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1. WO1991006232 - DISTRIBUTEUR

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

DISPENSING DEVICE
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a device for dispensing various substances, such as pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, chemicals and the like. The device includes a dispensing member, such as a rod-like section, on which the substance can be deposited. A cover encloses the rod-like section. The cover is removably secured to the rod-like section and includes a seal for maintaining the integrity of the substance in the device. The device also serves for packaging and dispensing measured doses of a pharmaceutical substance such as for topical application.

In the past, cosmetic preparation samples have been made available to potential customers, usually at a point of purchase in the form of tubes such as tubes of lipstick. While samples have been available in the wide variety of colors used in cosmetics, sanitary disposable single use samplers have not been available.

In U.S. Patent 4,794,936 to Zango, a disposable single use cosmetic sampler is disclosed of which the present invention is an improvement. While the sampler permitted economical and sanitary dispensing of certain cosmetics, it did not afford a complete seal between the cover and the dispensing or applying member.

While there has long been a need for an effective and economical cosmetic sampler, there is also a need for an effective dispenser of a variety of products either as a sampler or as a dispenser of a measured dose of a pharmaceutical, a measured amount of a food substance, or of other products. For pharmaceuticals and food substances, it is important that such products be maintained in a sterile condition and free of deterioration until they are dispensed. Further, in the past, it has been difficult to package, store and dispense measured dosages of pharmaceuticals, such as skin treatment drugs, in a convenient and economical manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a packaging and dispensing device for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food substances, such as spices or herbs, various chemicals, paint, perfume and the like where the substance to be dispensed is available in a single unit within a sterile environment, is easily handled, and can be provided in a measured amount.

In accordance with the present invention, the dispensing member is enclosed by a cover with a positive lock between the dispensing member and the cover. In addition, a seal is provided between the cover and the dispensing member to assure the sterile condition of the substance being dispensed until the seal is broken and the cover is removed. The requirement for a sterile environment is particularly important when the device is to be used for dispensing measured dosages of pharmaceuticals.

The dispensing member can be used as a sampler for cosmetics, where the cosmetic preparation is deposited as a solid material on the end of the dispenser. The cosmetic substance may be in a liquid, powder, viscous or wax form within the cover, whereby the seal between the cover and the dispensing member prevents any loss of the substance and keeps it free of air or any other elements in the ambient atmosphere which would tend to deteriorate the product.

A significant feature of the invention is the provision of the dispensing end of the device with means adapted to applying the particular substance contained in the device. As an example, the dispensing end can be provided with a brush such as a mascara brush, a mitt, a pad or other more rigid parts like a rod, spatula or scoop for applying the substance, such as mascara, liquid makeup, nail enamel, perfume or a pharmaceutical in a cream-like or liquid form. Instead of using it as a dispensing member, the dispensing end can be changed into a collecting end for specimens, such as in medical and dental applications.

Another feature of the invention is the part of the device to be held or gripped while the substance is being dispensed. The holder can be in the form of a round or polygonally shaped rod or a thin, flat sided part. As an alternative, the device can be provided with two integrally connected coaxial dispensing members, each enclosed by a cover with a common section of the dual dispensing members separating the covers. In such an alternate arrangement, a dual capsule style is obtained whereby one of the covers can be removed while the other cover is used as a holder for dispensing the substance. If a dual cover device is used as a cosmetic sampler, one of the dispensing members could be used for lipstick and the other for powder or for any other combination of cosmetic preparations, including mascara, nail enamel, eye shadow, rouge and fragrances. This dispensing device can also be used for two pharmaceutical substances that need to be taken together either mixed or in a two-step dispensing procedure.

The materials forming the dispensing device are selected to be compatible with the substance being dispensed. A variety of materials can be used, such as plastics material, glass or metals. The materials forming the dispensing member are selected for compatibility with the material to be dispensed and, at the same time, for providing a safe, effective and economical dispensing unit.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, an O-ring seal can be positioned in one of the cover or dispensing member with the ring fitting into a groove. Other types of seals can also be used depending on the type of material to be dispensed and its fluidity.

To assure a positive locking engagement between the cover and the dispensing member, the dispensing member can be screwed into the cover. As an alternative, a bayonet type, friction fit, twist lock, or other connection can be utilized.

When it is important to assure the integrity of the seal and of the material to be dispensed, a tamper-proof seal can be provided for the dispensing device as an additional safety precaution for the material to be dispensed.

The dispensing member can also be used as a sampler for a variety of materials in addition to cosmetics. As an example, since the cover can be formed of a clear plastics material, the dispensing member can be used as a paint sampler with the applicator in the form of a small paint brush and the paint held in the cover. It could also be used to repair or cover minor scratches on automobiles, furniture and the like. The use of a leak-proof seal for such a sampler is very important.

The dispensing member can be employed in dentistry for a variety of uses. In dentistry, as well as in other applications, the dispensing member or applicator can be used as a mixer for two or more constituents held separately within the cover. The mixing action can be performed only when the material in the device is to be used.

The dispensing member can be used as a toothbrush with toothpaste filled into the cover.

In medical and dental practice, the dispensing member can be used as a specimen collector.

In pharmaceutical uses, the dispensing member can be formed for the controlled release of drops of liquid or for issuing a spray.

The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its use, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated and described preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the drawings:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a dispensing device embodying the present invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged elevational view of the dispensing member shown in Figure 1 without the cover;

Figure 2a is an enlarged elevational view of the cover for the dispensing device illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 3 is an elevational view of a another embodiment of the present invention where the dispensing device includes twin dispensing members with corresponding covers;

Figure 4a is a detailed view of a dispensing brush or applicator for the dispensing member;

Figure 4b is an elevational view of a mitt-type covering for the dispensing end of the dispensing member;

Figure 4c is an elevational view of a hollow dispensing member;

Figure 4d is another embodiment of the dispensing end in the form of a spray dispenser;

Figure 5a is a sectional view of another embodiment of the dispensing member;

Figure 5b is a sectional view of the cover for the dispensing member in Figure 5a;

Figures 5c and 5d show an alternate arrangement for interconnecting the dispensing member and cover;

Figure 6 is an enlarged sectional view of a seal for the dispensing device;

Figure 7 is an enlarged view of a tamper-proof seal for the dispensing device; and

Figure 8 is a sectional view of a compartmented cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In Figure 1, a dispensing device 10 is shown and, for the purpose of this description, the dispensing device is a cosmetic sampler. The device 10, however, could also be employed for the topical application of a pharmaceutical, for a measured dosage of a pharmaceutical or a food product, as a paint sampler, as a perfume sampler or in a variety of other uses. The dispensing device or cosmetic sampler is formed of an axially elongated applicator or dispensing member 12 and a cover 14 fitted over one end of the applicator. The applicator can be formed of a plastics material compatible with the cosmetic to be deposited on, or to be dispensed by, the applicator. The dispensing member 12 and the cover 14 can be formed of the same plastics material, however, for the sake of cost, depending on the material of the dispensing member 12, the cover 14 may be formed of a less expensive material. When used as a cosmetic sampler, the cover 14 is preferably transparent so that the cosmetic preparation can be viewed without opening the sampler.

The dispensing member 12, note also Figure 2, is formed of an axially elongated rod-like first section 16 having a first end 18 and a second end 20. The cosmetic preparation 22, shown in dashed lines, is. deposited on the first end. The cosmetic preparation can be a solid material such as lipstick, or a creamlike substance, such as eye shadow. It is also possible to use a liquid material, such as liquid makeup or a powder-like material, such as mascara. Depending on the type of cosmetic being sampled, the first end 18 may be provided in a number of different forms to be described later. A liquid, viscous or powder substance can be supplied in the cover 14 and applied or dispensed by the applicator 12.

A second axially extending section 24 extends from the second end of the rod-like section 16. It is symmetrical relative to the axis of the dispensing member. A second end of the first section 16 projects radially outwardly from the smaller diameter part of the first section to the larger diameter second section 24.

Second section 24 has an annular groove 26 formed in its outer circumferential surface in which an O-ring seal 28, not shown in Figure 2, is seated. The O-ring seal 28, in combination with the cover, forms a liquid-tight seal for the dispensing device preventing any air from entering between the second section 24 and the cover 14 and preventing any outflow of the cosmetic preparation, particularly in liquid, viscous or powder form, out of the device. Further, to provide a positive locking engagement between the cover 14 and the dispensing member 12 , the cover and dispensing member are threaded for inter-engagement. A thread groove 28 is formed in the cover 14 and a thread land or projection 30 is formed on the second section 24 for inter-engagement with the thread groove. The thread land and groove can be shaped to assure that there is a positive locking engagement between the two parts of the dispensing device. The locking effect can be achieved with a frictional contact between the thread land and groove. Other conventional means can also be used for the locking engagement.

At the end of the second section, remote from the first section 16, there is a outwardly projecting shoulder or flange 32. This flange 32 forms a seat or abutment for the open end 14a of the cover 14.

A third axially extending section 34 projects from the flange 32 in the direction away from the first section 16. Third section 34 has a transition section tapering inwardly from the flange 32 to a smaller diameter cylindrically shaped part of the third section 34. As shown, the third section 34 has a smaller diameter than the second section, but a larger diameter than the first section. Third section 34 forms a holder or grip for the dispensing member 12. While the holder is shown as being cylindrically shaped, it can be provided with a number of different shapes to facilitate gripping and using the dispensing member 12. For instance, the holder may be flat and/or provided with a knurled or roughened surface.

The over-all size of the dispensing device depends on the intended use of the device, the material being dispensed and the ability to manipulate the device while dispensing or applying a substance.

As shown in Figure 1, the dispensing member or applicator 12 is formed monolithically, however, it can be made up of different parts, for instance, where the first section 16 is formed of a material compatible with the substance to be dispensed, the second section 24 and the third section 34 can be formed of less expensive materials, since they are not contacted by the particular substance being dispensed. The different sections can be joined together by a force fit, by welding, by adhesives, by threaded connections or a variety of other known connections.

In Figure 2, the dispensing member 12 is shown made up of three separate parts. The first section 16 is provided with a projection 16a fitted into a correspondingly shaped bore 24a in the second section 24, similarly, the second section is provided with a projection 24b fitted into a corresponding borehole 34a in the third section 34. Figure 2 merely shows one embodiment of the dispensing member 12 formed of separate parts and interengaged by cooperating projection boreholes. A variety of different interconnecting features can be used. Moreover, in addition to pressed fits between the projections 16a, 24b in the boreholes 24a and 34a, the individual parts of the dispensing member 12 can be secured together by the varied connection means mentioned above. A significant feature of such separate parts is that the first section 16 can be provided with a variety of dispensing elements with the same second and third sections 24, 34 being used to complete the dispensing member 12.

In Figure 3, a part of a dispensing device 110 is displayed, similar to that shown in Figure 1, how- ever, it is made up of two dispensing members 112 each enclosed by a cover, not illustrated. The over-all structure of the dispensing device 110 is similar to that shown in Figure 1, but instead of the third section 34 forming the holder, the covers each serve as a holder for the opposite dispensing member 112. Accordingly, each dispensing member 112 is formed of an axially elongated rod-like first section 116 with a first end 118 and a second end 120. The cosmetic preparation 122, as shown in dash lines, is deposited on the first end 118 of the first section 116. Depending on its composition, the cosmetic preparation could be placed within the cover instead of directly on the first end 118 of the first section 116. Each of the dispensing members 112 can be formed in the same manner, as shown in Figure 3, or if a different cosmetic substance is provided in the opposite ends of the dispensing device 110, then different first ends 118 can be provided for the suitable dispensing or applying of the cosmetics substance.

As distinguished from the dispensing device shown in Figure 1, in Figure 3, the axial extending second section 124 is a common member for each of the dispensing members 112. Intermediate the axial extent of the second section 124, there is a circumferentially extending flange 130 forming a seat for the open ends of the covers. The second section 124 has a pair of annular grooves 126 each located on an opposite side of the flange 130. An O-ring, not shown, is seated within the groove 126 affording a liquid tight seal between the cover and the second section 124. Further, a thread groove is formed in the inside surface of the cover and a thread land or projection 130 is formed on each of the opposite sides of the flange 130 on the second section 124 for receiving the covers. The thread lands and grooves are shaped to provide a positive locking engagement between the covers and the dispensing members.

When a person selects one of the dispensing devices 110, one of the covers is removed for applying the substance on the dispensing member 112 within the cover. The other cover 114 is used as the holder. By replacing the removed cover 114, the cover previously used as a holder can be removed while the other cover then acts as a holder. Such a twin or dual dispensing device can be used to sample coordinated cosmetic preparations, such as lipstick and nail enamel, mascara and eye shadow, and other combinations.

In Figures 4a - 4d, the dispensing member is shown without the annular groove for the O-ring and the thread land.

In Figure 4a, a dispensing member 212a is provided with a brush 213a at its first end 218a. The brush can be formed of a plastics material fiber or some other material suitable for use with the substance to be sampled or used. The brush can be formed monolithically with the dispensing member or it can be a separate member fixed to the dispensing member. The brush can be in the form of a conventional helically arranged mascara brush with, if necessary, a wiper formed in the inside of the cover. The wiper can be used with any substance which might require a wiping action when it is dispensed or applied.

In Figure 4b, a dispensing member 212b is shown with a mitt-type attachment 213b at its first end 218b. Preferably, the mitt-type covering 213b is fitted onto and adhered to the first end 218b. The mitt-type attachment 213b can be formed of a material compatible with the substance to be dispensed such as liquid type makeup, eye shadow, a pharmaceutical in creme-like form and the like. For the topical application of pharmaceuticals, the mitt-type attachment can contain the substance to be applied. It is also possible to provide the substance in a liquid, viscous or powder form within the cover. The mitt-type attachment can be formed of a knitted or a foamed material.

In Figure 4c, a dispensing device 210c is shown for dispensing liquid from the dispensing member 212c. The dispensing member 212c is a hollow member containing the liquid to be dispensed in a given amount. A cover 214c encloses the dispensing member 212c and has a closure 215c at the end of the cover sealing off the opening from the dispensing member. Another cover 217c encloses a dispensing bulb 219c at the lower end of the dispensing member 212c. If a medicine is dispensed by the device 210c a tamper-proof seal can be provided around the open ends of the covers 214c, 217c. The dispensing bulb 219c is formed of a flexible material and, when the covers 214c and 217c are removed, the liquid within the dispensing member 212c can be ejected by pressing the dispensing bulb. In place of the dispensing bulb 219c, a piston arrangement can be provided, displaceable through the hollow dispensing member 212c, for ejecting the liquid or other flowable substance held in the hollow member.

In Figure 4d, a dispensing member 212d is shown for dispensing a spray of a particular material or substance. Such an arrangement can be used for a variety of substances, however, it would have particular use in spraying a pharmaceutical substance. The dispensing member 212d would be enclosed by covers such as shown in Figure 4c. As in Figure 4c, a dispensing bulb 219d is used for ejecting the material to be sprayed. Similarly, a piston-like ejection member can be used in place of the dispensing bulb 1219d.

In addition to the various dispensing members illustrated in Figures 4a - 4d, the dispensing member could be formed as a flat blade-like member or a spatula for dispensing various materials. In addition, the dispensing member could be in the form of scoop or the like. Alternatively, the dispensing member can be used as a collector for taking specimens or the like. The sealed arrangement of the cover protects the specimen until it can be analyzed. Persons skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the shape of the dispensing member can be adapted to the particular substance being dispensed or applied.

In Figure 5a, a dispensing member 312 is shown with a thread land 330 extending helically around the surface of the second section 324. The third section 334 of the dispensing member 312 has flattened sides 334a for affording a better grip of the dispensing member. On the second section 324 between the first section 316 and the thread land 330, there is an annular groove 326 for receiving an O-ring seal, not illustrated. In use, an O-ring would be fitted into the groove 326. At the end of the second section 324 adjoining the third section 334, the third section forms a shoulder 335. which acts as a seat for the open end of the cover, not shown.

In Figure 5b, a cover 314 is shown for enclosing the dispensing member 312 of Figure 5a. The cover 314 has an open end 314a into which the dispensing member 312 fits. The open end 314a seats against the shoulder 334a in Figure 5a. The interior of the cover is stepped outwardly adjacent the open end 314a with a helically arranged abutment edge 314b. A thread groove 328 is formed in the cover following around the abutment edge 314b. The O-ring fits into sealing engagement with the surface of the cover adjacent the inner end of the thread groove 328. Note that the cover has an inside diameter extending from the closed end 314c to a location 314d close to but spaced from the end of the thread groove. The inside surface of the cover 314 is stepped outwardly at this location 314d. Between location 314d and the end of the helical groove closer to the open end 314a, the inside surface has a slightly larger diameter than the surface extending to the closed end, however, this diameter is slightly smaller than the diameter at the open end. The intermediate inner surface of the cover provides the cooperating surface with the O-ring for sealing the dispensing device when the cover 314 is secured on the dispensing member 312. The thread groove 328 and the thread land 330 are shaped to provide a positive lock, due to the friction generated between the ends of the thread land and groove when the cover is fully screwed onto the dispensing member. The transverse shape of the thread groove 328 and the thread land 330 can be selected to provide the optimum locking engagement. In place of the threaded interengagemen , a variety of locking arrangements can be provided between the cover and the dispensing member.

In Figures 5c and 5d another embodiment of the dispensing device is illustrated with the dispensing member 312 ' , shown in Figure 5c and the cover 314 ' illustrated in Figure 5d.

In Figure 5c, the dispensing member 312*' is formed of a first section 316'a for dispensing a substance, a second section 324 ,a for affording locking engagement with the cover 314', and a third section 334 ,a, forming a handle or grip for the dispensing member. The third section 334 'a is flattened as it extends away from the second section 324 'a affording a better grip for the dispensing member. At the junction of the second section 324 "a, and the third section 334 'a, there is a shoulder 335 'a formed on the third section, which acts as a seat for the open end of the cover 314-'a.

Instead of the thread land 330 in Figure 5a, the dispensing member 312" is provided with a plurality of spaced annular ribs 331 extending around and radially outwardly from the second section 324 "a. The material of the ribs 331 is sufficiently resilient to form a locking engagement with the cover 314'a. The multiple ribs combine to form a positive lock with the cover and also a seal for the dispensing member.

In Figure 5d, cover 314 is formed with an open end 314'a into which the dispensing member 312 ' fits. The open end 314 'a, seats against the shoulder 335"a in Figure 5c. The interior of the cover has a first larger diameter section 314 'b extending from the open end toward the closed end 314 'c. From the larger diameter section 314 'b to the closed end 314 ,c, the inner surface has a smaller diameter so that a shoulder 314,d is located at the inner end of the section 314 'b. The diameter of the ribs 331 is slightly greater than the diameter of the larger diameter surface 314 ,b, so that a positive lock and seal is provided for the dispensing device when the dispensing member 312 ' is inserted into the cover 314'. When the dispensing member 312' is inserted into the cover 314-', the end of the second section 324 ', remote from the third section 334', bears against the shoulder 314'd.

In Figure 6, there is an enlarged sectional view of a seal for the dispensing device. Only a portion of the dispensing member 412 is illustrated. At the first section 416 of the dispensing member, adjacent the second section 424, the first section flares outwardly. In the second section 424, adjacent to the first section 416, its outer surface 424a has a groove 424b in which an O-ring 425 is seated and held in place. The O-ring 425 projects slightly outwardly from the outer surface 424a. When the cover 414 is placed on the dispensing member 412, the O-ring 425 presses tightly against the inside surface of the cover 414 forming the desired liquid tight seal so that the contents within the cover cannot flow outwardly and the ambient atmosphere cannot enter into the cover.

In Figure 7, a tamper-proof seal 540 is shown about the second section 524 of the dispensing member 512 and the open end 514a of the cover 514. The tamper-proof seal 540 can be provided by shrink-fitting a plastic foil sleeve onto the adjacent surfaces of the second section 524 of the dispensing member 512 and the open end 514a of the cover 514. A tab 540a can be provided for the tamper-proof seal so that it can be easily removed. A person skilled in the art will readily appreciate that a variety of tamper-proof seals can be provided depending on the type of the material to be dispensed.

In Figure 8, a part of a dispensing device is illustrated in which a compartmented cover 614 is shown. The part of the dispensing member 612 used as the applicator is shown. An O-ring seal, not shown, is provided between the dispensing member and the inside surface of the cover affording a liquid-tight seal. A breakable seal 642 is located within the cover, inwardly of the O-ring seal, extending between the end of the dispensing member and the inside surface of the cover. As a result, the breakable seal 642 divides the interior of the cover into a first space 644 and a second space 646. A different substance can be introduced into each of the spaces. By displacing the dispensing member relative to the cover, the seal 642 can be broken and the substances in the spaces 644 and 646 can be mixed using the dispensing member as a mixing member. This arrangement can be used for a pharmaceutical where the two substances are to be mixed immediately before they are applied or dispensed and for an adhesive where the two components of the adhesive are mixed only immediately before they are used.

A variety of materials can be used for the dispensing device depending on the type of material or substance being dispensed or applied. Clear plastics material can be used where it is desirable that the substance being dispensed can be viewed within the dispensing device. A number of plastics materials can be utilized with cosmetics and other substances, such as styrene acrylonitrile, polyethylene teraphthalate, polypropenate, and polyvinylchloride to name just a few. If the dispensing device is to be used as a sampler for perfume or fragrances, it would be preferable to use a glass dispensing member and cover. It is also possible to use a combination of the above materials forming the dispensing device. For instance, for reasons of cost, the dispensing part of the dispensing member could be formed of one material with the handle portion of the dispensing member formed of another material. If the material to be dispensed is placed in a solid form on the end of the dispensing member, it may not be necessary to form the cover of a compatible material, since it does not contact the substance or material to be dispensed. In selecting the materials to form the dispensing device, a balance may be struck between selecting a material which is compatible with the substance to be dispensed and less costly materials for the handle or cover of the device.

The size of the dispensing device is determined by the amount of material to be dispensed and the required size of the dispensing member.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the inventive principles, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.