Title:
SINGLE USE APPLICATOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A single-use applicator for amorphous substances comprising a base panel impermeable to the amorphous substance, a frame secured to the base panel, an amorphous substance deposited about the frame, and a thin, flexible cover that is unaffected by the amorphous substance and secured to the base panel to seal the amorphous substance layer in an enclosed space.



Inventors:
Powley, Nicholas (Saint Paul, MN, US)
Einis, Tara (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/610643
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
12/14/2006
Assignee:
APPLICABILITY, INC. (Saint Paul, MN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L13/17
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANT, ALVIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALTMAN & MARTIN (TOPSFIELD, MA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An applicator for an amorphous substance comprising: (a) a base panel that is impermeable to said amorphous substance; (b) a frame attached to said base panel; (c) said amorphous substance deposited on said frame; (d) a cover composed of a thin, flexible sheet that is unaffected by said amorphous substance; (e) a cover securing means for securing said cover to said base panel such that said frame and amorphous substance are enclosed in a closed space between said base panel and said cover, said cover securing means having a tensional stress resistance that permits manual removable of said cover from said base panel.

2. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said frame is embedded within said amorphous substance.

3. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said frame is a thin plastic.

4. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said base panel includes a handle.

5. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said base panel and cover are comprised of a single, contiguous sheet.

6. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said cover includes a finger tab to facilitate removal.

7. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said base panel and/or said cover is adapted to receive graphics.

8. The applicator of claim 1 wherein said base panel and/or cover is textured.

9. An applicator for an amorphous substance comprising: (a) a base panel that is impermeable to said amorphous substance, said base panel having a handle; (b) a thin, plastic frame attached to said base panel; (c) said amorphous substance deposited about said frame such that said frame is embedded in said substance; (d) a cover composed of a thin, flexible sheet that is unaffected by said amorphous substance, said cover having a finger tab to facilitate removal; (e) a cover securing means for securing said cover to said base panel such that said frame and amorphous substance are enclosed in a closed space between said base panel and said cover, said cover securing means having a tensional stress resistance that permits manual removable of said cover from said base panel.

10. The applicator of claim 9 wherein said base panel and cover are comprised of a single, contiguous sheet.

11. The applicator of claim 9 wherein said base panel and/or said cover is adapted to receive graphics.

12. The applicator of claim 9 wherein said base panel and/or cover is textured.

13. A method of producing an applicator for an amorphous substance comprising the steps of: (a) providing a base panel that is impermeable to said amorphous substance; (b) attached a frame to said base panel; (c) depositing said amorphous substance on said frame; (d) securing a cover that is composed of a thin, flexible sheet that is unaffected by said amorphous substance to said base panel such that said frame and amorphous substance is contained within a closed space between said base panel and said cover, said cover securing means having a tensional stress resistance that permits manual removable of said cover from said base panel.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein said amorphous substance is deposited about said frame such that said frame is embedded within said amorphous substance.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein said frame is a thin plastic.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein said base panel is provided with a handle.

17. The method of claim 13 wherein said base panel and cover are comprised of a single, contiguous sheet.

18. The method of claim 13 wherein said cover is provided with a finger tab to facilitate removal.

19. The method of claim 13 further comprising imprinting graphics on said base panel and/or said cover.

20. The method of claim 13 further comprising texturing said base panel and/or said cover.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part application of application Ser. No. 11/300,389, filed Dec. 14, 2005 for SINGLE USE APPLICATOR in the names of Nicholas Powley and Tara Einis.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to product applicators, more specifically, to applicators for greasy and/or powdered solids and amorphous substances such as deodorants, antiperspirants, lotions, lubricants, skin care cosmetics, medications, ointments, suntan lotions, and paints.

2. Description of the Related Art

The purpose of an applicator is to provide a user with a method for applying a specific and/or limited amount of a substance that is difficult or messy to handle, or that requires special packaging. Deodorants and antiperspirants, creams, lotions, lubricants, and skin care medications are examples of the former and a two-part epoxy is an example of the later. Current applicators are typically made without regard to portability, disposability, and single-use application. These relatively large storage containers/applicators are inconvenient for people needing to travel with the applicator or only requiring a limited amount of the substance on a single occasion. Existing single-use applicators are expensive to manufacture and often contain moving parts. Some currently available single-use packages for these substances work well for portability, but lack a tidy means for substance application.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a portable, disposable, single-use applicator for amorphous substances and the like.

The single-use applicator of the present invention has a layer of retentive material bonded to one side of a base panel. The retentive material is suffused with an amorphous substance and sealing under a cover. The applicator is intended for use with creams, gels, powders, and other amorphous substances.

The area of the base panel to which the retentive material is adhered is impervious to the substance. The percentage of the base panel that holds the substance can be any proportion of the overall panel. Preferred materials include synthetic resin films and metal foils. Optionally, the base panel includes a handle that projects out from the base panel. Optionally, the base panel includes textured surfaces and/or imprinted graphics, words, or logos.

The retentive layer is composed of a porous material that can retain the substance without substantial product loss, but expels the substance when used in its intended manner. The retentive layer material depends on the substance and holds enough for at least one use. The method for bonding the retentive material to the base panel depends upon the materials and is accomplished by well-known adhesive techniques.

Semi-solid substances can be applied to the base panel using a tray or frame. The tray or frame is attached to the base panel. The substance is deposited into the tray or about the frame.

After the retentive layer is suffused with the substance, it is sealed with a removable cover. The cover is preferably composed of a foil of metal such as an aluminum alloy, a plastic, a laminate of metal and plastic, paper, or recycled materials. The adhesive is strong enough to maintain a hermetic seal, but weak enough so that the cover can be manually peeled from the base panel. Optionally, the base panel and cover are a single sheet and the cover is delimited by folding the sheet over.

Optionally, the applicator is supplied with a removable adhesive on its outer surface to attach it to another package.

Other objects of the present invention will become apparent in light of the following drawings and detailed description of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature and object of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of one embodiment of the applicator of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a second embodiment of the applicator of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the applicator of FIG. 1 taken along the line 3-3;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an alternate method to apply semi-solid substances to the base;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of an second alternate method to apply semi-solid substances to the base;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the application method of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a third embodiment of the applicator of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a fourth embodiment of the applicator of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the applicator of FIG. 8 taken along the line 9-9;

FIG. 10 is an assembled view of a fifth embodiment of the applicator of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is an exploded view of one configuration of the applicator of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is an exploded view of another configuration of the applicator of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is an exploded view of another configuration of the applicator of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is an exploded view of another configuration of the applicator of FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of the applicator of FIG. 10 taken along the line 15-15; and

FIG. 16 is an exploded view of the applicator of the present invention adhered to another package.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The single use applicator 10 of the present invention is constructed by bonding a layer of retentive material 14 to one side of a base panel 12, suffusing the retentive material 14 with an amorphous substance 30, and sealing the retentive material 14 under a cover 16 so that the substance 30 remains in the retentive material 14 and free from contamination. Alternatively, the amorphous substance 30 is applied directly to one side of the base panel 12. The applicator 10 is intended for use with creams, gels, powders, and other amorphous substances.

The base panel 12 is a sheet composed of materials that are flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid. The area 26 to which the retentive material 14 is adhered is non-porous, not wettable by water, and is insoluble in water and the substance 30.

Typical flexible, impermeable sheets are synthetic resin films. These resin films include polyolefins and polyvinyl copolymers, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutylene, polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinylchloride-vinylidene chloride and the like. The chlorinated polyvinyl copolymers are highly resistant to degradation caused by exposure to either water- or alcohol-based fluids. The base panel 12 may also be composed of metal foils such as an aluminum alloy, a plastic, or a laminate of metal and plastic. A base panel 12 made from these materials is flexible, has strength characteristics sufficient to resist tearing and piercing under normal manufacturing and handling stresses, is nonwettable by water, and can be sterilized and colored. The preferred thickness of the base panel 12 is from about 0.5 mils to about 80 mils.

Optionally, the base panel 12 extends beyond the retentive material attachment area 26 to form a handle 28. Optionally, the handle 28 and/or the surface 20 of the base panel 12 opposite that of the retentive layer 14 may include textured surfaces, grips extending from the surface, and/or imprinted graphics, words, or logos.

The retentive layer 14 is composed of a porous material, such as gauze cotton, prepared cotton, other organic fibers such as wood fibers, rayon, open-meshed cloth of varying degrees of fineness, woven and non-woven synthetic fibers, and foamed polymers such as polyurethane. These materials maintain their integrity when moistened. The retentive layer 14 is sufficiently retentive to store and apply a useable amount of substance 30. The retentive layer 14 is able to contain the substance 30 without extensive or substantial product loss (i.e., dripping), but expels the substance 30 when the proper pressure is applied or used in its intended manner.

Typically, the thickness of the retentive layer 14 depends upon the material and surface area of the applicator 10. Different materials are used appropriately for the application of various substances 30. The retentive layer 14 holds enough substance 30 for at least one use/application. The actual amount that the retentive layer 14 holds depends upon the substance 30 and the amount necessary to perform its function adequately, and will typically be in 1 to 10 ml range. For example, when the substance 30 is a deodorant, the retentive layer 14 will be able to hold 1 to 10 ml of the deodorant.

The method for bonding the retentive material 14 to the base panel 12 depends upon the materials of which the base panel 12 and retentive layer 14 are made, and is accomplished by standard techniques well-known in the art of adhesives. The bond is resistant to degradation caused by exposure to the substance 30. To achieve a good bond, it is a common practice to first degrease or rinse the retentive layer surface 18 of the base panel 12 by an organic solvent such as acetone or methyl ethyl acetone. Degreasing prepares the surface 18 for bonding.

Because the preferred retentive materials are porous, capable of absorbing liquefied polymers, and allow the evaporation of vapor, most of the standard joining methods using adhesives with or without solvents can be used. A preferred method for joining the base panel 12 to the retentive layer 14 is to apply a thin coat of a molten polyolefin, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or polybutylene, onto the retentive layer surface 18 by extrusion, apply the retentive layer 14 contiguously to the retentive layer surface 18, and press them together before the coat solidifies. Alternatively, instead of applying a thin coat of polyolefin by extrusion, the standard rolling technique of direct gravure can be used to print the thin coat to selected areas of the retentive layer surface 18. Optionally, the retentive layer 14 is precoated with a polymer. The molten polyolefin absorbed into the retentive layer 14 will anchor to the base panel 12 and, when cooled, will bind the retentive layer 14 and the base panel 12 together.

Alternatively, the retentive layer 14 is joined to the base panel 12 by applying a solid powder polyolefin to the retentive layer surface 18 of the base panel 12, placing the retentive layer 14 on top of the powder, and subjecting the two to a high-pressure heat seal.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2, the substance 30 applied directly to the base panel 12. Texturing on the base panel 12 or other supplementary geometries may assist in the fixation of the substance 30 to the base panel 12. Optionally, the substance may be adhered in series of shapes including, but not limited to, rows, dots, letters and numbers, and symbols.

Semi-solid substances, such as wipe-on deodorants, can be applied to the base panel 12 using a tray 32, as shown in FIG. 4. The tray 32 is a low, plastic tray into which the substance 30 is deposited. Then the tray 32 is adhered to the base panel 12 by using any adequate method known in the art, including adhesives, epoxies, and ultrasonic welds, as well as the methods described above with reference to the retentive layer 14. Alternatively, the tray 32 is adhered to the base panel 12 and then the substance 30 is deposited in the tray 32.

Semi-solid substances can be also applied to the base panel 12 using a frame 34, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The frame 34 is a thin, plastic shape, such as the cross shown in FIG. 6, around which the substance 30 is deposited. The frame 34 becomes embedded in the bottom of the substance 30. Then the frame 34 is adhered to the base panel 12. Alternatively, the frame 34 is adhered to the base panel 12 and then the substance 30 is deposited around the frame 34.

After the retentive layer 14 is suffused with the substance 30, it is sealed into an enclosed space 22 between the base panel 12 and a removable cover 16. The space 22 is hermetic so that the retentive layer 14 remains moist and uncontaminated by external agents. The space 22 remains hermetic for an extended period of time that represents the shelf life of the applicator 10, which includes the period of time from the installation of the cover 16, through transportation and storage, to use, when the cover 16 is removed. The cover 16 can be large or small enough to cover the base panel 12 in its entirety or any portion thereof.

The cover 16 is a planar sheet that is preferably composed of a foil of metal such as an aluminum alloy, a plastic, or a laminate of metal and plastic. Alternatively, the cover 16 can be composed of paper or recycled materials, and/or can be coated. The cover 16 is robust enough to maintain integrity while being subjected to normal stresses throughout transportation, storage, and handling. The cover 16 is unaffected by water and the substance 30 during the shelf life of the applicator 10.

The adhesive used to adhere the cover 16 to the base panel 12 is strong enough to maintain the hermetic seal, but weak enough so that a small amount of tensional stress, such as that caused by manually peeling the cover 16 from the base panel 12, will cause the adhesive to fracture, allowing the cover 16 to be separated from the base panel 12. The adhesive is unaffected by water and the substance 30 during the shelf life of the applicator 10. Adhesive materials include urethanes and polyurethanes.

The embodiment 80 of FIG. 7 can be used with substances that would stick to the cover during removal. The substance 86 is positioned in a capsule 88 between the base panel 82 and a capsule cover 84. The peripheral seam 94 between the base panel 82 and capsule cover 84 has a weakened section 90 adjacent to an application region 92 of the base panel 82. Prior to application, the capsule 88 is pressed so that the substance 84 ruptures the weakened section 90 and squeezes onto an application region 92.

The embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9 can be used when there is more than one substance 62, 64. The substances 62, 64 are separated by positioning them in the space between the base panel 52 and a capsule cover 66. The capsule cover 66 is adhered to the base panel 52 around the edge and at a line between the substances 62, 64, as at 72, creating two capsules 68, 70 to house the substances 62, 64. Prior to application, the two capsules 68, 70 are pressed so that the two substances 62, 64 are squeezed through a weakened area 76 of the cover/base panel seam and onto the mixing area 60 under the cover 56. The substances 62, 64 are mixed together by massaging the mixing area with the fingers on the cover 56 and base panel 52. Alternatively, the substances 62, 64 are mixed after removing the cover 56 by using an optional wand 74 that is removably attached to the base panel 52. Alternatively, the substances 62, 64 are mixed using the cover 56 after it is removed. Optionally, the cover 56 and the capsule cover 66 are a single sheet.

The embodiment of FIGS. 10-15 does not have a separate cover. Rather, the cover 106 is an extension of the base panel 102. In the configuration of FIG. 11, the substance 30 is applied by use of a retentive layer 104 attached to the base panel 102 at a retentive layer attachment area 116, as described above with reference to FIG. 1. The retentive layer 104 can extend over both the base panel 102 and cover, as shown in FIG. 11, or over only one of them, as in FIGS. 12 and 13. In the configuration of FIG. 14, the substance 30 is applied directly to the base/cover, as described with reference to FIG. 2. The substance 30 can be applied to both the base panel 102 and cover 106, as shown in FIG. 14, or to only one of them, similar to FIGS. 12 and 13. After the substance 30 is applied, the cover 106 is folded over the base panel 102 at a fold line 108 and sealed to the base panel 102 as described above.

The present invention contemplates that the applicator 10 may be removably adhered to other packages, as shown in FIG. 16. Examples of such use are as a sample of the product inside the package or as a sample of a complementary product. The rear of the applicator 10 has an adhesive 42 that attaches the applicator 10 to a package 40, as at 44. The particular adhesive 42 used depends upon the material of the package 40 and should securely adhere the applicator 10 to the package 40, but allow for relatively easy removal. Typically, an acrylic adhesive has the desired combination of security and removability.

Optionally, the adhesive may be re-sealable to enable multiple uses of the applicator 10. Resealable adhesives materials include acrylics.

Optionally, the cover 16 is vacuum-sealed to alleviate the need for strong adhesives that would prevent easy removal of the cover.

Optionally, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 10, there is a finger tab 24, 110 extending from one edge of the cover 16, 106 that can be grasped between a thumb and finger for ease and convenience in removing the cover 16, 106 from the base panel 12, 102.

Optionally, the cover 16 may include textured surfaces and/or imprinted graphics, words, or logos. The printed graphics may include postage.

Optionally, the applicator 10 is encased in a foil or plastic pouch for increased protection, marketing/product design, and/or ease of transportation.

Optionally, the applicator 10 is tessellated for ease of manufacturing and distribution.

Thus it has been shown and described an applicator which satisfies the objects set forth above.

Since certain changes may be made in the present disclosure without departing from the scope of the present invention, it is intended that all matter described in the foregoing specification and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.