Patent application title: APPARATUS DISPENSING WIPING MATERIALS IN THE FORM OF PRECUT Z-FOLD STRIPS OR ROLLS
Maurice Granger (St. Priest En Jarez, FR)
IPC8 Class: AA47K1042FI
Class name: Article dispensing concurrent separation and distortion of flexible article (e.g., napkin holders) plural sources, stacks or compartments
Publication date: 2012-08-23
Patent application number: 20120211509
In a housing with a protective cover, two compartments for storing
pre-cut wipe materials are arranged one above each other with only one
outlet at a base of the machine housing. End strips of each of the stored
pre-cut wipe materials are partially superposed and positioned between a
plate of the protective cover and a flap for turning over and guiding the
strip of material originating from the lower compartment. Manual
extraction of one of the strips from the outlet of the machine
automatically advances the other strip, and pieces of strip of material
originating from the two compartments are alternately torn off which
causes uninterrupted dispensing of the pre-cut wipe materials stored in
1. Machine for dispensing pre-cut wipe materials which are accordion
pleated or in roll form comprising a housing with a protective cover, two
storage compartments arranged one above each other in the housing with
only one outlet at a base of the housing, wherein the compartment stores
respective stocks or rolls of the pre-cut wipe materials, the end strips
of each of the stored stacks or rolls of pre-cut wipe materials are
partially superposed and positioned between a plate of the protective
cover and a flap for turning over and guiding the strip of material
originating from the lower compartment, manual extraction of one of the
strips from the outlet automatically advances the other strip, and pieces
of strip of material originating from the two compartments are
alternately torn off which causes uninterrupted dispensing of two wipe
materials from the respective stacks or rolls of material stored in each
2. Dispensing machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein the housing comprises a back wall, lateral sides and two superposed horizontal support shelves defining the two storage compartments, and the housing has, on a front face, two articulated flaps, one on each of the compartments, and upper parts of the flaps have a curved shape in order to allow transport and guidance of the strips of material.
3. Dispensing machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein a flap of the lower compartment has a protruding crescent shape facing an inner wall of the plate of the protective cover, and said crescent shape has a cut-out.
4. Dispensing machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein the protective cover has a front plate which matches a height of the housing with two lateral walls, and a lower part of the front plate has a central cut-out for removal of the strips of material and two short bars to guide emerging strips of material for pre-folding the emerging strips and ensuring separation of the pieces.
5. Dispensing machine as claimed in claim 1, further comprising prepositioning locating marks on a flap of the lower compartment or on a wall of the housing.
6. Pre-cut wipe materials, accordion pleated or in roll form, adapted to be dispensed by the dispensing machine of claim 1, having, between two successive lines of perforations, a horizontal marked line located at half a height of a piece of strip relative to a line of perforations.
 The invention relates to the technical field of dispensing machines
for wipe materials and, more especially, those machines designed to allow
the dispensing of materials using at least two strips of material
obtained from two reels or similar.
 The Applicant has developed wipe material dispensing machines with automatic cutting for materials which are wound on reels and include a service roll and a spare roll. The spare roll, held in position by a special-purpose mechanism, is intended to take the place of the service roll when the latter is almost exhausted. Under these conditions, the dispensing machine includes a mechanism for transferring the spare roll in order to position it so that it takes the place of the service roll which is then removed from the rear of the machine Nevertheless, provision must be made for eventual depletion of the service roll with initial unwinding of the spare roll and positioning of the two strips of material of both rolls which are dispensed and cut by the automatic cutting mechanism of the above-mentioned machine.
 This solution was designed and developed exclusively for strips of material wound on a reel and intended to be cut by the cutting mechanism. The Applicant has filed many patents, some of which have been exploited. In these embodiments, several sizes of pieces of material originating from the service roll which is nearly exhausted and from the spare roll are dispensed and cut, allowing time to transfer the material which is to be cut thus ensuring uninterrupted replenishment. Once the service roll is exhausted, it remains stored in the rear of the machine so that it can be removed by the operative tasked with maintenance. The operative must install another spare standby roll.
 The problem to be solved relates to a different type of wipe material which is in pre-cut accordion pleated or roll form. The machines and their transfer mechanism previously described in the context of machines with automatic cutting are no longer applicable in this new situation.
 The approach adopted by the Applicant was therefore to think of a new concept for dispensing pre-cut wipe materials which gave the machine greater operational autonomy than just one stack of wipe material in pre-cut accordion pleated or roll form if the pre-cut wipe material is wound.
 The problem was that of monitoring uninterrupted replenishment of the strip of pre-cut material while increasing the machine's material storage capacity.
 Another problem was the need for a pre-cut wipe material dispensing machine of simple design without the addition of any standby mechanism or transfer mechanism being used to allow a change of state of the stack or reel of pre-cut material in accordion pleated or roll form, this change of state being associated with dispensing either the service or the spare wipe material.
 The solution devised by the Applicant satisfies all these requirements, is simple, easy to implement and also increases the machine's storage capacity and dispensing autonomy when used with a strip of pre-cut wipe material.
 The devised solution proposes a dispensing method which is novel and unexpected compared with previous methods of dispensing wipe materials which involve a service roll and a spare roll.
 The devised solution relates to a machine for dispensing pre-cut wipe materials which are accordion pleated or wound on a roll and form two stacks of reels of pre-cut wipe material which are in service simultaneously, i.e. without making any distinction between the service roll and the spare roll as was previously the case.
 According to a first aspect, the machine for dispensing pre-cut wipe materials which are accordion pleated or in roll form is distinctive in that it comprises, in a housing with a protective cover, two compartments arranged one above each other with only one outlet at the base of the machine and in that the end strips of each of the stored pre-cut wipe materials are partially superposed and positioned between the wall of the machine's cover and a flap for turning over and guiding the strip of material originating from the lower compartment and in that manual extraction of one of the strips emerging from the machine automatically causes transport of the other strip and in that separation of the pieces of strips of material originating from the two compartments takes place alternately, thus producing continuous dispensing of the two wipe materials from the stacks of reels of materials that are stored in each compartment.
 These aspects and others will become apparent from the rest of the description.
 The object of the present invention is described, merely by way of example, in the accompanying drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the machine for dispensing pre-cut wipe material when it is closed, in service and dispensing a strip of material.
 FIG. 2 is a large-scale partial view showing the dispensing of wipe materials with successive presentation of strips of material originating from the two storage areas.
 FIG. 3 is a view, as in FIG. 2, showing extraction of a strip of wipe material after it is first pulled by the user as shown in FIG. 2.
 FIG. 4 is a view of the dispensing machine according to the invention with its cover open; the strips of material have been lifted out of the way in order to make it easier to understand how the machine functions.
 FIG. 5 is a 3/4 perspective view of the machine with its cover open and shows the positioning of the strips of material originating from the two storage compartments.
 FIG. 6 is a partial view showing the presentation and prepositioning of the strips of material originating from the storage compartments.
 In order that the object of the invention may more readily be understood, the following description is given, merely by way of example, reference being made to the accompanying drawings.
 The machine for dispensing pre-cut wipe material which is accordion pleated or on a reel or roll in accordance with the invention is denoted in its entirety by (D). It comprises a housing (1) with a back wall (1a) and lateral sides (1b) and, in a horizontal plane, comprises two superposed support shelves (1c) and (1d) which define two storage compartments (A.B) in which the wipe materials M1-M2 of the above-mentioned type (accordion pleated or in reel form) are located.
 On its base, the housing, accommodates an articulated cover (2) which has a front plate (2a) which matches the height of the machine and two lateral walls (2b) capable of fitting around the lateral sides (1b) of the housing.
 The upper horizontal face of the cover (2c) has a locking system (3) of the key or similar type which is capable of cooperating with matching means provided on the back wall of the housing.
 The lower part of the cover has a central trapezoidal shaped cut-out (2d) which allows strips of wipe material through as described later on.
 The lower part of cover (2) also comprises two small shaped bars (2e) which are capable of guiding the strips of wipe material as they emerge and presenting them in a pre-folded position as shown in the view which shows the separation of pieces of the strip.
 The housing has, on its front face and on each of its compartments, two articulated flaps (1e) and (1f), the upper part of which has a curved shape (1m) in order to allow transport and guidance of the strip of material. The lower part of each flap is articulated at the level of shelf (1c) or (1d) which defines the storage compartment in question. The upper part of each flap has catches (1g) or equivalent means which are capable of snapping onto the lateral sides (1b) of the housing.
 The strips of material are thus installed very easily after opening the cover and swivelling each of the flaps (1e) and (1f); this makes it possible to install the strip(s) of pre-cut wipe material which is/are either accordion pleated or in roll form. This method of presentation may vary. The storage volume of the two compartments (A) and (B) is designed to make it possible to dispense a very large number of different sized pieces of strips of material. As shown in the drawings, each stack or reel of pre-cut material is independent and placed in its storage compartment (A) or (B) with a view to ensuring the dispensing of the material or materials. The end strip of each stack or reel is presented so that it goes over the top of the respective retractable flap (1e) or (1f) of each compartment (A) or (B). As shown in the drawings, it is apparent that the strips of material originating from the first and second compartments are capable of partially overlapping and being presented on the front part of the housing facing the cover. According to one important feature of the invention, the flap (1e) of the first compartment (A) has a protruding crescent shape (1n) facing the inner wall of plate (2a) of the cover, thus making it possible to flatten the strips of material against the inner wall of the cover while leaving enough space to allow them to advance due to the action performed by the user. This crescent shape has a cut-out (1h) which is located opposite the cut-out (2d) formed on the front face of the cover in order to facilitate removal of the strip of material from the base.
 According to another important feature of the invention, the strips of wipe material are pre-cut to define pieces of a size having a length (H) of 20 cm for example. According to the invention, each strip of wipe material (M1) (M2) has, between two successive lines of perforations (4a), a horizontal transverse marked line (4b) positioned in the middle of each piece. This feature is important because it makes it possible, when the machine is loaded, to preposition the strips of wipe material (M1) (M2) which originate from the two storage compartments (A) (B). The marked lines (4b) can be made in any appropriate manner in the form of a coloured or non-coloured line or mark or any other sign which is conspicuous and enables the maintenance operative to easily position the strips of wipe material relative to each other. The line is located at half the height (H1) of the piece of strip relative to the line of perforations.
 The purpose of this locating mark is to allow the end of the second strip originating from upper compartment (B) to be positioned centrally between the lines of perforations of the first strip of wipe material originating from first compartment (A). This marking system on the strip of material is preferable and easy to produce but, alternatively, it is also possible to design the walls of the housing or the flap of the first compartment with locating marks for prepositioning the strip of material.
 FIGS. 2 and 3, in particular, show that the material is dispensed quite naturally by pulling the first strip which simultaneously advances the second strip originating from the second compartment. The pieces of strip are torn off alternately, firstly the strip of material originating from the lower compartment and then the top strip and so on. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, each strip of material M1-M2 is presented alternately and overlaps and protrudes beyond the other strip.
 When the two stacks of materials are being dispensed, the spacing of the strips of material is equivalent to half the size of each piece
 For example, with a size having a length (H) of 20 cm, the overlap (H1) is 10 cm for the leading emerging strip and 5 cm for the other strip; this is repeated alternately as pieces are torn off by the user.
 There is therefore always a large protruding area of strip of material which can be easily grasped by the user. The easiest and most direct inspection method is to check the length of the protruding strip of material. If both compartments are in service, the strip protrudes 10 cm, if only one compartment is in service, the strip protrudes by half this amount, i.e. 5 cm. The storage compartments are filled alternately, first the bottom compartment and then the top compartment, and so forth.
 The invention has considerable advantages. It is easy to implement. The machine is extremely inexpensive to manufacture and there is no transfer mechanism of the kind described in previous patents concerning automatic cutting devices for strips of material. What is more, the embodiment of the invention makes it easier and quicker to grasp and remove the strip of paper. Pulling a length of 10 cm causes dispensing of pieces of material having a size of 20 cm in the example given. The remaining quantities of stacks of material installed can be checked by providing sight windows on the sides of the machine's housing.
 The machine according to the invention for dispensing pre-cut wipe materials can be used to dispense materials which are either accordion pleated or wound on reel.
 Very advantageously and in order to ensure uninterrupted replenishment of the dispensing machine, the operative tasked with maintenance must place, in one compartment, a stack of materials which contains a greater quantity of pre-cut pieces than the second stack of materials located in the other compartment. This makes it possible to achieve alternate uninterrupted loading and ensures that the two stacks of materials are never exhausted at the same time.
Patent applications by Maurice Granger, St. Priest En Jarez FR
Patent applications in class Plural sources, stacks or compartments
Patent applications in all subclasses Plural sources, stacks or compartments