Title:
Packaging and dispensing device including a screen through which a substance is dispensed
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for packaging and dispensing a substance having a housing containing the substance and a screen through which the substance is dispensed. The packaging device includes first and second elements capable, in a first state of the device prior to the filling with the substance, of enabling one of the elements to be positioned on a predetermined position relative to the other After filling, in a subsequent state of the device, one of the elements slides relative to the other element, to provide a corresponding decrease in the volume of the housing as the substance is used.



Inventors:
Delage, Jean-francois (Clamart, FR)
Application Number:
10/196158
Publication Date:
02/06/2003
Filing Date:
07/17/2002
Assignee:
L'OREAL (Paris, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D33/22; A45D33/00; (IPC1-7): A45D33/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DOAN, ROBYN KIEU
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OBLON, MCCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT, L.L.P. (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:



1. A device for packaging and dispensing a substance, in which the device includes a housing which holds said substance and a screen through which said substance is fed, the device comprising: a first element; a second element, wherein said first and second elements can be moved relative to each other, and wherein in a first state of the device prior to the filling with said substance, one of said first and second elements is in a predetermined position relative to the other element, and further wherein in a second state of the device, one of said first and second elements is slidable relative to the other of said first and second elements to provide a decrease in a volume of the housing as the substance is dispensed from the housing.

2. A device as recited in claim 1, including at least two co-operating portions to position one of the elements relative to the other in said predetermined position.

3. A device as recited in claim 1, wherein said two elements are snap-coupled together in said predetermined position.

4. A device as recited in claim 1, wherein the first element includes an end wall of the housing, and the second element includes a side wall of the housing.

5. A device as recited in claim 1, wherein said screen is carried by the second element.

6. A device as recited in claim 1, further including sealing means carried by at least one of said first and second elements to provide a seal between said first and second elements.

7. A device as recited in claim 6, wherein said sealing means comprise a sealing lip formed integrally with a wall of the first element.

8. A device as recited in claim 6, wherein said sealing means comprise an O-ring housed in a groove formed in a wall of one of said elements.

9. A device as recited in claim 1, wherein the first element has an inner skirt and an outer skirt defining between them a groove in which the second element is slidably disposed.

10. A device as recited in claim 9, wherein said outer skirt is threaded on the outside and wherein the device includes a lid suitable for screwing onto said outer skirt.

11. A device as recited in claim 1, including a lid which can be screwed onto at least one of said first and second elements when said first and second elements are in said predetermined position, and wherein while said lid is being screwed on said lid causes one of the elements to move relative to the other.

12. A device as recited in claim 11, wherein said lid has a shoulder which bears against an outer periphery of said screen when the second element is in said predetermined position relative to the first element.

13. A device as recited in claim 11, including an applicator housed beneath the lid and above said screen.

14. A device as recited in claim 13, wherein said applicator is a powder puff.

15. A device as recited in claim 1, wherein said screen is held by a support molded onto said screen.

16. A method of making a packaging and dispensing device including providing a housing having a substance therein and a screen through which said substance is fed with said device further including first and second elements capable of sliding relative to each other, with relative movement thereof being accompanied by a change in a volume of said housing, the method further comprising: positioning said first and second elements in a predetermined position; and filling said housing with the substance.

17. A method as recited in claim 16, further comprising the step of putting said screen into place after said housing has been filled with the substance.

18. A method as recited in claim 15, further including causing one of the elements to move relative to the other by fitting a lid onto one of the first and second elements, with said lid bearing against the other of said first and second elements to move said other of said first and second elements on a first occasion said lid is put into place.

19. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein said lid is put into place by being screwed on.

20. A method according to claim 16, further including bringing said first and second elements into said predetermined position by cooperating portions disposed on said first and second elements.

21. A method as recited in claim 1, further including providing means on at least one of said first and second elements to hold said first and second elements in said predetermined during filling of said housing, the method further including causing relative movement of said first and second elements after completion of filling.

22. A method as recited in claim 21, further including causing said relative movement by mounting a lid onto at least one of said first and second elements.

23. A method as recited in claim 22, wherein said mounting of said lid includes abutting a portion of said lid against one of said first and second elements to move said one of said first and second elements relative to the other.

24. A method as recited in claim 23, wherein said lid is coupled to the other of said first and second elements during said mounting.

25. A method as recited in claim 24, wherein said lid is coupled to said other of said first and second elements by screwing said lid onto said other of said first and second elements.

26. A method as recited in claim 16, further including providing a lid to cover at least a portion of at least one of said first and second elements.

27. A method as recited in claim 26, further including providing an applicator device upon said screen, and wherein said lid covers said applicator in a closed condition.

28. A method as recited in claim 27, further including providing a powder puff as said applicator.

29. A method as recited in claim 16, further including dispensing said product from said housing, while one of said elements slides relative to the other of said elements.

30. A method as recited in claim 29, further including mounting a portion of said second element on said substance such that as said substance is used said second element moves downwardly by gravity and as said second element moves downwardly by gravity said second element slides relative to said first element.

31. A device for packaging and dispensing a substance comprising: a first element having a top wall; a second element having at least one side wall, wherein said device includes a housing having a volume which is at least partially defined by said top wall and said at least one side wall, and further wherein said housing contains said substance; and wherein the second element is movably mounted with respect to said first element, and wherein said second element includes a portion which is coupled to said substance such that as said substance is used said second element moves relative to said first element and the volume of the housing is reduced.

32. A device as recited in claim 31, wherein said second element moves downward by gravity as said substance in said housing is used.

33. A device as recited in claim 32, wherein said substance is a cosmetic.

34. A device as recited in claim 32, wherein said substance is a powder.

35. A device as recited in claim 32, wherein said substance is a foundation.

36. A device as recited in claim 31, wherein said second element is slidably movable upon said first element.

37. A device as recited in claim 36, further including a seal between said first element and said at least one side wall of said second element.

38. A device as recited in claim 36, wherein said second element includes a screen which sits upon a top surface of said substance such that as said substance is used a level of said screen is lowered to thereby lower said second element by gravity.

39. A device as recited in claim 38, further including an applicator disposed above said screen.

40. A device as recited in claim 39, wherein said substance is a cosmetic product.

41. A device as recited in claim 39, wherein said substance is a powder and said applicator is a powder puff.

42. A device as recited in claim 41, further including a lid for covering said applicator, the device further including means for coupling said lid to said first element.

43. A device as recited in claim 42, wherein said means for coupling includes a screw coupling between said lid and said first element.

44. A device as recited in claim 43, wherein said first element includes an inner skirt and an outer skirt, and wherein said lid can be selectively screwed onto said outer skirt, and further wherein said second element is received in a recess disposed between said inner skirt and said outer skirt.

45. A device as recited in claim 44, further including means for holding said second element in a predetermined position with respect to said first element for filling said housing with said substance.

46. A device as recited in claim 45, wherein said means for holding includes at least one of a projection and a recess disposed on one of said first and second elements.

47. A device as recited in claim 46, wherein said lid includes a portion which abuts against said second element to move said second element from said predetermined position upon a first application of said lid after said housing is filled with said substance, wherein after said second element is moved from said predetermined position said second element moves relative to said first element as said product is used.

48. A device as recited in claim 31, wherein said first element includes an inner skirt and an outer skirt, and further wherein said second element is slidably received in a recess disposed between said inner skirt and said outer skirt.

49. A device as recited in claim 48, further including means for holding said second element in a predetermined position with respect to said first element for filling said housing with said substance.

50. A device as recited in claim 49, wherein said means for holding includes at least one of a projection and a recess disposed on one of said first and second elements.

51. A device as recited in claim 50, further including a lid, and wherein said lid includes a portion which abuts against said second element to move said second element from said predetermined position upon a first application of said lid after said housing is filled with said substance, wherein after said second element is moved from said predetermined position said second element moves relative to said first element as said substance is used.

52. A device as recited in claim 51, wherein said lid can be selectively coupled to said first element.

53. A device as recited in claim 52, wherein said lid can be selectively coupled to said first element with a screw coupling.

54. A device as recited in claim 31, wherein said second element includes a screen which sits upon a top surface of said substance such that as said substance is used the level of said screen is lowered to thereby lower a level of said second element.

55. A device as recited in claim 54, further including an applicator disposed above said screen.

56. A device as recited in claim 55, wherein said substance is a powder and said applicator is a powder puff.

57. A device as recited in claim 54, further including means for holding said second element in a predetermined position with respect to said first element for filling said housing with said substance.

58. A device as recited in claim 31, further including means for holding said second element in a predetermined position with respect to said first element for filling said housing with said substance.

59. A device as recited in claim 31, further including an applicator disposed above said second element.

60. A device as recited in claim 59, wherein said substance is a cosmetic product and said applicator is a powder puff.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to French application 0109527 filed Jul. 17, 2001, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates to devices for packaging and dispensing a substance. The invention is particularly advantageous for dispensing a cosmetic, for example makeup, in powder or semisolid form. The preferred form includes a housing containing the substance and a screen through which the substance is fed or dispensed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

DISCUSSION OF BACKGROUND

[0003] Devices that contain and dispense various cosmetic substances are well known. However, there continues to be a need for improved devices which are relatively simple in structure and practical to use. Devices are also needed that can easily be filled with a substance for subsequent dispensing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The novel device of the invention includes a first element and a second element capable, in a first state of the device prior to the filling with said substance, of enabling one of the elements to be positioned in a predetermined position relative to the other element. In a subsequent state, one of the elements of the device can slide, corresponding to a decrease in the volume of the housing.

[0005] With the arrangement of the invention, the housing can present a predetermined volume while it is being filled without requiring an arrangement or assembly outside of the device for positioning one of the elements relative to the other. The operation of filling the device with a substance is thereby simplified.

[0006] In accordance with one preferred embodiment, the device includes at least two cooperating portions arranged to enable one of the elements to be prepositioned relative to the other. Examples of arrangements to provide prepositioning of the elements include a projection and/or a recess disposed on one or both of the elements. In one form, the two elements are arranged to co-operate with each other with a snap-fastening or snap-connection in the predetermined position. The first element can include an end wall of the housing, and the other element can include a side wall of the housing.

[0007] In one exemplary embodiment, a screen is carried by the second element, i.e., the element having a housing side wall. Advantageously, a seal arrangement is carried by one of the elements to press against the other element so as to prevent leakage of the substance or of a component of the substance through any sliding clearance that exists between the two elements. The seal arrangement can include, e.g., a sealing lip made integrally with a wall of one of the elements, in particular the first element, or an O-ring received in a groove formed in a wall of one of the elements.

[0008] By way of example, in accordance with one embodiment, the first element can include an inner skirt and an outer skirt defining groove between them. The second element can be engaged in the groove and free to slide. The outer skirt can advantageously have an outside thread, with the device also including a lid that can be screwed onto the outer skirt. When the first and second elements are in the predetermined position discussed above and while the lid is being screwed on, the lid can be arranged to move one of the elements relative to the other so as to vary the volume of the substance-containing housing. In particular, the lid can include a shoulder suitable for bearing against the outer periphery of the screen or other portion of the second element when the second element is in the predetermined position relative to the first element. Thus, the first time the cap or lid is mounted upon the device after filling, the second element can be moved from the predetermined position. Thereafter, with the first and second elements movably disposed relative to each other, the tube elements can move to reduce the volume of the housing as the product is used.

[0009] According to a preferred embodiment, the device can include a powder puff housed beneath the lid and above the screen. Also, the screen can be held by a support overmolded on the screen.

[0010] The invention also provides a method of manufacturing a packaging and dispensing device in which a housing contains the substance and a screen through which the substance is fed or dispensed. In addition, two elements are capable of sliding relative to each other, with relative movement thereof corresponding to a change in the volume of the housing. In accordance with the method, the two elements are brought into a predetermined position, and the housing is filled with a substance. In a particular implementation of the invention, the method further includes the step of putting the screen into place after the device has been filled with substance.

[0011] In accordance with another aspect, one of the elements is caused to move relative to the other by fitting the lid onto one of the elements, with the other element being arranged in such a manner that the lid can bear against it and move it while being put into place, e.g., by being screwed on. The two elements can be brought into the predetermined position by cooperating relief portions on the two elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Other features and advantageous aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of non-limiting embodiments, particularly when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-section of a device of an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 depicts the FIG. 1 device in a predetermined position for being filled with a substance;

[0015] FIG. 3 depicts the screen put into place;

[0016] FIG. 4 shows the device after the lid has been screwed on;

[0017] FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, showing the device once the substance has been used up;

[0018] FIG. 6 shows a detail of FIG. 1;

[0019] FIGS. 7 and 8 show alternate embodiments of the co-operating portions in relief; and

[0020] FIG. 9 shows a base constituting an alternate embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numbers designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 depicts a packaging and applicator device 1 having a base 2, a powder puff 3, and a lid 4. The base 2 has a first element 5 and a second element 6 which is capable, under certain conditions, of sliding relative to the first element 5 along an axis X. In this example of the invention, the first element 5 is formed by an assembly including a body 7 and an end wall 8. The first element 5 co-operates with the second element 6 to define a housing 9 containing a supply of a substance P, for example a cosmetic. It is to be understood that the arrangement of the invention can be used for a variety of substances. The arrangement is particularly preferable for semisolid products such as semisolid cosmetics, e.g., a foundation makeup. Preferably, the product is in the form of a powder. However, the substance could take various forms such as a cream or liquid (preferably a viscous liquid), or a cake product. Although a powder puff is illustrated in the preferred arrangement, the applicator (if provided) could take various forms depending upon the product. Also, although the applicator depicted is removable, it could also be coupled to the device. Further, depending upon the product, the nature of the screen (if utilized) can vary (e.g., size and number of openings in the screen).

[0022] The body 7 has a wall 10 defining the end wall of the housing 9 (an upper or top wall of the first element 5). The second element 6 has an annular part 11 with a wall 12 defining the side wall or peripheral wall of the housing 9. The wall 10 is connected to an inner skirt 14 having an annular groove 15 formed in the top portion thereof and housing in the example described a sealing gasket 17 that bears in leaktight manner against the wall 12. The body 7 also has an outer skirt 19 provided with a thread 20.

[0023] The inner and outer skirts 14 and 19 are joined together, e.g., by a wall 21. An annular groove 22 is defined between the inner and outer skirts, and the second element 6 is capable of sliding within the groove 22. Although the groove 22 is annular in the preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that other shapes are also possible. Above thread 20 an annular sealing lip 23 is preferably provided for pressing in leaktight manner against the surface of the lid 4 when the lid is in place on the base 2. The body 7 preferably includes a peripheral rim 25 defining a housing for the separate end wall 8, as can be seen in FIG. 1. The end wall 8 is pierced, in its center in the illustrated embodiment, to provide an orifice 39.

[0024] In the embodiment illustrated, the second element 6 includes not only the part 11, but also a screen 26 supported at its periphery by a ring 27. The ring rests on the top end edge of the wall 12 of the part 11 and on an inwardly-directed flange 29 of a support 28 fixed on the part 11. The ring 27 can have, e.g., a rib 30 to assist in positioning upon the support 28. The part 11 has an assembly part 32 coaxial with the wall 12, with the support 28 being engaged thereon. The part 11 also has an annular lip 34 at its outer periphery for co-operating with the inside surface of the outer skirt 19 so as to hold the second element 6 relative to the first element 5 in a predetermined position while the housing 9 is being filled with substance P as described below.

[0025] It is to be understood that various alternate configurations are also possible for the first and second elements. For example, in an alternate embodiment, the annular lip 34 is not continuous with the part 11, or lip 34 can be replaced by tabs. The lip 34 can also be provided on its radially outer side with a bead 37 capable of bearing against one or more portions 38 as shown in an enlarged view in FIG. 6. The or each portion in relief 38 can be in the form of a projection, e.g., annular rib portions or beads made on the radially inside surface of the outer skirt 19, past which the bead 37 can be moved by causing the lip 34 to deform elastically. In another variation, the rib portions 38 can be replaced by a groove 38′ into which the bead 37 can snap as shown in FIG. 7 so that the first and second elements can be snap-fastened or snap-coupled together in the predetermined position. The part 34 could also include a groove 37′ as shown in FIG. 8 to provide a snap-coupling of the elements. As should be apparent, various combinations of abutting and/or snap-coupling elements can be utilized to position the first and second elements at the predetermined position, and alternate positioning expedients could also be utilized.

[0026] The applicator, such as a powder puff 3, can be made in various ways, for example, it can be constituted by a piece of foam, optionally carrying flocking on its surface. As noted earlier, it is to be understood that various forms of applicators are possible.

[0027] The lid 4 has a skirt 41 whose bottom portion has an inside thread 42 and whose top portion is stepped to define a shoulder 43 that bears against the second element 6 while the lid is being screwed on. Above the shoulder 43, the lid 4 presents a housing 44 for receiving the powder puff 3.

[0028] The following describes how the end wall 8 is fixed to the body 7, and the O-ring 17 is placed in the corresponding groove 15. The second element 6 is then fitted onto the first elements, until the bead 37 comes to bear against the rib portions 38, thus enabling the second element 6 to be held relative to the first element 5 in a predefined position defining a housing 9 of a predetermined volume. This housing 9 is then filled with a quantity of a substance P. Preferably, the quantity of the substance or product P is selected such that the level of the top surface S of the substance remains below the top edge 18 of the wall 12. Thereafter, the ring 27 carrying the screen 26 and secured to the support 28 is put into place on the part 11, as shown in FIG. 3. The powder puff 3 is then placed on the screen 26 and the lid 4 is then screwed onto the outer skirt 19, as shown in FIG. 4. While the lid is being screwed on, the shoulder 43 comes to bear against the second element 6, more particularly the ring 27 of the second element in the illustrated embodiment, with continued screw tightening causing the second element 6 to be moved downwards relative to the first element 5, thereby causing the bead 37 to go past the rib portions 38. Once the lid has been screwed home, the bottom edge of the skirt 41 of the lid 4 comes to bear against the rim 25. The stroke through which the second element 6 is moved downwards while the lid 4 is being screwed on corresponds substantially to the distance d between the surface S of the substance P and the screen 26 after the screen has been fixed on the part 11, with the stroke preferably slightly smaller than that distance. It should be observed that the lip 23 comes to bear in leaktight manner against the inside surface of the skirt 41 of the lid.

[0029] As progressively more of the substance is used, the second element 6 can move downwards relative to the first element 5 since it is the substance P which prevents the second element 6 from moving downwards by being interposed between the wall 10 and the screen 26. Thus, because the second element 6 sits upon the product (by way of the screen in the illustrated embodiment) and is movably disposed with respect to the first element 5, as the product is used, the level of the second element is lowered (with the second element moving by gravity in the illustrated embodiment) and the housing volume is reduced. The rib portions 38 serve to retain the second element 6 in the body 7, e.g., in the event of the device being accidentally turned upside-down.

[0030] FIG. 5 shows the device 1 after all of the substance has been used. It can be seen that the screen 26 then rests against the wall 10. As should be apparent, in accordance with one of the advantages, the invention makes it possible to use practically all of the packaged substance.

[0031] As noted earlier, various alternate arrangements can be utilized in accordance with the invention. By way of example, alternate assemblies or structures can be utilized for the first and/or second elements, and an alternate seal arrangement can be provided between the two elements instead of the O-ring 17. By way of example, FIG. 9 shows a base 2′ having a first element 5′ and a second element 6′ which differ from those described above in the absence of the O-ring 17 and the corresponding groove 15, since they are replaced by an annular lip 17′. In the first element 5′, the end wall 10 is replaced by an end wall 10′ of smaller diameter than the end wall 10 of the preceding example, since it is surrounded by the lip 17′. The lip is separated from the end wall 10′ by an annular groove and it is connected to the top portion of the inner skirt of the first element 5′. The base 2′ also differs from the base 2 by the fact that the ring 27 and the part 11 of the second element 6′ are provided as a single part 11′, when it is assembled with the screen 26 by being overmolded onto the screen (e.g., the parts can be molded together or one molded onto the other). Thus, the screen 26 and the part 11′ form a single component when it is put into place on the remainder of the second element 6′. The assembly skirt 32 also does not exist in the embodiment of FIG. 9.

[0032] As should be readily apparent from the foregoing, many variations are possible, and therefore the invention is not limited to the embodiments specifically described above. By way of further example, the arrangement enabling the second element to be held in a predefined position relative to the first element while the housing is being filled with the substance P can be implemented in many other ways. Although it is advantageous for the cooperating portions in relief on the two elements to be formed integrally therewith, it is possible to make a portion in relief on one of the elements by depositing a drop of adhesive or other material for example, or by fixing an alternate form of stop or abutment.

[0033] Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described therein.