Title:
Snap down lock of and release valve control mechanism for a vacuum food container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism for a vacuum food container. The vacuum food container includes a cover and a base in tight connection with the cover to form a box for storing food. A snap down lock is provided between the cover and the base. The snap down lock depresses a plug and a spring inside a U-shaped recess on the base using a corner of its square block, blocking its vent. At the same time, the snap down lock depresses a retractable spring switch provided on the base, starting a motor vacuum pump to draw out the air inside the box. Once the square block corner of the snap down lock departs from its depressing position and releases its depression on the plug and the spring, the restoring force of the spring pushes the plug out of the sealing position on the vent. The box is then in connection with the atmosphere via the vent.



Inventors:
Wang, Tie Chun (SanChung City, TW)
Application Number:
11/797678
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/07/2007
Assignee:
Michilin Prosperity Co., Ltd. (SanChung City, TW)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D55/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELOSHWAY, NIKI MARINA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BACON & THOMAS, PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vacuum food container with a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism, the vacuum food container comprising: a cover; a base, in tight connection with the cover to form a box and disposed with a motor vacuum pump, a vacuum detector, connection pipes, and an electronic control circuit; a snap down lock, disposed between the cover and the base; wherein the snap down lock consists of an upper snapping component and a lower snapping component connected by a pin with the lower snapping component having a block; a recess is formed on the base at a position opposite to the block; the recess is formed with a vent and disposed with a plug and a spring; the block depresses the spring to block the vent using its protruding part when the snap down lock is closed.

2. The vacuum food container with a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism of claim 1, wherein when the block is moved by an external force to depart from its original position of depressing the plug and the spring, the restoring force of the spring pushes the plug out of the vent for the box to exchange air with the atmosphere via the vent.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The invention relates to an automatic vacuum food container and, in particular, to a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism for it.

2. Related Art

The vacuum food container uses a manual or motor pump to such out the air in a container, so that the food contained therein is free from oxidation for longer storage.

The automatic vacuum food containers disclosed in R.O.C. Pat. Nos. M274329 and M282945 are both boxes composed of an openable cover and a base in tight connection with the cover. A snap down lock is provided between the cover and the base. A release valve is provided on top of the cover. The base is installed with a motor pump, a vacuum detector, connection pipes, and an electronic control circuit. The cover usually has a recess with a fixing post, a vent, and a fixing base with a button. The button has a spring and a plastic plug. The plastic plug normally blocks the vent to prevent air exchange between the inside of the box and the atmosphere. To open the cover, one needs to depress the button so that the plastic plug departs from the vent and release the pressure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An objective of the invention is to provide a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism for a vacuum food container. As one opens the snap down lock, the release valve departs from its sealing position for air exchange with the atmosphere. This makes it easier to open the cover.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism for a vacuum food container so that when one closes the snap down lock, the vacuum pump is turned on to draw out the air inside.

To achieve the above objectives, the disclosed vacuum food container includes a cover and a base in tight connection with the cover to form a box for food storage. A snap down lock is provided between the cover and the base. The snap down lock depresses a plug and a spring inside a U-shaped recess on the base using a corner of its square block, blocking its vent. At the same time, the snap down lock depresses a retractable spring switch provided on the base, starting a motor vacuum pump to draw out the air inside the box. Once the square block corner of the snap down lock departs from its depressing position and releases its depression on the plug and the spring, the restoring force of the spring pushes the plug out of the sealing position on the vent. The box is then in connection with the atmosphere via the vent.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below illustration only, and thus is not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:

FIG. 1A is a cross-sectional view of the invention when the snap down lock is closed;

FIG. 1B is a locally exploded view of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of the invention when the snap down lock is opened; and

FIG. 2B is a locally exploded view of FIG. 2A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the same references relate to the same elements.

The features of the invention can be clearly understood with reference to the drawings and the detailed description of embodiments.

Please refer to FIG. 1A for a cross-sectional view of the invention when the snap down lock is closed and FIG. 1B for a locally exploded view.

As shown in the drawings, the disclosed vacuum food container includes a cover 1 and a base 2 in tight connection with the cover 1 to form a box 3 for food storage. A snap down lock 4 is provided between the cover 1 and the base 2. The base 2 is disposed with a motor vacuum pump, a vacuum detector, connection pipes, and an electronic control circuit (not shown). The snap down lock 4 is made of two snapping components in connection. Its upper snapping component 41 uses its claw 411 to hold a groove 11 on the cover 1. The lower snapping component 42 is connected to the upper snapping component 41 with a pin. Whether the upper snapping component 41 is lifted or pushed down determines whether the claw 411 of the upper snapping component 41 holds the groove 11 of the cover 1.

As shown in FIG. 1B, the lower snapping component 42 has a square block 421. A U-shaped recess is formed on the base 2 at a position opposite to the square block 421. The bottom of the U-shaped recess 21 has a vent 22. A plug 5 and a spring 6 are disposed inside the U-shaped recess 21. When the snap down lock 4 is closed, the square block 421 depresses the plug 5 and the spring 6 to block the vent 22 using its corner 422. The box 3 is isolated from the atmosphere in this case.

A retractable spring switch 7 is disposed on the base 2 opposite to a lifter 423 of the lower snapping component 42. The spring switch 7 is used to start the motor pump (not shown). When the snap down lock 4 is closed, the lifter 423 of the lower snapping component 42 depresses the spring switch 7 and starts the motor vacuum pump to draw the air inside the box 3 out to the vacuum detector (not shown). When the box 3 is detected to achieve vacuum, the motor vacuum pump is automatically shut down. This part of the invention is well known in the prior art and is not further described.

Please refer to FIG. 2A for a cross-sectional view of the invention when the snap down lock is opened and FIG. 2B for a locally exploded view.

When the lifter 423 of the lower snapping component 42 is opened outward, the square block 421 rotates counterclockwise. The corner 422 that originally depresses the plug 5 and the spring 6 moves downward, so that the planar part 424 faces the plug 5. The depression on the plug 5 and the spring 6 is thus removed. The restoring force of the spring 6 pushes the plug 5 out of its sealing position of the vent 22. The box 3 is thus in connection with the atmosphere via the vent 22. In this case, the cover 1 can be readily opened. The lifter 423 of the lower snapping component 42 also departs from the position of depressing the spring switch 7.

In summary, the invention provides a snap down lock and a release valve control mechanism for a vacuum food container. When one opens the snap down lock, the release valve departs from its sealing position for the pressures inside the box and of the atmosphere to reach a balance. In this case, the cover can be readily opened. When one closes the snap down lock, the motor vacuum pump is turned on to draw out the air inside.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments, will be apparent to persons skilled in the art. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover all modifications that fall within the true scope of the invention.