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Title:
SANITISER DISPENSER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/184056
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a wearable sanitiser dispenser including: a housing; a sanitiser holder for holding sanitiser, the sanitiser holder locatable in the housing; a dispensing mechanism able to operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release the sanitiser therefrom; and a strap for strapping the wearable sanitiser dispenser to a wearer.

Inventors:
COMA ALEX (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2020/050315
Publication Date:
September 23, 2021
Filing Date:
March 30, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COMA ALEX (AU)
International Classes:
A44C5/00; A44C15/00; A47K5/12; A61L2/18; B65D1/32; B65D35/28; B65D35/56
Foreign References:
US20120282011A12012-11-08
US20160044997A12016-02-18
US20170156454A12017-06-08
GB2553500A2018-03-14
US7597122B12009-10-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAXTER PATENT ATTORNEYS PTY LTD (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A wearable sanitiser dispenser including: a housing; a sanitiser holder for holding sanitiser, the sanitiser holder locatable in the housing; a dispensing mechanism able to operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release the sanitiser therefrom; and a strap for strapping the wearable sanitiser dispenser to a wearer. 2. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 1, wherein the sanitiser holder comprises an absorptive material adapted to hold, and when compressed, release, sanitiser from the holder.

3. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 2, wherein the absorptive material is adapted to be compressed when subject to a force, and to automatically decompress upon release of said force.

4. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the dispensing mechanism includes a movable component.

5. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 4, wherein the movable component is able to cause compression of the sanitiser holder to release sanitiser from the holder.

6. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the moveable component is adapted to apply compressive force to the absorptive material by user engagement with the moveable component, and the moveable component is adapted to release said force by user disengagement with the movable component.

7. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 6, wherein user engagement with the movable component comprises pushing the component.

8. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 6 or claim 7, wherein, subsequent to user engagement with the movable component, the movable component is able to be disengaged by the user to release the component.

9. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 4 to 8, wherein the movable component is able to operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release sanitiser from the holder when the moveable component is moved from a first position to a second position.

10. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 9, wherein dispensing of the sanitiser is enabled by the movable component returning to the first position after moving to the second position.

11. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 9 or 10, wherein, in use, after the movable component is moved to the second position, it automatically returns to the first position.

12. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 11, wherein the automatic return of the movable component to the first position is obtained by decompression of the absorptive material. 13. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 11 or 12, wherein the automatic return of the movable component to the first position is obtained by decompression of one or more elastic objects operably connected to the movable component.

14. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 13, wherein the one or more elastic objects comprise one or more springs.

15. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 14, wherein the one or more springs are integrated into the absorptive material. 16. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 9 to 15, when dependent on claim 2 or 3, wherein the absorptive material is an absorbing sponge.

17. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 9 to 16, wherein the housing comprises a back plate and a face plate, and the sanitiser holder is located between the back plate and the face plate.

18. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 17, wherein the movable component is movable relative to the back plate.

19. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 17 or 18, wherein the movable component includes the face plate, or a part thereof.

20. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 9 to 19, wherein the wearable dispenser includes one or more passages connected to the sanitiser holder for releasing sanitiser therefrom.

21. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 20, Wherein the one or more passages connected to the sanitiser holder are adapted to selectively permit the ingress of air thereinto.

22. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 20 or 21, when dependent on any one of claims 17 to 19, wherein one or more of the passages includes passages located on or connected to the face plate.

23. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 20 to 22, wherein the movable component includes a membrane.

24. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 23, wherein the membrane includes one or more sanitiser dispensing portions.

25. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 24, wherein the housing includes a face plate having one or more corresponding openings, the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions and the one or more corresponding openings being complementary in shape.

26. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 25, wherein the membrane is locatable intermediate the face plate and the sanitiser holder.

27. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 25 or claim 26, wherein the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions are able to extend through the face plate when the face plate is contiguous to the membrane, and seal the openings in the face plate.

28. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 24 to 27, wherein the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions each include a raised portion

29. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 28, wherein the raised portion is shaped in the form of a nodule.

30. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 24 to 29, wherein the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions each include the one or more passages, or a portion of said passages, adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder and/or permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder.

31. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 20 to 30, when dependent on any one of claims 9 to 13, wherein one or more of the one or more passages are adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder when the movable component moves from the first position to the second position, and one or more of the one or more passages are adapted to permit ingress of air into the holder when the movable component moves from the second position to the first position.

32. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 31, wherein one or more of the one or more passages adapted to release sanitiser each comprise a one-way passage.

33. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 31 or 32, wherein one or more of the one or more passages adapted to permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder each comprise a one-way passage.

34. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 33, wherein the one or more of the one-way passage(s) each comprise a one-way valve.

35. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 34, wherein one or more of the one-way valves comprise a cross-slit or dome valve.

36. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 31 to 35, wherein one or more of the one or more passages are two-way passages adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder and to permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder.

37. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 36, wherein one or more of the two-way passages each comprise a two-way valve.

38. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 37, wherein one or more of the two-way valves comprise a duckbill / umbrella combination valve.

39. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 9 to 38, wherein the movable component comprises a pressable element.

40. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 39, wherein the pressable element is located within a fixing plate that surrounds a peripheral portion of the pressable element.

41. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 40, wherein the fixing plate includes a guide enabling the pressable element to move toward and away from the sanitiser holder within a defined region.

42. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 41, wherein the guide includes the one or more passages, or a portion thereof, through which sanitiser in the sanitiser holder is able to pass.

43. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 39 to 42, wherein sanitiser collects on the pressable element when it is pressed towards the sanitiser holder. 44. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 39 to 43, wherein dispensing of the sanitiser is enabled by the pressable element returning to the first position, the sanitiser on the pressable element thereby being accessible to the user.

45. The sanitiser dispenser of any one of claims 39 to 44, Wherein the pressable element comprises a solid dome-shaped element.

46. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of claims 9 to 45, wherein the housing and dispensing mechanism together comprise a sealable body.

47. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 46, wherein the sealable body is sealed, or substantially sealed, where the dispensing mechanism is in the first position.

48. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the strap is a wrist strap for strapping the dispenser to a wrist of the wearer.

49. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the strap is attachable to the housing. 50. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the strap, or a portion of the strap, is made from a material comprising medical grade silicone.

51. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sanitiser dispenser is reusable.

52. The sanitiser dispenser according to claim 50, wherein the sanitiser holder can be re filled with sanitiser after depletion of the amount of sanitiser in the holder.

53. The sanitiser dispenser according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sanitiser dispensed by the sanitiser dispenser is a fluid gel sanitiser.

Description:
SANITISER DISPENSER

TECHNICAL FIELD

[1] The invention relates to a sanitiser dispenser. In particular the invention relates to a wearable sanitiser dispenser.

RELATED ART

[2] The contents of Australian provisional patent application no. 2020900851 entitled "WRIST BAND SANITISER" filed on 20 March 2020 is hereby incorporated into this application in its entirety. Priority to the abovementioned Australian provisional patent application is also claimed.

BACKGROUND ART

[3] The use of sanitisers, when applied to an object or person, can be an effective way to decrease infectious agents present on such an object or person. The use of sanitisers, particularly in relation to personal hygiene, is becoming increasingly widespread, with most sanitisers being dispensed from a squeezable bottle or from a harder container via a dispensing mechanism such as a push pump.

[4] Sanitisers may be produced in the form of a wash or a rub. A wash is intended for use with water and is rinsed off after use (e.g. hand washes or hand soaps). Rubs are leave- on products, not intended to be rinsed off with water. Rubs are often intended to be used when soap and water are not available.

[5] A rub may be in liquid or gel form, be alcohol-based or alcohol-free. Alcohol based rubs are known to be effective at killing or inhibiting most germs. [6] Hand sanitisers are often recommended to be at least 60% alcohol in order to effectively kill or inhibit viruses. Care should be taken as sanitisers having higher percentages of alcohol, may be flammable.

[7] Sanitisers are particularly important in the management or control of infectious diseases. The World Health Organisation has recommended that people clean their hands with the use of an alcohol-based sanitiser hand rub as a preventative measure to stop the spread of infectious disease.

[8] In the light of the above, ready access to sanitisers is therefore important, particularly where people are travelling locally or to more distant locations, engaging in public or private spaces frequented by divers community members, or otherwise exposing themselves (particularly via their hands) to potentially harmful diseases.

[9] Existing sanitiser dispensers have posed problems or difficulties that have been appreciated by the inventor of the subject invention, including in relation to the following: a. Accessibility of sanitiser dispensers, especially while out of the home or work environment; and/or b. Reliability of access to dispensers, which may be misplaced or forgotten; and/or c. User-friendliness of dispensers, in particular when they are intended to be carried by a person; and/or d. Controllability of the amount of sanitiser that is dispensed; and/or e. Preserving the integrity of the sanitiser, particularly an alcohol-based sanitiser, where the constituent alcohol is prone to evaporate.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION [10] The present invention arises from a recognition that improvements in sanitiser dispensers can be achieved by providing a sanitiser dispenser that addresses one or more of the abovementioned limitations or problems, or at least by providing a useful alternative thereto. [11] In a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a wearable sanitiser dispenser including: a housing; a sanitiser holder for holding sanitiser, the sanitiser holder locatable in the housing; a dispensing mechanism able to operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release the sanitiser therefrom; and a strap for strapping the wearable sanitiser dispenser to a wearer. [12] Preferably, the dispensing mechanism includes a movable component. The movable component is preferably able to cause compression of the sanitiser holder to release sanitiser from the holder.

[13] Preferably, the sanitiser holder comprises an absorptive material adapted to hold, and when compressed, release, sanitiser from the holder. [14] The absorptive material is preferably adapted to be compressed when subject to a compressive force, and to automatically decompress upon release of said compressive force.

[15] In a preferred form, the moveable component is adapted to apply compressive force to the absorptive material and/or sanitiser holder by user engagement with the moveable component, and the moveable component is adapted to release said compressive force by user disengagement with the movable component. User engagement with the movable component may comprise pushing the component (e.g. by pushing down with the thumb), or otherwise engaging with the component (e.g. sliding a slidable element, or switching a switch on). Subsequent to user engagement with the movable component, the movable component is preferably able to be disengaged by the user releasing the component (e.g. removing the thumb from the component), or by another action taken by the user in relation to the component (e.g. sliding the slidable element to its original location; switching the switch off). [16] Movement of the movable element may be effected by a powered means. In a preferred form, the movable element may be effected by an electrically controlled compressing means (e.g. a powered clamp), such that the clamp performs a clamping of the sanitiser holder, then releases the sanitiser holder, to dispense sanitiser from the wearable dispenser. Preferably, the powered means is operable by a switch or button located on the wearable sanitiser dispenser.

[17] The movable component may operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release sanitiser from the holder when the moveable component is moved from a first position to a second position. Preferably, dispensing of the sanitiser is enabled by the movable component returning to the first position after moving to the second position. [18] The sanitiser released by movement of the movable component from the first position to the second position is preferably less than or equal to a fixed amount of released sanitiser. Preferably, the fixed amount of released sanitiser is about 3 ml.

[19] It is preferred that, in use, after the movable component is moved to the second position, it automatically returns to the first position. The automatic return of the movable component to the first position is preferably effected, or assisted, by decompression of the absorptive material.

[20] In a preferred form, the automatic return of the movable component to the first position is obtained by decompression of one or more elastic objects operably connected to the movable component. The one or more elastic objects may comprise one or more springs. The one or more springs may be integrated into the absorptive material.

[21] Preferably, the absorptive material is an absorbing sponge. The absorbing sponge may be mater from a material including cellulose, polyurethane foam, or PVA; the absorbing material may be cellulose fibre, or other elastic and absorbing materials that are known to the skilled addressee.

[22] Preferably, the housing comprises a back plate and a face plate, and the sanitiser holder is located between the back plate and the face plate. The movable component is preferably movable relative to the back plate. Preferably, the housing (e.g. the back and/or face plate) is made from a material that comprises a thermoset plastic such as polyurethanes or polyesters.

[23] The movable component may include the face plate, or a part thereof. The movable component may consist of a plurality of interoperating parts.

[24] The wearable dispenser may include one or more passages connected to the sanitiser holder for releasing sanitiser therefrom. The one or more passages connected to the sanitiser holder may be adapted to selectively permit the ingress of air thereinto.

[25] Preferably, one or more of the passages includes passages located on or connected to the face plate.

[26] Preferably, the movable component includes a membrane. The membrane preferably includes one or more sanitiser dispensing portions and the face plate includes one or more corresponding openings, the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions and the one or more corresponding openings being complementary in shape. Preferably, the membrane is made from a material comprising medical grade silicone. Alternatively, the membrane material may be food grade silicone or rubber. [27] Preferably, the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions each include a raised portion. Preferably, the raised portion is shaped in the form of a nodule.

[28] The membrane may be locatable intermediate the face plate and the sanitiser holder. The one or more sanitiser dispensing portions are preferably able to extend through the face plate when the face plate is contiguous to the membrane, and seal the openings in the face plate.

[29] In alternative embodiments the face plate may include sanitiser dispensing portions integrated into the face plate (i.e. no membrane per se is required).

[30] Preferably, the one or more sanitiser dispensing portions each include the one or more passages, or a portion of said passages, adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder and/or permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder.

[31] Preferably, one or more passages of the one or more passages are adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder when the movable component moves from the first position to the second position, and one or more of the one or more passages are adapted to permit ingress of air into the holder when the movable component moves from the second position to the first position.

[32] Preferably, one or more of the one or more passages adapted to release sanitiser each comprise a one-way passage. It is preferred that one or more of the one or more passages adapted to permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder each comprise a one-way passage. In a preferred form, one or more of the one-way passage(s) each comprise a one way valve. In a particularly preferred form, one or more of the one-way valves comprise a cross-slit or dome valve. In a preferred form, the one-way valve comprises a snowflake slit valve. Alternative one-way valves known to the skilled addressed may be also be applied. [33] One or more of the one or more passages may be two-way passages adapted to release sanitiser from the sanitiser holder and to permit ingress of air into the sanitiser holder. Preferably, one or more of the two-way passages each comprise a two-way valve. In a preferred form, one or more of the two-way valves comprise a duckbill / umbrella combination valve.

[34] Preferably, the movable component comprises a pressable element. In a preferred form, the pressable element is located within a fixing plate that surrounds a peripheral portion of the pressable element. The fixing plate includes a guide enabling the pressable element to move toward and away from the sanitiser holder within a defined region. The guide plate may include an O-ring, having a thickness that permits movement of the pressable element towards or away from the sanitiser holder. The guide may include an extendible material that moves downwards as the pressable element moves downwards (e.g. an extendible circumferential fold that unfolds as the pressable element moves downwards). Preferably, the guide is made of silicone; and in a particularly preferred form, the guide is made of medical grade silicone. Preferably, the guide includes the one or more passages, or a portion thereof, through which sanitiser in the sanitiser holder is able to pass. In a preferred form, the passages include perforations or apertures in the guide.

[35] In a preferred form, sanitiser collects on the pressable element when it is pressed towards the sanitiser holder. Preferably, dispensing of the sanitiser is enabled by the pressable element returning to the first position, the sanitiser on the pressable element thereby being accessible to the user.

[36] Preferably, in the first position, the movable component / pressable element is located in a position in which it is most distal to the sanitiser holder and/or face plate. Preferably, in the second position, the movable component / pressable element is located in a position in which it is most proximate to the back plate.

[37] The pressable element preferably comprises a solid dome-shaped element.

[38]The housing and dispensing mechanism together preferably comprise a sealable body. Preferably, the sealable body is sealed, or substantially sealed, where the dispensing mechanism is in the first position.

[39] Preferably, the strap is a wrist strap for strapping the dispenser to a wrist of the wearer. The strap may be attachable to the housing. The strap, or a portion of the strap, is preferably made from a material comprising medical grade silicone. Alternatively, the strap may be made from a material comprising food grade silicone or rubber.

[40] Preferably, the sanitiser dispenser is reusable. In a preferred form, the sanitiser holder can be re-filled with sanitiser after depletion of the amount of sanitiser in the holder.

[41]The sanitiser dispensed by the sanitiser dispenser is preferably a fluid gel sanitiser. Alternatively, it may be a liquid sanitiser. Preferably, the sanitiser is alcohol- or isopropanol- based. In a preferred form, the sanitiser includes a 60% or higher concentration of alcohol or isopropanol.

[42] In a preferred form of the invention, the wearable sanitiser may be wearable on the wrist of the user, and the dispensing mechanism is adapted to eject an amount of sanitiser directly into the hand of the user. In a particularly preferred form, the dispenser includes an ejection point located on an outer edge of the housing, and connected to the sanitiser housing by the one or more passages. In a preferred form, the wearable sanitiser is able to eject sanitiser directly into the underside of the hand of the user (i.e. including ejecting sanitiser into the palm of the hand of the user to which the wearable dispenser is able to be strapped).

[43] In a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a wearable sanitiser dispenser including: a housing; a sanitiser holder for holding sanitiser, the sanitiser holder locatable in the housing; a dispensing mechanism able to operably interact with the sanitiser holder to release the sanitiser therefrom; and an attachment means for attaching the wearable sanitiser dispenser to a wearer.

[44] Preferably, the attachment means comprises a strap for strapping the wearable sanitiser dispenser to the wearer. Alternatively, the attachment means may comprise a sleeve, band, tie, pin, button or velcro, or a zip or other fastening or other attachment means known to the skilled addressee, whether for attachment to the wearer directly or indirectly to the wearer's clothing or apparel.

[45] The abovementioned preferments in relation to one aspect of the invention (e.g. the sanitiser dispenser including a pressable element) which are not repeated in respect of another aspect of the present invention (e.g. the sanitiser dispenser without said pressable element) should be taken as applicable to those other aspects of the invention, where the relevant preferment is compatible with those other aspects.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS [46] FIG 1 is a perspective view of a sanitiser dispenser according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[47] FIG 2 is a perspective view of a housing of a sanitiser dispenser according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. [48] FIG 3 is a schematic side view of a sanitiser housing and sanitiser holder according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention.

[49] FIG 4 is a schematic side view of each of the components of the sanitiser housing and holder of FIG 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[50] The invention comprising a wearable sanitiser dispenser, including parts thereof, is described and depicted herein in connection with illustrative but non-limiting preferred embodiments with reference to the drawings. [51] The structure, principle and operation of the described sanitiser dispenser, will be described as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

[52] With reference to FIG 1, there is provided a wearable sanitiser dispenser 1, including housing 5 for housing a sanitiser holder (not shown). The wearable sanitiser dispenser is adapted to be worn on the wrist of a user (not shown), and includes a medical grade silicone wrist strap 10 for that purpose. The sanitiser dispenser includes a pressable element 15 comprising a solid dome shaped valve 15, that when pressed by the user, releases sanitiser from the sanitiser holder.

[53] FIG 2 depicts a sanitiser dispenser housing 5A, and components associated with the housing or operating therein. There is depicted a fixing plate 12, which sits on the face plate 6 of the housing 5A, and is adapted to receive and surround a peripheral portion of a solid dome-shaped dispenser element 15. The fixing plate is further adapted to receive and guide a solid-dome shaped dispenser element 15, such that the dome 15 can travel towards and away from the back plate of the dispenser 5. Spring 16 is fixed to the underside of the dome dispenser element 5 and operates to return the dome dispenser element 5 to its original (first) position, after it is pressed downwardly by the user into the dispensing (second) position. The spring 16 is fixed at its upper end to the dome dispenser element 5, and at its lower end to the back plate 7. The spring 16 is coated with a protective rubber or silicone material that makes it resistant to degrading in the presence of the sanitiser. In the embodiment depicted in FIG 2, the sanitiser holder comprises an absorptive sponge (not shown), and the spring is integrated thereinto.

[54] With reference to FIG 2, sanitiser is able to be dispensed when the user presses the pressable dispenser dome element 15, the dome element is mechanically connected to the sanitiser holder (not shown) which includes an absorptive material holding sanitiser in fluid gel form. The fixing plate 12 includes a raised O-ring that has many apertures (not shown) through which sanitiser in the sanitiser holder is able to pass when the dome is pressed.

[55] When the dome element 15 is pressed, it exerts a compressive force on the sanitiser holder which acts to release sanitiser through the apertures in the fixing plate 12. In this manner, sanitiser collects on the pressable element 5 when it is pressed towards the sanitiser holder and back plate 7. The absorptive material has elastic properties such when the user stops pressing (and disengages from) the pressable dome element 15, the absorptive material automatically expands, and in so doing exerts a force on the dome element 15 to return it to the first position. When, the pressable dome element 15 returns to the original position, the sanitiser on it is thereby accessible to the user. [56] FIGS 3 and 4 illustrate, respectively, a schematic side view of a sanitiser housing 5B and sanitiser holder 20, and a schematic side view of each of the components of the sanitiser housing 5B including the holder 20.

[57] FIG 3 depicts face plate 30, back plate 40 and the sanitiser holder 20 located in between the two plates. The plates 30, 40 are substantially sealed by slidable catches 35 on each plate, the catches permitting relative movement of the two plates 30, 40 while maintaining a substantial sealing of the housing 5B.

[58] Referring to FIGS 3 and 4, the sanitiser holder 20 comprises an absorbing sponge adapted to hold and release sanitiser when compressed. The absorptive sponge 20 is adapted to be compressed (and release sanitiser) when subject to a force, and to automatically decompress upon release of said force.

[59] The moveable component in FIGS 3 and 4 includes the face plate 30 and membrane 35. The face plate 30 and membrane 50 are each movable components, able to be moved by the user pressing on the face plate 30. Pressing of the face plate 30 causes movement of the membrane 50 (and the face plate 30) towards the back plate 40 of the housing. This movement applies a compressive force to the absorbing sponge 20, to release sanitiser therefrom. The sanitiser is released through the passages 55 of the membrane 50. Each said passage 55 includes a one way cross-slit valve adapted to permit flow of sanitiser from the holder 20 through the slit. Each membrane passage 55 is in the form of a raised nodule, which has a complementary shape to each of the openings 35 located on the face plate 30, and can extend therethrough. This permits close fitting of the membrane 50 contiguous to the lower surface of the face plate 30. It also permits sanitiser to be released onto the upper surfaces of the membrane nodules 55, providing ready access of the sanitiser to the user.

[60] After the face plate 30 and the membrane 50 are moved to the second (pressed or dispensing) position, they automatically return to their first (un-pressed or non-dispensing) position. The automatic return of the face plate 30 and membrane 50 to the first position is effected by decompression of the absorptive material.

[61] In relation to the housing depicted in FIGS 1-4, the housing 5, 5A, 5B and respective dispensing mechanism together comprise a substantially sealed body, such that when the dispenser is operating to dispense sanitiser, airflow is limited within the sanitiser holder 20 (Note: the sanitiser holder of FIGS 1 and 2 is not shown). The sanitiser in the sanitiser holders of the preferments illustrated above is an alcohol based sanitiser. The sealable housing therefore, by not readily allowing ingress of air into, and egress of air from the housing, limits the conditions necessary for evaporation of the active ingredient (i.e. alcohol) of the sanitiser.

[62] The sealing further assists in the effective dispensing of the sanitiser through the sanitiser dispensing passages or portions (e.g. the membrane nodules, 55), as increasing air pressure within the sanitiser holder during dispensing movement of the movable component assists in releasing the sanitiser. A limited amount of air is able to ingress into the housing 5B either via the slidable catches 35 in FIGS 3 and 4 to provide the necessary air intake to permit the expansion of the absorbing sponge after dispensing of sanitiser and thereby aid in the automatic return movement of the face plate 30 and membrane 50 to their original (first or un-pressed) positions. In relation to FIGS 1 and 2, a limited amount of air may also be permitted to ingress into the housing 5A/5B via the passages or apertures in the fixing plate 12 (Note: the fixing plate is present, but not visible in FIG 1).

GENERAL STATEMENTS

[63] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that many modifications and variations may be made to the embodiments described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[64] Throughout the specification and claims, the word "comprise" and its derivatives are intended to have an inclusive rather than exclusive meaning unless the contrary is expressly stated or the context requires otherwise. That is, the word "comprise" and its derivatives will be taken to indicate the inclusion of not only the listed components, steps or features, that it directly references, but also other components, steps or features not specifically listed, unless the contrary is expressly stated or the context requires otherwise. [65] In the present specification, terms such as "part", "component", "element", or "portion" may refer to singular or plural items and are terms intended to refer to a set of properties, functions or characteristics performed by one or more items having one or more parts. It is envisaged that where a "part", "component", "element", "portion" or similar term is described as consisting of a single item, then a functionally equivalent object consisting of multiple items is considered to fall within the scope of the term; and similarly, where a "part", "component", "element", "portion" or similar term is described as consisting of multiple items, a functionally equivalent object consisting of a single item is considered to fall within the scope of the term. The intended interpretation of such terms described in this paragraph should apply unless the contrary is expressly stated or the context requires otherwise. [66] The term "connected" or a similar term, should not be interpreted as being limitative to direct connections only. Thus, the scope of the expression a device A connected to a device B should not be limited to devices or systems wherein an output of device A is directly connected to an input of device B. It means that there exists a path between an output of A and an input of B which may be a path including other devices or means. "Connected", or a similar term, may mean that two or more elements are either in direct physical or electrical contact, or that two or more elements are not in direct contact with each other yet still co-operate or interact with each other.

[67] The dimensions provided in relation to the illustrative embodiments are not intended to be prescriptive of all embodiments falling within the scope of the invention. The dimensions are provided for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed otherwise.

[68] The mere disclosure of a product or system element in the specification should not be construed as being essential to the invention claimed herein, except where it is either expressly stated to be so or expressly recited in a claim.

[69] The terms in the claims have the broadest scope of meaning they would have been given by a person of ordinary skill in the art as of the relevant date.

[70] The terms "a" and "an" mean "one or more", unless expressly specified otherwise.

[71] Neither the title nor any abstract of the present application should be taken as limiting in any way the scope of the claimed invention.

[72] Where the preamble of a claim recites a purpose, benefit or possible use of the claimed invention, it does not limit the claimed invention to having only that purpose, benefit or possible use. STATEMENT OF INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

[73] It is apparent from the above, that the arrangements described are applicable to the medical and consumer goods industries.




 
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