Title:
ADDITIVE STORAGE AND SELECTIVE RELEASE APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The desires of consumers and those of drink manufacturers are not always the same. On the one hand, it can be more economical for manufacturers to provide flavoring agents and drink mixes in powdered and/or concentrated forms. On the other hand, consumers have grown accustom to purchasing ready-made drink products that do not require further mixing before consumption. Provided by aspects of the present invention are apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives into liquids such as, for example, water and coffee. In accordance with some embodiments of the invention an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives is incorporated into a bottle-cap. In accordance with other embodiments an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives is incorporated into another portion of a vessel/container, such as for example, a sleeve that is fitted around a sidewall of a specific vessel.



Inventors:
Mitchell, Martyn L. R. (Milton, CA)
Application Number:
12/282098
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
03/08/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/227, 220/212
International Classes:
B65D81/32; B65D25/08; B65D51/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives to a container, the apparatus comprising: a body defining at least one reservoir, the body further having at least one panel displaceable from a sealed position to a ruptured position so as to provide at least one access opening to the reservoirs; at least one actuator adapted to engage the panel and displace the panel from the sealed position to the ruptured position.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a cam element provided on the panel, and wherein the actuator engages the cam element to displace the panel.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the reservoir is collapsible.

4. An apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the cam element extends into the reservoir.

5. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the at least one actuator is arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir.

6. An apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the at least one actuator has a lobe element for engaging the cam element.

7. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the panel is defined by lines of weakness around the perimeter of the panel.

8. An apparatus according to claim 1 integrated into a cap for a bottle, wherein the cap comprises: a base portion that includes a cylindrical sidewall, a number of spaced-apart upwardly extending wall segments provided as extensions to the cylindrical sidewall, and a generally planar seal panel extends over the circular opening defined by the cylindrical sidewall to abut the upper lip of the bottle opening when assembled thereon; and a reservoir portion having a generally annular frame sized to be sealed against the upper peripheral surface of the seal panel of the base portion, and a number of collapsible reservoirs for storing respective additives, wherein each of the collapsible reservoirs extends radially inwardly from the frame and is disposed over a respective one of the panels.

9. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the seal panel has a plurality of panels, each defined by lines of weakness.

10. An apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the lines of weakness are provided on the upper surface of the seal panel.

11. An apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the lines of weakness are provided on the lower surface of the seal panel.

12. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the reservoir portion further comprises a number of actuators in the form of lever-shaped elements extending upright from the frame, and wherein the actuators are arranged to fit in the gaps between the upwardly extending wall segments and are connected to the frame by a lower hinge line.

13. An apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the base portion further comprises a number of actuators in the form of lever-shaped elements extending upright from the base portion, and wherein the actuators are arranged to fit in the gaps between the upwardly extending wall segments and are connected to the base portion by a lower hinge line.

14. An apparatus according to claim 1 integrated into a sleeve for a vessel, wherein the sleeve comprises the at least one reservoir defined by a collapsible body and a panel, wherein the panel is defined by lines of weakness and includes a cam element extending into the reservoir; the at least one actuator arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir, and the at least one actuator has a lobe element for engaging the cam element of the panel.

15. An apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives to a container, the apparatus comprising: a body defining at least one reservoir, the reservoir having an access opening; a panel sealingly fastened over the access opening of the reservoir; at least one actuator adapted to exert a force on the panel sufficient to separate the panel from the access opening of the reservoir.

16. An apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the reservoir is collapsible.

17. An apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the at least one actuator is arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir.

18. An apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the at least one actuator has a lobe element adapted to crush the collapsible body.

19. An apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the panel is sealingly fastened over the access opening.

20. An apparatus according to claim 19, wherein the panel is a sealing film.

21. A kit of parts comprising: a base portion including at least one panel, wherein the panel includes a cam element; a reservoir portion including at least one reservoir, wherein the reservoir has an open end that is sized to create a seal around a corresponding panel on the base portion; and at least one actuator connectable to one of the base portion or the reservoir portion, the at least one actuator having a lobe element for engaging the cam element of the panel.

22. A kit of parts according to claim 21, further comprising an additive to be stored in the at least one reservoir.

23. A kit of parts according to claim 21, wherein the base portion is integral with a bottle-cap.

24. A kit of parts according to claim 21, wherein the base portion is integral with a sealing lid for a vessel.

25. A kit of parts according to claim 21, wherein the base portion is integral with a sleeve sized to sealingly fit around a vessel.

26. A kit of parts according to claim 21, further comprising a vessel having at least one opening in a position corresponding to the placement of the panel on the base portion.

27. A kit of parts comprising: an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives, the apparatus including at least one body defining at least one reservoir, the body further having at least one panel displaceable from a sealed position to a ruptured position so as to provide at least one access opening to the reservoir, and at least one actuator adapted to engage the panel to displace the panel from the sealed position to the ruptured position; and at least one vessel, the vessel adapted to receive the apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/780,078, filed Mar. 8, 2006, and also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/803,549, filed May 31, 2006, and also claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/869,191, filed Dec. 8, 2006, the entire contents of all of these provisional applications are hereby incorporated by reference.

The section headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting the subject matter described in any way.

FIELD

This invention relates to an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives, particularly for use with containers such as, for example, but not limited to, beverage containers.

INTRODUCTION

Many kinds of beverage flavoring agents and drink mixes are commercially available in, for example, powdered and/or concentrated forms. Such agents/mixes can be transported, stored, and sold separately from a solvent fluid such as water or coffee. This is economical for the manufacturers, distributors and retailers in that the steps of having to measure and mix the drink mix or flavor agent with water (or another liquid), packaging the pre-mixed beverage in a fluid-tight container, shipping the pre-mixed beverage, and possibly storing the pre-mixed beverage in a refrigerated case are eliminated prior to purchase by a consumer.

There is however a penalty of inconvenience that is thrust upon the consumers of such mixes and flavoring agents. For example, mixes provided in a powdered and/or concentrated form can be difficult to handle and transport, requiring separate packaging that is often over-sized for display on a shelf in a typical grocery outlet. Additionally, a consumer must have a suitable container for storing and mixing the ingredients at the desired time. Accordingly, consumers often prefer pre-mixed beverages.

SUMMARY

According to a various aspects of applicant's teachings there is provided an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives to a beverage container, such as, for example, but not limited to, a bottle or carton. The apparatus comprises a body defining at least one reservoir, the body further having at least one panel displaceable from a sealed position to a ruptured position so as to provide at least one access opening to the reservoir, and at least one actuator adapted to engage the panel, to displace the panel from the sealed position to the ruptured position. For various embodiments of applicant's teachings, the panel is a breakaway panel.

In some embodiments, the apparatus further comprises a cam element provided on the breakaway panel, and the actuator engages the cam element to displace the breakaway panel.

In some embodiments, the reservoir is collapsible.

In some embodiments the cam element extends into the reservoir.

In some embodiments the at least one actuator is arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir.

In some embodiments the at least one actuator has a lobe element for engaging the cam element.

In some embodiments the breakaway panel is defined by lines of weakness around the perimeter of the breakaway panel.

In some embodiments the apparatus is integrated into a cap for a bottle, wherein the cap comprises: a base portion that includes a cylindrical sidewall with internal threads for threading onto the opening of the bottle, a number of spaced-apart upwardly extending wall segments provided as extensions to the cylindrical sidewall, and a generally planar seal panel extends over the circular opening defined by the cylindrical sidewall to abut the upper lip of the bottle opening when assembled thereon; and a reservoir portion having a generally annular frame sized to be sealed against the upper peripheral surface of the seal panel of the base portion, and a number of collapsible reservoirs for storing respective additives, wherein each of the collapsible reservoirs extends radially inwardly from the frame and is disposed over a respective one of the breakaway panels.

In some embodiments the reservoir portion further comprises a number of actuators in the form of lever-shaped elements extending upright from the frame, and wherein the actuators are arranged to fit in the gaps between the upwardly extending wall segments and are connected to the frame by a lower hinge line.

In some embodiments the apparatus is integrated into a sleeve for a vessel, wherein the sleeve comprises the at least one reservoir defined by a collapsible body and a breakaway panel, wherein the breakaway panel is defined by lines of weakness and includes a cam element extending into the reservoir; and the at least one actuator arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir, the at least one actuator having a lobe element for engaging the cam element of the breakaway panel.

In some embodiments, the apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives to a beverage container comprises a body defining at least one reservoir, the reservoir having an access opening, a breakaway panel sealingly fastened over the access opening of the reservoir, and at least one actuator adapted to exert a force on the breakaway panel sufficient to separate the breakaway panel from the access opening of the reservoir. The reservoir can be collapsible. Further, the at least one actuator can be arranged to crush the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir. As above, the at least one actuator can have a lobe element adapted to crush the collapsible body. The force to cause the breakaway panel to separate from the access opening can be, but not limited to, air pressure caused by the actuator crushing the collapsible body of the at least one reservoir.

The breakaway panel can be, for example, but not limited to, a sealing film. Further, the breakaway panel can be sealingly fastened over the access opening by, for example, but not limited to, induction heat sealing, laser welding, or a suitable adhesive.

According to an aspect of an embodiment of the invention there is provided a kit of parts comprising: a base portion including at least one breakaway panel, wherein the breakaway panel includes a cam element; a reservoir portion including at least one reservoir, wherein the reservoir has an open end that is sized to create a seal around a corresponding breakaway panel on the base portion; and at least one actuator connectable to one of the base portion or the reservoir portion, the at least one reservoir have a lobe element for engaging the cam element of the breakaway panel.

According to an aspect of an embodiment of the invention there is provided a kit of parts comprising: an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives, the apparatus including at least one body defining at least one reservoir, the body further having at least one breakaway panel displaceable from a sealed position to a ruptured position to provide at least one access opening to the reservoir, and at least one actuator adapted to engage the breakaway panel to displace the breakaway panel from the sealed position to the ruptured position; and at least one vessel, the vessel adapted to receive the apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives.

These and other features of the applicant's teachings are set forth herein.

DRAWINGS

The skilled person in the art will understand that the drawings, described below, are for illustration purposes only. The drawings are not intended to limit the scope of the applicant's teachings in any way.

FIG. 1 is a schematic drawing of a bottle in combination with a bottle-cap, in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention, for storing and selectively releasing additives;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the bottle-cap, in accordance with the first embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a base portion of the bottle-cap shown in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C is a perspective view of a reservoir portion of the bottle-cap shown in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a first cross-sectional view of a portion of the bottle-cap shown in FIG. 1 taken along line E-E;

FIG. 3B is a second cross-sectional view of a portion of the bottle-cap shown in FIG. 1 taken along line E-E;

FIG. 4A is an exploded view of a container in combination with an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives (into the container) in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4B is an assembled view corresponding to FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective drawing of the apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the base portion and reservoir portion of the third embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 8-8 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the invention showing the actuators in one position;

FIG. 10 is a further perspective view of the fourth embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the fourth embodiment of the invention taken from below;

FIG. 12 is a further perspective view of the fourth embodiment of the invention taken from below;

FIG. 13 is a first cross-sectional view taken along lines F-F of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is a second cross-sectional view taken along line F-F of FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is an elevational view of a fifth embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view taken along line G-G of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is an enlarged cross-section of portion A taken from FIG. 16; and

FIG. 18 is an exploded perspective view of the fifth embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS

The desires of consumers and those of drink manufacturers are not always the same. On the one hand, it can be more economical for manufacturers to provide flavoring agents and drink mixes in powdered and/or concentrated forms. On the other hand, consumers have grown accustomed to purchasing ready-made drink products that do not require further mixing before consumption. Provided by aspects of the present invention are apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives into liquids such as, for example, but not limited to, water, coffee or milk. In accordance with various embodiments of the invention an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives is incorporated into a bottle-cap. Also, in accordance with various embodiments of the invention an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives can be incorporated into another portion of a vessel/container, such as for example, but not limited to, a sleeve that is fitted around a sidewall of a specific vessel, or built into a sidewall of the vessel itself.

Referring to FIG. 1, shown is a simplified schematic drawing of a bottle 12 in combination with a cap 10 for the bottle 12. In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, the cap 10 is provided for storing and selectively releasing additives into the bottle 12. With reference to FIGS. 2A, 2B, 2C and 3A, and with continued reference to FIG. 1, the cap 10 includes: a base portion 14 that is illustrated independently in FIG. 2B; and, a reservoir portion 16 that is illustrated independently in FIG. 2C.

With specific reference to FIGS. 2B and 3A, the base portion 14 is adapted to securely fit over the opening of the bottle 12, thereby sealing the bottle 12. The base portion 14 includes a cylindrical sidewall 20 with internal threads 22b (see FIG. 3A) for threading onto the corresponding threads 22a of the opening of the bottle 12. It can be appreciated, however, that the invention is not to be limited to threaded engagement between the cap and the bottle, but this arrangement is shown for purposes of illustrating applicant's teachings. Other forms of securing the cap and the bottle are contemplated by this invention, for example, but not limited to, a snap fit.

The base portion 14 also includes a generally planar seal panel 24 that extends over the circular opening defined by the cylindrical sidewall 20, to abut the upper lip of the bottle 12 opening when assembled thereon (see FIGS. 3A and 3B). The base portion 14 also has a number of optional spaced-apart upwardly extending wall segments 32, extending from the planar seal panel 24. In some embodiments the wall segments 32 are provided as extensions to the cylindrical sidewall 20. Additionally and/or alternatively, in other embodiments the wall segments 32 may not be provided as contiguous extensions to the cylindrical sidewall 20. In some embodiments the optional spaced-apart upwardly extending wall segments 32 are not included at all.

The seal panel 24 has a plurality of breakaway panels 26 defined by lines of weakness 28 provided in the top surface 24a of the seal panel 24. Additionally and/or alternatively, the lines of weakness 28 can be provided on the bottom surface 24b of the seal panel 24. In some embodiments, the lines of weakness 28 do not include perforations that extend through the seal panel 24, since perforations may lead to leakage and/or spoilage of the additives therein. Each breakaway panel 26 has an upwardly protruding cam element 30 to facilitate rupturing of the breakaway panels 26 as described in greater detail below.

With specific reference to FIGS. 2C and 3A, the reservoir portion 16 is provided to store additives that can be released into the bottle 12. The reservoir portion has a generally annular frame 40 sized to be sealed against the upper peripheral surface of the seal panel 24 of the base portion 14.

In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 16 is sealed to the base portion 14 by, for example, but not limited to, ultrasonic welding. Ultrasonic welding works best when each of the components to be welded together is made from similar amorphous polymers that have little or no crystalline structure. Examples of preferable amorphous polymers include ABS, Acrylic, Polycarbonate and PVC. The embodiments of the invention are not intended to be limited to these polymers, however, and other polymers such as, for example, polyethelene, polypropylene, polyester and Nylon™, which are semi-crystalline, are also contemplated.

Other forms of sealing are contemplated, however, such as, for example, but not limited to, fusing the two portions together using a laser. In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 16 and base portion 14 may be of integral construction. In these embodiments, a reservoir 42 can be provided with a separate and sealable opening for introducing additives into the reservoir. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the reservoir 42 may be pre-formed with the additive therein.

In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 16 includes a number of collapsible reservoirs 42 for storing respective additives 44. In some embodiments, each reservoir 42 extends radially inwardly from the frame 40 and is disposed over a respective one of the breakaway panels 26.

The reservoir portion 16 also includes a number of actuators 46 in the form of lever-shaped elements extending upright from the frame 40 and connected to the frame 40 by a lower hinge line 48. In accordance with some embodiments the actuators 46 are arranged to fit between the upwardly spaced-apart extending wall segments 32 of the base portion 14. The actuators have lobe elements 49 in the form of radially inwardly directed webs for engaging the cams 30 of the breakaway panels 26. Additionally and/or alternatively, the actuators 46 may instead be included on the base portion 14. For example, each actuator 46 may be connected by a hinge line to the seal panel 24.

In accordance with some embodiments of the invention, once assembled together, the base portion 14 and reservoir portion 16 create a number of distinct reservoir chambers. In FIGS. 2A-2C the number of distinct reservoir chambers is six. However, FIGS. 2A-2C are provided to show only a very specific example of an embodiment in accordance with aspects of the invention and is not intended to limit the number of reservoirs covered by the scope of the claims. In general, those skilled in the art will appreciate that any number of distinct reservoir(s) can be included. Moreover, in accordance with some embodiments, since the reservoir(s) are distinct from one another the contents of one reservoir are unable to mix with the contents of another reservoir, until a user intentionally selects the two additives to be added to the bottle 12 in a process that is described below with reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B, whereupon the additives mix, in some embodiments, within bottle 12. It can be appreciated that for some embodiments, the additives can be selected to, at least initially, layer within the bottle 12.

In operation, with specific reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B, the actuators 46 are moveable from a retracted or upright position (shown in FIG. 3A) to an advanced position (shown in FIG. 3B), by pivoting about the lower hinge line 48. In use a selected actuator 46 is moved from the retracted position to the advanced position by pushing on the actuator 46 so that it pivots about the hinge line 48. As the actuator 46 moves from the retracted position to the advanced position the respective collapsible reservoir 42 collapses and is deformed; and, the lobe 49 exerts a force against the cam 30, forcing the breakaway panel 26 downwards and rupturing the lines of weakness 28 surrounding the breakaway panel 26 displacing the breakaway panel 26 in the direction of the applied force, as shown in FIG. 3B, thereby breaking the seal panel 24 and creating an access opening 27 between the reservoir 42 and contents of the bottle 12. The additive 44 is then free to pass through the access opening 27 created by the breaking of the seal panel 24 to the contents of the bottle 12. As reservoir 42 collapses and deforms it is preferable that the outer wall of the reservoir 42 retains integrity. This ensures that the reservoir 42 will not rupture and the additive only passes through the access opening 27 created by displacement of the breakaway panel 26, as described above.

Additionally and/or alternatively, in some embodiments, the reservoir portion 16 may be provided with only one collapsible reservoir, and similarly the base portion 14 may be provided with only one breakaway panel. Moreover, the number of breakaway panels and collapsible reservoirs does not have to be the same. In some embodiments, the number of collapsible reservoirs may outnumber the number of breakaway panels and vice versa. Accordingly, it should be understood that the illustrations provided herein only show possible example embodiments in accordance with aspects of the invention.

Other embodiments of the invention are shown in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 5, where an apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives 50 is provided in the form of a sleeve that conforms to a portion of the vessel 60. The apparatus for storing and selectively releasing additives 50 will simply be referred to as the sleeve 50.

The sleeve 50 includes breakaway panels 66 defined by lines of weakness 68 similar as described above with reference to some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. Each breakaway panel 66 includes a cam 67 and is arranged to fit over a corresponding opening 61 in the vessel 60. The sleeve 50 also includes a number of actuators 56 in the form of lever-shaped elements extending upright. The actuators 56 are arranged to fit in co-operative movement with the breakaway panels 66 and are connected to the sleeve 50 by a lower hinge line 58. The actuators 56 have lobe elements 59 in the form of radially inwardly directed webs for engaging the cams 67 of the breakaway panels 66.

Once assembled, each breakaway panel is 66 is covered by a respective collapsible reservoir 52, which can be, for example, but not limited to, sealed to the sleeve 50 by ultrasonic welding, to create a sealed chamber for storing additives. The collapsible reservoirs 52, as described above, are provided to store additives until a selected actuator 56 is used to crush a respective collapsible reservoir 52 and engage a respective cam 67, thereby rupturing the lines of weakness 68 around a respective breakaway panel 66. That is, in operation, the actuators 56 are displaced from a retracted or upright position (similar to that shown in FIG. 3A) to an advanced position (similar to that shown in FIG. 3B), by pivoting about the lower hinge line 58. In use a selected actuator 56 is moved from the retracted position to the advanced position by pushing on the actuator 56 so that it pivots about the hinge line 58. As the actuator 56 moves from the retracted position to the advanced position the respective collapsible reservoir 52 collapses and is deformed; and, the lobe 59 exerts a force against the cam 67, forcing the breakaway panel 66 downwards and rupturing the lines of weakness 68 surrounding the breakaway panel 66. The additive inside the collapsible reservoir 52 is then free to pass into the vessel 60 through the opening 61.

Having regard to FIGS. 6 and 7 a further embodiment of the invention is shown. For this embodiment the apparatus 110 for storing and selectively releasing additives is provided on a sidewall 104 of a carton 112, such as, for example, but not limited to, a milk carton. Apparatus 110 can be provided on, for example, sidewall 104 that forms one of the sloped upper sidewalls of a typical beverage carton. It can be appreciated, however, that the apparatus for releasing and storing additives into the contents of the carton can be provided on any sidewall of the carton that allows access to the contents of the carton.

Having particular reference to FIG. 7, apparatus 110 has a base portion 114 adapted to be built into the sidewall of the carton, typically by, for example, but not limited to, ultrasonic fusing, induction heat sealing, or laser welding.

As for the embodiment described above having regard to FIGS. 1 to 3B, the base portion of 114 includes a generally planar seal panel 124 that typically extends over an opening into the carton 112 through which the additives can be selectively released into the contents of the carton. The base portion 114 has a number of optional spaced apart upwardly extending wall segments 132, or partial wall segments 133 extending from the upper surface 124a of the planar seal panel 124. For the embodiment illustrated, wall segments 132 and partial wall segments 133 are arranged in a line, with the partial wall segments 133 provided at each end of the line. In some embodiments, the optional spaced apart upwardly extending wall segments 132 are not included at all.

The seal panel 124 has a plurality of breakaway panels 126 defined by lines of weakness 128 provided in the top surface 124a of the seal panel 124. Additionally, and/or alternatively, the lines of weakness 128 can be provided on the bottom surface 124b of the seal panel 124. In some embodiments, the lines of weakness 128 do not include perforations that extend through the seal panel 124, since perforations may lead to leakage and/or spoilage of the additive therein. Each breakaway panel 126 has an upwardly protruding cam element 130 to facilitate rupturing of the breakaway panels 126, similar to the invention as described in relation FIGS. 1 to 3B above.

Continuing with reference to FIG. 7, the reservoir portion 116 is provided to store additives that can be released into the carton 112. The reservoir portion is sealed to the base portion 114 by, for example, but not limited to, ultrasonic welding, fusing the two portions together using a laser, or forming the reservoir portion and base portion of integral construction, similar to the embodiments described above.

In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 116 includes a number of collapsible reservoirs 142 for storing respective additives 144. In some embodiments, each reservoir 142 is disposed over any respective one of the breakaway panels 126.

The reservoir portion 116 can also include a number of actuators 146 in the form of lever shaped elements extending generally upwardly from a frame 140 of reservoir portion 116 and connected to the frame 140 by a lower hinge line 148, similar to that described for the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3B. In operation, the actuators 146 are moved from a retracted or upright position, shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 to an advance position, by pivoting about the lower hinge line 148.

In accordance with some embodiments the actuators 146 are arranged to fit between adjacent upwardly spaced-apart extending wall segments 132 and partial wall segments 133 of the base portion 114. The actuators have lobe elements 149 (see FIG. 8) in the form of radially inwardly directed webs for engaging the cams 130 of the breakaway panels 126. Additionally and/or alternatively, the actuators 146 may instead be included on the base portion 114. For example, a hinge line to the surface 124 may connect each actuator 146.

In accordance with some embodiments of the invention, once assembled together, the base portion 114 and reservoir portion 116 create a number of distinct reservoirs 142.

In use, and having regard to FIG. 8, a selected actuator 146 is moved from the retracted position 150 to the advanced position 151 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 8) by pushing on the actuator 146 so that it pivots about the hinge line 148. As the actuator 146 moves from the retracted position to the advanced position the respective collapsible reservoir 142 collapses and is deformed. Further, the lobe 149 exerts a force against the cam 130, forcing the breakaway panel 126 downwards and rupturing the lines of weakness 128 surrounding the breakaway panel 126 to thereby displace the panel 126 in the direction of the applied force, thereby breaking the seal panel 124 and creating a access opening between the reservoir 142 and the contents of the carton 112. As described above, the additive is then free to pass through the access opening in the seal panel 124 to the contents of the carton 112.

Yet a further embodiment of the invention is disclosed in FIGS. 9 to 14. As will hereinafter become apparent, the principles of this embodiment, can be used as a cap for a bottle, or a sleeve, or in a sidewall of a carton, as previously described, but it is to be understood is not limited to only the configurations described.

With specific reference to FIGS. 9 and 10, the base portion 214 of apparatus 210 is adapted to securely fit over the opening of a bottle (not illustrated), to thereby seal the contents in the bottle. The base portion 214 includes a cylindrical sidewall 220 having internal threads 222a (see FIG. 13) similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3B. This would allow the cap 210 to be threaded unto the opening of a bottle (not illustrated) as described above. Of course, other forms of securing the cap and the bottle are contemplated by this invention, for example, but not limited to, a snap fit.

The base portion 214 also has a number of optional spaced apart extending wall segments 232, similar to that described above in relation to FIGS. 1 to 3B.

In some embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 9 to 14, base portion 214 of apparatus 210 is adapted to receive a breakaway panel 226, which, for some embodiments, is in the form of a sealing film, such as, for example, but not limited to, a lamination of aluminum bonded to a plastic film, such as, for example, polystyrene. The breakaway panel 226 can be provided with slits or perforations 228 to allow individual segments 229 of the breakaway panel 226 to separate from one another and from sealing engagement with the base portion 214, as will hereinafter be described.

In some embodiments, for example as illustrated, the reservoir portion 216 is provided of integral construction with the base portion 214. It can be appreciated, however, that the reservoir portion 216 and the base portion 214 can be of separate construction and fused together as described above. The reservoir portion 216 can include a number of collapsible reservoirs 242, similar to the reservoirs described above. It can be appreciated that the breakaway panel 226 is to be received within base portion 214 to seal off the access opening 227 of each reservoir (access opening 227 is best seen in FIG. 14). In particular, a respective segment 229 of the breakaway panel 226 seals each access opening 227 of each reservoir. Breakaway panel 226 is sealingly fastened or bonded to the underside of reservoir portion 216 by, for example, but not limited to, induction heat sealing, laser welding, or by a suitable adhesive. Where an adhesive is used, one example of a suitable adhesive is an EVA wax-type pressure sensitive adhesive. It can be appreciated, however, that there are many commercially available adhesives that can be used. As will become apparent from the description below, whatever method is used to sealingly fasten or bond the breakaway panel 226 to the underside of reservoir 216, the bond is to be strong enough so that the breakaway panel 226 seals the access opening 27 of the reservoir portion 216, however, upon application of a force, the strength of the bond is overcome and the panel breakaway 226 (or at least a segment 229 thereof) separates from the reservoir portion 216.

Further, the reservoir portion 216 can also include a number of actuators 246 in the form of lever shaped elements extending upright from the sidewalls 220 of base portion 214 and connected to the base portion by a hinge line 248. In some embodiments, for example as illustrated, the actuators 246 are arranged to fit between the upwardly spaced apart extending walls segments 232 of the base portion 214. The actuators 246 can also have lobe elements 249 in the form of radially angularly directed webs for engaging the collapsible reservoirs 242.

In operation, and having regard to FIGS. 13 and 14, a selected actuator 246 is moved from the retracted upright position shown, for example, in FIG. 13 to the advanced position shown, for example, in FIG. 14 by pivoting about the lower hinge line 248. As the actuator 246 moves from the retracted position to the advanced position the respective collapsible reservoir 242 collapses and is deformed. This increases the pressure within the collapsible reservoir which in turn exerts a force against the respective segment 229 of the breakaway panel 226 forcing the segment 229 of the breakaway panel 226 downward until the force is greater than the strength of the suitable bond, thereby causing the segment 229 of the breakaway panel 226 to separate from its sealing engagement with the base portion 216. Further, in some embodiments, for example as illustrated, the segment 229 separates from the adjacent segments of the breakaway panel 226 along the slits or perforations 228 provided to thereby allow the segment 229 to be displaced about one edge 250, as shown, for example, in FIG. 14. The additive 244 is then free to pass through the access opening 227 and to the contents of the container.

Further embodiments of the invention are shown in FIGS. 15, 16, 17, and 18. It is to be understood that the following description is not limited to only the configurations described.

With specific reference to FIGS. 15 to 18, apparatus 305 comprises a cap assembly 310 for container 312. In some embodiments, cap assembly 310 includes a housing 350 adapted to receive a reservoir portion 316 therein, and, for some embodiments, as illustrated, a base portion 314 adapted to fit over an open end 307 of the housing 350. For some other embodiments reservoir portion 316 can include or incorporate base portion 314 as a part thereof. Together, housing 350, reservoir portion 316, and base portion 314 form the cap assembly 310 which can then be secured to the container 312.

In some embodiments, for example as illustrated, base portion 314 of cap assembly 310 is adapted to securely fit over the opening 309 of the container 312, thereby sealing the contents of the container within the container 312. The base portion 314 can be adapted to snap-fit on the rim 311 of the container 312 sealing to the rim 311 of the container 312. Other forms of securing the cap assembly 310 to the container 312 are also contemplated, such as, for example, a threaded fit between base portion 314 and the container 312.

Base portion 314 of apparatus 310 is adapted to provide at least one breakaway panel 326 defined by lines of weakness 328 provided in the top surface 324a of the base portion 314. Additionally and/or alternatively, the lines of weakness 328 can be provided on the bottom surface of the base portion 314. Each breakaway panel 326 has an upwardly protruding cam element 330 to facilitate rupturing of the breakaway panels 326 as previously described with respect to other embodiments and as will be described in greater detail below.

The reservoir portion 316 is provided to store additives that can be selectively released into the container 312. In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 316 has a generally annular frame 340 sized to be sealed against the top surface 324a of the base portion 314. In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 316 is sealed to the base portion 314 by, for example, but not limited to, ultrasonic welding. Ultrasonic welding is one possible example when each of the components to be welded together is made from similar amorphous polymers that have little or no crystalline structure. Examples of preferable amorphous polymers include ABS, Acrylic, Polycarbonate and PVC. The invention is not intended to be limited to these polymers, however, and other polymers such as, for example, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester and Nylon™, which are semi-crystalline, are also contemplated.

Other forms of sealing, such as, for example, fusing the two portions together using a laser may also be used. In some embodiments, as previously described, the reservoir portion 316 and base portion 314 may be of integral construction.

In some embodiments, the reservoir portion 316 includes a number of collapsible reservoirs 342 for storing respective additives 344 (see FIG. 16). In some embodiments each reservoir 342 extends radially inwardly from the frame 340 and is configured so that when assembled with the base portion 314 each reservoir 342 is disposed over a respective breakaway panel 326.

Housing 350 of the cap assembly 310 has, in some embodiments, a generally frustoconical sidewall 352 having disposed therein a number of actuators 346 in the form of lever-shaped elements. For some embodiments, for example as illustrated, the actuators 346 are connected to the sidewall 352 of the housing 350 at a lower hinge line 348. When advanced the actuators 346 breakaway from the sidewall 352 through lines of weakness 354 provided in the sidewall 352 that generally follow the perimeter of the actuator 346. The actuators 346 typically remain coupled to the sidewall 352 of the housing 350 at the lower hinge line 348. The lines of weakness can be defined on either the inner or outer surface of the sidewall 352.

As shown in FIG. 17, the actuators 346 have lobe elements 349 in the form of radially inwardly directed webs for engaging the cams 330 of the breakaway panels 326, similar to what has been previously described for other embodiments.

Also, as previously described with respect to the other embodiments, once assembled, the base portion 314 and reservoir portion 316 create a number of distinct reservoirs so that the contents of one reservoir are unable to mix with the contents of another reservoir.

In operation, similar to previous embodiments, when the actuators 346 are moved from the retracted position to an advanced position, by breaking the actuator 346 away from the sidewall 352 of the housing 350, the actuator 346 pivots about the lower hinge line 348. As the actuator 346 moves from the retracted position to the advanced position the respective collapsible reservoir 342 collapses and is deformed. The lobe 349 exerts a force against the cam 330, forcing the breakaway panel 326 downwards and rupturing the lines of weakness 328 surrounding the breakaway panel 326, displacing the panel 326 in the direction of the applied force and thereby breaking the base portion 314 and creating an access opening between the reservoir 342 and contents of the container 312. The additive 344 is then free to pass from the reservoir 342 through the access opening to the container 312. Typically, as reservoir 342 collapses and deforms the outer wall of the reservoir 342 does not rupture. This ensures that the additive passes from the reservoir 342 to the container 312.

Once the desired additives have been added to the container 312, the cap assembly 310 can snap off or otherwise be removed from the container 312 leaving the contents of the container 312 accessible through the opening 309.

While the applicant's teachings are described in conjunction with various embodiments, it is not intended that the applicant's teachings be limited to such embodiments. On the contrary, the applicant's teachings encompass various alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art.