Title:
Dispenser System and Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dispenser apparatus and associated systems for use in storing and dispensing individual items are provided. The dispenser apparatus may be employed to dispense various items that are detachably adhered to a carrier strip, e.g., bandages, patches and the like, on demand, and has particular utility in dispensing items that are supplied for use in a sterile condition. The dispenser apparatus generally includes a housing and a cover member that is coupled thereto. The travel path of the carrier strip includes an exit path defined within the housing, redirection around a corner region, and return travel external to the housing through a channel. The redirection of the carrier strip, which generally approaches 180°, causes items that are detachably adhered to the carrier strip to automatically peel away therefrom.



Inventors:
Burns, Marie Louise Christina (Canton, CT, US)
Mathieu, David (Colchester, CT, US)
Sener, James (Glastonbury, CT, US)
Application Number:
13/030928
Publication Date:
08/23/2012
Filing Date:
02/18/2011
Assignee:
C. B. Medical, Inc. (Canton, CT, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/70
International Classes:
B65D83/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RANDALL, JR., KELVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McCormick, Paulding & Huber, PLLC (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A dispensing apparatus comprising: a. a housing defining an interior region; and b. a cover member coupled to the housing; wherein the housing defines (i) an upstanding member that is adapted to cooperate with a dispensing roll, (ii) an exit path configured and dimensioned for travel of a carrier strip associated with the dispensing roll; and (iii) an exit slot in communication with the exit path; wherein the cover member cooperates with the housing to (i) encase the interior region, and (ii) define a channel between an exterior wall of the housing and the cover member; and wherein a corner region is defined adjacent the exit slot, the corner region cooperating with the exit path and the channel to automatically separate an item adhered to the carrier strip as the carrier strip travels from the exit path, around the corner region and through the channel.

2. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the housing is a blister housing that is formed by thermoforming, blow molding or injection molding.

3. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cover member is a card member that is adhered with respect to the housing.

4. The dispensing apparatus of claim 3, wherein the cover member defines three regions: (i) a first region that is configured and dimensioned to be adhered to an underside of the housing; (ii) a second region adjacent the first region that is configured and dimensioned to be positioned adjacent the exterior wall of the housing; and (iii) a third region that configured and dimensioned to be positioned above an open top side of the housing.

5. The dispensing apparatus of claim 4, wherein a first fold line separates the first region from the second region, and wherein a second fold line separates the second region from the third region.

6. The dispensing apparatus of claim 4, wherein portions of the third region of the cover member are adhered to a flange region defined by the housing.

7. The dispensing apparatus of claim 4, wherein the second region of the cover member defines a step back region.

8. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the exit path, the bend region and the channel cooperate to define a travel path for the carrier strip that includes a turn that approximates 180°.

9. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the bend region defines a radiused corner.

10. The dispensing apparatus of claim 9, wherein the radiused corner is less than or equal to about 0.125 inches.

11. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a dispensing roll positioned within the interior region of the housing, the dispensing roll including an elongated carrier strip and a plurality of items detachably adhered to the elongated carrier strip.

12. The dispensing apparatus of claim 11, wherein the plurality of items are selected from the group consisting of bandages, patches, anti-wrinkle patches, perfume patches, nicotine patches, tattoos, labels and stickers.

13. The dispensing apparatus of claim 11, wherein the plurality of items are sterilized.

14. The dispensing apparatus of claim 11, wherein the housing and the cover member are adapted to permit replacement of depleted dispensing rolls within the interior region of the housing.

15. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the exit path defines a zig-zag path that is effective to tension the carrier strip.

16. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the housing defines a recessed region that is dimensioned to permit positioning a finger therein.

17. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein an exterior surface of the cover member is printed with advertising or promotional information.

18. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cover card cooperates with the housing to define two exposed edges of the cover card, such exposed edges being parallel to each other so as to permit a vertical standing orientation of the apparatus.

19. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a dispensing roll positioned around the upstanding member, and wherein the upstanding member prevents the cover member from compressing into a binding engagement with the dispensing roll when force is applied to the cover member during use.

20. The dispensing apparatus of claim 1, wherein a minimal clearance gap is defined between the cover member and a carrier strip positioned in the interior region such that a frictional relationship is established between the cover member and a top edge of the carrier strip, said frictional relationship being effective to maintain the carrier strip in position relative to the exit slot when the carrier strip is not being pulled by a user.

21. A method for dispensing items, comprising: a. providing an apparatus that contains a carrier strip upon which is detachably adhered a plurality of items; b. pulling an exposed end of the carrier strip from the apparatus such that the carrier strip travels through an exit slot defined in the apparatus, around a corner region defined by the apparatus, and through a channel defined adjacent an exterior wall of the apparatus, whereby an item adhered to the carrier strip is automatically detached at least in part from the carrier strip for user access.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the plurality of items are sterilized.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein the plurality of items are selected from the group consisting of bandages, patches, anti-wrinkle patches, perfume patches, nicotine patches, tattoos, labels and stickers.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

The present disclosure is directed to advantageous dispenser systems and related methods. More particularly, the present disclosure is directed to dispenser systems/methods that facilitate packaging and on-demand access to items for individual use, e.g., items that include an adhesive face such as bandages, patches and the like.

2. Background Art

Adhesive bandages are among the most widely used first aid supplies, finding application and utility for health care professionals and non-professional individuals. As is well known, bandages may be used to limit and/or prevent continued loss of blood and other body fluids, and to protect injured and/or sensitive areas from external influences, e.g., potential infectious elements. Thus, bandages are routinely used to cover and protect wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, blisters, bruises and the like. Therefore, bandages are extensively used in hospitals, schools and at home.

Bandages are provided in various sizes and shapes, but generally share two common attributes: (i) adherence to one or more base layers prior to use, and (ii) packaging/wrapping to maintain sterility. Thus, although bandages are generally provided to potential users in a “ready to use” state, there are several steps required before the bandage can be applied to the desired location. In particular, it is necessary to remove the packaging/wrapping so as to access the sterile bandage and base layer(s) combination. It is then necessary to separate the base layer(s) from the bandage so as to expose the adhesive portions of the bandage. The operation requires two hands and can be both time-consuming and awkward. The problems associated with accessing a bandage for use are exacerbated when the bandage is small, when the injury to be bandaged inhibits the use of two hands, and when speed of bandage access is of particular importance. Still further, the process of accessing the bandage can result in the adhesive portions of the bandage becoming adhered to undesirable surfaces, thereby interfering with delivery of the bandage to a desired location.

Bandages are generally manufactured and packaged in large quantities, with individual bandages combined in larger packages, e.g., cartons containing from 10 to 50 individual bandages. Efforts have been made to supply bandages in dispenser systems. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,358,140—entitled “Adhesive Bandage Dispensing System” to Pellegrino—discloses a dispensing system that includes an elongated strand of individually sterile-wrapped adhesive bandages and a reusable dispenser for storing and dispensing the bandages. The bandages are dispensed through a slot formed in the top of the dispenser housing. A bandage is dispensed from the housing based on application of a sharp force to the leading end of a bandage-carrying strand which causes a perforation associated with the carrying strand to break, thereby exposing the bandage.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,271,522—entitled “Individual Bandage Dispenser” to Ko et al.—discloses a bandage dispenser wherein bandages are adhered to successive bandages along opposite ends of the bandage. The bandages are dispensed from a box—with liner elements—between a pair of flexible fingers extending into an opening in the top wall of the box.

More recently, U.S. Pat. Publication No. 2010/0116838 entitled “Adhesive Bandage Dispenser” to Rattner discloses a dispenser wherein the bandages are individually placed on plates that are organized one on top of the other in a cartridge. A resilient member, such as a spring, pushes the plates outwardly of the cartridge while revealing the uppermost bandage with the pad and adhesive portions outwardly exposed. The user is thus permitted to adhere the bandage onto the wound.

Despite efforts to date, the bandage dispensing system that have been developed suffer from numerous limitations and shortcomings. In particular, bandage dispensing systems developed to date do not facilitate convenient, reliable and efficient delivery of bandages for immediate use. These and other limitations/shortcomings are overcome by the dispensing system and associated methods disclosed herein.

SUMMARY

An advantageous dispenser apparatus and associated systems for use in storing and dispensing individual items are provided according to the present disclosure. The disclosed dispenser apparatus may be employed to dispense various items that are detachably adhered to a carrier strip, e.g., bandages, patches and the like, on demand. The dispenser apparatus has particular utility in dispensing items that are supplied for use in a sterile condition, although the present disclosure is not limited by or to such particularly advantageous implementation. Thus, the present disclosure provides apparatus/systems and methods for storing and dispensing items for on-demand use in various applications and/or environments, e.g., wound treatment applications. The disclosed apparatus/system may be designed for single use or may be adapted to permit replenishment when a supply of items is exhausted.

In exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, a dispensing apparatus is provided that includes (i) a housing defining an interior region; and (ii) a cover member coupled to the housing. The housing typically defines (i) an upstanding member that is adapted to cooperate with a dispensing roll, (ii) an exit path configured and dimensioned for travel of a carrier strip associated with the dispensing roll; and (iii) an exit slot in communication with the exit path. The cover member generally cooperates with the housing to (i) encase the interior region, and (ii) define a channel between an exterior wall of the housing and the cover member through which the carrier strip travels. A corner region is defined adjacent the exit slot according to the present disclosure, the corner region cooperating with the exit path and the channel to automatically separate an item adhered to the carrier strip as the carrier strip travels from the exit path, around the corner region and through the channel. In this way, the disclosed apparatus and associated methods deliver items for use in an efficient, reliable and readily accessible manner.

The disclosed housing typically takes the form of a blister housing that may be formed by thermoforming, blow molding, injection molding or other suitable manufacturing technique. In exemplary embodiments, the cover member takes the form of a card member that is adhered with respect to portions of the housing, e.g., the base of the housing and a flange rim associated with the top of the housing. The cover member may also be adhered with respect to upstanding aspects of the housing, e.g., an upstanding member that is adapted to cooperate with and permit rotation of a dispensing roll.

Exemplary cover members according to the present disclosure define three regions: (i) a first region that is configured and dimensioned to be adhered to an underside of the housing; (ii) a second region adjacent the first region that is configured and dimensioned to be positioned adjacent the exterior wall of the housing; and (iii) a third region that configured and dimensioned to be positioned above an open top side of the housing. A first fold line generally separates the first region from the second region, and a second fold line generally separates the second region from the third region. The third region of the cover member is typically adhered to a flange region defined by a top face of the housing. In further exemplary embodiments of the present application, the second region of the cover member defines a step back region that facilitates separation of individual items from the carrier strip.

Of note, to facilitate separation of the detachably adhered items from the carrier strip, the exit path, bend region and channel typically cooperate to define a travel path for the carrier strip that includes a turn that approximates 180°. The bend region may advantageously define a radiused corner, e.g., a radiused corner that is less than or equal to about 0.125 inches.

A dispensing roll is generally positioned within the interior region of the housing, the dispensing roll including an elongated carrier strip and a plurality of items detachably adhered thereto. The plurality of items may take various forms, e.g., bandages, patches, anti-wrinkle patches, perfume patches, nicotine patches, tattoos, labels, stickers and the like. In exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, the plurality of items are sterilized. In some implementations of the present disclosure, the housing and cover member are adapted to permit replacement of depleted dispensing rolls within the interior region of the housing. In other embodiments, the housing/cover member and associated dispensing roll are intended to be disposable once the initial dispensing roll is depleted.

The exit path defined in the housing typically forms a zig-zag path that is effective to tension the carrier strip. In addition, exemplary embodiments of the disclosed housing define a recessed region in an exterior wall (e.g., the base) that is dimensioned to permit positioning of a finger therein. The exterior surface of the cover member may be advantageously printed or otherwise adorned with advertising or promotional information, thereby enhancing the value of the disclosed apparatus as a marketing/promotional item.

The present disclosure further provides an advantageous method for dispensing items that are detachably adhered to a carrier strip. For example, the disclosed method may include: (i) providing an apparatus that contains a carrier strip upon which is detachably adhered a plurality of items; and (ii) pulling an exposed end of the carrier strip from the apparatus such that the carrier strip travels through an exit slot defined in the apparatus, around a corner region defined by the apparatus, and through a channel defined adjacent an exterior wall of the apparatus, whereby an item adhered to the carrier strip is automatically detached at least in part from the carrier strip for user access. The disclosed method is particularly adapted for use with sterilized items. In exemplary implementations, the disclosed method may be employed to dispense/access—on demand—items such as bandages, patches, anti-wrinkle patches, perfume patches, nicotine patches, tattoos, labels, stickers and the like.

Additional features, functions and benefits of the disclosed apparatus/systems and associated methods will be apparent from the description which follows, particularly when read in conjunction with the appended figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

To assist those of ordinary skill in the art in making and using the dispensing systems and associated methods of the present disclosure, reference is made to the accompanying figures wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary delivery apparatus/system according to the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1 with the top cover peeled back to permit viewing of the interior of the exemplary apparatus/system;

FIG. 3 is a further top view of the exemplary embodiment set forth in FIG. 1 with the top cover peeled back and with a bandage being dispensed therefrom;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of an exemplary blister housing associated with an exemplary delivery apparatus/system of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the exemplary blister housing set forth in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a bottom perspective view of the exemplary blister housing set forth in FIGS. 4 and 5;

FIG. 7 is a top view of a cover card associated with an exemplary delivery apparatus/system of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 7A is a top plan view of an alternative cover card associated with an exemplary delivery apparatus/system of the present disclosure.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The present disclosure provides advantageous dispenser apparatus/systems for use in storing and dispensing individual items, e.g., bandages, patches and the like. The present disclosure further provides methods for storing and dispensing items for on-demand use in various applications and/or environments, e.g., wound treatment applications. The disclosed apparatus/systems and methods facilitate storage of desired items, e.g., bandages, in a sterile environment, and delivery of individual items to a user in a manner that permits efficient and effective use thereof.

In exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure and with reference to FIGS. 1-7, an advantageous delivery apparatus/system 10 is provided that includes a blister housing 12 and a cover card 14. The cover card 14 is adapted to be adhered or otherwise coupled to the blister housing 12 so as to encase the interior region 16 (see FIGS. 2-5) of the blister housing 12. Exemplary techniques for adhering and/or coupling the cover card 14 relative to the blister housing 12 are described in greater detail below.

Of note, the interior region 16 of blister housing 12 is adapted to receive a plurality of items for dispensation therefrom. In exemplary implementations of the present disclosure, the plurality of items are provided as a roll 18 that includes a carrier 20 and a plurality of detachable items 22. The present disclosure provides a detailed description with respect to an exemplary implementation wherein the items 22 are bandages. However, the present disclosure is not limited by or to such exemplary implementation. Rather, the dispensing apparatus/system (and associated methods) may be utilized with a variety of items 22, e.g., patches (such as anti-wrinkle patches, perfume patches, nicotine patches and the like), tattoos, labels, stickers, and the like. Indeed, the delivery apparatus/system and associated methods of the present disclosure may be advantageously employed for storage and dispensation of any carrier-based item that would benefit from on-demand dispensation from a housing. The delivery apparatus/system of the present disclosure is particularly advantageous for—but not limited to—the storage and dispensation of sterile items, e.g., bandages and the like. As used herein, a bandage typically includes an adhesive coated backing and an absorbent pad/region that is typically centrally located relative to the adhesive coating backing.

With further reference to FIGS. 2-5, blister housing 12 generally defines an upstanding member 24 that is positioned in interior region 16. Upstanding member 24 typically defines a cylindrical or conical geometry and is sized so as to permit a roll 18 to be positioned therearound. Indeed, upstanding member 24 functions as the axis of rotation for the roll 18 as items 22 are dispensed from blister housing 12. The upstanding member 24 generally defines a height relative to the base 26 of blister housing 12 that is greater than the width of roll 18, thereby minimizing risk that roll 18 will bind within apparatus 10. A conical (as opposed to cylindrical) geometry is generally preferred so as to permit stacking of blister housings 12, e.g., in connection with inventory handling, and to facilitate manufacturing/molding operations.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, roll 18 is positioned around upstanding member 24 with carrier 20 passing through an exit path 28 defined in interior region 16 of blister housing 12. The exit path 28 advantageously defines a zig-zag path that provides tension to carrier 20 for reasons described in greater detail below. In an exemplary implementation of the present disclosure, a zig-zag exit path 28 is defined by guide post 30, wall extension 32 that extends from side wall 33 and the relative positioning of exit slot 34. An arcuate/angled internal wall 36 extends from guide post 30 to the side wall of blister housing 12 for manufacturing/molding purposes. Alternative physical feature(s) may be employed in exit path 28 to achieve the disclosed zig-zag arrangement, e.g., additional wall-based extension(s) and/or guide post(s). Alternatively, the zig-zag path may be supplemented and/or replaced by ancillary tensioning structures, e.g., a leaf spring or other resilient member that extends into exit path 28 to apply resistance to carrier 20 as it passes therethrough. Of note, a minimal clearance gap is generally defined between the cover card 14 and the carrier 20—which is positioned in a vertical orientation between the base of the blister housing 12 and the underside of the cover card 14—such that a frictional relationship is generally established between the cover card 14 and the top edge of the carrier 20. This frictional relationship, although easily overcome in use when the carrier is pulled 20, helps to maintain the carrier 20 in place, e.g., when not being pulled by a user, thereby preventing the carrier 20 from losing its position/orientation relative to exit slot 34 at such points in time.

Turning to FIG. 7, cover card 14 defines three distinct regions: (i) region 36 that is adapted to be adhered or otherwise coupled to the base 26 of blister housing 12; (ii) region 38 that is adapted to fold upward relative to region 36 along fold line 40 at a substantially 90° angle relative thereto; and (iii) region 42 that is adapted to fold over the open top of blister housing 12 along fold line 44 so as to enclose interior region 28. Of note, the dimensions of cover card 14—and particularly the widths of regions 36 and 42 and positioning of fold lines 40 and 44—are selected so as to ensure that region 38 is spaced away from side wall 33 of the blister housing when cover card 14 is adhered/coupled to blister housing 12. Thus, a channel 46 (see FIG. 3) is defined between blister housing 12 and cover card 14 for passage of carrier 20 after item 22 is separated therefrom. In exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, the width of channel 46 is on the order of 0.0625 inches or less.

Cover card 14 also generally includes a feature 48 that permits region 38 to be reduced in size/dimension so as to permit region 38 to be stepped back from front edge 50 thereof. The step back is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, and such step back provides increased clearance for carrier 20 as it passes through exit slot 34 and is redirected by 180° to extend through channel 46. With reference to FIG. 7A, an exemplary cover card 14′ according to the present disclosure includes a tear off tab 52 that is adapted to tear along perforation 54 facilitates the creation of a desired step back in region 38 as described herein. Alternative techniques for creating a desired step back may be employed, as will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art.

With further reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, blister housing 12 defines a corner region 60 adjacent exit slot 34 that facilitates separation of carrier 20 from item 22, e.g., a bandage as shown in FIG. 3. Thus, corner region 60 is typically radiused so as to define a relatively sharp corner. For example, in implementations where carrier 20 is adapted to carry/deliver bandages of conventional design and approximately 3″ length, corner region 60 may advantageously define a radius of about 0.125″ or less. A desired bend radius is generally selected based on parameters such as the thickness of the item 22, the amount of adhesive on the item (i.e., the degree of adherence between the carrier 20 and the item 20) and the rigidity of the bandage. The greater the adhesive and the lesser the rigidity/thickness, the sharper geometry at corner region 60 to facilitate efficient and reliable separation of the item from the carrier. In addition, it is noted that the radiused corner region 60 is generally defined immediately adjacent exit slot 34 so as to achieve a desired travel path for carrier 20. In exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure, the exit path 28, the corner region 60 and the channel 46 define a travel path for the carrier that includes a turn that approximates 180°.

With reference to FIG. 6, exemplary blister housing 12 defines a recessed region 61 that is configured and dimensioned to accommodate a user's finger when grasping apparatus 10. Recessed region 61 is generally defined on the underside of blister housing 12 in the back corner relative to exit slot 34 and functions to permit the user to grasp apparatus 10 without interference from carrier 20 in the vicinity thereof.

In assembling exemplary apparatus 10 as described herein, the blister housing 10 is typically thermoformed or blow molded using conventional thermoform/blow molding techniques. However, alternative manufacturing techniques may be employed, e.g., injection molding, as will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art. A roll 18 is generally obtained that includes a plurality of items 22 detachably adhered to carrier 20. The roll 18 is positioned around upstanding member 24 and a portion of carrier 20 is positioned in exit path 28 with the free end of carrier 20 extending through exit slot 34. Thus, in the exemplary embodiment of

FIGS. 1-5, the roll 18 is adapted to rotate in clockwise direction relative to upstanding member 24. Region 36 of the cover card 14 is adhered or otherwise coupled to the underside of base 26 of blister housing 12 and regions 38 and 42 are folded around the blister housing 12 so as to define channel 46 adjacent side wall 33 and a step back with respect to region 38. Region 42 is typically adhered or otherwise coupled to the upper portions of blister housing 12, e.g., outer flange 62, the top of upstanding member 24 and the top of guide post 30. For example, the noted upper portions of blister housing 12 may be heat sealed relative to opposed portions/regions of cover card 14 so as to enclose roll 18 therebetween. The carrier 20 is then threaded channel 46 exterior to blister housing 12. Once assembled as noted herein, the exposed edges of cover card 14 define parallel surfaces that permit apparatus 10 to stand up in a vertical orientation, as shown in FIG. 1.

The adherence/coupling of region 42 of cover card 14 relative to blister housing 12 may be substantially permanent in design/operation, such that apparatus 10 functions as a single use/disposable assembly. Alternatively, the adherence/coupling of cover card 14 relative to blister housing 12 may permit disengagement, such that the roll 18 may be replaced when depleted. Thus, the present disclosure contemplates both single use/disposable and reusable implementations of the disclosed dispensing apparatus/system

The cover card 14 generally functions as the outer cover for the disclosed apparatus/system on three sides thereof. Thus, the cover card 14 may be advantageously printed or otherwise adorned with desired information, indicia, aesthetically-desired decorations and/or promotional information. For example, the disclosed apparatus/system may be implemented as a promotional item with advertising/promotional information printed or otherwise formed/presented on the exposed face(s) of cover card 14. Similarly, the items 22 delivered ‘ from the disclosed apparatus/system may include promotional and/or informational features and/or functions associated therewith.

As noted above, the disclosed apparatus/system may be advantageously employed to deliver sterile items on-demand to users. Thus, the fully assembled apparatus/system may be subject to a sterilization step to ensure sterility of the items to be delivered therefrom, e.g., bandages, patches or the like.

In use, a system user desiring on-demand access to and delivery of an item contained within exemplary apparatus/system 10 grasps the assembly in one hand, e.g., by placing a finger in recessed region 61 and a second finger on the opposite side of apparatus 10. The user then grasps the leading end of carrier 20 (after it passes through channel 46) and pulls the carrier 20 through channel 46. Such pulling action causes roll 18 to rotate around upstanding member 24 within interior region 16 and an extent of carrier/item passes through travel path 28. As carrier 20 passes through exit slot 34 and is redirected by approximately 180° around bend region 60, the next item 22 (e.g., a bandage) is automatically separated from carrier 20 and presented to the user for ready access and use (see FIG. 3). Separation of item 22 from carrier 20 is automatically effectuated by reason of a “peeling away” action that takes place due to the redirection of carrier 20 and that degree of rigidity associated with item 22 that prevents it from accommodating such 180° change in direction. Thus, the disclosed apparatus/system and associated method automatically and conveniently delivers an item 22—e.g., a sterile bandage—to a user without a need for the user to separate the item from a carrier/backing or packaging. Of note, when a dispensing roll 18 is positioned around the upstanding member 24, the upstanding member 24 advantageously prevents the cover card 14 from compressing into a binding engagement with the dispensing roll 18 when force is applied to the top face of the cover card 14, e.g., during use of apparatus 10.

Although the present disclosure has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments and implementations thereof, the present disclosure is not limited by or to such exemplary embodiments and/or implementations. For example, the bend region of the disclosed apparatus may be formed/defined, at least in part, from the card member. In addition, the “zig-zag” path may be extended to very near the full side dimension of the housing by including a feature that guides the carrier strip to such travel path. Thus, the disclosed apparatus/system and methods are susceptible to variations, modifications and enhancements without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. Indeed, the present disclosure expressly encompasses such variations, modifications and enhancements as will be readily apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art based on the description provided herein.