This invention relates to a closure, and in particular to a self-closing
closure for a container, and to a container provided with such a closure.
A typical known container for talcum powder has a closure comprising
a closure body which fits over the mouth of the container and is provided with
a plurality of spaced apart through holes, and a cover which either has a plurality
of through holes or a large aperture therein. The cover is turnable relative to
the closure body so that the holes or aperture in the cover, in an open condition,
align with holes in the body to allow powder to escape, and, in a closed condition,
block the holes in the body to close the container. This known type of container,
once in the open condition, remains open unless deliberately closed by the user.
This can cause problems, especially with very young children or babies who, if
they come upon an open container of talcum powder, are liable to handle the container
and create a mess or even accidentally cause powder to be spilled into their own
faces giving rise to breathing problems.
Self-closing dispensing containers are known from US-A-2,330,939,
on which the preamble of claim 1 is based, EP-B-195,812 and EP-A-323,288. Containers
of this known type are generally used for containing and dispensing liquids, powdered
materials and pills. Each has a co-operating sliding closure that slides relative
to the mouth of the container and is biased into a closed position by biasing
means acting directly between the container and the closure.
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
The present invention seeks to provide a self-closing closure for
a container which does not utilise the container as a part of the self-closing
mechanism, and which can be operated by a single hand.
According to the present invention there is provided a self-closing
closure assembly for a container of particulate material, comprising a closure
body for attachment to the mouth of the container, the body having a part spherical
outer surface in which at least one aperture is provided for dispensing material
from the container, a cover mounted on the closure body and having a part spherical
inner surface that is slidable over said part-spherical outer surface between an
aperture-closing first position and an aperture-opening second position, and biasing
means formed integrally with one of the cover and body to act against the other
of the cover and body to urge the cover towards said first position, characterised
in that the part spherical outer surface of the body has a recess formed therein
having a smaller diameter part spherical base into which said aperture opens, and
the cover is slidable within the recess to open and close said aperture.
The closure is preferably a snap-fit over the mouth of the container
but could be fitted onto the container by any other suitable means, e.g. by screw
Preferably, the biasing means is formed integrally with the cover
and suitably comprises a leaf spring which is located in a cavity formed between
the closure body and the cover.
Preferably, the closure cover is pivotally mounted on the closure
body for movement between its first and second positions.
The cover and biasing means, e.g. a spring, of the closure assembly
are conveniently moulded from resilient plastics material, e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene,
nylon etc. The biasing means, e.g. a leaf spring, may be moulded integrally with
either the closure body or the cover.
Preferably, shoulders extend between the spherical surfaces with
some acting as abutments limiting movement of the cover at the first and second
positions, and other shoulders acting as guides for the sliding movement of the
cover relative to the body.
Preferably, the cover is initially prevented from moving from said
first position to said second position by a detachable tamper-evident stop or device.
Such a tamper-evident device may also serve as a child-proof device to prevent
very young children from initially opening the closure assembly.
A closure assembly according to the invention may be used for containers
which store and dispense fine particulate materials, for example talcum powder.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example
only, and with particular reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
- Figure 1 and Figure 2 are schematic part-sectional views of a container with
a closure assembly according to the invention shown in closed and open conditions,
- Figure 3 is a side elevation of the closure assembly shown in Figures 1 and
- Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view of the closure assembly shown in Figures
1 and 2;
- Figure 5 is a front elevation of a cover of the closure assembly;
- Figure 6 is a sectional view taken on the line VI-VI of Figure 5;
- Figure 7 is a side elevation of a body of the closure assembly;
- Figure 8 is a rear elevation of the body;
- Figure 9 is a partial plan of the body showing its dispensing apertures;
- Figure 10 is an isometric view of a closure assembly, as shown in Figure 3,
with a tamper evident device on a container; and
- Figure 11 is an enlarged cross-sectional view through the cover and tamper-evident
device shown in Figure 10.
Figures 1 and 2 show part of a container 11 depicted in cross-section.
The container 11 may be made from any suitable material such as glass, cardboard,
metal or plastics. Typically, however, the container 11 comprises a blow moulded
plastics material container 11 for use in the storage and dispensing of talcum
powder, or other powder or particulate material.
The container 11 has a generally circular cylindrical neck or mouth
12 closed by a closure assembly generally designated 13. The closure assembly 13
comprises a closure body 14, a closure cover 15 and biasing means in the form of
spring means 16. The closure body, cover and spring means may all be moulded from
a resilient plastics material.
The closure body 14 has a cylindrical skirt 17 which is push fitted
over the mouth 12 of the container 11 and has a radially inwardly projecting rib
18 on its inner surface that makes a snap fit connection with the container, although
any other suitable connection, e.g. a screw connection or 'push-on' connection
could be employed if desired.
The closure body 14 is substantially part hemi-spherical and its
equatorial region extends into the cylindrical skirt 17 having the internally projecting
rib 18 which provides the snap-fit connection over an outwardly projecting annular
rib 28 adjacent the mouth 12 of the container 11 so as to secure the closure assembly
13 to the container.
With reference to Figures 7-9, the hemi-spherical body 14 has a recess
29 formed in its part-spherical outer surface 27. The recess 29 is substantially
rectangular as viewed in Figures 8 and 9 and has a smaller diameter part-spherical
base surface 30 surrounded by side shoulders 31,32 and end shoulders 34,35, which
connect the two surfaces 27 and 30.
The recess 29 extends around a meridian of the hemi-spherical body,
is arranged symmetrically on each side of the meridian and extends from adjacent
the skirt 17 on one side of the body, for an arc of about 130°, to the other side
of the body. The upper end of the recess 29, away from the skirt, has three spaced
apertures 33 to enable powder in the container 11 to be dispensed from the container.
A cavity 39 formed in the closure body 14 opens into the recess 29
and extends radially inwardly within the closure body. The cavity 39 has two radial
sidewalls 37,38, which extend substantially parallel with the recess sidewalls
31,32, one wall 37 being substantially vertical in the normal upright position
of the closure assembly and the other wall 38 making a bias angle to the vertical
such that the cover 15 has the required freedom of movement within the cavity.
The bias angle is suitably from between 30-40° and is preferably about 35°.
With reference to Figures 3,4,5 and 6, the cover 15 comprises a part-spherical
cover portion 41 having a part-spherical internal surface 42 co-operating with
the external base surface 30 so that the cover 15 is slidable over the external
part-spherical base surface 30 of the recess 29. A pair of spaced apart lugs 45
extend radially inwardly from the cover 15. Each lug 45 has a pivot pin 44 formed
on its outer side which snaps into corresponding sockets (not shown) at the base
of the cavity 39 where the sidewalls 37 and 38 intersect, so that the cover 15
can move in an arc about the pivot axis. The arc of movement is determined by
the angle between the cavity sidewalls 37,38 and the positioning of the spring
means 16. The radially outer portions of the two lugs 45 are interconnected by
a web 46 to stiffen the lugs 45 and prevent the pivot pins 44 from springing out
of their corresponding sockets.
The spring means 16 is a leaf spring formed integrally with the cover
portion 41 and located to one side of the web 46. As shown in Figure 4, the leaf
spring 16 acts against the wall 38 of the cavity 39 to bias the cover to pivot
in an anti-clockwise direction, as shown, so that a portion of the cover overlaps
the apertures 33. The upper end shoulder 35 between the recess 29 and the larger
diameter outer surface 27 acts as an abutment to limit movement of the cover under
the bias of the spring 16.
The external surface 47 of the cover portion 41 may have ribs 48
formed thereon (as shown) or be knurled to aid grip when moving the cover against
the spring bias. The internal surface 42 of the cover portion 41 may have a raised
base 51 thereon at its end portion adjacent the spring 16 which, in use, rubs against
the outer surface 27 of the cover to act as a friction brake or damper. The outer
end portion of the cover portion 41, away from the bias spring 16, has on its internal
surface a projection defined by a raised rib 49 which in use will contact the
base surface 30. The rib 49 forms an enclosure which encircles the apertures 33
to provide a seal.
The closure assembly is shown in Figures 1 and 4 in its closed condition
with the leaf spring 16 biasing the cover portion 41 against the upper shoulder
35 of the recess 29. In this condition the rib enclosure 49 surrounds the apertures
33. To open the closure assembly for dispensing powder from the container, the
cover 15 is moved in the direction of arrow A (see Figures 1 and 4), relative to
the closure body 14 from an aperture-closing first position to an aperture-revealing
second position (as shown in Figure 2). This can be done with one hand as may be
necessary, for example, when performing certain tasks, e.g. when changing a nappy
or diaper of a baby. On release, the spring means 16 automatically returns the
cover to a position where the internal surface 42 of the cover portion 41 blocks
off the apertures or holes 33.
Figures 10 and 11 show a closure assembly similar to that previously
described with reference to Figures 1 to 9 and, where appropriate, the same reference
numbers are used hereinafter to identify similar components. The cover 15 is shown
in cross-section in Figure 11. In order to prevent an initial opening of the closure
assembly and/or to provide evidence of tampering, the closure assembly 13 is provided
with a stop 52 which prevents the cover 15 from sliding in the recess from a first
position to a second position in which the apertures 33 are uncovered. The stop
52 is integrally moulded with the cover 15 and is connected to the end of the
cover 15, adjacent the spring 16, by frangible bridges 53. The stop 52 locates
in the lower end of the recess 29 adjacent the skirt 17 so that the lower end of
the stop 52 preferably abuts against the bottom shoulder 34 of the recess 29.
Alternatively, the stop 52 could be arranged to abut against other portions of
the hemi-spherical body 14 such as a shoulder 117 on the skirt 17.
A tab 54 is connected to one side of the stop 52 through a flexible
joint 55, preferably an integrally formed thinned hinge section, which allows the
tab 54 to be oriented to project away from the surface of the body 14. This arrangement
allows a user to grip the tab 54 and thereby to pull and detach the stop 52 from
the cover 15 by rupturing the frangible bridges 53.
Once the stop 52 has been removed the cover 15 can be opened as previously
described. The removal of the stop 52 from the cover 15 serves as evidence that
the closure assembly has been opened or tampered with. Furthermore, the necessity
to remove the stop 52 to open the closure, may help make the closure childproof
insofar as very young children are concerned.