Title:
Metering pump arrangement and method for the production of a filled metering pump arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for the production of a filled metering pump arrangement fills a product capable of flow into a film bag, which may be received in a container, for example. The film bag is closed by means of a pump that can be activated manually, which blocks a fluid connection between an outlet opening and the interior of the film bag, in the unstressed state, by means of at least one kick-back valve. The gas situated in the film bag is removed, at least substantially completely, by compressing the film bag, particularly by means of a punch or similar device.



Inventors:
Hagin, Susanne El (Stuttgart, DE)
Padar, Steven (Kelkheim, DE)
Application Number:
11/408218
Publication Date:
11/16/2006
Filing Date:
04/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D88/54
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20060032870Beer keg tapFebruary, 2006Murray et al.
20090139978WATER/POWDERED MILK MIXING DEVICE FOR NURSINGJune, 2009Ha
20090071988Syrup Dispenser Having Pivotal Dispenser Cap and MethodsMarch, 2009Nybakke
20100006604LOTION PUMP AND ONE-WAY VALVE INCORPORATED THEREINJanuary, 2010Ding
20090039104Device and Method for Concurrently Dispensing Semi-Solid ProductsFebruary, 2009Genewick et al.
20100044397SMALL STORAGE RECEPTACLE FOR FOOD WITH AIR INFLUX HOLEFebruary, 2010Pang
20060249530Dispenser with sound and motionNovember, 2006Ho
20070290008Apparatus for conveying material in a dispensing systemDecember, 2007Becker et al.



Primary Examiner:
JACYNA, J CASIMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLARD & ROE, P.C. (ROSLYN, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A metering pump assembly for metering, dispensing, or applying liquid cosmetics or pharmaceuticals comprising: (a) a container having an interior portion with a changeable volume for accommodating a fluid; (b) a manually-activatable pump connected with said container having an outlet opening and an intake opening connected with the interior portion of the container for drawing off gas situated in the container through the pump; (c) at least one kick-back valve openable counter to a spring force, said at least one kick-back valve having an unstressed state where said at least one kick-back valve blocks a fluid stream from the outlet opening into the container; and (d) a lid having a recess facing the container; wherein said lid seals the container relative to said pump and said intake opening does not substantially project beyond said lid into said container.

2. The metering pump assembly according to claim 1 wherein the recess is concave.

3. The metering pump assembly according to claim 2, wherein the container comprises a collapsible film bag.

4. The metering pump assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a substantially rigid sheath surrounding the container and connectable with the lid or the pump, said sheath having an air removal opening.

5. The metering pump assembly according to claim 1, wherein the lid has a circumferential edge and the container is attached to the circumferential edge.

6. The metering pump assembly according to claim 4, wherein the sheath comprises a second container having at least one open face closable via said lid.

7. The metering pump assembly according to claim 6 wherein said second container is cylindrical.

8. The metering pump assembly according to claim 3, wherein the concave recess in the lid extends from a circumferential edge connected with the container to the intake opening.

9. The metering pump assembly according to claim 8, wherein the circumferential edge of the lid lays against the film bag and the recess has a continuously increasing depth from the circumferential edge to the intake opening of the pump.

10. The metering pump assembly according to claim 1, wherein the pump comprises a pressure chamber and a piston guided in the pressure chamber and said at least one kick-back valve comprises a first kick-back valve and a second kick-back valve, said first kick-back valve connecting the pressure chamber with the container, said first kick-back valve permitting flow out of the container into the pressure chamber and blocking flow in an opposite direction, said second kick-back valve being associated with the outlet opening and permitting flow out of the pressure chamber into a surrounding area and blocking flow in an opposite direction.

11. The metering pump assembly according to claim 10 further comprising a dispensing head, said second kick-back valve being provided on the dispensing head.

12. The metering pump assembly according to claim 4, wherein the sheath comprises a sleeve with an opening for the introduction of a punch disposed on a side facing away from the lid.

13. A method for metering, dispensing, or applying fluid cosmetics or pharmaceuticals comprising the steps of: (a) providing a metering pump assembly comprising a container having an interior portion with a changeable volume for accommodating a cosmetic or pharmaceutical fluid, a manually-activatable pump connected with the container having an outlet opening and an intake opening connected with the interior portion of the container for drawing off gas situated in the container through the pump, at least one kick-back valve operable counter to a spring force having an unstressed slate where the at least one kick-back valve blocks a fluid stream from the outlet opening into the container, and a lid having a recess facing the contianer, wherein the lid seals the container relative to the pump and the intake opening does not substantially project beyond the lid into the container; and (b) using the metering pump assembly to meter, dispense or apply the cosmetic or pharmaceutical fluid.

14. A method for producing a filled metering pump assembly comprising the following steps: (a) filling a product capable of flow into a film bag; (b) subsequently closing the film bag via a manually-activatable pump, the pump blocking a fluid connection between an outlet opening of the pump and an interior portion of the film bag via at least one kick-block valve in an unstressed state; and (c) compressing the film bag via a punch to substantially completely remove gases from the film bag by ejecting the gases through the pump or a bypass channel circumventing the pump.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein in order to remove the gases from the film bag, the film bag is brought into a position where the pump is disposed substantially vertically above the film bag.

16. The method according to claim 14, wherein the film bag is introduced into a more rigid container than the film bag before or after the film bag is filled, the container is closed off by the pump from the film bag, at least one opening remains in the container, and a punch can be introduced into the container through the at least one opening so that the film bag is compressed in the container and the gases situated in the film bag are ejected from the film bag through the pump or though a bypass channel surrounding the pump.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the film bag or the container is closed off via a lid connected with the pump.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Applicant claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of German Application No. 10 2005 022 044.4 filed Apr. 21, 2005 and German Application No. 10 2005 043 839.3 filed Sep. 15, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a metering pump arrangement having a container that is connected, in sealed manner, with a pump that can be manually activated. The pump blocks off a fluid connection between an outlet opening of the pump that stands in connection with the surroundings, and the interior of the container, by means of at least one kick-back valve, in the unstressed state. Furthermore, the present invention relates to a method for the production of a filled metering pump arrangement, as well as to the use of such a metering pump arrangement.

2. The Prior Art

A dispensing device for fluids is known from DE 100 49 898 C2, with which liquid pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, for example, can be dispensed from a container in metered manner. The metering pump used for this purpose works without air equalization, whereby the fluid is accommodated within the container within an inner bag that is sealed relative to the surroundings, which bag collapses as it empties.

Filling of such inner bags with fluids such as pharmaceuticals or cosmetics usually takes place in that residual air remains in the inner bag. This arrangement is undesirable for various reasons. For example, the oxygen is constantly in contact with the fluid during storage, which results in a reduction of the possible storage period or of the absence of germs in the fluid. However, filling the fluid container in a germ-free atmosphere or under inert gas is very complicated and expensive.

Furthermore, complete emptying of the bag is possible only if no residual air remains in the inner bag after it has been filled. The residual air in the inner container also has a disruptive effect if the dispensing device is not held straight during activation. Thus, if the metering pump arrangement is not oriented completely vertically, residual air can be drawn in by the pump, and dispensed from the inner bag in place of the fluid. This requirement is particularly undesirable when administering medications, such as nose, eye or ear sprays. Holding the dispensing device precisely vertically for such application is possible only with difficulties.

It is therefore proposed in DE 100 49 898 C2 to form a passage for the residual air to be drawn off, between the outer wall of the piston and the inner wall of the pressure cylinder of the metering pump. This passage stands in connection with the inner bag, on the one hand, by way of an opening provided on the pump housing, and with the surroundings, on the other hand, by way of a valve-like flap within the pump. Any residual air remaining in the inner bag after it has been filled can be drawn off through this channel within the pump, in order to avoid the disadvantages mentioned above. However, forming this channel for the residual air in the inner bag presumes great precision in the production of the pump. Furthermore, the production of this known dispensing device is made more expensive by the complicated structure of the pump. In the case of this known dispensing device, the metering pump projects into the inner bag with its pressure cylinder and its intake opening that is assigned to the kick-back valve on the inner bag side.

A similar metering pump is proposed in DE 101 08 486 A1, in the case of which a passage for the residual air to be drawn off is formed between the outer wall of the piston and the inner wall of the pressure cylinder of the metering pump. This passage stands in connection with the inner bag, on the one hand, by way of an opening provided on the pump housing, and with the surroundings, on the other hand, by way of a valve-like flap within the pump. Any residual air remaining in the inner bag after it has been filled can be drawn off through this channel within the pump, in order to avoid the disadvantages mentioned above. However, forming this channel for the residual air in the inner bag presumes great precision in the production of the pump. Furthermore, the production of this known dispensing device is made more expensive by the complicated structure of the pump. In the case of this known dispensing device, the metering pump projects into the inner bag with its pressure cylinder and its intake opening that is assigned to the kick-back valve on the inner bag side.

The valve in the dispensing head of this known dispensing device is configured so that it opens when the product to be dispensed flows out of the pump into the dispensing head under pressure but is held in its closed position by means of a spring as long as the product does not displace a sealing body counter to the spring pressure. As a result, no residual air can be drawn towards the outside via this dispensing head. Drawing off the residual air is consequently possible only when the dispensing head has not yet been set onto the pump. However, this feature has the disadvantage that residual air always remains in the dispensing head, and this air must be removed from the dispensing head by a user, before first-time use, by means of activating the pump, before the product can be dispensed. Because air is compressible, and only small amounts of the product, for example approximately 28 mg, are dispensed with one pump stroke for the application of medications, for example, many pump strokes are often required for this application, which users consider unsatisfactory.

Furthermore, a method for filling a film bag provided with a pump is known from U.S. Pat. No. 5,144,788, in which method the film bag is open on its side facing away from the pump, and is filled through this opening. The opening is then partly sealed by means of bonding, whereby a channel is supposed to remain free, through which residual air is drawn out of the film bag. Afterwards, the channel, which is still open, is to be closed by means of bonding. In this connection, it has proven to be difficult to seal the channel tightly so quickly after the air has been drawn off that no air can flow back into the film bag through the channel that has not been closed yet.

It is known from DE 693 32 089 T2 and WO 93/22200 A1 to draw residual air out of a container having a pump, through the pump.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Against this background it is an object of the present invention to provide a metering pump arrangement or assembly of the type stated initially, and a method for the production of a filled metering pump arrangement, in which complete drawing of residual air from the container is facilitated.

These and other objects are accomplished, according to the invention, substantially by sealing the container, relative to the pump, via a lid having a recess, particularly a concave recess, that faces the container. In this way, the intake opening of the pump for drawing off gas situated in the container through the pump does not or at least does not significantly project beyond the lid into the container. In this manner, the gas situated in the container can be drawn off through the pump, whereby while it is drawn off, the kick-back valve(s) of the pump open(s) by means of the partial vacuum of the intake device, and therefore produce(s) a fluid connection between the outlet opening and the interior of the container. By means of drawing the residual air off through the pump itself, complicated air guidance past the pump can be eliminated completely. The structure of the pump can also be kept particularly simple. Thus, the kick-back valves can be formed either by balls that are pressed against corresponding valve seats, for example, by means of pressure springs, or also by rubber lips or similar elastic elements, which close off a valve seat in the unstressed state, and can be lifted off from it by means of fluid pressure, for example.

Drawing off the residual air from the container can take place in a state of the pump in which only the pump, with one kick-back valve, for example, but without a dispensing head, which usually has another kick-back valve, is provided on the container. Alternatively, drawing off the air takes place through the pump and the dispensing head, i.e. through both kick-back valves, which are opened during the drawing-off process. In the case of the alternative first mentioned, the dispensing head or the like can be affixed to the pump subsequently. In the sense of the invention, the outlet opening can therefore be formed either by a nozzle or the like on the dispensing head, or by any desired opening by means of which the pump can be connected with a dispensing head.

Because of the recess, for example a concave recess in the lid, the intake opening of the pump does not or does not significantly project into the container, according to the invention. The residual air that remains in the container after it has been filled, if applicable, collects in its upper region, formed by the recess, in which the pump is disposed. In order to avoid having the pump project all the way into the fluid with its intake opening, which is desirable for dispensing the fluid in pump operation, but is unsuitable for drawing the residual air out of the container, the intake opening must end as flush as possible with the inner wall of the container, or project at most only a few millimeters into the interior of the container.

A residual air bubble formed above the fluid can thus be drawn off from the container, through the pump, by means of the drawing-off process described above, until the fluid accommodated in the container is drawn in through the intake opening. Because no air flows back into the container through the at least one kick-back valve, the fluid accommodated in the container can be dispensed from the container in any desired position after the residual air has been drawn off, i.e. with the pump oriented at the top, standing on its head, or lying on its side, by means of the pump. As a result, the intake opening of the pump can always draw in nothing but fluid.

Here, the term “fluid” used with regard to the present invention is intended to include any and all substances capable of flow, which can be dispensed using such a pump. These substances can be not only low-viscosity substances but also substances that are highly viscous, paste-like, or gel-like.

When the gas is being drawn out of the container, a suction bell can be set onto the metering pump arrangement so that at least the outlet opening of the pump is surrounded by the suction bell. Preferably, the suction bell is set onto the metering pump arrangement so that the suction bell is set onto one wall of the container, or onto a lid connected with the container, if applicable. In this connection the suction bell surrounds the part of the pump that projects outward beyond the container or the lid, forming a seal. All that is then required to draw off the residual air from the container is to first remove a protective cap that might be provided from the pump or the outlet opening. Because of the partial vacuum applied in the suction bell, the residual air is then drawn out of the container, whereby the two kick-back valves open because of the drawing-off pressure. In this connection, the balls, sealing lips or the like are lifted from their valve seat counter to the elastic closing forces. After the air has been drawn off, the kick-back valves close automatically, so that penetration of new air into the container is avoided.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the container has a lid, particularly a flange-like lid, by way of which the container is sealed relative to the pump, whereby the intake opening of the pump does not project or at least does not project significantly beyond the lid, into the container. In this connection, the lid can be formed from a more rigid material, so that it can be connected with a sheath or enclosure of the container, having a changeable volume, which is also more rigid, for example.

Because the metering pump arrangement according to the invention works without air equalization, the container must have a changeable volume. A changeable volume is made possible, in a particularly simple manner, by forming the container from a collapsible film or the like, for example as a film bag. While the container is being emptied, this bag consequently draws or folds together.

For simpler handling of the metering pump arrangement, particularly for holding the arrangement while activating the pump, it is preferred if a rigid sheath is essentially assigned to the container. This sheath surrounds the container and can be connected with the pump, for example by way of the lid. In this connection, an air removal opening must be provided in the rigid sheath, so that collapsing of the container in the sheath is not hindered.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the lid is provided with a circumferential edge, to which the container in the form of a film bag, for example, is attached. In this connection, the circumferential edge can be configured in flange-like or stepped manner, whereby the film bag or similar container is preferably attached to the lower edge region of the lid, in the position of use, or rests against it, forming a seal there. In this connection, the position of use is defined as a position in which the pump is situated on the vertically upper side of the lid, and the container, configured as a film bag, for example, is situated vertically below the lid and the pump.

The rigid sheath can be formed as a container that is open at least on one face, particularly a cylindrical container. This at least one open face can be closed off by means of the lid. Consequently, the metering pump arrangement can be produced, in particularly simple manner, by setting the lid with the container attached to it onto the more rigid sheath. If necessary, a seal can be provided between the more rigid sheath and the container.

It is preferred if the concave recess in the lid extends in the manner of a dome cap, for example, proceeding from a circumferential edge connected with the container, to the intake opening. Thus, the depth of the recess can increase continuously, from the edge of the lid that can be laid against the container configured as a film bag, to the intake opening of the pump, particularly in domed manner. In this connection, the shape of the recess is not restricted to a dome cap shape; instead, the recess can also have the shape of a cone, a truncated cone, a pyramid, a truncated pyramid, in steps, and/or with curved or straight partial surfaces. The essential thing in this connection is that the recess is configured so that in the position of use, the lowest point, preferably defined by the circumferential edge, is situated resting against the container, if possible, and the vertically highest point, in the position of use, is situated in the region of the intake opening of the pump. In this way, it is possible that any residual air in the container collects close to the intake opening of the pump, and therefore can easily be drawn off through the pump.

Preferably the pump has a pressure chamber having a piston guided in this piston chamber, a first kick-back valve, which connects the pressure chamber with the container, and a second kick-back valve that is assigned to a dispensing head, if applicable. In this connection, the first kick-back valve permits a flow out of the container into the pressure chamber, if a lower pressure prevails there than in the container, while any flow in the opposite direction is fundamentally blocked. Accordingly, the second kick-back valve permits a flow out of the pressure chamber into the surroundings, if the pressure in the pressure chamber exceeds a defined value, while a return flow, for example from the surroundings into the pressure chamber, through the second kick-back valve, is not possible.

The kick-back valves can be configured as balls that are elastically pressed against a valve seat by means of a spring, for example. Alternatively, it is also possible that the kick-back valves are formed merely by means of a sealing lip that lies on a valve seat in the unstressed state, and can be lifted elastically off the valve seat by means of fluid pressure.

Fundamentally, any and all kick-back valves that prevent return flow of air or the like into the container and allow dispensing of the fluid from the container when the pressure in the container or in the pressure chamber, respectively, is greater than in the pressure chamber or in the surroundings, respectively, can be used for the metering pump arrangement according to the invention.

Alternatively to the configuration of the pump as described, with a piston and a pressure chamber, it is also possible to provide a pump in the manner of a bellows, or another suitable pump device. The second kick-back valve can be provided in a dispensing head that can be removed from the pressure chamber or piston chamber, if necessary. Drawing off the residual air can take place with or without the dispensing head, because only one kick-back valve is required for this function.

Depending on the purpose of use of the metering pump arrangement, the outlet opening can be formed, for example, by means of a nozzle for atomizing the liquid content of the container. However, it is also possible to structure the outlet opening in another manner, for example to dispense individual, larger drops of a fluid by means of the metering pump arrangement. The metering pump arrangement according to the invention is particularly suitable for metering, dispensing, applying, or the like, liquid cosmetics and/or pharmaceuticals.

A method for the production of a filled metering pump arrangement includes the following steps: filling a product capable of flow into a film bag, subsequently closing the film bag by means of a pump that can be activated manually, which blocks a fluid connection between an outlet opening and the interior of the film bag, in the unstressed state, by means of at least one kick-back valve, and removing the gases situated in the film bag, at least approximately completely. In this connection, the film bag is compressed, particularly by means of a punch or the like, and thereby, the gases situated in the film bag are ejected from the latter through the pump and/or through a bypass channel that circumvents it.

By means of ejecting the residual air through the pump itself or through a bypass channel, according to the invention, it is possible to achieve complete air removal from the film bag even in the case of pumps or dispensing heads that do not allow the residual air to be drawn off. The metering pump arrangement is therefore ready for operation and the product capable of flow can already be dispensed with the first pump stroke by a user. In this way, the ease of operation of the metering pump arrangement is significantly increased. In addition, the removal of the residual air from the film bag, according to the invention, can be achieved in a particularly easy and fast manner. It can be automated, if compression takes place by means of a punch, or alternatively, by means of a pressure difference between the interior of the film bag and the surroundings, as the result of drawing the residual air off under a partial vacuum. In this way, the production effort and expense of a filled metering pump arrangement according to the invention is reduced.

The structure of the pump can also be kept particularly simple. Thus, the kick-back valves can be formed either by balls that are pressed against corresponding valve seats, for example by means of pressure springs, or also by rubber lips or similar elastic elements, which close a valve seat off in the unstressed state and can be lifted off from it by means of fluid pressure, for example.

Preferably, in order to remove the gases situated in it, the film bag is brought into a position in which the pump is disposed essentially vertically above the film bag. In other words, emptying the residual air from the film bag, for example a collapsible film bag, is simplified if the residual air from an air bubble that faces the pump can escape through an outlet opening that is provided in the pump, for example at its vertically lower end. In this connection, it is preferred if the intake opening for ejecting the gases situated in the film bag is provided on the pump in such a manner that the intake opening does not project or does not significantly project into the film bag.

In a further aspect of the invention, the film bag is introduced into a more rigid container, in comparison with the film bag, before or after it is filled, which container is closed off by the pump, with the film bag. In this connection, at least one opening remains in the container, through which a punch or the like can be introduced into the container, so that the film bag is compressed in the container, and in this way, the gases situated in the film bag are ejected from the bag through the pump and/or through a bypass channel that surrounds the pump.

In this connection, it is preferred if the film bag and/or the container are closed off by means of a lid, which is connected with the pump. In this way, the structure of the metering pump arrangement is particularly compact and simple.

During ejection of the residual gas, at least one kick-back valve of the pump can open and thereby produce a fluid connection between the outlet opening and the interior of the film bag. In this connection, the balls, sealing lips or the like are lifted off their valve seat, counter to the elastic closing forces. After the residual air has been ejected, the kick-back valves close automatically, so that renewed penetration of air into the container is prevented.

The ejection of residual air from the container can take place in a state of the metering pump arrangement in which only the pump with one kick-back valve, for example, but without a dispensing head, which usually has another kick-back valve, is provided on the container. Alternatively, the ejection takes place through the pump and the dispensing head, i.e. through the two kick-back valves, which are opened in this connection. In the case of the alternative first mentioned, the dispensing head or the like can be subsequently affixed to the pump. Consequently, in the sense of the present invention, the outlet opening can be formed either by a nozzle or the like on the dispensing head, or by any desired opening by means of which the pump can be connected with the dispensing head.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the drawings are designed for the purpose of illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.

In this connection, all of the characteristics described and/or shown in the drawings represent embodiments of the invention, in themselves or in any desired combination, independent of how they are combined in the claims or their antecedents.

In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several view:

FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of a metering pump arrangement according to a first embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 2 is a schematic a sectional view of a metering pump arrangement according to a second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The metering pump assembly or arrangement 1 according to FIG. 1 has a collapsible film bag 2 as a container, which is filled with a fluid, for example a fluid pharmaceutical or cosmetic product. As will be explained in greater detail below, film bag 2 is connected with a pump 3, in sealed manner, which pump, in the exemplary embodiment shown, includes a pressure chamber 4 having a piston 5 that glides in it, and two kick-back valves 6 and 7, respectively.

In pressure chamber 4, a spring 8 is provided in such a manner that piston 5 is impacted upward in FIG. 1. Piston 5 has a central passage opening 9, through which a fluid can be pumped out of film bag 2 into the surroundings.

For this purpose, the first kick-back valve 6 is set in such a manner that this kick-back valve 6 permits flow out of film bag 2 into pressure chamber 4 if the ball-shaped valve element or body 6a is lifted off its valve seat 6c by means of a partial vacuum in pressure chamber 4, counter to the force of the valve spring 6b. In the opposite direction, however, flow out of pressure chamber 4 into film bag 2 is blocked by means of first kick-back valve 6.

Furthermore, the second kick-back valve 7 is disposed in such a manner that when there is excess pressure in pressure chamber 4, fluid can escape into the surroundings through kick-back valve 7, in that the valve body 7a is lifted from its valve seat 7c counter to the force of the valve spring 7b. In contrast, flow of ambient air, for example, back into pressure chamber 4, is prevented by kick-back valve 7. Second kick-back valve 7 is shown as a component of pump 3 in FIG. 1. Alternatively, the second kick-back valve can also be assigned to a dispensing head that can be attached to pump 3. In this connection, the second kick-back valve does not have to be configured as shown in FIG. 1, but rather can also be configured as described in DE 101 08 486 A1.

In the embodiment shown, film bag 2 is provided with a lid 10, for example a reinforced lid, which seals pump 3 relative to film bag 2. For this purpose, lid 10 can be cast onto pump 3, or welded to it. In the same manner, a circumferential edge of the collapsible film bag 2 can be welded to the edge region of the rigid lid 10, glued, or connected in another suitable manner so as to form a seal. Film bag 2 is accommodated in a container or sheath 11, which is also rigid, for example, and is rigidly or releasably connected with lid 10. A bottom or air removal opening 12 is provided in container 11, so that film bag 2 can freely unfold or contract within container 11, without this movement being hindered by an excess pressure or partial vacuum in container 11.

Pump 3 has an intake opening shown as a lower intake opening 13 in FIG. 1, which opens into film bag 2, and an outlet opening shown as an upper outlet opening 14 in FIG. 1, which stands in connection with the surroundings. In this connection, pump 3 and intake opening 13 are disposed on film bag 2 and the lid 10, respectively, so that intake opening 13 does not project or at most projects minimally beyond lid 10 into film bag 2, in the embodiment shown. In this connection, a depression 15 is configured in lid 10, in which an air bubble that might be present in film bag 2 can collect with residual air. For this purpose, the depth of depression 15 increases continuously, from the edge of lid 10 to the center of lid 10 in which the intake opening 13 of pump 3 is disposed.

In order to further make it more difficult for residual air to remain in film bag 2, the edge of lid 10 that projects into film bag 2 is laid against film bag 2 and connected with it, if necessary. In the upright position of the metering pump arrangement shown in FIG. 1, all of the residual air therefore necessarily collects in the vicinity of intake opening 13 of pump 3 and can be ejected through it.

For this purpose, a partial vacuum is applied at outlet opening 14, so that valve bodies 6a and 6b lift from their valve seats 6c and 7c, respectively, counter to the force of valve springs 6b and 7b, respectively, and the air can be drawn off to outlet opening 14 through intake opening 13, by means of pump 3. Alternatively or additionally, a punch 16 or the like can be introduced into container 11 through opening 12, which punch compresses film bag 2. By means of the excess pressure in container 11, the residual air is also ejected through pump 3, causing valve bodies 6a and 7a to lift from their valve seats 6c and 7c, respectively, counter to the force of valve springs 6b and 7b, respectively. As soon as fluid is drawn in through intake opening 13, and exits through outlet opening 14, there is no longer any residual air in film bag 2 and pump 3 or the dispensing head, respectively.

After the end of the drawing-off process, the two kick-back valves 6 and 7 close again, as a result of the force of valve springs 6b and 7b, respectively, so that no ambient air can flow back into container 2. Drawing off the residual air can take place, for example, in that a suction bell, not shown in the FIG. 1, surrounds at least outlet opening 14, forming a seal. Alternatively, the suction bell can be set onto the lid 10 so that the entire pump 3 is received in the suction bell.

If the second kick-back valve is provided in a dispensing head (not shown in FIG. 1), the residual air can be drawn off from container 2 either before or after the dispensing head is set on. In the case first mentioned, only the first kick-back valve 6 opens during drawing off, and after drawing off prevents return flow of air into container 2. In contrast, if the dispensing head is set on, both kick-back valves 6, 7 open during drawing off, as described above.

The central passage opening 9 of pump 3 and the dispensing head are also filled with the product after complete ejection of the residual air from metering pump arrangement 1, if the excess pressure in container 11 remains built up. In this way, a user can already dispense the product capable of flow with the first pump stroke, and does not have to first fill pump 3 by means of several pump strokes, before first-time use of metering pump arrangement 1.

FIG. 2 shows another preferred embodiment of a metering pump arrangement 1 according to the invention; it is configured in similar manner to the embodiment according to FIG. 1. The function of this metering pump arrangement 1 also takes place in the manner described above with reference to FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the same components are indicated with the same reference numbers.

In the case of this embodiment, the container or sheath that accommodates film bag 2 is configured in two parts, with a lower container part 11a, which has two walls in some regions, and an upper container part 11b attached to the former by means of a snap-in connection, whereby the upper container part 11b accommodates pump 3 and guides piston 5. This structure allows a geometry of the container that can be produced in particularly simple manner, for example using the injection-molding method.

The opening, a lower opening or fuel channel 12 in FIG. 2, for a piston or the like, can be closed off by means of a cover 17 after the residual air has been removed from film bag 2; an air removal opening is once more provided in the cover. The pump itself can be releasably closed off by means of a protective cap 18 that can be set onto the upper container part 11b, after the residual air was removed from film bag 2.

A seal, if applicable a seal that is formed in one piece with film bag 2, can be disposed between lid 10 and lower container part 11a. The body that forms pressure chamber 4 and lid 10 are configured and fitted to one another in such a manner that these components are connected with one another, also forming a seal, by means of the engagement of upper container part 11b on lower container part 11a.

To activate pump 3, in the case of the embodiment according to FIG. 2, a head 19 connected with piston 5 is provided, which is set onto upper container part 11b. The stroke of piston 5 is limited in this manner. The second kick-back valve 7, which has a nozzle for dispensing drops in the embodiment according to FIG. 2, is provided in this head 19.

Because of the configuration of the nozzle and second kick-back valve 7, drawing off the residual air through pump 3 and second kick-back valve 7 is not possible in the case of this embodiment. However, film bag 2 can be compressed to remove the residual air, for example by means of a piston or the like, in order to drive the residual air out of the film bag and pump 3 in this manner.

Although only a few embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it is to be understood that many changes and modifications may be made thereunto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.