Title:
Liquid saving disc
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention concerns an insert for covering an upper surface of material in a container. The insert has a disc-shaped central body portion with generally planar upper and lower surfaces and at least one finger grip extending upwardly from the upper planar surface. An annular sidewall extends around a periphery of the central portion and an annular hinge extends around the sidewall. An annular flange extends around the sidewall and is connected to the sidewall by the hinge. A removable hang tab having an aperture formed therein extends from a free edge of the flange. At least one annular groove is formed in the planar upper surface to define an area for forming a hole through the central body portion. A plurality of radially extending score lines are preferably formed in the flange.



Inventors:
Frantz, Dale A. (Toledo, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/843095
Publication Date:
11/18/2004
Filing Date:
05/10/2004
Assignee:
FRANTZ DALE A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/216
International Classes:
B65D81/24; (IPC1-7): B65D81/24; B65D53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACMILLAN SOBANSKI & TODD, LLC (TOLEDO, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An insert for covering an upper surface of material in a container having an opening comprising: a central body portion having a lower surface adapted to contact the upper surface of the material in the container and having an upper surface; an annular hinge extending around and connected to said central body portion; and an annular flange extending around and attached to said hinge, said flange having an outer free edge with a diameter larger than an interior diameter of the container whereby when said insert is placed in the container through the opening, said free edge contacts an interior wall of the container and said flange deflects at said hinge.

2. The insert according to claim 1 including a removable hang tab having an aperture formed therein and extending outwardly from said flange.

3. The insert according to claim 2 including a plurality of perforations formed at a junction of said hang tab and said flange.

4. The insert according to claim 1 including a plurality of radially extending score lines formed in said flange.

5. The insert according to claim 1 including at least one finger grip extending upwardly from said upper surface of said central body portion.

6. The insert according to claim 5 including another finger grip extending upwardly from said upper surface of said central body portion and spaced from said at least one finger grip.

7. The insert according to claim 5 wherein said at least one finger grip includes a pair of spaced apart upstanding legs, a pair of edge portions extending between adjacent ends of said legs, and a cap extending between top edges of said legs, said legs, said edge portions, and said cap defining a cavity opening at said lower surface of said central body portion.

8. The insert according to claim 1 including an annular upwardly extending sidewall connected between a periphery of said central body portion and said hinge.

9. The insert according to claim 8 wherein said sidewall has an inverted U-shaped cross section.

10. The insert according to claim 1 including said at least one continuous groove formed in said upper surface of said central body portion for removal of an area of said central body portion to form a hole through said central body portion.

11. The insert according to claim 10 wherein said at least one groove is formed by a plurality of perforations.

12. The insert according to claim 1 wherein said inset is formed from a plastic material.

13. An insert for covering an upper surface of a material in a container having an opening comprising: a central body portion having a lower surface adapted to contact an upper surface of the material in the container and having an upper surface; at least one finger grip extending upwardly from said upper surface; an annular upwardly extending sidewall attached at a periphery of said central body portion; an annular hinge extending around and attached to said sidewall; an annular flange extending around and attached to said hinge; and at least one annular groove formed in said upper surface of said central body portion for removal of an area of said central body portion to form a hole through said central body portion.

14. The insert according to claim 13 wherein said flange has an outer free edge with a diameter larger than an interior diameter of the container whereby when said insert is placed in the container through the opening, said free edge contacts an interior wall of the container and said flange deflects at said hinge.

15. An insert for covering an upper surface of a material in a container having an opening comprising: a central body portion having a lower surface adapted to contact an upper surface of the material in the container and having an upper surface; a pair of spaced apart finger grips extending upwardly from said upper surface; an annular upwardly extending sidewall attached at a periphery of said central body portion; an annular hinge extending around and attached to said sidewall; an annular flange extending around and attached to said hinge; and a plurality of annular grooves formed in said upper surface of said central body portion each for removal of a corresponding area of said central body portion to form a hole through said central body portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application serial No. 60/470,955 filed May 15, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to painting accessories and, in particular, to an apparatus for protecting a quantity of a liquid or semi-liquid material in a can or bucket against skinning and evaporation.

[0003] A common problem in painting and in the commercial painting industry in particular is the re-use of larger paint containers such as five-gallon buckets or the like. A typical five-gallon paint bucket does not include a lid or cover that is easily resealed once it has been separated from the bucket. The painter must then hope that other smaller containers having lids or covers that can be resealed are available if the entire contents of the five-gallon bucket are not emptied during use. If the contents of the bucket are not emptied during use and the container or bucket is allowed to stand, skinning (the formation of a solid layer on an upper level of the paint) and evaporation of the paint may disadvantageously occur.

[0004] There is shown in the U.S. Design Pat. No. D356,034 an insert for use in a paint can, particularly quart and gallon size cans. The insert has an integral body that is pan-shaped with a flat bottom wall, an outwardly angled sidewall and an outwardly extending flange at the upper edge of the sidewall. A central post extends upwardly from the bottom wall and is circular in cross section. A removable tab extends outwardly from the flange and has an aperture formed therein for receiving a display hook. This insert, however, is disadvantageously difficult to remove from a larger paint container or bucket because of the force required to be applied to the central post to separate the body from a large surface area of paint and the rigid design of the outwardly extending flange.

[0005] It is desirable, therefore, to provide an insert for a liquid container that may be placed on a liquid level in a container, can, or bucket in order to reuse the container, that may be more easily removed and that allows access to the liquid in the container without requiring the insert to be removed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention concerns an insert for covering a material in a bucket-like container. The insert includes a disc-shaped body having a central portion with a generally planar surface and at least one finger grip extending outwardly from the planar surface of the central portion. An annular sidewall extends around a periphery of the central portion and an annular hinge extends around the sidewall. An annular flange extends around the sidewall and is connected to the sidewall by the hinge. A removable hang tab having an aperture formed therein extends from a free edge of the flange. At least one annular groove is formed in the planar surface to define an area for forming a hole through the disc-shaped body. A plurality of radially extending score lines are preferably formed in the flange.

[0007] The present invention advantageously provides an insert that may be placed on a liquid level in a container, can, or bucket in order to save the liquid contents of the container for subsequent use. The insert may be easily removed from the container. The annular groove defines an area that may be cut or removed to provide access to the liquid via an appropriately sized siphon tube (not shown) or the like without requiring the body of the insert to be removed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The above, as well as other advantages of the present invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a liquid saving disc in accordance with the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the disc shown in FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 1; and

[0012] FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] There is shown in the drawings a liquid saving disc 10 according to the present invention. The disc 10 has an integrally formed, monolithic body 11 being circular in the plan views of FIGS. 1 and 2. Alternatively, the body 11 is formed in any shape advantageous for sealing a container, can, or bucket of substantially the same shape, discussed in more detail below. A central portion 12 of the body 11 is generally flat and is encircled at a periphery by an upwardly extending sidewall 13 having an inverted U-shaped cross section, best seen in FIG. 3. An inner edge of the sidewall 13 extends from the central portion 12 of the body 11 and an annular flange 14 extends from an outer edge of the sidewall 13. The flange 14 is attached to the sidewall 13 by a hinge 15, such as a living hinge or the like, that permits the flange 14 to flex upwardly and downwardly and includes an outer edge 23 for engaging with an interior surface of a liquid container (not shown). Formed in the flange 14 is a plurality of spaced apart, radially extending score lines 16. The score lines 16 separate the flange 14 into a plurality of flange segments 14a. The flange segments 14a are each able to flex independently along the hinge 15 when the disc 10 is in use, discussed in more detail below. A hang tab 17 extends from a portion of the outer edge 23 of the flange 14 and has a triangularly shaped aperture 18 formed therein for receiving a display bracket (not shown) or the like.

[0014] A pair of upstanding finger grips 19 is formed in the central portion 12. The finger grips 19 each include a pair of legs 24 extending upwardly from the surface 11 and joined at an upper portion by a cap 25, best seen in FIG. 4. Preferably, the legs 24 and the cap 25 are joined at opposed ends of the finger grips 19 by edge portions 26 that define a cavity 27 under the legs 24, the cap 25, and the edge portions 26 of the finger grips 19.

[0015] Also formed in the central portion 12 are a plurality of concentric annular grooves 20a, 20b, and 20c, each of which define an increasingly larger interior area indicated generally at 28a, 28b, and 28c. One or more of the grooves 20a, 20b and 20c may be formed as perforations in the central portion 12 for forming a hole through the surface 11, discussed in more detail below. While three grooves 20a, 20b, and 20c are shown, those skilled in the art will appreciate that more or fewer than three grooves may be formed and that the size and shape of the grooves may be chosen to fit a particular purpose while remaining within the scope of the present invention.

[0016] The body 11, including the hang tab 17, can be vacuum formed from a sheet of plastic material for example. Then the formed plastic sheet is trimmed to the substantially circular shape illustrated in a cutting die that forms the score lines 17, the aperture 18 and a plurality of annular perforations 21 at the junction of the flange 14 and the hang tab 17. A label 22 can be adhered to the upper surface of the central portion 12.

[0017] The hang tab 17 can be used to display the disc 10 for sale on a display hanger (not shown) received in the aperture 18. To ready the disc 10 for use, the hang tab 17 is separated from the disc at the perforations 21. One or both of the grips 19 are grasped while lowering the disc 10 into an open container (not shown), such as a can, a five gallon paint bucket or the like. Five gallon paint buckets typically taper inwardly from top to bottom such that, when the disc 10 is placed in the interior of the bucket, the flange 14 flexes about the hinge 15 to accommodate the inner diameter of the bucket at the surface level of the paint. The outer edge 23 of the flange 14 automatically seals against the inwardly tapering sidewall of the bucket regardless of the surface level of the liquid or paint, providing a substantially airtight seal between the outer edge 23 and the sidewall of the bucket. The segments 14a of the flange 14 aid in forming the seal between the edge 23 and the sidewall of the bucket by independently flexing when placed in contact with the sidewall of the bucket, thereby adjusting to any abnormalities in the sidewall of the bucket. Thus, the disc 10 can be repeatedly removed and installed as the liquid or paint is used from the bucket. To remove the disc 10 from the bucket, the seal formed between the outer edge 23 of the flange 14 and the inner surface of the bucket sidewall must be broken by any suitable method such as by the insertion of a putty knife (not shown) between the outer edge 23 of the flange 14 and the inner surface of the bucket sidewall, after which the disc 10 is removed by grasping the finger grips 19 and pulling upwardly/outwardly. In the alternative, a utility knife (not shown) for example can be used to cut an “X” pattern in the area 28a, 28b, or 28c defined by a selected one of the grooves 20a, 20b, or 20c to provide access to the liquid via an appropriately sized siphon tube (not shown) or the like. Alternatively, one or more of the grooves 20a, 20b, and 20c may be formed as perforations to permit easier removal of one of the circular areas 28a, 28b, or 28c to provide access to the liquid via the siphon tube or the like without requiring the use of a utility knife or the like. After being placed in the area 28a, 28b, or 28c, for example, the siphon tube may remain in the disc 10 and be sealed at an end opposite the end disposed in the liquid to maintain the seal of the disc 10.

[0018] Although the disc 10 is described herein as used in connection with paint cans or buckets, it can perform its intended function with any liquid or semi-liquid material. The disc 10 is configured to float on a top surface of a quantity of liquid or semi-liquid material in a container such as paint in a standard five-gallon paint can or bucket. The disc 10 provides a substantially airtight protection for all latex paints, oil paints, stains and inks and also advantageously works with other moist materials including, but not limited to, mortar compounds, joint compounds and adhesives. The disc 10 according to the present invention eliminates waste by allowing the liquid to be saved for later use and prevents skinning of the liquid. The substantially airtight seal formed between the between the outer edge 23 of the flange 14 and the inner surface of the bucket sidewall, advantageously contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within the container and, in the case of paint, prevents the loss of pigments.

[0019] In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the present invention has been described in what is considered to represent its preferred embodiment. However, it should be noted that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its spirit or scope.