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Title:
CONTAINER FOR LAUNDERING PURPOSES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/192897
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a container (1) comprising a first part (2) and a second part (3), the first part (2) forming a first inner space (4) and a first opening into the first inner space (4), and the second part (3) being detachably attachable in a sealing position to the first part (2) for sealing the first opening, the container (1) further comprises magnetic attraction means (10-19) arranged in at least one of the first and the second parts (2,3) and configured to maintain the second part (3) in the sealing position by magnetic attraction.

Inventors:
KONGSBAK JACOB (DK)
GJØRUP THOMAS HENRIK (DK)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2014/062837
Publication Date:
December 23, 2015
Filing Date:
June 18, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JKTG INVEST APS (DK)
International Classes:
D06F39/02; D06F43/00; D06F58/20
Domestic Patent References:
WO2001032823A12001-05-10
Foreign References:
US20030052138A12003-03-20
US2987906A1961-06-13
US4254139A1981-03-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO DENMARK A/S et al. (2300 København S, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A container comprising a first part and a second part, the first part forming a first inner space and a first opening into the first inner space, and the second part being detachably attachable in a sealing position to the first part for sealing the first opening, the container further comprising magnetic attraction means arranged in at least one of the first and the second parts and configured to maintain the second part in the sealing position by magnetic attraction.

2. A container according to claim 1, wherein the inner space is liquid tight when the second part is in the sealing position. 3. A container according to claim 1 or 2, comprising an elastically deformable sealing structure on at least one of the first and second parts and arranged between the first and second parts and extending about the first opening.

4. A container according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the second part forms a second inner space and a second opening into the second inner space. 5. A container according to claim 4, where the second opening is in communication with the first opening, when the second part is in the sealing position.

6. A container according to claim 4 or 5, wherein the second part forms a second edge portion about the second opening, and wherein the second edge portion faces the first part when the second part is in the sealing position. 7. A container according to claim 6, wherein the first part forms a first edge portion about the first opening, and wherein the second edge portion faces the first edge portion when the second part is in the sealing position.

8. A container according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a fluid medium in a primary one of the first and second spaces. 9. A container according to claim 8, comprising a first compartment containing the fluid medium.

10. A container according to claim 9, wherein the first compartment comprises a sponge structure.

11. A container according to claim 10, wherein at least one of the first part and the second part comprises an elastically deformable wall allowing squeezing of the sponge structure through the elastically deformable wall.

12. A container according to claim 11, wherein the elastically deformable wall forms a protrusion on an outer surface of one of the first and second parts.

13. A container according to clam 12, wherein the protrusion is twistable during elastic deformation.

14. A container according to any of claims 8-13, wherein the container further comprising release means operable to release the fluid medium from the first compartment. 15. A container according to claim 14, wherein the release means is operable outside the container when the second part is in the sealing position.

16. A container according to claim 14 or 15, wherein the release means is configured to release the fluid medium from the first compartment upon movement of the first part relative to the second part. 17. A container according to any of claims 8-16, wherein the fluid medium is selected from a group consisting of a detergent, a beverage, a food ingredient, a cosmetic compound, a medical drug, colouring compound, and a heat releasing compound.

18. A container according to any of claims 9-17, wherein the first compartment is replaceably arranged in the primary one of the first and second spaces. 19. A container according to any of the preceding claims, comprising an absorbing structure formed in a secondary one of the first and second spaces.

20. A container according to claim 19, comprising a second compartment containing the absorbing structure.

21. A container according to any of claims 8-19 and claim 20, wherein the absorbing structure is configured to absorb the fluid medium.

22. A container according to any of claims 19-21, wherein the absorbing structure is replaceably arranged in the secondary one of the first and second spaces.

23. A container according to any of claims 19-22, wherein one of the first and second spaces is the primary space and the other one of the first and second spaces is the secondary space.

24. A container according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the magnetic attraction means comprises at least two assemblies, each assembly comprising at least two magnetic poles of different polarity, and at least one assembly being arranged in each of the first and second parts.

25. A container according to claim 24, wherein the magnetic poles of each assembly is arranged in a circular layout with alternating poles of different polarity.

26. A container according to claim 24 or 25, wherein the magnetic poles of each assembly is arranged about one of the first and second openings.

27. A container according to any of the claims 3-26, where the magnetic attraction means provides a force of attraction sufficient to elastically deform the elastically deformable sealing structure provided on at least one of the first and second parts.

28. A compartment being arrangeable in the container according to any of the preceding claims and containing a fluid medium or an absorbing structure.

29. A liquid detergent assembly for a container according to any of claims 1-27, the assembly comprising a first and a second compartment, the first compartment comprising a liquid detergent and the second compartment comprising a structure for absorbing the liquid detergent. 30. A method of carrying out local laundering on an item by use of the container according to any of the preceding claims, the method comprising the step of applying a detergent to at least one of the first and second inner spaces, arranging the first part on one side of the item, arranging the second part on the opposite side of the item in the sealing position relative to the first part and allowing the detergent to act on the item while the magnetic attraction means maintains the second part in the sealing position.

31. A method according to claim 30, the method being carried out on an item selected from the group consisting of: a sail, a curtain, a carpet, a sunshade, and an awning.

Description:
CONTAINER FOR LAUNDERING PURPOSES

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a container with a releasable closure. The invention further relates to such a container and being configured for mobile and local laundering purpose. The invention further relates to a pouch containing a detergent and being arrangeable in the container and to a pouch containing an absorbing material and being arrangeable in the container. The invention further relates to a method of carrying out local laundering by use of the container.

Background of the invention Fabric is typically cleaned by wetting with water, and typically by use of a detergent.

Traditionally, the entire piece of cloth is immersed into the fluid, washed, rinsed, and allowed to dry. If the cloth is only dirty in local areas, e.g. has a single or a few stains, it may sometimes be sufficient to wash only the stained area - often resulting in wetting of a larger area and unpleasant wet stains and prolonged time for drying. E.g. for travel purpose, different portable devices facilitate local cleaning. WO9950494 discloses a cleaning kit which can be stored e.g. in a shirt pocket and which can be activated and applied to a stained area. At the stained area, it can provide wetting and soaking of the stain with cleaning liquid, and it can pick up excess cleaning liquid.

WO0146512 discloses a device and a method of use for cleaning stains from fabric or cloth. The device is portable and comprises a chamber housing a fluid cleaning solution. The device is applied directly to the stained fabric by placing the fabric between a chamber and a second chamber. When the cleaning solution is transferred from the chamber to the second chamber, the stained fabric is in the flow path, and the stain can thereby be removed from the fabric by the cleaning solution. Generally, it can be difficult to arrange two chambers on opposite sides of a piece of fabric. Firstly, it is difficult to keep the two chambers closely together. Due to the soft and compliant characteristics of most fabrics, the fabric does not provide back pressure, and an attempt to press one chamber against a surface of the fabric can be difficult and requires that the other chamber is simultaneously pressed against the opposite surface. Secondly, it can be difficult to position the chambers correctly relative to each other. If the chambers are offset relative to each other, the cleaning solution may escape and cause wetting of a larger surface area. Further, it can be difficult to load the chambers with detergent, and it can be difficult to ensure complete wetting of the cloth

Description of the invention

It is an object of embodiments of the invention to provide an improved container, and particularly a container which can be applied for handling fluid substances, particularly for local and/or mobile laundering purpose, for cleaning cloth and other items, or for handling of fluid or liquid substances in general.

According to a first aspect, the invention provides a container comprising a first part and a second part, the first part forming a first inner space and a first opening into the first inner space, and the second part being detachably attachable in a sealing position to the first part for sealing the first opening, the container further comprising magnetic attraction means arranged in at least one of the first and the second parts and configured to maintain the second part in the sealing position by magnetic attraction.

The use of magnetic attraction means for maintaining the sealing position enables the first and second parts to be separated by an element and still maintain the sealing position. This again allows the container to be used for carrying out local laundering and cleaning tasks where an item is arranged between the first and second parts while a detergent contained in the container works on the item.

The container can e.g. be attached on opposite sides of a piece of cloth. When the cloth is between the first and second parts, the magnetic attraction forces not only keep the parts together without penetrating or otherwise interfering with the cloth, it also aligns the first part relative to the second part to thereby prevent offsetting between the parts and thereby possible escape of detergent from the container. The magnetic attraction means may also ensure a dependable consistent attraction force between the first and second parts and thereby provide proper sealing.

The item to be cleaned could be cloth, e.g. being washed while it is carried by a person, it could be a sail for a sailboat, e.g. being washed while it is in operation, it could be a curtain, e.g. being washed while being suspended at the window, it could be a carpet, e.g. being washed while still being arranged on the floor, it could be a sunshade, or an awning. Herein, we generally refer to item or cloth but the item could be of any kind which, by the container according to the invention, can be washed e.g. while still being in use. Particularly, the inner space could be liquid tight when the second part is in the sealing position. This will enable the use of liquid detergent, and it may even allow use of low viscous liquids without contaminating an external space around the container.

An elastically deformable sealing structure, e.g. in the form of an O-ring, or similar elastically compressible structures may be provided between the first and second parts, e.g. fixed to at least one of the first and second parts. The sealing structure may provide not only liquid tightness but optionally also gas tightness. The elastically deformable sealing structure could include one or more protrusions, e.g. extending circumferentially and unbroken about the opening and being moulded in one part with the first or second part. At least one of the first and second parts could form a corresponding depression or cavity in which the elastically deformable sealing structure of the other one of the first and second parts could be received.

Herein, liquid and gas tightness is defined as tightness obtainable by direct contact between the first and second parts. When used for cleaning or laundry purpose where the first and second parts are separated by an item such as a piece of cloth, the tightness depends on the structure of the item, particularly on the surface structure thereof.

The first and second parts could have any shape and size but would be particularly suitable for mobile, local, laundry or cleaning purpose if they are of a size which can be held in hand, e.g. having a largest dimension in the range of 5-30 cm. such as particularly 8-20 cm. and having a weight below 1 kg or particularly below 500 grams or below 250 grams for the combination including the first and second parts.

The first and second parts could have any colour, surface texture, decoration or other visual appearance. Different colours, surface textures, decorations, or patterns for the two parts could be an advantage for immediate and precise recognition of one of the parts from the other part. The second part could be a plan part exclusively suitable for closing the first opening. A plan second part could have an absorbing surface capable of receiving detergents and other fluids from the first part. However, e.g. for laundry purposes, the second part may form a second inner space and a second opening into the second inner space. In this case, a piece of cloth can be arranged between the two parts and thereby between the first and second spaces. In this case, the detergent or other fluids can be flushed from the first inner space through the cloth into the second inner space.

For the purpose of transferring a liquid detergent from the first inner space to the second inner space, the second opening could be in communication with the first opening when the second part is in the sealing position. By communication is herein meant that the liquid can flow directly from one inner space out through the corresponding opening, through the item, into the other opening, and into the corresponding other inner space.

The second part may form a second edge portion about the second opening, and the second edge portion may face the first part when the second part is in the sealing position.

The first part may form a first edge portion about the first opening, and the second edge portion may face the first edge portion when the second part is in the sealing position. In this embodiment, the magnetic attraction means may particularly be suitable for aligning the first and second edge portions relative to each other and thereby enable use of very thin edge portions, e.g. edges with a width down to less than 1 cm or even less than 5 mm.

To reduce wear on the cloth, the sealing surfaces of the first and second parts, i.e. the surfaces which face the other part when the second part is in the sealing position may have a particularly low coefficient of friction, i.e. it may have a lower friction coefficient than other surfaces of the first and second parts. Particularly, the kinetic dry friction between the sealing surfaces may be μ< 1,2, an preferably μ<0,5.

A fluid medium such as detergent may particularly be contained in one of the first and second spaces and the other internal space could be for collecting the fluid medium when it has passed the cloth. Herein, the one of the first and second spaces which contains the new fluid medium before it has passed through the cloth will be referred to as the primary space. The other one of the first and second internal spaces will be referred to as the secondary space.

The fluid medium could be contained directly in the primary space, or the fluid medium could be stored in a first compartment which can be arranged in the primary space.

The first compartment could be a pre-formed packaging e.g. made of plastic or metal and forming a cavity or pocket made from a formable web, e.g. a thermoformed plastic, e.g. forming part of a blister pack.

The first compartment could also be a clamshell a sachet, bottle, pouch, or similar structure, e.g. made from a polymer or metal material, e.g. a film material, e.g. a metalized polymer film. Such a first compartment can contain the fluid medium until it is released by rupturing the first compartment, e.g. by applying an external pressure, peeling off a cover foil, or in other ways deforming or changing the first compartment until it ruptures or opens etc. Alternatively, the first compartment could be constituted by a body with a porous structure, e.g. sponge-like structure or a piece of fibrous fabric with internal cavities or pores in which the fluid medium can be contained until it is released by deformation of the first

compartment. Alternatively, the first compartment could be a sachet, bottle, pouch, or similar structure, e.g. made from a polymer or metal material, e.g. a film material, e.g. a metalized polymer film and containing inside a body with a porous structure, e.g. sponge-like structure or a piece of fibrous fabric with internal cavities or pores in which the fluid medium can be contained until it is released. At least one, i.e. e.g. both of the first part and the second parts may comprise an elastically deformable wall allowing squeezing of the first compartment through the elastically deformable wall. The elastically deformable wall may e.g. be made of a soft resilient rubber or silicone material, and it may form a protrusion on an outer surface of one of the first and second parts. The protrusion may e.g. be twistable during elastic deformation such that the user can compress and wring out the fluid medium from a first compartment contained in the inner space.

The container may comprise release means operable to release the fluid medium from the first compartment, particularly if the first compartment is in the form of a bag, ampule, sachet or pouch. The release means may include any kind of structure suitable for ripping or tearing the first compartment open, e.g. a pointed sharp element or a knife, a string arranged to penetrate or pull the first compartment apart or other similar means for opening the first compartment. The release means could be operable outside the container when the second part is in the sealing position, e.g. upon movement of the first part relative to the second part. Particularly, the container could be configured as a washing device and the fluid may therefore particularly be a detergent e.g. for stain removal from a piece of cloth. However, in alternative embodiments, the fluid medium could be selected from a group consisting of a beverage or an ingredient for a beverage, a food product or an ingredient for a food product, a cosmetic compound, a medical drug, a colouring compound e.g. for colouring, marking or decorating a piece of cloth, and a heat releasing compound, e.g. for heating hands or feeds by chemical reaction between two chemicals. In general, the first and second inner spaces may each contain a substance or composition which is compatible with a complementary element, substance, or composition contained in the other inner space. Examples include: • A liquid medium such as a detergent and a corresponding compatible absorbing element for absorbing the liquid medium;

• A first chemical substance which interacts with a corresponding second chemical substance to provide a desired effect, e.g. for emission of heat or light; or

· A first food ingredient which is mixable with a corresponding second food ingredient to provide a desired taste, colour, texture or smell of a food product.

To enable reuse of the first and second parts with refill of the fluid medium, the first compartment may be replaceable. The first compartment may e.g. be arranged in the primary one of the first and second spaces. The primary space may e.g. include a structural element, e.g. a depression or other similar shape enabling easy fitting of the first compartment into and removal from the primary space.

The container may comprise an absorbing structure formed in a secondary one of the first and second spaces, e.g. being replaceable in the secondary space. The absorbing structure may comprise any kind of material capable of absorbing the fluid medium in question, e.g. spongy material or a fibrous material, e.g. a woven or non-woven material, or a hydrophilic material, e.g. of the kind known from diapers etc. e.g. a Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) material etc.

The absorbing structure could be contained directly in the secondary space, or the absorbing structure could be stored in a second compartment which can be arranged in the secondary space.

The second compartment could be a pre-formed packaging e.g. made of plastic or metal and forming a cavity or pocket made from a formable web, e.g. a thermoformed plastic, e.g. forming part of a blister pack.

The second compartment could also be a clamshell package, a sachet, bottle, pouch, or similar structure, e.g. made from a polymer or metal material, e.g. a film material, e.g. a metalized polymer film. Such a second compartment can contain the absorbing structure dry and ready to absorb the fluid medium when released from the first compartment.

The absorbing structure could be constituted by a body with a porous structure, e.g. spongelike structure or a piece of fibrous fabric with internal cavities or pores in which the fluid medium can be absorbed.

The primary and the secondary space could be the same one of the first and second spaces or they could be different ones of the first and second spaces. It is an advantage to obtain very strong attraction between the first and second part. Mainly, this may increase the liquid tightness of the connection and ensure alignment. The magnetic attraction means may therefore comprise strong permanent magnet, e.g. neodymium or ferrite magnets. The stronger the magnets are, the more difficult may it be to detach the second part from the first part after use. For this purpose, the magnetic attraction means may comprise at least two assemblies, each assembly comprising at least two magnetic poles of different polarity, and at least one assembly being arranged in each of the first and second parts. By this arrangement, release of the second part from the first part can be obtained by sliding the two parts against each other until magnets of same polarity on opposite parts approaches each other - this will repel the first part from the second part.

The magnetic poles of each assembly may particularly be arranged in a circular, or in an oval, or in a square layout with alternating poles of different polarity, and the magnetic poles of each assembly may particularly be arranged about one of the first and second openings, and preferably very close to each other such that the opening becomes completely enclosed by magnets or such that openings between the magnets constitute at most 10 percent of the distance about the opening.

The magnetic attraction means may particularly provide a force of attraction sufficient to elastically deform the elastically deformable sealing structure provided on at least one of the first and second parts. This may further increase the ability to keep the fluid medium inside the inner space, i.e. within the first and second inner spaces.

In a second aspect, the invention provides a compartment being arrangeable in the container according to the first aspect and containing a fluid medium or an absorbing material where the compartment and/or the fluid medium and/or the absorbing structure could be of a kind already described relative to the first aspect of the invention.

In a third aspect, the invention provides a liquid detergent assembly for a container according to the first aspect of the invention. The assembly comprises a first and a second compartment, the first compartment comprising a liquid detergent and the second

compartment comprising a structure for absorbing the liquid detergent. The compartments and/or the fluid medium and/or the absorbing structure could be of a kind already described relative to the first aspect of the invention.

In a fourth aspect, the invention provides a method of carrying out local laundering on an item by use of the container according to the first aspect of the invention. The method according to the second aspect comprising the step of applying a detergent to at least one of the first and second inner spaces, arranging the first part on one side of the item, arranging the second part on the opposite side of the item in the sealing position relative to the first part and allowing the detergent to act on the item while the magnetic attraction means maintains the second part in the sealing position.

Particularly, the method may be applied on:

• a sail for a sailboat e.g. being washed while it is in operation;

• a curtain, e.g. being washed while being suspended at the window;

• a carpet, e.g. being washed while still being arranged on the floor; or

· a sunshade, or an awning.

It should be understood, that a skilled person would readily recognise that any feature described in combination with the first aspect of the invention could also be combined with the second aspect of the invention, and vice versa.

The container according to the first aspect of the invention is very suitable for performing the laundering method steps according to the second aspect of the invention. The remarks set forth above in relation to the container are therefore equally applicable in relation to the method.

Brief description of the drawings

Embodiments of the invention will now be further described with reference to the drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a container according to the invention; Fig. 2 illustrates a picture of a container where the first and second parts are disassembled; Fig. 3 illustrates a cross section through a container along line BB in Fig. 4; Fig. 4 illustrates a side-view of a container according to the invention; Fig. 5 illustrates an exploded view of a container according to the invention, and Figs. 6-8 illustrate parts for the container according to the invention. Detailed description of the drawings

It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.

Fig. 1 illustrates a container 1 comprising a first part 2 and a second part 3.

In fig. 2, the two parts are taken apart and a first inner space 4 in the first part and a second inner space 5 in the second part can be seen.

The container illustrated in Figs 1-4 is configured for local and mobile laundering purpose, particularly for removing stains from cloth. The first and second parts both comprise an elastically deformable sealing O-ring 6, 7. When the second part is arranged against the first part in a sealing position, c.f. Figs. 1, 3 and 4, the sealing structure of each part meets the sealing structure of the other part and thereby makes the inner space liquid tight. For this purpose, the magnetic attraction forces are sufficiently strong to induce an elastic deformation of the deformable sealing rings.

The container illustrated in Figs 1-4 is made with first and second edge portions 8, 9 formed about the respective first and second openings into the first and second spaces. The edge portions face each other when the second part is in the sealing position.

The first and second parts are maintained in the sealing position by magnetic attraction means comprising a plurality of permanent magnets 10-19 in each part. The magnets are grouped in two groups, one group comprising magnets 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. This group of magnets forms a plurality of north poles on the edge portion. The other group of magnets comprises magnets 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19. This group of magnets forms a plurality of south poles on the edge portion. The magnetic poles of each assembly are arranged in a circular layout with alternating poles of different polarity.

The magnetic poles of each assembly are arranged about the first and second openings.

Rotation of the parts relative to each other may bring the container from a locked state where permanent magnets with opposite polarity are close to each other and therefore provide an attraction force between the parts to an open state where permanent magnets with same polarity are close to each other and therefore provide a repulsion force pressing the two parts away from each other.

Fig. 3 illustrates a cross section of a container and thereby more clearly visualize the content in the first and second spaces. A fluid medium comprised in a sponge 20 is arranged in the first inner space 4 and an absorbing structure 21 is arranged in the second inner space.

The first part comprises an elastically deformable protrusion 22 forming a wall which allows squeezing of the sponge structure from the outside of the container, even when the container is closed. The protrusion has a cylindrical shape enabling not only compression of the sponge but also twisting of the sponge. This is partly obtained by filling out the inner space of the cylindrically shaped protrusion with the sponge.

The absorbing structure 21 is arranged in a second compartment 23 which is again arranged replaceably in the second inner space. The first and second compartments could e.g. be held in place geometrically locking e.g. by use of projections or latches on one part catching an edge, projection or depression on another part, or it could be held by friction.

The first and second parts are made in a moulding material e.g. Polyoxymethylen or Acetal (POM), e.g. in an injection moulding process. At least one of the first and second parts may particularly be made by a two-component moulding where POM is combined with a softer or more elastically deformable material, e.g. a silicone or soft rubber material is injected to form an elastically deformable part.

The elastically deformable part could e.g. be a wall part useful for manipulating an item between the parts or for releasing a detergent from a first compartment, e.g. by squeezing a sponge etc.

The elastically deformable part could also be a deformable sealing structure arranged on a surface of at least one of the parts facing the other part for sealing the inner space.

The elastically deformable wall part and/or the elastically deformable sealing structure could also be attached to the moulding material once the material is cooled down and setting is achieved.

The first and second parts could be moulded with cavities shaped and sized to receive the magnets after cooling and setting of the moulding material. The magnets, e.g. Neodymium magnets, could be pressed into the cavities and held therein by an adhesive or simply by surface friction between the magnets and the moulding material.

In one embodiment, the container is for mobile laundry purpose, and a liquid detergent is arranged in one of the inner spaces. The other one of the inner spaces is filled with an absorbing material, e.g. a hydrophilic material. Subsequently this inner space could be sealed e.g. with a foil, e.g. a paper foil or generally with a foil which is open for diffusion of the liquid detergent. In that way, the absorbing material is allowed to absorb the detergent through the foil.

In another embodiment, the foil is releasable and intended to be removed prior to use to thereby allow the absorbing material unhindered access to absorb the liquid detergent.

Fig. 5 illustrates an exploded view of the container, and Figs. 6-8 illustrate the first part, the second part and the elastically deformable protrusion including the sponge.