CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
- REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX
Research and development of this invention and Application have not been federally sponsored, and no rights are given under any Federal program.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to disposable pouches used as dispensers for wet and dry product contents, in general, and to such disposable pouches for dispensing individual ones of a plurality of products from a multi-chamber pouch, in particular.
2. Description of the Related Art
Disposable, flexible plastic pouches are available to dispense dry or wet product contents such as in ketchup and mustard disposable dispensers employed by take-out food restaurants, in disposable one-dosage dispenser for pharmaceutical companies to distribute medications such as pills, liquid vitamins or ointments, and in dispensers used for delivering beverages as individual servings of juice-type drinks. In those instances, the user opens the dispenser by splitting, cutting or puncturing them—and in the case of the beverage dispensers, oftentimes employs a straw to carefully pierce the packaging at a predefined location.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
As will become clear from the following description, the present invention is of a multi-chamber pouch of two, three or four chambers—individual ones of which contain their own product content, and each one of which is individually accessible to obtain the product therein since each chamber is sealed off from the other. As will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art, the product contents of each chamber may be “dry” for use in the cosmetic industry (with different color foundations, for example, in each chamber), or “wet” for the liquid or flowable candy industry (where the product content can be sucked or squeezed out).
In this respect, the invention is of a multi-chamber pouch for dispensing such product contents from any one chamber individually, with each chamber of the pouch including a multi-layered front panel having an outer layer and a heat sealable inner layer, along with a multi-layered back panel also having an outer layer and a heat-sealable inner layer. A dry, liquid or flowable product content is included between the front and back panels, to which access is had from a point outside the chamber. With each chamber being sealed off from every other chamber, and with the heat-sealable inner layers of the front and back panel of each chamber being of substantially the same plastic composition, a tear line in the chamber enclosing the “dry” product content serves as a manner of dispensing the product content to a point on the multi-chamber pouch dedicated to that one chamber as by splitting or cutting, or simply tearing along the dedicated line. For the “wet” liquid or flowable product content to be dispensed, on the other hand, the access can be had by a similar tear line of that chamber, or by a crimping nozzle of the multi-chamber pouch dedicated to the individual chamber's product content—as with a flowable candy.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, a moisture barrier is included between the inner and outer layers, of both the front panel and back panel to increase shelf life, with the central layer of the front panel layer being of a nylon composition and with the central layer of the back panel being of an aluminum foil—thus enabling the product content to be viewable. With each chamber, the inner layers of both its front panel and its back panel is fabricated of the same plastic composition—preferably polyethylene. Depending upon ultimate marketing decisions and use, the product contents of each chamber of the two, three or four multi-chamber pouch could be of the “identical” product content, or of “different” product contents.
These and other features of the invention will be more clearly understood from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an illustration of a preferred construction of each of the multi-layered chambers of the multi-chamber pouch;
FIGS. 2-7 and 9 illustrate sample embodiments of the multi-chamber pouch constructed in accordance with the invention; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 2 a, 3 a, 4 a and 8 a are helpful in an understanding of the construction of the tear line manner of opening the individual chambers of FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 8 respectively.
FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 illustrate 4-chamber, 3-chamber and 2-chamber types of tearable or rip-open pouches 10, 12, 14 constructed according to the invention. FIGS. 5-7, on the other hand, show types of 4-chamber, 3-chamber and 2-chamber nozzle access pouches 16, 18, 20, also according to the invention. As will be appreciated, pouches 10, 12, 14 are useful for dispensing “dry” product content, and flowable candy content product, while pouches 16, 18, 20 are particularly suited for dispensing liquid product content.
IN FIG. 5, four nozzles 22, 24, 26, 28 are illustrated, of conventional design, to individually and uniquely co-join with the product contents in their individual chambers. For purposes of simplification, and for illustration only, the product contents in each of its chambers 30, 32, 34 and 36 are indicated as being of a “different” liquid flavor. With the chambers 38, 40 and 42 of FIG. 6, individual access is illustrated by the nozzles 44, 46 and 48 of that 3-chamber pouch—where for purposes of illustration, the liquid product content in the chambers 38, 40 and 42 are each indicated as being identical. In the more unusual arrangement of the pouch of FIG. 7, furthermore, the nozzles 50, 52 and 54 respectively couple to access the individual chambers 56, 58 and 60 of its 3-chamber configuration, indicating two flavor liquids (for example, in chambers 58 and 60) as being “identical” and one flavor liquid (in chamber 56) as being “different”. Any one of the chambers of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 can be accessed through the use of a crimping nozzle sufficient to break a seal into its respective chamber, or to let it just flow therefrom as by a conventional sucking into a user's mouth. Essentially, a conduit is formed between the front and back panels to the dedicated crimping nozzle on the one hand, or to the exiting point on the other hand.
The 4-chamber rip-open pouch of FIG. 2 is illustrated as being of different “dry”, or “wet” flowable and squeezable product contents in individual ones of its chambers 62, 64, 66 and 68, while the 3-chamber rip openable pouch of FIG. 3 is illustrated as having product content in each of its chambers 70, 72 and 74 of identical “dry” or “wet” flowable product content. The 2-chamber pouch of FIG. 4 indicates each of its chambers 76, 78 as having different product content to be dispensed therefrom. As will be more particularly described below, the rip-open characteristic of each of the chambers 62-68, of 70-74 and of 76-78 compose individual pairs of tear points. In the 4-chamber pouch of FIG. 2, the tear points are indicated at 80, 82 for each of the four chambers, commencing at the sides A, B, C, D of the pouch as noted. In the 3-chamber pouch of FIG. 3, on the other hand, the respective tear point pairs 80, 82 are adjacent to one another, as they are in the 2-chamber pairs of FIGS. 4 and 9. As will become clear from the following description, the tear line 152 when ripping open each individual one of the chambers 62-68, 70-74 and 76-78 of FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, as shown, will be between each tear point of the respective chamber.
Each chamber construction of the multi-chamber pouch of the invention is shown by the illustration of FIG. 1. Multi-layer front and back panels 100 and 120 are shown. The front panel 100 includes an outer layer 102, a center layer 104 and an inner layer 106. The back panel 120 similarly is composed of an outer layer 108, a center layer 110 and an inner layer 112. Laminated together, the front and back panels 100 and 120 can be fabricated of the same compositional layers as each other, or can have different center layers 104, 110—which can either be aluminum foil, nylon, or even paper. The center layers 104 and 110 serve as a moisture barrier layer, such that with the center layer of nylon, for example, a user would be able to see the product content inside the chamber either through its front side or back side. With the center layers 104 and 110 both composed of paper or aluminum foil, on the other hand, the moisture barrier protection and strength they each provide to the chamber carries the disadvantage of preventing the consumer from seeing exactly what product is inside the chamber. With the nylon center layer as 104 in the front panel 100, and with an aluminum foil center layer 110 in the back panel 120 of the chamber, the center layers not only add strength to the chamber, provide it with moisture barrier protection, and extend its shelf life, but they better serve to reflect to a prospective purchaser the color of the product content of the chamber.
To facilitate the sealing of each chamber and to separate one chamber from another, the inner layer 106 of the front panel 100 and the inner layer 112 of the back panel 120 are fabricated of the same plastic composition so that they are able to seal to one another. The outer layers 102 and 108 of the front panel 100 and back panel 120, respectively, can be fabricated of different plastic compositions—although in a preferred embodiment of the invention, the outer layers 102 and 108 are of the same composition, equal to that of the polyethylene inner layers 106 and 112. Between the front panel 100 and the back panel 120, the product content of each chamber is added and then sealed—be it in the nature of dry cosmetics, liquids or flowable, squeezable candy.
FIGS. 2 a, 3 a, 4 a and 8 a illustrate by circular magnification an internal zigzag-tooth configuration for individually ripping open any of the chambers of the multi-chamber pouches of FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 8. For purposes of understanding, FIG. 8 a, for example, repeats the 4-chamber rip pouch of FIG. 2, with its tear points 80, 82 at its respective sides A, B, C, D. In particular, the zigzag-tooth pattern is shown at 150 through each of the layers 102-112, from one of the tear points (as at 80 in side B), to beyond the adjacent tear point (as at 82 in side A). Such zigzag configuration will be understood to be created in the sealing mode which creates all of the sealed edges of the chambers and pouch, being skewed in the direction of the oncoming tear, from the other tear point. Tearing upwardly from the tear point 80 towards the tear point 82 in the chamber 66 will be seen to guide the tear across the corner of the chamber into the teeth of the zigzag area at the side A in providing a clean tear 152 between either of the two points of each chamber in allowing the corner to be completely removed from that particular chamber—as more emphatically shown in FIG. 4 a. This enables comfortable access to the contents of the chamber as compared to that typifying prior act splitting and cutting of dispensers of other product contents where pulling off a section of a dispenser frequently results in its contents spraying out in all directions when attempting to squeeze the dispenser to split it open. As will be appreciated, that problem also existed where a crimping nozzle was employed to puncture a dispenser at a particular spot, at which time the application of a sufficient force to split the opening also gave rise to an inadvertent spilling and spraying. With the zigzag feature of the invention, however, the corner is completely removed whether the ripping be upwards along the tear line 152 of FIG. 8 in accessing the contents of the chamber 66, or downwardly by ripping along a tear line extending between tear points 80 and 82 to access the contents of the chamber 62 (as in the downward tear of FIG. 4 a). Such zigzagging teeth will be understood to be part of a continuation of V-type cuts, each about 1″ long or more, as a fine tooth forming the seal line, extending from ahead of the tear point 80 to beyond the tear point 82.
While there has been described what are considered to be preferred embodiments of the present invention, it will be readily appreciated that modifications can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the teachings herein of providing consumers a variety of product content selections in a multi-chamber pouch, whether the product selections be of a “dry” content, a “wet” or liquid content, or a flowable, squeezable content. Particularly useful with liquid or flowable candy between the front and back panels of the individual chambers, the product content selected will, of course, follow from the intended use of the multi-chamber pouch.
Thus, in accordance with the teachings of the invention, different chambers of each pouch could be created with different capacities in a manner particularly desirable for the choice of different medications or cosmetics. For example, in the 2-chamber pouch of FIG. 9, the pouch on the left of the drawing could be designed with a capacity to hold 20 grams of product, while the chamber on the right could be designed to have a capacity of 15 grams of product. And, in like manner, for the chambers of FIG. 9, as well as for the chambers of the pouches in each of FIGS. 1-8, different mix products could be included in each pouch—for example, by mixing “wet” and “dry” products in the different chambers. In such manner, a 3-chamber pouch, could have two chambers with “wet” product and one chamber with “dry” product. As with all the chambers of all the FIGURES, access to any one chamber could be had individually, leaving the remaining chambers intact, for later content dispensing.
For at least such reasons, therefore, resort should be had to the claims appended hereto for a true understanding of the invention.