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Title:
IMPROVEMENTS IN ROLLER BALL APPLICATORS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/109011
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Several improvements on roller ball applicators on glass bottles have been described. A unique mechanical design of the roller ball housing to obtain minimal leak of the bottle ingredients is described. Also described is a hidden tamper evident band.

Inventors:
UPASANI, Vinayak (511 Harbor Blvd # G, La Habra, CA, 90631, US)
XU, Gang (139-2 Xiaowen St, Suite 5ANingbo, 315000, CN)
Application Number:
US2018/063435
Publication Date:
June 06, 2019
Filing Date:
November 30, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UPASANI, Vinayak (511 Harbor Blvd # G, La Habra, CA, 90631, US)
International Classes:
A45D34/04; A61H15/00; B65D41/02
Foreign References:
KR20120005008U2012-07-10
GB2275024A1994-08-17
US4588320A1986-05-13
US20080142469A12008-06-19
US20130026126A12013-01-31
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AKHAVE, Jay (2058 N. Mills Avenue, #612Claremont, CA, 91711, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
We claim:

1. A two-piece leak-minimizing roller ball housing comprising

a ball receptacle part having one dispensing end to house a roller ball and a distal end that fits into a bottle typically containing the liquid to be dispensed, and a ball retainer piece fitted onto the dispensing end of the ball receptacle part with a roller ball enclosed in the cavity formed by the ball receptacle and the ball retainer.

2. The roller ball housing of claim 1 wherein the ball receptacle is made from

Polyethylene and the ball retainer is made from Polypropylene.

3. The two-piece roller ball housing of claim 1 wherein the leak is measured to be less than 0.01 gm with the leak testing protocol.

4. A roll-on applicator using the two-piece leak minimizing ball housing of claim 1.

5. A roll-on applicator cap assembly with a tamper evident band.

6. The roll-on applicator cap assembly of claim 5 wherein the tamper evident band remains hidden when the bottle cap assembly is screwed close on its bottle.

7. The cap assembly of claim 6 comprising an inner cap and an outer cap, wherein the inner cap has a tear away tamper evidence band.

Description:
[001] IMPROVEMENTS IN ROLLER BALL APPLICATORS

[002] CROSS- REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[003] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent 62/593,412 filed on December 1 , 2017 which is incorporated by reference herein.

[004] BACKGROUND

[005] Field of Invention

[006] The present invention relates to a roller ball applicator dispenser device, and more particularly, relates to two aspects of the dispenser device.

[007] In a first aspect, it relates to an improvement in the mechanical design of the roller ball housing of the applicator and in a second aspect provides a novel tamper evident band system in-built in the cap of the roll-on the applicator.

[008] Description of Related Arts

[009] Improvement in roller ball housing [010] Roller ball applicators have been used in many applications in the art to dispense water-like to viscous liquids from small bottles.

[011] The manner of application is to manually invert the roller ball applicator with its bottle and apply the liquid in the bottle with a rolling motion of the ball on a substrate. The liquid is dispensed from the liquid coated ball onto the substrate.

[012] Roller ball applicators are made of a ball in an appropriate ball housing attached to the container. The ball housing exposes a spherical dome of the ball. The ball is capable of rotating within the housing. During dispensing, the liquid is channeled from the bottle, around the ball through the housing and out to the substrate.

[013] Easy ball movement, good dispensing action of liquid from the bottle, easy

assembly are some of the features traditionally designed into the ball-housing.

[014] Additionally, there is an increasingly important need to have these applicators not leak the contained liquid when being stored and transported. They need seal mechanisms and designs which avoid leaks across a range of liquid viscosities.

[015] An improved ball housing is needed to greatly reduce the leaks. Leaks are

measured in the industry with a standard Leak Test where a vacuum is drawn in the ambient surrounding a filled roller ball applicator. The quantity of liquid that would ooze out of the roller ball over a predetermined time is characterized as the magnitude of the leak. [016] There is a need for a leakproof roller ball applicator, for aesthetic, product loss and packaging considerations The liquid should not leak out during periods of storage and transportation; at the same time it should adequately dispense layers of the liquid during the application to a substrate. Additionally, the ball assembly within the roller ball housing should be easy to assemble.

[017] Novel Tamper Evident Band

[018] Use of tamper evident bands is the most popular tamper indicating methods for plastic or glass bottles. It involves molding a tamper bead directly onto the bottle as it is being made. These types of designs accept caps that are specifically designed to take advantage of this bead. Commonly referred to as tamper evident closures, these closures feature a tear away band that will literally "tear away" as the consumer loosens the cap. The exaggerated bead on the bottle will "catch" the tamper evident band, causing it to break away from the rest of the closure. Once the band has been broken, it drops to the bottom of the neck area, making it obvious to the consumer that the package has been previously opened.

[019] However, such tamper evident bands are not available for roll-on applicators

today. Typically, only plastic shrink sealing around the whole cap is used for tamper evidence.

[020] A tamper evident band on a cap indicates, upon plain visual inspection that the bottle or container has been opened before. One sees a tamper band that is typically separated from the cap if the cap has been opened. The tamper band is part of the cap structure and breaks off rendering the band separate. One can look at the separation between the band and the cap edge in a closed bottle to determine if the bottle has been opened.

[021] Additionally, in some field situations, one would like to preserve the look of an untampered/unopened bottle even if the bottle has been opened earlier. This feature can be very valuable in a marketing situation where unopened bottles can command a premium feeling for customers who mentally note that‘new bottle’ use feeling. For example, in a beauty parlor, or a high-end service center where the display of tampered bottles of expensive ingredients may create a negative response for a customer, or generate unavoidable questions about the aged nature of the contents. It is thus desirable to design a cap that could visually hide the tampered evidence for aesthetic reasons when the closed bottle is in a display mode.

[022] There is a need to have bottles look like they have not been tampered with. And at the same time they should be capable of quickly being identified as having been tampered with. An important case in point would be if one wanted to determine if the bottle has been tampered with for refund purposes, etc., especially in multi-level marketing logistics.

[023] SUMMARY

[024] Improvement in roller ball housing [025] The present invention incorporates a two-piece mechanical design of the ball housing with its designed cavities achieving a greatly reduced leak performance. The two-piece design provides sufficient structural stiffness of the ball retainer lip allowing a tighter seal clearance to reduce leakages of the liquid. The two-piece design also provides for easy assembly of the ball within the housing. By controlling the material and the dimensions of the two pieces we provide the opportunity to eliminate undesired leaks.

[026] Hidden tamper Evident Band

[027] The present invention incorporates a fitted two piece cap assembly that works in conjunction with a tamper bead on the bottle. The outer cap completely houses the inner cap. The inner cap has a tamper evident band at its lower end that works in conjunction with the tamper bead on the bottle in its operation. The slightly larger outer cap entirely covers the outer surface of the inner cap, and covers the entire height of the inner cap and the tamper evident band. The outer cap has sufficient height to hide a separated tamper band that remains on the tamper bead after the bottle is opened.

[028] When one unscrews the cap, the band, located on the inside cap breaks off and remains on the bottle collar. The outer cap rides with the remainder inner cap in the opening of the bottle. Upon closing, the outer cap rides right over the separated tamper band and hides it from view. The tamper band is then not noticeable on the bottle and the bottle looks unopened in plain viewing. [029] The inner and the outer cap operate as one rigid unit. The two are contoured to provide fit linkages at the appropriate points to fit together and stay together in use and provide a singular appearance.

[030] Additionally, a donut shaped protrusion is also provided on the inside surface of the top of the cap. When the cap is screwed on tight, the donut protrusion presses on the ball towards the bottle, completely seating the ball on the seat at the bottom of the ball-housing, shutting off liquid flow into the ball-housing from the bottle.

[031] DRAWINGS

[032] Figure 1 Roller Ball Housing

[033] Figure 2a Outer Cap

[034] Figure 2b Inner Cap

[035] Figure 2c Cap Assembly

[036] Figure 2d Bottle with Tamper Bead

[037] Figure 3 Leak Test Recording Sheet

[038] DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [039] The following description supplies specific details with a view to provide a thorough understanding. A skilled artisan would understand that the apparatus design can be implemented without using these specific details. The apparatus can be practiced by modifying the illustrated apparatus and can be used conjunctively with other apparatus conventionally used in the industry. For example, the description below focuses on a two piece roller ball housing, one can use more than two piece housing that can provide additional flexibility in movement of the ball.

[040] Improvement in roller ball housing

[041] Figure 1 illustrates the inventive two piece construction of the roller ball housing

1. The roller ball housing 1 is made up of two parts - a ball receptacle 2 and a ball retainer 3. The ball receptacle 2 is typically fitted into the mouth of a liquid container bottle 41 at its distal end. There are four protrusions 9 on the outer surface of distal end of the ball receptacle 2 which allow the distal end of the ball receptacle 2 to be press fitted into the neck 44 of the bottle creating a leak proof assembly. The ball receptacle 2 holds the roller ball 4. The ball 4 can rotate freely when placed in the receptacle cavity while being seated on the bottom seat in the receptacle of the roller ball housing. After placing the ball in the receptacle cavity, the ball retainer 3 is fitted around the ball receptacle 2 such that only a spherical dome of the roller ball is exposed at the top of the assembly. The sealing lip 5 of the Ball Retainer 3 has a chamfered edge that matches the curvature of the ball [042] In a completed assembly as described above, the ball can be in two positions. When the assembly is upright the ball is well seated on the receptacle seat 7 at the bottom and no liquid flows past this seal that is formed. When the assembly is turned upside down, the ball is now very well seated in the opening in the retainer seat 8. No liquid flows past the lip seal 5 that is formed. The ball can be in one of these two positions at any one time. This play between the positions allows the liquid to fill the receptacle seal is open and flow out of the lip seal when the receptacle seal is closed.

[043] Additionally, a donut structure 25 is located on the inside surface 26 of the top 27 of inner cap 21. When the cap is screwed close the donut 25 presses against the roller ball 4 allowing the roller ball to completely seat in the receptacle seat 7 allowing no fluid communication between the liquid in the bottle 41 and the fluid in the roller ball housing 1.

[044] This two-part design allows us to choose different materials for the two parts. The ball retainer 3 is made of rigid stiff material that forms a rigid seat for the roller- ball. stiff materials for the ball retainer 3. The ball retainer 3 is made such that the sealing lip 5 is thick and stiff and remains in place with respect to the ball with a controlled clearance d and is essentially parallel to the curvature of the roller ball 4 and the roller ball seats well in the cover opening if the housing is turned downward. The stiff thick sealing lip 5 section also reduces leaks by providing longer paths L for fluids to go through when the ball is not being rotated. Thus liquids do not leak through this gap very easily. We can select optimal values of d and L to minimize leakage for different viscosities of liquids to eliminate leakage.

[045] Additionally, reservoir 6 are contoured into the inner walls of receptacle 2 to

provide a sink for any liquid trapped between the ball and the wall. This volume is provided to provide ample room for liquid that has passed the receptacle seat 7 but has not gone past the retainer seat 8 - a holdup volume.

[046] The chamfered edge of the retainer sealing lip 5 and the curvature of the ball 4 are carefully matched to leave no gaps when the ball 4 is seated in the retainer seat 8. This fit produces a zero clearance for the liquid and stops leaks across the seal. The stiffness of the retainer lip 5 ensures that this close match is preserved during the life of the applicator ensuring a tight shutoff when needed, especially for reduced leaks.

[047] Yet during application over a substrate, when the ball 4 is pushed down towards the bottle end, a clearance with the retainer seat 8 is created and this clearance allows the wetted layer on the ball 4 to rotate through the seal without being scraped clean by the stiff retainer seat 8. The d and L parameters in design of the stiffness of retainer sealing lip 5 provides control the flow of the liquid through the retainer seal 8 to the outside.

[048] The inventive two-piece construction of the roller ball housing 1 allows greater flexing control with proper stiffness choices in polymers. The ball retainer 3 is ideally made from polypropylene (PP) while the ball receptacle 2 is made of polyethylene (PE). PP generally has high resistance to cracking, acids, organic solvents. The two piece construction allows the material choice in the design of a stable, rigid and long-lasting retainer seat 8 to provide no leakage.

[049] Sometimes in the art, a single piece roller ball housing is used which is expedient for cost reasons. The ball is forced into the receptacle through the top circular opening of the housing. Sufficient deflection capabilities are provided in the circular seal portion of the housing so that the ball snaps into place under the circular seal, and once in, the ball cannot come out of the opening it just came through. This works due to the snapping back action of the circular seal edge. However, this assembly technique needs sealing sections that are flexible and not stiff. Such flexing sealing sections deteriorate the chamfer integrity leading to poor fit with roller ball curvature over time. With the deterioration of the chamfer edge, the initial proper fit degrades, and liquid leaks develop.

[050] Thus, an improved mechanical design is provided to achieve this optimal

combination of a loose fit of ball and yet leak-proof fit by designing the roller ball housing from proper material with the right stiffness modulus and play.

[051] Hidden tamper Evident Band

[052] Figure 2 a shows the outer cap 11 which is attached to the inner cap 21 shown in Fig 2 b as shown in the assembly 31 in Figure 2 c. All the figures show axial sections. Plan views also shown in Figures 2 a and 2 b. [053] The inner cap 21 shows tabs 28 that stick out radially and longitudinally in several places on the inside surface 26 of the inner cap. These tabs interleave similar number of tabs on the inside surface 13 of the outer cap 11. When the two caps are assembled together the both sets of interleaving tabs lock the two caps in place enabling the cap assembly 31 to move a one unit in cap screwing and unscrewing action.

[054] The outer cap 11 of Figure 2 a and the inner cap 21 of Figure 2 b have the same vertical height. The inner diameter of the outer cap 11 is such that it fits over the inner cap 21 when making the cap assembly 31 of Figure 2 c.

[055] The inner cap 21 has a tamper evident breakable band 22 at its bottom and the inner wall of the inner cap 21 above the band is threaded for screwing the cap onto a bottle neck with matching threads 43. The outer cap 11 has an inner diameter designed to snap fit over the inner cap 21 and is fitted over the inner cap with snap fit protrusions 12 provided circumferentially on the inside of the outer cap 11.

[056] When the assembly of Figure 2 c is screwed onto a bottle 41 , the assembly 31 provides a clean look with the tamper evident band 22 not being visible. When one unscrews the cap assembly to open the bottle, the tear off tamper band 22 tears away and separates from the inner cap 21 leaving the band on the neck 44 of the bottle below the tamper bead 42. This tearing action is mechanically accomplished by the design of the tamper bead 42 on the bottle shown in Figure 2 d. The tamper band now remains on the bottle neck 44 after the cap assembly separates from it when the cap is unscrewed to open the bottle.

[057] The tamper bead 42 is made specially on the bottle during the molding and

fabrication of the glass bottle. It is part of the glass bottle. This band works in conjunction with the innovative tamper evident band to form an innovative tamper band system.

[058] In closing the bottle back, the cap assembly (now without the tamper band

portion) is screwed back completely onto the bottle 41, the bottom of outer cap 11 skirts over the tamper evident band 22 which was earlier lodged on the bottle 41. The tamper evident band 22 of the inner cap is now completely covered by the outer cap 11. The“hidden’ look is obtained because one is unable to see the tamper evident band 22 from the outside anymore with the bottle 41 closed.

[059] Figure 3 shows a table used to record for Leak Test Data.

[060] Leak Test is done at ambient temperature with the liquid filled bottle capped with the inventive cap assembly and being subjected a pressure of 0.5 kpa for 15 minutes. The weight (gm.) difference between the capped bottle before and after exposure to the vacuum is the amount of liquid that has leaked. This is quantified as the leakage.