US 3759375 A
A disposable swab-type applicator package comprises a strip of one or more packaging units each having an applicator, a tray with a generally flat top surface and a shallow applicator-receiving recess extending downwardly from the top surface in a contoured configuration for accommodating the applicator and a stripable cover for the tray secured to the top surface for enclosably sealing the recess and preventing contamination of the applicator stored therein. The applicator is provided with an absorbent wad and a spaced sealing ring and the recess includes a liquid storing bulb portion accommodating the applicator's absorbent wad. The recess also provides a sealing surface adapted to cooperate with the applicator's sealing ring to isolate the bulb portion of the recess from the remainder thereof and restrict the flow of liquid into the remainder of the packaging unit.
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United States Patent 1191 51 Sept. 18, 1973 Nappi DISPOSABLE SWAB-TYPE APPLICATOR PACKAGE  Inventor: John J. Nappi, 80 Beckley Rd.,
Berlin, Conn. 06037  Filed: May 21, 1971  Appl. No.: 145,741
52 US. 01 206/63.2 R, 152/19 R,.206/5 6 AB, 206/56 C  Int. Cl B65d 75/42, B65d 85/20 [581 Field of Search 206/632, 43, 78 B, 206/56 C, 56 AB, 56 AC; 132/79 R, 80 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,207,302 9/1965 Hobbs ..-206/63.2 R 3,074,540 l/l963 Beich et a1. 206/78 B 3,306,437 2/1967 Nelson 206/56 AC 2,547,779 4/1951 1 Renyck... l32/79R 2,720,969 10/1955 Kendall 206/43 Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Attorney-Prutzman, Hayes, Kalb & Chilton  ABSTRACT A disposable swab-type applicator package comprises a strip of one or more packaging units each having an applicator, a tray with a generally flat top surface and a shallow applicator-receiving recess extending downwardly from the top surface in a contoured configuration-for accommodating the applicator and a stripable cover for the tray secured to the top surface for enclosably sealing the recess and preventing contamination of the applicator stored therein. The applicator is provided with an absorbent wad and a spaced sealing ring and the recess includes a liquid storing bulb portion accommodating the applicators absorbent wad. The recess also provides a sealing surface adapted to cooperate with the applicators sealing ring to isolate the bulb portion of the recess from the remainder thereof and restrict the flow of liquid into the remainder of the packaging unit.
8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures pmmggsmams 3.759.375
INVENTOR JOHN J. NAPPI DISPOSABLE SWAB-TYPE APPLICATOR PACKAGE BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to disposable packages for swab-type applicators and the like. More particularly it concerns new and improved single and multiple unit applicator packages for hospital, home and industrial use.
It is well known that swab-type applicators for medicaments and the like are preferably packaged in a sterilized contamination-free condition. In order to accomplish this, the applicators frequently are individually packaged particularly when they already incorporate the medicament or other topical agent to be applied. Generally the swab-type applicators take the form of an absorbent wad such as a piece of cotton or foam plastic affixed to the end of a thin elongated stem member, as
'a wooden, plastic or paperboard stem. In order to effectively use such applicators, it is usually necessary to dip the absorbent wad into a bottle containing a medicinal ingredient or other topical agent for application to the desired surface. Unfortunately, it is necessary with that type of applicator to maintain a separatesupply of appropriate topical agent and carry the supply with the applicators.
In order to avoid the disadvantage of maintaining a large number of storage bottles for the different topical agents and permit the use of applicators at remote locations, it has been suggested that the absorbent wad be impregnated with the appropriate ingredient prior to packaging. However, in such arrangements care must be taken to avoid the introduction of I excessive amounts of the topical ingredient into the absorbent wad since storage conditions might result in discharge of the ingredient from the absorbent wad and unwanted coating of the stem with the topical agent. As a result, it is frequently found that the amount of material impregnated into the wad is insufficient to perform the desired task and additional applicators must be employed.
In accordance with the present invention, the foregoing difficulties are obviated by providing a new and improved disposable, swab-type' applicator package suited to the storage of substantially greater amounts of topical ingredient while avoiding the difficulties formally associated with the flow of such excess material throughout the entire package.
Another object of the present invention is to provide 7 a new and improved swab-type applicator and packaging unit not only facilitating the storage of excess topical agent within the absorbent wad area of the package but also providing cooperation between the package and the applicator to restrict flow of the agent throughout the package and maintain the stem portion of the applicator in a clean, dry and usable condition.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide a disposable applicator package of the type described in the form of a strip containing a plurality of packaging units secured in series and suited to the facile separation of individual units at the time of use.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved disposable swab-type applicator package for home and industrial use, such as in industrial clean rooms and the like and with equipment requiring the use of contaminant-free swab-type applicators or cleaners.
Other objects will be in part obvious and in part pointed out in more detail hereinafter.
These and related objects are accomplished in accordance with the present invention by providing a sealed, contaminant-excluding, swab-type applicator package comprising one or more packaging units including the combination of an elongated applicator, a tray having a generally flat top surface and a shallow applicatorreceiving recess extending downwardly from the top surface in a contoured configuration for accommodab ing the entire applicator and a stripable cover for the tray secured to the top surface for enclosably sealing the recess and preventing contamination of the applicator stored therein. The recess includes a bulb portion at one end for accommodating the absorbent wad of the applicator and a liquid topical agent and a sealing surface adapted to cooperate with a sealing ring mounted on the stern of the applicator for isolating the bulb portion from the remainder of the recess and restricting flow of the liquid agent therealong.
A better understanding of the objects, advantages, features, properties and relationships of the invention will be obtained from the following detailed description and accompanying drawing which set forth an illustrative embodiment and are indicative of the way in which the principles of the invention are employed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view. of astrip containing a plurality of separable swab-type applicator packaging units embodying the present invention, the flexible cover of one packaging unit being shown in a peeled back condition permitting access to the swab-type applicators housed therein;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIG. 2 illustrating one embodiment of the cooperative sealing arrangement between an applicator and its container; and
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of a single packaging unit of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing in greater detail wherein like reference characters indicate like parts throughout the several figures, the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 in the form of a strip comprised of a plurality of elongated generally rectangular packaging units 10 arranged in side-by-side relationship and stripably secured to one another. As shown at 12, a line of weakness is provided between each unit 10 to facilitate separation of individual units from the strip or provide access to individual applicators without fully separating a complete packaging unit. The series of substantially identical package units-can be arranged in the side-byside relationship illustrated in the drawing or may be secured in aligned end-to-end relationship or in other suitable configurations readily adaptable to mass production techniques.
As can be appreciated each packaging unit 10 within the' strip is substantially identical. Accordingly, for ease of illustration and clarity of description, only a single packaging unit will be described in detail.
As illustrated, each unit consists essentially of three components, an elongated tray or support 14 having a centrally located and appropriately contoured compartment or recess, generally designated 18; a swab-type applicator 20 removably received within the recess 18; and a thin stripable cover film'22 secured to the tray 14 and fully. enclosing both the recess 18 and the applicator 20 housed therein.
The swab-type applicator 20 of the present invention is generally of conventional construction in that it consists of a thin elongated stem member 26 such as a wooden, plastic or paperboard stem, and an absorbent wad 28, such as a piece of cotton or foam plastic, affixed to the end thereof. In the specific applicator illustrated, a single absorbent wad 28 is shown; however, it will be appreciated that a wad may be provided on both ends of the stem and the recess in the tray modified accordingly.
In accordance with the present invention, the stem member 26 is provided with a sealing ring 30 mounted thereon adjacent but spaced from the wad 28. Although it is preferred that the ring 30 be spaced from the surface of the wad to more effectively prevent flow of a topical agent along the stem, its specific location on the stem can be varied. The sealing ring may be formed as an integral part of the stem or may be a separate member, as illustrated, and mounted on the stem at its appropriate location. The ring should be constructed of suitable liquid barrier material, such as rubber gasket material, or may be'formed from the same material as the stem so long as it is sufficiently flexible and fluid resistant to provide the desired sealing action.
The applicator-receiving tray 14 of the packaging unit 10 includes a flat top flange portion 32 extending outwardly from the periphery of the recess 18 on all sides thereof and defining the generally rectangular configuration of the unit. The contoured recess consists of 'a bulb shaped portion 34 at one end thereof adapted to fully receive the absorbent wad 28 of the applicator and the fluid agent impregnating the wad, narrow stem accommodating portions 36 extending longitudinally along the tray toward the opposite end and an enlarged finger accommodating portion 38 intersecting the stem portion midway along its length; The entire recess 18 depends from and extends below the flat top flange 32 for a sufficient distance to house the absorbent wad 28 substantially entirely below the top flat surface 42 of the tray 's flange 32. The elongated stem accommodating recess portion 36 extends from the bulb shaped portion 34 to a point adjacent the opposite end of the tray and is of a lesser depth than the remaining portions of the recess. As, mentioned, midway along the length of this shallow channeled stem portion, the tray l4'is provided with another enlarged recess area 38 substantially equal in depth to thedepth of the bulb portion 34 but extending transversely to a greater extent to provide maximum free space around the stem 26'for accommodating the fingers of theuser. This facilitates grasping ,of the stem for removing the applicator from the package and additionally provides an area wherein the stem is essentially free of contact with the tray so that if fluid should accidentally flow from the absorbent wad 28, it will flow into the enlarged recess 38, keeping the midportion of stem 26 in a dry usable condition.
In accordance with the present invention, the tray 14 is further provided with 'a liquid sealing surface for cooperatingwith the sealing ring 30 carried by the stem of the applicator. As shown, the sealing surface may take the form of a ring-accommodating transversely extending enlargement 44 in the stem portion 36 of the recess located intermediate the enlarged portions 34 and 38. The sealing area 44 may be positioned adjacent the bulb portion 34, as shown, and should conform to the'shape of the sealing ring. Forward and rearward abutments, 50, 52 respectively, defining the sealing area 44 prevent excessive longitudinal movement of the swab-type applicator in either direction and assist in the sealing action. Where, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the gasket or sealing ring 30 is of square circumferential shape, the sealing area 44 is also of that configuration to provide a snug fit therebetween. The thickness of the ring 30 is equal to or slightly greater than the distance between abutments 50, 52 and the ring is sufficiently flexible to assure a good liquid seal with area 44 while providing a barrier to the flow of liquid from the bulb portion 34 rearwardly toward the finger grip area of the applicator stem.
Thus, when the swab-type applicator is mounted in the tray, the gasket-like sealing ring 30 will be firmly received within the sealing area 44 so as to provide a fluid tight barrier for retaining excess liquid within the bulb portion of the recess. Thereafter, a thin plastic film, or other suitable cover 22 may then be adherably applied to the flat top surface 42 of the tray and will fully enclose the recess along its entire length, engaging the sealing ring 30 to complete the isolation of the bulb portion 34 from the remainder of the recess. Since the abosrbent wad 28 is positioned almost entirely below the flat top surface 42 of the tray, the flexible cover can be firmly sealed to fully enclose the swab within the recess and provide a contaminant-free package therefor.
. Preferably small tab portions 58 on one end of the covers 22 are maintained in a non-adhered condition to facilitate stripping of the'cover from the tray. Additionally, when a plurality of the packages are arranged in a strip form, as shown-inFIG. l, the line of weakness 12 between adjacent packaging units 10 permits either stripping of the cover 22 from the individual packages or a complete separation of the individual packaging units.
As will be appreciated, the packaging units and swab type applicators are preferably constructed of suitable low cost disposable material, such as plastic or the like. Where the applicator is for hospital-use of the like, the entire package should be capable of being sterilized. The tray and/or cover may be of a transparent or opaque nature, or may be color coded depending upon the type of application or fluid contained within the bulbshaped recess.
As will be apparent to persons skilled in the art, various modifications, adaptations and variations of the foregoing specific disclosure can be made without departing from the teachings of the present invention.
I claim! I 1. In a sealed, disposable, contaminant excluding swab-type. applicator package comprising a packaging unit including an applicator having an elongated stem and an absorbent wad on one end thereof, a tray having a generally flat top surface'and a shallow applicatorreceiving recess extending downwardly from the top surface in a contoured configuration for accomodating both the stem and the absorbent wad of the applicator and a stripable cover for the tray secured to said top surface and enclosably sealing said recess to prevent contamination thereof, the combination wherein the recess is provided with a sealing surface, the applicator is provided with sealing means cooperating with said sealing surface for sealing the portion of the recess accomodating the absorbent wad and isolating it from the remaining portion of the recess and a liquid topical agent is located within the sealed portion of the recess accomodating the absorbent wad whereby at least a portion of the liquid agent within the sealed portion of the recess is not absorbed on the wad and the sealing means obstructs inadvertent flow of the liquid agent along the stem beyond the sealed portion.
2. The package of claim 1 wherein the tray is a generally rectangular member and the recess includes a bulb portion at one end thereof and a narrow elongated central stem portion of lesser depth than the bulb portion extending from the bulb portion toward the opposite end of the tray.
3. The package of claim 1 wherein the recess includes a bulb portion accommodating the abosrbent wad and a spaced finger grip portion facilitating access to the stem of the applicator.
4. The package of claim 1 including a plurality of substantially identical packaging units secured together in strip form and having lines of weakness intermediate adjacent packages to facilitate opening of a single unit at a time.
5. The package of claim 1 including a plurality of packaging units secured in series in the form of a strip and having lines of weakness between immediately adjacent units tofacilitate separation of individual units from the strip.
6. The package of claim 1 wherein the stripable cover is a flexible film.
7. The package of claim 1 wherein the packaging unit is color coded.
8. In a sealed, disposable, fluid containing applicator package including a packaging unit for an applicator having an elongated stem and an absorbent wad, the combination wherein the packaging unit is provided with a sealing surface, the applicator is provided with sealing means cooperating with said sealing surface for sealing the portion of the packaging unit accomodating the absorbent wad and isolating it from the remaining portion of the packaging unit and a liquid topical agent is provided in the portion of the unit accomodating the absorbent wad, at least a portion of said agent being not absorbed on the wad, but prevented from inadvertent
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