Title:
Segmented fluid containers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A segmented fluid container formed from (i) two or more semi-cylindrical canister segments having hollow interiors, (ii) which canister segments are capable of being joined longitudinally (side-to-side) to form a unified construct having the generally elongate cylindrical shape of a fluid canister, with (iii) each of these segments being separately accessed-i.e.-having its own separate end opening by which its contents are dispensed or reached, and (iv) with non-permanent means being provided for holding these segments together to form said fluid canister shape. The invention described can be produced from glass, plastic, steel, aluminum, or other materials suitable for the purposes of this invention or, more generally, for the production of canisters and/or canister segments of this type.



Inventors:
Jeoung Su, Kim (Taegu, KR)
Application Number:
09/812467
Publication Date:
11/29/2001
Filing Date:
03/20/2001
Assignee:
JEOUNG SU KIM
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/23.83
International Classes:
B65D21/02; B65D71/46; B65D81/32; (IPC1-7): A47G19/00; B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CASTELLANO, STEPHEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven R. Scott (ROCHESTER, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A segmented fluid container, comprising: a) At least two canister segments, each having side walls and two ends defining respective hollow interiors, where each of said at least two canister segments has means for accessing its interior, and said at least two canister segments can be joined longitudinally to form a unified construct; and b) non-permanent junctures joining said at least two canister segments together to form said unified construct.

2. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said at least two canister segments are semi-cylindrical.

3. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said at least two canister segments can be joined to form a unified construct fitting a soft-drink dispensing apparatus.

4. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures include a wrap binding the at least two canister segments together.

5. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures include a snap catch.

6. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures cooperate with an annular depression around said unified construct created when said at least two canister segments are joined to form said unified construct.

7. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures include interfacing elements formed in the at least two canister segments.

8. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures include a rim member interfacing with ends of said at least two canister segments.

9. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 8, wherein said rim member is screw threaded.

10. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 4, wherein said wrap binding has a pull-tab by which it may be removed.

11. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein said non-permanent junctures include elements joined by adhesive to at least one of said at least two canister segments.

12. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 1, wherein the means for accessing the interior of at least one of said at least two canister segments is a beverage can pull-tab.

13. A segmented fluid container, as described in claim 4, wherein said binding is formed from plastic.

14. A segmented fluid container, as descried in claim 7, further including an intermediate member interfacing with each of said at least two canister segments.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] This invention relates generally to the field of fluid containers and canisters, particularly metallic drink cans and other fluid containers. More specifically, it relates to fluid containers and canisters with interior divisions creating separate sections so that two or more separate materials or fluids can be conveniently contained therein and accessed therefrom. The manner in which fluid containers and canisters, including non-fluid containing cans and canisters having similar features, are constructed and utilized is well known and understood in the mechanical arts. However, there is a need and market for items of this type that can be conveniently and simultaneously utilized for more than a single material or fluid. Particularly, for containers which do not merely possess interior divisions, but are comprised of separate and separable fluid containing segments that can be longitudinally joined to create the shape and dimensions of a standard fluid container such as a soft-drink can. There are no prior cans and canisters known to the applicant that are structured for, and have features consistent with, their use in this manner.

SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Among the goals and objects of this invention are the provision of canister shaped constructs with separable segments, each of which is adapted for the storage and dispensing of a separate liquid or substance; the provision of such canister segments for use as separate drink containers that can be utilized hygienically by more than one individual; and the provision of drink containing segments of this type that fit together so as to form a unitary construct that can be loaded in, and dispensed by, standard mechanized canned drink machines. However, the invention described herein is not limited to such uses. It can also be utilized for, among other things, perfume containers, animal food cans, oil and chemical cans, and other types of canisters and cans. These goals are preferably met by (i) the provision of two or more semi-cylindrical canister segments having hollow interiors, (ii) which canister segments are capable of being joined longitudinally (side-to-side) to form a unified construct having the generally elongate cylindrical shape of a fluid canister, with (iii) each of these segments being separately accessed-i.e.-having its own separate end opening by which its contents are dispensed or reached, and (iv) with non-permanent means being provided for holding these segments together to form said fluid canister shape. The invention described can be produced from glass, plastic, steel, aluminum, or other materials suitable for the purposes of this invention or, more generally, for the production of canisters and/or canister segments of this type.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] FIG. 1A provides a perspective view of a first embodiment of the invention where the two semi-cylindrical segments from which the fluid canister shape is produced are joined by a wrap having a vertical junction and pull-tab.

[0004] FIG. 1B provides a perspective view of the first embodiment of the invention where the wrap joining the two semi-cylindrical segments has a somewhat helical junction and pull-tab.

[0005] FIG. 1C provides repeats the perspective view of FIG. 1A with the addition of cross-section line A-A.

[0006] FIG. 1D provides a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 1C.

[0007] FIG. 1E provides a perspective view of a variation of the first embodiment where the segments illustrated have a trough on their exterior. These troughs form a single annular indented band around the conjoined segments with this indented band forming a unitary trough all the way around the circumference of the construct in which the wrap can rest, belting the two segments together.

[0008] FIG. 1F provides a cross-sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 1E.

[0009] FIG. 1G provides a set of three perspective views in sequence showing how the fluid canister shaped construct taught in this invention is produced. Its component parts (as shown in the top drawing) are joined and wrapped with a plastic band (as shown in the middle drawing), and the ends of the plastic band are thereafter heat sealed (or glued) to form the completed embodiment shown in the bottom drawing.

[0010] FIG. 2A provides a perspective view of a second embodiment of the invention where the two semi-cylindrical segments from which the fluid canister shape is produced are joined by link(s) adhesively joined to both segments, with each link being provided with a pull-tab for its removal.

[0011] FIG. 2B provides a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 2A.

[0012] FIG. 2C provides a perspective view of a first variation of the second embodiment where each link incorporates a separable snap junction by which the segments are joined together.

[0013] FIG. 2D provides an expanded perspective view of the separable snap link illustrated in FIG. 2C.

[0014] FIG. 2E provides a cross-sectional view of the separable snap junction illustrated in FIGS. 2C and 2D.

[0015] FIG. 2F provides a perspective view of a second variation of the second embodiment, which variation combines features common to both the first and the second embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 2G provides a cross-sectional view taken along line C-C of FIG. 2F

[0017] FIG. 3A provides a perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention where the two semi-cylindrical segments from which the fluid canister shape is produced are joined by integral features that create an interference lock or fit between the segments.

[0018] FIG. 3B provides a perspective view of the third embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1B where the two segments have been slid apart and detached from each other.

[0019] FIG. 3C provides a cross-sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 3A.

[0020] FIG. 3D provides a perspective view of a first variation of the third embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 3E provides a perspective view of the first variation of the third embodiment where the two segments have been slid apart and detached from each other.

[0022] FIG. 3F provides a cross-sectional view taken along line B-B of FIG. 3D.

[0023] FIG. 3G provides a cross-sectional view illustrating a second variation of the third embodiment.

[0024] FIG. 3H provides a cross-sectional view illustrating differently shaped segments joined to form a construct with a hexagonal cross-section utilized with the second variation of the third embodiment.

[0025] FIG. 3I provides a cross-sectional view illustrating differently shaped segments joined to form a construct with a square cross-section utilized with the second variation of the third embodiment.

[0026] FIG. 3J provides a cross-sectional view illustrating a third variation of the third embodiment.

[0027] FIG. 4A provides a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the invention where the two semi-cylindrical segments from which the fluid canister shape is produced are joined by a detachable bottom rim.

[0028] FIG. 4B provides a perspective view of the fourth embodiment of the invention where the two segments have been detached from each other and the bottom rim.

[0029] FIG. 4C provides a perspective view of a first variation of the fourth embodiment illustrating its component parts.

[0030] FIG. 4E provides a side view of a second variation of the fourth embodiment illustrating its component parts.

[0031] FIG. 4F provides a side view of a third variation of the fourth embodiment illustrating its component parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0032] FIGS. 1A through 1G illustrate a first set of embodiments of a fluid canister shaped construct 1 produced in accordance with the teachings of this invention. As will be noted upon review of these drawing figures, these embodiments feature a construct 1 divided into separate longitudinal segments 2, each having its own pop-top 2A by which its interior contents may be accessed. Longitudinal segments 2 (which may number more than the two shown in the drawing figures) are held together by a plastic band 3. Band 3 is formed with perforations 5 so as to form a linear strip terminating in a generally longitudinal pull-tab 4. This linear strip may be thicker than the plastic forming the remainder of plastic band 3 and preferably incorporates or overlies a guide string 6. Pulling on pull-tab 4 (and guide string 6) results in the detachment of the linear strip and the severance of plastic band 3, releasing the two longitudinal segments 2.

[0033] FIGS. 1E and 1F provide views of a variation of the first embodiment. In this variation, the segments 2 illustrated have a trough 11 on their exterior such that said troughs 11 form a single annular indented band around the conjoined segments 2, plastic belt band 12 rests in these troughs 11, belting the two segments together. This configuration helps to prevent the two segments 2 from sliding relative to each other.

[0034] FIGS. 2A through 2G illustrate a second set of embodiments of a fluid canister shaped construct 1 produced in accordance with the teachings of this invention. The set of embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 2A through 2G share many features in common with the embodiments previously discussed. However, they are distinguished by the fact that their longitudinal segments 2 are joined by means having horizontal rather than vertical pull-tabs for the release of the longitudinal segments 2. In FIGS. 2A and 2B, segments 2 are not held together by a single unitary band or wrap. Instead, they are joined at their two adjoining outer edges by two separate links. The two semi-cylindrical segments 2 from which the fluid canister shape (construct 1) is produced are joined by adherent links 111 attached between the adjoining edges of segments 2 by adhesive 120. Each such adherent link 111 is provided with an adherent link pull-tab 111A for its removal.

[0035] FIGS. 2C through 2E provide views of a first variation of the second embodiment featuring snap links (denoted generally by arrow 222) forming a separable snap catch by which the segments 2 are joined together. Each snap link 222 is formed from two elements. One element is a loop link with a loop base end 21 adhesively joined to one segment 2 and with a free loop end 21a at its other end. This element is joined to the other element, which has a link base 22 adhesively joined to an adjoining segment 2. To close (or fasten snap link 222), free loop end 21a is fitted down between ledges 22a over snap 22b, which has a raised sill and an open interior 22c. The separation prevention cap 23 of link base 22 has a projection button 23a which can then be fitted through free loop end 21a into the open interior 22c of snap 22b. The projection button 23a is further provided with a thin retention sill 23b at its upper edge. This process is reversed in freeing the two segments 2.

[0036] FIGS. 2F and 2G provide perspective views of a second variation of the second embodiment. This variation combines features common to both the first and the second embodiment. It has a single horizontal band 32 lying in a trough 31. The band 32 is fastened by a single snap link 222 formed by a loop end 21a (with its associated subparts) at one end of the band which links together with a link base 22 (with its associated subparts) at the other end of the band. (This arrangement is generally analogous to the arrangement described with respect to FIGS. 1E and 1F, supra).

[0037] FIGS. 3A through 3J illustrate a third set of embodiments. The embodiments illustrated in these drawing figures feature longitudinal segments 2 formed so that they can be held together by integral features that, either alone or in conjunction with additional elements, form an interference fit. FIGS. 3A through 3C illustrate a basic format where each segment 2 has either a first interlock member 311 or a second interlock member 312 at its edge. These two members can be slid together to form a firm bond preventing movement of the two segments except along their long axes. A separate detent 313 with matching indent 314 is provided to inhibit, but not completely prevent, movement along these axes. Thus, the segments will hold together to form a single construct 1 under most conditions, but can be freed by the ultimate user in accordance with the purposes of this invention.

[0038] The remaining drawing figures in this sequence illustrate some possible variations. A first variation is illustrated in FIGS. 3D through 3F. In this variation, a first interference member 421 interlocks with a second interference member 422, inhibiting movement except along the long axes of segments 2. A first interference member indent 423 interacts with a second interference member detent 424 to complete the bond. In the second set of variations illustrated in FIGS. 3G through 3I, a center lock member 532 with indents 534 interlocks with the center lock member interface 531 and interface detent 533 of each identical segment 2. In the third variation illustrated in FIG. 3J, edge lock members 642 interlock with edge interfaces 641 on each segment 2. One segment 2 is provided with a detent 313 and the other segment 2 is provided with a matching indent 314.

[0039] FIGS. 4A through 4F illustrate a fourth set of embodiments in which end cap(s) and/or circumferential band(s) are used to join the longitudinal segments 2 together. In FIGS. 4A and 4b a basic embodiment is illustrated with a base end cap 20 having an inner rim 20a and an outer wall 20b. FIG. 4C adds an upper circumferential band 30, which may be formed from elastic semi-rigid plastic material with a break (as shown), or of pliant elastic material without a break. FIG. 4E adds a top band 50. FIG. 4F provides a screw on base cap 40 with internal female threads 40a which interfaces with male threads 40b provided at the base of each segment 2.

[0040] The foregoing figures and descriptions are, of course, merely preferred embodiments and should be considered to be an exemplary and illustrative rather exhaustive. The inventive concept includes all of the foregoing embodiments as well as combinations and sub-combinations of features derived therefrom. Indeed, almost innumerable variations are possible without exceeding the scope and spirit of the inventive concept described herein.