Title:
Fluid Product Dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dispenser for dispensing fluid, such as a perfume, the dispenser comprising: a fluid receptacle (1); an actuatable dispenser member (O) that is suitable for taking and for dispensing doses of fluid; and a supply tube (24) connecting the receptacle to the dispenser member; the dispenser being characterized in that: the dispenser member includes a deformable, flexible envelope (6), the dispenser member being actuatable by deforming the envelope; and, in use, the dispenser member is movable relative to the receptacle.



Inventors:
Cornet, Gerard (Blaru, FR)
Bousquel, Patrick (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
12/088723
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
09/28/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/207
International Classes:
B65D37/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20170073127NozzleMarch, 2017Sun
20050279768Method and apparatus for dispensing a filtered liquidDecember, 2005Chatrath
20100224652DEVICE FOR OPENING AND SHUTTING NOZZLE OF COSMETIC CASESeptember, 2010Lim
20060273092Container and Lid AssemblyDecember, 2006Nottingham et al.
20150362127SINGLE PHASE COLD HELIUM TRANSFER LINE FOR CRYOGENIC HEAT TRANSFER APPLICATIONSDecember, 2015Duckworth et al.
20090166380Container for fluid productJuly, 2009Leblais
20150016208MULTI-CHAMBER CONTAINER FOR STORING AND MIXING LIQUIDSJanuary, 2015Larson et al.
20100237104Cove Base Nozzle for Dispensing ApplicationsSeptember, 2010Schneider et al.
20090057386Sealed Container Outlet With Detachable MemberMarch, 2009Redmond
20030111492Packaging system for separately storing and dispensing together separate medication componentsJune, 2003Gupta et al.
20120048883Assembly for Removing a Medium from a Pressurized ContainerMarch, 2012Heckenberger et al.



Primary Examiner:
SHAVER, KEVIN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUGHRUE MION, PLLC (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A dispenser for dispensing fluid, such as a perfume, the dispenser comprising: a fluid receptacle (1); an actuatable dispenser member (O; O′; O″) that is suitable for taking and for dispensing doses of fluid; and a supply tube (24) connecting the receptacle to the dispenser member; the dispenser being characterized in that: the dispenser member includes a deformable, flexible envelope (6; 6′; 6″), the dispenser member being actuatable by deforming the envelope; and in use, the dispenser member is movable relative to the receptacle.

2. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the supply tube (24) is flexible.

3. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the dispenser member (O′; O″) is connected to the reservoir via the tube (24) only.

4. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the envelope (6′; 6″) is provided with a dispenser orifice (71).

5. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the dispenser member (O) is further provided with an expulsion tube (25) that is advantageously flexible, and that is connected to a dispenser orifice (71) that is secured to the receptacle.

6. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the flexible envelope forms a squeezable bulb.

7. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the flexible envelope (6″) includes an inlet valve (61), an outlet valve (62), and a dispenser orifice (71).

8. A fluid dispenser according to claim 1, in which the dispenser member (O; O′) includes a pump (2) housed inside the envelope (6; 6′).

9. A fluid dispenser according to claim 8, in which the pump (2) comprises a body (20) that defines the inlet (21), and a movable actuator rod (23) that defines the outlet, said actuator rod (23) projecting out from the body (20), the rod being connected to force transmission means (5) that are suitable for transforming the manual compression force exerted on the flexible envelope (6; 6′) into a movement of said rod in said body (20).

10. A fluid dispenser according to claim 9, in which the manual compression force is exerted in a direction that is different from the travel direction of the rod, the directions advantageously being substantially perpendicular to each other.

11. A fluid dispenser according to claim 9, in which the transmission means (5) comprise a toggle system comprising: a mounting frame (4) on which the body (20) of the pump is mounted in stationary manner; a bracket (3) that is secured to the rod (23), the bracket being movable relative to the frame; at least one toggle (50, 51), and advantageously two, bearing firstly against the frame, and secondly against the bracket, with deformation of the envelope causing the toggle to be actuated, thereby causing the bracket to be moved relative to the frame, and thus driving the rod into the body.

12. A fluid dispenser according to claim 11, in which the toggle system comprises two toggles, each toggle comprising at least two levers (50, 51) that are movable in pivoting relative to each other about a hinge point (52).

Description:

The present invention relates to a dispenser for dispensing fluid, such as a perfume, the dispenser comprising: a fluid receptacle; an actuatable dispenser member that is suitable for taking and for dispensing doses of fluid; and a feed or supply tube connecting the receptacle to the dispenser member. Such a dispenser can in particular be used in the fields of cosmetics, perfumery, or even pharmacy. The actuatable dispenser member of this type of dispenser generally comprises: a pump or a valve; an actuator head that is pressed in order to actuate the pump or the valve; and a fastener member for fastening the pump or the valve on the receptacle, which generally includes a neck defining an opening.

The fastener ring usually holds the pump or the valve on the receptacle in stationary manner, such that the pump or the valve cannot move relative to the receptacle. Generally, the pump or valve comprises a body and a rod that is movably mounted inside the body and that is capable of moving downwards and upwards. The fastener ring enables the body of the pump or valve to be mounted in stationary manner on the receptacle neck. The feed or supply tube connects the inlet of the pump or valve with the inside of the receptacle, such that the pump or valve can take the fluid directly from the receptacle, through the supply tube. This design is entirely conventional for a fluid dispenser in the fields of perfumery, cosmetics, or pharmacy. Naturally, because the pump or valve is mounted in stationary manner on the receptacle, it is necessary to move the receptacle together with the pump or valve in order to reach a desired target. This is inherent in the “integral” design of this type of dispenser. It is therefore not possible to remove the pump or valve from the receptacle, while nevertheless guaranteeing that the pump or valve operates.

Documents FR-2 770 833, US 2005/0121458, and US 2005/0127105 describe fluid dispensers in which the pump or valve is not mounted directly on the receptacle. On the contrary, in those prior art documents, the pump is mounted on a stationary support that is separate from the receptacle, and that is connected to the receptacle via a supply tube that may be flexible.

In addition, fluid dispensers, more commonly referred to as “bulb atomizers”, have been known for a long time, comprising a fluid receptacle connected via a flexible tube to a squeezable bulb that serves to expel air. By squeezing the bulb, air is either injected into the receptacle in such a manner as to put the fluid under pressure so that it is expelled through an outlet duct, or it is ejected directly through the fluid in order to spray the fluid from a dispenser orifice. Either way, the bulb serves only to expel air. That type of dispenser does not make it possible to ensure that dispensing is constant both in quality and in quantity. Dispensing depends both on the quantity of air expelled from the bulb and on the speed with which the air is expelled from the bulb.

An object of the present invention is to define a novel fluid dispenser that combines the flexibility in use of the dispensers mentioned in the three prior-art documents, with the “retro” appearance of bulb atomizers. In other words, the dispenser of the invention preserves the appearance of bulb atomizers while improving on their effectiveness in terms of dispensing.

To do this, the present invention proposes that the dispenser member includes a deformable, flexible envelope, the dispenser member being actuatable by deforming the envelope, and that, in use, the dispenser member is movable relative to the receptacle. This amounts to combining the bulb of the bulb atomizer with the dispenser member. The supply tube is advantageously flexible, but it could equally well be rigid and jointed.

In an embodiment, the dispenser member is connected to the reservoir via the tube only. When the tube is flexible, this amounts to the conventional configuration of bulb atomizers. The envelope that forms the bulb is connected via the flexible tube to the receptacle, such that the envelope can be displaced with a maximum degree of freedom that is limited only by the tube being connected to the receptacle.

In an embodiment, the envelope is provided with a dispenser orifice. In a variant, the dispenser member is further provided with an expulsion tube that is advantageously flexible, and that is connected to a dispenser orifice that is secured to the receptacle.

In an advantageous and preferred embodiment, the envelope naturally forms a squeezable bulb. Instead of the bulb, it is possible to provide a bellows.

In a simple embodiment, the flexible envelope includes an inlet valve, an outlet valve, and a dispenser orifice. In this event, the flexible envelope serves as a fluid chamber, and squeezing said envelope puts the fluid contained therein under pressure, such that it is expelled through the outlet valve that is forced into its open state. In this embodiment, the pump is literally constituted by the flexible envelope. In a variant, the dispenser member may include a pump housed inside the envelope.

In a practical embodiment, the pump comprises a body that defines the inlet, and a movable actuator rod that defines the outlet, said actuator rod projecting out from the body, the rod being connected to force transmission means that are suitable for transforming the manual compression force exerted on the flexible envelope into a movement of said rod in said body. The manual compression force is advantageously exerted in a direction that is different from the travel direction of the rod, the directions advantageously being substantially perpendicular to each other. In a practical embodiment, the transmission means comprise a toggle system comprising: a mounting frame on which the body of the pump is mounted in stationary manner; a bracket that is secured to the rod, the bracket being movable relative to the frame; at least one toggle, and advantageously two, bearing firstly against the frame, and secondly against the bracket, with deformation of the envelope causing the toggle to be actuated, thereby causing the bracket to be moved relative to the frame, and thus driving the rod into the body. The toggle system advantageously comprises two toggles, each toggle comprising at least two levers that are movable in pivoting relative to each other about a hinge point.

In the present invention, provision is thus made for housing or hiding a conventional pump inside a squeezable bulb that serves as a control member for actuating the toggle system that enables the pump to be actuated. At first sight, the dispenser of the invention resembles an old-fashioned bulb atomizer in every way. In addition, it is actuated completely identically, since, on squeezing the bulb, the user does not even realize that it contains a pump. This is also true when the bulb serves directly as a pump. The dispenser orifice may be provided in the flexible envelope or else in the receptacle. Naturally, when the orifice is in the receptacle, it is necessary to provide an expulsion duct that connects the flexible envelope back to the receptacle. The receptacle is thus connected to the flexible envelope via two distinct tubes, namely a supply tube and an expulsion tube.

The invention is described more fully below with reference to the accompanying drawings which show several embodiments of the invention by way of non-limiting example.

In the figures:

FIG. 1 is a vertical section view through a dispenser constituting a first embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are horizontal cross-section views of the FIG. 1 dispenser for explaining the structure and the functioning of the toggle system;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to the view in FIG. 1 constituting a second embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIGS. 1 and 4 constituting a third embodiment of the invention.

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 3, which show a preferred first embodiment of the invention, the fluid dispenser comprises a fluid receptacle 1 and a dispenser member O. A supply tube 24, preferably made of a flexible material, connects the dispenser member to the inside of the receptacle, putting it into fluid communication therewith. The dispenser member is thus movable relative to the receptacle, with a degree of freedom that is limited only by the length of the tube.

The receptacle 1 comprises a side wall 10 including a bottom end that is closed by a bottom wall 11, and a top end that is provided with a substantially radial shoulder 13 from which a neck 12 extends upwards. The neck 12 forms an opening 14 that puts the inside of the reservoir into communication with the external surroundings. The receptacle 1 internally defines a fluid storage volume Vs. In the embodiment shown, the storage volume can be defined in combination by the inside walls of the neck, the shoulder, the side wall, and the bottom wall of the receptacle. However, the volume could also be defined by a flexible pouch that is inserted inside the receptacle via the opening of the neck, and that deploys so as to occupy the inside of the receptacle. The receptacle 1 can therefore act as a reservoir proper, or as a shell covering a reservoir in the form of a flexible pouch. Such a receptacle can be of any configuration, such as a cube, a cylinder, a sphere, a rectangular parallelepiped, etc., said configuration being non-limiting for performing the present invention.

In addition, the opening 14 as defined by the neck of the receptacle can be closed by a stopper 120 that is advantageously made of an elastomeric or rubber material. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, such a stopper can press in leaktight engagement against the inside wall of the neck of the receptacle, and can bear against the top edge of said neck. The stopper 120 thus has an orifice passing therethrough, e.g. formed in substantially central manner, that is suitable for receiving and for retaining the supply tube 24 in clamping engagement, so as to hold it substantially stationary relative to the receptacle. The tube 24 can extend into the receptacle, forming a fluid-taking portion or dip tube 242. Making the stopper 120 out of an elastomeric or rubber material ensures effective radial clamping on said supply tube. Furthermore, a covering cap 121 surmounting the neck of the receptacle can be provided. In this event, the cap also includes an orifice through which the supply tube 24 can be inserted, in order to connect said supply tube to the dispenser member. In addition to its esthetic purpose, the cap also makes it possible to determine the direction in which the supply tube points. In addition, the cap can also contribute to holding the tube 24 stationary relative to the receptacle 1. As explained in the description below, the cap 7 can also incorporate an opening in which a fluid expulsion system could be provided.

The dispenser member O comprises a pump 2 and a flexible actuator envelope 6. In the present invention, the pump 2, of which a particular embodiment is described below, is positioned completely outside the receptacle 1, thereby leaving a maximum volume for storing fluid. Furthermore, the pump 2 is housed, at least in part, and preferably completely, inside the actuator envelope 6, in such a manner as to conceal said pump and make it easier to actuate.

In conventional manner, the pump comprises a hollow body 20 that is substantially cylindrical, and that includes an open bottom end 21 and an open top end 22. The bottom end 21 is provided with an inlet valve, and forms a connection sleeve that is suitable for receiving, in leaktight manner, a connection portion 241 formed by the supply tube 24. An actuator rod 23, generally defining an internal fluid outlet duct, is inserted into the body 20 through the opening defined by the top end 22. The actuator rod 23 is generally connected to, possibly integral with, a flexible slider lip (not shown) that is suitable for establishing leaktight sliding contact with the inside wall of the body 20. The lip thus co-operates with the body 20 to define a metering chamber for dispensing fluid, and provided with an outlet valve. Displacing the actuator rod inside the pump body thus causes the volume of the chamber to vary, thereby resulting either in fluid being sucked through the connection sleeve, or in fluid being ejected through the outlet duct. The method of driving the actuator rod 23 is explained in the description below.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, an ejector tube 25 is put into fluid communication with the outlet duct defined by the actuator rod 23. To do this, the ejector tube 25 can be put directly into fluid communication with the outlet duct of the rod 23, e.g. after fitting the tube 230 on the rod 23. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the tube 25 and the rod 23 can be put indirectly into fluid communication, by interposing a connection piece 30 that establishes a fluid connection between the two elements.

More precisely, the connection piece 30, shown in FIG. 3, forms part of a U-shaped bracket 3 comprising a substantially horizontal cross-bar (forming the connection piece) from which two side limbs 31 extend, advantageously in substantially parallel manner. The respective ends of the two side limbs 31 are advantageously extended by respective slider shoes 32 that advantageously project radially outwards.

In the embodiment shown, the cross-bar 30 incorporates the connection piece in substantially central manner. The cross-bar therefore includes a first housing that is adapted to receive, in stationary engagement, the top end of the actuator rod, and a second housing that is adapted to receive, in stationary engagement, an end of said ejector tube.

The two side limbs 31 are positioned on either side of the body 20 of the pump. The limbs, or one of the limbs, advantageously serve(s) to anchor the force transmission means 5 having structure and functioning that are described below.

The slider shoes 32 can also be used to anchor the force transmission means 5. The slider shoes co-operate with a mounting frame 4 in a manner that is described below.

The pump 2 is advantageously placed in the mounting frame 4. The mounting frame can present any appropriate two-dimensional or three-dimensional configuration, such as a rectangle, a parallelepiped, an ellipse, etc. In the embodiment shown in the figures, the overall configuration of the frame is that of a rectangular parallelepiped, and it thus has two long sides 40, 41 that are connected together by two short sides 42, 43.

The two short sides 42, 43 include through openings 420 and 430 respectively, through which there extend the ejector tube 25 and the body 20 respectively.

The two long sides 40, 41 of the frame include respective inside walls 400, 410, said walls defining guide surfaces that are adapted to guide the bracket 3 axially relative to the mounting frame as explained below. Alternatively, in a variant embodiment, a groove could be formed in the thickness of at least one of the two long sides of the frame 40, 41, in such a manner as to form a guide rail that is adapted to guide the bracket 3 axially relative to the mounting frame.

Furthermore, the mounting frame advantageously includes a mounting pin 421 that extends across the width of the frame. For example, the mounting pin can be provided as extending parallel and in close proximity to the short side 42.

In the example shown, the force transmission means 5 comprise a toggle system. The system comprises two toggles that advantageously extend on either side of the mounting frame 4. In this embodiment, each toggle comprises two levers 50, 51 that are displaceable by pivoting relative to each other about a hinge point 52.

The lever 50 includes a first end that is secured to the mounting pin 421, and a second end that co-operates with a corresponding end of the lever 51 so as to define the pivot point 52. The other end of the lever 51 is itself connected to the bracket 3, e.g. via the side limbs 31 or via the slider shoes 32. Thus, the toggle(s) constituting the force transmission means 5 can be displaced by pivoting relative to the hinge point 52 between a rest position (folded configuration of the toggle) and an actuated position (extended configuration of the toggle).

Thus, in/a preferred embodiment of the dispenser system, the pump 2, the bracket 3, the mounting frame 4, and the force transmission member 5 are confined, at least in part, and preferably completely, in the flexible actuator envelope 6, that can have the shape of a squeezable bulb of a bellows, or the shape of any element that is elastically deformable at least in part. In other words, the envelope 6 defines an inside space that receives the above-mentioned elements constituting the dispenser member. The envelope can be deformed, squeezed, or compressed by manually pressing against the outside wall of the envelope at the hinge point(s) of the toggle system. Such radial or lateral compression of the envelope thus causes the toggle(s) to be extended and moved from a rest position to an actuated position. Such a movement thus causes the slider surface of the shoes 31 to slide against the inner guide walls 400, 410 of the mounting frame. Alternatively, as described above, the axial guidance of the bracket 3 could result from co-operation between a lug provided on the shoes 32 and a guide rail formed in the thickness of at least one long side of the mounting frame 4. The movement of the bracket 3 thus causes the actuator rod 23 to be driven axially into the body 20 of the pump. This causes the fluid contained in the metering chamber to be expelled (as a result of the incompressible characteristic of liquid). The fluid expelled through the outlet duct defined by the actuator rod 23 flows into the ejector tube 25. In this advantageous embodiment, the action applied to the flexible envelope 6 is thus in a direction that is different from the travel direction of the actuator rod 23. These directions are advantageously substantially perpendicular to each other. Such an embodiment is comfortable for a user to actuate. Then, the fluid flowing through the ejector tube 230 flows into a dispenser orifice 71. By way of example, the orifice 71 can be formed by a nozzle 70 that forms part of a dispenser head 7 that is advantageously provided with a swirl system. The system thus ensures that the fluid is dispensed in spray form.

In the first embodiment, shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, the ejector tube 25 initially extends inside the envelope (at the outlet from the actuator rod). Then, the tube leaves the envelope in order to be connected to the head 7 that is advantageously provided in a lateral skirt of the covering cap 121. For esthetic and protective purposes, the respective portions 243 and 253 of the supply tube 24 and of the ejector tube 25, that extend between the envelope 6 and the covering cap 7 can be covered by a covering sheath 8 that is preferably flexible.

In a second embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the ejector tube 230 can be connected to a dispenser head 7 that is embedded in the wall of the envelope 6′. Advantageously, the ejector tube 230 and the head 7 thus extend in the axis defined by the actuator rod 23. In this embodiment, both the actuation of the pump and the expulsion of fluid occur at the envelope 6′. It should be observed that, in this second embodiment, the ejector tube 230 naturally presents a length that is much shorter than the tube 25 implemented in the first embodiment. In this second embodiment, the dispenser member O′ is connected to the receptacle only via the tube 24. By providing a sufficient length of tube, it is possible to leave the receptacle in place while the bulb is being squeezed. The receptacle can even be fastened on a support.

Once the fluid has been expelled, the user thus releases the pressure exerted on the actuator envelope. This release thus causes the toggle system to return to its rest position. The rise of the rod thus creates suction inside the hollow body leading to an inflow of fluid conveyed by the supply tube 24 into the reconstituted metering chamber. At this stage, the pump 2 could once again be actuated so as to dispense the next dose of fluid contained in the metering chamber.

In the two embodiments in FIGS. 1 to 4, the bulb 6 is used to conceal a conventional pump therein. The bulb is therefore not in direct contact with the fluid: on the contrary, it is filled by the pump, the frame, the bracket, the toggle system, and air. The bulb does not even need to be leaktight: it can include openings or slots.

Naturally, the dispenser presents a general appearance that is similar to the general appearance of an old-fashioned bulb atomizer, in which the bulb was used to expel air. By squeezing the bulb, air was put under pressure, and was thus expelled towards the receptacle.

The same design is implemented in the FIG. 5 dispenser, in which the bulb 6″ is used, not to put air under pressure, but the fluid. The dispenser member O″ does not conceal a pump, but itself forms a pump that is provided with an inlet valve member 61 and an outlet valve member 62. The envelope 6″ serves as a squeezable pump chamber. The dispenser orifice 71 is located in the bulb, but it could also be located in the receptacle, as in the second embodiment in FIG. 4.

Although the present invention is described above with reference to particular embodiments thereof, naturally it is not limited by said embodiments. On the contrary, any modification could be applied thereto by a person skilled in the art, without going beyond the ambit of the present invention, as defined by the accompanying claims.