Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20150014363 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 14/327,975
Publication date15 Jan 2015
Filing date10 Jul 2014
Priority date12 Jul 2013
Publication number14327975, 327975, US 2015/0014363 A1, US 2015/014363 A1, US 20150014363 A1, US 20150014363A1, US 2015014363 A1, US 2015014363A1, US-A1-20150014363, US-A1-2015014363, US2015/0014363A1, US2015/014363A1, US20150014363 A1, US20150014363A1, US2015014363 A1, US2015014363A1
InventorsShelby Jay Buell, Kaitlin Anne Wolf
Original AssigneeGojo Industries, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air-vented liquid dispensers and refill units therefor
US 20150014363 A1
Abstract
Air-vented liquid dispensers are disclosed herein, including refill units for use in connection with such dispensers. A cap is attached to the rigid container. A manifold of the refill unit is secured to the neck portion, and includes an air passage for air to enter into the container and a liquid passage for liquid to exit the container. In some embodiments, one of the cap and the container comprises a protrusion, and the other of the cap and the container comprises a seat for the protrusion, such that an interface between the protrusion and the seat forms an air vent pathway for the refill unit. In other embodiments, one of the cap and the container comprises a flexible and resilient valve member which in a rest position extends to contact the other of the cap and the container.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(22)
We claim:
1. A refill unit for a liquid dispenser, the refill unit comprising:
a rigid container comprising a neck portion and an interior portion for holding a liquid;
a cap attached to the rigid container so that the neck portion of the container extends into the cap; and
a manifold secured to the neck portion with the cap, wherein the manifold comprises an air passage leading from a space between the container and the cap to the interior portion of the container, and a liquid passage leading from the interior portion of the container to a liquid outlet of the manifold;
wherein one of the cap and the container comprises a protrusion, and the other of the cap and the container comprises a seat for the protrusion, such that an interface between the protrusion and the seat forms an air vent pathway for the refill unit.
2. The refill unit of claim 1, wherein the cap is attached to the rigid container by a threaded connection or a snap-fit connection between the cap and the rigid container.
3. The refill unit of claim 2, wherein:
the cap comprises an inward flange portion and the container comprises an outward flange portion, such that when the cap is attached to the container, the inward flange portion engages the outward flange portion; and
the protrusion is formed on one of the inward flange portion and the outward flange portion, and the seat is formed on the other of the inward flange portion and the outward flange portion.
4. The refill unit of claim 1, wherein the cap comprises an inward flange portion and the manifold comprises an outward flange portion, such that when the cap is attached to the container, the inward flange portion presses the outward flange portion against an outer lip of the container neck.
5. The refill unit of claim 4, further comprising a gasket disposed between the inward flange portion and the outward flange portion.
6. The refill unit of claim 1, wherein the liquid comprises at least one of a soap, a sanitizer, a cleanser or a disinfectant.
7. The refill unit of claim 1, further comprising a liquid pump connected to the liquid outlet of the manifold, such that operation of the liquid pump draws liquid from the container into and then out of the liquid pump in order to dispense liquid from the refill unit.
8. The refill unit of claim 7, wherein the liquid pump comprises an elastomeric dome pump.
9. The refill unit of claim 7, wherein the liquid pump comprises a pump housing, and the manifold is part of the pump housing.
10. The refill unit of claim 1, wherein one of the cap and the container comprises an orientation lug, and the other of the cap and the container comprises an orientation recess, such that the orientation lug is received within the orientation recess when the protrusion is fitted with the seat.
11. The refill unit of claim 1, wherein the seat further comprises angled side members to receive the protrusion.
12. A dispensing device comprising:
a rigid container, a cap and a manifold, wherein:
the container comprises a neck portion and an interior portion for holding a liquid;
the cap is attached to the container so that the neck of the container extends into the cap; and
the manifold is secured to the neck portion by the cap, and comprises an air passage leading from a space between the container and the cap to the interior portion of the container, and a liquid passage leading from the interior portion of the container to a liquid outlet of the manifold; and
wherein one of the cap and the container comprises a protrusion, and the other of the cap and the container comprises a seat for the protrusion, such that an interface between the protrusion and the seat forms an air vent pathway for the refill unit.
13. The dispensing device of claim 12, wherein the manifold comprises a one-way outlet valve.
14. The dispensing device of claim 12, wherein the air vent pathway is between about 0.015 and 0.040 inches.
15. A dispensing device comprising:
a rigid container comprising a neck portion and an interior portion for holding a liquid;
a cap attached to the rigid container so that the neck portion of the container extends into the cap; and
a manifold secured to the neck portion underneath the container, wherein the manifold comprises an air passage leading from a space between the container and the cap to the interior portion of the container, and a liquid passage leading from the interior portion of the container to a liquid outlet of the manifold;
wherein one of the cap and the container comprises a flexible and resilient valve member which in a rest position extends to contact the other of the cap and the container; and
wherein the resilience of the valve member may be overcome by a minimum vacuum pressure generated in the container by liquid being dispensed from the container, to move the valve member from the rest position to an open position separated from the other of the cap and the container, thereby allowing air to enter the container until the vacuum pressure falls below the minimum pressure thus permitting the valve member to return to the rest position due to its resiliency.
16. The dispensing device of claim 15, wherein the cap is attached to the rigid container by a threaded connection or a snap-fit connection between the cap and the rigid container.
17. The dispensing device of claim 16, wherein the cap comprises an inward flange portion and the container comprises an outward flange portion, such that when the cap is attached to the container, the inward flange portion engages the outward flange portion.
18. The dispensing device of claim 15, wherein the cap comprises an inward flange portion and the manifold comprises an outward flange portion, such that when the cap is attached to the container, the inward flange portion presses the outward flange portion against an outer lip of the container neck.
19. The dispensing device of claim 15, further comprising a liquid pump connected to the liquid outlet of the manifold, such that operation of the liquid pump draws liquid from the container into and then out of the liquid pump in order to dispense liquid from the refill unit.
20. The dispensing device of claim 19, wherein the liquid pump comprises an elastomeric dome pump.
21. The dispensing device of claim 20, wherein the liquid pump comprises a pump housing, and the manifold is part of the pump housing.
22. The dispensing device of claim 15, wherein the flexible and resilient valve member is directed towards the air passage of the manifold in the rest position.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to and the benefits of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/845,650 filed on Jul. 12, 2013 and entitled “AIR-VENTED LIQUID DISPENSERS AND REFILL UNITS THEREFOR,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to liquid dispenser systems and more particularly to air-vented liquid dispensers, as well as refill units for use with such dispensers.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Liquid dispenser systems, such as liquid soap and sanitizer dispensers, provide a user with an amount of liquid upon actuation of the dispenser. It is desirable to provide such a dispenser having a rigid container that is vented with air so that the pump may re-prime itself after a dispensing action. It is also desirable to provide such a dispenser that is easily recharged once the container runs out of liquid to dispense, and that is inexpensive to produce.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0004]
    Air-vented liquid dispensers are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a refill unit for a liquid dispenser includes a rigid container holding a liquid and having a neck portion. A cap is attached to the rigid container so that the neck portion of the container extends into the cap. A manifold of the refill unit includes an air passage for air to enter into the container and a liquid passage for liquid to exit the container. One of the cap and the container comprises a protrusion, and the other of the cap and the container comprises a seat for the protrusion, such that an interface between the protrusion and the seat forms an air vent pathway for the refill unit.
  • [0005]
    In another embodiment, a refill unit for an air-vented liquid dispenser system includes a rigid container holding a liquid and having a neck portion. A cap is attached to the rigid container so that the neck portion of the container extends into the cap. A manifold of the refill unit includes an air passage for air to enter into the container and a liquid passage for liquid to exit the container. One of the cap and the container comprises a flexible and resilient valve member which in a rest position extends to contact the other of the cap and the container. The resilience of the valve member may be overcome by a minimum vacuum pressure generated in the container by liquid being dispensed from the container, to move the valve member from the rest position to an open position separated from the other of the cap and the container, thereby allowing air to enter the container until the vacuum pressure falls below the minimum pressure thus permitting the valve member to return to the rest position due to its resiliency.
  • [0006]
    In this way, a simple and economical air-vented liquid dispenser system including a refill unit is provided.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description and accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0008]
    FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a rigid liquid container 110 used in a first exemplary air-vented liquid dispenser refill unit 100;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a cap 120 used in the first refill unit 100;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of an assembled first refill unit 100, including the container 110, the cap 120, a pump manifold 130, and a liquid pump 140;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 4 is a close-up bottom partial view of the container 110 and the cap 120 in an assembled state, focusing on a protrusion 124 and a seat 116;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 5 is a close-up side partial view of the container and the cap 120 in an assembled state, focusing on the protrusion 124 and the seat 116;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 6 is a partial side view of a rigid liquid container 110′ which may be used in connection with the cap 120 and the pump manifold 130 of the first refill unit 100; and
  • [0014]
    FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of a second exemplary air-vented liquid dispenser refill unit 200, in an assembled state.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0015]
    FIGS. 1 to 5 illustrate a first exemplary embodiment of an air-vented liquid dispenser refill unit 100. The first refill unit 100 includes a rigid liquid container 110 (only partially shown in the Figures), a cap or closure 120, a pump manifold 130, and a liquid pump 140. The first refill unit 100 is configured to be placed within or connected to a receptacle (not shown) formed by other components of an overall liquid dispenser system (not shown) to form an operable liquid dispenser. An exemplary dispenser includes a housing that extends up to at least the lower portion 111 of the container 110 to support the first refill unit 100. In addition, the dispenser includes an opening from which fluid may be dispensed. Some exemplary dispensers include a lever or actuator to engage the pump 140. Optionally, the housing has an opening through which the pump 140 is visible for a user to operate the pump 140. In some embodiments, the dispenser housing also includes a base to support the refill unit 100 and an open area below an outlet (not shown) of the pump 140. In some embodiments, the base catches any drips that drip out of the pump 140 outlet. In some embodiments, the outlet of the pump 140 may be fluidically connected to the outlet of the housing in order for liquid to be dispensed by the system. When the container 110 of an installed refill unit 100 runs out of liquid for the dispenser system to dispense, it may quickly and easily be replaced by an identical refill unit 100 filled with liquid.
  • [0016]
    The rigid liquid container 110 stores a supply of liquid within an interior portion 112 of the container 110. The term “rigid”, as defined herein, means that the container 110 retains its shape regardless of whether or how much liquid is stored within the container 110, and does not collapse as liquid is dispensed from the container 110. In some instances the walls of the rigid container 110 may bend and flex when placed under even small external pressures. In various embodiments, the contained liquid could be for example a soap, a sanitizer, a cleanser, a disinfectant or some other dispensable liquid.
  • [0017]
    The container 110 includes a neck 113 which, when the refill unit 100 is in normal use, is disposed at the bottom of the container 110. That is, during normal use, the container 110 is in an inverted position within a liquid dispenser system holding the refill unit 100. The liquid container 110 may advantageously be refillable, replaceable, or both refillable and replaceable within the refill unit 100. In other embodiments the liquid container 110 may be neither refillable nor replaceable within the refill unit 100.
  • [0018]
    Although the descriptions of the embodiments herein describe the container in an inverted position, the innovative features may be used in an upright container to vent a container. In addition, although the term refill unit is used herein, in some embodiments, the refill unit may be a container and pump that is a standalone dispensing system and thus, exemplary embodiments of refill units may be used to dispense fluids without the need for a separate dispenser.
  • [0019]
    The wall portion of the liquid container 110 may include one or more transparent portions (not shown) so that users of the refill unit 100 may easily determine how much liquid is left within the container 110. The wall portion may also include one or more face portions (not shown) on which product information, advertising information, instructions, or the like are provided.
  • [0020]
    When the first refill unit 100 is assembled, the cap 120 is attached to the liquid container 110 so that the neck 113 of the container 110 extends into the cap 120, as shown in FIG. 3. Any means of attachment between the liquid container 110 and the cap 120 may be employed. In the illustrated example, the attachment means comprises a snap fit arrangement between an outwardly extending flange 114 disposed on the exterior of the neck 113 and an inwardly extending flange 121 disposed on the interior of the cap 120. Alternative attachment means include threaded fit arrangements, adhesives, mechanical fasteners and the like.
  • [0021]
    The cap 120 has an inward flange portion 122 surrounding an aperture 123. The pump manifold 130 of the first refill unit 100 has an outward flange portion 131. When the cap 120 is securely attached to the container 110 as shown in FIG. 3, the inward flange portion 122 of the cap 120 presses against the outward flange portion 131 of the pump manifold 130 to secure the pump manifold 130 against a lip 115 of the container 110. In some embodiments, a gasket member (not shown) may be disposed between the inward flange 122 of the cap 120 and the outward flange 131 of the pump manifold 130 to help form a liquid seal at that interface. The illustrated pump manifold 130 is a generic manifold and may be replaced by any component, such as for example, a liquid pump 140 that is desirable to connect directly to a container 110.
  • [0022]
    In addition, in some embodiments cap 120 and manifold 130 are a single integrated piece. In some embodiments, manifold 130 is part of a pump housing. In some embodiments, manifold 130 contains a one-way outlet valve (not shown) and the container is used to dispense fluids by holding the container in an inverted position and squeezing the container with sufficient force to overcome the cracking pressure of the one-way outlet valve (not shown). Thus, the innovative features of the present invention do not require multiple components or a pump. Indeed, in some embodiments cap 120 does not include an opening at one end and is simply used to seal a container and allow air to vent the container without allowing liquid to flow out of the container.
  • [0023]
    The pump manifold 130 has a liquid passage 132 into which liquid stored within the interior 112 of the container 110 may flow under the force of gravity and/or the action of the liquid pump 140, or any other one way outlet. The liquid passage 132 leads to a liquid outlet 133 and then to the liquid pump 140. The liquid pump 140 may be operated by a user of the overall liquid dispensing system (not shown) holding the refill unit 100 to dispense a portion of the liquid from the container 110 to the user, supplied via the liquid passage 132. The liquid pump 140 has an outlet (not shown) which upon actuation of the pump 140 dispenses a dose of liquid directly to the user or to other components of the overall dispenser system.
  • [0024]
    Any suitable liquid pumping mechanism may be employed as the liquid pump 140. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,806,301 to Ciavarella et al., U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2008/0149666 to LaFlamme et al., and U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2011/0031278 to Han de Man each disclose suitable elastomeric dome pump structures for use as a liquid pump 140 in a liquid dispensing system. Those three references are each hereby incorporated by reference into the present disclosure for their respective teachings regarding elastomeric dome pump assemblies. Other exemplary pumps 140 include piston pumps, bellows pumps, diaphragm pumps, peristaltic pumps or the like.
  • [0025]
    When the liquid pump 140 dispenses a liquid dose from the container 110, a vacuum pressure is created within the interior 112 of the container 110. If that vacuum pressure is not relieved, eventually it will prevent the liquid pump 140 from priming, and the liquid dispensing system holding the refill unit 100 will cease operating, or the container 112 will collapse due to the vacuum pressure. To prevent such a situation from arising, the first refill unit 100 has an air vent pathway formed therein, as best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. That is, when the container 110 and the cap 120 are properly assembled, a protrusion 124 on the flange 121 of the cap 120 is received within a seat 116 formed on an upper surface 118 of the flange 114 of the container neck 113. These structures form an air vent pathway 117 in the first refill unit 100 so that air may enter into the interior 112 of the liquid container 110 to relieve the vacuum pressure created therein when a liquid dose is dispensed from the interior 112 of the container 110.
  • [0026]
    More specifically, the protrusion 124 is received within the seat 116 such that liquid is prevented from passing through that interface under substantially all conditions, but air is free to pass through that interface under at least some conditions. With each actuation of the liquid pump 140, more liquid is dispensed, and the vacuum pressure within the interior 112 of the container 110 increases. Eventually the vacuum pressure will exceed a minimum pressure which is sufficient to pull air into the interior 112 of the container 110 through the air vent pathway 117. The air travels from the outside environment surrounding the first refill unit 100, downwardly into the upper space 151 between the container 110 and the cap 120 shown in FIG. 3, until it reaches the air vent pathway 117. The air then passes through the interface between the protrusion 124 and the seat 116 to enter the pathway 117, and continues on to the lower space 152 between the container 110 and the cap 120. The air thusly reaches an air passage 134 formed in the pump manifold 130, which leads to the interior 112 of the container 110. In that way, the vacuum pressure within the container interior 112 is relieved by the introduction of air from the air vent opening 117. Liquid held within the container interior 112 is free to pass downwardly into the air passage 134 and into the lower space 152, but such liquid is prevented from passing through the air vent pathway 117 due to the fitting of the protrusion 124 in the seat 116.
  • [0027]
    The vacuum pressure within the interior 112 will resultantly decrease until it once again falls below the minimum pressure needed to pull air through the interface between the protrusion 124 and the seat 116. At that point the air venting cycle begins anew. Depending on the amount of liquid dispensed by each actuation of the liquid pump of the first refill unit 100, it may require just one actuation to activate the venting cycle or more than one actuation to activate the venting cycle. In an exemplary embodiment, the size of the gap formed between the protrusion 124 and the seat 116 may be between about 0.015 and about 0.040 inch.
  • [0028]
    The neck 113 of the liquid container 110 may further have one or more orientation lugs 119 and the cap 120 may further have one or more orientation recess(es) 125, or vice versa. When the cap 120 is properly arranged on the neck 113 of the liquid container 110, the orientation lug 119 fits into the orientation recess 125, so that the seat 116 on the neck 113 receives the protrusion 124 of the cap 120. A user of the refill unit 100 is notified if there is no proper alignment by warping created in the open end of the cap 120 by the orientation lug 119. Once the orientation lug 119 has properly been received in the orientation recess 125, an audible snap may notify the user and the warping of the open end will cease.
  • [0029]
    As briefly mentioned above, at some point the liquid stored within the liquid container 110 of the refill unit 100 will run out. At that time the empty refill unit 100 may be separated from the other components of the dispensing system (not shown) and replaced with a new refill unit 100 containing a full supply of liquid.
  • [0030]
    In other embodiments, however, an air-vented liquid dispensing system may be refilled with liquid in additional and alternative ways. In a first such embodiment, a sealable opening (not shown) may be provided in or near a top portion of the liquid container 110 to pour more liquid into the container 110. In a second such embodiment, an empty liquid container 110 may be detached from the cap 120 and replaced with a liquid-filled container 110. The replacement container 110 may either be the same depleted container as before after having been re-filled with liquid via the accessible neck 113, or an entirely new liquid-filled container 110 may take the place of the removed container 110. In the latter event, the new container 110 may include a removable closure (not shown) disposed over the outer lip 115 of the neck 113 to help ensure liquid does not escape from the container 110 during shipment and storage before use.
  • [0031]
    In one embodiment, the various components of the second refill unit 100 may be assembled into a completed refill unit 100 as follows. First, all the individual parts are manufactured. For example, they may be formed by a plastic extrusion or blow molding process using PET, PP, HDPE, LDPE or the like. Then, the cap 120 and the pump manifold 130 are assembled together as those parts are shown in FIG. 3, to form a sub-assembly. And, the container 110 is placed in an upright position and filled with a liquid to be dispensed. The sub-assembly is then inserted on to the container 110, and the cap 120 is snapped into place on the neck 113 of the container 110, to form the completed final assembly of FIGS. 3 to 5. The completed refill unit 100 may then be installed within a liquid dispenser system (not shown), or shipped to end users for use as a refill unit in pre-existing liquid dispensing systems. In the latter case, a closure mechanism may be placed around or on the outlet (not shown) of the liquid pump 140 to help prevent liquid from being accidentally dispensed during transport.
  • [0032]
    As illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 5, the cap 120, the pump manifold 130 and the liquid pump 140 are separable components which are connected together when the first refill unit 100 is fully assembled. In alternative embodiments, any two or more of these components may comprise one integral component within the first refill unit 100. Various other combinations of different components which combine to form the first refill unit 100 are of course also possible. Thus, for example, in some embodiments, the pump manifold 130 may be incorporated in the housing of the liquid pump 140.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 6 shows a side view of a rigid liquid container 110′ used in a slight modification of the second exemplary refill unit 100, identified in this written description as 100′. The modified container 110′ is substantially similar to the container 110, except for the configuration of the seat 116′. The seat 116′ includes two angled side members 116 a′ to receive the protrusion 124 of the cap 120, to form a better liquid seal at the interface. This may help to prevent liquid from escaping the modified refill unit 100′ through the air vent pathway 117. The side members 116 a′ may also perform the orientation function, so that the separate orientation lug(s) 119 and recess(es) 125 are not needed in the modified refill unit 100′.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of a second exemplary embodiment of an air-vented liquid dispenser refill unit 200, in an assembled condition. The second refill unit 200 is configured to be placed within or connected to a receptacle formed by other components of an overall liquid dispenser system to form an operable dispenser, as discussed above. The rigid liquid container 110, the pump manifold 130 and the liquid pump 140 of the second refill unit 200 are identical to the corresponding components described above in connection with the first refill unit 100, so they are not described further here.
  • [0035]
    The cap 220 of the second refill unit 200, by contrast, is different from the cap 120 of the first refill unit 200. The cap 220 has one or more locking members 226 in place of the flange 121 of the first refill unit 100. The one or more locking members 226 may not extend around the entire inner circumference of the cap 220. That is, there are gaps in or between the locking members 226 to allow air to pass by the locking members 226 easily. The one or more locking members 226 form a snap fit arrangement with the flange 114 of the container neck 113 to hold the assembly 200 together. Alternate attachment means include threaded fit connections, adhesives, mechanical fasteners, and the like.
  • [0036]
    The cap 220 additionally has one or more inwardly projecting valve members 227, each of which extend around the entire inner circumference of the cap 220. Each valve member 227 extends from the inner wall surface of the cap 220 to come into contact with the neck 113 or flange 114 of the container 110 in a closed position. The valve members 227 are directed downwardly so that they resist the flow of liquid upwardly through the space between the cap 220 and the container 110.
  • [0037]
    The one or more valve members 227 form an air vent pathway in the second refill unit 200 so that air may enter into the interior 112 of the liquid container 110 to relieve the vacuum pressure created therein when a liquid dose is dispensed from the interior 112 of the container 110. More specifically, with each actuation of the liquid pump 140, more liquid is dispensed and the vacuum pressure within the interior 112 of the container 110 increases. Eventually the vacuum pressure will exceed a minimum pressure which is sufficient to overcome the natural resilience of the valve members 227 being received against the neck 113 or flange 114 of the liquid container 110. When that occurs, the valve members 227 will briefly separate from the neck 113 or flange 114 of the liquid container 110, to an open position. Air is then free to travel downwardly between the exterior wall of the neck 113 and the valve member 227, to reach the air passage 134 formed in the pump manifold 130. The passage 134 leads to the interior 112 of the container 110. In that way, the vacuum pressure within the container interior 112 is relieved by the introduction of air. Liquid held within the interior 112 is free to pass downwardly into the air passage 133 and into the space between the container 110 and the cap 210, but is prevented from escaping the second refill unit 200 by the valve member(s) 227.
  • [0038]
    The vacuum pressure within the interior 112 will resultantly decrease until it once again falls below the minimum pressure needed to overcome the natural resilience of the valve members 227 lying against the neck 113 or flange 114 of the container 110. At that point their natural resiliency will cause the valve members 227 to return to their closed position resting against the neck 113 or flange 114, and the air venting cycle begins anew. Depending on the amount of liquid dispensed by each actuation of the liquid pump 140 of the second unit 200, it may require just one actuation to activate the valve members 227 or more than one actuation to activate the valve members 227.
  • [0039]
    In one embodiment, the various components of the second refill unit 200 may be assembled into a completed refill unit 200 as follows. First, all the individual parts are manufactured. For example, they may be formed by a plastic extrusion or blow molding process using PET, PP, HDPE, LDPE or the like. Then, the cap 220 and the pump manifold 130 are assembled together as those parts are shown in FIG. 7, to form a sub-assembly. And, the container 110 is placed in an upright position and filled with a liquid to be dispensed. The sub-assembly is then inserted on to the container 110, and the cap 220 is snapped into place on the neck 113 of the container 110, to form the completed final assembly of FIG. 7. The completed refill unit 200 may then be installed within a liquid dispenser system (not shown), or shipped to end users for use as a refill unit in pre-existing liquid dispensing systems. In the latter case, a closure mechanism may be placed around or on the outlet of the liquid pump 140 (not shown) to help prevent liquid from being accidentally dispensed during transport.
  • [0040]
    As illustrated in FIG. 7, the cap 220, the pump manifold 130, and the liquid pump 140 are separable components which are connected together when the second refill unit 200 is fully assembled. In alternative embodiments, any two or more of these components may comprise one integral component within the second refill unit 200. Various other combinations of different components which combine to form the second refill unit 200 are of course also possible. As described above, the manifold 130 may be integral with cap 220, manifold 130 may be integral with the liquid pump 140, manifold 130 may contain a one-way outlet valve and the container 112 may be squeezed to dispense liquid through the one-way outlet valve and vent as described above.
  • [0041]
    While the present invention has been illustrated by the description of embodiments thereof and while the embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention, in its broader aspects, is not limited to the specific details, the representative apparatus and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant's general inventive concept.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3174641 *11 Mar 196323 Mar 1965Pacific Ind IncVented closure assembly
US3215319 *2 Jan 19642 Nov 1965Laker Thomas LCollapsible dispensing container
US3386626 *9 Feb 19674 Jun 1968Patrick KearneyNon-refillable bottle and pourer
US3628704 *10 Dec 196921 Dec 1971Diamond Int CorpContainer with venting gasket
US4168020 *22 Jul 197718 Sep 1979Dispenso AgDispensing apparatus for discharging liquid or creamy products
US4798311 *8 Jul 198517 Jan 1989Hafina Treufinanz AgContainer provided with a closure
US4930667 *23 Jan 19895 Jun 1990Steiner Company, Inc.Breathing device for soap dispenser
US5082150 *1 May 199021 Jan 1992Steiner Company, Inc.Liquid dispensing system including a discharge assembly providing a positive air flow condition
US5310094 *15 Nov 199110 May 1994Jsp Partners, L.P.Preservative free sterile fluid dispensing system
US5507417 *8 Nov 199416 Apr 1996Webb Garth TDevice for storing and dispensing sterile liquids
US5549224 *22 Mar 199527 Aug 1996Wu; Ko-HsiangLiquid medicine container structure
US5803286 *2 Oct 19968 Sep 1998Crown Cork AgPlastic closure cap with early venting inner seal
US5927559 *13 Mar 199727 Jul 1999Ing. Erich Pfeiffer GmbhVented dispenser for media with filter
US6202870 *29 Mar 199920 Mar 2001Woodrow W. PearceVenting cap
US6378742 *10 Oct 200030 Apr 2002Rieke CorporationFluid dispensing closure
US7040511 *7 Sep 20009 May 2006Valois S.A.Pump for dispensing fluid product, and fluid product dispensing device comprising same
US7303098 *8 Jan 20034 Dec 2007Gaplast GmbhValve for the application of drops
US7537128 *29 Nov 200426 May 2009Amir NachumiNursing bottle vent system
US8523024 *3 Mar 20093 Sep 2013Church & Dwight Co., Inc.Cap and spout combo
US8596501 *23 Oct 20123 Dec 2013Hans Georg HagleitnerRefill unit having a container
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/478
International ClassificationB65D47/32, A47K5/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47K5/1202, B05B11/0016, A47K5/1211, B65D47/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
7 May 2015ASAssignment
Owner name: GOJO INDUSTRIES, INC., OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BUELL, SHELBY J.;WOLF, KAITLIN ANNE;SIGNING DATES FROM 20130712 TO 20130715;REEL/FRAME:035589/0556