(19)
(11)EP 2 099 515 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/12

(21)Application number: 08705181.9

(22)Date of filing:  02.01.2008
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61M 15/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/SE2008/000005
(87)International publication number:
WO 2008/082359 (10.07.2008 Gazette  2008/28)

(54)

BREATH ACTUATED INHALER ACTUATOR

DURCH ATMUNG BETÄTIGTER AKTUATOR FÜR EINEN INHALATOR

ACTIONNEUR D'INHALATEUR ACTIONNÉ PAR LA RESPIRATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 02.01.2007 US 883076 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
16.09.2009 Bulletin 2009/38

(73)Proprietor: AstraZeneca AB
151 85 Södertälje (SE)

(72)Inventors:
  • BOWMAN, Nicholas
    Harston, Cambridge CB2 5GG (GB)
  • FRUENSGAARD, Jörgen
    DK-7600 Struer (DK)
  • FUNDER RASMUSSEN, Jörgen
    DK-7600 Struer (DK)
  • HOUGAARD VILSTRUP, Henrik
    DK-7600 Struer (DK)
  • SLOTH CHRISTENSEN, Keld
    DK-7600 Struer (DK)

(74)Representative: AstraZeneca 
Milstein Building Granta Park
Cambridge CB21 6GH
Cambridge CB21 6GH (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 049 514
WO-A1-01/70313
WO-A1-02/26301
WO-A2-2006/115732
US-A1- 2002 056 449
WO-A1-01/70313
WO-A1-02/26301
WO-A2-2006/115732
GB-A- 2 263 873
US-A1- 2002 100 472
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] The present invention relates to an inhaler for delivery of a medicament by inhalation and in particular to the actuation mechanism used in the inhaler to actuate a canister to dispense a dose of medicament.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] Inhalers are commonly used for delivery of a wide range of medicaments. The inhaler holds a canister of medicament, the canister being actuated e.g. by compression to deliver a dose of medicament through a mouthpiece to a user. The inhaler may be provided with an actuation mechanism to actuate the canister automatically and thus dispense a dose of medicament. Some known actuation mechanisms are breath-actuated, so that they operate in response to inhalation by a user. This ensures that a dose of medicament dispensed on actuation of the canister is supplied whilst the user is inhaling. This is particularly useful for those users who may find it difficult to co-ordinate the dispensing of a dose of medicament, by for example, the actuation of a button, with inhaling the dose.

    [0003] US2002/056449 describes a pneumatically actuated inhaler for aerosol medication in which a mechanical lever with attached mouthpiece cover operates a compressor pump which pumps compressed gas into a chamber.

    [0004] WO2006115732 describes a breath actuated pulmonary drug delivery device used in the delivery of fluid dispensations from a drug-containing canister.

    [0005] WO02/26301 describes a dosing device with a dose actuation mechanism which comprises a number of integrally hinged links which are connected to each other at hinging points.

    [0006] EP0049514 discloses an inhaling apparatus with breath-controlled release of the active ingredient, which has sound-damping and movement-damping measures as part of the actuation mechanism.

    [0007] WO01/70313 discloses an inhaler with an actuation mechanism that includes a loading mechanism consisting of a loading member in the form of a rotatable spindle and two contact members in the form of buttons which protrude from the housing.

    [0008] A known breath-actuated inhaler has an actuation mechanism operable by compression of a canister of medicament to deliver a dose of medicament in response to inhalation by a user. The actuation mechanism comprises a loading mechanism to bias compression of the canister. A triggering mechanism holds the loading mechanism against compression of the canister. When delivery of a dose of medicament is required, the triggering mechanism releases to allow compression of the canister in response to inhalation by the user. An actuating means is connected to a cover for the mouthpiece and is responsive to the closing movement of the cover for re-setting the actuation mechanism. Such an arrangement results in the components of the trigger mechanism not being loaded when the inhaler is not in use. When the cover is closed, critical force is redirected from the triggering mechanism during storage (cap closed). Over time, loading of critical components can quicken the onset of material creep, resulting in mechanical failure of the inhaler and its subsequent inability to deliver a dose of medicament after a number of uses. This situation can be extremely dangerous for the user in an emergency when it is vital that the inhaler deliver a dose when required.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0009] It is, for reasons mentioned above, an object of the present invention to provide an inhaler incorporating such an actuation mechanism to alleviate the problems described above.

    [0010] Accordingly, there is provided an actuator (100) for a breath actuated inhaler, comprising:

    a loading element (6) capable of being loaded with an actuation force,

    a breath actuated trigger mechanism (3) arranged to counteract the actuation force of the loading element (6), and to fire the actuator (100) by releasing the actuation force of the loading element (6) in response to an inhalation breath, and

    actuation locking means (2) moveable between a locked position wherein it relieves the actuation force from the trigger mechanism (3) setting the trigger mechanism (3) in a neutral position, and an armed position wherein the trigger mechanism (3)is set in an armed position
    characterized in that

    the actuation locking means (2) is formed as a pivotal lever with a helical cam member (110) arranged about a pivotal point (120),

    upon movement of the locking means (2), after the actuator (100) is fired, from its armed position to its locked position, the helical cam member (110) acts on a loading yoke (4), initially to load the loading element (6) with actuation force and to arm the trigger mechanism (3), and subsequently to overload the loading element (6) to relieve the actuation force from the trigger mechanism (3)

    upon subsequent movement of the locking means (2) from its locked position to its armed position, the helical cam member (110) initially acts on the loading yoke (4) to unload the overloading force on the loading element (6) to arm the trigger mechanism (3), where after it is moved to its armed position wherein the helical cam member (110) is in a position that allows firing of the actuator (100), and

    wherein the trigger mechanism (3) comprises:

    a yoke lever (50) arranged to transform the movement of the yoke (4) to a pivotal movement of a lock end (52) thereof,

    a lock member (53) pivotally moveable between an armed position wherein it is arranged to prevent further pivotal movement of the yoke lever lock end (52) in the actuation direction, and an open position wherein the yoke lever (50) is free to move beyond the armed position in the actuation direction, in the armed position the lock member (53) is biased towards the open position by the yoke lever (50) which in turn is biased in the actuation direction by the loading element (6) via the yoke (4),

    a trigger element (57) arranged for movement in response to an inhalation breath, and a release member (55) arranged between the lock member (53) and the trigger element (57) to hold the lock member (53) in the armed position, and to release the lock member (53) in response to movement of the trigger element (57).



    [0011] In this way, components of the trigger mechanism and finely toleranced parts are not loaded at any time, either when the inhaler is reset or discharged, except for when the actuator is armed and ready to deliver a dose of medicament. By avoiding heavy loading of the trigger mechanism, the onset of material creep is significantly reduced, resulting in an inhaler that may be re-used more safely.

    [0012] Preferably, the loading means further loads the canister with an actuation force for compression of the canister from a rest position to the charging position. Movement of the activating means to the first position applies a force directly to the loading means to compress the canister from the rest position to the charging position. By providing such an arrangement, the canister may be pre-compressed thus reducing the mechanical shock prior to the compressing of the canister to deliver a dose of medicament.

    [0013] Preferably, movement of the actuating means between the first position and the second position applies a force directly to the loading means in a direction substantially along the cylindrical axis of the canister.

    [0014] Preferably, the loading means comprises a resilient loading element arranged to be loaded with an actuation force, the resilient loading element being arranged when loaded to bias compression of the canister. Typically, the resilient loading element is in a loaded state in which the resilient loading element stores the actuation force.

    [0015] The resilient loading element may be a coiled plastic or metal spring. However, alternative arrangements may be envisaged that are able to store and release an actuation force, such as compressed air, a tension spring, an electric motor etc.

    [0016] Preferably, the trigger mechanism comprises a lever member and a lever lock member, the lever lock member having a locked position and being so arranged as to hold the lever member in a locked position to hold loading means against compression of the canister.

    [0017] Preferably, the latch means comprises a trigger element and a droplink element, movement of the trigger element to its latch release position causes movement of the droplink element to its latch release position, thereby moving the lever lock from its lock position to a release position, causing the lever to move from its locked position to a release position thereby allowing compression of the canister to release a dose of medicament. The droplink element may further comprise a re-set position. This enables the droplink element to readily take up its latch position.

    [0018] Alternatively, the trigger element is arranged to be moved to the unlatched position by the application of a manual action by the user into the latch release position described above. For example, a firing button may be provided for manual depression by the user which serves to contact the trigger element to move the trigger element.

    [0019] Preferably, the actuation mechanism is breath-actuated, the trigger element being arranged to be moved to the latch release position by inhalation at the mouthpiece to cause operation of the actuation mechanism. The trigger element may be an inhalation responsive trigger vane.

    [0020] Preferably, the actuating means is mounted for pivotal movement to apply a force directly to a yoke. The actuating means may be a protective cover or cap (see comment on page 2).

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0021] To allow a better understanding, embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of non-limitative examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Fig. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of an inhaler with the actuating means in the open position;

    Fig. 1a is a rear perspective view of the inhaler of Fig 1 with the actuating means in the open position;

    Fig. 2 is a side view of the inhaler of Fig 1 with the actuating means in the open position;

    Fig. 3 is a side view of the canister module removed from the inhaler of Fig 1;

    Fig. 3a is a front perspective view of the canister module removed from the inhaler of Fig 1;

    Fig. 4 is a schematic side view of one embodiment of an actuation mechanism in the neutral or "rest" position;

    Fig. 4a is a corresponding perspective view of the actuation mechanism of Fig. 4 in the neutral or "rest" position;

    Fig. 5 is a schematic side view of the actuation mechanism of Fig. 4 in the armed or "charging" position;

    Fig. 5a is a corresponding perspective view of the actuation mechanism of Fig. 4 in the armed or "charging" position;

    Fig. 6 is a schematic side view of the actuation mechanism of Fig. 4 in the triggered "medicament discharging" position;

    Fig. 6a is a corresponding perspective view of the actuation mechanism of Fig. 4 in the triggered "medicament discharging" position;

    Fig. 7 is an exploded view of the components of the inhaler of Fig. 1 with an actuation mechanism of Fig. 4.

    Figs. 8a to 8f show schematic side views of a number of states of operation for an embodiment of a breath actuated inhaler (BAI) actuator, with a schematic actuation mechanism.

    Fig. 9 shows an alternative actuation mode for the BAI actuator according to Figs. 8a to 8f.

    Figs. 10a and 10b show perspective views of one embodiment of a release member and a trigger element of a trigger mechanism.

    Figs. 11a and 11b show perspective views of another embodiment of a release member and a trigger element of a trigger mechanism.


    Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments



    [0022] Referring now to Figs. 1, 1a, 2 and 7, one embodiment of a breath actuated inhaler (BAI) actuator 100, with respect to this embodiment referred to as an inhaler, has a housing 10 comprising side walls 12, a rear wall 14 and a top wall 16. The rear wall 14 forms a curved surface to facilitate comfortable receipt of the inhaler in the palm of the user's hand. The walls 12, 14, 16 of the housing 10 define a space for accommodating a canister 20 of medicament in a chassis 40, and an actuation mechanism 1 so operable as to actuate the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament. The chassis 40 retains most of the mechanical components of the inhaler in the correct position, and is heavily loaded. For example, most of the components of the trigger mechanism are pivoted on the chassis 40, thus reducing problems caused by tolerance. The front opening in the housing 10 accommodates a registration module (electronic module) 70 and an upper portion 32 of a facia 30, each having opposed side walls 34, respectively to fit flush with the side walls 12 of the housing 10.

    [0023] A mouthpiece 60 protrudes from the housing 10 and may be protected from damage and/or the entering of foreign bodies e.g. dust by locking or actuating means 2 pivotally mounted for movement on the chassis 40 as illustrated. In the embodiment shown, the actuating means is a protective cover 2 and shall now be referred to as such. The cover 2 has opposed side walls to fit flush with the side walls of the housing 10, and a rear curved wall to fit flush with the rear wall of the housing 10. The rear walls of the respective housing and the cover together form a curved surface to facilitate comfortable receipt of the inhaler in the palm of the user's hand.

    [0024] The canister 20 fits in the chassis 40 retained in the housing 10 and may be slidably removed for replacement as illustrated in Figs. 3 and 3a. The canister 20 is of a known type for holding a suspension or solution of a medicament in a propellant under pressure. The canister 20 comprises a generally cylindrical body 22 and a valve stem 24 which are compressible together to deliver a dose of medicament from the valve stem 24. The canister 20 includes a metering chamber (not shown), which captures a defined volume of medicament from the body 22 of the canister 20, which volume of medicament is delivered as a metered dose from the valve stem 24 on compression of the valve stem relative to the body 22. The valve stem 24 is biased outwardly to reset the canister 20 after compression for refilling the metering chamber. The valve stem 24 is located in a nozzle block 62. The nozzle block 62 is formed as part of, and in open communication with, the mouthpiece 60 to direct a dose of medicament delivered from the valve stem 24 out of the inhaler through the mouthpiece 60.

    [0025] An opening in the lower part 36 of the facia 30 is so sized and shaped as to receive the mouthpiece 60, which is of a corresponding size and shape. According to one embodiment, there is provided a replaceable canister module 37 comprising a canister 20 and a mouth piece 60 with a nozzle block 62, wherein the canister body 22 is moveable in the actuation direction with respect to the nozzle block 62, and wherein the canister module 37 is inserted in the actuator 10 in a direction essentially transverse to the actuation direction of the canister. The canister 20 is moveably connected to, and supported by, the facia 30 and the mouth piece 60, by a collar 28 fitted around a necked portion of the canister body 22. The collar 28 may be permanently fixed to the canister 20, and comprises a connection member 29 that enables a linear motion of the canister 20 in the actuation direction with respect to the facia 30 and mouthpiece 60. This allows actuation of the canister by compression of the canister body towards the valve stem when the stem is fixed relative to the inhaler in the nozzle block. In the disclosed embodiment, the collar 28 has a notched/ 'keyed' inner surface engaging the crimp joining the canister 20 and valve. In other embodiments, the canister 20 may be interconnected with the facia 30 and the mouthpiece 60 in another way. The canister 20 may be integral with the facia and the mouthpiece 60 such that the facia and mouthpiece 60 are removed from the housing and inserted into the housing together with the canister 20 as a canister module 37 as illustrated in Figs. 3 and 3a. When such a canister module 37 is inserted into the housing, the mouthpiece 60 stands on a platform in the chassis and encloses the airflow. The mouthpiece 60 forms the end of an air passage through the housing, the inlet of the air passage being adjacent a trigger element. A clip 38 retains the facia to the housing. The canister and collar have a small degree of movement along the axis of the canister to allow actuation of the canister.

    [0026] The outer surface of the upper portion of the facia 30 carries an indication of the type of medicament in the canister 20 to which the facia 30 is connected. The indication may be printed information, an embossed or indented pattern, for example, Braille, or the colour of the facia.

    [0027] The registration module 70 is responsive to firing of the actuator 100. According to one embodiment the registration module 70 is arranged to detect the presence of a canister module 37 in the actuator, and arranged to disregard firings of the actuator when no canister module 37 is present. The detection of a canister module 37 may e.g. be performed by a microswitch (not shown) that is activated when a canister module 37 is inserted into the actuator, eg. by detection of a tab 261 extending from the canister module for interaction with said microswich. According to one embodiment, the canister module 37 comprises a non-use indicator 260 that is preset in a non-use state and which is set in an irreversible in-use state at the first actuation of the canister module 37. According to one embodiment, the non-use indicator 260 is a moveable tab, that initially in its non-use state is hidden from detection by the registration module 70, and upon the first actuation (use) is moved to an exposed "in-use state" where the registration module 70 detects the presence of the tab. When, the moveable tab has entered the in-use state it is mechanically hindered from returning to its non-use state. Preferably, the moveable tab is hindered from being returned to its non-use mode by tamper proof means. The registration module 70 is arranged to detect the state of the of the non-use indicator 260, e.g. by a second microswitch, each time a canister module 37 is arranged in the actuator, and in response to a:
    • non-use state; initiate a new actuation counting cycle, and
    • in-use state; not count actuations.


    [0028] As is evident to any person skilled in the art, the registration module 70 may be an electronic module or a mechanical counter module with the same or essentially the same functionality.

    [0029] The actuation mechanism 1 for actuating the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament is illustrated in Figs. 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 6 and 6a. The actuation mechanism 1 operates to compress the canister body 22 relative to the valve stem 24 held in the nozzle block 62 to deliver a dose of medicament. The elements illustrated in Figs. 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 6 and 6a are accommodated in the housing 10 and retained by the chassis 40 but both the housing 10 and the chassis 40 are removed from figs. 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 6 and 6a for clarity.

    [0030] The structure of the actuation mechanism 1 is as follows.

    [0031] The actuation mechanism 1 comprises loading means or a loading element 6 for loading the actuation mechanism 1 with an actuation force for compression of the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament. A resilient loading element 6, such as a coiled spring is provided for the storage and release of the actuation force. The coiled spring 6 is movable in one direction substantially along the cylindrical axis of the canister 20 to store the actuation force, and in an opposite direction substantially along the cylindrical axis of the canister 20 to release the actuation force.

    [0032] The coiled spring 6 is connected at its lower end to a yoke 4. The yoke 4 has a canister-engagement portion. A cover element 8 may engage the coiled spring 6 at its upper end. The cover element 8 may facilitate the spreading of the load on the coiled spring 6 into the housing 10 of the inhaler, and may also aid location of the coiled spring 6 within the housing.

    [0033] As illustrated in Figs. 1-3, the actuation locking means, in the present embodiment represented by the cover 2 is mounted for movement between a first, or open, position relative to the housing 10, and a second, or closed, position relative to the housing 10. In the embodiment shown, the cover 2 is pivotally mounted on the chassis 40 and has a cam 110 at the pivot point 120. In this way, pivotal movement of the cover 2 to the first or open position allows the yoke 4 to move downwards, under the force applied by the coiled spring 6. Conversely, pivotal movement of the cover 2 to the second or closed position applies an upward force to the yoke 4 and forces it upwards, compressing the coiled spring 6. The yoke is thus moveable in a direction substantially along the cylindrical axis of the canister 20. As a result of the gearing inherent in the cam loading mechanism, the total distance that the yoke 4 performs in response to pivotal movement of the cover 2 is greater than the distance which the canister body 22 and the valve stem 24 of the canister 20 need to be compressed in order to release a dose of medicament.

    [0034] The actuation mechanism 1 further includes a trigger mechanism 3 for holding the loading element 6 against compression of the canister 20. The trigger mechanism 3 is constructed as follows.

    [0035] A yoke lever 50 (lever 50) is pivoted about lever hinge pins 130 that are arranged in mating hinge holes 132 in the chassis 40 and has a pair of lever arms 51 engaging the yoke 4 in a corresponding pair of horizontal yoke groves 140, whereby the lever 50 performs a pivotal movement when the yoke 4 is moved upwards or downwards. At the distal end from the arms 51, the lever 50 has yoke lever lock end in the form of a planar portion 52 that is arranged to engage a lock rib 150 on a lock member 53 (lever lock 53) when the lever lock 53 is in a locked position. The lever lock 53 is pivoted about lock hinge pins 160 that are arranged in mating hinge holes in the chassis 40. In its locked position, as illustrated in Figs. 5 and 5a the lever lock 53 holds the loading means, via the lever 50, against compression of the canister 20.

    [0036] The trigger mechanism further comprises latch means in the form of a release member (drop link element) 55 movable between a latch position arranged to store the actuation force to retain the canister 20 in the rest or charging position, and a latch-release position arranged to release the actuation force and allow compression of the canister 20. The drop link element 55 is pivotally connected at one end to the lever lock 53. The drop link 55 is provided at its other end with a latching element 56 adapted to engage a trigger element pivotally mounted on the chassis. The trigger element 57 is arranged for movement in response to inhalation by the user at the mouthpiece or manual depression by the user of a firing button, to cause actuation of the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament to the mouthpiece. In the embodiment shown, the firing button is made integral with an inlet duct cover 64. However, it may not be made integral therewith. The firing button 48 enables the user to deliver a dose of medicament as an emergency function if, for any reason, the usual actuation mechanism fails, or if the user cannot inhale significantly to activate the actuation mechanism to deliver a dose of medicament for example, during a chronic asthma attack. In the preferred embodiment, the trigger element 57 constitutes an inhalation responsive trigger vane that is an element, which is moved in response to and by a flow of air there over.

    [0037] The latching element 56 contacts and rests upon the trigger vane 57 at its trigger pivot shaft 58 when the drop link 55 and trigger vane 57 are at their latch position.

    [0038] Operation of the actuation mechanism will now be described with reference to Figs. 4-6 which illustrate the various parts of the actuation mechanism in schematic form for ease of understanding.

    [0039] Fig. 4 illustrates the neutral or "rest" position of the actuation mechanism in which the cover 2 encloses the mouthpiece when the inhaler is not in use. The yoke 4 is in its uppermost position so that the coiled spring 6 is in a loaded state, thus storing an actuation force. All mechanical components of the inhaler but the yoke 4 are unloaded and there is no compression of the canister 20. An air gap exists between the canister engagement portion of the yoke 4 and the base of the canister 20. However, it can be envisaged that dampening means, such as a foam or rubber element, may be placed between the yoke 4 and the canister 20. The lever 50 and the lever lock 53 are both in their locked positions. The drop link 55 is in its latched position whereby the latching element 56 rests upon the pivot shaft 58 of the trigger element 57, thereby holding the lever lock 53 in its locked position.

    [0040] When the inhaler is to be used, the cover 2 is opened to access the mouthpiece, as shown in Fig. 5. Upon pivotal movement to open the cover 2, the yoke 4 is moved downwardly to engage the base of the canister 20. In this state, the coiled spring 6 biases compression of the canister 20 via the yoke 4, and the yoke 4 compresses the canister 20 relative to the valve stem a distance of about 0-2 mm. However, further compression of the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament is prevented by the load applied to the trigger mechanism. The lever lock 53 holds the loading means, via the lever 50, in its locked position, against compression of the canister 20. The lever 50 and the lever lock 53 remain in their locked position, the planar portion of the lever 50 being forced against the lock rib 150 on the lever lock 53. In this "armed" or charging state, inhaler is loaded ready for the delivery of a dose of medicament.

    [0041] Inhalation by the user at the mouthpiece causes air to flow through the air flow path defined inside the housing from the inlet opening to the mouthpiece. Due to the pressure drop created by the flow inside the housing 10 (or use of the firing button as previously described), the trigger element 57 is caused to pivot in a flow direction to its latch-release position illustrated in Fig. 6. Pivotal movement of the trigger element 57 to its latch release position causes the drop link 55 to pivot in an upwards direction to its release position. Pivotal movement of the drop link 55 in turn causes the latching element 56 to be lifted over and to disengage from the pivot shaft 58 of the trigger element 57. The pivot shaft 58 of the trigger element 57 may be substantially circular in cross section, however any shape may be envisaged, such as a sector of a circle, provided that upon rotation of the pivot shaft 58, there is sufficient surface provided to allow the latching element 56 to be lifted over and to disengage from the pivot shaft 58. The pivotal movement of the drop link 55 thus causes the lever lock 53 to pivot in the release direction from its locked or armed position to its release position, to allow compression of the canister by disengagement of the planar surface 52 from the rib. The lever 50 in its unlocked state allows compression of the canister 20 to deliver a dose of medicament under the biasing of the coiled spring 6. In this state the inhaler may be described as being in its "fired", "triggered" position or "medicament discharging position".

    [0042] The lever lock 53 has a re-set spring 210 which forces it to pivot back and to return to its latching position. The droplink 55 uses another spring leg 250 of the same reset spring 210, however in this case the reset spring allows it to pivot back to return to a reset position ready to take up its latching position. In its reset position, the latching element 56 of the droplink element 55 abuts the pivot shaft 58 of the trigger element 57. Each of the re-set springs is made from a plastics material or metal. The provision of re-set springs ensures that both the trigger element 57 and the droplink 55 are ready to take up or return to their latch position, respectively, without reliance on gravitational force.

    [0043] Closure of the cover 2 causes the yoke 4 to move upward, which has three effects. Firstly, it allows the canister 20 to reset itself. Secondly, it causes the lever 50 and the lever lock 53 to return to their locked position in the neutral position of the actuation mechanism illustrated in Fig. 4, and the droplink 56 to return its latch position. Thirdly, it stores the actuation force in the coiled spring 6, via the loading of the yoke 4, ready for when the inhaler is to be used.

    [0044] Figs. 8a to 8f show a schematic embodiment of one embodiment of a breath actuated inhaler (BAI) actuator adapted to show the function of the actuation mechanism in detail. The BAI actuator 100 comprises a loading element 6, a breath actuated trigger mechanism 3 and actuation locking means 2.

    [0045] The loading element 6 provides the force necessary for actuation of the metering valve of the canister, and needs therefore to be capable of being loaded with an actuation force of suitable magnitude. The actuation force required for actuation of the metering valve depends on the type of metering valve and, to some extent, on the type of triggering mechanism. In one embodiment the loading element 6 may be integrated in the metering valve, thus excluding the need for a separate loading element. In Figs. 8a to 8f the loading element 6 is illustrated as a coiled spring, but it may be of any suitable type that is capable of being loaded with the required actuation force.

    [0046] The breath actuated (BA) trigger mechanism 3 is arranged to counteract the actuation force of the loading element 6 and to fire the actuator 100 by releasing the actuation force of the loading element 6 in response to an inhalation breath. One example of a BA trigger mechanism is disclosed in detail below, but there are many other types of BA trigger mechanisms that can be used in the present BAI actuator. One example is a mechanism of catch member type, wherein a trigger element is arranged to release a catch member in response to a breath flow. Another example is a mechanism of bistable pivot joint type, wherein a trigger element is pivotal between an armed position wherein it counteracts the actuation force via a pivot joint restricted to a joint angle close to, but less than, 180° and a fired position, wherein the trigger element is arranged to pivot the joint angle beyond 180 ° in response to a breath flow, thereby releasing the actuation force. But other mechanisms or combinations thereof may also be used.

    [0047] As mentioned above, many components in the trigger mechanism are small sized and often made of plastic material and therefore susceptible to material creep upon prolonged loading. Therefore, the actuator is provided with actuation locking means 2 moveable between a locked position (Fig. 8f) wherein it relieves the actuation force from the trigger mechanism setting the trigger mechanism 3 in a neutral or unloaded position, and an armed position (Fig. 8a) wherein the trigger mechanism 3 is set in an armed position. In the disclosed embodiment, the actuation locking means 2 is further arranged to function as actuating means that are arranged to load the loading element 6 with actuation force upon movement from its armed position to its locked position (figs. 8d and 8e), after the actuator is fired. According to one embodiment, not shown in figure, the actuation locking means 2 is provided separately from the actuating means.

    [0048] In the disclosed embodiment the actuation locking means 2 is formed as a pivotal lever with a helical cam member 110 arranged about a pivotal point 120. Upon movement of the locking means 2 after the actuator is fired, from its armed position (Fig. 8c) to its locked position (Fig. 8f), the helical cam member 110 acts on a loading yoke 4, initially to load the loading element 6 with actuation force (Figs. 8d and 8e) and to arm the trigger mechanism 3 (Fig. 8e), and subsequently to overload the loading element to relieve the actuation force from the trigger mechanism 3 setting it in a neutral or unloaded position (Fig. 8f). Upon subsequent movement of the locking means 2 from its locked position to its armed position, the helical cam member 110 initially acts on the loading yoke 4 to unload the overloading force on the loading element 6 to arm the trigger mechanism, where after it is moved to its armed position, wherein the helical cam is in a position that allows firing of the actuator (Fig. 8a).

    [0049] According to one embodiment, the helical cam member 110 is formed so that the actuation locking means 2 is retained in the locked position by the actuation force of the loading element 6. In the disclosed embodiment, the helical cam member is formed so that the active section 170 that is in contact with the yoke 4 is either flat or inclined so that the actuation force gives rise to a stable state or that the actuation locking means 2 is urged in the locked direction. In the disclosed embodiment, the actuation locking means 2 is formed as a protective cover 2 arranged to limit the access to the mouth piece 60 in its locked position and to allow access to the same in its armed position.

    [0050] In the disclosed embodiment, the BAI actuator is arranged for actuation of a compression firing canister of the type disclosed more in detail above. However, according to other embodiments, the BAI actuator may be arranged for actuation of canisters with other types of metering valves, such as valves that fire upon withdrawal of a control stem, rotary type valves and the like. Moreover, according to one embodiment, the metering valve may be of a type that is biased in the firing direction, and in such case, the biasing force of the metering valve, may be used in lieu of or in combination with the loading element 6.

    [0051] In the disclosed embodiment, the loading element 6 is arranged to act on the canister body 22 of the canister 20, and the actuation involves depressing the canister body 22 of the canister with respect to a static nozzle block 62. In another embodiment, not disclosed in the figures, the loading element 6 is arranged to act on a moveable nozzle block, wherein actuation involves translation of the nozzle block with respect to the canister body 22 of the canister 20 to depress the valve stem 24.

    [0052] According to one embodiment the loading element 6 is arranged to act on the non valve end of the canister body 22 arranged in the BAI actuator 100, via the yoke 4. In the disclosed embodiment, the loading element 6 is a coiled spring arranged in alignment with the actuation direction of the canister 20. The yoke 4 comprises two cam follower legs 180 for cam interaction with, and transmission of, loading translation from the helical cam 110 to the loading element 6. According to one embodiment, as is exemplified by the embodiment of Figs. 1 to 7, the cam follower legs 180 are arranged to extend along diametrically opposite sides of the canister 20, whereby the force transmitted from the actuation locking means 2 via the helical cam 110 to the loading element 6 is aligned with actuation direction of the canister 20. In the embodiment of Figs. 8a to 8f, the yoke 4 comprises two cam follower legs 180 that are parallel, but not diametrically arranged with respect to the canister 20, mainly in order to make the figure clearer, but also in order to show that the cam follower legs 180 need not to be in perfect alignment with the actuation direction of the canister.

    [0053] According to one embodiment, the trigger mechanism 3, the yoke 4 and the actuation locking means 2, are supported by a chassis 40 arranged in an external housing 10. As mentioned above, the chassis gives rigidity to the actuator, and by supporting all moveable parts by the chassis 40 problems relating to tolerances between different parts are reduced. In Figs. 8a to 8f the chassis 40 is reduced to a strict illustrative design, to make the function of the actuation mechanism 1 clearer, whereas the embodiment shown in Figs. 1 to 7 comprises a chassis 40 that allows a more compact and load efficient design. In the disclosed embodiments, the cam follower legs 180 are arranged for and limited to linear movement in mating yoke grooves 140 formed in the chassis 40.

    [0054] Figs. 8a to 8f show one embodiment of a trigger mechanism comprising:
    • a yoke lever 50 arranged to transform the movement of the yoke 4 to a pivotal movement of a lock end 52 thereof,
    • a lock member 53 pivotally moveable between an armed position (Fig. 8a) wherein it is arranged to prevent further pivotal movement of the yoke lever lock end 52 in the actuation direction, and an open position wherein the yoke lever 50 is free to move beyond the armed position in the actuation direction, in the armed position the lock member 53 is biased towards the open position by the yoke lever 52 which in turn is biased in the actuation direction by the loading element 6 via the yoke 4,
    • a trigger element 57 arranged for movement in response to an inhalation breath, and
    • a release member 55 arranged between the lock member 53 and the trigger element 57 to hold the lock member 53 in the armed position, and to release the lock member 53 in response to movement of the trigger element 57.


    [0055] The yoke lever 50 is pivotally supported by the chassis 40 by lever hinge pins 130 or the like, and comprises lever arms 51 that are arranged to engage corresponding yoke grooves 140 formed in the yoke 4. The yoke lever 50 is formed to create a lever effect gearing down the force applied on the components in the triggering mechanism from the loading element 6. The gearing is achieved in that the longitudinal distance between the hinge pivot point 130 and the lever arms 51 is shorter than the distance between the hinge pivot point 130 and the yoke lever lock end 52. In the disclosed embodiment, the yoke lever 50 is arranged so that the lock end 52 performs an upward movement when the yoke 4 moves downwards, but in an alternative embodiment the yoke lever 50 may be formed to reverse the direction of movement by arranging the lever arms 51 in between the hinge pivot point 130 and the lever lock end 52. In the later case, the other parts of the trigger mechanism must be adapted to the reversed direction of movement.

    [0056] In the disclosed embodiment, the lock member 53 is pivotally supported by the chassis by lock hinge pins 160. The lock member 53 comprises a lock rib 150 arranged to act as a catch member for the lock end 52 of the yoke lever 50 to arm the triggering mechanism. The pivot point 160 of the lock member 53, and the interaction between the lock rib and the lock end 52 of the yoke lever 50 are arranged so that the lock member 53 is biased towards the open position by the yoke lever 50. By designing this interaction properly a suitable gear down effect is achieved, reducing the force applied on the components of the trigger mechanism even further. A spring element 210 biases the lock member 53 in the closing direction, towards the yoke lever 50, in order to reset the trigger mechanism during loading of the actuation mechanism, as is shown in Fig. 8d. The yoke lever 50 comprises a lock member guide surface 200 at the lock end thereof. As is shown in Figure 8c, the lock member guide surface 200 interacts with the lock rib 150 to hold the lock member in the open position when the actuator is unloaded.

    [0057] The trigger element 57 is arranged at one end of an air flow duct 190 extending from the mouth piece 60 at the other end. The air flow duct 190 may be formed by the actuator housing 10, the chassis 40, or a combination thereof, and optionally with additional components. According to one embodiment, the trigger element is a pivotal vane with a trigger pivot shaft 58 that is pivotally supported by the chassis 40 at a trigger pivotal point and arranged to pivot about a the pivot axis in response to an air flow in the flow duct, e.g. an inhalation breath. The release member 55 is, at one end, pivotally connected to the lock member at a release pivot point 240, and at the other end it is arranged to interact with the trigger pivot shaft 58 to hold the lock member 53 in the armed position, and to release the lock member 53 in response to pivotal movement of the trigger pivot shaft 58. According to one embodiment, the release member 55 is a drop link element.

    [0058] Figs. 10a, 10b, 11a and 11b show two embodiments of trigger vane and release member combinations. The trigger pivot shaft 58 comprises an essentially semi cylindrical shaped release surface 220, and stop means 230 that ensure that the release member 55 enters the correct armed position upon arming the triggering mechanism 3. As mentioned above, the release member 55 is biased in the direction of the trigger pivot shaft 58 by the lock member 53, which in turn is biased in the opening direction by the loading element 6 via the yoke lever 50. In the armed position (Fig. 8a), the release member 55 is arranged to apply the biasing force in a direction that is essentially radial to the trigger pivot axis 58. When the trigger vane 57 is pivoted by an air flow in the air flow duct 190, the interaction end of the release member 55 rotates together with the trigger pivot shaft 58, and the direction of the biasing force is shifted (lifted) from the trigger pivot axis 58 (Fig. 8b), and upon sufficient rotation the shifted biasing force makes the release member 55 detach from its armed state whereby the actuator is fired (Fig. 8c). In Fig. 10a and 10b, stop means 230 of the trigger pivot shaft 58 are provided on both sides of a semi cylindrical release surface 220, and the corresponding release member comprises two stop protrusions 260 that are arranged to abut the stop means 230 of the trigger element. In Figs. 11a and 11b the support means is formed by a stop ridge 230 at the lower end of the release surface 220. Moreover, the stop means 230, ensures that the release member 55 rotates together with the trigger pivot shaft 58. In order for the release member 55 to return to the armed position resting upon the trigger pivot shaft 58 upon loading of the actuator mechanism 1, a reset spring member 250 is arranged to bias the release member 55 in the downwards direction (Fig. 8e).

    [0059] Figs. 8a to 8f schematically shows the BAI actuator in different states of operation, wherein:
    • Fig 8a illustrates the armed state, when the actuator is ready to be fired by an inhalation breath (Figs. 8b and 8c) or by use of the firing button 48. The protective cover 2 which functions as loading means and actuation locking means is in its open or armed position whereby the actuation mechanism is able to be fired. As is discussed in detail above, the loading element 6 is loaded with an actuation force that exceeds the reset bias force in the metering valve of the canister 20, and the triggering mechanism 3 counteracts the actuation force via the yoke 4.
    • Fig. 8b illustrates an initial phase of a firing of the actuator by an inhalation breath, wherein the trigger vane 57 is pivoted an amount, but the release member 55 is still in locking contact with the trigger pivot shaft 58 and thus prevents firing of the actuator.
    • Fig. 8c illustrates the fired state, wherein the trigger vane 57 is further pivoted and the release member 55 has been detached from the pivot shaft 58 and the lock member 53 is pivoted to release the yoke lever 50 whereby the actuation force is released and the canister 20 is depressed to fire a dose of medicament into the inhalation air flow through the mouth piece 60.
    • Fig. 8d illustrates the process of loading the loading element 6 and arming of the trigger mechanism 3. The protective cover 2 is pivoted in the closing direction, whereby the helical cam 110 forces the yoke 4 in the loading direction and the yoke lever 50 is pivoted in the armed direction. The lock rib 150 of the lock member 53 follows the guide surface 200 of the yoke lever 50, biased by the spring element 210.
    • Fig. 8e illustrates a state wherein the protective cover 2 is further pivoted in the closing direction, whereby loading element is essentially fully loaded, and the triggering mechanism has entered its armed state.
    • Fig. 8f illustrates the locked state of the actuation mechanism, with the protective cover 2 closed and wherein the helical cam 110 is arranged to "over load" the loading element 6 via the yoke 4, whereby the trigger mechanism is unloaded, referred to as the neutral position.
    • In order to fire the actuator 100, the cover is pivoted back to the initial state as is illustrated in Fig. 8a.



    Claims

    1. Actuator (100) for a breath actuated inhaler, comprising:

    a loading element (6) capable of being loaded with an actuation force,

    a breath actuated trigger mechanism (3) arranged to counteract the actuation force of the loading element (6), and to fire the actuator (100) by releasing the actuation force of the loading element (6) in response to an inhalation breath, and

    actuation locking means (2) moveable between a locked position wherein it relieves the actuation force from the trigger mechanism (3) setting the trigger mechanism (3) in a neutral position, and an armed position wherein the trigger mechanism (3) is set in an armed position,

    characterized in that

    the actuation locking means (2) is formed as a pivotal lever with a helical cam member (110) arranged about a pivotal point (120),

    upon movement of the locking means (2), after the actuator (100) is fired, from its armed position to its locked position, the helical cam member (110) acts on a loading yoke (4), initially to load the loading element (6) with actuation force and to arm the trigger mechanism (3), and subsequently to overload the loading element (6) to relieve the actuation force from the trigger mechanism (3)

    upon subsequent movement of the locking means (2) from its locked position to its armed position, the helical cam member (110) initially acts on the loading yoke (4) to unload the overloading force on the loading element (6) to arm the trigger mechanism (3), where after it is moved to its armed position wherein the helical cam member (110) is in a position that allows firing of the actuator (100), and

    wherein the trigger mechanism (3) comprises:

    a yoke lever (50) arranged to transform the movement of the yoke (4) to a pivotal movement of a lock end (52) thereof,

    a lock member (53) pivotally moveable between an armed position wherein it is arranged to prevent further pivotal movement of the yoke lever lock end (52) in the actuation direction, and an open position wherein the yoke lever (50) is free to move beyond the armed position in the actuation direction, in the armed position the lock member (53) is biased towards the open position by the yoke lever (50) which in turn is biased in the actuation direction by the loading element (6) via the yoke (4),

    a trigger element (57) arranged for movement in response to an inhalation breath, and a release member (55) arranged between the lock member (53) and the trigger element (57) to hold the lock member (53) in the armed position, and to release the lock member (53) in response to movement of the trigger element (57).


     
    2. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the actuation locking means (2) is arranged to load the loading element (6) upon movement from its armed position to its locked position, after the actuator (100) is fired.
     
    3. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the helical cam member (110) is formed so that the actuation locking means (2) is retained in the locked position by the actuation force of the loading element (6).
     
    4. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the loading element (6) is arranged to act on a non valve end of a canister body (22) of a canister (20) arranged in the actuator (100), via the yoke (4).
     
    5. Actuator (100) according to claim 4 wherein the yoke (4) comprises two cam follower legs (180) for cam interaction with and transmission of loading translation from the helical cam member (110) to the loading element (6), the cam follower legs (180) are arranged to extend diametrically along a side of the canister (20).
     
    6. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the trigger mechanism (3), the yoke (4) and the actuation locking means (2) are supported by a chassis (40) arranged in a housing (10).
     
    7. Actuator (100) according to claim 5 wherein the trigger mechanism (3), the yoke (4) and the locking means (2) are supported by a chassis (40) arranged in a housing (10), and wherein the cam follower legs (180) are arranged for and limited to linear movement in mating guide grooves formed in the chassis (40).
     
    8. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein trigger element (57) is a pivotal vane member.
     
    9. Actuator (100) according to claim 8 wherein the release member (55) is a drop link element (55) pivotally attached to the lock member (53) and arranged to engage a release surface of a trigger pivot shaft (58) at the pivotal axis of the vane member in the armed position,
    the release member of the vane member and the drop link element (55) are arranged to disengage upon pivotal movement of the vane member, whereby the actuator (100) is fired.
     
    10. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the lock member (53) and the release member (55) are biased in the armed direction by one or more spring elements.
     
    11. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 comprising a replaceable canister module (37) comprising a canister (20) and a mouth piece (60) with a nozzle block, wherein a canister body (22) is moveable in the actuation direction with respect to the nozzle block, and wherein the canister module (37) is inserted in the actuator (100) in a direction essentially transverse to the actuation direction of the canister (20).
     
    12. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 comprising a registration module (70) responsive to firing of the actuator (100).
     
    13. Actuator (100) according to claim 11 comprising a registration module (70) responsive to firing of the actuator (100), wherein the registration module (70) is arranged to detect the presence of a canister module(37) in the actuator (100), and arranged to disregard firings of the actuator (100) when no canister module (37) is present.
     
    14. Actuator (100) according to claim 13, wherein the canister module (37) comprises a non-use indicator (260) that is present in a non-use state and which is set in a irreversible in-use state at the first actuation of the canister module (37), and wherein the registration module (70) is arranged to detect the state of the non-use indicator (260) each time a canister module (37) is arranged in the actuator (100), and in response to a:

    non-use state; initiate a new actuation counting cycle, and

    in-use state; not count actuations.


     
    15. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 wherein the actuation locking means (2) is formed as a protective cover arranged to limit the access to a mouth piece (60) in its locked position and to allow access to the same in its armed position.
     
    16. Actuator (100) according to claim 1 comprising an air flow duct (190) extending from the trigger element (57) to the mouth piece (60).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Aktuator (100) für einen durch Atmung betätigten Inhalator, umfassend:

    ein Ladeelement (6), das mit einer Betätigungskraft beaufschlagt werden kann,

    einen durch Atmung betätigten Auslösemechanismus (3), der dazu angeordnet ist, der Betätigungskraft des Ladeelements (6) entgegenzuwirken und den Aktuator (100) durch Freisetzen der Betätigungskraft des Ladeelements (6) als Reaktion auf einen Einatemzug abzufeuern, und

    ein Betätigungssperrmittel (2), das zwischen einer verriegelten Stellung, in der es die Betätigungskraft vom Auslösemechanismus (3) löst, wodurch der Auslösemechanismus (3) in eine neutrale Stellung gesetzt wird, und einer gespannten Stellung, in der der Auslösemechanismus (3) in eine gespannte Stellung gesetzt wird, bewegbar ist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das Betätigungssperrmittel (2) als Schwenkhebel mit einem spiralförmigen Nockenelement (110), das um einen Schwenkpunkt (120) angeordnet ist, ausgebildet ist,

    bei einer Bewegung des Sperrmittels (2), nach dem Abfeuern des Aktuators (100), aus seiner gespannten Stellung in seine verriegelte Stellung, das spiralförmige Nockenelement (110) auf ein Ladejoch (4) wirkt, anfänglich zum Beaufschlagen des Ladeelements (6) mit der Betätigungskraft und zum Spannen des Auslösemechanismus (3) und anschließend zum Überlasten des Ladeelements (6) zum Lösen der Betätigungskraft vom Auslösemechanismus (3),

    bei einer anschließenden Bewegung des Sperrmittels (2) aus seiner verriegelten Stellung in seine gespannte Stellung, das spiralförmige Nockenelement (110) anfänglich auf das Ladejoch (4) wirkt, um zum Spannen des Auslösemechanismus (3) die Überlastungskraft vom Ladeelement (6) zu entfernen, wonach es in seine gespannte Stellung bewegt wird, wobei sich das spiralförmige Nockenelement (110) in einer Stellung befindet, die das Abfeuern des Aktuators (100) erlaubt, und

    wobei der Auslösemechanismus (3) das Folgende umfasst:

    einen Jochhebel (50), der zur Umwandlung der Bewegung des Jochs (4) in eine Schwenkbewegung eines Sperrendes (52) davon angeordnet ist,

    ein Sperrelement (53), das schwenkbar zwischen einer gespannten Stellung, in der es zur Verhinderung einer weiteren Schwenkbewegung des Sperrendes (52) des Jochhebels in der Betätigungsrichtung angeordnet ist, und einer geöffneten Stellung, in der sich der Jochhebel (50) frei über die gespannte Stellung hinaus in der Betätigungsrichtung bewegen kann, bewegbar ist, wobei in der gespannten Stellung das Sperrelement (53) vom Jochhebel (50) in die geöffnete Stellung vorgespannt wird, der wiederum vom Ladeelement (6) über das Joch (4) in die Betätigungsrichtung vorgespannt wird,

    ein Auslöseelement (57), das zur Bewegung als Reaktion auf einen Einatemzug angeordnet ist, und ein Freigabeelement (55), das zwischen dem Sperrelement (53) und dem Auslöseelement (57) angeordnet ist, um das Sperrelement (53) in der gespannten Stellung zu halten, und das Sperrelement (53) als Reaktion auf eine Bewegung des Auslöseelements (57) freizugeben.


     
    2. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Betätigungssperrmittel (2) zum Beaufschlagen des Ladeelements (6) bei einer Bewegung aus seiner gespannten Stellung in seine verriegelte Stellung nach dem Abfeuern des Aktuators (100) angeordnet ist.
     
    3. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das spiralförmige Nockenelement (110) so geformt ist, dass das Betätigungssperrmittel (2) durch die Betätigungskraft des Ladeelements (6) in der verriegelten Stellung gehalten wird.
     
    4. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Ladeelement (6) dazu angeordnet ist, auf ein Nicht-Ventilende eines Behälterkörpers (22) eines im Aktuator (100) angeordneten Behälters (20) über das Joch (4) zu wirken.
     
    5. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 4, wobei das Joch (4) zwei Nockenmitnehmerbeine (180) zur Nockeninteraktion mit und Übertragung der Ladetranslation von dem spiralförmigen Nockenelement (110) auf das Ladeelement (6) umfasst, wobei die Nockenmitnehmerbeiner (180) so angeordnet sind, dass sie sich diametral entlang einer Seite des Behälters (20) erstrecken.
     
    6. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Auslösemechanismus (3), das Joch (4) und das Betätigungssperrmittel (2) von einem Untergestell (40) unterstützt werden, das in einem Gehäuse (10) angeordnet ist.
     
    7. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 5, wobei der Auslösemechanismus (3), das Joch (4) und das Sperrmittel (2) von einem Untergestell (40) unterstützt werden, das in einem Gehäuse (10) angeordnet ist, und wobei die Nockenmitnehmerbeine (180) für und begrenzt auf eine lineare Bewegung in zueinander passenden Führungsnuten, die im Untergestell (40) ausgebildet sind, angeordnet sind.
     
    8. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Auslöseelement (57) ein schwenkbares Flügelelement ist.
     
    9. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 8, wobei das Freigabeelement (55) ein Verbindungsgliedelement (55) ist, das schwenkbar an einem Sperrelement (53) befestigt ist und dazu angeordnet ist, eine Freigabefläche eines Auslöseschwenkschafts (58) an der Schwenkachse des Flügelelements in der gespannten Stellung in Eingriff zu nehmen,
    wobei das Freigabeelement des Flügelelements und das Verbindungsgliedelement (55) dazu angeordnet sind, sich bei einer Schwenkbewegung des Flügelelements aus ihrem Eingriff zu lösen, wodurch der Aktuator (100) abgefeuert wird.
     
    10. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Sperrelement (53) und das Freigabeelement (55) durch eines oder mehrere Federelemente in die gespannte Richtung vorgespannt werden.
     
    11. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, umfassend ein auswechselbares Behältermodul (37), das einen Behälter (20) und ein Mundstück (60) mit einem Düsenblock umfasst, wobei ein Behälterkörper (22) in die Betätigungsrichtung bezüglich des Düsenblocks bewegbar ist, und wobei das Behältermodul (37) in den Aktuator (100) in einer Richtung eingeführt wird, die zur Betätigungsrichtung des Behälters (20) im Wesentlichen quer ist.
     
    12. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, umfassend ein Registriermodul (70), das auf das Abfeuern des Aktuators (100) anspricht.
     
    13. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 11, umfassend ein Registriermodul (70), das auf das Abfeuern des Aktuators (100) anspricht, wobei das Registriermodul (70) zum Nachweisen des Vorhandenseins eines Behältermoduls (37) im Aktuator (100) angeordnet ist und zum Missachten von Abfeuervorgängen des Aktuators (100) angeordnet ist, wenn kein Behältermodul (37) vorhanden ist.
     
    14. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 13, wobei das Behältermodul (37) einen Nicht-Benutzungshinweis (260) umfasst, der in einem Nicht-Benutzungszustand vorhanden ist und in einen irreversiblen Benutzungszustand bei der ersten Betätigung des Behältermoduls (37) eingestellt wird, und wobei das Registriermodul (70) dazu angeordnet ist, den Status des Nicht-Benutzungshinweises (260) jedes Mal nachzuweisen, wenn ein Behältermodul (37) im Aktuator (100) angeordnet ist, und als Reaktion auf einen:
    Nicht-Benutzungszustand; einen neuen Betätigungszählzyklus einzuleiten, und Benutzungszustand; Betätigungen nicht zu zählen.
     
    15. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Betätigungssperrmittel (2) als eine Schutzabdeckung ausgebildet ist, die zum Einschränken des Zugangs zu einem Mundstück (60) in seiner verriegelten Stellung und zum Erlauben des Zugangs zu diesem in seiner gespannten Stellung angeordnet ist.
     
    16. Aktuator (100) nach Anspruch 1, umfassend einen Luftströmungskanal (190), der sich vom Auslöseelement (57) zum Mundstück (60) erstreckt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Actionneur (100) pour un inhalateur actionné par la respiration, comprenant :

    un élément de chargement (6) capable d'être chargé par une force d'actionnement,

    un mécanisme de déclenchement (3) actionné par la respiration, agencé pour contrer la force d'actionnement de l'élément de chargement (6), et pour déclencher l'actionneur (100) en libérant la force d'actionnement de l'élément de chargement (6) en réponse à une inspiration, et

    un moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) mobile entre une position bloquée dans laquelle il réduit la force d'actionnement provenant du mécanisme de déclenchement (3) en réglant le mécanisme de déclenchement (3) sur une position neutre, et une position armée dans laquelle le mécanisme de déclenchement (3) est réglé sur une position armée,

    caractérisé en ce que

    le moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) est formé comme un levier pivotant avec un élément de came hélicoïdal (110), agencé autour d'un point de pivotement (120),

    lorsque le moyen de blocage (2), après déclenchement de l'actionneur (100), se déplace de sa position armée vers sa position bloquée, l'élément de came hélicoïdal (110) agit sur un étrier de chargement (4), initialement pour charger l'élément de chargement (6) avec une force d'actionnement et pour armer le mécanisme de déclenchement (3), et par la suite pour surcharger l'élément de chargement (6) pour réduire la force d'actionnement provenant du mécanisme de déclenchement (3),

    lorsque le moyen de blocage (2) se déplace ensuite de sa position bloquée vers sa position armée, l'élément de came hélicoïdal (110) agit initialement sur l'étrier de chargement (4) pour décharger la force de surcharge sur l'élément de chargement (6) afin d'armer le mécanisme de déclenchement (3), après quoi il est déplacé vers sa position armée dans laquelle l'élément de came hélicoïdal (110) se trouve dans une position permettant le déclenchement de l'actionneur (100), et

    le mécanisme de déclenchement (3) comprenant :

    un levier d'étrier (50) agencé pour transformer le déplacement de l'étrier (4) en un pivotement d'une extrémité de blocage (52) de celui-ci,

    un élément de blocage (53) mobile par pivotement entre une position armée dans laquelle il est agencé pour empêcher tout pivotement supplémentaire de l'extrémité de blocage de levier d'étrier (52) dans la direction d'actionnement, et une position ouverte dans laquelle le levier d'étrier (50) est libre de se déplacer au-delà de la position armée dans la direction d'actionnement, dans la position armée, l'élément de blocage (53) est sollicité en direction de la position ouverte par le levier d'étrier (50) qui est à son tour sollicité dans la direction d'actionnement par l'élément de chargement (6) par l'intermédiaire de l'étrier (4),

    un élément de déclenchement (57) agencé pour un déplacement en réponse à une inspiration, et

    un élément de libération (55) agencé entre l'élément de blocage (53) et l'élément de déclenchement (57) pour maintenir l'élément de blocage (53) dans la position armée, et pour libérer l'élément de blocage (53) en réponse à un déplacement de l'élément de déclenchement (57).


     
    2. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) est agencé pour charger l'élément de chargement (6) suite à un déplacement de sa position armée vers sa position bloquée, après le déclenchement de l'actionneur (100).
     
    3. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément de came hélicoïdal (110) est formé de telle sorte que le moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) est retenu dans la position bloquée par la force d'actionnement de l'élément de chargement (6).
     
    4. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément de chargement (6) est agencé pour agir sur une extrémité sans vanne d'un corps de récipient (22) d'un récipient (20) agencé dans l'actionneur (100), par l'intermédiaire de l'étrier (4).
     
    5. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 4, dans lequel l'étrier (4) comprend deux branches de contre-came (180) pour une interaction de came avec, et une transmission de translation de chargement depuis l'élément de came hélicoïdal (110) à l'élément de chargement (6), les branches de contre-came (180) étant agencées pour s'étendre diamétralement le long d'un côté du récipient (20).
     
    6. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le mécanisme de déclenchement (3), l'étrier (4) et le moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) sont portés par un cadre (40) agencé dans un boîtier (10).
     
    7. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 5, dans lequel le mécanisme de déclenchement (3), l'étrier (4) et le moyen de blocage (2) sont portés par un cadre (40) agencé dans un boîtier (10), et dans lequel les branches de contre-came (180) sont agencées pour, et limitées à un déplacement linéaire dans des rainures de guidage appariées formées dans le cadre (40).
     
    8. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément de déclenchement (57) est un élément de palette pivotant.
     
    9. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 8, dans lequel l'élément de libération (55) est un élément formant biellette basculante (55), rattaché en pivotement à l'élément de blocage (53) et agencé pour mettre en prise une surface de libération d'un arbre pivotant de déclenchement (58) au niveau de l'axe de pivotement de l'élément de palette dans la position armée,
    l'élément de libération de l'élément de palette et l'élément formant biellette basculante (55) sont agencés pour se déconnecter suite à un pivotement de l'élément de palette, de sorte que l'actionneur (100) est déclenché.
     
    10. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'élément de blocage (53) et l'élément de libération (55) sont sollicités dans la direction armée par un ou plusieurs éléments faisant ressort.
     
    11. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, comprenant un module de récipient remplaçable (37) comprenant un récipient (20) et une embouchure (60) avec un bloc de buses, dans lequel un corps de récipient (22) est mobile dans la direction d'actionnement par rapport au bloc de buses, et dans lequel le module de récipient (37) est inséré dans l'actionneur (100) dans une direction essentiellement transversale à la direction d'actionnement du récipient (20).
     
    12. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, comprenant un module d'enregistrement (70) réagissant au déclenchement de l'actionneur (100).
     
    13. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 11, comprenant un module d'enregistrement (70) réagissant au déclenchement de l'actionneur (100), le module d'enregistrement (70) étant agencé pour détecter la présence d'un module de récipient (37) dans l'actionneur (100), et agencé pour ignorer des déclenchements de l'actionneur (100) quand aucun module de récipient (37) n'est présent.
     
    14. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 13, dans lequel le module de récipient (37) comprend un indicateur de non utilisation (260) qui est présent dans un état de non utilisation et qui est réglé sur un état d'utilisation irréversible au premier actionnement du module de récipient (37), et dans lequel le module d'enregistrement (70) est agencé pour détecter l'état de l'indicateur de non utilisation (260) chaque fois qu'un module de récipient (37) est agencé dans l'actionneur (100), et en réponse à :

    un état de non utilisation ; lancer un nouveau cycle de comptage d'actionnement, et

    un état d'utilisation ; ne pas compter les actionnements.


     
    15. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le moyen de blocage d'actionnement (2) est formé comme un couvercle de protection agencé pour limiter l'accès à une embouchure (60) dans sa position bloquée et pour permettre l'accès à celle-ci dans sa position armée.
     
    16. Actionneur (100) selon la revendication 1, comprenant une conduite d'écoulement d'air (190) s'étendant de l'élément de déclenchement (57) à l'embouchure (60).
     




    Drawing































































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description