Title:
Shifting rail in a package of disposable shoe covers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shifting rail is introduced into a package of disposable shoe covers for facilitating dispense of shoe covers onto shoe cover application devices. The shifting rail engages with each unit of shoe covers in the package sequentially. During application, shoe covers shift along the rail in sequential order towards the shoe cover application device.



Inventors:
Chen, Stephen Liye (El Monte, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/334023
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
01/18/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/171, 221/312A, 248/95
International Classes:
B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen Liye Chen (12331 Felipe Street, El Monte, CA, 91732, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shifting means in a package of shoe covers for dispensing of said shoe covers, comprising: a guiding member, incorporated with said package of shoe covers, having at least a path engaging with each unit of said shoe covers sequentially, said path having a first end barricading said shoe covers and a second end permitting dispense of said shoe covers.

2. The shifting means of claim 1 wherein said guiding member is a pin.

3. A package of shoe covers used with an application device, comprising: shoe covers packed in a sequential order; and a guiding member, incorporated with said package, having at least a path engaging with each unit of said shoe covers in said sequential order, said path having a first end barricading said shoe covers and a second end permitting pass of said shoe covers towards said application device.

4. The package of shoe covers in claim 3 wherein said path penetrates said shoe covers.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Shoe covers are widely utilized in a variety of fields, such as laboratories, medical operating rooms, animal rooms, house keeping works, and real estate industries, etc. For protection purposes, these shoe covers are usually made with disposable material in a simple and low cost manner to avoid repeat usage. In order to fit all shoe sizes ranging from the largest to the smallest, shoe covers are usually made with flexible fabrics for the largest shoe sizes. A rubber-like elastic band is then employed to constrain the flexible fabrics for fitting to the smallest shoe sizes.

Shoe covers made with elastic band and flexible fabrics are naturally curved in irregular wrinkle configuration. It is virtually impossible to pack hundreds of such shoe covers nicely flat into storage box. It is also very difficult to dispense packed shoe covers in a sequential order because two neighboring units stick frequently to each other in a movement. Therefore, manual manipulation of shoe covers individually is a common requirement.

How to pack and dispense shoe covers is an unsolved problem.

Some attempts have been made. Khozai, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,928,849, teaches a shoe cover package box having a hanger. Unfortunately, Khozai, while suggesting hanging features, failed to understand the nature of elastic band. His shoe covers could not be folded nicely flat like paper towel as shown in his FIG. 2 because elastic band is used in every unit of his shoe covers. Gultekin et al, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,532,686 B2, teaches a continuous form of disposable shoe covers. Gultekin et al, still, fails to understand the nature of elastic band. His lineal of shoe covers could not be folded in a paper-like nicely flat pattern in his package 200 because elastic band 240 has been embedded in every unit of his shoe covers.

The long-felt problem of shoe cover packaging remains unsolved.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the invention to solve the problem of packing and dispensing shoe covers. It is further an object of the invention to provide feasibility of using the package of shoe covers with shoe cover application devices.

The advance of the invention can be summarized as follows:

  • (1) It understands the nature of shoe cover packaging. The preferred embodiment is based on the nature of shoe covers made with elastic band and flexible fabrics, which shrinks naturally into curved and wrinkle configuration.
  • (2) It provides reliable embodiments. A guiding rail is introduced into the package of shoe covers. Shoe covers in the package shifts along the guiding rail in a sequential order during application.
  • (3) It offers possibility to use the embodiments with shoe cover application devices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustrative diagram of a currently preferred embodiment showing the principle of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the package of shoe covers used with a first application device.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a package of shoe covers using the first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the alternative embodiment used with an alternative application device.

DETAIL DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 illustrates the principle of the invention showing 8 units of shoe covers penetrated by a pair of pins.

Shoe covers 200 are made with disposable flexible fabrics in a size capable of receiving the largest shoes. Each unit of shoe covers 200 has an opening 120 and an elastic band 100. Elastic band 100, made with rubber strip, should be stretched substantially while being sawed along opening 120. It is a common knowledge to understand how elastic band 100 works. In storage, elastic band 100 constrains opening 120 and shoe covers 200 into an irregular wrinkle configuration. During application, an external force, hands or device, expands opening 120 widely open for receiving a shoe of any sizes. After being released from the external force, elastic band 100 constrains opening 120 smaller and secures the coverage of the shoe inside.

The key element of the invention is the introduction of a shifting member into the package. In FIG. 1 of the preferred embodiment, a first pin 160 and a second pin 161, made with rigid plastic, are used as guiding rails. Both pins, 160 and 161, have identical lengths and diameters and are arranged in parallel to each other. In the package, pins 160 and 161 penetrate each unit of shoe covers 200 sequentially at locations just under elastic band 100. Each of the two pins has a first end, 180 and 181, a second end, 60 and 61, and a path, 70 and 71. First ends, 180 and 181, are enlarged for barricading shoe covers 200. Second ends, 60 and 61, are points for penetrating across shoe covers 200. Paths, 70 and 71, are bodies of the pins for guiding the movement of shoe covers 200 during application. While in storage second ends, 60 and 61, can be locked using removable caps (no shown in the draw).

FIG. 2 shows how to use a package of shoe covers 200 with a first application device 290. Inclusion of first application device 290 with the invention helps for a better understanding of the preferred embodiment. Pins 160 and 161 are anchored by a clamp 190 against their first ends 180 and 181. A first extension 40 joins to pin 160 and a second extension 41 joins to pin 161. Both of the second ends, 60 and 61, permit a smooth pass of shoe covers 200 from pins to their extensions.

In FIG. 2, there are two measurements should be notified, a first distance 175 between two pins 160 and 161 and a second distance 295 between two extensions 40 and 41. First distance 175 is about 8 cm. Second distance 295 should be wider than the width of the largest shoes in about 16 cm. A first shoulder 50 and a second shoulder 51 are 45° turns of extensions 40 and 41.

As shown from lower part of FIG. 2, a first unit 230 of shoe covers 200 is placed on extensions 40 and 41. Opening 120 and elastic band 100 are now widely expanded for receiving a shoe 285. Shoe 285, after insertion into first unit 230, can move downward to exit from first application device 290, as shown be an arrow 291. Elastic band 100, then, secures first unit 230 onto shoe 285.

To further facilitate shoe cover application, a thread 225 can be used as a linking member between two unites of shoe covers 200 in the package. In this preferred embodiment, thread 225 is the uncut remnant of a sawing machine thread for attaching elastic band 100 onto opening 120. All units of shoe covers 200 will be otherwise separated from each other if thread 225 was cut during production.

By exit of shoe 285 from first application device 290, first unit is moved away from extensions 40 and 41. A second unit 220 follows first unit 230 and shifts onto extension 40 and 41 due to linkage of thread 225. The linkage of thread 225, then, can be cut by a sharp edge of first application device 290 after exit.

In this preferred embodiment, all units of shoe covers 200 in a package shift one by one sequentially onto application device 290 in a hands-free manner. A simple leg movement completes the process of shoe cover application.

FIG. 3 shows a wrap 30 for packaging shoe covers 200. Wrap 30 tights all units of shoe covers 200 together for shipping and storage. Wrap 30 should be easily removable after installation of shoe covers 200 onto first application device 290.

FIG. 4 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention. Second pin 161 is omitted. Three units of shoe covers 200 are folded into a “U” shape and then penetrated by pin 160. Thread 225 links two neighboring units for hands-free application.

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative application device 291 for alternative embodiment of the invention. An extension 150 joins to pin 160. Extension 150 is arranged in a circular shape, which is capable of expanding opening 120 widely open for receiving shoe 285. To exit from alternative application device 291, shoe 285 makes a rotary turn along the circle of extension 150, as shown by arrows 155 and 300. Thread 225 carries next unit of shoe covers 200 to extension 150.

A common feature of the two embodiments described above is the inclusion of at least one shifting rail into the package and an engagement of the shifting rail with shoe covers 200.

The embodiments are described with specifications. But it is apparent to those who are skilled in the art that a variety of modifications can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Pins 160 and 161, for example, can be replaced by a rod being bent or even a flexible rope, pin 160 penetration of shoe covers 200 can be replaced by using additional hooking anchors, thread 225 can be omitted, wrap 30 can be a plastic bag or a cardboard box. Therefore, the specifications should not be used as limitation but merely for illustration of the invention.