Title:
Dispensing system with catching arm for sheet material rolls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a roll of sheet material to be used in a dispenser having guides in opposing sides and at least one catching arm. The roll comprises a hollow core around which sheet material is wound, and a first and second end cap placed at each end of the core. The first end cap has a part of the end cap extending inside the core and a part that extends outwardly from an end surface. The outwardly extending part comprises a pin and at least a first annular part at least partly surrounding the pin. The invention further relates to a dispensing system for dispensing sheet material from a roll comprising an end cap at each end. The system comprises a dispenser and at least one roll of sheet material. The dispenser has opposing sides each having a guide that co-operate with the end caps.



Inventors:
Achton, Kim (Copenhagen, DK)
Application Number:
11/520856
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H19/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A roll of sheet material (2) to be used in a dispenser (3) having guides (4) in opposing sides (3a) and at least one catching arm (16), said roll (2) comprising a hollow core (5) around which sheet material (20) is wound, said core (5) having a first end (7) and a second end (9), a first end cap (6) placed at the first end (7) of the core (5) and having a part of the end cap (6) extending inside the core (5), said part having an end surface (10) at a distal end from the first end (7) of the core (5), and a part of the end cap (6) extending outwardly from the end surface (10), the outwardly extending part comprising a pin (11) having at least a first diameter, a first annular part (12) at least partly surrounding the pin (11) and having an inner and an outer diameter different from the diameter of the pin (11), and a second end cap (8) placed at the second end (9) of the core (5) with a part of the end cap (8) extending inside the core (5), said part having an end surface (10a) at the end furthest away from the second end (9) of the core (5), and a part of the end cap (8) extending outwardly from the end surface (10a).

2. A roll (2) according to claim 1, wherein the pin (11) extends further away from the end surface (10) of the first end cap (6) than the first annular part (12).

3. A roll (2) according to claim 1, wherein the outwardly extending part of the first end cap (6) further comprises one or more additional annular part(s) (13), at least partly surrounding the first annular part (12).

4. A roll (2) according to claim 1, wherein the second end cap (8) is of the same type as the first end cap (6).

5. A dispensing system (1) for dispensing sheet material (20) from a roll (2), said system (1) comprising a dispenser (3) having a first and a second opposing sides (3a) each having a guide (4), and at least one catching arm, at least one roll of sheet material (2), said roll (2) comprising a hollow core (5) having a first and a second end (7,9), a first end cap (6) placed at the first end (7) and a second end cap (8) placed at the second end (9), the first end cap (6) having a part of the end cap (6) extending inside the core (5), said part having an end surface (10) at a distal end from the first end (7) of the core (5), and a part of the end cap (6) extending outwardly from the end surface (10), the outwardly extending part comprising a first annular part (12) having an inner and an outer diameter, in which dispensing system (1) the guides (4) co-operate with the end caps (6,8), and the at least one catching arm (16) has a catching part (17) adapted to engage at least with the inner diameter of the first annular part (12) of the first end cap (6).

6. A dispensing system (1) according to claim 5, wherein the dispenser (3) is adapted to receive one roll of sheet material (2), and wherein the at least one catching arm (16) comprises a guide (4) co-operating with the first end cap (6) and a catching part (17) adapted to engage at least with the inner diameter of the first annular part (12) of the first end cap (6).

7. A dispensing system (1) according to claim 5, wherein the dispenser (3) is adapted to receive two or more rolls of sheet material (2), and wherein the catching arm (16) is moveable between a first position in which the first end cap (6) of an inserted roll (2) can pass the catching part (17) of the catching arm (16) and a second position in which the catching part (17) of the catching arm (16) engages with the first end cap (6) of an inserted roll (2).

8. A dispensing system (1) according to claim 7, wherein the first end cap comprises a pin at least partly surrounded by the by the first annular part, and where in the pin (11) of a first inserted roll (2) moves the catching arm (16) from the first position to the second position.

9. A dispensing system (1) according to claim 7, wherein the dispenser (3) further comprises a side track (18) placed in connection with and at an obtuse angle β to the guide (4).

10. A dispensing system (1) according to claim 9, wherein the catching part (17) of the catching arm (16) is adapted to guide a roll (2) comprising a first end cap (6) having an outwardly extending part only comprising a pin (11) in such a way that the pin (11) is moved to the side track (18) when the catching arm (16) is in the second position.

11. A dispensing system (1) according to claims 5, wherein the dispenser (3) comprises a second catching arm (16) having a catching part (17) adapted to receive the second end cap (8) of a roll (2), when the roll (2) is inserted in the dispenser (3).

12. A dispensing system (1) according to any of claims 5, wherein the guides (4) are generally vertically oriented.

13. A method of using a roll of sheet material (2) according to claim 1 in a dispensing system (1) for dispensing sheet material (20) from a roll (2).

14. A method of using a dispensing system (1) according to claim 5 for dispensing sheet material (20) from a roll (2).

Description:
The present invention relates to dispensing systems for sheet material on rolls and particularly to systems in which the rolls comprise a hollow core with an end cap in each end.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Dispensers for sheet material may e.g. be used for toilet paper or paper towels and will typically be placed at hospitals, hotels, public lavatories etc., but they may also be used in private homes. Such dispensers are often designed so that a proper functioning requires that the rolls of sheet material are inserted in the correct orientation. Dispensing systems are known in which the correct orientation is ensured by using rolls of sheet material with end caps at the ends, these end caps having different diameters corresponding to different widths of opposing guide tracks in the dispenser. Hereby it is impossible, or at least very difficult, to insert a roll with the wrong orientation. Dispensing systems are also known in which it is obtained that only rolls with a desired type of sheet material can be inserted. This is obtained by having corresponding designs of the end caps and the guide tracks of the dispensers. Such a system is e.g. known from EP 0 824 494.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a dispensing system in which it is easy to insert a roll of sheet material.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a dispensing system in which the roll of sheet material is held firmly in the axial direction without hindering the rotation when the roll is in a dispensing position, i.e. ready for use.

It is an object of possible embodiments of the present invention to provide a dispensing system in which a second roll of sheet material is held firmly in a position above and free of a first roll being in a dispensing position.

It is a further object of possible embodiments of the present invention to provide a dispensing system with which it is obtained that only rolls with a desired type of sheet material can be inserted.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect the present invention relates to a roll of sheet material to be used in a dispenser having guides in opposing sides and at least one catching arm, said roll comprising a hollow core around which sheet material is wound, said core having a first end and a second end, a first end cap placed at the first end of the core and having a part of the end cap extending inside the core, said part having an end surface at a distal end from the first end of the core, and a part of the end cap extending outwardly from the end surface, the outwardly extending part comprising a pin having at least a first diameter, a first annular part at least partly surrounding the pin and having an inner and an outer diameter different from the diameter of the pin, and a second end cap placed at the second end of the core with a part of the end cap extending inside the core, said part having an end surface at the end furthest away from the second end of the core, and a part of the end cap extending outwardly from the end surface. The term “outwardly” is used for the axial direction from the middle of the core and towards the end of the core. The pin may be made as a hollow part, if necessary closed with an end surface at the outwardly extending end, but it may also be solid.

In an embodiment of the invention, the pin may extend further away from the end surface of the first end cap than the first annular part.

The outwardly extending part of the first end cap may further comprise one or more additional annular part(s), at least partly surrounding the first annular part. When there is more than one annular part, they may extend to the same or to different distances from the end surface. The wall thicknesses of two or more annular parts may be the same or different.

In preferred embodiments of the invention, both the pin and the one or more annular part(s) have a constant cross section, but it is also possible within the scope of the invention to have varying cross section(s), such as conically shaped pin and/or annular part(s).

In the embodiments described above, the cross section of the pin and the annular part(s) is preferably circular. Hereby it is obtained that the roll can be inserted in the dispenser without taking the rotational orientation of the roll into account. However, other cross sectional shapes, such as e.g. rectangular, of the pin and/or annular part(s) are also possible within the scope of the invention. In such embodiments the roll may e.g. be held in a rotational further part when it is in the dispensing position.

The outwardly extending part of the second end cap may be different from the outwardly extending part of the first end cap. It may e.g. be a part with a cylindrical surface having another diameter than the pin of the first end cap. Hereby it is ensured that the two ends will match guides of different widths in opposing side walls of the dispenser, whereby the correct orientation of the roll is ensured.

The second end cap may be of the same type as the first end cap. In this case it should preferably still be ensured that the roll can only be inserted in the dispenser in the correct orientation. This may e.g. be obtained by having differences in the diameter of the pin(s) and/or the annular part(s) of the first and the second end caps.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a dispensing system for dispensing sheet material from a roll, said system comprising a dispenser having a first and a second opposing sides each having a guide, and at least one catching arm, at least one roll of sheet material, said roll comprising a hollow core having a first and a second end, a first end cap placed at the first end and a second end cap placed at the second end, the first end cap having a part of the end cap extending inside the core, said part having an end surface at a distal end from the first end of the core, and a part of the end cap extending outwardly from the end surface, the outwardly extending part comprising a first annular part having an inner and an outer diameter, in which dispensing system the guides co-operate with the end caps, and the at least one catching arm has a catching part adapted to engage at least with the inner diameter of the first annular part of the first end cap.

In an embodiment of the invention, the dispenser may be adapted to receive one roll of sheet material, and the at least one catching arm may comprise a guide co-operating with the first end cap and a catching part adapted to engage at least with the inner diameter of the first annular part of the first end cap.

In another embodiment of the invention, the dispenser may be adapted to receive two or more rolls of sheet material, and the catching arm may be moveable between a first position in which the first end cap of an inserted roll can pass the catching part of the catching arm and a second position in which the catching part of the catching arm engages with the first end cap of an inserted roll. When the dispenser is used for two or more rolls, the catching arm may be used to hold the second and succeeding rolls at a distance from the first roll that ensures an unhindered rotation of the first roll.

The first end cap may comprise a pin at least partly surrounded by the by the first annular part, and the pin of a first inserted roll may move the catching arm from the first position to the second position.

The dispensing system may further comprise a side track placed in connection with and at an obtuse angle to the guide. The angle between the guide and the side track may e.g. be between 100 and 170°, such as between 120 and 150°. The catching part of the catching arm may be adapted to guide a roll comprising a first end cap having an outwardly extending part only comprising a pin in such a way that the pin is moved to the side track when the catching arm 16 is in the second position.

In an embodiment of the invention, the second guide may comprise a catching arm having a catching part adapted to receive the second end cap of a roll, when the roll is inserted in the dispenser. The design and working principle of the second guide and its co-operation with the second end cap may correspond to any of the possibilities described for the first guide and first end cap.

The guides may be generally vertically oriented. However, any other orientation or combination of orientations will be possible within the scope of the invention. It may e.g. be possible that the guides start at the front surface of the dispenser and bend towards a generally vertical orientation.

Another aspect of the invention relates to the use of a roll of sheet material as described above in a dispensing system for dispensing sheet material from a roll.

Another aspect of the invention relates to the use of a dispensing system as described above for dispensing sheet material from a roll.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following, the invention and in particular preferred embodiments thereof will be described in details with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a dispensing system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a section through a roll of sheet material according to the present invention. The roll has an end cap at each end of a hollow core, and in the embodiment shown one of the end caps comprises a pin and an annular part surrounding the pin. Thick lines are in all the figures used to indicate sectioned surfaces of the end caps;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of an end cap comprising a pin and an annular part at least partly surrounding the pin;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of an end cap having an additional annular part surrounding the first annular part;

FIG. 5 shows a catching arm for use in d dispenser for one roll of sheet material. In this embodiment the catching arm comprises a guide;

FIG. 6 shows sectional views of steps in the insertion of a first roll in a dispenser for two or more rolls whereby a catching arm is moved from a first to a second position. The figure only shows one guide and a section through a corresponding end cap engaging therewith;

FIG. 7 shows the co-operation between a first end cap and a guide. FIG. 7.b is a section along line B-B in FIG. 7.a. The figure only shows one guide and a section through a corresponding end cap engaging therewith;

FIG. 8.a in a cut-out sectional view shows a second roll inserted in a dispenser whereby a catching part of a catching arm engages with the end cap. FIG. 8.b is a frontal view of a section of the dispenser shown in FIG. 8.a as seen from “inside” of the dispenser. FIG. 8.c is a section along line A-A in FIG. 8.b. The figure only shows one guide and a section through a corresponding end cap engaging therewith; and

FIG. 9 shows how insertion of a second roll having an outwardly extending part only comprising a pin results in the pin being guided to a side track placed in connection with and at an obtuse angle to a guide. As in FIGS. 6-8, the end cap has been sectioned for illustrative purposes.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a dispensing system 1 for dispensing sheet material 20 (see FIG. 2) provided on rolls 2. The dispenser 3 is shown as holding two rolls of sheet material 2, but any number is possible within the scope of the invention. In the dispenser 3 shown, the rolls 2 are inserted from the top side of the dispenser 3 and fall down to the dispensing position mainly by gravity. A roll 2 typically comprises a hollow core 5 (see FIG. 2) which is split so that it is easy to remove empty cores from the dispenser 3. The sides 3a of the dispenser have guides 4 for guiding the rolls 2.

FIG. 2 shows a section through a roll 2 of sheet material 20, the roll 2 having a hollow core 5, a first end cap 6 at the first end 7 of the core 5, and a second end cap 8 at the second end 9 of the core 5. Each end cap 6,8 has a part that extends inside the core 5, and these parts each have an end surface 10, 10a at the distal end from the end 7,9 of the core 5. The end caps 6,8 furthermore have a part of the end cap 6,8 extending outwardly from the end surface 10, 10a. In the embodiment shown, the outwardly extending part of the first end cap 6 comprises a pin 11 and a first annular part 12 which at least partly surrounds the pin 11. The outwardly extending parts are shown to extend outside the core 5, but it is also possible within the scope of the invention that the outwardly extending parts of the end caps 6,8 are fully surrounded by the core 5. A perspective view of a first end cap 6 is shown in FIG. 3. The pin 11 is shown as being annular, but it may also be a solid cylinder or a hollow part closed by an end surface at the outwardly extending end.

The widths of the guides 4 correspond to the diameter of the outwardly extending parts of the end caps 6,8 being inserted therein. The widths and diameters are typically not the same for the two sides 3a, whereby it can be ensured that the rolls 2 are inserted in the correct orientation in a dispenser 3.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of an end cap 6 having an additional annular part 13 surrounding the first annular part 12. This embodiment of the end caps may be used in dispensers having guides and/or catching arms (see FIG. 6) with catching parts of different forms than the ones illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a possible design of a catching arm 16 for use in a dispenser 3 for one roll of sheet material 2. The roll 2 may be inserted in the dispenser 3 by manually forcing the catching arm 16 sideways. FIG. 5.b to 5.d show sectional views of steps in the insertion of a roll 2 in the dispenser 3. The roll 2 is typically pressed against a leaf spring (not shown) in the other guide which results in the pin 11 being pressed into the lower part 4e of the guide 4 when the end cap reaches the position in FIG. 5.d. Hereby the catching part 17 of the catching arm 16 engages with the inner diameter of the annular part 12, and the roll is held in that dispensing position ready for use.

FIG. 6 illustrates the insertion of a first roll in a dispenser for two or more rolls. The figure only shows a part of the side 3a of the dispenser 3 and the first end cap 6 of the roll; the end cap 6 is shown sectioned. A catching arm 16 having or cooperating with a catching part 17 is placed in the guide 4. A purpose of the catching part 17 is to hold a second roll in a position above a first roll that ensures unhindered rotation of the first roll. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, the catching arm 16 and the catching part 17 thereof is shown as two individual parts that are interconnected to move as a unit. The interconnection is not shown but it may e.g. include that the catching arm 16 extends upwards on both sides of the catching part 17 in such a way that the catching arm 16 pushes the catching part 17 along its linear path. Other possible interconnections will be obvious for a person skilled in the art. The catching arm 16 and the catching part 17 may alternatively constitute one physical unit so that the catching part moves along a curved path. The guide 4 is shown as comprising a side track 18 which will be described in more detail with reference to FIG. 9. FIG. 6.a shows how the outwardly extending part of the end cap 6 has been received in the guide 4, which may be wider at the top to ease the insertion, and has passed the catching part 17. As the end cap 6 is moved along the guide 4, the pin 11 of the end cap 6 engages with the catching arm 16, as shown in FIG. 6.b. Hereby the catching arm 16 and the catching part are moved from a first position, as shown in FIG. 6.a, to a second position, as shown in FIG. 6.c. In the first position, the annular part 12 of the end cap 6 can pass the catching part 17 of the catching arm 16.

The catching arm 16 will typically move from the first to the second position in a pivotal way. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the catching arm 16 is pivotally connected to the dispenser side 3a in a joint 21. When no roll 2 is present in the dispensing position, the catching arm returns to the first position e.g. by means of a spring (not shown). The movement of the catching arm may alternatively be provided by an elastic deformation of e.g. a section of the catching arm 16 to ensure that the rolls 2 are held firmly in the axial direction at least when they are in the dispensing position, i.e. ready for use. In the later case, the catching arm 16 is preferably made from a material which ensures that it can withstand a large number of elastic deformations without damage or plastic deformation. It may e.g. be made from a thermoplastic material, such as PE or from metal, such as steel or aluminum.

FIG. 7 shows the co-operation between the first end cap 6 and the guide 4. FIG. 7.a. shows an embodiment comprising a side track 18 placed at an angle β to the guide. The purpose of such a side track will be described in relation to FIG. 9. FIG. 7.b is a section along line B-B in FIG. 7.a. Some surfaces 4a, 4b of the guide 4 guide the pin 11 and other surfaces 4c, 4d guide the annular part 12.

FIG. 8 illustrates the end cap 6b of a second roll (not shown) inserted in a dispenser 3 of which only a part is shown. By “second roll” is meant that the first roll is still present in the dispensing position. When the first roll (of which only the end cap 6 is shown) is empty 30, (i.e. all the paper rolled thereon has been used) and has been removed from the dispenser 3, the catching arm 16 moves back to the first position (see FIG. 6.a). This causes the catching part 17 to move in a direction substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal direction of the guide 4 causing release of the end cap 6b of the “second roll”. Hereby the “second roll” falls down to the dispensing position and thereby becomes a “first roll” which moves the catching arm 16 to the second position (see FIG. 6.c). When the roll 2 is inserted in the dispenser, the contact between the end surfaces of the pin 11 and the catching part 17 forces the roll 2 to move axially towards the other side than the one shown in the figure. The roll 2 is typically pressed against a leaf spring (not shown) placed in the second guide. When the end cap reaches the position shown in FIG. 8.a, the spring forces the roll 2 axially in the opposite direction so that the pin 11 enters a recess 22 in the catching part 17. As can be appreciated from FIG. 8c, the catching part 17 of the catching arm 16 comprises one or more projection(s) 19 that in this position engage(s) with the inner diameter of the annular part 12 of the first end cap 6 of the second roll as long as the catching arm 16 is in its second position. Hereby the second roll is held above the first roll in a way that results in an unhindered rotation of the first roll during use. The end cap 6 of the first roll is omitted din FIG. 8.b.

When an end cap 6 as shown in FIG. 4 is used, the catching part may comprise one or more additional projections that are to engage with the inner diameter of the additional annular parts. This projection may be instead of or in addition to a projection engaging with the inner diameter of the first annular part 12.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of the invention comprising a side track 18 placed in connection with and at an obtuse angle β to the guide 4. The angle β is indicated in FIG. 7.a, but it may differ from the one illustrated. The width of the side track 18 may be the same as the width of the part of the guide 4 guiding the pin 11. The function of the side track 18 is illustrated in FIG. 9. It aims to ensure that only rolls of sheet material 2 intended for use in the dispenser 3 can be correctly inserted. In FIG. 9 the catching arm 16 is engaged by a first roll (not shown), and a second roll having a first end cap 6b in which the outwardly extending part only comprises a pin 11. It will be appreciated that pin 11 of such a roll will not be held by the catching part 17 of the catching arm 16 but will be guided into the side track 18. This is ensured by letting the lower portion 17a of the catching part 17 form part of the side track 18. From the side track the roll cannot fall down to the dispensing position. Such rolls can still be inserted as a first roll in the dispenser 3 but they cannot fulfill the purpose of dispensing systems 1 for two or more rolls. If a roll is inserted that has an end cap with outwardly extending parts that do in other ways not engage with the catching part 17, they may rest on top of the catching part, whereby the cover (not shown) of the dispenser cannot be closed. A dispensing system 1 for only one roll of sheet material 2 will typically not comprise a side track.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and not restrictive; the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. It is e.g. possible to have a dispensing system only holding one roll of sheet material at a time. In the claims, the word “comprising” does not exclude other elements, and the indefinite article “a” or “an” does not exclude a plurality.