Title:
ORIENTATION SYSTEM FOR A CLOSURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An orientation system for a closure having an orientation member that is longitudinally, axially, and circumferentially spaced from a fastener. The orientation member mates with a reciprocating channel on the neck of a container for proper orientation of a closure onto a container.



Inventors:
Crowe, Thomas George (Lawrenceburg, IN, US)
Dejong, David Lee (Ogden, UT, US)
Application Number:
12/233704
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
09/19/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D41/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An orientation system comprising a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising: a first closure circumference; a second closure circumference axially spaced within said first closure circumference and longitudinally spaced from said first closure circumference; at least three lugs, wherein each of said at least three lugs comprises a circumferential width and are circumferentially spaced, wherein said at least three lugs comprise a first orientation member, a second orientation member, and a fastener, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member are positioned on the same closure circumference and have different circumferential widths, and wherein said fastener is positioned on a different closure circumference.

2. The orientation system of claim 1 further comprising a container comprising a neck having a first neck circumference and a second neck circumference, wherein said first neck circumference is configured to interface with said first closure circumference and said second neck circumference is configured to interface with said second closure circumference.

3. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member are positioned on said first closure circumference, and wherein said fastener is positioned on said second closure circumference.

4. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member are longitudinally spaced about 5 mm to about 15 mm from said fastener.

5. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first closure circumference comprises a shroud and said second closure circumference comprises an annular shaped skirt depending from a trigger sprayer fitment.

6. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said second closure circumference is concentrically disposed within said first closure circumference.

7. The orientation system of claim 1 further comprising a plug seal within said second closure circumference.

8. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member protrude radially inwardly from said closure.

9. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first orientation member is circumferentially spaced about 120° to about 180° from said second orientation member.

10. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said first closure circumference comprises a shroud having a circular rim, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member are disposed on said circular rim.

11. The orientation system of claim 1, wherein said at least three lugs further comprise a plurality of fasteners.

12. The orientation system of claim 2, wherein said outer neck circumference comprises two pairs of ridges defining a first and second channel for receiving said first and second orientation members.

13. The orientation system of claim 11, wherein said plurality of fasteners comprise a first tab, a second tab, and a third tab, wherein said first tab is circumferentially spaced about 5° to about 40° from said first orientation member, said second tab is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 100° from said first tab, said second orientation member is circumferentially spaced from about 5° to about 40° from said second tab, said third tab is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 100° from said second orientation member, said first orientation member is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 100° from said third tab.

14. The orientation system of claim 12, wherein said first channel and said second channel comprise a stop wall.

15. An orientation system comprising a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising: a shroud having an inner surface, said inner surface having a lower cylindrical surface longitudinally spaced from an intermediate cylindrical surface, an annular shaped skirt axially spaced within said shroud and longitudinally spaced within said intermediate cylindrical surface; at least one orientation member protruding radially inwardly from said lower cylindrical surface of said inner surface; and a plurality of tabs for mating with bayonet provisions, said plurality of tabs circumferentially spaced from said at least one orientation member and protruding radially inwardly from said annular shaped skirt.

16. An orientation system comprising a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising: a shroud having a inner surface, said inner surface having a lower cylindrical surface longitudinally spaced from an intermediate cylindrical surface; an annular shaped skirt concentrically disposed within said shroud and longitudinally spaced within said intermediate cylindrical surface; and a first orientation member and a second orientation member, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member comprise a circumferential width and protrude radially inwardly from said lower cylindrical surface, wherein said second orientation member has a circumferential width less than said first orientation member; and a plurality of tabs for mating with bayonet provisions, wherein said tabs are circumferentially spaced from said first orientation member and said second orientation member and protrude radially inwardly from said annular shaped skirt.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/955,138 filed Dec. 12, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an orientation system for a closure. More specifically, the present invention relates to an orientation system for a bayonet-type closure having lugs of varying configurations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bayonet-type closure systems are well known in the art. These closure systems may be utilized on trigger sprayer closures and bottles for dispensing fluids such as household cleaners, hair styling aids, fabric refreshers and like products. Often times, a user of these bayonet-type closure systems needs to re-attach the trigger sprayer closure to the bottle after refilling the fluid, emptying the fluid, or checking the fluid level in the bottle. Due to the structural features of many bayonet-type closure systems, a user may incorrectly orient the trigger sprayer closure onto the bottle. This issue has attempted to be addressed by bottle shapes that provide visual cues as to the front or dispensing side of the bottle. However, symmetrical or symmetrically opposite bottle shapes, for example, would not provide such visual cues. The orientation issue has also attempted to be addressed by positioning the bayonet structures, which include bayonet tabs and their mating bayonet provisions, in a non-uniform pattern around the circumference of the trigger sprayer closure and container neck such that these mating parts can engage in only one circumferential position. However, such systems may not be efficient and/or user-friendly in that a user may have to estimate the proper push-on position; this is especially true where the degrees of separation of the bayonet structures around a circumference are visually similar. In some instances, a user of such systems may also need to estimate the proper rotation necessary to secure the bayonet structures in place. As such, there remains a continuing need for a bayonet-type closure system that has an orientation member to properly and efficiently secure a bayonet-type trigger sprayer closure to a bottle or container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an orientation system for a closure. There are numerous embodiments of the orientation system described herein, all of which are intended to be non-limiting examples. In one embodiment, the system comprises a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising a first closure circumference; a second closure circumference axially spaced within said first closure circumference and longitudinally spaced from said first closure circumference; at least three lugs, wherein each of said at least three lugs comprises a circumferential width and are circumferentially spaced, wherein said at least three lugs comprise a first orientation member, a second orientation member, and a fastener, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member are positioned on the same closure circumference and have different circumferential widths, and wherein said fastener is positioned on a different closure circumference.

In another embodiment, the system comprises a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising a shroud having an inner surface, said inner surface having a lower cylindrical surface longitudinally spaced from an intermediate cylindrical surface; an annular shaped skirt axially spaced within said shroud and longitudinally spaced within said intermediate cylindrical surface; at least one orientation member protruding radially inwardly from said lower cylindrical surface of said inner surface; and a plurality of tabs for mating with bayonet provisions, said plurality of tabs circumferentially spaced from said at least one orientation member and protruding radially inwardly from said annular shaped skirt.

In yet another embodiment, the system comprises a closure adapted for releasable connection to a container comprising a shroud having an inner surface, said inner surface having a lower cylindrical surface longitudinally spaced from an intermediate cylindrical surface; an annular shaped skirt concentrically disposed within said shroud and longitudinally spaced within said intermediate cylindrical surface; a first orientation member and a second orientation member, wherein said first orientation member and said second orientation member comprise a circumferential width and protrude radially inwardly from said lower cylindrical surface, wherein said second orientation member has a circumferential width less than said first orientation member; and a plurality of tabs for mating with bayonet provisions, wherein said tabs are circumferentially spaced from said first orientation member and said second orientation member and protrude radially inwardly from said annular shaped skirt.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

While the specification concludes with the claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the invention, it is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a vertical sectional view of one embodiment of a trigger sprayer closure engaged on a container in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a bottom plan view of the trigger sprayer closure of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention having a first and second closure circumference.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of a container neck in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a top plan view of the container neck in FIG. 3 having a first neck circumference with bayonet provisions and a second neck circumference with ridges defining channels.

FIGS. 5a and 5b show cross sectional views of a trigger sprayer closure, engaged on a container in accordance with the present invention, taken along lines a-a and b-b of FIG. 1, respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an orientation system for a closure as described above. The orientation system of the present invention is described in the context of a bayonet-type trigger sprayer closure. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be utilized with various closure systems and is not limited to this specific execution.

Referring to FIG. 1, the orientation system of the present invention comprises a trigger sprayer closure 1 having a longitudinal axis (represented by “x” in FIG. 1) therethrough and having a shroud 10 and a trigger sprayer fitment 40. “Longitudinal” and “longitudinally” as used herein mean a position extending along the x-axis in FIG. 1. “Axial” and “axially” as used herein mean a position on a plane that intersects the x-axis.

Referring to FIG. 2, the closure 1 may include a first closure circumference 12 and a second closure circumference 18. The first closure circumference 12 may be positioned along any longitudinal point of the inner or outer surface of a shroud 10. The shroud 10 may be one or two pieces depending on manufacturing processes. A two piece shroud may include a lower section and an upper section. The shroud 10 may include an intermediate cylindrical surface 16 and a lower cylindrical surface 14 which extends along the longitudinal axis and terminates at a circular rim 19. The circular rim 19 may be on a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the closure 1. The inner and/or outer surface of the shroud 10 may taper towards the circular rim 19 to form such intermediate cylindrical surface 16 and such lower cylindrical surface 14. The lower cylindrical surface 14 is located longitudinally above the circular rim 19, and the intermediate cylindrical surface 16 is located longitudinally above the lower cylindrical surface 14. In one embodiment, the longitudinal height of the intermediate cylindrical surface 16 may be about 5 mm to about 30 mm, alternatively about 5 mm to about 10 mm, alternatively about 10 mm to about 30 mm, alternatively about 5 mm.

The closure 1 may include at least three lugs which may be any number and combination of orientation members 110, 111 and fasteners 160, 161, 162. The orientation members 110, 111 may have varying circumferential widths to assist in defining one orientation of the closure 1 on a container.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, two of the at least three lugs comprise a first orientation member 110 and a second orientation member 111 circumferentially spaced on the first closure circumference 12. As will be mentioned below, it is contemplated that the lugs on the first closure circumference 12 could be one or more fasteners 160, 161, 162. The first orientation member 110 and second orientation member 111 may be spaced, from center point to center point of the orientation members, from about 80° to about 180°, alternatively from about 120° to about 180°, alternatively about 180° from one another. Additional orientation members may be utilized for added stabilization of the closure 1 on a container. All orientation members 110, 111 may be circumferentially spaced in relation to one another. The first closure circumference 12 may also include only one orientation member.

The orientation members 110, 111 may protrude radially inwardly from the first closure circumference 12 or from the inner surface of a shroud 10. It is contemplated that the closure 1 of the present invention may be configured to include orientation members 110, 111 that protrude radially outwardly from the first closure circumference 12 or the outer surface of the shroud 10. In one embodiment, where there are two or more orientation members, at least two of the orientation members 110, 111 have different circumferential widths. In one embodiment, the circumferential width of the first orientation member 110 may be about 8 mm to about 15 mm, alternatively about 8 mm to about 12 mm, alternatively about 12 mm to about 15 mm; and the circumferential width of the second orientation member 111 may be about 4 mm to about 8 mm, alternatively about 6 mm to about 8 mm.

In one embodiment, the first and second orientation members 110, 111 are circumferentially spaced on two equally sized closure circumferences located at different longitudinal positions on the lower cylindrical surface 14 of the shroud 10. In another embodiment, the orientation members 110, 111 are circumferentially spaced and positioned at the same longitudinal position on the first closure circumference 12. In another embodiment, the first and second orientation members 110, 111 are longitudinally positioned on the circular rim 19 of the first closure circumference 12. Having the orientation members 110, 111 on one circumference which is in one axial position may provide easier alignment of the closure 1 onto the container neck 30.

The closure 1 of the present invention may also include a second closure circumference 18 axially spaced within the first closure circumference 12 and longitudinally spaced from the first closure circumference 12. The second closure circumference 18 is an inner circular plane having a diameter that is smaller than the diameter of the first closure circumference 12 of the closure 1.

The second closure circumference 18 may be the inner surface of an annular shaped skirt 60 which depends from a trigger sprayer fitment 40. Any conventional trigger sprayer fitment 40 may be employed for the present invention. Conventional component parts include a dip tube 50, liquid supply passage, a vent chamber, a pump chamber, and a liquid discharge passage.

When the second closure circumference 18 is the inner surface of an annular shaped skirt 60 of a trigger fitment 40, the annular shaped skirt 60 may be integrally molded with the shroud 10 as one monolithic piece. This construction may reduce parts and improve manufacturing efficiencies.

The shroud 10 and the annular shaped skirt 60 may also be two separate pieces. Where a two-piece construction is employed, reduced torsional stresses may be observed which may reduce warping or misalignment of fasteners 160, 161, 162. Warping or misalignment of fasteners 160, 161, 162 may, in turn, disrupt the vertical stabilization and retention of the plug seal 70 in its fluid tight position. In a two-piece construction, the torsional stresses resulting from fastening the closure 1 onto the container may be taken up by the orientation members 110, 111, resulting in decreased residual stress on the fasteners 160, 161, 162.

The annular shaped skirt 60 may be positioned concentrically or eccentrically within the first closure circumference 12. In one embodiment, the skirt 60 may be concentrically positioned within the first closure circumference 12 of the shroud 10 and longitudinally positioned within the intermediate cylindrical surface 16 of the shroud 10. Where the orientation members 110, 111 and fasteners 160, 161, 162 protrude radially outwardly from an exterior surface of the closure 1, for example, the skirt 60 may longitudinally extend past the circular rim 19 of the shroud 10.

The skirt 60 may depend from a top wall 42 that is generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the closure 1. The interior surface of the skirt 60 may be generally cylindrical and smooth except for the presence of a plurality of fasteners 160, 161, 162 such as a plurality of bayonet tabs. In another embodiment, the lugs on the second closure circumference 18 or skirt 60 are orientation members 110, 111 and the lugs on the first closure circumference 12 are fasteners 160, 161, 162. The longitudinal spacing of the fasteners 160, 161, 162 and the orientation members 110, 111 regardless of which circumference they protrude from may be about 5 mm to about 25 mm, alternatively about 5 mm to about 15 mm apart from center point to center point.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the fasteners 160, 161, 162 are first, second, and third bayonet tabs provided on the interior surface of the second closure circumference 18. However, the number of bayonet tabs could be varied in other embodiments of the closure 1. Each bayonet tab projects radially inwardly from the second closure circumference 18 and are circumferentially spaced and longitudinal spaced from the orientation members 110, 111. Where the fasteners 160, 161, 162 are on the second closure circumference 18 or the inner surface of the skirt 60, the fasteners 160, 161, 162 project radially inwardly from the second closure circumference 18 to a greater extent than the orientation members 110, 111.

In one embodiment, the fasteners 160, 161, 162 are circumferentially spaced from each other and from all orientation members 110, 111 that are employed. In one embodiment, the circumferential spacing of the fasteners 160, 161, 162 and the orientation members 110, 111 provide non-overlapping lugs. Circumferential spacing, as opposed to lugs overlapping one another, around two or more axially spaced circumferences may provide an orientation system that is more effective in that none of the lugs interfere with assembling the orientation members 110, 111 on the container neck 30. In one embodiment, the lugs are spaced from center point to center point as follows: the first fastener 160 is circumferentially spaced about 5° to about 40°, alternatively about 35° from the first orientation member 110; the second fastener 161 is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 100°, alternatively about 90° from the first fastener 160; the second orientation member 111 is circumferentially spaced from about 5° to about 50°, alternatively about 45° from the second fastener 161; the third fastener is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 100°, alternatively about 90° from the second orientation member 111; the first orientation member 110 is circumferentially spaced from about 80° to about 120°, alternatively about 100° from the third fastener 162.

In the interior of the annular shaped skirt 60 and also depending from the top wall 42 may be a plug seal 70. The plug seal 70 may be an annular shaped sealing collar that depends downwardly from the top wall 42. The diameter of the plug seal 70 is dimensioned to frictionally engage the interior of the container neck 30 to form a fluid tight seal to prevent fluid in the container from leaking out of the closure 1. Spaced axially outwardly from the plug seal 70, the interior surface of the annular shaped skirt 60 depends downwardly to a bottom edge.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show the bottle or container neck 30, with the closure 1 removed from the neck 30. The neck 30 is configured to receive the trigger sprayer closure 1. The cylindrical neck 30 of the bottle extends upwardly. In one embodiment, the exterior surface of the container neck 30 is generally cylindrical and generally smooth except for the presence of two pairs of ridges 32a, 32b, 33a which define two channels 34, 36 and two stop walls 234. The number of ridges and channels generally correspond to the number of orientation members. In some instances, however, there may be more channels than orientation members. The number of channels may be varied in different embodiments. In one embodiment, two channels 34, 36 are provided to correspond to two orientation members 110, 111. In another embodiment, one channel is provided for one orientation member.

Each of the channels 34, 36 have an open end 134, 136 and a stop wall 234. The open ends 134, 136 are sufficiently large to enable the orientation members 110, 111 on the first closure circumference 12 to pass therethrough when attaching the trigger sprayer closure 1 to the container neck 30 as will be explained. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, a stop wall 234, corresponds with a channel 34 on the container neck 30. A stop wall 234 may be provided for each channel 34 employed, although one stop wall could also be employed. Each stop wall 234 is formed from the ridges 32a, 32b, 33a in which wall projects axially inwardly on the container neck 30. The stop wall 234 may extend longitudinally on the container neck 30 from the trailing end 132 of ridges 32a, 32b towards the finishing surface 39. In other embodiments, the stop wall 234 may extend longitudinally from the trailing end 132 of the ridges 32a, 33a upwardly away from the annular rims 332, 333 and toward the top of the container neck 30. In another embodiment, the stop wall 234 extends from the trailing ends 132, 133 of adjacent ridges 32a, 33a, but in other embodiments they could extend from the trailing ends of ridges that are not adjacent each other.

In one embodiment, the ridges 32a, 32b, 33a, project radially outwardly from the container neck 30 to a greater extent than the fastening provisions 260, 261, 262. The radial projection of the ridges 32a, 32b, 33a may corresponds to the radial projection of the orientation members 110, 111 and the fastening provisions 260, 261, 262 which may be first, second, and third bayonet provisions.

Referring to FIGS. 5a and 5b, the closure 1 may be attached to the container neck 30 by positioning the orientation members 110, 111 in the corresponding open ends, 134, 136 of the channels 34, 36 on the container neck 30. Indicia, such as pad-locks in locked and unlocked positions or arrows on the closure 1 and/or the container neck 30, may be used to facilitate the alignment process. The closure 1 is then moved longitudinally downward on the container neck 30 causing the annular shaped skirt 60 to rest on the rims 332, 333 of the ridges 32a, 32b, 33a and/or the bottom of the orientation members 110, 111 to rest on the finishing surface 39 of the container neck 30. The closure 1 is then rotated relative to the container causing the ridges 32a, 32b, 33a to pass over the orientation members 110, 111. The rotation is continued until at least one of the orientation members 110, 111 engages against the corresponding stop wall 234 thus preventing any further rotation of the closure 1 on the container neck 30 and completing the attachment of the closure 1 on the container neck 30. The channels 34, 36 are configured to receive and engage the orientation members 110, 111 thereby resisting circumferential movement of the closure 1 relative to the container neck 30. Further, the engagement of the fasteners 160, 161, 162 with the fastening provisions 260, 261, 262 securely holds the closure 1 on the container neck 30 and prevents any vertical movement of the closure 1 on the container neck 30. Once closed, the plug seal 70 is in engagement with the interior surface of the container neck 30 to provide a fluid tight seal.

The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as “40 mm” is intended to mean “about 40 mm”.

All documents cited in the Detailed Description of the Invention are, in relevant part, incorporated herein by reference; the citation of any document is not to be construed as an admission that it is prior art with respect to the present invention. To the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.





 
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