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Title:
A SQUEEZEABLE CONTAINER ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/033372
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A container for a squeezable material has an elongated container member (1) having an outlet opening, a squeezing out mechanism (2) for squeezing the material from an interior of the container member (1) through the outlet opening by displacing the squeezing out mechanism (2) toward the outlet opening, and a structure (3) for preventing displacement of the squeezing out mechanism in an opposite direction.

Inventors:
Chernov, Yuriy D. (2448 East 22nd Street Brooklyn, NY, 11235, US)
Kleyman, Gennady I. (1290 East 19th Street Suite 3A Brooklyn, NY, 11230, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2001/031949
Publication Date:
April 24, 2003
Filing Date:
October 12, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Ratchetube L. L. C. (275 West 96th Street New York, NY, 10025-5657, US)
International Classes:
B65D35/28; (IPC1-7): B65D35/28
Foreign References:
US6302298B1
US4579254A
US4576314A
US3371823A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Montague, Mark (Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman P.C. 1133 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY, 10036-03677, US)
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Claims:
What is claimed is:
1. A container for material that can be squeezed out, comprising: an elongated container member having an outlet opening; and a squeezing mechanism surrounding an exterior of the container member for squeezing the material from an interior of the container member through said outlet opening by displacing said squeezing mechanism toward said outlet opening, said squeezing mechanism having a discontinuous contact surface shaped to arrest displacement of the squeezing out mechanism in an opposite direction.
2. A container as defined in claim 1, wherein said discontinuous surface is formed with at least one tooth provided on said squeezing mechanism and formed so that it allows displacement of the squeezing mechanism in the direction toward said outlet opening, but when an attempt is made to displace the squeezing mechanism in said opposite direction it engages a surface of the container member and prevents displacement of the squeezing mechanism in the opposite direction.
3. A container as defined in claim 2, wherein said at least one tooth has a hardness greater than a hardness of a surface of the container member.
4. A container as defined in claim 2, wherein said at least one tooth has a hardness which is at most equal to a hardness of a surface of the container member.
5. A container as defined in claim 1, wherein the discontinuous contact surface of the squeezing mechanism includes a plurality of teeth arranged behind one another in a direction of movement of said squeezing mechanism along the container member, said plurality of teeth being formed so that they allow displacement of the squeezing mechanism in the direction toward said outlet opening, but when an attempt is made to displace the squeezing mechanism in the opposite direction said plurality of teeth engage a surface of the container member and prevent displacement of the squeezing mechanism in the opposite direction.
6. A container as defined in claim 1, wherein the container member has a flexible wall on which a plurality of depressions and projections are arranged in the longitudinal direction; and the squeezing mechanism urges against the flexible wall of the container member and is displaced toward the outlet opening as it engages said depressions and projections and causes the material to be squeezed out from the outlet opening, and the discontinuous contact surface is shaped to arrest displacement of the squeezing mechanism in an opposite direction.
7. A container as defined in claim 6, wherein the discontinuous contact surface is designed to emit an audible click upon displacement past each of the projections on the flexible wall of the container member as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
8. A container as defined in claim 6, wherein the discontinuous contact surface is designed to emit a tactile click upon displacement past each of the projections on the flexible wall of the container member as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
9. A container as defined in claim 1, wherein the squeezing mechanism includes a roller that urges against the container member and rotates as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
10. A container as defined in claim 9, wherein the roller is formed as a friction roller which frictionally engages with the container member.
11. A container as defined in claim 9, wherein the roller includes a plurality of projections extending from its periphery; and the squeezing mechanism also includes a catch engageable with each of the projections of the roller as the roller rotates; the catch adapted to allow rotation of the roller in one direction when the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening and adapted to prevent rotation of the roller in an opposite direction when the squeezing mechanism is attempted to be moved away from the outlet opening.
12. A container as defined in claim 11, wherein the catch is designed to emit an audible click upon displacement past each of the projections on the roller as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
13. A container as defined in claim 11, wherein the catch is designed to emit a tactile click upon displacement past each of the projections on the roller as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
14. A container as defined in 1, wherein the container member has a wall on which a plurality of projections and depressions are arranged in the longitudinal direction; and the squeezing mechanism includes a roller having a plurality of projections extending from its periphery, a respective one of the projections of the roller being received within a respective one of the depressions of the container member as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening; the squeezing mechanism having a catch engageable with each of the projections of the roller as the roller rotates; the catch adapted to allow rotation of the roller in one direction when the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening and adapted to prevent rotation of the roller in an opposite direction when the squeezing mechanism is attempted to be moved away from the outlet opening.
15. A container as defined in claim 14, wherein the catch is designed to emit an audible click upon displacement past each of the projections on the roller as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
16. A container as defined in claim 14, wherein the catch is designed to emit a tactile click upon displacement past each of the projections on the roller as the squeezing mechanism is moved towards the outlet opening.
17. A container as defined in claim 1, further comprising a second elongated container member having an outlet opening, the second container member being disposed adjacent the first container; the squeezing mechanism surrounding exteriors of both the first and second container members for squeezing material from interiors of both the first and second container members.
18. A container as defined in claim 17, wherein one of the first and second container members has a flexible wall on which a plurality of depressions and projections are arranged in the longitudinal direction; and the squeezing mechanism urges against the flexible wall of said one of the first and second container members and is displaced toward the outlet openings of both said first and second container members as the squeezing mechanism engages said depressions and projections and causes the material to be squeezed out from the outlet openings of both the first and second container members.
Description:
A SQUEEZEABLE CONTAINER ASSEMBLY Background of the Invention The present invention relates to squeezeable containers such as tooth-paste containers, gel containers, cream containers, etc.

It is known that with squeezeable containers, after most of the substance stored within such containers has been extracted out, there inevitably remains within the container a small amount of such substance. Forcing out of such remaining amount of substance is either not possible or difficult to achieve.

Examples of prior art mechanisms used for squeezing out material stored within containers include U. S. Patent 3,536, 234, U. S. Patent 4,448, 333, U. S. Patent 4,928, 851, U. S.

Patent 5,071, 036, U. S. Patent 5,167, 348, U. S. Patent 5,222, 629, U. S. Patent 5,277, 335, U. S.

Patent 5,501, 369, and U. S. Patent 5,857, 593. The devices disclosed in these patents are either difficult to use, require two-handed operation or are difficult to manufacture.

Objects and Summary of the Invention Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container for squeezeable material which avoids the disadvantages of the prior art.

More particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container for squeezeable material which guarantees that the entire volume of the material or substance contained within the container can be dispensed from the container.

Still further, it is an object of the present invention to provide a double container squeezing assembly. In particular, an assembly capable of squeezing two or more containers or tubes simultaneously.

In accordance with these objects and other objects which are apparent from the disclosure herein, the invention is comprised of a container member forming an interior for accommodating a material, and a squeezing out mechanism which is displaceable along the container towards the container's opening and which squeezes the container so that all or substantially all of the material within the container is extracted through the container's opening.

As an aspect of the present invention, the squeezing out mechanism is adapted to be moved only towards the container's opening and is prevented from being displaced in an opposite direction of such movement.

Brief Description of the Drawings The following detailed description, given by way of example and not intended to limit the present invention solely thereto, will best be appreciated in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like elements and parts, in which: Fig. 1 is a front view of a container with a squeezing out mechanism in a starting position in accordance with the present invention; Fig. 2 is a top view of the container and squeezing out mechanism shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 3 is another front view of the container with the squeezing out mechanism with the squeezing out mechanism shown moved toward the container's front in accordance with the present invention; Fig. 4 is a top view of the container and squeezing out mechanism in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 5 is a view showing a section taken along the line A-A in Fig. 1; Fig. 6 is a view showing a section taken along the line B-B of Fig. 2 of a further embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 7 is a view showing a section taken along the line B-B of Fig. 3 of still a further embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 8 is a view similar to the view of Fig. 6 but showing yet another embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 9 is a view showing a section A-A of Fig. 1 with a squeezing out mechanism in accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 10 is a top view of the container with a squeezing out mechanism in accordance with still yet another embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 11 is a view similar to the view of Fig. 10 in accordance with still yet a further embodiment of the present invention; Fig. 12 is a side view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 11; Fig. 13 is a view of the section taken along the line D-D in Fig. 11; and Fig. 14 shows yet another embodiment of the present invention.

Description of Preferred Embodiments A container for a squeezeable material in accordance with the present invention has a container member formed, for example, as a tube and is identified as reference numeral 1 in the various drawings. The tube has a hollow interior for accommodating squeezeable material and an opening closeable by a cover as shown in Figs. 1-4 and 10-12. In accordance with the present invention, a squeezing out mechanism is provided for squeezing out the material from the interior of the tube 1. The squeezing out mechanism is identified as reference number 2 in the various drawings. Squeezing out mechanism 2, as discussed, includes means for allowing displacement of the mechanism 2 along the tube 1 toward the tube's opening and also includes means for preventing (preventing means) displacement of mechanism 2 in the opposite direction (toward the non-open end of the tube). In the various views, such means is formed on, for example, portion 3 of the squeezing out mechanism 2.

The squeezing out mechanism 2 may be formed as a peripherally enclosed frame having a central opening. The height T (Fig. 5) of the central opening must be at least equal to, or just slightly greater than, double the thickness of the wall of tube 1. The length S (Fig.

5) of the central opening must be longer than the transverse width of tube 1.

The previously mentioned means for preventing displacement of the mechanism 2 in the opposite direction of the tube's opening in shown in the embodiment of Fig. 6 as including one tooth or, alternatively, multiple teeth disposed along the mechanism's width.

Each tooth is formed so that during displacement of the squeezing out mechanism towards the tube's opening, the teeth (or tooth) yield rearwardly, but in response to attempted motion of the squeezing out mechanism 2 in the opposite direction, each tooth engages or wedges into the surface 4 of tube 1. For this purpose, each tooth 11 has a hardness which is greater than the hardness of the surface of tube 1. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 7, teeth 12 have a hardness that is equal to or smaller than the hardness of the surface of tube 1. However, the teeth 12 in Fig. 7 are arranged one behind another in a direction of displacement of the squeezing out mechanism along the tube. Therefore, when an attempt is made to displace the squeezing out mechanism in the opposite direction, the teeth 12 arranged as shown in Fig. 7 prevent such displacement.

In the embodiment shown in Figs. 4 and 8, tube 1 is provided with a flexible surface 4 that includes a plurality of depressions and projections 5. A tooth or teeth 13 are arranged on the squeezing out mechanism in a direction towards the outlet opening so that the teeth yield and move from one depression into the next depression. However, when an attempt is made to displace the squeezing out mechanism in the opposite direction, tooth (or teeth) 13 abut against corresponding flanks of the projections. The embodiment of Fig. 4 advantageously provides both audible and tactile clicks upon displacement of the squeezing out mechanism towards the tube's opening. Such clicks, whether audibly heard or felt through one's hands, enables a user to identify the amount of substance or material being extracted from the tube.

Thus, exact measurements of volume or dosages of material can be extracted from the tube in a convenient and simple manner. While beneficial to most users, such audible and tactile clicks are particularly beneficial to blind persons or use of the device in the dark, and whether the tube contains toothpaste or medicine or other material, it is particularly useful to anyone to be able to control the exact amount of material that is extracted from the tube.

As shown in Figs. 6-8, the teeth are inclined in a direction opposite to the direction of the displacement of the squeezing out mechanism 2 toward the opening of tube 1.

Fig. 9 shows yet another embodiment of the present invention, wherein the squeezing out mechanism is formed as a frame composed of two semi-frames 15 and 16. The semi- frames 15,16 are connected with one another by a bolt 17. With such a construction, assembly and disassembly of the squeezing out mechanism is quick and simple: the semi- frames are places on opposite sides of the tube, and the semi-frames are attached to one another by inserting bolt 17 through them.

Fig. 10 shows a further embodiment of the squeezing out mechanism, wherein mechanism 2 is provided with a roller 18 which frictionally engages the surface of the tube 1.

The roller 18 is held rotatably in the lateral supports 21.

Figs. 11-13 show yet a further embodiment of the present invention. As shown, squeezing out mechanism includes a roller 19 that includes a plurality of teeth disposed around its periphery, and a catch 20 is mounted on the frame of the squeezing mechanism.

Catch 20 is arranged to project into the spaces between the teeth of roller 19 in the manner shown, so that displacement of the squeezing out mechanism towards the tube's opening causes roller 19 to rotate resulting in the teeth of the roller to contact and displace catch 22.

However, motion of the squeezing out mechanism 2 in the opposite direction is prevented since catch 20 reliably prevents rotation of roller 19 in the opposite direction. Moreover, catch 20 provides both an audible and tactile click similar to the click mentioned previously with respect to the embodiment shown in Figs. 4 and 8. Also, as previously discussed, such audible and tactile clicks are beneficial to allow an exact volume or dosage to be extracted, and is particular useful for blind persons, operation of the device in the dark, or extraction of an exact, designated dosage (e. g. , of medicine).

Fig. 14 shows still yet a further embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the squeezing out mechanism 2 (also called double container squeezing mechanism or double tube squeezing mechanism herein) is designed to allow two tubes 1,30 to be disposed within its central portion. Similar to various embodiments previously discussed, portion 3 of mechanism 2 provides capability to allow displacement of the squeezing out mechanism towards both tubes'openings, and which prevents motion of the mechanism 2 in the opposite direction. Such portion 3 can have the designs shown in Figs. 6,7, 8,10 or 11-13. Fig. 14 is particularly useful for fields and applications that require mixing of substances. For example, various epoxies are formed by the combination of two substances. The embodiment of Fig. 14 is particular useful for such an application since equal dosages of two substances can be extracted in a quick and efficient manner. Moreover, dosage amounts can be exactly determined by using the clicks provided in the designs shown in Figs. 4,8 and 11- 13. Of course, the embodiment shown in Fig. 14 is not limited to two tubes, but may be used with three (3) or more tubes depending on the particular applications of the present invention.

In accordance with the double container squeezing mechanism of the present invention, as shown in Fig. 14, the squeezing mechanism 2 may be used to squeeze tube 1 that includes a flexible surface 4 with a plurality of depressions and projections 5 as shown in the embodiment of Figs. 4 and 8, or the embodiment of Figs. 11-13, and also to squeeze tube 30 that may or may not include such depressions and projections.

Moreover, the double container squeezing mechanism of the present invention may include any of the previously discussed preventing means (i. e. , means for preventing<BR> displacement of the mechanism in a direction opposite the tube's openings--i. e. ,<BR> discontinuous contact surface--e. g. , tooth 11, teeth 12, roller 19, etc. ) on both of its sides.<BR> <P>That is, the double container squeezing mechanism may include a tooth (e. g. , tooth 11 shown in Fig. 6) on one side contacting tube 1 and another tooth on its other side contacting tube 30.

As another example, multiple teeth (e. g. , teeth 12 shown in Fig. 7) may be provided on both sides for contact with both tubes 1,30.

In a similar manner, both tubes 1 and 30 may include respective flexible surfaces with pluralities of depressions and projections (e. g. , as shown in Fig. 4) where such flexible surfaces are in contact with the double container squeezing mechanism. In such case, the squeezing mechanism may include on both of its sides a tooth or teeth 13 (as shown in Fig.

8). Alternatively, the double container squeezing mechanism may include two sets of rollers 19 (such as shown in Fig. 13) and two sets of catches 20 and lateral supports 21 (Fig. 13).

As would be appreciated, each of the embodiments described herein allows for one- handed operation of a device in accordance with the present invention to squeeze out material from a tube. Also, it should be understood that the elements and devices described above, either separate or combined, may also find useful application on other types of constructions different from that described herein.

While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in containers for squeezing out material, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown and discussed herein, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gift of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.

Therefore, it is intended that the appended claims be interpreted as including the embodiments described herein, the alternatives mentioned above, and all equivalents thereto.