part and connected with the lid 3c.

FIGS. 14 and 15 show as a further possible embodiment a container 1d, which comprises a container body 2d and a lid 3d and in which the valve is provided not in the container lid, but rather in the peripheral wall of the container body 2d, namely in the immediate proximity of the container edge 6, wherein a valve corresponding to the valve 8 is used. Other valves can be provided as well. The container lid is made in this embodiment entirely of the flexible material with a high restoring force, and in this embodiment also the lid edge is made of the permanently elastic material, which further improves the seal of the closed container.

FIGS. 16 and 17 show as a further possible embodiment a container 1e, consisting of the lower container element 2e and the container lid 3e. In the depicted embodiment, a valve 8 is provided in the center of the lid. The peripheral wall of the lower container element 2e in this embodiment is designed with a section 15 made of the permanently elastic material with a high restoring force. The section 15 in the depicted embodiment extends over one partial section of the periphery of the lower element 2e. The manner of operation and use of this container correspond to those of the containers described above, i.e. after closing the lid 3e the section 15 is manually deformed into the interior of the container, causing air to be displaced from the interior of the container via the valve 8, which then after releasing the section 15 closes so that as a result of the restoring force of the section 15 a vacuum forms in the interior of the container.

FIGS. 19 and 20 show a container 1f consisting of the lower container element 2f and the lid 3f. The valve is again provided in the lid 3f, namely the valve 8 in the depicted embodiment. The lower container element 2f is designed in one peripheral area 16 in the form of an accordion, so that the lower element 2f can be pressed together in the manner of an accordion by pressing on the top of the container 1f or on the lid 3f located there, likewise in order to displace the air from the interior of the container. After it is released, the lower container element 2f returns at least approximately to its original condition due to the restoring force of the area 16, again causing a vacuum in the interior of the container.

FIGS. 21 and 22 show a container 1g, similar to the container 1f, with a lower container element 2g and a container lid 3g. This container differs from the container 1f in that a ring-shaped reinforcement 17 formed from a soft elastic material, e.g. soft elastic plastic or rubber, is provided on the outside of the accordion-like area 16 and is molded on, clipped on or fastened in another suitable manner for increasing the restoring force.

FIGS. 23 and 24 show a container 1h corresponding to the container 1h with a lower container element 2h, the peripheral wall of which is bulged convexly so that the creation of the vacuum in the interior of the container when sealed with the lid 3h again can be achieved by compressing the container axially. The valve 8 is located on the lid.

FIGS. 25 and 26 show a container 1i corresponding to the container 1h, with a lower container element 2i and a container lid 3i. On the inner side of the likewise convexly shaped peripheral wall of the lower container element 2i there are reinforcing elements 18 that work in the manner of a spring and are molded on and/or injected molded, but can also be fastened there in any other manner in order to increase the restoring force and therefore the vacuum that can be attained in the sealed interior of the container.

While the lower container element 2-2e has a flat design, FIGS. 27-30 show a container 1k, the lower container element 2k of which is designed as a can with a circular cylindrical peripheral wall. The lid 3k is adapted accordingly and comprises the elastically deformable lid bottom sections 4.1 with a high restoring force. The valve 8 is again provided on the lid 3k.

FIGS. 31-33 show as a further possible embodiment a container 1l, which consists of the lower container element 2l and the lid 3l comprising the valve 8 and which differs from the container 1k in that the lower container element can be compressed axially and for this purpose is designed with an accordion-like section corresponding to the section 16. The valve 8 is located in the center of the lid.

FIGS. 34-36 show a container 1m with a lower container element 2m and a lid 3m. The lid 3m can pivot on the lower container element 2m and can be locked in the closed position by means of a clip closure 20. The valve 8 and the elastically deformable bellows-like area 4.1 are provided on the lid 3m.

FIGS. 37-40 show as a further possible embodiment a container 1n in the form of a butter dish. This container consists of the dome-shaped upper container element 3n and a board-like lower container element 2n, which forms the storage surface for a piece of butter 21 to be stored and is manufactured as one piece with an edge area with a circular groove 22, in which the lower edge 23 of the dome-shaped lid is held when the container 1n or dish is closed. The dome-shaped container lid 3n is provided with a section 24 corresponding to the section 16. Beneath the section 24, which directly adjoins the lid bottom, the valve 8 is located between said section and the edge 23.

FIGS. 41-44 show a container 10 with a lower element 2o and a dome-shaped lid 3o in the form of a butter dish. The edge 22 of the lower element 2o is provided with a ring-shaped, highly elastic seal 25, namely by the fact that said seal 25 engages with a lower circular strip-shaped section 25.1 in the circular groove 22 of the edge. On its top side facing away from the connecting piece 25.1 the seal 25 is provided with a circular groove 25.2, into which the edge 23 of the lid 30 engages when the dish is closed.

As shown particularly by FIGS. 42-44, the seal 25 is positioned between the edge 23 of the lid and the edge 22 of the lower element 2o when the lid is in closed position. Pressing the top side of the lid 3o causes the seal 25 to be elastically deformed (FIG. 44), so that the air is pressed outward from the closed interior of the container 1o via the valve 8 and the container 1o is held in closed position by the vacuum created in the interior of the container after releasing the lid.

In the depicted embodiment the seal 25 is a separate element of the container 1o. Of course, it is also possible to provide this seal permanently on the lower edge of the lid 3o or on the edge of the lower container element 2o by molding, by a two-component injection-molding process or in another suitable manner.

All embodiments described above have in common the fact that a protruding flat edge 26 or 27 is provided on the periphery of the lower container element 2-2o and on the periphery of the upper container element or of the container lid 3-3o. These edges are molded on, especially when the container or the components of the container are made of plastic.

FIGS. 45-47 show as a further possible embodiment a container 1p, which consists of an essentially cylindrical container body 2p and a lid 3p that can be screwed onto a reinforced container edge 28 or onto an outer thread located there. In closed condition a ring 29 is provided between the edge of the lid 3p and the edge 28, which (ring) serves to guarantee the original seal by engaging on the one hand by means of projections and catches with the lid 3p and on the other hand with the lower container element 2p or with the reinforced edge 29, so that opening the mouth of the container 1p is possible only by visibly destroying the ring 29. In one partial section 30 the peripheral wall of the lower container element 3p is designed in the manner of an accordion, so that the container can be compressed axially in this partial section, namely to produce the vacuum in the closed container, wherein after filling the container and after applying the securing ring 29, the lid 3p is screwed on so far that there is still an air gap between the lid and the container body 2p. The container is then compressed axially and the lid 3p is sealed tightly. The mouth of the container body 2p in this embodiment is approximately equal to the outer diameter of said body. The containers 1p can be stacked in closed condition. For this purpose a recess 31 is formed in the lid 3p, in which (recess) the lower edge 32 of the bottom, which has a reduced diameter, fits into an adjacent container in the stack.

FIGS. 48-51 show in various depictions as a further possible embodiment a container 1q, which consists of a lower container element with a square cross section and a screw-on lid 3q. The peripheral wall of the lower container element 2q is again provided with the accordion-like section 30 that can be compressed axially. The container opening in this embodiment has a cross section that is smaller than the cross section of the lower container element and is formed by a flange 33 on one shoulder, which is beveled on one side of the container and is otherwise horizontal. The outer thread for the lid 3q is also provided on the flange 33.

FIGS. 52-53 show a container 1r consisting of a bottle body 2r manufactured of an elastically non-deformable material, for example of glass, and a lid 3r that can be placed on the mouth of the bottle. The lid consists of a ring-shaped lid element 34 that also forms the edge of the lid and is provided with a seal 35, in the depicted embodiment on the cylindrical or slightly conical inner surface of the lid edge enclosing the lid axis in a ring-like manner. The lid bottom is formed essentially by the bottom section 4.1 made of the permanently elastic material with a high restoring force. The lid 3r is placed, for example, with a manually deformed bottom section 4.1 onto the mouth of the bottle body 2r, so that after being closed, the bottom section 4.1, due to its restoring force, attempts to return to its original position, thus producing the vacuum in the closed container or in the closed bottle 1r.

FIGS. 54 and 55, 56 and 57, 58 and 59 show seals 36-38 for bottles 39. In the depicted embodiments the bottles 39 are designed at their bottle mouth so that they can be closed with a crown cap closure. The bottle 39 could of course also be designed with the usual screw thread at the top. Furthermore, the bottle 39 is made of glass, for example. The seals 36-38 are preferably reusable seals, namely for re-closing the respective bottle 39 after being opened the first time and while the contents of the bottle are in use. The bottle can again contain a wide variety of products, such as liquid foods or beverages, seasoning sauces (e.g. ketchup), etc.

All embodiments depicted in FIGS. 54-59 have in common that the closure is designed with an outwardly sealed hollow body with a relatively large volume and that said hollow body is made entirely or partially of an elastically deformable material with a high restoring force, so that in order to close the respective bottle 39, the seal 36-38 is placed on the top of the bottle in a manually deformed manner, thus initially sealing the bottle tightly. After releasing the closure, the latter attempts to return to its original form, thus producing the vacuum in the interior of the bottle 39 to protect the contents.

In the embodiment in FIGS. 54 and 55, the walls of the hollow body 36.1 forming the closure are made entirely of the permanently elastic material with a high restoring force, so that the hollow body, which in its original, non-deformed condition is essentially mushroom-shaped and in its deformed condition is pressed in on its top side in the manner of a trough (FIG. 55).

In the embodiment in FIGS. 56 and 57, the walls of the hollow body 37.1 are made of a harder or difficultly deformable material, for example of a suitable plastic or metal. A membrane-like section 40 made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force is provided on the top side. In its normal condition, this section 40 is essentially flat. In its deformed condition, the section 40 is pressed into the interior of the hollow body 37.1 and due to its restoring force, produces the vacuum not only in this hollow body, but also in the bottle 39.

In the embodiment in FIGS. 58 and 59 the hollow body 38.1 of the closure 38 is designed as a cylindrical chamber, with two essentially rigid ends 41 and 42 made of a non-deformable or difficultly deformable material, the end 41 forming the part of the closure to be fastened to the bottle mouth. The peripheral wall 43 between the two ends 41 and 42 is elastically deformable in the manner of a bellows, i.e. it is made of the elastically deformable material with a high restoring force. In this embodiment the wall sections 41 and 42 are likewise made of plastic or another suitable material. The elastically deformable peripheral wall 43 is connected with the wall sections 41 and 42 by means of molding or another suitable means.

Common to all embodiments in FIGS. 54-59 is an especially ergonomic design, because when the closure is placed on the bottle, the respective closure can very easily be deformed at the same time in order to create the vacuum in the closed bottle.

The closures 36-38 are adapted accordingly for use of the bottle with a screw thread on the bottle mouth.

FIGS. 60-62 show as a further possible embodiment a closure 44 for closing any type of containers, such as drinking vessels, drinking glasses, cups, but also suitable for packaging or eating containers, canned goods, yogurt cups, etc. This closure 44, which can be used for example as a re-closable closure or for closing the container until the container contents are used again, is designed essentially as a circular disk, consisting of a closure body 45 made of a harder, elastically non-deformable or difficultly deformable material, for example of a suitable plastic or metal. The closure body 45 is ring-shaped, with an opening in the center that is sealed by an insert or a membrane 46 made of the permanently elastic material with a high restoring force. The closure body 45 is provided on the bottom with a layer 47 made of a highly elastic material, for example of a highly elastic plastic enclosing the membrane 46. This sealing layer 47 is designed as a separate seal or is fastened in a suitable manner on the closure body 45 or is held onto the latter by being molded on. On the top side facing away from the seal 47 the closure body 45 is provided with a protruding edge 48, so that it is possible for example, to place a container 49, after opening the container and removing the closure, on said closure, wherein the edge 48 forms a type of overflow guard. The membrane 46 is fastened to the mouth of the container body 45 in a suitable manner, for example by molding or injection molding, for which purpose the closure body 45 and the membrane 46 are manufactured for example of suitable plastics using a two-component injection molding process. If the seal 47 is also molded on, then the closure 44 is manufactured entirely in a three-component injection molding process.

The thickness of the seal 47 is relatively large, in order to compensate for uneven areas in the edge of the respective container or vessel 49.

The closure 47 is placed on the container 49 for example by deforming the membrane 46 with the thumb of one hand. Afterwards, while maintaining the deformation of the membrane 46, the closure 44 is pressed with the seal 47 against the edge of the mouth of the container 49. Then the membrane 46 is released, so that due to its elasticity and restoring force it attempts to return to its original position, thus again producing the vacuum in the interior of the closed container 49.

It is fundamentally possible in this embodiment to provide a valve, for example the valve 8, on the closure 44. In this case, the container 49 can be closed by placing the closure 44 onto the container 49 and then elastically deforming the membrane 46, thus displacing air from the interior of the closed container 49, producing the vacuum after releasing the membrane 46. The closure body 45 is provided on its circular ring-shaped peripheral surface with ribbing for a better grip.

In FIGS. 63 and 64, 50 designates a dispenser, in which a plurality of closures 44 can be stored and protected, in particular also from dust. The dispenser 50 consists essentially of a dome-shaped body, in which a plurality of closures 44 can be stacked on top of each other, with the seal 47 downward and therefore protected against dust and dirt. The dispenser 50 is provided with two reach-through openings 51, so that the respective closure 44 can be removed from the dispenser 50 through said openings.

FIGS. 65-69 show in various depictions also together with the container 49 a closure 52, which can be used in place of the closure 44 and which has closure body 53 forming a deformable hollow body 53.1 with a high restoring force. On the bottom the closure 53 is again provided with the ring-shaped seal 47, which in this embodiment encloses an opening 54 of the interior of the hollow body 53.1. As shown in the figures, the closure 52, for a closure body 53 or hollow body 53.1 deformed on the top, is placed on the edge of the container 49 with the seal 47 and pressed against the edge of the container 49. Afterwards, the manually deformed hollow body 53.1 is released, so that the closure 52 is firmly attached to the container 49 by producing a vacuum in the interior of said container.

FIG. 70 shows in various positions a1/a2; b1/b2; c1/c2; d1/d2 and e1/e2/e3 the embodiment of the seal area between a container body or lower element and a container lid, before and after closing, respectively.

In positions a1 and a2 the edge 55 of the lower container element is tapered toward the container mouth. The upper container element or the closure or lid of the container features a groove 56 adapted to this cross sectional form of the container edge 55 narrowing toward the bottom, so that this tapered or wedge-shaped form of the lid edge 55 and the corresponding form of the groove 56 achieve a tight closure without an additional seal or an additional soft part.

The positions b1 and b2 show an embodiment in which a continuous circular seal 57 made of a soft elastic material is provided in the groove 56 of the lid or closure. The seal is inserted for example as a separate element into the groove 56 and fastened there in a suitable manner, or preferably is produced by molding, for example in a two-component injection molding process together with the lid.

Positions c1 and c2 show an embodiment in which the closure or lid is made entirely of a permanently elastic material, so that this material achieves an additional sealing effect when the container is closed.

Positions d1 and d2 show an embodiment similar to the embodiment of positions b1 and b2, wherein however in this embodiment a seal corresponding to the seal 57 is provided on the mouth edge 55.

Positions e1-e3 again show the embodiment of the seal, as it was described in connection with the container 10 (FIGS. 41-44).

This seal 25, the use of which of course is not limited to the container 1o, not only functions as a seal, but at the same time also forms an elastically deformable element closing the interior of the respective container with a sufficiently high restoring force to produce a high vacuum in the interior of the container.

FIGS. 71-73 show as a further possible embodiment a container in the form of a plastic bottle with a container or bottle body 2s and a screw-on closure 3s. The bottle body is provided in one partial area of its periphery with an accordion-like deformable area 59, so that the bottle can be compressed axially before being closed, after which the vacuum is produced in the bottle through the restoring force of the section 59.

Similar embodiments are shown in FIGS. 74 and 75 (container 1t) and FIGS. 76 and 77 (container 1u), wherein in these cases the container or bottle body 2t features on its periphery an area formed by a reduction 61 at which the container body 2t can be deformed axially, so that when the container is closed, the vacuum is produced in the interior of the container through the restoring force of the section 60 or of the material of the container body 2t. The container 1u is provided with, in place of the reduction, a bulge on its container or bottle body 2u, enabling a corresponding axial deformation of the container. The containers 1t and 1u are likewise made of a suitable plastic, for example PET.

If the containers 1s-1u are to be used for a carbonated product, for example for carbonated beverages such as mineral water, soft drinks, etc., then additional means can be provided to prevent unwanted extension of the container at the deformable areas 59-61 after being filled with the carbonated product. This is achieved for example by having the accordion-like area 59 extend only over a correspondingly short part of the height of the bottle body and/or by additionally providing stops or belts to limit the axial expansion of the bottle body 2s. The reduction 60 or bulge 61 ensures sufficient stability of the bottle or container body 2t or 2u against unwanted axial extension even in the event of high internal pressure (for example 6-7 bar).

The invention was described above based on numerous exemplary embodiments. It goes without saying that diverse variations from these exemplary embodiments are possible; in particular, it is possible to combine the described exemplary embodiments or single characteristics of these exemplary embodiments in a variety of manners.

REFERENCE LIST

  • 1-1u container
  • 2-2u container body or lower part of container
  • 3-3u container lid
  • 4 bottom of container lid
  • 4.1 elastically deformable bottom section
  • 5 edge of lid
  • 6 edge of container
  • 7 manually controllable valve
  • 7.1 valve body
  • 7.2 valve cap
  • 8 valve
  • 9 valve housing
  • 10 valve opening with valve seat
  • 11 valve body
  • 11.1 hard part of valve body 11
  • 11.2 elastically deformable part of valve body 11
  • 12 grooves
  • 13 opening
  • 14 plug
  • 15, 16 peripheral area
  • 17 bracing element
  • 18 reinforcing element
  • 19 deformable section
  • 20 clip closure
  • 21 piece of butter
  • 22, 23 edge area
  • 24 deformable section
  • 25 seal
  • 25.1 strip-shaped projection of seal 25
  • 25.2 groove of seal 25
  • 26, 27, 28 edge
  • 29 ring
  • 30 section
  • 31 recess
  • 32 edge
  • 33opening flange
  • 34 lid section
  • 35 seal
  • 36, 37, 38 closure
  • 36.1, 37.1, 38.1 hollow body
  • 39 bottle
  • 40 section
  • 41, 42 end wall
  • 43 elastically deformable section
  • 44 closure
  • 45 closure body
  • 46 elastically deformable membrane with high restoring force
  • 47 seal
  • 48 edge
  • 49 container
  • 50 dispenser for closures 44
  • 51 reach-through opening
  • 52 closure
  • 53 closure body
  • 53.1 hollow body
  • 54 opening
  • 55 edge of container
  • 56 lid groove
  • 57, 58 seal
  • 59 accordion-like section
  • 60 reduction
  • 61 bulge