Title:
Wipe storage system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wipe storage system for containing wipes includes a first receptacle defining a first cavity and a second receptacle defining a second cavity. The first cavity is configured to receive the second receptacle, while the second cavity is configured to hold wipes. The second receptacle may be refillable and/or replaceable when depleted of wipes. The first receptacle is configured to be reused when the second receptacle is depleted of wipes. At least one of the first receptacle and the second receptacle may provide a hermetically sealed environment for preserving the integrity of the wipes.



Inventors:
Albert, Karen L. (Trenton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/941624
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/15/2004
Assignee:
Rexam Beauty and Closures, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050269233Confectionary packaging designDecember, 2005Aldridge
20050252820Sampling kits, devices and uses thereofNovember, 2005Sanchez-felix et al.
20090114555CASE FOR ACCOMMODATING CAMERAMay, 2009WU et al.
20070078119Storage system for texaphyrin pharmaceutical formulationsApril, 2007Purro et al.
20040026275Lamina storage deviceFebruary, 2004Margetts et al.
20080110776Baby tooth albumMay, 2008Sarkissian
20100072235Suitcase with Integrated Pull-Out CarrierMarch, 2010Barton et al.
20070108081Baby Bottle OrganizerMay, 2007Kapiskosky et al.
20020179467Quiver coverDecember, 2002Belock et al.
20020092783Musical instrument damage protectorJuly, 2002Banner
20020170845Carton convertible into compartmented containerNovember, 2002Oliff



Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. 1-10. (canceled)

11. A wipe storage system for containing wipes, the system comprising: a first receptacle defining a first cavity and configured to move between an open position and a closed position; and a second receptacle defining a second cavity, wherein the second receptacle is positioned within the first cavity and is configured to hold wipes, wherein at least one of the first receptacle and the second receptacle provide a hermetically sealed environment for the wipes.

12. 12-15. (canceled)

16. The system of claim 11, wherein the first receptacle further includes an interface for engaging the second receptacle.

17. The system of claim 1.6, wherein the interface is configured to releasably engage the second receptacle and allow the second receptacle to be selectively removed by a user.

18. The system of claim 11, wherein the second receptacle comprises a body portion defining the second cavity and a platform for covering an aperture providing access to the second cavity.

19. 19-22. (canceled)

23. The system of claim 18, wherein the second receptacle is configured to provide a hermetic seal.

24. The system of claim 23, wherein the platform includes a first connector configured to releasably engage a second connector provided on the body portion to provide the hermetic seal.

25. 25-33. (canceled)

34. The system of claim 11, wherein the first receptacle is a compact container providing a discreet container for holding wipes.

35. The system of claim 11, wherein the first receptacle is configured to be reused when the second receptacle is depleted of wipes.

36. The system of claim 35, wherein the first receptacle is configured to be reused by refilling the second receptacle with wipes.

37. The system of claim 35, wherein the first receptacle is configured to be reused by replacing the second receptacle with a third receptacle.

38. 38-45. (canceled)

46. A wipe storage system for holding wipes, the system comprising: means for enclosing a second receptacle configured to hold wipes within a first receptacle; and means for allowing the first receptacle to be reused when the second receptacle is selectively removed from the first receptacle.

47. The system of claim 46, further comprising means for substantially maintaining a hermetically sealed environment.

48. 48-49. (canceled)

50. The system of claim 46, wherein means for allowing the first receptacle to be reused includes means for replacing the second receptacle when depleted of wipes with a third receptacle.

51. A method of manufacturing a wipe storage system having second receptacle configured to hold wipes and a first receptacle configured to support the second receptacle, the method comprising: inserting a second receptacle defining a second cavity for containing wipes into the first receptacle defining a first cavity; and detachably coupling the second receptacle to the first receptacle to allow a the second receptacle to be selectively removed from the first receptacle.

52. The method of claim 51, further comprising the step of providing a hermetically sealed environment for the wipes.

53. (canceled)

54. The method of claim 51, further comprising the step of configuring the second receptacle to be refillable when depleted of wipes.

55. The method of claim 51, further comprising the step of configuring the second receptacle to be discarded when depleted of wipes.

56. 56-59. (canceled)

60. The system of claim 11, wherein the second receptacle is detachably coupled with the first receptacle and configured to be removed when depleted of wipes.

61. The system of claim 11, wherein the cavity includes an auxiliary storage area configured to support an additional article.

62. The system of claim 61, wherein the auxiliary storage area is configured to support at least one of a cosmetic substance and a cosmetic article.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the field of storage systems (e.g., container systems). More specifically, the present invention relates to a storage system configured for holding wipes, and more particularly, treated or impregnated wipes. The present invention may further relate to storage systems configured to provide a hermetically sealed environment for wipes and/or wipes and another article.

BACKGROUND

Conventional wipe containers exist for holding both dry and wet wipes. The wipes may be used as personal cleansing wipes, moisturizing wipes, baby wipes, household sanitizing wipes, and wipes for other general purposes. Wipe containers are intended to provide a user with an efficient and convenient system for containing wipes so that the wipes are readily available to clean up spills, sanitize surfaces, change a baby's diaper, and to address any other situation normally requiring a cloth and cleaning solution.

Known wipe storage systems usually include a container for storing wipes and a platform or lid which is often attached to the container. Generally the lid can be positioned in an open position to allow access to the wipes, or the lid may be placed in a closed position relative to the container to provide an enclosed environment for the wipes. Known wipe storage systems commonly include a latch to maintain the lid in a closed position. The wipes are placed within the container, where they can be accessed by either lifting the lid or removed through a hole within the lid.

Known wipe storage systems commonly use liquid impregnated wipes, which are a combination of a cloth or other absorbent carrier and a substance such as a cleansing solution. One advantage of an integrated wipe/solution system is the elimination of the need to purchase and store both dry cloths and cleansing solutions. Other advantages include avoiding airborne or other hazards associated with spraying or applying a cleaner, avoiding mixing and measuring of cleaning solutions, and removing the need to clean a cloth after use. However, traditional wipe storage systems do not provide a hermetic seal to prevent evaporation and contamination of the contents. As a result, the impregnated wipes deteriorate in quality due to evaporation during storage and become undesirable for use or sale.

Another problem with many traditional wipe containers occurs when the consumer does not realize that the container has not been closed correctly. If a lid is not closed properly the interface between the lid and container section will allow accelerated evaporation or contamination of the solution, potentially rendering the product useless for its intended purpose. A related problem is the need to manually deflect a portion of the lid to engage it with the container. This requires the use of both hands and also creates both closing and sealing problems.

Another disadvantage with many traditional wipe containers is that the containers are relatively large and are often inconvenient under certain circumstances. For example, many traditional wipe containers may conveniently fit in relatively large areas (e.g., shelves, large bags or purses, baby strollers, etc.) but are not likely to fit in smaller places such as pockets, small bags or purses, and the like. In addition, many traditional wipe containers may require a user to carrying more wipes than a user needs or would otherwise want to carry. A related problem is that the relatively large containers of many traditional wipe containers may deter a user from otherwise carrying wipes.

To overcome the disadvantages and problems of existing wipe containers, it would be advantageous to provide an inexpensive and simple-to-use wipe storage system capable of providing a hermetically sealed environment for wipes that are at least partially saturated with a liquid or any other solution. It would further be advantageous to provide a wipe storage system that allows a user to discreetly carrying wipes in a hermetically sealed environment. It would further be advantageous to allow a user to refill the wipe storage system with wipes without having to replace the entire system. It would be advantageous to provide a system and method that provides any one or more of these or other advantageous features in a variety of configurations.

SUMMARY

According to one embodiment, a wipe storage system for containing wipes includes a first receptacle having a cover section and a base section defining a first cavity, and a second receptacle having a movable platform and a body portion defining a second cavity configured to hold wipes. The second receptacle is supported within the first cavity. The first receptacle is configured to be reused when the second receptacle is depleted of wipes.

According to another embodiment, a wipe storage system for containing wipes includes a first receptacle defining a first cavity and configured to move between an open position and a closed position and a second receptacle defining a second cavity. The second receptacle is positioned within the first cavity and is configured to hold wipes. At least one of the first receptacle and the second receptacle provide a hermetically sealed environment for the wipes.

According to another a first receptacle for use with a wipe storage system utilizing a second receptacle configured to hold wipes includes a body portion defining a first cavity and a configured to move between an open position and a closed position, and an interface portion located on the body portion for releasably engaging a second receptacle configured to hold wipes. The first receptacle is configured to be reused when the second receptacle is depleted of wipes by selectively removing and replacing the second receptacle.

According to another embodiment, a second receptacle for use with a wipe storage system having a first receptacle includes a body portion defining a second cavity configured to hold wipes and a platform movably coupled to the body portion to provide access to the second cavity, and an interface portion configured to releasably engage a first receptacle to allow the second receptacle to be selectively removed. The second receptacle is configured to be enclosed by the first receptacle.

According to another embodiment, a wipe storage system for holding wipes includes a means for enclosing a second receptacle configured to hold wipes within a first receptacle and a means for allowing the first receptacle to be reused when the second receptacle is selectively removed from the first receptacle.

According to another embodiment, a method of manufacturing a wipe storage system having second receptacle configured to hold wipes and a first receptacle configured to support the second receptacle includes the steps of inserting a second receptacle defining a second cavity for containing wipes into the first receptacle defining a first cavity and detachably coupling the second receptacle to the first receptacle to allow a the second receptacle to be selectively removed from the first receptacle.

According to another embodiment, a method of manufacturing a second receptacle configured to hold wipes for insertion into a first receptacle configured to enclose the second receptacle when in a closed position includes the steps of defining a second cavity with a body portion, coupling a movable platform to the body portion to cover an aperture providing access to the second cavity, configuring the second cavity to support wipes, and configuring the second receptacle to be selectively removable from a first receptacle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wipe storage system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the system is shown in a closed configuration.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG. 1 in an intermediate open configuration.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG. 1 in a full open configuration.

FIG. 4 is a partially exploded view of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG. 1 about line 5-5.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of only the first receptacle of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of only the second receptacle of the wipe storage system illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 8 is a partial detailed view of the second receptacle illustrated in FIG. 7 showing the configuration for providing a hermetic seal.

FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view of a configuration intended to provide a hermetic seal according to an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 10 is detailed view of the second connector of the configuration illustrated in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a detailed view of the first connector of the configuration illustrated in FIG. 9.

FIG. 12 is a partial cross-sectional view of a configuration intended to provide a hermetic seal according to a further alternative embodiment.

FIG. 13 is a partial cross-sectional view of a configuration intended to provide a hermetic seal according to a further alternative embodiment.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a wipe storage system according to an alternative embodiment, the first receptacle of the system is shown in the open position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A wipe storage system configured to hold wipes (e.g., tissues, wetted and/or moist wipes, towelettes, towels, applicators, etc.) which may be convenien tly stored in a number of relatively small places (e.g., diaper bags, purses, cosmetic holders, pockets, vehicle consoles, drawers, etc.) is disclosed. According to an exemplary embodiment, the system has the general outward appearance of a cosmetic compact and generally includes the combination of a first receptacle providing an outer shell or case and a second receptacle providing an inner cavity configured to contain the wipes. According to a preferred embodiment, at least one of the first receptacle and second receptacle is configured to provide a hermetically sealed environment for the wipes.

The wipe storage system disclosed herein may provide a user with a relatively simplistic and/or-discreet means for carrying wipes, and preferably for carrying wipes in a hermetically sealed environment. The wipe storage system may further provide an environmentally and economically favorable system by allowing a user to replenish (e.g., refill, reload, replace, etc.) the system with wipes without having to replace the entire system. Such a configuration may reduce waste (by reducing the volume being discarded) and may reduce costs for the user (a user could choose to purchase an insert (e.g., refill, etc.) rather than an entire system).

According to an exemplary embodiment, the first receptacle is configured to be reused (e.g., retained, etc.) when the second receptacle is depleted (e.g., exhausted, etc.) of wipes. The first receptacle may be reused by configuring the second receptacle to be refillable and/or replaceable when depleted of wipes. The second receptacle may be intended to be reused (if configured to be refillable) or may be intended to be discarded (if configured to be replaceable) when depleted of wipes. According to a preferred embodiment, the second receptacle is detachably coupled to the first receptacles in a manner that enables the second receptacle to be selectively removed and replaced by a user when the second receptacle is depleted of wipes. Such a configuration allows a user to reuse the first receptacle, by inserting a loaded (e.g., wipe containing, at least partially full, etc.) second receptacle (referred to herein as a third receptacle) in place of a second receptacle that is depleted of wipes.

It should be noted at the outset that while the wipe storage system may be configured to hold wipes, the wipe storage system disclosed herein may further be configured to hold wipes in combination with additional contents and/or articles including, but not limited to, cosmetic substances, cosmetic articles (e.g., applicators, brushes, mirrors, etc.), or any other article for which providing a hermetically sealed environment may be desirable. An exemplary embodiment of such a configuration is shown in FIG. 14. It should further be noted that for purposes of this disclosure, the term “wipes” is used generally to include any of a variety of products capable of providing a means of cleaning, moisturizing, and/or functioning as a conduit (e.g., carrier, applicator, etc.) for applying a product (e.g., cosmetic substances (e.g., blush, bronzer, fragrance, etc.), therapeutic substances, or any of a variety of topical substances (e.g., sunscreen, insect repellent, etc.), etc.) to a user.

The wipes may be treated with a liquid solution, and preferably are at least partially saturated with the liquid solution. Such wipes may include wipes that are commonly referred to as “wet-wipes” or “towelettes.” The liquid solution may be an aqueous, non-aqueous, volatile or non-volatile solution. Such solutions may be used for moisturizing, cleansing, beautifying, healing, treating, and/or any other suitable purpose. For example, the wipes may be treated with sunscreen to provide a readily easy and convenient way for a user to apply sunscreen. Alternatively, the wipes may be impregnated with a substance that is relatively dry. For example, the wipes may be impregnated with surfactants or with paraffin. Wipes impregnated with a relatively dry substance may be designed to be wetted before use or may be designed to be used in the relatively dry state. Further, for the sake of brevity the term “wipes” is used generally to describe one or more wipes.

With reference to FIGS. 1 through 14, wipe storage systems and components thereof are shown according to exemplary embodiments. Referring first to FIGS. 1 through 8, a wipe storage system 10 is shown that generally includes a first storage system (e.g. outer portion, member, holder, container, unit, etc.), shown as a first receptacle 100, and a second storage system (e.g., inner portion, member, holder, container, insert, module, unit, refill, etc.), shown as a second receptacle 200. First receptacle 100 is configured to receive second receptacle 200, while second receptacle 200 is configured to hold, support, or otherwise contain the wipes.

First receptacle 100 and second receptacle 200 are preferably two separate receptacles or members, but alternatively may be provided as an integrally formed unit. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 is a member intended to be discarded (e.g., disposed of,) after being depleted of wipes, but alternatively may be configured to be retained and refilled. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 is configured to be detachably (e.g., releasably, removably, etc.) coupled to first receptacle 100. Such a configuration allows a user to selectively remove second receptacle 200 from first receptacle 100 when depleted of wipes. Once removed, a full or at least partially loaded second receptacle may replace the depleted second receptacle. A loaded second receptacle 200 may be achieved by replacing the second receptacle with a third receptacle or by refilling the existing second receptacle. According to an alternative embodiment, second receptacle 200 may be configured to be refilled while supported by first receptacle 100.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing wipe storage system 10 in a closed configuration wherein first receptacle 100 is disposed around (e.g., covers, at least partially conceals, supports, etc.) second receptacle 200. First receptacle 100 generally includes a structure defining a cavity 102 (shown in FIG. 6) wherein second receptacle 200 is positioned and/or retained. According to an exemplary embodiment, the structure of first receptacle 100 defining cavity 102 includes an outer (e.g., exterior) shell having a first or cover section 104 coupled to a second or base section 106. For purposes of this disclosure, the term “coupled” means the joining or combining of two members directly or indirectly to one another. Such joining or combining may be stationary in nature or movable in nature. Such joining may be achieved with the two members or the two members and any additional intermediate members being integrally formed as a single unitary body with one another or with the two members or the two members and any additional intermediate member being attached to one another. Such joining or combining may be permanent in nature or alternatively may be removable or releasable in nature.

According to an exemplary embodiment, cover section 104 is movably coupled to and/or relative to base section 106. Cover section 104 is configured to move between a first or closed position (shown in FIG. 1) and a second or open position (shown in FIG. 2). In the open position, cover section 104 may be independent from base section 106 or coupled to base section 106. Cover section 104 may be coupled to base section 106 by being integrally formed with base section 106 or by being attached to base section 106 through an attaching means. Attaching means may include a hinge mechanism, snap-fit, tabs, latches, slide mechanisms, a threaded interface, projections, clips, and any other suitable technique or mechanism for movably coupling cover section 104 to base section 106. According to a preferred embodiment, cover section 104 is pivotally coupled to base section 106 through a hinge mechanism 108 (shown in FIG. 2). Hinge mechanism 108 may be a living hinge or any other suitable pivotally coupling mechanism.

First receptacle 100 may be configured in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to receive, accommodate, and/or cooperate with second receptacle 200. For example, first receptacle 100 may be a generally rectangular shaped container defining four side walls 110, a first or top platform 112, and a second or bottom platform 114, as shown in FIG. 1. According to another embodiment, first receptacle 100 may be a generally circular shaped container defining one encircling side wall 110, a top platform 112, and a bottom platform 114. According to various alternative embodiments, first receptacle 100 may be configured as any other well-known or otherwise suitable shape, including but not limited to, triangular, cubical, spherical, oval, polygonal, or any number of shapes capable of being configured to contain the wipes. With reference to FIG. 14, first receptacle 100 may further be configured to support a product (e.g., a cosmetic substance, cosmetic articles (e.g., applicators, brushes, pencils, pads, etc.) in addition to second receptacle 200.

With reference to FIG. 2, cover section 104 and base section 106 cooperate to define cavity 102. According to an exemplary embodiment, cavity 102 may be defined substantially equally by cover section 104 and base section 106 (e.g., cover section 104 and base section 106 may have substantially the same volume). According to various alternative embodiments, cavity 102 may be defined predominantly by one of cover section 104 and base section 106. For example, one of cover section 104 and base section 106 may have a volume substantially the same or greater than that of second receptacle 200, while the other of cover section 104 and base section 166 may be a substantially flat member.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, cover section 104 includes at least one side wall 116 extending downward from platform 112, while base section 106 includes at least one side wall 124 extending upward from platform 114. Platform 112 of cover section 102 includes an inner surface 120 that is optionally configured to support a mirror 122. Mirror 122 can be coupled inner surface 120 in a variety of suitable ways. For example, a peripheral wall or rim may project downward from inner surface to support mirror 122. According to other various embodiments, mirror 122 may be coupled to inner surface 120 by adhesive, mechanical fasteners, welding, etc.

Referring particularly to FIG. 4, first receptacle 100 may further include securing means for releasably securing second receptacle 200 relative to first receptacle 100. According to an exemplary embodiment, securing means is provided by an interface 128 configured engage and/or secure second receptacle 200. According to a preferred embodiment, interface 128 is in the form of a plurality of apertures (e.g., grooves, notches, indentations, etc.) provided in side walls 124 configured to releasably engage a corresponding portion on second receptacle 200. According to various alternative embodiments, securing means may be provided by any of a variety of suitable securing means including, but not limited to, hook and loop fastener, adhesive, press-fit, mechanical fasteners (e.g., clips, screws, pins, biasing elements, etc.), etc.).

First receptacle 100 may also include a locking or latching mechanism, however, a locking or latching mechanism may be unnecessary to ensure cover section 104 and base section 106 remain configured in a releasably engaged position. According to a preferred embodiment, first receptacle 100 includes a latching mechanism generally comprising a projection 130 and a notch 132. Referring to FIG. 4, projection 130 is coupled to cover section 104 and is configured to releasably engage notch 132 provided on base section 106. Projection 130 may be biased towards an engaging position with notch 132 when wipe storage system is moved to the closed position. To release the latching mechanism, a user may cause side wall 116 to move inward an amount sufficient to disengage projection 130 from notch 132. As can be appreciated, a variety of generally known or otherwise suitable latching mechanisms may be employed to secure cover section 104 to base section 106.

By configuring first receptacle 100 to be reused when second receptacle 200 is depleted of wipes, the material and/or materials used to make the components of first receptacle 100 may be more luxurious (e.g., expensive, etc.) than if first receptacle 100 was intended to be discarded when second receptacle is depleted of wipes. For example, first receptacle 100 may have components made from any of a variety of materials including, but not limited to, platinum, gold, silver, leather, composites, etc. It should be noted that first receptacle 100 may also formed using any of variety of traditional materials including, but not limited to, polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, acrylonitril butadiene styrene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, etc.

With reference again to FIGS. 2 through 4, wipe storage system 10 is shown in an open configuration thereby revealing second receptacle 200. In general, second receptacle 200 provides and/or defines an area or portion of wipe storage system 10 configured to contain (e.g., store, retain, hold, etc.) wipes. According to an exemplary embodiment, second receptacle 200 is configured in such a manner that enables wipe storage system 10 to be replenished (e.g., refilled, reloaded, etc.) with wipes without having to replace and/or dispose of first receptacle 100. According to a preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 is detachably coupled to first receptacle 100 so that a user may replace an empty second receptacle 200 with a wipe containing second receptacle (i.e., a third receptacle).

Second receptacle 200 generally includes a body or body portion 202 and a movable member (e.g., lid, cover, closure, etc.), shown as a platform 204. Body portion 202 has a structure that defines a cavity 206 (shown in FIG. 7) that may be configured to contain one or more wipes. As can be appreciated, the number of wipes that can be contained by second receptacle 200 may vary depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the size of second receptacle 200, the composition of the wipes, the thickness of the wipes, etc. According to a preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 is configured to contain a plurality of wipes with the upper limit on the number of wipes ranging from approximately 10 wipes to approximately 30 wipes. According to various alternative embodiments, second receptacle 200 may be configured to retain less than 10 wipes, or more may be configured to retain more than 30 wipes.

According to an exemplary embodiment, body portion 202 generally includes at least one side wall 212 extending upward from a base 214. Cavity 206 may be formed by side walls 212 extending upward from a base 214. Second receptacle 200 may be configured in a wide variety of shapes to accommodate wipes and to correspond to the shape of cavity 102 of the first receptacle 100. For example, second receptacle 200 may be a generally rectangular shaped receptacle having four side walls 212 and a base 214 configured to fit within the boundaries of cavity 102. According to another embodiment, second receptacle 200 may be a generally circular shaped receptacle having one encircling side wall 212 and a base 214. According to various alternative embodiments, second receptacle 200 may be configured into other well-known shapes. Second receptacle 200 may be sized to completely fill cavity 102 (shown in FIGS. 2 and 3) or alternatively, may be sized to partially fill cavity 102 (shown in FIG. 14).

An aperture 208 provides access to the wipes so that a user to retrieve wipes stored in cavity 204. Aperture 208 may be defined by body portion 202 and/or platform 206. According to a preferred embodiment, a deck 210 located towards an upper end of body portion 202 defines aperture 208. Aperture 208 may have any of a variety of configurations suitable for allowing the wipes to be removed from second receptacle 200. For example, aperture 208 may be provided as a substantially circular opening as shown in FIG. 3, or alternatively may be provided as any shape that allows the wipes to be removed from cavity 206.

Platform 204 is configured to move between a first or closed position (shown in FIG. 2) and a second or open position (shown in FIG. 3). Platform 204 may be configured to cover the aperture 208 and enclose the wipes when within body portion 202 of second receptacle 200 when in the closed position. Platform 204 cooperates with a complimentary (corresponding) structure on body portion 202 to provide a seal between body portion 202 and platform 204. According to a preferred embodiment, platform 204 cooperates with a complimentary structure on body portion 202 to provide a hermetic seal between body portion 202 and platform 204.

According to an exemplary embodiment, platform 204 has a first or top surface 216, a second or bottom surface 218, and optionally includes a circumferential or peripheral side wall 222. Side wall 222 is shown extending in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to first surface 216 and second surface 218. Side wall 222 includes a outer surface 224 and an inner surface 226. Side wall 222 may be a continuous peripheral side wall, or alternatively, may include one or more breaks and/or gaps. Side wall 222 may be employed to provide a structural function (e.g., to increase the rigidity of platform 204, etc.) and/or may be employed to provide a sealing function (e.g., to provide a seal between body portion 202 and platform 204.

Platform 204 may be independent from body portion 202 or coupled with the body portion. Platform 204 can be coupled with body portion 202 by being integrally formed with body portion 202 or coupled to body portion 202 through an attaching means 226. In the preferred embodiment, platform 204 may be pivotally coupled to body portion 202 by a living hinge 227 or other equivalent methods or pivotally coupling mechanisms known to those skilled in the art. Platform 204 may be impermeable as shown throughout all of the FIGURES or may include at least one aperture (e.g., an auxiliary aperture for removing the wipes and/or an additional article).

Second receptacle 200 may further include an opening mechanism 228 to facilitate engaging and disengaging platform 204 with body portion 202. Opening mechanism 228 may be a handle, latch, lever, switch, tab, or any other suitable mechanism to facilitate engagement or disengagement of platform 204 and body portion 202. Opening mechanism 228 may be coupled to body portion 202 and/or platform 204. For example, a tab-like design may be utilized to allow a user to disengage platform 204 from body portion 202 using only one hand by exerting opposite forces on body portion 202 and platform 204.

Second receptacle 200 may also include a locking or latching mechanism, however, a locking or latching mechanism may be unnecessary to ensure platform 204 and body portion 202 remain configured in a releasably engaged position. According to a preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 includes a latching mechanism generally comprising a projection 232 and a notch 234. Referring to FIG. 3, projection 232 is coupled to body portion 202, particularly deck 210, and is configured to releasably engage notch 234 provided on platform 204.

According to an exemplary embodiment, projection 232 extends upward in a direction that is substantially perpendicular with deck 210. Projection 232 may include a lip, which can be located at the distal end of projection 232 as shown or at an intermediate position along projection 232. The lip may include a rounded curvilinear edge extending projection 232. According to an alternative embodiment, the lip may be comprised of a section with linear edges to form triangular, rectangular, or other polygonal shape, or may be configured in a variety of shapes combining both linear and nonlinear edges. In another embodiment, the lip may be formed by removing a portion of projection 232 between its distal end and body portion 202 or platform 204 to which projection 232 is coupled resulting in a lip that does not bulge outward from projection 232.

Body portion 202 may further include a structure corresponding to the securing means provided on first receptacle 100 for detachably coupling second receptacle 200 to first receptacle 100. According to an exemplary embodiment, body portion 202 includes an interface 233 that cooperates with interface 128 of first receptacle 100 to releasably secure second receptacle 200 to first receptacle 100.

Second receptacle 200 may be formed using any of a variety of suitable processes and materials. According to an exemplary embodiment, side walls 212, deck 210, and platform 204 are integrally formed as a single unitary body with platform 204 being pivotally coupled to deck 210 by a living hinge. According to a preferred embodiment, side walls 212, deck 210, and platform 204 are molded together using any of variety of suitable materials including, but not limited to, polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, acrylonitril butadiene styrene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, etc.

According to an exemplary embodiment, second receptacle 200 is loaded with wipes before being detachably coupled to first receptacle 100. According to a preferred embodiment, second receptacle 200 is configured in a manner that allows cavity 206 to be loaded with wipes from the bottom of the second receptacle (“bottom-loaded”). For such a configuration, base 214 may be moved to allow the wipes to be loaded into cavity 206. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, base 214 is a separate member that is coupled to side walls 212 after the wipes are loaded in cavity 206. Base 214 may be made of the same material as side walls 212, or may be made of a different material as side walls 212. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, base 214 is a seal (e.g., foil seal, plastic seal, etc.) that is welded (e.g., conduction, induction, ultrasonically welded, etc.) to side walls 212. As can be appreciated, the seal may be coupled using any other suitable fastening means including, but not limited to, mechanical fasteners, snap-fit, adhesives, other suitable welding process, heat staking, etc.

According to an alternative embodiment, second receptacle 200 may be configured to be loaded from the top of second receptacle 200 (“top-loaded”). For example, aperture 208 may have a configuration sufficient for inserting the wipes through the aperture and into cavity 206. In such a configuration, second receptacle 200 may be configured as a one-piece integrally formed unit. According to a further alternative embodiment, second receptacle 200 may have a substantially shell-like configuration wherein body portion 202 includes a cover section and a base section. In such a configuration, the cover section may be moved relative the base section to allow wipes to be loaded into cavity 206.

Wipe storage system 10 may be configured to provide a hermetically sealed environment for the wipes. To establish a hermetically sealed environment, a hermetic seal may be provided between body portion 202 and platform 204 of second receptacle 200 and/or between cover section 104 and base section 106 of first receptacle 100. For purposes the this disclosure, the term “hermetic seal” is used generally to refer to a seal configured to minimize fluid loss and configured to prolong the integrity of the article contained therein. The hermetic seal may be an airtight or substantially airtight seal. According to a preferred embodiment, a hermetically sealed environment is provided by a hermetic seal between body portion 202 and platform 204 of second receptacle 200. As can be appreciated, the hermetic seal may be achieved using any of a variety of configurations suitable for providing a hermetic seal. Any such sealing configuration is intended to be within the scope of the present of invention.

In one embodiment, second receptacle 200 generally includes a first connector 240 and a second connector 250, as most clearly shown in FIGS. 3, 7, and 8, for providing a hermetically sealed environment. Referring particularly to FIG. 8, first connector 240 is provided on platform 204, while second connector 250 is provided on body portion 202, particularly deck 210. As can be appreciated, according to an alternative embodiment, first connector 240 may be provided on body portion 202 while second connector 250 is provided on platform 204.

First connector 240 is shown as a peripheral rim that extends downward from bottom surface 218 of platform 204. First connector 240 extends downward at an orientation intended to facilitate a hermetic seal with second connector 250. According to a preferred embodiment, first connector 240 extends at least partially outward as first connector 240 extends downward. First connector 240 may be at least partially deformable (e.g., flexible, elastic, bendable, etc.) for biasing first connector 240 into a hermetically sealed position relative to second connector 250.

Second connector 250 is in the form of a projection and generally includes a camming surface 252 and a sealing surface 254. Camming surface 252 is provided by a first chamfered edge, while sealing surface 254 is provided by a second chamfered edge. Camming surface 252 and sealing surface 254 may be provided by a substantially linear edge, or may be provided by a curvilinear edge. In various alternative embodiments, camming surface 252 and sealing surface 254 may be provided by an edge having both linear and curvilinear portions. According to an alternative embodiment, camming surface 252 and sealing surface 254 may be provided by the same surface.

A hermetic seal may be obtained when a second receptacle 200 is moved to a closed position. To close second receptacle 200, a downward force is supplied to platform 204 to effect a pivot motion of platform 204 toward body portion 202. In the process of closing second receptacle 200, first connector 240 engages camming surface 252 of second connector 250 causing first connector 240 to partially deform or flex inward. As platform 204 continues to move towards body portion 202, first connector 240 moves past camming surface 252 and outwardly expands to engage sealing surface 254. Desirably, the properties of first connector 240 bias the first connector portion toward sealing surface 254. In such a configuration, a hermetic seal is provided between sealing surface 254 and an outer surface of first connector 240.

FIGS. 9 through 11 show an alternative embodiment of second receptacle 200 wherein the hermetically sealed environment is provided by a hermetic seal of the type disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/229,913, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. In such a configuration, first connector 240 may be in the form of a peripheral edge, such as a key 242, while second connector 250 may be in the form of a groove 256. In other embodiments, first connector 240 may be in the form of groove 256 while second connector 250 may be in the form of key 242.

The key 242 may be configured to releasably engage the groove 256 when second receptacle 200 is placed in the closed position. When engaged, key 242 and groove 256 form a hermetic seal continuously about aperture 208. Body portion 202 may include key 242 and platform 204 may include groove 256 to effect the seal. In an alternative embodiment body portion 202 may provide groove 256 and platform 204 may provide key 242.

In FIGS. 9 and 10, first connector 240 in the form of key 242 is shown. Key 242 may include a lip 244, which can be located at the distal end of key 242 as shown or intermediate key 242. A portion of key 242 has a width 246. Generally the width 246 can be provided by including lip 244. Lip 244 may include a rounded curvilinear edge extending from key 242. Alternatively lip 244 may be comprised of a section with linear edges to form triangular, rectangular, or other polygonal shape, or may be configured in a variety of shapes combining both linear and nonlinear edges. In another embodiment lip 244 may be formed by removing a portion of the key between its distal edge and body portion 202 or deck 210 to which key 242 is coupled resulting in a lip 244 that does not bulge outward from key 242.

Still referring to FIG. 10, second connector 250 in the form of groove 256 is shown. Groove 256 is defined by a first peripheral wall 258 and a second peripheral wall 260. First peripheral wall 258 may include an indentation 261 and a protrusion 262. Protrusion 262 and second peripheral wall 260 define a distance 20. Generally, the distance 20 is no greater than the width 246 of key 242, and in the preferred embodiment the distance 20 is slightly less than the width 246 of key 242. Most desirably, the distance 20 is determined between protrusion 262 and second peripheral wall 260 of groove 256. In the preferred embodiment, second peripheral wall 260 is flexible to allow key 242 to releasably engage groove 256. A flexible second peripheral wall also facilitates engagement of key 242 and groove 256 without manual deflection of platform 204 or body portion 202. Second peripheral wall 260 may also include a chamfered edge to facilitate engagement of key 242. In alternative embodiments either one or both of first peripheral wall 258 and second peripheral wall 260 may be flexible to allow key 242 to releasably engage groove 256.

When second receptacle 200 is placed in the closed position second connector 250 becomes releasably engaged with first connector 240. During engagement, lip 244 of key 242 passes between first peripheral wall 258 and second peripheral wall 260. Second peripheral wall 260 is flexible to facilitate releasable engagement of key 242 and groove 256 by allowing lip 244 of key 242 to pass between protrusion 262 and second peripheral wall 260. Once key 242 is releasably engaged with groove 256, lip 244 may be adjacent to the indentation 261 and key 242 may be closely adjacent to at least one of first peripheral wall 258 and second peripheral wall 260 to effect the hermetic seal between body portion 202 and platform 204. Desirably, key 242 is in contact with at least one of first peripheral wall 258 and second peripheral wall 260. When key 242 and groove 256 are releasably engaged, the first peripheral wall 258 and key 242 interact to provide a hermetic seal and hermetic environment for the wipes. Lip 244 and protrusion 262 also interact to maintain second receptacle 200 in a releasably engaged configuration. According to various alternative embodiments, a number of different configurations that include key 242, groove 256, protrusion 262, lip 244, or a plurality of one or more of the elements previously described may be conceived to achieve the hermetic seal without departing from the spirit and scope of the specification and claims.

FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate two additional alternative embodiments of second receptacle 200 having a seal intended to provide a hermetically sealed environment for cavity 206. Each embodiment includes a first connector 240 and a second connector 250. As shown, first connectors 240 are provided on platforms 204, while second connectors 250 are provided on body portions 202, particularly decks 210. As can be appreciated, according to an alternative embodiment, first connectors 240 may be provided on body portion 202 while second connectors 250 are provided on platforms 204.

It should be noted that in FIGS. 8, 9, 12, and 13, that a slight gap is shown between first connector 240 and second connector 250. Such a gap is shown in the FIGURES to clarify the boundaries between the first and second connectors, and preferably are minimized, if not eliminated, when second receptacle 200 is in the closed position. According to a preferred embodiment, first connector 240 at least partially engages (e.g., contacts, etc.) second connector 250 to form the hermetic seal.

FIG. 14 shows a wipe storage system 10 according to an alternative embodiment. The wipe storage system shown in FIG. 10 includes a first receptacle 100 and a second receptacle 200. First receptacle 100 is sized and configured to receive an article in addition to second receptacle 200. First receptacle 100 includes an additional or auxiliary storage 300 that may be configured to support a variety of articles including, but not limited to, cosmetic applicators (e.g., pencils, brushes, etc.), cosmetic substances, and any other article that may be desirable to store with the wipes contained in second receptacle 200. According to an exemplary embodiment, first receptacle 100 includes a pair of cavities (e.g., storage wells, etc.) configured to hold a cosmetic substance (e.g., blush, eye show, lip gloss, etc.).

It is important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the wipe storage system as shown in the illustrated embodiments is illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present inventions have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements shown as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the operation of the interfaces may be reversed or otherwise varied, or the length or width of the structures and/or members or connectors or other elements of the system may be varied. It should be noted that the elements and/or assemblies of the system may be constructed from any of a wide variety of materials that provide sufficient strength or durability, in any of a wide variety of colors, textures and combinations. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present inventions. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present inventions.

The order or sequence of any process or method steps may be varied or re-sequenced according to alternative embodiments. In the claims, any means-plus-function clause is intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating configuration and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the inventions as expressed in the appended claims.





 
Previous Patent: Box and match package

Next Patent: Hinge-lid box