Title:
Bag nozzle retention system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bag nozzle retainment system which includes a flexible bag positioned within a container. The container defines an outlet through which extends a nozzle provided on the flexible bag. A plate provided with a hole is slidably coupled to the container and the nozzle is positioned through the hole. Hydrostatic pressure secures the plate to the container which, in turn, holds the nozzle sufficiently back into the container to prevent damage and inadvertent dislodgment of the nozzle during transport and storage of the container.



Inventors:
Perkins, David W. (Hiawatha, IA, US)
Application Number:
10/753542
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
01/07/2004
Assignee:
PERKINS DAVID W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D77/06; (IPC1-7): B65D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, JERROLD D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRETT J. TROUT, PC (DES MOINES, IA, US)
Claims:
1. A bag nozzle retention system comprising: (a) a flexible bag defining an interior and an exterior; (b) a nozzle provided on said bag, said nozzle comprising a body defining a passage between said interior and said exterior of said bag; (c) a container defining an outlet, wherein at least a portion of said bag is provided within said container, and wherein said nozzle is positioned to deliver a flowable material through said outlet; and (d) means releasably coupled around said nozzle and releasably coupled to said container for retaining said nozzle against said container.

2. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 1, wherein said retaining means is a plate defining an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

3. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 2, wherein said plate comprises: (a) a center plate; (b) first means coupled to said center plate for retaining said center plate to a first portion of said container; and (c) second means coupled to said center plate for retaining said center plate to a second portion of said container.

4. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 3, further comprising a strengthening rib secured to said center plate.

5. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 1, wherein said retaining means is a plate comprising: (a) a first strengthening rib provided along a first side of said plate; (b) a second strengthening rib provided along a second side of said plate; (c) a first container retainer provided along a third side of said plate; (d) a second container retainer provided along a fourth side of said plate; and (e) wherein said plate is provided with an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

6. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 5, wherein said container is provided with a first bar and a second bar, wherein said first container retainer is a first bar retainer, and wherein said second container retainer is a second bar retainer.

7. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 1, wherein said container comprises a first bar and a second bar wherein at least a portion of said flexible bag extends past at least a portion of said first bar and at least a portion of said second bar, and wherein said retaining means is means for retaining at least a portion of said flexible bag inward of said first bar and said second bar.

8. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 7, wherein said retaining means is a plate defining an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

9. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 8, wherein said plate comprises: (a) a center plate; (b) first means coupled to said center plate for retaining said center plate to a first portion of said container; and (c) second means coupled to said center plate for retaining said center plate to a second portion of said container.

10. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 9, further comprising a strengthening rib secured to said center plate.

11. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 7, wherein said retaining means is a plate comprising: (a) a first strengthening rib provided along a first side of said plate; (b) a second strengthening rib provided along a second side of said plate; (c) a first container retainer provided along a third side of said plate; (d) a second container retainer provided along a fourth side of said plate; and (e) wherein said plate is provided with an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

12. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 11, wherein said container is provided with a first bar and a second bar, wherein said first container retainer is a first bar retainer, and wherein said second container retainer is a second bar retainer.

13. A bag nozzle retention system comprising: (a) a container comprising a first upright bar and a second upright bar defining an outlet; (b) a flexible bag provided within said container, wherein said flexible bag defines an interior and an exterior; (c) a nozzle provided on said bag, said nozzle comprising a body defining a passage between said interior and said exterior of said bag; and (d) means slidably coupled to said first bar and said second bar for retaining said nozzle a predetermined amount relative to said first bar and said second bar.

14. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 13, wherein said retaining means is a plate defining an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

15. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 13, wherein said retaining means is a plate comprising: (a) a first strengthening rib provided along a first side of said plate; (b) a second strengthening rib provided along a second side of said plate; (c) a first container retainer provided along a third side of said plate; (d) a second container retainer provided along a fourth side of said plate; and; (e) wherein said plate is provided with an opening sized to accommodate said nozzle.

16. The bag nozzle retention system of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of said flexible bag extends into said outlet, and wherein said retaining means is means for retaining at least a portion of said flexible bag out of said outlet, and wherein said nozzle extends through said retaining means.

17. A bag retainer comprising: (a) a rigid plate defining an opening; (b) a first strengthening rib provided along a first side of said plate; (c) a second strengthening rib provided along a second side of said plate; (d) a first container retainer provided along a third side of said plate; and (e) a second container retainer provided along a fourth side of said plate.

18. The bag retainer of claim 17, wherein said opening is circular.

19. The bag retainer of claim 17, wherein said center plate carves arcuately into said first strengthening rib; wherein said center plate carves arcuately into said second strengthening rib; wherein said center plate carves arculately into said first container retainer; and wherein said center plate carves arcuately into said second container retainer.

20. The bag retainer of claim 17, further comprising a container: (a) a flexible bag defining an interior and an exterior; (b) a nozzle provided on said bag, said nozzle comprising a body defining a passage between said interior and said exterior of said bag; (c) a flexible bag provided within said container, wherein said flexible bag defines an interior and an exterior; (d) wherein said first container retainer is slidably engaged within said first bar; and (e) wherein said second container retainer is slidably engaged within said second bar.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to bulk containers for flowable materials and, more specifically, to a support collar for retaining a nozzle of a flexible container to prevent damage to the nozzle during transport and storage of the container.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is known in the art to provide flexible containers for flowable materials. Typically, such systems involve a lightweight, interior bag, provided with an exterior support structure which may be flexible or rigid. The outer container is typically provided with an opening through which a nozzle of the interior bag is positioned.

A problem associated with such prior art constructions is that as the interior bag is filled with flowable material, hydrostatic pressure forces the outer container past the support structure. As the nozzle typically extends from the bag, the nozzle often extends even further beyond the support structure. This extension of the nozzle beyond the support structure provides a hazard during transport and storage. Additionally, if the nozzle is inadvertently damaged or dislodged from the bag, the contents of the bag may immediately evacuate, causing a loss of the contents and damage to nearby materials.

While it is known in the art to provide containers with completely rigid exteriors, such rigid containers are costly, difficult to maintain, bulky and heavy for transport and storage. It is also known to place nozzles on the top of the container to limit damage. Such an orientation, however, complicates evacuation of the container by requiring a vacuum and/or tilting of the container. It would, therefore, be desirable to provide a lightweight, yet strong and rigid, means for retaining the nozzle closer to the container. The difficulties encountered in the prior art discussed hereinabove are substantially eliminated by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In an advantage provided by this invention, a bag nozzle retention system is provided which reduces damage to a side evacuation nozzle of a flexible bag during transport and storage.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bag nozzle retention system which is inexpensive to manufacture and maintain.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bag nozzle retention system which is quickly adaptable and releasable from a flexible bag container.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bag nozzle retainment system which is adaptable to various nozzle types and dimensions.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bag nozzle retention system which may be simply and inexpensively retrofit to existing nozzles and bag containers.

Advantageously, this invention provides a bag nozzle retainment system which may be adjusted for various nozzle heights.

Advantageously, in a preferred example of this invention, a bag nozzle retention system is provided, comprising a flexible bag defining an interior and exterior. A side evacuation nozzle is provided on the bag wherein the nozzle comprises a body defining a passage between the interior and the exterior of the bag. A rigid container is provided defining an outlet wherein a portion of the bag is provided within the container, and wherein the nozzle is positioned to deliver a flowable material through the outlet. Means are also releasably coupled around the nozzle and releasably coupled to the container for retaining the nozzle against the container. Preferably, the retaining means is a flat plate defining an interior opening and curved edges. Two of the curved edges of the plate act as container engagers, and two of the edges as strengthening ribs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a top perspective view of a flowable material containment system incorporating the bag nozzle retainer of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the flowable material containment system of FIG. 1, showing the bag nozzle retainer detached from the nozzle;

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the bag nozzle and bag nozzle retainer of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of the retainer of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the bag nozzle retainer of the present invention, provided around the bag nozzle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A stackable, collapsible container for flowable materials is shown generally as (10) in FIG. 1. The container (10) includes a removable, flexible liner (12), having an inlet opening with a top cap (14) and a drain nozzle (16) provided with a threaded plug (18). As shown in FIG. 2, the nozzle (16) is integrally molded with a first collar (20) and a second collar (22). Although the nozzle (16) may be constructed of any suitable material, in the preferred embodiment, it is constructed of plastic injection-molded polyvinyl chloride. Also as shown in FIG. 2, the second collar (22) is of a diameter greater than the diameter of the first collar (20), and is separated therefrom by a spacer (24). (FIG. 3).

As shown in FIG. 3, the removable flexible liner (12) is constructed of polyethylene, such as that well known in the art to hold flowable material. The removable flexible liner (12) is preferably of a double thickness, and provided with a hole (26) through which the nozzle (16) is provided. The nozzle (16) preferably extends through the hole (26) a sufficient distance so that the first collar (20) is on one side of the hole (26), and the second collar (22) is on the other side of the hole (26). The removable flexible liner (12) is then heat sealed, glued or otherwise secured to the nozzle (16) along the first collar (20) and spacer (24).

As shown in FIG. 1, the removable flexible liner (12) is provided within an exterior container (28). While the exterior container (28) may be of any suitable construction or dimensions, in the preferred embodiment the exterior container (28) comprises an outer skin (30) and a rigid framework (32), to which the outer skin (30) is secured. Although the outer skin (30) may be constructed of any suitable material, in the preferred embodiment, the outer skin (30) is constructed of a woven polypropylene fabric-like material, having a non-ribbed construction. The outer skin (30) may, of course, be constructed of any lightweight material known in the art to have strength characteristics sufficient to contain a flowable material. Alternatively, the outer skin (30) may be constructed of metal, plastic or other rigid material. The rigid framework (32) may be integrated with the outer skin (30), or may be eliminated altogether. The outer skin (30) is preferably waterproof, or at least coated with a waterproof material, in a manner such as that well known in the art, to allow the container (10) to be used outdoors as well as indoors.

As shown in FIG. 1, the outer skin (30) is preferably provided with an opening (34) sufficiently large to accommodate the nozzle (16). As shown in FIG. 1, the nozzle (16) extends through the opening (34) and through an outlet (36) defined by the rigid framework (32). As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the rigid framework comprises a rigid plastic top (38) and bottom (40). Both the top (38) and bottom (40) are provided with bores (42) sized to receive a plurality of cylindrical steel bars (44). The top (38) is preferably designed to provide at least one square meter of an obstructed access to the top of the flexible liner (12). The bottom (40) is preferably integrally molded as a pallet to receive and support the full weight of flowable material (46), provided within the flexible liner (12). As shown in FIGS. 1-2, the bottom (40) is preferably provided with slots (48) to receive forks of a forklift. Each pair of bars (44) is connected by a pair of intersecting steel cables (50), secured through holes passing through the bars (44). The cables are taunt and strong enough to prevent the bars (44) from tilting laterally relative to one another.

As shown in FIG. 3, when the flexible liner (12) and exterior container (28) are positioned within the rigid framework (32), and the container (10) is filled with the flowable material (46), such as water or the like, the hydrostatic pressure of the flowable material (46) forces the exterior container (28) around the bars (44) of the rigid framework (32). The hydrostatic pressure also forces the exterior container (28) outward through the outlet (36) defined by the rigid framework (32), thereby causing the nozzle (16) to extend even further through the outlet (36). With the nozzle (16) so extended, the nozzle (16) is subject to damage and/or shear during transport and storage. Such damage may be sufficient to dislodge the nozzle (16) from the container (10), causing the flowable material (46) to evacuate from the container (10).

As shown in FIG. 4, in the present invention, a nozzle retainer (52) is constructed preferably of heavy gauge steel or similarly rigid material. The nozzle retainer (52) defines a circular center opening (54), which may of any suitable shape, diameter and/or dimension.

As shown in FIG. 4, the edges (56) of the nozzle retainer (52) are curved arcuately outward relative to the interior of the container (10). Sides (58) and (60) are provided with a curvature substantially similar to the exterior curvature of the bars (44) forming the rigid framework (32). The sides (58) and (60) are also preferably spaced sufficiently to slidably engage the bars (44) of the rigid framework (32). The sides (58) and (60) are preferably curved enough to allow the sides (58) and (60) to engage the bars (44), but not so curved as to hinder quick, slidable attachment to and removal from the bars (44).

Also, as shown in FIG. 4, the top (62) and bottom (64) of the nozzle retainer (52) are also curved arcuately outward to create strengthening ribs to prevent the nozzle retainer (52) from buckling or becoming inadvertently dislodged from the container (10) as the result of hydrostatic pressure or other forces. Although the top (62) and bottom (64) are preferably curved to reduce the likelihood of the nozzle retainer (52) pinching or puncturing the exterior container (28) or flexible liner (12), the top (62) and bottom (64) of the nozzle retainer (52) may be constructed of any suitable sides or dimension. Alternatively, strengthening ribs may be welded or otherwise secured to the nozzle retainer (52). Similarly, the sides (58) and (60) may be replaced with rings or other items designed to slidably engage he nozzle retainer (52) to the bars (44).

As shown in FIG. 5, when it is desired to fill the container (10), the nozzle retainer (52) is slidably engaged with the bars (44) of the rigid framework (32), and slid downward until the opening (54) of the nozzle retainer (52) is positioned at the desired height to receive the nozzle (16). The nozzle (16) is then inserted through the opening (54) of the nozzle retainer (52), and the flexible liner (12) is filled through the top cap (14). As the flowable material (46) enters the flexible liner (12), hydrostatic pressure forces the nozzle retainer (52) against the bars (44) of the rigid framework (32), holding the nozzle retainer (52) and nozzle (16) in place.

As shown in FIG. 5, when the container (10) is filled, the nozzle retainer (52) retains the nozzle (16) back sufficiently so that the bars (44) of the rigid framework (32) serve as shields for the nozzle (16), limiting access to the nozzle (16) and protecting the nozzle (16) during transport and storage. As the nozzle retainer (52) is slidably engaged with the bars (44), the nozzle retainer (52) may be adjusted upward and downward relative to the bars (44) to properly position the nozzle (16). However, this adjustment can only be made until hydrostatic forces become great enough to prevent movement of the nozzle retainer (52) relative to the bars (44). Similarly, the nozzle retainer (52) can be constructed to retain the nozzle (16) more deeply or shallow relative to the container (10).

The foregoing description and drawings merely explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not to be limited thereto, except insofar as the claims are so limited, as those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein, without departing from the scope of the invention. By way of example, it should be noted that the nozzle retainer (52) may be constructed of any suitable materials and/or dimensions, and may be constructed so as to position the nozzle (16) further forward or rearward, depending on the size of the nozzle (16) or the requirements of the transportation or storage associated with the container (10).