Title:
Tablet presser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tablet presser is proposed which is inexpensive and not bulky and which can be stacked and automatically put into a bottle without any problem. Around a flat plate portion having sustantially the same size as the mouth of a tablet bottle, an elastically deformable legs are provided to retain the position of the flat plate portion. When the legs enter the bottle while being bent, they get into contact with the inner surface of the bottle. Movement of tablets in the bottle is prevented by pressing them with the bottom surface of the flat plate portion.



Inventors:
Arai, Yoshiaki (Hyogo, JP)
Application Number:
10/156794
Publication Date:
12/12/2002
Filing Date:
05/30/2002
Assignee:
ARAI YOSHIAKI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D81/02; A61J1/14; B65D51/26; (IPC1-7): B65D39/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WENDEROTH, LIND & PONACK, L.L.P. (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A tablet presser comprising a flat plate portion for pressing tablets and a plurality of diametrically outwardly extending, elastically deformable legs integrally formed at regular spacings, said legs being bent into contact the inner surface of a tablet bottle to keep the position of said flat plate portion when the tablet presser is pushed into a tablet bottle.

2. A tablet presser as claimed in claim 1 wherein said each leg is provided with a circumferential protrusion.

3. A tablet presser as claimed in claim 1 or 2 wherein said legs have their tips bent in the same direction as the tightening direction of a screw cap of the tablet bottle.

4. A tablet presser as claimed in any of claims 1-3 wherein a thin-walled hinge portion is provided at the root of each of said legs.

5. A tablet presser as claimed in any of claims 1-4 wherein said each leg is provided with a rib-like portion adjacent to the root of each leg.

6. A tablet presser as claimed in any of claims 1-5 wherein a projection is provided at the tip of each of said legs.

7. A tablet presser as claimed in any of claims 1-6 wherein a projection protruding in the thickness direction is provided on said flat plate portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to a tablet presser put in a tablet bottle to prevent vitamin and drug tablets in the bottle from moving.

[0002] In a tablet bottle, resin film (which is hereinafter referred to as packing) is put in a crumpled state together with tablets. This packing is used to suppress movement of the tablets in the bottle. When the resin film is put in the bottle in a folded state, it swells due to its self-restoring force, so that the effect of pressing the tablets to prevent them from moving is maintained. It is also inexpensive, so that it is often used in tablet bottles.

[0003] A tablet presser other than the packing of resin film is also proposed. As shown in FIG. 7, this existing tablet presser is provided with a shaft 22 at the center of a disk 21 and a knob 23 at the top end of the shaft 22. The disk 1 is pressed into a tablet bottle to press tablets with it. Since the disk 21 is formed with radial cuts 24, when squeezed by the mouth of the bottle, it is deformed into the shape of an umbrella, so that its diameter decreases. This makes it possible to push it into and out of the bottle.

[0004] The packing of resin film is not good in appearance. Also, tablets tend to get into gaps and wrinkles formed in the film, so that when the packing is taken out of the bottle, tablets clinging thereto is often taken out together and scatter around.

[0005] On the other hand, since the tablet presser shown in FIG. 7 is three-dimensionally shaped, it is bulky, so that storage, transportation and handling before use are troublesome.

[0006] Also, since it has a shaft and a knob, injection molding is needed, which increases the cost.

[0007] Further, since its shape is complicated, smooth supply and reliable handling with a machine are difficult. Also, there is a difficulty in automatic insertion with a machine. Thus, it is difficult to improve productivity of bottled tablet products.

[0008] An object of this invention is to provide a tablet presser which is inexpensive and not bulky and which can be stacked and automatically put into a bottle without problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] According to this invention, there is provided a tablet presser comprising a flat plate portion for pressing tablets and a plurality of diametrically outwardly extending, elastically deformable legs integrally formed at regular spacings, the legs being bent into contact the inner surface of a tablet bottle to keep the position of the flat plate portion when the tablet presser is pushed into a tablet bottle.

[0010] The legs are preferably provided with circumferential protrusions.

[0011] Also preferably, the legs have their tips bent in the same direction as the tightening direction of a screw cap of the tablet bottle.

[0012] Also preferably, a thin-walled hinge portion is provided at the root of each of the legs. A rearwardly rising projection may be provided at the tip of each of said legs. A projection protruding in the thickness direction may be provided on the flat plate portion.

[0013] The tablet presser of this invention can be easily and inexpensively formed by blanking or cutting out a soft resin sheet. Since it is simple in shape, injection molding can be carried out by use of an inexpensive mold.

[0014] Also, since they are flat as a whole and not bulky and can be handles in stacks, storage, transportation are easy, and automatic insertion using a machine can be carried out without any problems.

[0015] When pushed into a bottle, the legs are squeezed by the mouth of the bottle and bent resiliently, so that unlike the conventional article in which the disk itself is bent and forcibly pushed into a bottle, the tablet presser can be easily put in a bottle. Also, since the legs can be pinched easily, the tablet presser can be easily taken out of the bottle.

[0016] In the arrangement in which circumferential protrusions are provided on the legs, the protrusions engage the shoulder portion on the inner surface of the bottle, so that the position retaining ability improves, thereby stabilizing the pressing of tablets.

[0017] Also, in the arrangement in which the tips of the legs are bent in the same direction as the tightening direction of the cap of the bottle, the legs will not get caught on the cap. Thus it is possible to tighten the cap without trouble.

[0018] With the tablet presser in which thin hinge portions are provided at the roots of the legs, the legs are bent more smoothly, so that the tablet presser can be put into a bottle more easily. With the tablet presser in which bulged portions are provided adjacent to the roots of the legs, a difference in rigidity is present between the bulged portions and the bulge-free portions, so that the roots of the legs act as the hinge. The provision of the hinge portion decreases the bending radius of the legs and thus the gap between the bottle wall and the legs, so that even small tablets are pressed stably.

[0019] In the arrangement in which the projections are provided at the tips of the legs, the tablet presser can be easily taken out of the bottle by holding the projections with fingers.

[0020] With the arrangement in which a projection is provided on the flat plate portion, a gap is formed between stacked tablet pressers, so that separation of the tablet pressers improves.

[0021] The material forming the tablet presser according to this invention is preferably a soft resin, but is not limited thereto.

[0022] Other features and objects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description made with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] FIG. 1A is a plan view of one embodiment of the tablet presser of this invention;

[0024] FIG. 1B is a sectional view of the same;

[0025] FIG. 2 is a sectional view showing how the tablet presser of FIG. 1 is used;

[0026] FIG. 3A is a plan view of another embodiment;

[0027] FIG. 3B is a sectional view of the same;

[0028] FIG. 4 is a back view of the same with the legs bent;

[0029] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the same with the legs protruding from the bottle;

[0030] FIG. 6A is a plan view of another embodiment;

[0031] FIG. 6B is a sectional view of the same; and

[0032] FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing a conventional tablet presser.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0033] The embodiments of this invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1-6.

[0034] FIG. 1 shows a tablet presser 1 of a basic form. It has a flat plate portion 2 having substantially the same size as (or slightly smaller than) the mouth of a tablet bottle and adapted to be pushed into the bottle to press the tablets in the bottle with its bottom surface. On the outer periphery of the flat plate portion 2, elastically deformable flat legs 3 are integrally formed at a constant pitch or spacing so as to extend radially outwardly.

[0035] The legs 3 are squeezed by the mouth of the bottle and bent rearwardly when the flat plate portion 2 is pushed into the tablet bottle A as shown in FIG. 2. Under the elastic restoring force, they will contact the inner surface of the bottle A to maintain the position of the flat plate portion 2 which is pressed against the tablets B. The number and pitch of these legs 3 are preferably set so that the roots of the adjacent legs 3 will not interfere with each other.

[0036] The tablet presser 1 of FIG. 3 is provided with circumferential protrusions 3a and 3b on the legs 3. As shown, the protrusions preferably comprise a combination of the protrusions 3a and 3b that protrude in opposite directions. But either one alone would reveal the effect. When the legs 3 are bent and pushed into a tablet bottle, the protrusions 3a, 3b protrude sideways and engage the inner surface of the shoulder of the bottle A provided between its trunk and mouth as shown in FIG. 4. Thus, the position retaining effect by the tablet presser 1 stabilizes. Also, tablet loopholes formed on the outer periphery of the flat plate portion 2 are reliably closed by the protrusions 3a, 3b, so that movement of the tablets can be suppressed more stably.

[0037] In FIG. 3A, the legs 3 have their tips 3c bent clockwise. In the state of FIG. 5 in which the tips of the legs 3 protrude outwardly from the mouth of the bottle A, when the screw cap C is tightened clockwise, the tips of the legs will get caught by the cap, making it difficult to tighten the cap. But if the tips of the legs are bent in the tightening direction, they are pulled by the screw cap to which is applied a turning force, so that the cap can be turned without trouble. Also, as the screw cap pushes down the tips of the legs 3 during tightening, the protrusions 3a in FIG. 4 will spread outwardly into contact with the inner surface of the bottle. This further improves the position retaining effect by the protrusions and prevents movement of the tablets.

[0038] FIGS. 6A and 6B show another embodiment in which preferable elements are further added. The tablet presser 1 of FIG. 6 is provided with a thin-walled hinge portion 4 at the root of each leg 3, so that when pushed into a bottle, the legs 3 are bent smoothly at the hinge portions 4. Instead of providing the hinge portion 4, a rib-like portion may be provided adjacent to the root of each leg 3 as shown in FIG. 6B by dotted line. In this case, too, the root of each leg acts as a hinge. Though in FIG. 6B the rib-like portion is provided on the upper side, it may be provided on the opposite side. The rib-like portion increases the rigidity and at both sides of the portion where the rigidity changes, the legs 3 tend to bend as hinges. The hinge may be provided in plural according to the size of the bottle.

[0039] Also, projections 5 projecting toward one side are formed at the tips of the legs 3. Since the tips of the legs can be pinched and pulled out of the bottle by catching the projections 5 with fingers. Thus the tablet presser 1 can be easily taken out of the bottle.

[0040] Further, a projection 6 is provided at the center of the flat plate portion 2. Flat tablet pressers closely contact each other. Thus, especially during automated working, it is difficult to reliably peel off the topmost one. But by providing the projection 6, gaps are formed between stacked plates, so that the plates can be separated easily. This will prevent trouble in insertion into a bottle. The projection 6 may be e.g. a small embossed portion. If the projecting amount is small, it may protrude to the front side of the flat plate portion 2. The projection 6 should be provided on the flat plate portion 2. If it was provided on one of the legs 3, the legs might not align due to position displacement and it become impossible to achieve the purpose of separating sheets.

[0041] The flat tablet presser of FIGS. 1 and 3 can be mass-produced by cutting out or blanking a material sheet such as a soft resin sheet. Since a plurality of material sheets can be stacked and processed, mass-production is possible.

[0042] If the tablet presser of FIGS. 6A, 6B is formed by injection molding, it can be formed with a single manufacturing step. But it can also be manufactured by cutting out a material sheet and hot-pressing into an intended shape.

[0043] The tablet pressers according to this invention can be automatically inserted into a tablet bottle efficiently e.g. by stacking many of them, setting at a supply portion, sucking the topmost one by a vacuum pad mounted on a vertically movable and swinging arm, transferring to a portion where it is to be pushed into a bottle, and lowering the vacuum pad to push it into a tablet bottle.

[0044] As described above, the tablet presser of this invention has a flat or substantially flat shape, and will not be bulky even if many of them are stacked, so that storage and transportation are easy.

[0045] It is easy to manufacture and thus it can be provided at a low cost.

[0046] Further, supply with a stable attitude and transportation and push-in with e.g. a vacuum pad are possible, so that it can be automatically pushed into a bottle in mechanized work without problems.

[0047] With the tablet presser having circumferential protrusions provided on the legs, the protrusions engage the shoulder of the bottle, so that the position retaining force increases. This further stabilizes pressing of tablets.

[0048] With the tablet presser in which the tips of the legs are bent clockwise, tightening of the cap of the bottle can be done without trouble. Also, with the one in which the thin-walled hinge portions are provided in the legs, flexibility of the legs improves. With the one in which the protrusions are provided at the tips of the legs, it is easy to pinch the legs. Thus it is easy to take the tablet presser out of the bottle. With the one in which the projection is provided on the flat plate portion, separation of flat plates from a stack improves. Thus they can be automatically put into bottles by a machine with high reliability.