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Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR DISPENSING A NON SOLID PRODUCT'S QUANTITY, IN DOSES AND SINGLE DOSES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/208177
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Automatic self-service apparatus and related method of dispensing a concentrated or diluted detergent recipe, or sunscreen products. The apparatus comprises: a. At least one dispenser (7) of one or more detergent substances contained in separate tanks (3) and wherein said detergent substances are dispensed in doses within a container; said container (4) being stored within said machine, b. At least one conveyor (14) of said container configured to bring it at said dispensers (7) as well as further apparatus adapted to carry out the subsequent sealing thereof, c. At least one pick-up bay (10) for delivering said container (4) thus filled and sealed.

Inventors:
BEVILACQUA, Giovanni (Piazza Cavallotti 1, Mantova, 46100, IT)
ORLANDI, Ireneo (Piazza Cavallotti 1, Mantova, 46100, IT)
LANFREDI SOFIA, Paolo (Piazza Cavallotti 1, Mantova, 46100, IT)
BENEDINI, Federico (Piazza Cavallotti 1, Mantova, 46100, IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/053213
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
May 31, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ORBE S.R.L. (Piazza Cavallotti 1, Mantova, 46100, IT)
International Classes:
B01F13/10; G07F13/06; G07F13/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DALLAGLIO, Fabrizio et al. (Ing. Dallaglio S.r.l, Via Mazzini 2, Parma, 43121, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Automatic self-service apparatus (1) for dispensing a concentrated or diluted non solid product recipe, characterized in that it comprises:

a. At least one dispenser (7) of one or more sunscreen or detergent substances contained in separate tanks (3) and wherein said sunscreen or detergent substances are dispensed in doses within a container; said container (4) being stored within said machine, b. At least one conveyor (14) of said container configured to bring it at said dispensers (7) as well as further apparatus adapted to carry out the subsequent sealing thereof,

c. At least one pick-up bay (10) for delivering said container (4) thus filled and sealed,

d. At least one user interface to select a composition and/or type of product to be dispensed,

e. At least one processor configured to process a quantity of product to be dispensed through the dispenser (7), wherein the processor is configured to automatically determine on the basis of the composition and/or type of product, selected by the user interface, the quantity to be dispensed in such a way as to provide a single dose for a single application/use.

2. Apparatus (1) according to claim 1, wherein said container (4) is a rigid container of heat-resistant plastic adapted to contain a quantity of sunscreen or detergent product variable between 20 and 200 ml_.

3. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said container (4) is a rigid container of water- soluble plastic adapted to contain a quantity of sunscreen or detergent product variable between 20 and 200 ml_.

4. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said container (4) is sealable by mechanical screwing application of a rigid threaded cap.

5. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said container (4) is sealable with a plastic film welded to the mouth of the container by means of thermal or ultrasound welding ; said sealing film being water- resistant or water-soluble.

6. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said container (4) is configured to remain open after the first opening, being designed to contain a quantity of product for a single application/use.

7. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises an interface with a control panel, which identifies buttons (either physical or touch screen), each indicating a precise composition of the product that can be dispensed by the machine's dispensing system.

8. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said conveyor (14) is a star disc bearing a plurality of recesses (17) on the periphery, each configured to receive and retain a container (4) in position.

9. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein there is at least one pick-up station (6) for the container (4) to be dispensed, the station (6) rotating vertically on a respective median axis.

10. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein there is at least one pick-up station 8, rotating vertically on respective multiple-position axes, for a cap suitable for closing container 4 filled with the dose in the filling station 7, and at least one screwing station 9 for said cap.

11. Apparatus (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said dispenser (7) of sunscreen or detergent product comprises at least one filling valve (18); in turn, said valve (18) comprises a plurality of nozzles (19); each nozzle 19 is connectable to at least one respective tank 3 and is configured to receive from said tank the substance contained therein, by means of a corresponding tube or flexible conduit (23) and the interposition of a corresponding metering pump (11).

12. Method for dispensing a non solid product recipe to a new container and by means of the machine of claim 1, the method characterized by comprising at least the steps of:

• Releasing a container (4) from the warehouse of containers (6) contained within the machine and positioning said container in a recess of said conveyor (14).

• Rotating said conveyor (14) and positioning said container underneath the filling station (7).

• Activating one or more high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe, and

• Filling, through the corresponding nozzles, the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the conveyor (14) and bringing the container underneath the cap pick-up station,

• Releasing a cap on the container,

• Rotating the conveyor (14) up to bringing the filled container and the cap picked up underneath the screwing station,

• Screwing the cap,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and positioning the container at the pick-up bay.

13. Method for dispensing a non solid product recipe to a second-hand container and by means of the machine of claim 1, the method characterized by comprising at least the steps of: a. Requesting, with notice displayed on the operator panel by means of writing and/or sound, that a second-hand container without cap or cover be positioned in the loading bay and at a recess of the conveyor (14),

b. Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container from the pick-up bay just underneath the filling station,

c. Actuating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

d. Rotating the conveyor (14) and bringing the container to the pick-up bay.

14. Method for dispensing a non solid product recipe to a new container and by means of the machine of claim 1, the method characterized by comprising at least the steps of:

• Releasing a container from the warehouse, preferably rotating, of containers and positioning said container in a recess of the conveyor (14),

• Rotating the conveyor (14) up to bringing the container underneath the filling station,

• Actuating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the conveyor (14) up to bringing the container underneath the welding station for the sealing film,

• Welding said film to said container,

• Rotating the conveyor (14) up to positioning the container at the pick-up bay.

Method for dispensing a non solid product recipe to a used container and by means of the machine of claim 1, the method characterized by comprising at least the steps of: a. Requesting, with notice displayed on the operator panel by means of writing and/or sound, that a second-hand container without cap or cover be positioned in the loading bay and at a recess of the conveyor (14),

b. Rotating the conveyor (14) and bringing the container from the pick-up bay just underneath the filling station,

c. Actuating one or more high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

d. Rotating the conveyor (14) and bringing the container underneath the welding station for the sealing film, e. Performing the welding,

f. Rotating the conveyor (14) and bringing the container to the pick-up bay.

Method for dispensing a non solid product recipe in a container, according to claims 12 to 15, which involves dispensing a quantity of product equal to a single product dose in the container (4), wherein said single dose is defined for a single application/use.

17. Apparatus (1) according to claim 1, wherein said container (4) is a paper container for containing a sunscreen or detergent product.

Description:
TITLE: APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR DISPENSING A NON SOLID PRODUCT'S QUANTITY, IN DOSES AND SINGLE DOSES

DESCRIPTION SCOPE OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of automatic dispensers for dispensing non solid products in doses or single doses.

More specifically, according to a first embodiment, the subject non solid substance is the detergent family.

According to a further aspect of the invention, single doses of products such as sunscreen creams and oils for tanning and skin care after sunbathing are dispensed.

The machine is configured to dispense such products in plastic or paper containers.

PRIOR ART

An example of a prior art patent document with self-service apparatus and system capable of providing a detergent liquid composition is EP2065860.

This document has some drawbacks:

- It cannot dispense doses and single doses of pure, concentrated, mixed or diluted ready-to-use detergent in dose and single dose containers.

- It is not suitable for use in places where many residential units such as residences, condominiums, hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes, hotels, automatic laundries are concentrated.

DESCRIPTION AND ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to solve the above drawbacks and provide an apparatus and a system with a simple, reliable and cost-effective solution.

These and other objects are achieved with the features of the invention described in the independent claim(s). The dependent claims describe preferred and/or particularly advantageous aspects of the invention.

In general, a machine is provided for dispensing doses and/or single doses of a non solid product, i.e. fluid, more or less dense. The machine able to dispense the product in plastic or paper single doses (containers).

In a first embodiment, the non solid product comprises at least substances such as sunscreen creams and oils for tanning and skin care after sunbathing.

The machine dispenses the products according to the protection degree required.

The term "sunscreen product", used hereinafter, refers to those substances that protect the skin from ultraviolet-induced damage (such as sunscreen creams and oils for tanning and skin care after sunbathing).

The single-dose dispenser machine can be installed directly on the beaches and places where sunbathing is done. The non solid product is dispensed in plastic or paper containers; in the case of a paper container, they can be collected in the containers used for collection.

Furthermore, and according to a second embodiment of the present invention, said product is at least one pure, concentrated, mixed or diluted, ready-to-use detergent substance.

Thanks to the above solution, the apparatus described and claimed hereinafter may be installed in places where many residential units such as residences, condominiums, hospitals, nursing homes, rest homes, hotels, automatic laundries, shops, minimarkets and supermarkets are concentrated.

Moreover, in addition to providing a convenient user service, the invention completely eliminates the use of primary and secondary packaging in the distribution of detergent and cleaning products in general.

Yet another important object of the invention is to solve the needs of the elderly and/or disabled people who need small amounts of product and have trouble reaching the sale point. Even small households and singles can buy the amount of product needed for immediate needs. IPERMARKET and DISCOUNT companies, in fact, offer the best sale conditions if one buys products in large quantities. For those who use small amounts of detergent, having to buy large amounts of product is a big problem. In addition to the important expense when purchasing large amounts of detergents (if one buys small packages the price is almost equivalent), the problem is that the product remains long in unprotected environments and thus loses effectiveness and is often thrown away.

According to an aspect of the invention, the system is designed to dispense detergents for cloths and fabrics of any type, floors and tiled surfaces, glassware, kitchenware, bath, sanitizing detergents, degreasers, softeners, detergents for cleaning and personal hygiene. However, this is not limiting of the required protection, and the same concept can be extended to any type of liquid that needs to be dispensed either pure or mixed for its instantaneous, non-industrial civil use.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the system is managed by means of a self-service machine so that the user will be the one who actually consumes the detergent or the sunscreen product dispensed.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine supplies at the consumer's request a series of "pure" or "blended" products that are "proposed" by the same through the selection panel. For example, the consumer will be able to select 100% pure floor cleaner by pressing or selecting the relative button on the selection panel. Alternatively, the consumer will be able to select a washing machine detergent with 10% softener by pressing the relative button on the selection panel. Preferably, the panel provides the selection options in a finite and "discrete" number.

Alternatively, the consumer selects the sunscreen products based on the degree of protection or treatment required.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine can dispense concentrated or diluted detergent.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine will dispense "single doses" of detergent or sunscreen product and similar substances. By the term "single dose" it is meant an amount of detergent or sunscreen product sufficient for a single application or to perform a washing cycle on washing machines in general (washing machines for laundry, dishwashers,...) or to be diluted with water or other diluent liquid in specific containers needed to perform certain types of cleaning, such as, but not limited to, laundry washing by hand, car washing by hand, floor washing by hand, etc.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the SINGLE DOSE volume may vary according to the selected product. The machine is configured to automatically determine the SINGLE DOSE volume. Preferably, the SINGLE DOSE volume ranges between 20 and 200 mL.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine is configured to fill containers designed to contain a single dose.

According to a further aspect of the invention, said containers that are received from the system and thus from the machine are of heat-resistant plastic material.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the system is also capable of receiving and filling containers of water-soluble plastic material.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine can be configured to automatically dispense the single dose container filled and capped.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine may be provided with manual cap and container dispensers.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine can fill second-hand containers. In fact, if the consumer wishes to reuse the container used, the machine allows selecting this option on the panel, after which it receives the container from the user in a dedicated position, which will be indicated to him, then the filling cycle will take place processing that second-hand container, which will then be returned filled with the desired liquid . In this case, the container can be picked up and capped manually. As a form of incentive, the system applies a discount on the purchased detergent if the consumer reuses the second-hand container.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine is configured to seal the container, at least when said container is a new container provided by the machine, applying a plastic cap.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the cap may be a "metering" cap configured to throttle the amount of liquid present in the container compartment, particularly where the dispensed dose must be further throttled by the consumer. According to an aspect of the invention, it is the dispensing machine itself which automatically selects a standard cap or a metering cap according to the consumer's selection.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine is configured to manage and recover non-reusable single dose containers; to prevent them from being dispersed in the environment, the consumers can place them in a special box or space; in this case, an economic credit recovery is also provided to be used for subsequent purchases.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine comprises a dispensing system comprising a frame in which various tanks are contained with the detergents and products for mixing, i.e. the sunscreen and related products, as well as a carousel containing at least the containers that must be provided filled and optionally the closing caps; alternatively, containers and caps can be placed on independent devices.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the frame of the machine is enclosed in a cabinet, the latter being designed so that it can be placed in any type of room and/or house, occupying a reasonably small space.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the machine comprises at least:

• one or more container pick-up stations,

• one or more filling stations, where the containers are filled with the detergent solutions or the sunscreen products, by means of a dispensing system,

• one or more cap pick-up stations, • one or more screwing stations for the same and a pick-up bay of the filled and caped container.

According to a further embodiment and aspect of the invention, the machine is configured to seal the filled container by thermal or ultrasound welding, of a water-resistant or water- soluble plastic film. In this case, instead of the cap dispenser, the machine is provided with coil plastic film feeding system. In this case, the machine comprises at least:

• one or more container pick-up stations,

• one or more filling stations, where the containers are filled with the detergent solutions or the sunscreen products, by means of the dispensing system,

• one or more sealing film welding stations, by thermal or ultrasound welding, and a pick-up bay of the filled and capped container.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the dispensing system of the present invention contains tanks positioned within the same. These tanks contain the detergent products or the sunscreen products preferably with concentrated composition. Alternatively or in addition, the tanks may also contain a diluted product, for example already mixed with water. Alternatively or in addition, the system may comprise further tanks containing optional, non-detergent or sunscreen ingredients such as, for example, perfumes and pigments. Preferably, the size of the tanks is between 1 and 30 liters. According to an embodiment of the present invention, the machine provides that each tank be provided with a high precision metering pump; by means of a flexible hose, said metering pump is adapted to carry the product contained in the tank to the filling nozzle. According to an embodiment of the present invention, said filling nozzle is located in the filling station above the container, reaching one or more dosing valves.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, also depending on the selection made by the consumer on the selection panel, said dispensing system is configured to pump the various products making up the selected mixture from the specific tanks, so that each product is released in an independent manner in the container, while the mixing of the products takes place directly in the container.

As mentioned above, the product may optionally be diluted with water.

According to a preferred embodiment, the subject system provides for the dilution by adding water to the product directly in the container. The amount of diluent (water) is automatically calculated by the dispenser according to the combination selected by the consumer.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, and in the case where the water required for mixing and diluting is provided by the water supply network, the dispensing machine further comprises its own water softening system according to the mixing/dilution requirements.

The advantages are many, some of which are summarized herein :

a) possibility of having single doses of detergent or sunscreen products, packaged in containers and ready for use, and mixed, so as to avoid the purchase of the single different products,

b) possibility of recovering, in the rooms used as a laundry of the house, the spaces currently occupied by very bulky detergent packages,

c) possibility of always using fully the detergent or sunscreen product. In this way, waste is avoided, thereby promoting and enhancing the concept of a sustainable system, d) the need to store the empty containers is eliminated since the machine can be provided with a collection system for any containers that can no longer be used, with economic credit incentives for the user. At present, the recycling of plastic containers, especially those of detergents, is instead complex. Separate collection is a cost and requires citizens to do sometimes complicated operations.

Said objects and advantages are all achieved by the automatic self-service apparatus and method for dispensing concentrated, mixed or diluted detergent or sunscreen product or similar creams, in doses or single doses, object of the present invention, which is characterized by the appended claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

This and other features will become more apparent from the following description of some of the configurations, illustrated purely by way of example in the accompanying drawings.

- Figure 1 : shows a front view of the subject apparatus,

- Figure 2: shows the control panel of the apparatus in figure 1,

- Figures 3, 4, 5, 6: show different internal views of the apparatus,

- Figure 7: shows a detail of the filling unit with multi-nozzle valve.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, as said, relates to an automatic self- service apparatus for supplying a sunscreen or cleaning detergent product recipe and a method for dispensing said recipe in a single dose container, according to the meaning indicated above by this term.

The apparatus of the present invention is an automatic self- service dispensing machine. It is noted that the term "self- service" means that the user of the device will presumably also be the consumer of the quantity of detergent/composition/sunscreen product picked and dispensed.

The user will also need to activate the device and interact with it, via an operator panel or user interface, so as to indicate what steps to perform to the machine, i.e. the filling operations, in a very intuitive and automatic manner, since all of these steps are performed without further intervention by the user.

Specifically and with particular reference to figure 1, reference numeral 1 indicates as a whole an example of a machine or apparatus of the present invention; machine 1 is configured to dispense sunscreen products or chemical detergent substances, concentrated or diluted possibly with water, by means of a dedicated connection to the water supply network or the water supply tank inside the machine itself.

The components of the machine adapted to supply and dispense the dose of sunscreen or detergent product are incorporated within a rigid protective case 2. Preferably, but not limited to, case 2 has a parallelepiped geometry and dimensions such as to allow an efficient arrangement of the internal components, as indicated hereinafter.

The user has the possibility to interact with the machine through a user interface, indicated with reference numeral 12, and the respective software program; as shown in figure 1, the user interface 12 is located on the front panel of case 2.

The software program is preferably loaded to a processor configured to process the user information and control the various machine operations. Alternatively, the software program may also be loaded to an external processor; in this case, the various communications will take place with appropriate protocols (wireless, bus, etc ..) so that machine components can operate. Always at the front, the machine comprises:

- one or more slots 30 for payment and/or delivering the labels after filling, as better described hereinafter,

- a loading and pick-up bay, indicated with reference numeral 10,

- a receptacle 40 for the optional recovery of used containers.

With particular reference to figures 3, 4, 5 and 6, the interior of machine 1 is shown in detail, and particularly the components that implement the dispensing and filling system of the single dose container, object of the invention.

The presence of a support plane 20 is shown, positioned transversely and substantially at half machine 1.

Plane 20 is preferably of steel. Said plane is fixed and thus divides machine 1 into two sections, the upper section being indicated with reference numeral 21, and the lower section indicated with reference numeral 22.

In said upper section 21 there is a star disc 14, i.e. a discoid element moved by a brushless motor; said star disc 14 is supported on said fixed plane 21 ; the star disc 14, when operated by the motor, rotates according to the vertical and central axis AA.

The star disc 14 has a plurality of recesses 17 on the periphery, each configured to receive and retain a container 4 in position, of the type explained hereinafter. In addition to said star disc 14, other components of the dispensing system are present in said upper section 21 and precisely:

- at least one station 6, preferably two, of container 4 to be dispensed,

- at least one filling station 7, where containers 4 are filled with the detergent solutions or with the sunscreen products or similar creams or oils,

- at least one pick-up station 8 for a cover or cap suitable for closing container 4 filled with the dose in the filling station 7,

- at least one screwing station 9 for said cap.

The machine is configured to deliver (and optionally also pick up, as better described hereinafter) container 4 outside, and this takes place in the dedicated pick-up bay 10, already described above.

Both the container pick-up station 6 and the cap pick-up station 7 are preferably members vertically rotating on respective axes and with multiple positions, so that multiple containers and caps can be dispensed; in the example, there are:

- 12 container loading positions divided into two stars or supply stations 6

- 6 cap loading positions located in a single star or station 8

The container delivery stations, indicated with reference numeral 6, are located in a position corresponding to the recesses of the star disc 14 so as to release the intended container in one of said recesses. Stations 6 are also close to each other and both positioned before the filling station 7 with respect to the direction of rotation of the star disc 14 shown in figure 6.

The cap station 8 is instead placed after the filling station 7, also above the star disc 14, so as to release a cap in coincidence with the recess and the filled container passing before reaching the pick-up bay 10.

The operator interfaces with the operator panel and with bay 10 while the entire filling system so far described is hidden by case 2.

The loading bay 10 can be opened by, for example, a sliding gate or partition that allows picking at the right time.

According to an advantageous embodiment, station 6 and/or station 7 may contain containers and/or caps of different colors so as to be able to associate a color with a particular type of sunscreen or detergent product or recipe loaded into the container, thus facilitating the user's subsequent identification.

With particular reference to figures 7 and 8, the filling station is shown in detail, generally indicated with reference numeral 7, configured and designed to fill container 4 once said container 4 has been positioned below at least one filling valve 18 thereof.

With reference to the detail in figure 8, it is noted that said valve 18 comprises a plurality of nozzles 19. Preferably, the number of nozzles 19 is at least equal to the number of tanks 3, each containing a defined type of sunscreen or concentrated detergent product. The series of tanks 3 is housed in the lower section 22 described above.

Preferably, each nozzle 19 is connected to the respective tank 3 through a corresponding hose or flexible conduit, indicated with reference numeral 23 and the interposition of a corresponding metering pump 11.

With reference to figure 4, it is noted that said filling system 7 comprises height adjustable devices 15 in order to bring the valve 18 close to container 4 during filling, as well as adjust the height thereof according to containers of different dimensions.

At least one movable partition with horizontal sliding is also provided, although not shown in the figure, configured to fit between the filled container 4 and the filling valve 18, so as to preserve the possible drop of sunscreen product or detergent substances from nozzles 19 after the filling step.

Returning to the cover or cap release station 8, it has already been said that it can deliver and release a corresponding cap or cover on container 4; to this end, container 4 is preferably shaped so as to bear such a grip as to bring the cap picked up from said station 8 (following the rotation of disc 14) lengthwise underneath at least one screwing head, indicated with reference numeral 9. Once the capping and/or screwing step of the cap or cover on said container has ended, star 14 places (following a further rotation thereof according to axis AA) container 4 into bay 10 allowing the pick-up thereof by the user.

Preferably, once the above operations have ended, a receipt and/or an adhesive label come out of the front panel to attach to the container for recording and clearly describing the content thereof. The label will be attached by the user on the package, preferably on the cap.

Alternatively, the adhesive label may be applied directly and automatically on the cap before the container can be picked up by the user. The purpose of the label is to give an indication of the quantity of product or products in the container, optional composition, dispensing date, etc.

The adhesive label is printed by a dedicated printing device inside the machine or located on the front panel.

The machine is also provided with at least one phone device for remote control and through which the operations performed can be checked remotely; the phone device also communicates the amount of fluid dispensed from the tanks, the number of containers and caps used; with this device, one can keep track of the reserve of the various tanks, containers and caps used, allowing their precise replacement or replenishment.

A connection to a water softener device is also provided with which also water can be dispensed in the container, in order to dilute the dose if necessary.

MACHINE - CONSUMER INTERFACE

With particular reference to figures 1 and 2, it is noted that machine 1 is provided with a machine-consumer communication interface 12; the interface allows the user to obtain the desired product by making a simple selection on the control panel and paying the amount due indicated by the panel itself.

Preferably, said communication interface is located on the front side of the machine and integrated into the same.

The interface has a control panel, which identifies buttons (either physical or touch screen) each of which indicates a precise composition of the product that can be dispensed by the machine's dispensing system.

In a preferred embodiment, the user interface allows selecting a composition and/or type of product to be dispensed.

In turn, the processor is configured to process a quantity of product to be dispensed through dispenser 7, wherein the processor is configured to automatically determine on the basis of the composition and/or type of product, selected by the user interface, the quantity to be dispensed in such a way as to provide a single dose for a single application/use.

As an example, the following filling cycles of sunscreen product/detergents can be selected on the control panel :

a. Washing machine detergent for normal washing b. Normal washing machine detergent with 10% softener c. Normal washing machine detergent with 30% softener d. Detergent for wool and delicates

e. Detergent for wool and delicates with 10% softener f.

g. Dishwasher detergent

h. Dishwasher detergent with rinse aid

i.

j. Detergent for floors and tiles

k. Detergent for floors with degreaser

For each of the above selections, the interface shows all the information about the product and required by the regulations in force.

Moreover, the interface also provides all the necessary information to the consumer to exactly know the characteristics of the product selected and how to use it.

Once sure of the selection, after having carefully read the information written on the interface, the consumer pays the requested price displayed on the interface and dispensing begins at that moment.

As mentioned above, at the end of the filling process the interface will print an adhesive label, with the necessary information required by the regulations concerning the product selected and dispensed, to be placed on the cap of the contained filled and capped.

If the container or the cap are made of water-soluble material, the label will also be water-soluble so as to dissolve together with the container or the cap.

DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTAINERS

According to a preferred embodiment, container 4 in which the liquid is dispensed by the dispensing system 7 is picked from and stored within the apparatus, station 6 indicated above.

The subject container is a rigid heat-resistant and/or water- soluble plastic container adapted to accommodate a dose/single dose quantity.

If the container is of water-soluble material, the container will melt directly during the washing operation, and then there will be no need to retrieve the container itself.

If the container recovered is not reusable, the consumer will be able to return it to the dispensing machine in a special compartment for the retrieval of used containers. The consumer will have an economic credit every time he returns a used container.

The container is sealed by mechanical application by screwing of a threaded rigid cap. For use, the consumer must manually open the container before introducing it into the washing liquid . Once the washing process has ended, the consumer will retrieve the container for reuse.

As an alternative to the system just described, the container can be closed with a plastic film welded to the container mouth by heat or ultrasound welding. The closing film may be water- resistant or water-soluble.

In this case, the container (4) may be configured to remain open after the first opening, being designed to contain a quantity of product for a single application/use.

DESCRIPTION OF THE WORKING CYCLE AND OPERATION

Below is a description of the working cycle and operation of the machine subject of the invention, in the case of new container and its closing/sealing by means of a screw cap.

The machine cycle includes at least the following steps:

• Releasing a container from the warehouse, preferably of the rotating type, of containers and positioning said container in a recess of the conveyor "star" disc.

• Rotating said conveyor "star" disc,

• Positioning said container underneath the filling station,

• Activating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe,

• Filling, through the corresponding nozzles, the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the conveyor "star" disc and bringing the container underneath the cap pick-up station,

• Releasing the cap on the container,

• Rotating the conveyor "star" disc up to bringing the filled container and the cap picked up underneath the screwing station, • Screwing the cap,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and positioning the container at the pick-up bay.

The user then picks up the container filled and capped from the pick-up bay.

Below is a description of the working cycle and operation of the machine subject of the invention, in the case of second-hand container and screw cap.

First, the user is prompted, via a warning displayed on the operator panel by writing and/or sound, to check and/or remove the cap from the used container and place said used container in the recess of the "star" conveyor disc at the pick-up bay. In any case, the machine is configured to not start the working cycle in the presence of a capped container.

Then, the machine activates the following steps:

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container from the pick-up bay just underneath the filling station,

• Actuating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container to the pick-up bay.

The user is now prompted to pick up the filled container from the pick-up bay; he will also have to cap it manually with the used cap already in his possession.

An optional step would be to provide and screw a new cap, at the user's request (as in the case of loss).

Below is a description of the working cycle and operation of the machine subject of the invention, in the case of new container and sealing with welded film.

The cycle includes at least the following steps:

• Releasing a container from the warehouse, preferably rotating, of containers and positioning said container in a recess of the conveyor "star" disc.

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc up to bringing the container underneath the filling station,

• Actuating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc up to bringing the container underneath the welding station for the sealing film,

• Welding said film to said container,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc up to positioning the container at the pick-up bay.

At this point, the user can pick up the container filled and capped from the pick-up bay. Below is a description of the working cycle and operation of the machine subject of the invention, in the case of used container and sealing with welded film.

First, the user is prompted, via a warning displayed on the operator panel by writing and/or sound, to check and/or remove the cap from the used container and place said used container in the recess of the "star" conveyor disc at the pick-up bay.

The cycle includes at least the following steps:

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container from the pick-up bay to the filling station, at the filling nozzles,

• Actuating the high-precision metering pumps according to the set recipe and, through the nozzles, filling the container with the set amount,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container underneath the welding station for the sealing film,

• Performing the welding,

• Rotating the "star" conveyor disc and bringing the container to the pick-up bay.

At this point, the user is prompted to pick up the container filled and capped from the pick-up bay.

In general, for dispensing a non solid product recipe in a container, the method subject of the present invention involves dispensing a quantity of product equal to a single product dose in the container (4), wherein said single dose is defined for a single application/use.