Title:
Device for dispensing detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for dispensing detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures in general. The device comprises a supporting structure provided with engagement means which can engage the sanitary fixture in order to support the supporting structure in a region of the fixture that is affected by the flow of flushing water. The device comprises a rotating element, which forms internally at least one receptacle, which is connected to the outside and is adapted to contain the substance or substances in the solid state, packaged in a water-soluable bar or tablet, or in liquid or gel form. The rotating element is supported so that it can rotate about a rotation axis by the supporting structure and can rotate about the rotation axis with respect to the supporting structure due to the flow of the flushing water of the sanitary fixture.



Inventors:
Ferrara, Carlo (Padova, IT)
Ruffina, Laura (Mortara, IT)
Application Number:
11/312745
Publication Date:
06/29/2006
Filing Date:
12/21/2005
Assignee:
DEOFLOR S.p.A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO & ASSOCIATI (MILANO, IT)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for dispensing, in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures in general, detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, comprising a supporting structure provided with engagement means which can engage the sanitary fixture in order to support the supporting structure in a region of the fixture which is affected by the flow of flushing water, further comprising a rotating element which forms internally at least one receptacle which is connected to the outside and is adapted to contain a substance or substances to be dispensed, said rotating element being supported so that it can rotate about a rotation axis by said supporting structure and being able to rotate about said rotation axis with respect to said supporting structure due to a flow of a flushing water of the sanitary fixture.

2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element is detachably associated with said supporting structure.

3. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element has a cage-like structure which forms internally said receptacle for the substances packaged as a water-soluble tablet or bar.

4. The device according to claim 3, wherein said rotating element is provided in at least two parts, which are detachably associated with each other in order to allow insertion of said water-soluble tablet or bar in said cage-like structure.

5. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element has a substantially cylindrical shape, said rotation axis coinciding with the axis of said rotating element.

6. The device according to claim 1, wherein at least part of the walls of said rotating element that delimit said at least one receptacle containing said substances in the liquid or gel state is made of porous material.

7. The device according to claim 1, wherein at least one tank made of a porous material and containing said substances in the liquid or gel state, is arranged in said at least one receptacle.

8. The device according to claim 1, further comprising, in said at least one receptacle, at least two receptacles which are connected to the outside, each receptacle containing said substances.

9. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element has vane-like fins on a lateral surface thereof.

10. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element has, on a lateral surface thereof, fins which are shaped like a cylindrical spiral and lie around said rotation axis.

11. The device according to claim 1, wherein said supporting structure has, on a side designed to remain exposed when the device is arranged in the sanitary fixture, openings to allow viewing of said rotating element from the outside.

12. The device according to claim 1, wherein said engagement means are constituted by a hook-shaped tab which can engage a rim of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture.

13. The device according to claim 1, wherein said supporting structure and said rotating element are made of molded synthetic material.

14. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element is arranged in said supporting structure in a manner adapted to achieve, when the device is hung against a wall of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture, an arrangement of said rotation axis which is substantially perpendicular to said wall of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture.

15. The device according to claim 1, wherein said rotating element is arranged in said supporting structure in a manner adapted to achieve, when the device is hung against a wall of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture, an arrangement of said rotation axis which is substantially parallel to said wall of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture.

Description:

The present invention relates to a device for dispensing, in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures in general, detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances in the solid state, packaged in a water-soluble bar or tablet or in the liquid state or in a gel.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Devices for dispensing in toilet bowls detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, packaged in a water-soluble tablet or bar, are known. These devices are generally constituted by a supporting structure, which is composed of an enclosure with a cage-like structure which forms internally a receptacle for the tablet or bar and with a hook-shaped arm for hanging, which is connected to the enclosure and can engage the rim of the toilet bowl so as to support the enclosure below the rim of the toilet bowl, where the holes for dispensing the flushing water of the toilet bowl are provided. In this manner, every time the flushing system of the toilet bowl is operated, the flushing water strikes the enclosure, gradually dissolving the tablet or bar and therefore mixing the detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances with the flushing water.

In using these devices, very often one finds a scarcely uniform wear of the tablet or bar, since the flushing water strikes differently the various regions of the tablet or bar. This scarcely uniform wear very often causes an unwanted breakup of the tablet or bar, releasing undissolved pieces into the flushing water, therefore causing a scarcely effective consumption of the tablet or bar in terms of cleaning the toilet bowl.

Moreover, with these devices the substances that compose the tablet or bar dissolve in the flushing water in a scarcely satisfactory manner and foam generation is limited and is usually enhanced by resorting to an increase in surfactant content in the substances that compose the tablet or bar.

Devices for dispensing, in toilet bowls, detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, in the liquid state or as a gel, are also known. These devices are provided with a tank, which is hung from the rim of the toilet bowl and contains the detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, and the substances are dispensed into the flushing water usually by utilizing the washing action of the water on a preset region of the device, in which a certain quantity of said substances is provided, generally by gravity.

Even with these devices, very often the detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances mix in the flushing water in a way which is not entirely satisfactory, and there is a modest foam generation dependent on the shape of the toilet bowl, on the force of the water jet, and on the direction of the flushing water on the device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aim of the present invention is to provide a device for dispensing, in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures in general, detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances in the solid state, packaged in a tablet or bar, or in the liquid state or as a gel, which achieves an improved solution of the substances in the flushing water.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide a device which, for the same detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances used, achieves a greater generation of foam and a longer retention of the generated foam with respect to known types of devices.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device which is structurally simple and can be manufactured at competitive costs.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device which is practical to use.

This aim and these and other objects, which will become better apparent hereinafter, are achieved by a device for dispensing, in toilet bowls or water-using sanitary fixtures in general, detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, comprising a supporting structure provided with engagement means which can engage the sanitary fixture in order to support the supporting structure in a region of the fixture which is affected by the flow of flushing water, characterized in that it comprises a rotating element which forms internally at least one receptacle which is connected to the outside and is adapted to contain the substance or substances to be dispensed, said rotating element being supported so that it can rotate about a rotation axis by said supporting structure and being able to rotate about said rotation axis with respect to said supporting structure due to the flow of the flushing water of the sanitary fixture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of four preferred but not exclusive embodiments of the device according to the invention, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device according to the invention in a first embodiment, hung from the rim of a toilet bowl;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to the invention in the first embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a view of the device according to the invention, in the first embodiment, taken from the side designed to face the wall of the toilet bowl;

FIG. 4 is a schematic sectional view of FIG. 3, taken along the line IV-IV;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the device according to the invention in a second embodiment, hung from the rim of a toilet bowl;

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to the invention in the second embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a view of the device according to the invention in the second embodiment, taken from the side designed to face the wall of the toilet bowl;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of FIG. 7, taken along the line VIII-VIII;

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to the invention in a third embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the device according to the invention in the third embodiment;

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the device according to the invention in a fourth embodiment;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the device according to the invention in the fourth embodiment;

FIG. 13 is an axial sectional view of the rotating element of the device of FIGS. 11 and 12.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the figures, the device according to the invention, generally designated in its various embodiments by the reference numerals 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, comprises a supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, which is provided with engagement means 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, which can engage the water-using sanitary fixture 4 in order to support the supporting structure 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d in a region of the fixture 4 which is affected by the flow of flushing water.

According to the invention, the device comprises a rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, which forms internally at least one receptacle 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d, 6d′, which is connected to the outside and is adapted to contain the substance or substances to be dispensed, such as for example detergent and/or sanitizing and/or deodorant substances, in the solid state, packaged in the form of a water-soluble tablet 7a or water-soluble bar 7b, or in the liquid state or as a gel. The rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d is supported, so that it can rotate about a rotation axis 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d, by the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, and can rotate about said rotation axis 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d with respect to the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d due to the flow of the flushing water of the sanitary fixture 4, as will become better apparent hereinafter.

In the first two embodiments, intended for use with substances in the solid state packaged in a tablet 7a or bar 7b, the rotating element 5a, 5b preferably has a cage-like structure, so as to expose the tablet 7a or the bar 7b contained therein to the action of the flushing water.

Moreover, the rotating element 5a, 5b is preferably detachably associated with the supporting structure 2a, 2b, so that it can be removed from it when the tablet 7a or bar 7b is used up, in order to be replaced with another rotating element 5a, 5b, which supports a new tablet 7a or bar 7b, or in order to allow the insertion therein of a new tablet 7a or bar 7b.

In this last case, the rotating element 5a, 5b is provided in at least two parts 9a, 10a, 9b, 10b, which are detachably associated to each other indeed to allow the insertion of a water-soluble tablet 7a or water-soluble bar 7b in the cage-like structure that constitutes the rotating element 5a, 5b.

More particularly, the rotating element 5a of the device in its first embodiment has a substantially cylindrical shape, which resembles a windmill wheel, in which the axis coincides with the rotation axis 8a and the lateral surface is constituted by vane-like fins.

The rotating element 5a is formed in two parts: a first part 9a, which is constituted by one of the flat faces and by the lateral surface of the wheel, and a second part 10a, which is constituted by the other flat face of the wheel. The two parts 9a, 10a are detachably coupled to each other, for example by means of a coupling of the interlocking type, as shown, or of the bayonet type or threaded type or other detachable coupling of a known type.

The first part 9a and the second part 10a of the rotating element 5a are provided, at the rotation axis 8a, with two coaxial pivots 11a, 12a, which protrude from the two flat faces of the rotating element 5a and can engage rotatably within receptacles 13a, 14a provided in the supporting structure 2a.

The supporting structure 2a has a box-like shape, which is open on its side designed to be struck by the stream of flushing water of the sanitary fixture 4.

The supporting structure 2a can also be provided in two parts which are detachably associated with each other, for example by means of a coupling of the interlocking type or of another detachable coupling of a known type, in order to allow the removable insertion of the rotating element 5a with its pivots 11a, 12a in the receptacles 13a, 14a; or, as shown, it can be provided with a portion 15a, which supports the receptacle 14a, constituted by an elastically flexible fin in order to allow the detachable coupling of the rotating element 5a with its pivots 11a, 12a in the receptacles 13a, 14a.

In the second embodiment, the rotating element 5b has a substantially cylindrical shape which resembles a squirrel cage, in which the axis coincides with the rotation axis 8b and the lateral surface is constituted by fins, which can be arranged along radial planes which pass through the axis 8b, as shown, or can be shaped advantageously like cylindrical spirals which lie around the axis 8b.

In this second embodiment also, the rotating element 5b is formed in two parts: a first part 9b, which is constituted by one of the flat faces and by one half of the lateral surface of the rotating element 5b, and a second part 10b, which is constituted by the other flat face and by the other half of the lateral surface of the rotating element 5b. The two parts 9b, 10b are detachably coupled to each other, for example by means of a coupling of the interlocking type, as shown, or of the bayonet or threaded type or other known type of detachable coupling.

The first part 9b and the second part 10b of the rotating element 5b have, at the rotation axis 8b, two coaxial pivots 11b and 12b, which protrude from the two flat faces of the rotating element 5b and can engage rotatably within receptacles 13b, 14b provided on two mutually opposite walls 17b, 18b of the supporting structure 2b.

The supporting structure 2b has a box-like configuration, which is open on its side that is designed to be struck by the stream of flushing water of the sanitary fixture 4.

The supporting structure 2b is provided with two mutually opposite walls 17b, 18b, in which the receptacles 13b, 14b for the pivots 11b, 12b are formed; such receptacles are provided as slots which are open toward the open side of the supporting structure 2b and are closed at the opposite side in order to allow the insertion or extraction of the pivots 11b, 12b. The receptacles 13a, 14b are conveniently inclined downwardly, toward their closed end, so as to effectively prevent the rotating element 5b from being able to disengage from the supporting structure 2b when it is struck by the stream of water.

In the third embodiment, shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, intended for use with substances to be dispensed in the liquid state or as a gel, the rotating element 5c has a substantially cylindrical shape, whose axis coincides with the rotation axis 8c and with vane-like fins on its lateral surface. The receptacle 6c is formed coaxially within the rotating element 5c and is closed, at the flat faces of the rotating element 5c, by plugs 30c, 31c, at least one whereof can be removed to allow the insertion, in the receptacle 6c, of the substance or substances to be dispensed. The receptacle 6c is connected to the outside through openings 32c, which are formed on the lateral surface of the rotating element 5c. The size of these openings 32c can vary according to the density of the substance or substances arranged in the receptacle 6c. As an alternative, the rotating element 5c may also be provided so that at least some of its walls that delimit the receptacle 6c are made of a porous material, in order to gradually release the substances contained in the receptacle 6c.

Without changing the fact that the substance or substances to be dispensed may be arranged directly in the receptacle 6c, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 the substance or substances to be dispensed are arranged in a porous tank 33c, which is inserted in the receptacle 6c.

The plugs 30c, 31c have, at the rotation axis 8c, protruding pivots 11c, 12c, which can be coupled to seats 13c, 14c formed in the supporting structure 2c in order to couple the rotating element 5c to the supporting structure 2c so that it can rotate about the rotation axis 8c.

In the fourth embodiment, shown in FIGS. 11 to 13, the rotating element 5d again is substantially cylindrical, with an axis which coincides with the rotation axis 8d, and is formed in two halves 9d, 10d, in each of which there is a receptacle 6d, 6d′ for respective substances in the liquid state or as a gel to be dispensed. Each receptacle 6d, 6d′ is closed by a corresponding plug 30d, 31d, in which holes 32d are provided for dispensing the substance or substances externally. The two halves 9d, 10d of the rotating element 5d are associated coaxially with each other, for example by means of an interlocking or screw coupling or other known type of coupling. In this embodiment, the coupling between the two halves 9d, 10d of the rotating element 5d is provided by means of the plugs 30d, 31d, which can be removed from the remaining part of the rotating element 5d, in order to allow the introduction, in the corresponding receptacle 6d, 6d′, of the substance or substances to be dispensed. The lateral surface of the rotating element 5d is provided with vane-like fins.

Two pivots 11d, 12d protrude from the two flat faces of the rotating element 5d, at the axis 8d of the rotating element 5d, and can be coupled to corresponding receptacles 13d, 14d formed in the supporting structure 2d, so that said structure supports the rotating element 5d so that it can rotate about its own axis 8d.

In the third and fourth embodiments, the portions of the supporting structure 2c, 2d in which the receptacles 13c, 13d, 14c, 14d are formed are constituted by elastically flexible fins in order to allow the detachable coupling of the pivots 11c, 11d, 12c, 12d in said receptacles 13c, 13d, 14c, 14d.

In the first three embodiments, the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c has, on its side designed to remain exposed when the device is arranged in the sanitary fixture 4, openings 19a, 19b, 19c in order to allow viewing of the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c from the outside.

In all of the described embodiments, the engagement means 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d are constituted by a tab of the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, which is shaped like a hook and can engage the rim 20 of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture 4. Said tab is preferably provided monolithically with the remaining part of the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d or with one of the parts that compose the supporting structure.

In the various embodiments, the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d and the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d are preferably made of molded synthetic material.

In the first embodiment, the rotating element 5a, 5c, 5d is arranged in the supporting structure 2a so that when the device is applied to the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture 4, its rotation axis 8a is oriented substantially at right angles to the wall 21 of the toilet bowl or of the sanitary fixture 4 against which the supporting structure 2a, 2c, 2d is hung, while in the second, third and fourth embodiments the rotating element 5b is arranged in the structure 2b, 2c, 2d so that its rotation axis 8b, 8c, 8d is substantially parallel to the wall 21.

Operation of the device according to the invention is as follows.

With the device hung from the rim of the toilet bowl or sanitary fixture 4 so that it is affected by the stream of flushing water, every time the flushing system is operated, a stream of water enters the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, striking the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d. Owing to this impact and to the configuration and arrangement of the fins of the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, the stream of water, besides affecting the tablet 7a or bar 7b, gradually dissolving it, or removing the liquid or gel that exits from the rotating element 5c, 5d, turns the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d about the rotation axis 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d with respect to the supporting structure 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d. This rotation achieves uniform wear of the tablet 7a or bar 7b or of the substances in the liquid or gel state and facilitates their solution in the flushing water, further generating considerable foam. The generated foam has finer and more compact bubbles and is more durable than the foam that can be obtained, for an equal composition of the substances used, with known kinds of devices.

When the substances contained in the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d are used up, the device can be refilled with a new tablet 7a or bar 7b or with other liquid or gel substances. The refilling of the device, depending on production and marketing requirements, may affect only the substances to be dispensed, as preferred and provided in the illustrated embodiments, or may also affect the rotating element 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d or the entire device.

In practice it has been observed that the device according to the invention fully achieves the intended aim, since it achieves uniform wear, improves the solution of the substances in the flushing water, and for an equal composition of the dispensed substances achieves greater generation of foam and longer duration of the generated foam than known devices.

Thanks to this fact it is possible to reduce the percentage of surfactants in the composition of the dispensed substances.

Another advantage of the device according to the invention is that it has a simple structure which can be manufactured at low cost.

In the examples of embodiments described above, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other examplary embodiments. Moreover, it is noted that anything found to be already known during the patenting process is understood not to be claimed and to be the subject of a disclaimer.

The device thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims; all the details may further be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

In practice, the materials used, as well as the dimensions, may be any according to requirements and to the state of the art.

The disclosures in European Patent Application No. 04425941.4, from which this application claims priority, are incorporated herein by reference.





 
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