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1. WO2020109078 - EMBALLAGE CONTENANT DES CAPSULES HYDROSOLUBLES

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

[ EN ]

PACKAGE CONTAINING WATER-SOLUBLE CAPSULES

Technical Field

This invention relates to a tray package containing laundry or machine dish wash water-soluble capsules made from water-soluble film, and containing a substrate treatment composition.

Background

Multi-compartment water-soluble detergent capsules made with water-soluble film are known. The water soluble-film is typically polyvinyl alcohol. The preferred capsule manufacturing process involves thermoforming the film. By thermoforming is meant a process in which a first sheet of film is subjected to a moulding process to form recesses in the film. The process involves heating the film to soften it and also the application of vacuum to hold the film in the moulds. The recesses are then filled. The capsules are completed by overlaying a second sheet over the filled recesses and sealing it to the first sheet of film around the edges of the recesses to form a flat sealing web.

Relaxation of the first film typically then causes the applied second sheet to bulge out when the vacuum is released from the first sheet of film in the mould. The capsules are cut apart to leave part of the flat sealing web as an annular "skirt" around each capsule when it is removed from the mould. Although the sealing web is flat when in the mould it may deform a little when removed from the mould. Likewise the profile of the capsule usually relaxes slightly away from having a“mould perfect” profile after it is released from the mould. To the extent that this specification refers to flat sealing webs and/or a sealing plane associated with the sealing web, the reference is to a sealing web that is moulded flat. Similarly, to the extent that this specification refers to aspects of a capsule’s shape or configuration, the reference is to capsules that are formed in moulds having that shape or configuration. Nevertheless, some aspects of shape and configuration can be embodied in the capsule itself, for example as a result of the relaxation of the film and the effect of liquid/gel compositions within the capsule.

For high performance laundry or machine dish wash treatment capsules there is a need to fill the capsule with sufficient liquid. The fill volume results in a greater stretch imposed on the water-soluble and provides a capsule with a bulbous, convex outer profile as the

first and second sheets bulge out and stretch under the pressure. On the other hand if the conventional configurations have a lower extent of fill and/or a more mechanically pliant configuration, they may under their own weight squash into / conform to the surface but this would require lower volumes of treatment composition relative to the water soluble film which may be undesirable if the film is non-functional.

Capsules are generally packaged in plastic tubs or plastic bags. More recently capsules have been made sold packaged in plastic (PET) trays which are themselves packaged in paperboard boxes which are designed for‘direct-to-consumer’ (DTC) brands which can be delivered through a letterbox (so can be delivered when consumers are not at home to open the door). One such product is“Smol Capsules”. These laundry capsules are packaged in hinged plastic trays which are contained in hinged paperboard boxes. The capsules have a single compartment.

A problem arises with DTC products is that they must withstand the forces imposed during transit and in particular posting through a letterbox and forces imposed when in use, e.g. opening the packaging to access the capsules. One particular problem with single compartment capsules having a convex outer profile is that if they are packaged in tray-type packaging, on a level base, as the tray is moved, the capsules have a tendancy to rock or roll on their base. This disrupts any original packing arrangement of the capsules which is undesireable if the arrangement was ordered in some way. One way round this is to pack capsules at a slight angle and closely-packed, so that each capsule is wedged against another. However, with capsules so wedged impact/rubbing (against each other) causing rupture may occur under transit/delivery forces.

The present application and the proposals herein seek to address one or more of the problems noted above and/or seek to provide improved tray-capsule arrangements especially in connection with the consumer experience and maintaining capsule integrity.

Summary of the Invention

In one aspect the present application provides a laundry or machine dish wash product comprsing a tray containg a plurality of water-soluble capsules, each capsule containing at least two compartments, said compartments containing a substrate treatment composition and being located side-by-side extending transversely across the capsule, and the tray package comprising a substantially level base whereby the capsules are located side-by-side on the base.

The design of the invention provides a flat tray-package of capsules which can be filled with performance levels of substrate treatment fluids so providing a firm and plump capsule with convex outer profile but with greater stability under motion of the tray. Thus the capsules can be arranged without wedging against each other. The

compartmentalization of the capsule provides at least two separate points of contact with the tray base such that the weight is more evenly spread (in the plane of the tray base) as compared with a single compartment capsule which has only one point of contact about which the capsule may rotate. The capsule-tray arrangement of the invention reduces disruption of an array of capsules on the tray base such that ordered arrangements can be reliably used without wedging. This is in contrast to single compartment capsule arrangements which require wedging because without this, they have a tendancy to roll back and forth, disrupting the arrangement and impacting adjacent capsules.

Capsules

Compartments are preferably located side-by-side in a notional row extending

transversely across the capsule. Effectively, the lower portions of the compartments provide multiple feet to steady the capsule against roll. The feet are most effective in preveting roll in a direction of the above-mentioned notional row.

Compartments located side-by-side are preferably similar in shape and size. They may have a common shape and size so when viewed from the top, in plan view, the compartments‘mirror’ each other in shape and weight/mass so at to achieve a generally equal distribution of weight in each compartment.

Side-by side compartments with adjacent edges which are generally straight (e.g. as produced by a generally straight adjoining sealing web) will produce two compartments whose anti-roll effect will be in a direction generally orthoganol to the direction of the adjacent edges/adjoining seal, in a transverse plane. However asymmetrical

arrangements are possible e.g. where capsule compartments have curved e.g.“S”-shaped connecting parts (e.g. seals) provided there is substantially equal weight in each capsule compartment. By this it is meant that the relative weight of side-by side compartments is preferably be in the range 1 :1 to 1 :3 and more preferably in the range 1 :2 and even more preferably 1 :1 to 1.5. For“S”-shaped compartments, as the radius of curvature of the adjacent edges/adjoining seal increases, the direction anti-roll effect will effectively rotate about the z axis. Thus a deeply curved“S”-shaped seal will produce an anti-roll effect orthogonal to a notional line connecting the top and bottom of the“S”.

Thus the seal can be shaped to select the effective direction of the anti-roll mechanism.

Each capsule may comprise two sheets of water-soluble film, the two sheets of film being sealed together by a sealing web extending around the periphery of the capsule. The capsule may further comprise an internal sealing web which partitions the capsule to provide said at least two compartments.

Preferably the sealing web lies in a sealing plane such that compartments extend at least below the sealing plane when viewed from a side of the capsule.

The compartments may be completely separate. Preferably the internal sealing web bisects the capsule to provide two or more distinct and separate comparments, separating the contents of these compartments. This is advantageous in that the partitioning will extend to a greater part of the capsule and give greater stability.

Preferably the internal sealing web extends across the capsule to connect the peripheral sealing web of opposing sides of the capsule.

That is, the internal sealing web may comprise curved portions, when viewed in plan view is curved for over 50%, preferably over 60% more preferably over 70% of its entire length. The sealing web may be“S”-shaped.

The internal sealing web may have a substantially continuously curved shape. In embodiments at least 90% of the length of the or each internal sealing web is curved, preferably at least 95%, more preferably substantially all of the or each internal sealing web is curved. The length of each internal sealing web is measured between respective end points where the internal sealing web joins (becomes) the annular sealing.

This has been found to resist folding or drooping of the capsule when it is extracted from the tray and so prevents a trailing edge of the capsule dragging behind and inadvertently rubbing/disrupting the capsules remaining in the tray.

The internal sealing web may include of straight portions. The sealing web may “Z” shaped.

Preferably the mass (m) of each capsule is in the range 5g < m < 30g preferably 10g < m < 30g.

Preferably, any compartments are similar in size and in particular have a similar volume. This achieves a better weight distribution laterally.

Figure 6 illustrates a capsule according to the arrangement of the present invention. Coordinate axes in the x, y and z direction are shown in Figure 6 to assist in the explanation of the relative arrangement of features of the capsule. Indeed, Figure 6 is discussed here to aid understanding of the subsequent discussion of the shape and configuration of the three-compartment capsule of the present invention. The capsule of Figure 6 comprises two compartments. The two compartments are arranged side-by-side on a notional row extending transversly (in x-y plane), in the width direction (x direction) across the capsule. Each of the two compartments is elongate in that it has a length (y direction) that is greater than its width (x direction). The long axis of each compartment lies in the y direction.

The sealing web is formed from fusing, e.g. thermoforming, a first and second sheet of water-soluble film during manufacture of the capsule. The sealing web comprises an annular sealing web or skirt that lies in the x-y plane and is referred to herein as the sealing plane. The sealing web also comprises one internal sealing web, which lies in the sealing plane and extends lengthways (in the y direction). Each of the two

compartments may extend similarly above and below (z direction) the sealing plane.

It follows that reference herein to the width of a feature (e.g. width of a compartment) is a reference to the dimension in the x direction, that being parallel to the sealing (x, y) plane. Reference herein to the length of a feature (e.g. length of a compartment, or the lengthwise direction or long axis of a compartment) is a reference to the dimension (direction, axis) in the y direction. Reference herein to depth of a feature, or to a feature being, or extending,“above” or“below” is a reference to the dimension (direction, axis) in the z direction, i.e. perpendicular to the sealing plane (x-y plane). “Top plan view” is a reference to the view in the z direction. Naturally, the terms“above”,“below”,“up”, “down”,“top” etc are relative not absolute terms and they are used accordingly herein, and to aid understanding.

Rotational Symmetry

In embodiments the capsule shape has approximate rotational symmetry (point symmetry), suitably second order rotational symmetry, rotation being in the sealing plane. Suitably the origin is the capsule’s centre point in the sealing plane. And so, in

embodiments, rotation of the capsule by 180 degrees around its centre point will superpose the rotated compartments coincident (at least in terms of shape) on the pre rotation compartments. This is a characteristic of the preferred inverted side

compartments. The capsule colour may also have such symmetry.

In embodiments the capsule may have shape symmetry as above but no rotational symmetry (point symmetry) in terms of colour or or opacity, put another way, it can be said to have first order rotational symmetry, with rotation being in the sealing plane the origin is the capsule’s centre point in the sealing plane. And so, in embodiments, rotation of the capsule by 360 degrees around its centre point will superpose the rotated compartments (coincident in terms of colour) on the pre-rotation compartments. This has advantage when groups of/all capsules can be arranged on the tray, oriented in a common direction, more specifically, with a common rotational orientation in the sealing plane. This presents an array having a pattern but where each individual element can be visually picked out because the respective compartments of adjacent pairs in the array will have a different colours/opacity. The human brain naturally seeks out patterns and so if the compartments have different colours/ opacity, each capsule is more discernable versus an adjacent capsule than for capsules having a single compartment or having a single colour or both. Thus, with this feature, that human brain can therefore recognize the arrangement as a pattern and further recognize the individual units of the pattern.

This arrangement is then more easily evaluated by the superior pattern processing (SPP) capabilities of the human brain and the consumer can then more easily extract an individual capsule from the tray without inadvertently picking up other capsules at the same time which would be undesirable.

In embodiments the capsule has no plane of symmetry (mirror or reflection symmetry) other than (optionally) the sealing plane. In particular, as will be clear from the discussion herein regarding preferred configurations for the compartments, the capsule suitably has no plane of symmetry in a plane perpendicular to the sealing plane.

Stacked Capsules

The capsules may comprise stacked compartments, e.g. a lower level of compartments and an upper level of compartments, lower and upper compartments being connected e.g. by welding, thermoforming. In some cases two thermoformed "capsules" are stacked to form a multi-compartment capsule whereby a first "capsule" having two smaller liquid compartments joined together with foldable flat seals is then used to seal (close) a larger compartment. In such cases of stacked compartments, it is preferred that at least the lowermost part of the capsule has at least two compartments.

Preferably each of the at least two compartments contain a different substrate treatment composition. So one of the compartments composition which differs in terms of ingredients and/or rations to the compostion of at least one other of the compartments. The compositions may differ in terms of colour (e.g. dyes, pigments), opacity (selection of ingredients, or inclusion/exclusion of opacifiers) or cleaning, conditioning or care ingredients.

Preferably the sealing plane which is within, suitably in the middle of, the product when viewed from the side. In other words, the compartments extend above and below the sealing plane and this may be for a similar amount / volume. The volume of the compartments extending below the sealing plane may be considered the base of the capsule.

Capsule arrangement on tray base

Preferably the capsules form a single-layer arrangement of capsules on the tray. This is advantageous in that the capsules not subject to the weight of capsules placed on top. Preferably the capsules are arranged in a side by side arrangement on the tray base.

Preferably the capsules are arranged such that filled compartments are spaced apart. Preferably peripheral sealing webs are also spaced apart but they may touch or even overlap provided the film of the compartments are spaced apart.

Trays

The tray comprises a level base. The tray may comprise peripheral wall/s which may extend upwards from the periphery of the level base. The tray may comprise one or more internal walls to segregate groups of capsules but individual segregation of capsules is not necessary.

Thus, in a further aspect the present application provides a laundry or machine dish wash product comprsing a tray containg a plurality of water-soluble capsules, each capsule containing at least two compartments, said compartments containing a substrate treatment composition and being located side-by-side extending transversely across the capsule, and the tray package comprising a substantially level base whereby the groups of the capsules are located side-by-side on portions of the base. Each portion may comprise a peripheral wall extending upwardly, and located around the periphery of the base.

Trays are generally moved, in use, for example they may be held at an angle (e.g. to open) or they may be slidable within an outer packaging in a drawer arrangement.

Compartments are preferably located side-by-side on a notional row extending transversely across the capsule. The tray may comprise a hinged lid or flap and the capsules are arranged such that the notional row (or internal sealling web if present) is substantially parallel to the axis of rotation of the hinge mechanism. This offers the advantage that as the user opens the lid and the box is moved forwards as is natural, the direction of the anti-roll mechanism is aligned with the direction that the box moves. The same effect but in reverse occurs during closing. The hinged lid is preferaby pivotable about the hinge to overlie the base to close the tray.

Preferably the tray is contained within an outer package or sleeve via an opening or slot. Preferably the capsules are arranged such that the notional row (or internal sealling web if present) is substantially parallel to the direction of travel as the tray slides out of the outer package via the opening. The notional row may be substantially parallel to the opening/ slot of the outer package.

The outer package may be a flexible sleeve or it may be rigid device, e.g. having a box construction.

Each of the preferred proposals relates to a particular aspect of the shape, structure or configuration of the partitioned water-soluble capsule.

Volume

Volume is conveniently calculated based on the volume of the corresponding cavity in the mould used to make the capsule. Volume includes both laundry / machine dish wash composition and any air or other gas that may be present (e.g. arising from headspace from the fill process).

In embodiments each compartment volume is > 5ml, > 10ml, suitably > 12ml, > 14ml, > 16ml, or > 17ml. In embodiments, the total compartment volume (total volume of all compartments) is > 10ml, > 15ml, > 20ml, > 22ml, > 24ml, > 26ml or > 28ml. In embodiments the total compartment volume (total volume of all compartments) is < 40ml, < 38ml, < 36ml, < 34ml, < 32ml, < 30ml, < 28ml, < 26ml or < 25ml. In embodiments the total compartment volume (total volume of all compartments) is in the range 15 to 36ml, 20 to 36ml, 22 to 36ml, 24 to 34ml, 28 to 32 ml, or 22 to 26ml.

Regarding the extent of fill (fill level), in embodiments the amount of treatment composition as a % of total volume of any given compartment is at least 60%, suitably at least 70%, 80% or 90%, preferably at least 92%, 94%, 96% or 98%. Suitably the % is substantially the same for all compartments.

Dimensions and shape

In embodiments each of the compartments extends > 5mm, > 6mm, > 7mm, > 8mm, or > 9mm, and suitably < 30mm, < 25mm or < 22mm above the sealing plane (z direction), as measured in a direction perpendicular to the sealing plane. In embodiments each compartment extends > 5mm, > 6mm, > 7mm, > 8mm, or > 9mm, and suitably < 30mm, < 25mm or < 22mm below the sealing plane. As noted elsewhere, the terms“above” and “below” are relative not absolute terms and are used accordingly; here they can be understood to refer to opposite directions perpendicular to the sealing plane.

Preferably the height (h) of each capsule is 20 mm or less.

Preferably both the width (w) and the length (I) of each capsule is greater than 31 mm.

For laundry capsules it is preferred that the capsule has a linear dimension of length and width of suitably >50mm, > 60mm, > 70mm or > 75mm. In embodiments the maximum linear dimension is < 100mm, suitably < 90mm, < 80mm < 50mm < 40mm or < 35mm.

For machine dish wash capsules it is preferred that the capsule has a linear dimension of length and width of suitably >20mm, > 30mm. In embodiments the maximum linear dimension is < 500mm, suitably < 40mm, <30mm. In some embodiments the length is 40mm and the width is 30 mm.

For example, in the case of embodiments in which the capsule has a polygonal shape with straight sides meeting at vertices, then the maximum height corresponds to the distance between opposing vertices of the polygon. Linear dimensions of width and height are measured as linear dimensions. Thus, the width is the linear measurement in the x direction (along the x axis) using a top plan view of the capsule, including any outer sealing web. The length is a linear measurement in the y direction (along y axis) using a top plan view of the capsule, including any outer sealing web.

In embodiments the capsule has an effective diameter of > 31 mm. To determine the diameter, the capsule is placed inside a cylinder having an internal dimension of 31 mm without compression. If it fits entirely within the chamber it will be < 31 mm.

The water-soluble film

As described herein two water-soluble films are used to make the capsule: a first film is applied to the cavity of the mould to form recesses, the recesses are filled with liquid composition and a second film is applied to the filled recesses so as to seal-in the liquid compositions and thereby form the compartments.

In embodiments the first film thickness (pre-thermoforming) is from 50 to 150 micrometer, from 60 to 120 micrometer, or from 80 to 100 micrometer. After capsule manufacture generally the average thickness of the first film will be from 30 to 90 micrometer, or from 40 to 80 micrometer.

The second film is typically of a similar type to that used for the first film, but slightly thinner. Thus, in embodiments, the second film is thinner than the first film. In

embodiments the ratio of thickness of the first film to the thickness of the second film is from 1 :1 to 2:1.

In embodiments the second film thickness (pre-thermoforming) is from 20 to 100 micrometer, from 25 to 80 micrometer, or from 30 to 60 micrometer.

In embodiments the water-soluble film comprises polyvinyl alcohol or a polyvinyl alcohol derivative. Such film materials can for example be produced by a process of blowing or casting.

The water-soluble film can also contain plasticizers, antifoams, anti-oxidants, surfactants, perfumes and the like.

Suitable films include Monosol M4045 and Monosol M8045 (75, 82, 88 & 90 micron) and Aicello PT films (PT 75 & 90).

Sealing web

In embodiments the sealing web comprises a generally annular sealing web

encompassing all compartments, and at least one internal sealing web which each extend across the capsule, each internal web serving connect and space apart the adjacent compartments.

Skirt/annular sealing web

In embodiments the annular sealing web or skirt has an area of < 1500mm2, < 1400mm2,

< 1300mm2, < 1200mm2, < 1 100mm2, or < 1000mm2 . A smaller skirt area (also known as flange area) is desirable for the reasons explained herein, namely reduced wastage and reduced likelihood of undesirable residue, as well as improved consumer perception and handling experience.

In embodiments the maximum width of the skirt is < 12mm, < 10mm, < 9mm, < 8mm, or < 7mm. The width of the annular sealing web is, at any one location on the periphery of the capsule, the distance between the outermost edge of the compartment that defines the inner edge of the annular web at the said location and the outermost edge of the annular web at the said location, measured radially on a notional line extending from the centre of the capsule in the sealing plane, to the said outermost edge.

Whilst a narrower skirt is desirable for aesthetic and performance reasons, it is nevertheless important that a robust seal is provided and so, in embodiments the maximum width of the annular sealing web is > 1 mm, > 2mm or > 3mm.

The annular sealing web or skirt defines the periphery of the capsule and hence provides the capsule with its overall shape.

Capsule shapes may include a rectangle, square, circle and oval, hexgaon etc.

Internal sealing webs

In embodiments each internal sealing web has, in the sealing plane, curved portions and may comprise a substantially continuously curved shape.

In embodiments the internal sealing web comprises straight portions. The internal sealing web may be substantially (along > 90% preferably > 95% of its length) strat

In embodiments, at least a portion of each internal web has a curved profile whose radius of curvature is in the range 10mm to 25mm or 12mm to 22mm.

In embodiments the width (i.e. in the sealing plane) of each internal sealing web is substantially constant. In embodiments the width of each internal sealing web is < 3mm, or < 2mm.

Tessellation in manufacture

In embodiments the footprint of the capsule, as defined by the outer edge of the annular sealing web, is capable of being tessellated. This avoids wastage of the water-soluble film in production of the capsules and also in terms of packaging in the tray.

Thermoforming process

The multi-compartment capsule is produced by a process of thermoforming. Such a process may advantageously comprise the following steps to form the capsule:

(a) placing a first sheet of water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol film over a mould having sets of cavities, each set comprising at least two cavities arranged side-by-side;

(b) heating and applying vacuum to the film to mould the film into the cavities and hold it in place to form corresponding recesses in the film;

(c) filling the different parts of a substrate treatment composition, each of which may have a different colour/opacity (as well as different treatment function) into the side and central recesses, the parts together forming a full detergent composition;

(d) sealing a second sheet of film to the first sheet of film across the formed recesses to produce a multi-compartment capsule having compartments located on opposite connected to each other and separated by a continuous internal sealing web;

(e) cutting between the capsules so that a series of multi-compartment compartment

capsules are formed, each capsule containing a part of a treatment composition in multiple compartments (one central and two side compartments).

Sealing can be done by any suitable method for example heat-sealing, solvent sealing or UV sealing or ultra-sound sealing or any combination thereof. Particularly preferred is water-sealing. Water sealing may be carried out by applying moisture to the second sheet of film before it is sealed to the first sheet of film to form the seal areas.

A preferred thermoforming process uses a rotary drum on which the forming cavities are mounted. A vacuum thermoforming machine that uses such a drum is available from Cloud LLC. The capsules according to the invention could also be made by

thermoforming on a linear array of cavity sections. Machines suitable for that type of process are available from Hoefliger. The following example description is focussed onto the rotary process. A skilled person will appreciate how this would be adapted without inventive effort to use a linear array process.

The capsules are then arranged on the tray in arrangements as described herein.

Substrate treatment composition

Preferably the substrate is any suitable substrate including substrate, substrate articles, garments, bedding, towels etc., and dishes, where“dishes" is used herein in a generic sense, and encompasses essentially any items which may be found in a dishwashing load, including crockery chinaware, glassware, plasticware, hollowware and cutlery, including silverware.

The treatment composition may be any type of treatment composition for which it is desirable to provide a dose thereof in a water-soluble capsule.

All compartments may be filled with a liquid. However, compartments may also be filled with gels, powders or any combination thereof. So, for example, some capsules may have a liquid-containing compartment and a powder-containing compartment, or there may be liquid-gel, gel-powder combinations (each form e.g. liquid, gel, powder in a different compartment).

Suitable compositions that may be split into different components for use in the present invention include those intended for laundry (substrate cleaning, softening and/or treatment) or machine dish washing.

The mulitple compartment capsules may comprise different parts of a treatment composition which, when combined, make up the full treatment composition. By that is meant that the formulation of each of the parts of the treatment composition is different either in its physical form (e.g. viscosity), its composition or, preferably its colour/opacity.

Compartments may comprise sequestrants, enzymes, bleach catalysts, perfume, builders etc.

The compartments of the capsule will be filled with the substrate treatment composition. By“filled” it is meant that the compartment contains liquid and possibly also a gas bubble. The presence of the gas bubble provides some protection from compression of the compartment due to its compressibility. The gas is preferably air trapped in the

compartment during manufacture.

The composition-containing compartments are separated by the sealing web as described herein.

Preferred liquids have a viscosity in the range 100 to 1000 cPs.

The or eadch liquid composition in compartments preferably has a low water content of less than 10 wt%, more preferably from 0.5 to 9 wt% water, most preferably from 1 to 7 wt%.

Surfactant

The detergent composition may comprise one or more organic surfactants. Many suitable detergent-active compounds are available and are fully described in the literature, for example, in "Surface-Active Agents and Detergents", Volumes I and II, by Schwartz,

Perry and Berch. The organic surfactant may be anionic (soap or non-soap), cationic, zwitterionic, amphoteric, nonionic or mixture of two or more of these. The preferred organic surfactants are mixtures of soap, synthetic non-soap anionic and non ionic compounds optionally with amphoteric surfactant.

Anionic surfactant may be present in an amount from 0.5 to 50 wt%, preferably from 2 wt% or 4 wt% up to 30 wt% or 40 wt% of the detergent composition. Suitable examples include alkyl benzene sulphonates, particularly sodium linear alkyl benzene sulphonates having an alkyl chain length of C5-C15; olefin sulphonates; alkane sulphonates; dialkyl sulphosuccinates; and fatty acid ester sulphonates.

Suitable nonionic surfactant compounds include in particular the reaction products of compounds having a hydrophobic group and a reactive hydrogen atom, for example, aliphatic alcohols, acids, amides or alkyl phenols with alkylene oxides, especially ethylene oxide. Specific nonionic surfactant compounds are alkyl (C8-22 ) phenol-ethylene oxide condensates, the condensation products of linear or branched aliphatic C8-20 primary or secondary alcohols with ethylene oxide, and products made by condensation of ethylene oxide with the reaction products of propylene oxide and ethylene-diamine.

In a substrate washing detergent composition, these organic surfactants preferably comprise 5 to 50 wt% of the detergent composition. In a machine dishwashing composition, organic surfactant is likely to constitute from 0.5 to 8 wt% of the detergent composition and preferably consists of nonionic surfactant, either alone or in a mixture with anionic surfactant.

Builders and seguestrants

The detergent compositions may contain a so-called detergency builder which serves to remove or sequester calcium and/or magnesium ions in the water. Soluble builder may be added to the liquid composition. For example sodium citrate or a soluble sequestrant, for example, Dequest 2066, which may also assist with stabilising the liquid.

The builder or sequestrant material is preferably fully soluble so as to eliminate the possibility of unwanted and unsightly residues on substrates. For that reason Alkali metal aluminosilicates are not favoured.

Non-phosphorus water-soluble detergency builders may be organic or inorganic.

Inorganic builders that may be present include alkali metal (generally sodium) carbonate; while organic builders include polycarboxylate polymers, such as polyacrylates, acrylic/maleic copolymers, and acrylic phosphonates, monomeric polycarboxylates such as citrates, gluconates, oxydisuccinates, glycerol mono- di and trisuccinates,

carboxymethyloxysuccinates, carboxymethyloxymalonates, dipicolinates and

hydroxyethyliminodiacetates. Electrolytes such as sodium carbonate are not preferred due to the way they suppress the solubility of polyvinylalcohol.

Bleach System

The detergent composition may contain a bleach system. This preferably consists of an air bleaching catalyst. For example the catalyst being a ligand of the formula (I) complexed with a transition metal, selected from Fe(ll) and Fe(lll),


Where R1 and R2 are independently selected from:

C1-C4-alkyl,

C6-C10-aryl, and,

a group containing a heteroatom capable of coordinating to a transition metal, wherein at least one of R1 and R2 is the group containing the heteroatom; preferably at least one of R1 or R2 is pyridin-2-ylmethyl. More preferably the catalyst is one in which R1 is pyridin-2-ylmethyl. Most preferably R1 is pyridin-2-ylmethyl and R2 is methyl;

R3 and R4 are independently selected from hydrogen, C1-C8 alkyl, C1-C8-alkylene-0-C1-C8-alkyl, C1-C8-alkylene-0-C6-C10-aryl, C6-C10-aryl, C1-C8-hydroxyalkyl, and -(CH2)nC(0)0R5;

wherein R5 is independently selected from: hydrogen, C1-C4-alkyl, n is from 0 to

4, and mixtures thereof; preferably R3=R4= -C(0)OMe and,

each R is independently selected from: hydrogen, F, Cl, Br, hydroxyl, C1-C4-alkyO-, -NH-CO-H, -NH-CO-C1-C4-alkyl, -NH2, -NH-C1-C4-alkyl, and C1-C4-alkyl; preferably each R is hydrogen,

X is selected from C=0, -[C(R6)2]y- wherein Y is from 0 to 3, preferably 1 , each R6 is independently selected from hydrogen, hydroxyl, C1-C4-alkoxy and C1-C4-alkyl preferably X is C=0.

Most preferably the catalyst is ([Fe(N2py3o)CI]CI) with structure (II):


1 11 )

Also known as lron(1 +), chloro[rel-1 ,5-dimethyl (1 R,2S,4R,5S)-9,9-dihydroxy-3-methyl-2,4-di(2-pyridinyl-kN)-7-[(2-pyridinyl-kN )methyl]-3,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-1 ,5-dicarboxylate-kN3, kN7]-, chloride (1 :1 ), (OC-6-63)[CAS Registry Number 478945-46-9].

To avoid possible gassing of ingredients it is preferred to avoid the use of persalt or peracid bleaching species in the capsules.

Further optional ingredients

Detergency enzymes may be employed in the compositions.

The compositions may also contain a fluorescer (optical brightener), for example, Tinopal (Trade Mark) DMS or Tinopal CBS available from Ciba-Geigy AG, Basel, Switzerland. Tinopal DMS is disodium 4,4'bis-(2-morpholino-4-anilino-s-triazin-6-ylamino) stilbene disulphonate; and Tinopal CBS is disodium 2,2'-bis-(phenylstyryl) disulphonate.

An antifoam material is advantageously included when organic surfactant is present; especially if the detergent composition is primarily intended for use in front-loading drum-type automatic washing machines. Soap is a suitable antifoam.

Further ingredients which can optionally be employed in laundry or machine dish wash detergent compositions of the invention include antiredeposition agents such as sodium carboxymethylcellulose, straight-chain polyvinyl pyrrolidone and the cellulose ethers such as methyl cellulose and ethyl hydroxyethyl cellulose, substrate-softening agents;

perfumes; and colorants or coloured speckles.

Use of capsules

The capsules described herein are suitable for use in a substrate treatment method, suitably a laundry or machine dish washing method. Thus, a further aspect of the present invention provides use of capsules as described herein in a method of cleaning, suitably a laundry or machine dish washing method. Suitably the method includes placing the capsule in the drum or dosing drawer or any dosing device of a washing machine prior to commencement of a wash cycle.

The capsules are particularly suitable for use in (substrate) washing machines and in dishwashing machines amongst other applications. They can also be used in manual laundry or dishwashing operations. In use the capsules according to the invention are preferably, and conveniently, placed directly into the liquid which will form the wash liquor or into the area where this liquid will be introduced. The capsule dissolves on contact with the liquid, thereby releasing the detergent composition from the separate compartments and allowing them to form the desired wash liquor.

Combinations of aspects

A number of proposals and aspects are described herein, which proposals and aspects are intended to be combined to achieve improved or cumulative benefits. Thus, any one aspect may be combined with any other aspect. Similarly the optional features associated with any one of the aspects may apply to any one of the other aspects.

Description of Embodiments

The invention will now be further described with reference to the following non

limiting embodiments and with reference to the drawings, of which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a prior art tray package of capsules (‘SMOL’);

Figure 2 is a top plan schematic view of a laundry or machine dish wash product in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 3 is a top plan view showing only the pattern of capsules on a tray in a further embodiment of the invention

Figure 4 is a top plan view of a capsule of the arrangement in figure 3

Figure 5 is a schematic top plan view of a two compartment capsule similar to that of figure 4.

Figure 6 is a perspective view of the capsule of figure 5 in relation to axis x,y,z;

Figure 7 is a side elevational view of the capsule illustrated in Figures 5 and 6;

Figure 8 is a cross sectional view of a prior art single compartment capsule;

Figure 9 is a cross sectional view of prior art single compartment capsules on a tray base Figure 10 is a perspective view of a tray, sleeve and outer packaging according to an embodiment of the invention (capsules not shown) ;

With reference to figure 1 , a prior art product sold under the brand name‘SMOL’ ex. Smol Limited (UK) is shown opened. The capsules 101 are shown packaged in a hinged plastic tray 100 which itself is contained in a hinged paperboard box (not shown). The capsules 101 have a single compartment. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) products is that they must withstand the forces imposed during transit and in particular posting through a letterbox and forces imposed when in use, e.g. opening the packaging to access the capsules. One particular problem with single compartment laundry capsules with a convex outer profile as shown schematically in figure 8, with capsule 801 is that they rest on a single curved base. When such capsules are packaged in tray-type packaging with a level base, as the tray is moved, the capsules have a tendancy to rock or roll on their base. This disrupts any original packing arrangement of the capsules which is

undesireable if the arrangement was ordered in some way. One way round this is to pack capsules at a slignt angle and closely-packed, so that each capsule is wedged against another as with single compartment capsules 901 stored on base 900 in figure 9.

However, with capsules so wedged impact/rubbing (against each other) causing rupture may occur under transit/delivery forces. Even without such forces, capsule stored in close contact with other caspsules may stick together and then rupture on separation e.g. as the user selects and extract one of the capsules.

Figures 2 and 3 show a laundry or machine dish wash product according to embodiments of the invention. Each product shown comprses a tray containing a plurality of water- soluble capsules 201 , 301 , each capsule 201 , 301 containing two compartments 201 a, 201 b, 301 a, 301 b. These compartments each contain a different substrate treatment composition, one coloured 201 a and 301 a, and one opaque 201 b and 301 b. The compartments are located side-by-side in a notional row extending transversely across the capsule 20. The tray package has a substantially level base (not shown in figures 2,3) and the capsules are located side-by-side on the base.

Referring now to figures 4-7, the invention provides a flat tray-package of capsules which can be filled with performance levels of substrate treatment fluids so providing a firm and plump capsule as shown in figure 7 with convex outer profile seen in capsule 501 but with greater stability under motion of the tray. Thus the capsules can be arranged without wedging against each other as in figure 9. The compartmentalization of the capsule provides at least two separate points of contact by means of lower portions of the capsule which provide feet 503, 505 with the tray base 500 such that the weight is more evenly spread (in the plane of the tray base) as compared with a single compartment capsule as shown in figure 8, which has only one point of contact 803 about which the capsule may rotate. The capsule-tray arrangement of the invention reduces disruption of an array of capsules on the tray base such that ordered arrangements, as seen in figures 2 and 3, can be reliably used without wedging.

The feet 503, 505 are most effective in preveting roll of the capsule in a direction of the above-mentioned notional line.

The compartments located side-by-side are of a similar in shape and size, and have the same volume. Each capsule comprises two sheets of water-soluble film, the two sheets of film being sealed together by a sealing web extending around the periphery of the capsule and internal sealing web which partitions the capsule to provide said at least two compartments. The sealing web lies in a sealing plane such that compartments extend at least below the sealing plane when viewed from a side of the capsule, as in figure 7 see 503 and 505. The internal sealing web bisects the capsule to provide two distinct and separate comparments, separating the contents of these compartments 501 a and 501 b. The compartments each of which defines a respective substantially liquid-tight and hermetically sealed chamber containing a respective volume of liquid product.

The internal sealing web has a substantially continuously curved shape to resist folding or drooping of the capsule when it is extracted from the tray and so prevents a trailing edge of the capsule dragging behind and inadvertently rubbing/disrupting the capsules remaining in the tray.

The capsules have asymmetrical compartments with “S”-shaped internal sealing web The“S”-shape has a gentle curvature so that the direction of the anti-roll effect is approximately parallel with a notional line connected the top and bottom of the“S”.

The capsule shape has approximate rotational symmetry (point symmetry), suitably second order rotational symmetry, rotation being in the sealing plane. Suitably the origin is the capsule’s centre point in the sealing plane. And so, in embodiments, rotation of the capsule by 180 degrees around its centre point will superpose the rotated compartments coincident (at least in terms of shape) on the pre-rotation compartments.

The capsules have no rotational symmetry (point symmetry) in terms of colour or or opacity, put another way, it can be said to have first order rotational symmetry, with rotation being in the sealing plane the origin is the capsule’s centre point in the sealing plane. And so, in embodiments, rotation of the capsule by 360 degrees around its centre point will superpose the rotated compartments (coincident in terms of colour) on the pre rotation compartments. This has advantage when groups of/all capsules are arranged on the tray, as is figure 3, oriented in a common direction, more specifically, with a common rotational orientation in the sealing plane, this presents an array having a pattern but where each individual element can be visually picked out because the respective compartments of adjacent capsules in the array will have a different colours/opacity.

The human brain naturally seeks out patterns and so if the compartments have different colours/ opacity, each capsule is more discernable versus an adjacent capsule than for capsules having a single compartment or having a single colour or both. Thus, with this feature, that human brain can therefore recognize the arrangement as a pattern and further recognize the individual units of the pattern this arrangement is then more easily evaluated by the superior pattern processing (SPP) capabilities of the human brain and the consumer can then more easily extract an individual capsule from the tray without inadvertently picking up other capsules at the same time which would be undesirable.

Referring to figure 10, the tray comprises a level base with peripheral wall/s which may extend upwards from the periphery of the level base. The tray is contained within a flexible sleeve and accessible by sliding out via an slot. The capsules form a single-layer arrangement of capsules on the tray, spaced apart. The capsules are arranged such that the internal sealling web of each capsule is substantially orthogonal to the direction of travel as the tray slides out of the outer package via the opening. The internal sealing web may be substantially parallel to the opening/ slot of the outer package.

As will be appreciated, each compartment is defined between the upper and lower layers of PVA film, and is sealed around its respective perhipery by the fusion of the two layers of film thereround. More particularly, and having regard to Figure 5, it will be noted that the upper and lower film layers are fused together around the three compartments to form a generally annular web extending around all of the compartments and which has a rectangular outer edge, as defined by the aforementioned cutting process. The upper and lower film layers are also fused together to form an additional inner sealing web which is formed integrally with the annular web and which extend across the capsule to define two compartments located in spaced-relation to one another. The additional internal sealing web serves to separate the two compartments.

As illustrated in Figures 8 and 9 , a respective small volume of air may become trapped inside each compartment during the manufacturing process.

Liquid composition

The liquid composition dispensed to each of the three compartments is as follows:

Compartment 1 Compartment 2

Surfactants Surfactant

Polymer cleaning Polymer cleaning

Sequestrant Sequestrant

Enzymes Water

Fluorescer Hydroptrope

Water Opacifier

Hydrotrope

Dyes (colour 2 ¹ colour 1 )

Perfume

The composition of compartment #1 is formulated, including through the use of an opacifier, so as to provide a white opaque composition. The second central compartment is formulated, including provision of suitable dyes, to provide a blue colour. Side compartment #2 is formulated, including provision of suitable dyes, to provide a purple colour.

Fill volume vs. brimful volume is aimed at a minimum of 80%. For example, for a 28 ml liquid fill the cavity volume is thus at most 35 ml. The multi-compartment capsule is produced by a process of thermoforming. Such a process may advantageously comprise the following steps to form the capsule:

(a) placing a first sheet of water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol film over a mould having sets of cavities, each set comprising at least two cavities arranged side-by-side;

(b) heating and applying vacuum to the film to mould the film into the cavities and hold it in place to form corresponding recesses in the film;

(c) filling the different parts of a substrate treatment composition, each of which may have a different colour/opacity (as well as different treatment function) into the side and central recesses, the parts together forming a full detergent composition;

(d) sealing a second sheet of film to the first sheet of film across the formed recesses to produce a multi-compartment capsule having compartments located on opposite connected to each other and separated by a continuous internal sealing web;

(e) cutting between the capsules so that a series of multi-compartment compartment capsules are formed, each capsule containing a part of a treatment composition in multiple compartments (one central and two side compartments).

Sealing can be done by any suitable method for example heat-sealing, solvent sealing or UV sealing, ultrasound or a combination of any (e.g. two) of these. Particularly preferred is water-sealing. Water sealing may be carried out by applying moisture to the second sheet of film before it is sealed to the first sheet of film to form the seal areas.

A preferred thermoforming process uses a rotary drum on which the forming cavities are mounted. A vacuum thermoforming machine that uses such a drum is available from Cloud LLC. The capsules according to the invention could also be made by

thermoforming on a linear array of cavity sections. Machines suitable for that type of process are available from Hoefliger. The following example description is focussed onto the rotary process. A skilled person will appreciate how this would be adapted without inventive effort to use a linear array process.

The capsules are then arranged on the tray in arrangements as described herein.

Further embodiments are providd in packaging and arrangements as described above, except that machine dish wash compositions are contained in the capsules.