Title:
Dispensing closure, package and method of manufacture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A closure includes a shell of relatively rigid plastic material having a deck and a peripheral skirt, at least one recessed shoulder in the deck adjacent to the skirt, and a plurality of angularly spaced external channels extending along the skirt from the recess. An external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material different from the first plastic material is integrally molded onto the shell within the recessed shoulder and the channels. By way of example only, the shell may be of polypropylene material and the external feature may be of thermoplastic elastomer material. Lock elements, such as openings in the deck recessed shoulder and/or pegs in the skirt channels, cooperate with the external feature molded onto the shell to retain the external feature on the shell.



Inventors:
Pugne, Darin M. (Holland, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/453688
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/15/2006
Assignee:
Owens-Illinois Closure Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/232, 220/254.3, 220/258.1, 222/556
International Classes:
B65D39/00; B65D41/00; B65D51/18; B65D51/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
O-I Glass, Inc. (Perrysburg, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A plastic closure that includes: a shell of relatively rigid first plastic material having at least one external surface portion with at least one lock element, and an external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material, different from said first plastic material, integrally molded onto said at least one external surface portion including said lock element to retain said external juncture on said shell.

2. The closure set forth in claim 1 wherein said shell includes a peripheral skirt, and wherein said external feature includes at least one rib that extends axially along said skirt.

3. The closure set forth in claim 2 wherein said at least one rib extends radially outwardly from an outer surface of said skirt.

4. The closure set forth in claim 1 wherein said at least one lock element includes a peg externally extending from said shell, said external feature being molded around said peg.

5. The closure set forth in claim 4 wherein said peg has a body extending from a surface of said shell and an enlarged head spaced from said surface.

6. The closure set forth in claim 1 wherein said lock element includes an opening in said shell, said external feature extending into said opening.

7. A plastic closure that includes: a shell molded of a first plastic material having a deck and a peripheral skirt with at least one external channel, and an external feature of a second plastic material different from said first plastic material and including a rib molded into said channel and extending radially outwardly from an outer surface of said skirt.

8. The closure set forth in claim 7 wherein said external skirt has a plurality of angularly spaced external axially extending channels, and said external feature includes a plurality of axially extending ribs molded into said channels and extending radially outwardly from said skirt.

9. The closure set forth in claim 8 in which said shell has a peg disposed within each of said channels, and wherein said ribs are molded over said pegs to retain said ribs in said channels.

10. The closure set forth in claim 9 wherein each of said pegs has a body extending from a surface of said skirt and an enlarged head spaced from said surface.

11. The closure set forth in claim 7 wherein said external feature is molded onto said deck.

12. The closure set forth in claim 11 wherein said deck has at least one opening and said external feature is molded into said at least one opening to retain said external feature on said deck.

13. The closure set forth in claim 6 wherein said shell is of relatively rigid plastic material and said external feature is of flexible resilient plastic material.

14. A plastic closure that includes: a shell of relatively rigid plastic material having a deck and a peripheral skirt, at least one recessed shoulders in said deck adjacent to said skirt, and a plurality of angularly spaced external channels extending along said skirt from said recessed shoulder, and an external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material, different from said first plastic material, integrally molded onto said shell within said recessed shoulder and said channels, said external feature in said channels comprising ribs that extend radially outwardly from an outer surface of said skirt.

15. The closure set forth in claim 14 wherein said shell has a peg disposed within each of said channels, and wherein said external feature is molded over said peg to retain said external feature in said channels.

16. The closure set forth in claim 15 wherein each of said pegs has a body extending from a surface of said shell and an enlarged head spaced from said surface.

17. The closure set forth in claim 14 wherein said deck has at least one opening in said recessed shoulder and said external feature is molded into said at least one opening to retain said external feature on said shoulder.

18. The closure set forth in claim 14 wherein said shell is of polypropylene construction and said external feature is of thermoplastic elastomer construction.

19. A molded plastic container having a neck finish with at least one external thread segment and at least one radially outwardly extending enlargement on said thread segment.

20. The container set forth in claim 19 having a body with a bottom wall and a push-up in said bottom wall.

21. A package that includes: a container having a body with a neck finish, at least one external thread segment on said neck finish, a bottom wall spaced from said neck finish and a push-up in said bottom wall, and a closure that includes a shell of relatively rigid first plastic material having a peripheral skirt, at least one internal thread segment for engagement with said at least one external thread segment, a plurality of angularly spaced external channels extending along said skirt, and a plurality of ribs of flexible resilient second plastic material different from said first material molded into said channels so as to extend radially outwardly from an outer surface of said skirt, said ribs being dimensioned to be received by interference press fit within said push-up to facilitate stacking of said packages.

22. The package set forth in claim 21 wherein said at least one external thread segment has at least one radially extending enlargement for engagement with said closure to retard removal of said closure from said neck finish.

23. The package set forth in claim 21 wherein said closure has at least one lock element in each of said channels, said ribs being molded onto said lock elements to secure said rib within said channels.

24. The package set forth in claim 23 wherein each said lock element includes a peg externally extending from said she within said channel, said rib being molded around said peg.

25. The package set forth in claim 24 wherein said peg has a body extending from a surface of said shell and an enlarged head spaced from said surface.

26. The package set forth in claim 21 wherein said shell includes a deck within at least one recessed shoulder, said channels extending along said skirt from said recessed shoulder, and a plate of said second plastic material molded onto said shoulder, said ribs extending from said plate.

27. The package set forth in claim 21 wherein each said rib has an external surface, at least a portion of which is angled with respect to an axis of said closure.

28. A method of making a plastic closure that includes the steps of: (a) molding a shell of relatively rigid first plastic material having at least one external surface portion with at least one lock element, and (b) molding onto said at least one external surface portion of said shell over said lock element an external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material different from said first plastic material.

29. A method of making a plastic closure that includes the steps of: (a) molding a shell of relatively rigid plastic material having a deck and a peripheral skirt, at least one recessed shoulder in said deck adjacent to said skirt and a plurality of angularly spaced external channels extending along said skirt from said recessed shoulder, and (b) molding an external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material different from said first plastic material onto said shell within said recessed shoulder and said channels.

Description:
The present disclosure is directed to dispensing closures for fluid products such as beverages, food condiments and body lotions, to dispensing packages that include such closures, and to methods of making such closures.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Fluid dispensing closures typically include a one-piece integrally molded shell having a base and a lid connected by a hinge to the base to pivot between a closed position adjacent to the base and an open position spaced from the base. The base includes a dispensing opening through which product may be dispensed in the open position of the lid and through which dispensing is blocked in the closed position of the lid. U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,766,926 and 6,880,736 illustrate dispensing closures of this general type. It is a general object of the present disclosure to provide a dispensing closure, a dispensing closure and container package and a method of making a dispensing closure, in which external features are molded onto the closure shell, preferably of a plastic material different from the material of the closure shell, for press-fit receipt within a push-up on a container base to facilitate stacking of closure and container packages, or for other purposes such as provision of decoration on the closure shell.

The present disclosure embodies a number of aspects that can be implemented separately from or in combination with each other.

A dispensing closure in accordance with one aspect of the present disclosure includes a shell of relatively rigid first plastic material having at least one external surface portion, and an external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material different from the first plastic material integrally molded onto the at least one external surface portion of the shell. The shell preferably has at least one lock element molded into the shell and the external feature is molded onto the lock element to help retain the external feature on the shell.

A closure in accordance with another aspect of the present disclosure includes a shell of relatively rigid plastic material having a deck and a peripheral skirt, at least one recessed shoulder in the deck adjacent to the skirt, and a plurality of angularly spaced external channels extending along the skirt from the recess. An external feature of flexible resilient second plastic material different from the first plastic material is integrally molded onto the shell on the recessed shoulder and within the channels. By way of example only, the shell may be of polypropylene material and the external feature may be of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) material. Lock elements, such as openings in the deck recessed shoulder and/or pegs in the skirt channels, cooperate with the external feature molded onto the shell to retain the external feature on the shell.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The disclosure, together with additional objects, features, advantages and aspects thereof, will best be understood from the following description, the appended claims and the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary sectional view of a package in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a partially sectioned perspective view of the closure in the package of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the closure in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the closure in FIGS. 2-3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the closure of FIGS. 2-4 with the lid open;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the closure in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partially sectioned elevational view taken substantially along the line 7-7 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view taken substantially along the line 8-8 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is an enlargement of the portion of FIG. 4 within the area 9;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 5 showing the closure shell as molded;

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of the container in the package of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the container of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an enlargement of the portion of FIG. 12 within the area 13;

FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view of the container in FIG. 11;

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view that illustrates the closure of the package in FIG. 1 nested within the push-up of an overlying container;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a second exemplary embodiment of the closure; and

FIG. 17 is a top plan view of the closure in FIG. 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates a package 20 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure as including a dispensing closure 22 applied to the neck finish 24 of a container 26. Container 26 can be of glass or, more preferably, plastic construction. Dispensing closure 22 is illustrated in greater detail in FIGS. 2-10, and includes a shell 28 and an external feature 30 integrally molded onto the shell. Shell 28 preferably is of one-piece relatively rigid plastic material (i.e., rigid relative to external feature 30) such as polypropylene. External feature 30 preferably is of a flexible resilient plastic material that is different from the plastic material of shell 28, such as TPE. Closure 22 preferably is made in a two-material injection molding operation in which closure shell 28 is first molded and external feature 30 is then molded onto shell 28.

Closure shell 28 in the illustrated exemplary embodiment of the disclosure includes a base 32 to which a lid 34 is coupled by a hinge 36. Hinge 36 may comprise one or more hinge elements. The specific hinge 36 illustrated in the drawings is a snap hinge of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,041,477, although other hinge constructions can be employed. Base 32 in the exemplary embodiment of the disclosure includes a deck 38 from which an inner wall 40 depends. Inner wall 40 has suitable internal beads or, more preferably, thread segments 42 for securement to external beads or thread segments 44 (FIGS. 1 and 11-13) on container neck finish 24 to secure the closure to the container. An outer peripheral skirt 46 extends from deck 38 and may be contoured (e.g., circular, oval, etc.) in coordination with the contour of container 26 to which closure 22 is to be secured. A recess 48 may be provided in deck 38 extending from hinge 36 to a position on base 32 opposite from the hinge. A thumb recess 50 in skirt 46 opens onto the end of deck recess 48 opposite from hinge 36. Lid 34 has an internal rib 52 that cooperates with a rib or channel 54 in recess 50 for locking lid 34 in the closed position. A dispensing opening 56 is provided in deck recess 48. Dispensing opening 56 preferably is coaxial with inner skirt 40, although this need not necessarily be the case. In the exemplary embodiment of the disclosure, a dispensing valve 58 is mounted within dispensing opening 56. Provision of dispensing valve 58 is preferred but not necessary. Dispensing valve 58, when provided, maybe mounted in accordance with the disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,487, U.S. application Ser. No. 10/874,036 and/or U.S. application Ser. No. 11/076,376. To the extent thus far described, exemplary closure 22 is similar to that disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/190,443, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Deck 38 has a pair of recessed shoulders 60,62 on laterally opposed sides of deck recess 48. These shoulders 60, 62 preferably are disposed beneath the level of deck 38 and preferably are substantially coplanar. At least one external channel 64 extends axially along the external surface of skirt 46 from each recessed shoulder 60, 62. In the exemplary embodiment, there are two angularly spaced channels 64 extending from each recessed shoulder 62. Channels 64 thus are angularly spaced from each other around peripheral skirt 46. Such angular spacing maybe may be equal spacing, or may be unequal spacing in view of the wedge-shape of lid 34 and deck recess 48. Channels 64 preferably extend throughout the entire length of skirt 46. (?) Each shoulder 60, 62 preferably has at least one through-opening 66, and most preferably at least two through-openings 66. Each channel 64 has a peg 68 that preferably is disposed adjacent to the free edge of skirt 46 at a position spaced from associated recessed shoulder 60 or 62. Each peg 68 includes a leg 70 (FIG. 9) that extends outwardly from the external surface of associated channel 64, and a generally conical head 72 spaced from the external surface of channel 64.

External feature 30 comprises opposed plate portions 74,76 molded onto recessed shoulders 60, 62 respectively. Each plate portion 74, 76 has legs 78 that extends into corresponding shoulder openings 66 to help retain portions 74, 76 on recessed shoulders 60, 62. Openings 66 may be conical, enlarging away from shoulders 60, 62 to enhance this retention function. External feature 30 further includes ribs 80 that are molded into and extend along channels 64 from plate portions 74, 76. Ribs 80 thus are angularly spaced from each other around the circumference of closure skirt 46. Ribs 80 have rounded outer surfaces (see FIG. 9) that extend radially outwardly from the outer surface of skirt 46. Ribs 80 preferably follow the contour of skirt 46, which in the exemplary embodiment is conical adjacent to deck 38 and cylindrical spaced from deck 38. The upper portions of ribs 80 preferably have outer surfaces on a common cone of revolution around the axis of the closure, and the lower portions of ribs 80 preferably have outer surfaces on a common cylinder of revolution.

Container 26 (FIGS. 11-14) includes a body 82 that extends from neck finish 24 to a bottom wall or base 84. Base 84 is formed with a push-up 86 that extends into the internal cavity of container body 82, as best seen in FIGS. 11 and 14. Push-up 86 preferably is formed to receive closure 22 by interference press-fit, as best seen in FIG. 15. That is, the outer periphery of external feature 30, including deck portions 74, 76 and ribs 80, preferably is such that the external feature is resiliently compressed as the closure is forced into push-up 86. This feature helps retain packages 20 in stacked orientation. Thread segments 44 on container neck finish 24 preferably are provided with radially outwardly extending bumps or protrusions 88 that engage the inner surface of closure inner wall 40 and retard (but do not prevent) removal of closure 22 so that insertion of closure 22 into push-up 86, or removal of the closure from a push-up, will not inadvertently loosen the closure on the container neck finish. Push-up 86 preferably tapers inwardly from base 84, as best seen in FIG. 15, to receive closure 22 by resilient interference press fit.

FIGS. 16 and 17 are similar to FIGS. 5 and 6 but illustrate a second exemplary embodiment of the closure. The closure 90 in FIGS. 16 and 17 has an external feature 92 with plate portions 74, 76 and ribs 94 that extend only part-way down skirt 46. That is, ribs 94 extend along the conical upper portion of skirt 46 but not along the cylindrical lower portion of the skirt. The lower edges of ribs 94 are tangential with the cylindrical lower portion of skirt 40, as best seen in FIG. 17. Closure 90 has the advantages that it can more readily be used with conventional capping equipment and uses less material for the external feature. Pegs 68 (not shown) preferably are used in channels on the skirt, as in the prior embodiment, to help hold the ribs in place.

There thus have been disclosed a dispensing closure, a closure and container package, and a method of making a dispensing closure, which fully satisfy all of the objects and aims previously set forth. The disclosure has been presented in conjunction with an exemplary presently preferred embodiment, and a number of modifications and variations have been discussed. Other modifications and variations readily will suggest themselves to persons of ordinary skill in the art in view of the foregoing disclosure. For example, the external feature molded onto the closure shell preferably facilitates stacking of packages in the exemplary embodiment of the disclosure as described. However, the external feature molded onto the closure shell could be provided for other purposes as well, such as for ornamental purposes. Furthermore, in applications where the closure is intended to be removed frequently from the container neck finish, the external feature molded onto the closure shell can facilitate gripping of the closure. The disclosure is intended to embrace all such modifications and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.