Title:
Package for a water-soluble capsule
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One or more water-soluble capsules (3) containing a detergent composition in combination with a package (1) containing the one or more water-soluble capsules, characterised in that the package is formed from a material which has a Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate (M.V.T.R) of between 0.25 g/m2/day to 10 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity. The Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate is between 0.25 g/m2/day to 5 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity. In a preferred embodiment, the package is self-standing by means of a collapsible base (16) portion which expands from a collapsed position to an expanded position when one or more capsules is/are placed on the base, and is collapsible when empty so as to make the package substantially flat.



Inventors:
Cole, Andrew John (At Vlaardingen, NL)
Robins, Claire Louise (Hoole, Chester, NL)
Vas-bhat, Rahul Dominic (Kingston Upon Thames, NL)
Application Number:
10/497595
Publication Date:
03/24/2005
Filing Date:
09/17/2002
Assignee:
COLE ANDREW JOHN
ROBINS CLAIRE LOUISE
VAS-BHAT RAHUL DOMINIC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D75/00; C11D17/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/84
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
UNILEVER PATENT GROUP (ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. One or more water-soluble capsules containing a detergent composition in combination with a package containing said one or more water-soluble capsules, wherein the package is formed from a material which has a Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate (M.V.T.R) of between 0.25 g/m2/day to 10 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity.

2. A combination according to claim 1, wherein the material has a Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate of between 0.25 g/m2/day to 5 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity.

3. A combination according to claim 1, wherein the package is self-standing by means of a collapsible base portion which expands from a collapsed position to an expanded position when one or more capsules is/are placed on the base, and is collapsible when empty so as to make the package substantially flat.

4. A combination according to claim 3 wherein the base is expandable in a direction outwardly of the package interior and collapsible by folding inwardly of the package interior.

5. A combination according to claim 3 wherein the base is expandable in a direction outwardly of the package interior and collapsible/expandable by means of resilient portions.

6. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the package has outwardly curved sides.

7. A combination according to claim 6 wherein the sides have increased outward curvature toward the base of the package.

8. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the package includes resealable closure means.

9. A combination according to claim 8 wherein the resealable closure means comprises a zip member.

10. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the package is a flexible bag.

11. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the detergent composition is a liquid or includes a liquid portion.

12. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the detergent composition is a powder or includes a powder portion.

13. A combination according to claim 1 wherein the detergent composition is a gel or includes a gel portion.

14. (Canceled)

Description:

The present invention relates to a package or container for one or more water-soluble capsules containing a detergent composition.

Detergent compositions for machine washing of laundry are provided in many forms such as free-flowing powders, liquids. Detergents in the form of compressed powder tablets are also commonly available.

Tablets have several advantages over free-flowing powdered products and these are well documented, in particular, as they do not require measuring they are thus easier to handle and dispense into the wash load and allow for accurate dosing of detergent.

More recently water-soluble capsules of detergent composition in liquid and other forms have been introduced. Water-soluble capsules generally comprise a detergent composition encapsulated with water-soluble film, such as polyvinyl alcohol. Encapsulation allows for handling without direct contact with the detergent composition. This is especially advantageous when the detergent composition includes aggressive cleaning components which would irritate the skin on direct contact.

Also, unlike tablets, the use of water-soluble packages enables discretising of particulate detergent composition without the need for compaction. Therefore the problems in solubility arising from compaction of particulate detergent are not encountered with water-soluble packages of this type of detergent.

A further advantage of water-soluble capsules is that this allows discretising of other types of detergent e.g. liquid. Liquid is far more readily dissolvable than compressed powder and so not prone to the dissolution problems encountered with tablets formed in this way.

However, a problem encountered with water-soluble capsules is that the water soluble film material is vulnerable to increased levels of ambient humidity during storage and this can lead to premature dissolution of the film and as a result the capsule may rupture and release it contents.

In the case of liquid-filled capsules, leaked liquid from a single ruptured capsule could, if not contained, lead to the dissolution of an entire package of capsules, which is highly undesirable.

Another problem is that if, during storage, the film of the water soluble capsule becomes damp, it may then increase the possibility of in-wash lodging as a tacky film is more likely to stick to the washing machine door before it has chance to be caught up in the main wash.

One solution might be to use waterproof but this can result in high temperatures (within the packaging) in many environments and this can contribute to film degradation. Thus, it can be seen that the significant benefits of increased solubility offered by encapsulation with water soluble film can be severely compromised by the susceptibility of the film to deteriorate during storage.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a package for containing water-soluble capsules of detergent, which overcome at least some of the above mentioned problems. In particular, it is an object of the invention to provide packaging for water-soluble capsules containing a detergent composition, which is protected against the effect of ambient moisture and is also simple, low-cost and convenient to use.

Accordingly, in one aspect the invention provides one or more water-soluble capsules containing a detergent composition in combination with a package containing said one or more water-soluble capsules, characterised in that the package is formed from a material which has a Moisture Vapour Transfer Rate (M.V.T.R) of between 0.25 g/m2/day to 10 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity, and preferably between 0.25 g/m2/day to 5 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity.

With this arrangement, the water soluble capsules can be protected from ambient humidity during storage, by a simplified packaging.

A further problem is that many existing packages are unsuitable for encapsulated detergent—as they are designed for powders (e.g. boxes/bags from which powder is scooped) or liquids (bottles/refill bags from which the liquid is poured) or boxes in which tablets are stacked. Such packaging does not capitalise on such characteristics of water-soluble film encapsulated detergent such as the possibility of direct handling.

Thus, advantageously, the package is self-standing by means of a collapsible base portion which expands from a collapsed position to an expanded position when one or more capsules is/are placed on the base, and is collapsible when empty so as to make the package substantially flat.

With this arrangement, the amount of plastic packaging material disposed in the environment can be substantially decreased as there is no need to also provide a separate support structure to allow the package to stand upright. The provision of a self-standing package is particularly advantageous when used with encapsulated detergent, as the capsules can be conveniently retrieved by reaching into the standing package, even when there is only a single capsule remaining therein.

Preferably the package is formed as a single-walled body. The term “single-walled” should be construed as meaning that at any point the is only one wall thick. It includes a body comprising one or more walls which have a laminate structure.

The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of some embodiments thereof, given by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a sealed package containing a round-shaped water-soluble capsule of liquid detergent, according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the package of FIG. 1, shown empty;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the package of FIG. 1, viewed from the base;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a front view of the package of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the package of FIG. 4, viewed from the base; and

FIG. 7 is a side view of the package of FIG. 4.

The packaging system of the invention is intended to consist of a consumer unit containing the detergent composition of the invention and designed to be used/stored as such in the consumer homes.

The units shown are bags/pouches and can be made either from raw stock or from preformed and/or prefolded sheet material, and can be sealed by various means, e.g. by heat, adhesives/glue, tapes. The bags/pouches herein are made of films, either monolayer, including coextruded materials, or laminated; such films are typically paper or plastic or combinations of the two; preferred materials for the bags herein are plastic and/or paper laminates. Plastic, materials are typically polyolefines, and both plastic and paper can be virgin or recycled material; the films herein can be printed in different ways, typically gravure, flexo, offset. Also encompassed herein are films with moisture barrier properties, obtained by resins, either coextruded or in different laminated layers, or coating by e.g. lacquers. One combination of the invention is shown, comprising a plastic bag 1 which contains one or more water soluble capsules 3 (only one shown) of detergent liquid.

Other shaped water-soluble capsules may be used e.g. round, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 or rectangular (sometimes referred to as ‘pillow-shaped’) as shown in FIG. 5.

The plastic bag 1 is constructed from a laminar material comprising two layers: an outer layer of polyester (PET) which is 12 microns thick and an inner layer of low linear density polyethylene (LLDPE) 150 microns thick. This material has an MVTR value of 4.60 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity.

The bag has two rectangular side walls 2, 4 which are heat (or glue)-sealed together along corresponding longitudinal edges and which is closed at one end (the base portion 17) by a base wall 6 and at the other end (the upper portion 18) by 20, 22 seals both which are described below in greater detail.

In the base portion 17 of the bag 1 there is a base wall 6 which is formed from a rectangular sheet of plastic, perimeter portions of which are heat(or glue)-sealed to respective edges portions of the end portions 8, 10 of the side walls 2, 4. The sealing portion 12 (i.e. the part forming the seal with the base wall 6) is shaped such that the effective base area 16 is very generally elliptical (as shown more clearly in FIG. 3).

At the upper end 18 of the bag 1, there is a resealable closure member 20, which comprises a plastic zip 20 having corresponding engagement portions fixed on respective side walls 2, 4, internally of the bag 1.

The package further includes a permanent heat or glue seal 22 in the uppermost portion 18a. Just below this portion, there is an indent 26 in the seal section 5 and/or 7, to assist tearing (along the dotted line 28, which may be weakened) so as to enable removal of the upper portion 18a (after purchase). The bag 1 can then be opened and sealed/resealed repeatedly by use of the zip 20.

The bag 1 is self-standing on a substantially flat surface shown generally at 14, (and which could be for example a shelf, work top etc.,) when one or more capsules is/are placed on the base portion: the weight of the capsule acts downward on the base wall which thereby expands laterally to support the capsule and as a result the package is disposed in an upright position.

The construction as described above allows the bag to be formed one wall thick but self-standing and without a supporting structure such as a box.

An alternative embodiment is constructed as shown in FIGS. 1-3 but is formed from an alternative sheet material. In this embodiment, the laminar material comprises two layers: an outer layer of polyester (PET) which is 12 microns thick and an inner layer of low linear density polyethylene (LLDPE) 180 microns thick. This material has an MVTR value of 4.50 g/m2/day at 38° C. and 90% relative humidity. This increased thickness of the LLDPE layer provides a reduced MVTR and additional stability for larger packs (e.g. where say 20-30 or more capsules are packaged).

A further embodiment is shown in FIGS. 4-7. This bag is structure as for the package above except that it has outwardly curved sides which provide extra volume. The bag may have an increased outer curvature at the base so as to lower the centre of gravity of the package when one or more capsules, are contained so providing a more stable package.

The package of FIGS. 4-7 may comprise any suitable material, such as that in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3.

The detergent liquid contained in the water soluble capsules exemplified here comprises:

Level (weight
Raw materialpercent of total)
Nonionic20.00
Surfactant (alcohol ethoxylate)
Linear Dodecylbenzene Sulphonic Acid20.00
Fatty acid17.00
Monopropylene glycol22.35
Monoethanolamine9.65
Water, perfume, minor ingredients11.00

In another embodiment, capsules contain a granular laundry detergent powder as follows:

Base Powder

Linear Dodecylbenzene Sulphonic Acid (Sodium salt)8.8%
Alcohol ethoxylate (C12-C13 7 EO)7.0%
C16-C18 Carboxylic acid1.0%
Zeolite29.6%
Anhydrous Sodium Carbonate10.5%
Moisture, Salts, Minors4.1%
(All above in a granulated Base Powder)

Post-Dosed Ingredients

Sodium Percarbonate18.0%
Tetracetyl ethylenediamine3.5%
Sodium Disilicate5.5%
Sodium Citrate2.0%
Fluorescer, antifoam, speckles, enzyme, fragrance, minors10.0%

However, it will be well appreciated that the detergent composition may take any suitable form e.g. any liquid, gel, granulated powder or combination thereof.

It is of course to be understood that the invention is not intended to be restricted to the details of the above embodiments which are described by way of example only.