Patent application title: SHEET PRODUCT DISPENSER
Michael Reedy (Chicago, IL, US)
Michael Reedy (Chicago, IL, US)
Luc Chuong Lam (Chicago, IL, US)
Scott M. Collins (Chicago, IL, US)
Ryan C. Paul (Chicago, IL, US)
Jason W. Cardani (Grand Blanc, MI, US)
GEORGIA-PACIFIC CONSUMER PRODUCTS LP
IPC8 Class: AB65D8308FI
Class name: Article dispensing concurrent separation and distortion of flexible article (e.g., napkin holders) with casing or support
Publication date: 2009-12-24
Patent application number: 20090314793
A sheet product dispenser is provided. The sheet product dispenser
includes an enclosure having a hollow interior sized to receive sheet
product. A cover having a dispensing opening encloses the hollow
interior. A lid having a cavity encloses the dispensing opening. The
dispenser has a bottom portion that is sized to fit in a vehicle
cup-holder receptacle. In one embodiment, the dispenser includes an
enclosure coupled for rotation to a container. The container includes a
hollow interior for receiving discarded sheet product.
1. A dispenser comprising:a sheet product enclosure, said enclosure having
a generally hollow interior portion and an open end;a cover removably
coupled to said sheet product enclosure open end, said cover having a
dispensing opening formed therein; and,a lid coupled to said cover and
movable between a first position and a second position, said cover having
a cavity formed in one side, said cavity being positioned adjacent to
said dispensing opening when said lid is in said first position.
2. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said sheet product enclosure further includes a first portion opposite said open end, said first portion having a generally cylindrical outer surface.
3. The dispenser of claim 2 wherein said first portion cylindrical outer surface is sized to fit in a vehicle cup-holder receptacle.
4. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said lid further includes a slot between an outer surface and said cavity, wherein said slot is positioned adjacent said cover when said lid is in said first position.
5. The dispenser of claim 4 further comprising a container rotatably coupled to said enclosure between a first position and a second position, said container having a generally hollow interior portion and an open end, wherein said container open end is adjacent and centrally aligned with said enclosure when said container is in said first position.
6. The dispenser of claim 5 further comprising a pin operably coupled between said enclosure and said container to allow said enclosure to pivot with respect to said container from said first position to said second position.
7. The dispenser of claim 6 wherein said container is sized to fit in a vehicle cup-holder receptacle and receive a beverage container.
8. A dispenser comprising:an enclosure, said enclosure including a first portion having a generally hollow interior and an open end, said enclosure having a second end opposite said open end, wherein said second end is sized to fit in a cup-holder receptacle;a cover removably coupled to said enclosure open end, said cover having a concave surface on one side and a dispensing opening formed in said concave surface; and,a lid movably coupled to said cover between a first position in contact with said cover and a second position, said lid having a concave surface thereon wherein said lid concave surface is adjacent said dispensing opening when said lid is in said first position.
9. The dispenser of claim 8 wherein said lid includes a slot formed between said lid concave surface and a lid outer surface.
10. The dispenser of claim 9 wherein said enclosure includes a second portion having a generally hollow interior wherein said second portion is rotatably coupled to said first portion.
11. The dispenser of claim 10 further comprising a hinge coupled between said first portion and said second portion.
12. The dispenser of claim 11 wherein said enclosure first portion further includes a surface opposite said open end, said first portion surface having a hollowed area therein.
13. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein said enclosure second portion further includes an open end having a rim, said rim having a projection, wherein said projection is in contact with said first portion hollowed area when said rim is adjacent said first portion surface
14. The dispenser of claim 13 wherein said hinge includes a pin operably coupled to said first portion and said second portion.
15. A dispenser comprising:an enclosure having a first hollow interior and a first open end;a container having a second hollow interior and a second open end, said container being rotatably coupled to said enclosure opposite said first open end;a hinge coupled between said container and said enclosure;a cover having a first recessed surface coupled to said enclosure first open end, said first recessed surface having a dispensing opening formed therein; and,a lid coupled to said first recessed surface and arranged to removably cover said dispensing opening.
16. The dispenser of claim 15 wherein said enclosure has a cylindrical outer surface that is sized to fit in a vehicle cup-holder receptacle.
17. The dispenser of claim 16 wherein said lid includes a second recessed surface having an edge, wherein said edge is in contact with said first recessed surface when said lid covers said dispensing opening.
18. The dispenser of claim 17 wherein said lid further includes a slot between said second recessed surface and an outer surface and intersecting said edge.
19. The dispenser of claim 18 further comprising a seal coupled to said container adjacent said second open end, wherein said seal is arranged to engage said enclosure when said container is aligned with said enclosure.
20. The dispenser of claim 19 wherein said hinge includes a pin coupled between said enclosure and said container.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/075,041 filed Jun. 24, 2008, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a device for holding and carrying articles and, more specifically, to a device for holding sheet product and sized to fit in a cup-holder receptacle.
Sheet products are often contained in carriers or containers. The containers provide functionality in keeping the sheet product clean and dry until needed. In the case of pre-wetted sheet product, the container also keeps the sheet product from drying out or the inadvertent spilling of the solution. The containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the intended application.
One common application where sheet products are used is in the cleaning of automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles and boats. These types of vehicles often acquire dust and other debris during normal use. Unfortunately, the cleaning of vehicles is often awkward as there are few or no flat surfaces in which to place the cleaning supplies. As such, pre-wetted sheet products that include various cleaning solutions are commonly utilized in vehicles. The pre-wetted sheet product allows for the sheet product to be stored in the vehicle and available to conveniently cleanup spills or remove dirt from a windshield for example.
While existing sheet product containers allow for storage in the vehicle, the containers are often not sized for this use. As a result the containers are stored on the floor and move during operation of the vehicle. Almost all vehicles have small receptacles, commonly referred to as cup holders, that are sized to receive beverage cans, small soda bottles, disposable coffee cups, travel mugs, and the like. These receptacles are convenient storage areas since they are placed in locations that are easily accessed by the vehicle operator. These receptacles also hold objects that are in the general size and shape of a coffee cup or beverage can firmly during operation of the vehicle.
Several sheet product containers have been proposed that are sized to fit within the cup holder receptacle. These containers often have some type of cover for enclosing the sheet product and an aperture for dispensing. Some containers have further included a base portion with a space for discarding used sheet product. The base portion is integrated into the container and opened by releasing a snap or latch arrangement. The container is then tilted over allowing access to the disposal area. While these cup holder sized containers allow the containers to be stored in the vehicle, most lack a convenient place for storing the used sheet products. Where a disposal area is provided, the necessary tilting of the container may result in the spilling of cleaning solution or intrusion into an adjoining space.
While existing containers for sheet product are suitable for their intended purposes, there still remains a need for improvements particularly regarding the accessing of sheet product within the container and the disposal of used sheet product.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In one embodiment, a dispenser comprising a sheet product enclosure, the enclosure having a generally hollow interior portion and an open end. A cover being removably coupled to the sheet product enclosure open end, the cover having a dispensing opening formed therein. A lid is coupled to the cover and is movable between a first position and a second position. The cover having a cavity formed in one side, the cavity being positioned adjacent to the dispensing opening when the lid is in the first position.
In another embodiment, a dispenser comprising an enclosure, the enclosure including a first portion having a generally hollow interior and an open end. The enclosure having a second end opposite the open end, wherein the second end is sized to fit in a cup-holder receptacle. A cover is removably coupled to the enclosure open end, the cover having a concave surface on one side and a dispensing opening formed in the concave surface. A lid is movably coupled to the cover between a first position in contact with the cover and a second position, the lid having a concave surface thereon wherein the lid concave surface is adjacent the dispensing opening when the lid is in the first position.
In another embodiment, a dispenser comprising an enclosure having a first hollow interior and a first open end and a container having a second hollow interior and a second open end, the container being rotatably coupled to the enclosure opposite the first open end. A hinge is coupled between the container and the enclosure. A cover having a first recessed surface coupled to the enclosure first open end, the first recessed surface having a dispensing opening formed therein. A lid coupled to the first recessed surface and arranged to removably cover the dispensing opening.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Referring now to the drawings, which are meant to be exemplary and not limiting, and wherein like elements are numbered alike:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustration of a sheet product dispenser in accordance with an exemplary embodiment;
FIG. 2 is a side plan view illustration of the sheet product dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial side sectional view illustration of the sheet product dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view illustration of the lid for the sheet product dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view illustration of the lid of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustration of an alternate embodiment sheet product dispenser;
FIG. 7 is a side plan view of the sheet product dispenser of FIG. 6; and,
FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustration of the sheet product dispenser of FIG. 6 with the enclosure rotated to allow access to a sheet product disposal container.
FIGS. 1-5 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of a sheet dispenser 10. The dispenser 10 includes a generally hollow enclosure 12 that is arranged to hold and dispense sheet product 14. The term "sheet products" as used herein is inclusive of natural and/or synthetic cloth or paper sheets. Sheet products may include both woven and non-woven articles. There are a wide variety of nonwoven processes and they can be either wetlaid or drylaid. Some examples include hydroentagled (sometimes called spunlace), DRC (double re-creped), airlaid, spunbond, carded, paper towel, and meltblown sheet products. Further, sheet products may contain fibrous cellulosic materials that may be derived from natural sources, such as wood pulp fibers, as well as other fibrous material characterized by having hydroxyl groups attached to the polymer backbone. These include glass fibers and synthetic fibers modified with hydroxyl groups. Examples of sheet products include, but are not limited to, wipers, napkins, tissues, rolls, towels or other fibrous, film, polymer, or filamentary products.
In general sheet products are thin in comparison to their length and breadth and exhibit a relatively flat planar configuration and are flexible to permit folding, rolling, stacking, and the like. The sheet product may have perforations extending in lines across its width to separate individual sheets and facilitate separation or tearing of individual sheets from the roll at discrete intervals. Individual sheets may be sized as desired to accommodate the many uses of the sheet products.
In the exemplary embodiment, the enclosure 12 is formed from a rigid material that provides the durability needed for being carried during use. Suitable materials may include, but are not limited to plastics, such as polypropylene, polycarbonate and polyethylene. Such plastics may be formed using well-known processes such as blow molding or injection molding for example. Alternatively, materials such as cardboard, wood or metal may be used. In the exemplary embodiment, the enclosure 12 has a sidewall 16 that tapers to a lower portion 18. The lower portion 18 may further include a plurality of scalloped indentations 20.
The lower portion 18 is generally cylindrical in shape and sized to fit into a cup holder receptacle in a vehicle, such as an automobile, a truck, a recreational vehicle (RV), a bus or a boat for example. These vehicles generally have one or more cup holder receptacles that are sized to receive a standard range of cups or other beverage containers. Typically, such receptacles have a diameter of between 2.5 inches to 3.75 inches and a depth of 2.25 inches to 2.75 inches. The lower portion 18 will generally have a height "h" that is sufficient to allow the sheet dispenser 10 to be placed in a cup holder receptacle and remain stable while the vehicle is in operation. A surface 22 provides a transition between the sidewall 16 and the lower portion 18.
The enclosure 12 has an open end 24 opposite the lower portion 18. The open end 24 is configured to receive a cover 26. The cover 26 is arranged to firmly and securely attach to the enclosure 12, such as by a snap-fit, an interference fit, or a threaded-connection for example. The cover 26 may further have a seal, such as an o-ring 28 for example, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The o-ring 28 maintains a liquid tight seal and also provides an interference fit for maintaining the cover 26 on the enclosure 12. The cover 26 may further include a lip 30 around the outer circumference of the cover 26. The lip 30 assists the user in removing the cover 26 from the enclosure 12 to allow refilling of the sheet product 14.
The cover 26 further includes a recessed area 32 having an upper surface 34. In the exemplary embodiment, the upper surface 34 has a concave profile that curves downward from the outer edge near the lip 30 toward the center of the cover 26. The upper surface 34 includes an opening 36 to allow dispensing of sheet product 14 from the hollow interior of the enclosure 12. In the exemplary embodiment, the opening 36 is positioned in the center of upper surface 34. The opening 36 may be a simple hole in the cover 26, or may include a plurality of slots 38 arranged about the circumference of the opening 36. The slots 38 provide a degree of flexibility to the opening 36 allowing the effective area of the opening 36 to expand while the sheet product 14 is being removed and then retracting back to the original position after the sheet has been dispensed. This provides advantages in allowing a smaller opening 36 to aid in preventing pre-wetted sheet product from drying out. Alternatively, it should be appreciated that the slots and opening may be formed by an insert (not shown) that incorporates these features.
A lid 40 sized to extend over the opening 36 and any slots 38 covers the opening 36. In the exemplary embodiment, the lid 40 has a recessed area or cavity 42 that provides a space under the lid 40 above the opening 36. The cavity 42 provides advantages in allowing a small amount of the sheet product 14 to remain above the upper surface 34 after the previous sheet had been dispensed. This assists the user in grasping the sheet product 14 and facilitating dispensing of the sheet. The lid 40 is attached to the upper surface 34 by a hinge 44. In the exemplary embodiment, the hinge 44 is integrally formed in the lid 40 and attached to the upper surface 34 by a suitable means, such as a snap fit. Alternatively, the lid 40 and hinge 44 may be integrally molded as part of the cover 26. The lid 40 may be retained against the upper surface 34 by a friction fit or a snap fit provided by a projection 46 in the upper surface 34 for example.
The lid 40 may optionally include a slot 48 formed along one edge. In the exemplary embodiment, this slot 48 is positioned opposite the hinge 44. The slot 48 is sized to allow a small portion of the sheet product 14 to remain exposed outside the lid 40 after the previous sheet has been dispensed. The slot 48 provides further advantages in allowing the user to grasp the sheet product 14 prior to opening the lid 40 enabling faster access to the sheet product 14. The slot 48 further assists in preventing the sheet product 14 from sliding back into the interior of enclosure 12.
Referring now to FIGS. 6-8, another embodiment sheet product dispenser 50 will be described. In this embodiment, an enclosure 52 is arranged with a generally hollow interior 54. The interior 54 has a bottom surface 56 against which the sheet product 14 rests when the dispenser 50 is in the upright position. Opposite the bottom surface 56, the enclosure 52 has an opening 58 sized to receive a cover 60. The cover 60 includes a dispensing opening 62 covered by a lid 64. The arrangement of the cover 60, the opening 62 and the lid 64 are substantially similar to that described above with reference to FIGS. 1-5, including the positioning of a cavity in the lid 64 above the opening 62.
The enclosure 52 also includes a projection 66 along one side of sidewall 68. The sidewall 68 may be tapered as discussed herein above, or may provide a substantially cylindrical surface. The projection 66 is large enough to support and retain a hinge member 70. The hinge member 70 couples the enclosure 52 to a container 72. In the exemplary embodiment, the hinge member 70 is a pin, however, the hinge member 70 may be any suitable arrangement that allows the enclosure 52 to be coupled to the container 72 while allowing the enclosure 52 and container 72 to rotate relative to each other. It should be appreciated that the enclosure 52 may also be arranged with a sufficient wall thickness to incorporate the hinge member 70 without the use of projection 66.
The container 72 includes a generally hollow portion 74. The hollow portion 74 is bounded by a bottom surface 76 on one end and an opening 78 on the opposite end. The opening 78 is arranged adjacent to the bottom of the enclosure 52 when the enclosure 52 and container 72 are coaxially aligned. The container 72 also includes a projection 80 that couples to the hinge member 70. Similar to that discussed above, the container 72 has a diameter sized to fit in a vehicle cup-holder receptacle. The height of the container 72 is sufficient to allow the container 72 to rest securely and stably in a cup-holder receptacle. The container 72 or the enclosure 52 may include one or more features, such as a projection 86 on the surface 84 for example, to aid in retaining the enclosure 52 and container 72 coaxially aligned in the closed position. A seal 82, such as an o-ring for example, may also be arranged on the surface 84.
The container 72 is arranged to provide a user with a location for discarded sheet product 14. To accomplish this, the user removes the sheet product 14 from the enclosure 52 as discussed above. Once the task is completed, the user rotates the enclosure 52 exposing the opening 78 of the container 72. The hinge member 70 allows the enclosure 52 to rotate in a plane generally parallel to the bottom surface of the enclosure 52 and the top surface of the container 72. Once the sheet product 14 has been inserted, the enclosure 52 may be rotated back into the closed position and preventing the discarded sheet product 14 from falling out of the container 72. Since the rotation maintains the enclosure 52 in an upright position, there is no potential for spilling of solution in the event the sheet product 14 is pre-wetted. This also provides advantages for dry-sheet product since the rotation and opening of the container 72 can be accomplished without intruding into any adjoining seats in the vehicle in which the container 72 is stored.
In another embodiment, the opening 78 is sized to receive a beverage container, such as beverage cans, small soda bottles, disposable coffee cups, travel mugs for example. When the enclosure 52 is rotated about hinge member 70 to expose the opening 78, the user may then use the container 72 has a holder for a beverage container. Thus, this embodiment provides additional advantages in providing the user with a sheet product dispenser that may be securely and conveniently positioned within a cup holder receptacle without losing access to a space for storing their beverage container.
The embodiments described herein provide for a sheet product dispenser that provides an improved solution for the storage and portability of sheet product. The sheet product dispenser provides a single holder that contains the sheet product and may be positioned within a vehicle cup-holder. The sheet product dispenser is then conveniently available for use during cleaning tasks, or if an urgent cleaning need arises. Further, the sheet product dispenser provides additional advantages. The sheet product is protected from contamination and kept clean and dry during use, for example. The dispenser may also incorporate a container allowing for both dispensing and disposal of sheet product. Further, the embodiments allow for compact storage, which provides advantages in the packaging of dispensers for sale or during transportation by the manufacturer. This also allows for more compact storage by the end user. Other possible embodiments may include different tasks. Such tasks and activities include, but are not limited to, use in a restaurant for holding pre-wetted napkins. The sheet product dispenser may also be used by the user in a picnic setting as a means for easily transporting, dispensing and disposing of sheet product.
This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims. Also, in the drawings and the description, there have been disclosed exemplary embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms may have been employed, they are unless otherwise stated used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention therefore not being so limited. Moreover, the use of the terms first, second, front, rear, top, bottom etc. do not denote any orientation, order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to distinguish one element from another. Furthermore, the use of the terms a, an, etc. do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.
Patent applications by Luc Chuong Lam, Chicago, IL US
Patent applications by Michael Reedy, Chicago, IL US
Patent applications by Scott M. Collins, Chicago, IL US
Patent applications by GEORGIA-PACIFIC CONSUMER PRODUCTS LP
Patent applications in class With casing or support
Patent applications in all subclasses With casing or support