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Title:
VALVE RETAINING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/150546
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A retaining device (10) for retaining a self-closing valve (2) in a closure is provided. The device comprises a body (12) for receiving a self-closing valve (2) and having a crimping flange (14) capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position to retain the valve in the device. The body is receivable into a closure with the valve retained. Breaching means (11) are provided on or by the body for breaching a seal, liner or the like.

Inventors:
BULL, Martin Carey (11 Henry Preston Road, Tasburgh Norfolk NR15 1NU, GB)
Application Number:
EP2015/057381
Publication Date:
October 08, 2015
Filing Date:
April 02, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OBRIST CLOSURES SWITZERLAND GMBH (Romerstrasse 83, Reinach, CH-4153, CH)
International Classes:
B65D47/20; B65D51/22
Domestic Patent References:
WO2011151611A12011-12-08
Foreign References:
EP1531130A12005-05-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRYERS LLP et al. (7 Gay Street, Bath Bath and North East Somerset BA1 2PH, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

A retaining device for retaining a self-closing valve in a closure, the device comprising a body for receiving a self-closing valve and having a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position to retain the valve in the device, the body being receivable into a closure with the valve retained, in which breaching means are provided on or by the body for breaching a seal, liner or the like.

A retaining device for retaining a non-laminar, flange-presenting self-closing valve in a closure for a container in which the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container, the device being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, the device having a crimping flange for engaging the said valve flange to retain the valve in the device, the crimping flange being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, so that the device is fitted into the said closure for the container with the retained valve, in which breaching means are provided on or by the device for breaching a seal, liner or the like on a container.

A device as claimed in claim I , in which the breaching means comprise cutting, piercing, slicing, breaking, rupturing, bursting or splitting means.

A device as claimed in claim I or claim 2, in which the crimping flange has a length in the range

0.5mm to 4.0mm.

A device as claimed in claim I or claim 2, in which the crimping flange has a length in the range

1.10mm to 2.50mm.

A self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head, a connecting wall, and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the retaining means, in which the height of the peripheral flange is in the range of 1.25mm to 2.5mm.

A self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head, a connecting wall, and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the crimping flange in the crimped position, in which the height of the valve peripheral flange is in the range of 1.25mm to 2.5mm.

8. A self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device the retaining device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

9. A self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

10. A device or sub-assembly according to claim 8 or claim 9, in which the weight is in the range 0.08g to 0.1 I g I I . A device or sub-assembly according to claim 8 or claim 9, in which the weight is in the range

0.05g to 0.08g.

12. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the crimping flange comprises and upstanding wall.

13. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the device comprises a circular upstanding wall and the crimping flange comprises a circumferentially upstanding wall.

1 . A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the device comprises a bead for snap-fitting the device into a closure.

15. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the device comprises a sloping surface for receiving a valve flange. 16. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the device is formed as a retaining ring.

17. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, in which the device is formed as a single-piece article.

18. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim in which the crimping flange is adapted to engage a flange of a valve.

19. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, further comprising a sealing bead.

20. A retaining device according to any preceding claim, in combination with a non-laminar self- closing valve.

21. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the device is snap-fitted into the closure.

22. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the device and the closure include co-operating sealing beads for fixing the device into the closure. 23. A device or sub-assembly according to any preceding claim, wherein the valve is a non-laminar self-closing valve.

24. A self-closing valve sub-assembly, comprising a valve retaining device according to any preceding claim and a flange-presenting self-closing valve, in combination with a closure for a container.

25. A device, sub assembly or closure according to any preceding claim, in which the device is formed separately from the closure and also from the container. 26. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the valve comprises a flange, and the rigidity of the flange is increased by the device.

27. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the device is retained within a closure by means of a mechanical and/or a chemical fit.

28. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the valve is retained in the device by being crimped in place.

29. A device or subassembly as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the valve is retained in the device by being glued in place.

30. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the height of the device is in the range 5mm to 8mm. 31. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in claim 30, in which the height is approximately 5.95mm.

32. A device or sub-assembly as claimed in claim 30, in which the height is approximately 6.35mm.

33. In combination, a retaining device or assembly according to any preceding claim with a self- closing valve and positioned in a closure.

34. A combination according to Claim 3, in which the closure comprises a wall for retaining the device in the closure. 35. A method of forming a self-closing valve preassembly for a container closure, comprising the steps of:

providing a valve retaining device as claimed in any of claims I to 32 which is separate from the container closure in which the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container, and also from the container, said device having a crimping flange;

- providing a non-laminar self-closing valve, said valve having a flange;

positioning said valve into said device;

crimping said crimping flange over said valve flange to retain the valve in the device.

36. A method as claimed in claim 35, in which the device has an annular support surface and in which the flange is supported on the support surface such that after crimping the valve flange is trapped between the support surface and the crimping flange.

37. A method as claimed in claim 35 or claim 36, in which the crimping step is performed without heating the crimping flange.

38. A method as claimed in any of claims 35 to 37, in which the crimping flange is moveable from an uncrimped position and in which the crimping flange is moved substantially 90 degrees from said uncrimped position to said crimped position in the crimping set. 39. A method as claimed in any of claims 35 to 38, further comprising the step of fitting the valve preassembly into a closure.

40. A method as claimed in any claims 35 to 39, further comprising the step of fitting the closure including the valve preassembly to a container.

41. A device, sub-assembly or method according to any preceding claim, in which the valve is formed from silicon or a silicon-based material.

42. A devise, sub assembly or method according to any of claims I to 40 in which the valve is formed from a TPV material.

43. A devise, sub assembly or method according to any of claims I to 40 in which the valve is formed from a TPE material.

44. A devise, sub assembly or method according to any of claims I to 40 in which the valve is formed from a rubber material.

45. A self-closing valve sub-assembly substantially as herein before described with reference to, and as shown in the accompanying drawings.

46. A device substantially as herein before described with reference to, and as shown in, the accompanying drawings. 47. A method substantially as herein before described with reference to, and as shown in, the accompanying drawings.

48. A closure fitted with a self-closing valve assembly as claimed in any of claims I to 32.

Description:
VALVE RETAINING DEVICE

The present invention relates to a device for retaining a flexible valve. This device may then be fitted into, and itself retained within, other articles such as closure devices.

Flexible valves come in many forms. For instance, WO-A-2004/026721 describes laminar-type flexible membrane valves, whereas EP-B-0545678 and EP-B- 1005430 both describe silicon-based flexible valves which are non-laminar in shape. The following description is related primarily to the latter form of non- laminar self-closing flexible valves. The construction of these types of valves may be generalised as comprising a concave or convex shaped head portion, with at least one slit, a side wall portion, and a flange.

In this application the term "laminar" relates to forms which have a substantially uniform thickness with major surfaces being parallel to one-another. The term "non-laminar" relates to forms which have a thickness which varies and in which the shape does not have major surfaces which are parallel to one- another.

Non-laminar valves are often used in association with closures which are themselves used in association with containers holding such consumable products as liquid soap and ketchup. They have the quality that when a user applies pressure to the container walls (for example by squeezing) the head portion of the valve responds to this increased pressure within the container by opening outwards in the form of "petals". The fluid contained within the container then passes through the slit of the head portion of the valve. Further, the container walls are typically resilient such that when the user stops squeezing them they move back to their original shape thus increasing the volume within the container and accordingly reducing the pressure within the container. This reduced pressure sucks the open "petals" of the valve back to their original closed position. This self-closing property is aided by the concave shape of the valve head.

EP-B-0495440 describes how to retain these valves within closures by means of retaining pieces. Firstly, the valve is positioned within the closure at the relevant place and then a retaining piece is pushed over the valve until it snaps over a retaining bead within the closure. The valve is thus held captive between the closure and the retaining piece.

Another method of retaining such valves within closures is described in EP-B- 1 131252 where the valve is positioned within the closure and then a deformable ring forming part of the closure itself is bent over so that it crimps the valve in place. The valve is thus held captive against the closure by the crimped ring.

Containers which are used for holding and dispensing food products, such as ketchup, often have peelable foil membranes affixed over the mouth of the container which has to be removed prior to the first dispensing. To remove this foil the user must first unscrew the closure from the container, then

I peel off the membrane, and then re-screw the closure back onto the container. Once this has been carried out the user may then squeeze the container and force the product through the valve and the associated spout or orifice situated in the closure, as discussed above. It has been known, however, for some users to merely push a pen or other such object through the orifice of the closure, which then passes through the valve and then through the foil membrane underneath to pierce this foil without the need to remove the closure from the container. Although, this may appear to save time, not only is hygiene a possible cause for concern, but more importantly it has been known for the pen or other such object to push out the valve from its crimped position, possibly by dislodging the retaining piece from the closure. The loose valve may then be dispensed with product when the container is squeezed since it is flexible enough to pass through the orifice. Further, because the valve may be covered in product it may be disguised and accordingly ingested by someone who was not aware it was there. Choking could result. The retaining piece however would not pass through the orifice since it is typically manufactured from harder material of a size which is greater than the size of the orifice.

Another problem that is known in relation to these type of flexible valves is that because they are so supple they are accordingly quite difficult to handle and position within the closure during assembly. This slows down the assembly of the closures. Further, the valves have a tendency to stick to each other and although talcum powder is used to reduce this problem it can also slow down assembly of closures.

It is the purpose of the present invention to overcome these problems of suppleness and flexibility so that it is impossible for valves which become loose within containers to pass through closure orifices, and also so that the handleability may be improved to increase the efficiency of the manufacture of closures.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a retaining device for retaining a self- closing valve in a closure, the device comprising a body for receiving a self-closing valve and having a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position to retain the valve in the device, the body being receivable into a closure with the valve retained, in which breaching means are provided on or by the body for breaching a seal, liner or the like.

According to a further aspect there is provided a retaining device for retaining a non-laminar, flange- presenting self-closing valve in a closure for a container in which the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container, the device being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, the device having a crimping flange for engaging the said valve flange to retain the valve in the device, the crimping flange being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, so that the device is fitted into the said closure for the container with the retained valve, in which breaching means are provided on or by the device for breaching a seal, liner or the like on a container. The breaching means may comprise cutting, piercing, slicing, breaking, rupturing, bursting or splitting means. For example one or more cutting teeth, blades or the like. The crimping flange may have a length in the range 0.5mm to 4.0mm, for example 1 .0mm to 2.50mm.

The crimping flange height may, for example, be approximately I . I , 1 .2, 1 .3, 1 .4, 1 .5, 1 .6, 1.7, 1 .8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1 , 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5mm. The overall height of the device, excluding cutting means, may be in the range 6.30mm to 7.70mm. In one embodiment the height is approximately 5.95mm; in another the height is approximately 6.35mm.

The present invention also provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the retaining means, in which the height of the peripheral flange is in the range of 1 .25mm to 2.5mm.

The present invention also provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the crimping flange in the crimped position, in which the height of the valve peripheral flange is in the range of 1 .25mm to 2.5mm.

The valve flange height may, for example, be approximately 1 .25, 1 .3, 1 .35, 1 .4, 1 .45, 1.5, 1.55, 1 .6, 1 .65, 1.7 1 .75, 1 .8, 1 .85. 1 .9, 1 .95, 2.0, 2.05, 2.1 , 2.1 5, 2.2, 2.25, 2.3, 2.35, 2.4, 2.45, or 2.5mm. In one embodiment the flange is approximately 1 .52mm; in another embodiment the height is approximately 2.03mm

The present invention also provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device the retaining device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

The present invention also provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as claimed in any preceding claim in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

The valve may, for example, have a weight of 0.05, 0.06, 0.07, 0.08g, 0.09, 0.10 or 0.1 I g.

The weight may, for example be in the range 0.05g to 0.08g, or 0.08g to 0.1 I g.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a retaining device for retaining a self- closing valve in a closure, the device comprising a body for receiving a self-closing valve and having a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position to retain the valve in the device, the body being receivable into a closure with the valve retained, in which the crimping flange has a length in the range 1.0mm to 2.50mm.

The overall height of the device may be in the range 5mm to 8mm, for example 6.30mm to 7.70mm. In one embodiment the height is approximately 5.95mm; in another the height is approximately 6.35mm.

A further aspect provides a retaining device as described herein for retaining a non-laminar, flange- presenting self-closing valve in a closure for a container in which the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container, the device being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, the device having a crimping flange for engaging the said valve flange to retain the valve in the device, the crimping flange being separate from the closure for the container and separate from the container, so that the device is fitted into the said closure for the container with the retained valve, and the crimping flange having a height in the range 1.0mm to 2.50mm. The crimping flange height may, for example, be approximately 1.0, I . I , 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1 , 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5mm.

A further aspect provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retention device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the retaining means, in which the height of the peripheral flange is in the range of 1.25mm to 1.75mm.

A further aspect provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retention device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve comprising a valve head and a peripheral flange which is engaged by the crimping flange in the crimped position, in which the height of the peripheral flange is in the range of 1.25mm to 1.75mm. A further aspect provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device the retention device comprising retaining means for retaining a valve therein, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

A further aspect provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly comprising a retaining device as described herein in combination with a self-closing valve, the retaining device comprising a single piece article having crimping means for crimping a valve into the device prior to assembly, the crimping means comprises a crimping flange capable of being bent from an uncrimped position to a crimped position, the self-closing valve having a weight in the range of 0.05g to 0.1 I g.

The valve may, for example, have a weight of 0.05, 0.06, 0.07, 0.08g, 0.09, 0.10 or 0.1 I g. A further aspect provides a self-closing valve sub-assembly, comprising a valve retaining device as described herein and a flange-presenting self-closing valve as described herein, in combination with a closure for a container.

Where present, aspects and embodiments of the present invention may comprise or include some or all of the following features.

Where present, the crimping flange of aspects and embodiments of the present invention may comprise an upstanding wall. The device may comprise a circular upstanding wall and the crimping flange may comprise a circumferentially upstanding wall.

The device may comprise a bead for snap-fitting the device into a closure. The device may comprise a sloping surface for receiving a valve flange. The device may be formed as a retaining ring. The device may be formed as a single-piece article.

The crimping flange may be adapted to engage a flange of a valve. Devices or sub-assemblies may further comprise a sealing bead. The device may be snap-fittable into a closure. The device and a closure may include co-operating sealing beads for fixing the device into the closure.

The valve may be a non-laminar self-closing valve.

The device may be formed separately from a closure and also from a container. The valve may comprise a flange, and the rigidity of the flange may be increased by the device. The device may be retained within a closure by means of a mechanical and/or a chemical fit. The valve may be retained in the device by being crimped in place. The valve may be retained in the device by being glued in place.

The present invention also provides a retaining device as described herein, in combination with a non- laminar self-closing valve.

The present invention also provides, in combination, a retaining device or assembly as described herein with a self-closing valve fitted and positioned in a closure.

The closure may comprise a wall for retaining the device in the closure.

The present invention also provides a method of forming a self-closing valve preassembly for a container closure, comprising the steps of:

providing a valve retaining device as described herein which is separate from the container closure in which the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container, and also from the container, said device having a crimping flange;

providing a non-laminar self-closing valve, said valve having a flange;

- positioning said valve into said device;

crimping said crimping flange over said valve flange to retain the valve in the device.

The device may have an annular support surface and in which the flange is supported on the support surface such that after crimping the valve flange is trapped between the support surface and the crimping flange.

The crimping step may be performed without heating the crimping flange.

The crimping flange may be moveable from an uncrimped position. The crimping flange may be moved in the range 80 degrees to 200 degrees, for example 90 degrees to 180 degrees. In some embodiments the flange is moved substantially 90 degrees from said uncrimped position to said crimped position in the crimping set.

The method may further comprise the step of fitting the valve preassembly into a closure.

The method may further comprise the step of fitting the closure including the valve preassembly to a container.

Valves according to the present invention may be formed from silicon or a silicon-based material.

The valve may be formed from a thermoplastic vulcanisate (TPV) material. The valve may be formed from a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) material. The valve may be formed from a rubber material, such as nitryl rubber.

Combinations of different materials are possible. Bi-injected valves are possible.

The present invention also provides a closure fitted with a self-closing valve assembly as described herein.

Further embodiments are disclosed in the dependent claims attached hereto.

Different aspects and embodiments of the invention may be used separately or together. For example, a device with a crimping flange in the ranges specified in combination with a valve having a peripheral flange in the ranges specified and a weight in the ranges specified.

Further particular and preferred aspects of the present invention are set out in the accompanying independent and dependent claims. Features of the dependent claims may be combined with the features of the independent claims as appropriate, and in combination other than those explicitly set out in the claims.

The present invention will now be more particularly described, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure I shows a perspective view of a device formed according to the present invention and without a valve in position;

Figure 2 shows a cross-section through the device of Figu Figure 3 shows the device of Figures I and 2 with a valve crimped in position to form a valve subassembly;

Figures 4 and 5 show a closure fitted with a valve sub-assembly formed according to the present invention;

Figure 6 shows a cross-section through a device formed according to an alternative embodiment; Figure 7 is a section of a device formed according to a further embodiment; and

Figure 8 shows the device of Figure 7 with a valve crimped into position.

In the following description, all orientational terms, such as upper, lower, radially and axially, are used in relation to the drawings and should not be interpreted as limiting on the invention or its connection to a closure.

Example embodiments are described below in sufficient detail to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to embody and implement the systems and processes herein described. It is important to understand that embodiments can be provided in many alternate forms and should not be construed as limited to the examples set forth herein.

Accordingly, while embodiments can be modified in various ways and take on various alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown in the drawings and described in detail below as examples. There is no intent to limit to the particular forms disclosed and as well as individual embodiments the invention is intended to cover combinations of those embodiments as well. On the contrary, all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the appended claims should be included. Elements of the example embodiments are consistently denoted by the same reference numerals throughout the drawings and detailed description where appropriate. The terminology used herein to describe embodiments is not intended to limit the scope. The articles "a," "an," and "the" are singular in that they have a single referent; however, the use of the singular form in the present document should not preclude the presence of more than one referent. In other words, elements referred to in the singular can number one or more, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms "comprises," "comprising," "includes," and/or "including," when used herein, specify the presence of stated features, items, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, items, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

Unless otherwise defined, all terms (including technical and scientific terms) used herein are to be interpreted as is customary in the art. It will be further understood that terms in common usage should also be interpreted as is customary in the relevant art and not in an idealized or overly formal sense unless expressly so defined herein.

Referring first to Figures I and 2 there is shown a device I , which shall be referred to hereinafter as a retaining ring I . The ring I consists of a moulded single-piece article/body with a so-called "chimney" in the form of a circular wall 10. This chimney 10 provides a surface for assembly machinery to handle the retaining ring I . At one end of the chimney 10 is a plurality of cutting teeth I I . At the outer radial end of the chimney wall 10 another circular wall 12, which has the same rotational axis as chimney 10, extending upwards. This end of the wall 10 also includes an inner ring 9 that forms a seat 7 and includes a sloping surface 9a.

Along the circumference of the radially outer surface of wall 12 is a projection in the form of an external sealing bead 13. At the end of wall 12 is a crimping flange 1 which in its uncrimped condition is an upstanding wall which in this embodiment has a height H of approximately 1.4 mm.

It has been found that this flange length gives particular benefits to the force required to pull the valve out of a sub-assembly, by greatly increasing the force required.

The ring benefits from several beneficial features: i) extended crimping profile design - this will improve component processing quality, and increased valve pull out forces to improve transportation quality; ii) side bead 13 vertical increase - this allows a better ring feed in to an assembly machine giving better processing efficiencies; and iii) redesigned chimney 10 inside diameter - this allows a greater flexibility for the valve sub-assembly to closure assembly machines. A flexible self-closing valve 2 typically has the features shown in Figure 3. For instance, such a valve 2 has a head portion 3, which is thicker towards the edge than the centre and which has at least one slit 4 therein. The head portion is concave with respect to a container (not shown). This pre-stresses the valve so that it self-closes more easily. A side-wall or connecting wall portion 6 connects the head portion 3 with a flange 8. Flange 8 is typically shaped such that it has a relatively substantial size in the form of a rim. It is this flange 8 which rests on the inner ring surface 9a and sits in the seat 7 of the retaining ring I when it is located correctly. This forms a self-closing valve sub-assembly 20 that can easily be manipulated. In this embodiment the flange 8 has a height F of approximately 1.50mm.

In this embodiment, to crimp the valve 2 in place, the crimping flange 14 is bent over from the position shown in Figures I and 2 until it sandwiches the flange 8 between itself 14 and the sloping surface 9a as shown in Figure 3. Although in this embodiment the crimping flange 8 is shown as being bent over by 90 degrees radially inwards it should be understood that the angle through which it need be bent is not fixed. For instance, it has been found that the crimping flange 1 need only be bent over by a few degrees in order that it hold the valve 2 in place within the retaining ring I . This is because the crimping flange 14 is bent over along the entire circumference of the retaining ring I and valve 2. Further, the crimping flange 14 could be bent over by more than 90 degrees so that it lies against and substantially parallel with the surface of flange 8.

The sub-assembly 20 can be fitted into a closure (not shown) and thereafter the cutting teeth I I can be used to pierce a liner, seal or the like on an associated container. In some embodiments, for example, the assembly is fitted into a movable section of closure (such a spout section) and then moved together with that section to cause a liner to be pierced.

In Figures 4 and 5 a retaining ring 101 is shown with a valve 102 crimped in place to form a sub- assembly. Only the lower, teeth-bearing part of the ring 101 is shown.

The valve sub-assembly is positioned within a closure 125. In this embodiment the retaining ring 101 snap-fits into the closure 125 so that sealing beads form an interference seal. Alternative or additional methods of fitting the retaining ring in the closure are of course possible; such methods could include glueing, corresponding screw threads and chemical means.

Further, although the valve has been shown in this embodiment to be crimped into the retaining ring, in other embodiments it would be possible to glue or affix the valve 2 to the retaining ring by other means such as by chemical means.

Further still, it has been found that contrary to expectation it has been possible to bend over the crimping flange without the need to apply heat to soften the material.

Yet further, although only one valve has been discussed it would be possible to design a retaining ring which could have more than one valve crimped into it. This might be useful if it was desired to have a closure with more than one dispensing orifice.

Although the advantages of the above described retaining ring have already been discussed, (improved rigidity to improve handleability and prevent accidental passing of the valve 2 through an orifice of a closure), further advantages may be gained. One such advantage is that the valve and retaining ring may be pre-assembled on a different production machine than the machines which are used to produce the closures or assemble the closures, if different therefrom. Further, because the valves and retaining ring can be assembled more quickly than the closure can be produced or assembled, a stock of these pre- assembled valves and retaining rings can be maintained, with obvious benefits. Another advantage of the invention is that the rigidity of the flange of the valve is increased.

The closure 125 is provided with a liner 140, for example for sealing the contents of a container (not shown). The liner 140 can be breached by depressing a spout section 130 of the closure, which causes the teeth I I I to pierce it. In some embodiments the liner is provided by the closure and is then heat sealed on to a container neck.

In Figure 6 a ring 201 formed according to an alternative embodiment is shown. The ring is generally the same as the ring I shown in Figures I to 3 except that the teeth 21 I are spaced and are more angular.

In Figure 7 a ring on 301 formed according to an alternative embodiment is shown. The ring is similar to the rings shown in Figures I to 6. In this embodiment the free end of the wall 310 has a single cutting blade 31 1. In Figure 8 a sub-assembly 320 formed with a valve 302 fitted into the retention ring 301. The valve has a weight of approximately 0.06g. The ring has a crimping flange 314 having a height H of approximately 1.0mm. The ring 301 has an overall height of approximately 6.05mm. The peripheral flange 308 has a height F of approximately 2.5mm. In other embodiments (not shown) a reduced height flange and/or a lightweight valve may be used in combination with a retaining ring without an extended crimping flange.

In this embodiment the ring is a retainer device for retaining a non-laminar, flange-presenting self-closing valve in a closure for a container. The closure (not shown) is directly attachable to a container. The valve is mounted within the retainer device by the crimping flange. In doing so, the crimping flange extends entirely around the outer flange of the valve. The retainer device is separate from the closure which is used to close the container. As such, the closure is adapted for direct connection with the container. A lid (not shown) may also be associated with the closure. This lid may be either separate from the closure or attached to the closure.

Although illustrative embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail herein, with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is understood that the invention is not limited to the precise embodiments shown and that various changes and modifications can be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

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