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Title:
TUBE FOR STORING AND DISPENSING A PRODUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/171669
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tube or other container for storing and dispensing a product such as toothpaste, a lotion, a cream, etc., includes one or more recesses. Initially, each recess (30) is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the sealed tube. Due to outgassing or other factors, pressure within an interior of the sealed tube may increase. During the pressure increase, the one or more recesses (30) deflect from the initial concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the tube, thereby effectively increasing a volume of the interior of the tube and maintaining pressure within the tube at a more desirable level.

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Inventors:
CRAWFORD, John C. (809 South Lake Blvd, Mahopac, New York, 10541, US)
BECKERMAN, Scott (30 Regent Street, #404Jersey City, New Jersey, 07302, US)
Application Number:
US2015/026844
Publication Date:
October 27, 2016
Filing Date:
April 21, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY (300 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10022, US)
International Classes:
B65D35/08; B65D79/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2000058175A12000-10-05
Foreign References:
FR2766119A11999-01-22
US3353714A1967-11-21
FR2991972A12013-12-20
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHUNG, Judy W. et al. (Colgate-Palmolive Company, 909 River RoadPiscataway, New Jersey, 08855, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A tube for storing and dispensing a product, comprising: a tube shoulder; a tube body attached to the tube shoulder; and at least one recess in at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder, wherein: the at least one recess is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the tube; the tube is configured to store the product within an interior of the tube; and the at least one recess is configured to deflect from the concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the tube during an increase in pressure within the interior of the tube.

2. The tube according to claim 1, wherein the at least one recess further comprises a plurality of recesses in the tube shoulder.

3. The tube according to claims 1 or 2, wherein the at least one recess further comprises a plurality of recesses in the tube body.

4. The tube according to one of claims 1-3, wherein the at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder is thinner at the at least one recess than at non-recess locations.

5. The tube according to one of claims 1-4, wherein the at least one recess is configured to articulate at a joint where the at least one recess intersects a wall of the at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder.

6. The tube according to one of claims 1-5, wherein the at least one recess further comprises at least one of a plurality of radially symmetrical dimples and a plurality of bilaterally symmetrical recesses.

7. The tube according to one of claims 1-6, wherein: the tube has a first volume when the at least one recess is in the concave position; the tube has a second volume when the at least one recess is in the convex position; and the second volume is from 5% to 40% greater than the first volume.

8. The tube according to one of claims 1-7, wherein the product is a fluid product that outgases.

9. The tube according to claim 8, wherein the fluid product is a toothpaste comprising hydrogen peroxide.

10. The tube according to one of claims 1-9, further comprising: a product within the tube; an exit nozzle having an opening therein for dispensing the product from the tube; and a factory seal that covers the opening and seals the product within the tube.

11. A container for storing and dispensing a product, comprising: a container shoulder; a container body attached to the container shoulder; and at least one recess in at least one of the container body and the container shoulder, wherein: the at least one recess is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the container; the container is configured to store the product within an interior of the container; and the at least one recess is configured to deflect from the concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the container during an increase in pressure within the interior of the container.

12. The container according to claim 11, wherein the at least one recess is configured to articulate at a joint where the at least one recess intersects a wall of the at least one of the container body and the container shoulder.

13. The container according to claim 11 or 12, further comprising: a product within the container; an exit nozzle having an opening therein for dispensing the product from the container; and a factory seal that covers the opening and seals the product within the container.

14. A method for accommodating an increasing pressure within a factory-sealed tube, comprising: placing a product within an interior of a tube comprising a tube body attached to a tube shoulder and at least one recess in at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder wherein, subsequent to placing the product within the tube, the at least one recess is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the tube; sealing the product within the interior of the tube using a factory seal; and with the product sealed within the interior of the tube by the factory seal, deflecting the at least one recess from the concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the tube during an increase in pressure within the interior of the tube.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the deflecting of the at least one recess further comprises deflecting at least one recess in the tube shoulder.

16. The method according to claim 14 or 15, wherein the deflecting of the at least one recess further comprises deflecting at least one recess in the tube body.

17. The method according to one of claims 14-16, wherein the deflecting of the at least one recess further comprises articulating a joint where the at least one recess intersects a wall of the at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder.

18. The method according to one of claims 14-17, further comprising increasing a volume within the interior of the tube by from 5% to 40% during the deflecting of the at least one recess.

19. The method according to one of claims 14-18, further comprising performing the deflecting of the at least one recess as a result of outgassing of the product within the interior of the factory-sealed tube.

20. The method according to claim 19, further comprising performing the deflecting of the at least one recess at an internal tube pressure of less than 35 pounds per square inch (psi).

Description:
TUBE FOR STORING AND DISPENSING A PRODUCT

BACKGROUND

[1] Toothpastes, ointments, creams, and other materials are commonly packaged for shipment and sale within a flexible tube. The flexible tube, which can be manufactured from a plastic or other polymer, a metal alloy, composites, etc., provides resilient protection for the product during shipment and storage, and allows controlled dispensing of the product by the user.

[2] Some materials stored within the tube have a relatively high chemical stability, and thus the volume of material within the sealed tube remains largely unchanged. Other materials, for example dentifrices including hydrogen peroxide, may be more chemically unstable and/or outgas during shipment and storage, thereby resulting in pressure changes within the sealed tube. An increase in pressure within the tube can result in inflation and bulging of the tube, an unattractive tube appearance, product expulsion and spillage from the tube when the tube is unsealed, and may result in decreased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. In extreme cases, a pressure increase can result in rupturing of side and/or end seams, thereby rendering the product defective and unusable.

[3] A flexible tube for packaging a paste or other material that overcomes the deficiencies of some conventional tubes would be desirable.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[4] The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of one or more embodiments of the present teachings. This summary is not an extensive overview, nor is it intended to identify key or critical elements of the present teachings, nor to delineate the scope of the disclosure. Rather, its primary purpose is merely to present one or more concepts in simplified form as a prelude to the detailed description presented later.

[5] A tube for storing and dispensing a product can include a tube shoulder, a tube body attached to the tube shoulder, and at least one recess in at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder, wherein the at least one recess is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the tube, the tube is configured to store the product within an interior of the tube, and the at least one recess is configured to deflect from the concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the tube during an increase in pressure within the interior of the tube.

[6] A method for accommodating an increasing pressure within a factory-sealed tube can include placing a product within an interior of a tube comprising a tube body attached to a tube shoulder and at least one recess in at least one of the tube body and the tube shoulder wherein, subsequent to placing the product within the tube, the at least one recess is in a concave position relative to an exterior of the tube. The method can further include sealing the product within the interior of the tube using a factory seal and, with the product sealed within the interior of the tube by the factory seal, deflecting the at least one recess from the concave position toward a convex position relative to the exterior of the tube during an increase in pressure within the interior of the tube.

[7] Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[8] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[9] FIG. 1 is a side view depicting a tube including one or more recesses in accordance with an embodiment of the present teachings;

[10] FIGS. 2A and 2B are perspective depictions of a tube during use according to an embodiment of the present teachings; and

[11] FIGS. 3A and 3B are cross sections depicting volumetric expansion of a tube during storage and/or shipment according to an embodiment of the present teachings.

[12] It should be noted that some details of the FIGS, have been simplified and are drawn to facilitate understanding of the present teachings rather than to maintain strict structural accuracy, detail, and scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[13] The following description of the preferred embodiments is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses. [14] As used throughout, ranges are used as shorthand for describing each and every value that is within the range. Any value within the range can be selected as the terminus of the range. In addition, all references cited herein are hereby incorporated by referenced in their entireties. In the event of a conflict in a definition in the present disclosure and that of a cited reference, the present disclosure controls.

[15] For purposes of the present disclosure, unless otherwise indicated, a "container" refers to a tube, receptacle, vessel, vial, bottle, canister, can, box or other holder that is used to store and/or ship a product within the container. While the embodiments below are discussed with regard to a "tube" for simplicity of explanation, it will be understood that the various embodiments may be used with other types of containers, as well as with a tube. Further, a "recess" refers to a dimple, depressions pressure panel, or indentation.

[16] An embodiment of the present teachings can provide a tube for a fluid product, for example a gel product or a paste product such as a toothpaste including, for example, hydrogen peroxide, such that the tube reduces or eliminates the adverse effects of product expansion during, for example, shipping and/or storage. In various embodiments, one or more recesses relative to the outside of the tube, for example one or more concave recesses, dimples, depressions, pressure panels, or indentations, are formed as part of one or more walls of the tube. The recess may be visible on an exterior of the tube unless, for example, covered by a separate label, sleeve, or other covering. The product is placed within the tube then the tube is factory sealed, for example, with a threaded cap, a friction cap, a foil seal, and/or other cover. If expansion of the product within the factory-sealed tube occurs (including expansion or outgassing of the paste or gel product itself, or expansion of air or gas within the tube) the increasing pressure within the tube deflects, deforms, pushes, articulates, or actuates the one or more recesses outward, for example from an initial concave position to a deflected convex position relative to the outside of the tube. In effect, the interior volume of the tube is increased as needed and the disclosed tube maintains a more normal pressure within the tube compared to a tube that does not include the one or more recesses. Thus uncontrolled bulging or rupturing of the seams is decreased or eliminated. The shape and location of the one or more recesses can be controlled to provide a tube that is attractive in appearance regardless of whether the one or more recesses are in their initial concave position or their pressure-induced deflected, convex position. [17] In various embodiments, the recesses can effectively increase the volume of the tube. For example, depending on the area, depth, and number of the recesses, the storage volume within the tube can be increased to maintain a desired pressure or pressure range within the interior of the tube. In an embodiment, the tube has a first volume when the one or more recesses are in an initial concave position and a second volume when the one or more recesses are in their deflected convex position, where the second volume is from about 5% to about 40% greater, or from about 5% to about 30% greater, or from about 10% to about 20% greater than the first volume.

[18] Various embodiments of the one or more recesses are contemplated. For example, FIG. 1 is a side view of a toothpaste tube 10 having features of an embodiment of the present teachings. It will be understood that the FIGS, are generalized schematic depictions and that an actual structure in accordance with an embodiment may include other substructures that are not depicted for simplicity, while various depicted substructures may be removed or modified.

[19] FIG. 1 is a side view depicting a tube 10 for a product 12 that is a fluid, such as a toothpaste, tooth gel, cream, lotion, etc., including a tube body 14, a tube shoulder 16, an exit nozzle 18 having an opening 20 therein from which the product 12 may be dispensed from the tube 10. A bottom end 22 opposite the exit nozzle 18 may include an end seal or crimp 24. A cap, foil, or other factory seal 26 may be placed over the exit nozzle 18 to factory seal the product 12 within the tube 10. The exit nozzle 18 may be a threaded exit nozzle that receives a threaded cap 26 as depicted, or the cap 26 may be friction mounted to the exit nozzle 18. In an embodiment, the tube body 14 may include a seam 28, depending on the method used for fabrication of the tube body 14. Various other tube, cap, and factory seal embodiments are contemplated, which are not individually depicted for simplicity of explanation.

[20] An embodiment of the present teachings can further include one or more concave recesses, dimples, depressions, or indentations 30, 32, 34 formed within the tube 10, where the concaveness or concavity is relative to the outside of the tube 10. In an embodiment, a concave recess 30 may be formed in the tube shoulder 16 as depicted, (e.g., formed prior to attaching the tube shoulder 16 to the tube body 14), and/or concave recesses 32 and/or 34 may be formed in the tube body 14. The perimeter of the concave recess 30, 32, 34 may be formed to have one or more shapes, for example circular, oval, square, cross-shaped, rectangular, etc. The recess may be bilaterally symmetrical such as recesses 30 and 34, or radially symmetrical such as recess 32. In another embodiment, the concave recesses may be formed in the shape of a brand name 36 or other text, or as a graphic or icon 38, for example, to be less conspicuous or to provide a more esthetically pleasing component compared to a recess that is formed as a separate, standalone non-esthetic structure.

[21] In various embodiments, the material that forms the recesses 30, 32, 34 may have a thickness that is the same or is thinner than the thickness of the surrounding area. Prior to opening the factory seal, during shipment and/or storage, the product 12 may expand (e.g., due to product outgassing or expansion, a temperature increase, etc.) and pressure can build within the sealed tube 10 during shipping and/or storage prior to opening the factory seal by the end user. As a result of increasing pressure, the areas of the factory-sealed tube that form the recesses 30, 32, 34 can be deformed, pushed, or otherwise forced outward from an initially concave position relative to the exterior of the tube toward a deflected convex position which, in effect, increases the volume of the interior of the factory-sealed tube 10, thereby maintaining pressure within the tube at a more desirable level, preferably at or near 1 atmosphere. In an embodiment, the deflection of the one or more recesses may occur at an internal tube pressure of less than 35 pounds per square inch (psi), or at less than 25 psi, or at less than 20 psi. In embodiments where the recesses 30, 32, 34 are formed of thinner material than the surrounding areas of the tube 10, the recesses 30, 32, 34 may require less pressure to deform, push, or deflect due to the increased pliability of the thinner material.

[22] FIG. 2A is a perspective depiction of the tube 10 with the recesses 30 in an initial concave position, and FIG. 2B depicts the tube 10 and the recesses 30 after increased pressure within the sealed tube 10 forces the recesses 30 into their deflected convex position.

[23] The recesses 30-34 may be formed within a tube component, for example, the tube shoulder 16 and/or tube body 14, during fabrication. Various mold processes may be used to form a suitable tube body 14 and/or tube shoulder 16 having recesses in accordance with the present teachings, for example using compression molding, injection molding, or another suitable recess formation process.

[24] FIG. 3 A is a cross section depicting a portion of a structure 40, such as a tube body 14 or a tube shoulder 16, that includes recesses 42. In this example, two exemplary shapes of recesses are depicted: semicircular or hemispherical cross section recesses 42A, and a U-shaped cross section recesses 42B, but other shapes are also contemplated. In the FIG. 3A depiction, the product (and possibly a product outgas or air) will be located within the tube at the lower surface of the structure 40, touching a lower surface 52 of the structure 40. At non-recess locations, the structure 40 may have a thickness 44. At recess 42 locations, at least part of the structure 40 that forms a recess may have a thickness 46 that is the same or thinner than the thickness 44 at non- recess locations of the structure 40. At the recess locations, the distance 48 from an upper surface 50 to a lower surface 52 as measured at a recess 42 in the structure 40 is greater than the thickness 44 of the material itself.

[25] Each recess may have a width 54. If repeating adjacent recesses are formed, the recesses 42 may have a uniform pitch 56. A length of each recess 42 will depend on the type of recess and where it is formed, for example whether the recess is an elongated recessed panel such as recess 34 (FIG. 1) or a recessed dimple such as recess 32. In an embodiment having two or more recesses, the recesses 42A and 42B may have a uniform pitch 56, although other regular or varying pitches are contemplated.

[26] During use, pressure at the interior of the tube (i.e., the lower or underside portion of structure 40 in FIG. 3A) may increase to gradually or suddenly deform, push, or deflect the recesses 42 from their initially concave position (relative to the exterior of the tube) depicted in FIG. 3A toward and up to the subsequent convex deflected position as depicted in FIG. 3B. During deflection, the one or more recesses 30-34 may articulate at a joint(s) where the one or more recesses intersect the wall of the tube body 14 or the tube shoulder 16.

[27] In various embodiments, after forming the tube body 14 and the tube shoulder 16 and attaching the tube body 14 to the tube shoulder 16 using techniques known in the art, the product 12 is placed into the tube 10, for example from the bottom end 22 of the tube 10 while the bottom end 22 of the tube 10 is open. The end seal 24 may then be formed. Either before or after forming the end seal 24, the cap 26, foil seal, and/or other cover is positioned over the opening 20 to factory seal the product 12 within the tube 10. After filling and sealing the tube 10, the recesses deflect in response to increasing pressure within the tube to increase the volume within the tube 10.

[28] In various embodiments, the recesses 30-34 are visible from the exterior of the tube 10 unless, for example, covered by another layer such as a sleeve, label, etc. (not individually depicted for simplicity).

[29] The product tube described herein can provide a tube 10 that has a more stable pressure within the tube 10 during expansion of the product 12 inside. Product expansion pushing out the recesses 30-34 increases the volume within the tube 10, thereby maintaining a more even pressure compared to conventional tubes. With some conventional tubes, an increase in pressure within the tube can result in inflation and bulging of the tube, an unattractive tube appearance, product expulsion and spillage from the tube when the tube is unsealed, which may result in decreased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. In extreme cases, a pressure increase can result in rupturing of side and/or end seams of a conventional tube, thereby rendering the product defective and unusable. A tube 10 in accordance with the present teachings can reduce or eliminate these deficiencies found with conventional tubes.

[30] In each of the embodiments, the tube can be configured such that the pressure required to dispense the product 12 from the opening 20 in the nozzle 18 (FIG. 1) is less than the pressure required to deform, push, articulate, actuate, or deflect the recesses. In an embodiment, the opening 20 can be of a sufficiently large size that compressive pressure on the tube 10 by the user dispenses product 12 through the opening 20 rather than deforming, pushing, articulating, actuating, or deflecting the recesses 30-32.

[31] It is contemplated that an embodiment can include two or more recess embodiments, for example, two or more of the embodiments as depicted and/or described with reference to FIGS. 1-3.

[32] Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the present teachings are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical value, however, inherently contains certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements. Moreover, all ranges disclosed herein are to be understood to encompass any and all sub-ranges subsumed therein. For example, a range of "less than 10" can include any and all sub-ranges between (and including) the minimum value of zero and the maximum value of 10, that is, any and all sub-ranges having a minimum value of equal to or greater than zero and a maximum value of equal to or less than 10, e.g., 1 to 5. In certain cases, the numerical values as stated for the parameter can take on negative values. In this case, the example value of range stated as "less than 10" can assume negative values, e.g. - 1, -2, -3, -10, -20, -30, etc.

[33] While the present teachings have been illustrated with respect to one or more implementations, alterations and/or modifications can be made to the illustrated examples without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For example, it will be appreciated that while the process is described as a series of acts or events, the present teachings are not limited by the ordering of such acts or events. Some acts may occur in different orders and/or concurrently with other acts or events apart from those described herein. Also, not all process stages may be required to implement a methodology in accordance with one or more aspects or embodiments of the present teachings. It will be appreciated that structural components and/or processing stages can be added or existing structural components and/or processing stages can be removed or modified. Further, one or more of the acts depicted herein may be carried out in one or more separate acts and/or phases. Furthermore, to the extent that the terms "including," "includes," "having," "has," "with," or variants thereof are used in either the detailed description and the claims, such terms are intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term "comprising." The term "at least one of is used to mean one or more of the listed items can be selected. Further, in the discussion and claims herein, the term "on" used with respect to two materials, one "on" the other, means at least some contact between the materials, while "over" means the materials are in proximity, but possibly with one or more additional intervening materials such that contact is possible but not required. Neither "on" nor "over" implies any directionality as used herein. The term "conformal" describes a coating material in which angles of the underlying material are preserved by the conformal material. The term "about" indicates that the value listed may be somewhat altered, as long as the alteration does not result in nonconformance of the process or structure to the illustrated embodiment. Finally, "exemplary" indicates the description is used as an example, rather than implying that it is an ideal. Other embodiments of the present teachings will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the disclosure herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the present teachings being indicated by the following claims.

[34] Terms of relative position as used in this application are defined based on a plane parallel to the conventional plane or working surface of a workpiece, regardless of the orientation of the workpiece. The term "horizontal" or "lateral" as used in this application is defined as a plane parallel to the conventional plane or working surface of a workpiece, regardless of the orientation of the workpiece. The term "vertical" refers to a direction perpendicular to the horizontal. Terms such as "on," "side" (as in "sidewall"), "higher," "lower," "over," "top," and "under" are defined with respect to the conventional plane or working surface being on the top surface of the workpiece, regardless of the orientation of the workpiece.