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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A LIQUID DELIVERY SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/135336
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A liquid delivery system comprising a base unit (2) comprising a liquid inlet in an upwardly facing surface, a liquid duct leading from the inlet to a liquid outlet above the liquid inlet; a pump for pumping the liquid from the inlet to the outlet; a motor to drive the pump; and a shroud extending upwardly in a manner which surrounds the inlet, the shroud having an upper edge which has a downwardly extending recess (20) for a part of its circumference; characterised by the system further comprising an insert (21) in the recess (20) which forms a liquid-tight seal with the recess (20) and defines, with the shroud, a liquid cavity in communication with the liquid inlet in the base.

Inventors:
VAN DIEPEN, Jacobus Simon Petrus (Reckitt Benckiser, Benckiserplatz 1, Ludwigshafen, 67059, DE)
PADAIN, Christopher Leonard (Reckitt Benckiser, 1 Philips ParkwayMontvale, New Jersey, 07645, US)
Application Number:
GB2011/050781
Publication Date:
November 03, 2011
Filing Date:
April 20, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RECKITT & COLMAN (OVERSEAS) LIMITED (103-105 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3UH, GB)
VAN DIEPEN, Jacobus Simon Petrus (Reckitt Benckiser, Benckiserplatz 1, Ludwigshafen, 67059, DE)
PADAIN, Christopher Leonard (Reckitt Benckiser, 1 Philips ParkwayMontvale, New Jersey, 07645, US)
International Classes:
A47K5/12
Domestic Patent References:
2010-05-20
Foreign References:
US20080185396A12008-08-07
US20040226962A12004-11-18
GB0820981A2008-11-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOWERS, Craig et al. (Dansom Lane, Hull, Humberside HU8 7DS, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS : -

1. A liquid delivery system comprising a base unit comprising a liquid inlet in an upwardly facing surface, a liquid duct leading from the inlet to a liquid outlet above the liquid inlet; a pump for pumping the liquid from the inlet to the outlet; a motor to drive the pump; and a shroud extending upwardly in a manner which surrounds the inlet, the shroud having an upper edge which has a downwardly extending recess for a part of its circumference;

characterised by the system further comprising an insert in the recess which forms a liquid-tight seal with the recess and defines, with the shroud, a liquid cavity in

communication with the liquid inlet in the base.

2. A system according to claim 2, wherein the shroud has one or more additional recesses or openings, and the system further comprises corresponding further inserts dimensioned to fit in the additional recesses or openings.

3. A system according to claim 1 or claim 2, further comprising a cover to cover the cavity.

4. A system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the base unit further comprises a sensor to sense the presence of an object in the vicinity of the outlet to trigger a dispensing operation.

5. A system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the base unit is a free standing unit.

6. A system according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the base unit contains batteries to power the motor

Description:
A LIQUID DELIVERY SYSTEM

The present invention is directed to a liquid delivery system.

In particular, it is directed to the base unit of the liquid delivery system described in our earlier application GB 0820981.9. The fluid delivery system comprises a base unit into which a refill unit containing the material to be dispensed is fitted in an inverted configuration, namely with its outlet at the lowermost end. The base unit contains a liquid inlet in an upwardly facing surface, a liquid duct leading from the inlet to a liquid outlet above the liquid inlet; a pump for pumping the liquid from the inlet to the outlet; a motor to drive the pump; and a shroud extending upwardly in a manner which surrounds the inlet, the shroud having an upper edge which has a downwardly extending recess for a part of its circumference. Such a base unit is referred to subsequently as being "of the kind described".

In use, the refill unit is provided with a valve at its lowermost end. As the refill unit is fitted into the base, an upwardly projecting spigot surrounding the fluid inlet opens the valve in the refill unit to allow fluid to flow from the refill unit into the base.

The present invention provides an alternative method for refilling the base unit. According to the present invention, a liquid delivery system comprising a base unit of the kind described and is characterised by an insert in the recess which forms a liquid-tight seal with the recess and defines, with the shroud, a liquid cavity in communication with the liquid inlet in the base.

The insert co-operates with the shroud to define a cavity which is capable of containing liquid. This removes the need for the separate refill unit.

Preferably, if the shroud has one or more additional recesses or openings, the system includes corresponding further inserts dimensioned to fit in the additional recesses or openings.

The cavity may be left open to the atmosphere.

However, the system may also include a cover to cover the cavity .

An example of a system in accordance with the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is a cross-section through a dispenser having a refill according to GB 0820981.9 which is included for background interest only;

Fig. 2 is a cut-away perspective view of the refill of Fig. 1 being introduced into the dispenser but not yet being engaged;

Fig. 3 is a rear perspective of a system according to the present invention; and Fig. 4 is a front perspective of the dispenser of Fig.

3.

Before describing the present invention, the operation of the dispenser with the refill of GB 0820981.9 will be described for background interest.

The dispenser is a hands-free dispenser which is generally suitable for domestic use. The dispenser is primarily intended to dispense liquid soap, but may also be used to dispense other liquid or semi-liquid products

(ideally with a viscosity greater than water), such as hand cream, body lotion, moisturiser, face cream, shampoo, shower gel, foaming hand wash, shaving cream, washing up liquid, toothpaste, acne treatment cream, a surface cleaner or a sanitising agent such as alcohol gel.

The dispenser comprises two main parts, namely a refill 1 (which is not a part of the present invention) and a base unit 2. The refill 1 provides a reservoir of liquid to be dispensed and is fitted to the base unit 2 as set out below.

The base has an interface 3 into which liquid is dispensed from the refill unit. The interface 3 is in fluid communication with a dispensing tube 4. A pump 5 is

selectively operable to pump a metered dose of the liquid along dispensing tube 4 and out of dispensing head 6.

The base has an infrared transmitter 7A which transmits an infrared beam through a window 8 to a receiver 7B to sense the presence of a user's hands in the vicinity of the dispenser. Control circuitry reacts to a signal from the proximity sensor to activate the pump. The illustrated sensor is a break beam sensor, but may also be a reflective sensor. Although an infrared sensor is shown, any known proximity sensor such as a capacitive sensor may be used. The device may be mains powered or battery powered.

The interface between the refill 1 and base unit 2 will now be described in greater detail with reference to Figs. 2 to 10.

The base unit 2 comprises a cowling 10 which surrounds a significant portion of the refill to protect and support it. A spigot 11 projects at the base of the cowling 10 and is sealed to the cowling 10 by an O-ring seal 12. The spigot has a plurality of castellations 13 in its top surface. A second O-ring seal 14 surrounds the spigot 11 beneath the castellations 13.

When the refill 1 is placed into the base unit 2, the spigot 11 enters an annular outlet 15 in the base of the refill 1 against which the O-ring seal 14 seals. The spigot then lifts outlet valve element 16 against the action of resilient biasing member 17 to open a flow path into the base .

Further operation of the refill 1 will not be described here as the present invention is concerned with an

alternative to the refill 1. As shown in Fig. 3, the cowling 10 has a deep recess

20. According to the present invention, this recess is filled with an insert 21 which forms a fluid-tight seal with the recess 20. The insert 21 may have a resilient seal at the part of its perimeter which interfaces with the recess 20. However, it may more simply be made of a one-piece plastic structure which is a close-fit with the recess. The insert can either be designed to slide into the recess from above, or may be clipped into place in a lateral direction.

The presence of the insert 21 forms a cavity 22 into which a product to be dispensed can be poured as indicated by arrow 23. The depth of the cavity 22 is defined, in this case, by the top of the insert 21. As such, the insert 21 should fill most, if not all, of the recess and may even project above it. As shown in Fig. 4, the base unit 2 is provided with an aperture 24 which provides a visual indication of the level of the liquid within the base. If such an aperture is present, this also needs to be filled in order to create the chamber 22. In this case, an insert 25 in the form of a fluid-tight plug is inserted into this aperture and provides a fluid-tight seal. Ideally, the insert 25 is transparent to maintain the window onto the liquid level.

With the insert 21 and, if necessary, the plug 25 in place, a user simply pours liquid into the chamber 22 and uses the dispenser in the normal manner. A cover which covers the top of the cowling 10 and insert 21 may also be provided to prevent the drying out of the liquid to be dispensed and the ingress of unwanted material.