(19)
(11)EP 2 603 645 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
02.10.2019 Bulletin 2019/40

(21)Application number: 11746052.7

(22)Date of filing:  10.08.2011
(51)Int. Cl.: 
E03D 9/02  (2006.01)
C11D 17/04  (2006.01)
B05D 1/26  (2006.01)
B65D 43/02  (2006.01)
B29C 65/00  (2006.01)
B65D 83/04  (2006.01)
B65D 75/52  (2006.01)
B32B 37/26  (2006.01)
B65D 55/08  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2011/001411
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/021169 (16.02.2012 Gazette  2012/07)

(54)

APPLICATOR SYSTEM AND METHOD

APPLIKATORVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN

DISPOSITIF D'APPLICATEUR ET PROCÉDÉ


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

(30)Priority: 10.08.2010 US 853362

(43)Date of publication of application:
19.06.2013 Bulletin 2013/25

(73)Proprietor: S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Racine, WI 53403 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • RICE, William J.
    Antioch, Illinois 60002 (US)
  • OTIS, Thomas W.
    Roxbury, New York 12474-1485 (US)
  • KLINKHAMMER, Michael E.
    Racine, Wisconsin 53402 (US)

(74)Representative: Ruschke, Hans Edvard 
Ruschke Madgwick Seide & Kollegen Postfach 86 06 29
81633 München
81633 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 141 221
EP-B1- 1 901 972
EP-A1- 2 281 756
  
      
    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 generally relates to applicator systems and methods of using such systems. More specifically, an applicator system and a method of using such applicator system are provided for delivery of a self-adhesive single dose of a sanitary agent to a surface, such as the surface of a toilet.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Various agents for cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing surfaces of bathroom appliances such as toilets are known and have been widely available to consumers in the form of solids, pastes, gels, powders and liquids. Liquid formulations commonly delivered in squeeze bottles allow for periodic cleaning of the appliance, but require a consumer to reapply the sanitary agent each time the appliance is to be cleaned. Other products that demand less time by the consumer allow for automatic or continuous cleaning of the appliance. For example, automatic or continuous cleaning is afforded by providing sanitary agents in the form of solid blocks or by suspending the sanitary agent in baskets that hang from the appliance. The disadvantage of such modes of delivery is that to place the block or basket, the consumer is required to directly handle the sanitary agent or to directly contact an un-hygienic surface of the appliance.

    [0003] Other agents such as self-adhesive materials adhere to substrates such as surfaces of bathroom appliances. For example, self-adhesive sanitary agents allow for direct application of the sanitary agent to a surface, and thus provide automatic or continuous cleaning of an appliance while overcoming the drawbacks of previous forms. Dispensers for self-adhesive materials and agents are cumbersome mechanical apparatus that contain an inventory of agent that can be delivered in a series of controlled unitized doses. The dispenser and initial inventory of agent represent an upfront investment for the consumer. Additionally, such dispensers can be difficult to properly operate and can waste product by leaving behind residual agent inventory after the device is used. Accordingly, there is a need for an applicator for the delivery of smaller or single doses of self-adhesive agents, that is easy to use and avoids the problems of more sophisticated complex multiple dose dispensers.

    [0004] Document EP 2 141 221 shows an applicator in accordance with the precharacterizing part of claim 1 for applying a preformed detergent tablet in solid or semi-solid form.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] In one aspect of the invention there is provided an applicator system as defined in claim 1 below. Optional features of the invention are set out in the claims dependent thereon.

    [0006] In another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of using such applicator system.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] 

    FIGs. 1A and 1B are an exploded view and illustration of an applicator for delivering a self-adhesive material to a substrate

    FIGs. 2A and 2B are cross-sectional views of an applicator having an inner surface that defines a void for holding a self-adhesive material wherein FIG 2A shows an applicator system according to the present invention.

    FIGs. 3A and 3B are cross-sectional views of an applicator delivering self-adhesive material.

    FIG. 4 is an illustration of an embodiment of an applicator for delivering a self-adhesive material to a substrate.

    FIGs. 5A and 5B are illustrations of product packaging for use in providing self-adhesive materials that are delivered to a substrate

    FIG. 6 illustrates hangable product packaging for use in providing self-adhesive materials that are delivered to a substrate


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0008] An applicator 100 having an inner surface 110 that defines a void 114 for holding a self-adhesive material 130 is shown in FIGs. 1A and 1B. The applicator includes an outer surface 120 and a void 114. As shown, in FIGs. 1A and 1B, the void 114 is formed by the inner surface 110 of the applicator. The outer surface and void elements can be individually formed to facilitate the handling and delivery of the self-adhesive material. As for the materials of construction, the applicator can be formed from either a single material or various different materials. For example, the inner surface can be made of material designed for the holding and delivery of the self-adhesive material. In some embodiments the outer surface 120 may further include a handle 125. In one form of an applicator, the handle 125 may extend essentially transversely from the outer surface 120, and as shown in FIG. 1A, is adapted to be grasped between a finger and thumb. Optionally, the outer surface 120 can be formed to include the optional handle 125. The handle 125 facilitates maneuvering of the applicator into position for delivery of the self-adhesive material 130 to the surface. Such a handle can be useful for the attaching self-adhesive material below a water line, such as in a toilet or tank of liquid. As shown in FIG. 1A, the outer surface 120, the inner surface 110, and the handle 125 are formed together as a single unitary device.

    [0009] Generally, the void is an open-ended volume that is typically concave in shape so as to allow for the acceptance and delivery of a relatively small or,single dose of self-adhesive material. Non-limiting examples of void shapes include relatively uniform geometric shapes such as a cylinder, polyhedron, sphere, ellipsoid, any rectilinear volume, and so forth

    [0010] The inner surface 110 has a portion 116 that is adapted to receive and adhere a self-adhesive material 130. Self-adhesive material 130 can be a paste, gel or the like that is adapted for applying directly to a substrate which is a surface, such as a surface of a toilet. The self-adhesive material 130 is a sanitary agent that may be used to clean, disinfect or odorize a substrate. The self-adhesive material 130 can sanitize the substrate by disintegrating and releasing cleaning, disinfecting and/or deodorizing substances when contacted with a rinse liquid. Examples of self-adhesive material 130 that may be delivered using the applicators of this invention are disclosed in U.S. Patent Application No. 2008/0190457, entitled "Self-sticking Disintegrating Block for Toilet or Urinal" to Veltman et al., published on August 14, 2008; U.S. Patent Application No. 2009/0215661 entitled "Cleaning Composition Having High Self-Adhesion and Providing Residual Benefits" to Klinkhammer et al., published on August 27, 2009; and U.S. Patent No. 6,667,286 entitled "Adhesive sanitary agent" issued to Dettinger et al. on December 23, 2003. As disclosed in the prior art, formulations of the self-adhesive material can include compositions that are detersive, cleansing, fragrancing, disinfecting, septic, corrosive, enzymatic, and so forth.

    [0011] The self-adhesive material attaches directly to a wall of a toilet bowl or urinal, either above or below the water-line and in the stream of flush water, by pressing the material to the wall. Accordingly, a non-limiting example of self-adhesive material includes 25% to 99% of surfactants, and 1% to 25% of a liquid component, wherein all percentages are percent by weight of the total composition of the material. The surfactants include one or more solid surfactants, and optionally one or more liquid surfactants. The surfactants may be anionic, nonionic, cationic and/or amphoteric depending on the cleaning properties desired. The liquid component may selected from water, surfactants, glycerin, fragrances, colorants, alcohols, binders, lime-scale removing agents, hydrotropes, solvents, chelating agents, dispersing agents, and mixtures thereof. The self-adhesive material may further include a filler. The self-adhesive material contains proportions of the above-identified ingredients such that the material has a mass that has a "sticky" consistency. Preferably, the material does not flow, i.e., the block is not viscous. The ratio of the two primary ingredients, the solid surfactant and the liquid component, depends on the liquid and its penetration (liquid absorption into the solid) and the solubility of the solid surfactant in the liquid(s). For a liquid fragrance, it is desirable to absorb more than solubilize. Although the addition of water is not preferred, small amounts can be tolerated.

    [0012] Generally, self-adhesive material refers to any gel, paste, wax, solid, or the like that may adhere to, or otherwise provide a self-support from, a surface or substrate. By self-support, it is meant that a material will not require any additional device, or other mechanical means, to maintain and/or support and/or otherwise suspend the material in a fixed place, particularly in light of natural gravitational forces acting on the material. Substrates to which the self-adhesive material 130 can be delivered are numerous and diverse and can include hard surfaces that are both natural and man-made. In one embodiment the substrate is the surface of a toilet above the water line. For example, the self-adhesive sanitary material adheres to the side of a toilet bowl underneath the rim. Other non-limiting examples of surfaces to which self-adhesive material adheres can include a ceramic surface, such as a toilet bowl or a sink, glass, metal, plastic, stone, and so forth. Generally, self-adhesive material does not include a separate layer of glue which tends to leave an unwanted residue behind on the surface. Typically, the self-adhesive material is released from the surface by any number of physical and chemical processes such as being washed away, dissolved, devolatilized, vaporized, reacted, and so forth so as to leave no residue on the surface. For example, a self-adhesive sanitary material on an inner toilet bowl surface is washed away from a surface after being subject to one or more flushes.

    [0013] Without being bound to any particular theory the relative strength of adhesive force between self-adhesive material and various substrates and surfaces is controlled by the magnitude of the inter-molecular forces of attraction, i.e., between the material and the surface or substrate. The higher the magnitude of this attraction, the greater will be the strength of the adhesive force. The magnitude of this attraction will depend upon (1) the nature of the molecules contained within the material and the surface or substrate and (2) the distance between the contacting material and the surface or substrate during use. In general, the closer the distance, the greater will be the magnitude of this attraction. Surface smoothness or roughness can affect attraction such that the required attraction can be adjusted by appropriate control of the rheology of the self-adhesive material. In other words, the viscoelastic properties of the material should fall within a certain range for the material to be effective. For example, a stiff or non-malleable material can result in air gaps between the material and the surface or substrate which effectively lowers adhesive force strength. Further, a fluid or soft material can flow, drip, or drain down the surface and prevent retention of a reasonable volume of the material within a desired area of the surface or substrate. Typically, the self-adhesive material is viscous semi-solid having viscoelastic properties that can be measured using a penetrometer and/or appropriate rheometric techniques. A "Stickiness Test" as described in U.S. Pat. Application No. 2008/0190457 titled "Self-sticking Disintegrating Block for Toilet or Urinal" is another useful technique for determining optimal adhesive force to surfaces and other substrates. Once the various properties of the self-adhesive material are determined, a range can be established for the rheology of the material that can lead to good adhesion.

    [0014] In one arrangement the adhesive properties of the self adhesive material 130 can be controlled such that adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 130 to the surface portion 116 is less than adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 130 to a substrate. In this way, portion 116 readily releases the self-adhesive material when self-adhesive material 130 comes in contact with a surface or a substrate such as the inside surface of a toilet bowel.

    [0015] Referring to FIG. 1A, which as such does not disclose an applicator system in accordance with claim 1, the inner surface 110 defines a void 114 for accepting the self-adhesive material 130 which adheres to the portion 116. As shown, the void formed by inner surface has a generally concave shape so the self-adhesive material 130 fits within the void. According to the present invention a cover 140 attaches to a rim on the periphery surrounding the void and seals the self-adhesive material within the void.

    [0016] Optionally, indicia can be included on the various surfaces of the applicator and related components. The indicia can be used to convey a wide variety of information including, but not necessarily limited to, health, safety, environmental, use, brand identification and so forth.

    [0017] Use of the applicator 100 as shown in FIG. 1B typically involves grasping the applicator 100 between a finger and thumb. With the cover 140 removed the self-adhesive material 130 is exposed within the void 110 and is ready to be delivered to a substrate. To position the applicator for delivery of the exposed self-adhesive material 130, a finger and thumb grasp handle 125 and maneuver the applicator 100 into contact with a substrate. Applicator 100 is positioned so that the self-adhesive material 130 can be brought into contact with the substrate. For example, the applicator can be used to deliver a single dose of the self-adhesive material to a surface of a toilet by placing the applicator 100 with self-adhesive material 130 in contact with the surface of the toilet above a water line.

    [0018] Cross-sectional views of an applicator 100 having a portion 116 of inner surface 110 for holding a self-adhesive material 130 are shown in FIGs. 2A and 2B. According to the present invention the inner surface 110 includes a rim 144 that encircles the void 114 formed by inner surface 110. The rim 144 is designed to facilitate removable attachment of the cover 140 to the rim 144 so as to enclose the self-adhesive material 130. The cover 140 protectively seals the self-adhesive material 130 inside the void 114. Prior to use of the applicator the cover 140 is detached from the rim 144 to expose the self-adhesive material 130 disposed in void 114. Cover 140 is made from material that provides a barrier against moisture and odor or fragrance. Typically the cover 140 is made of multilayer foil, a metalized barrier film such as a metal foil for example aluminum foil, plastic film, or combinations thereof. Examples of polymers used to form plastic films include, but are not limited to, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polybutylene terphthalate, polyethylene naphthalate, polyesters, polycarbonates, polystyrene, acrylics, polyurethanes, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl fluoride, and mixtures and copolymers thereof. In one embodiment, the cover 140 can be formed to have a tab 146 that can used to facilitate the removal of the cover.

    [0019] A non-limiting example of material used to form or make the applicator 100 and related components such as the cover 140 can also include biodegradable or other environmentally compatible materials. The applicator components can be made of single-layer sheets or multi-layer laminate sheets such as the combination of barrier foil with plastic. Optionally, the materials can be transparent, translucent, or opaque as deemed desirable for various product supply, packaging, marketing, and various other business considerations. A non-limiting example of material includes heat sealable thermoplastic materials such as polyethylene or polypropylene. Layered laminates having generally a sandwich construction can include any combination or order of polyethylene, cellophane, paper, polyester, and so forth including variations there of. Selection of materials, and the thickness thereof, is determined by the nature of the material being packaged. The selection of biodegradable materials generally includes consideration of decomposition in both natural aerobic and anaerobic environments. More specifically for plastics material, biodegradability is achieved by materials that can be metabolized by microorganisms into inert material having minimal impact on the environment. For biodegradation in an aerobic environment a plastic can be selected based on ASTM D6400-04 Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics, ASTM D6868 - 03 Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates, and the ASTM D7081 - 05 Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment. For biodegradation in an anaerobic environment a plastic can be selected based on ASTM D5511 - 02 Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under High-Solids Anaerobic-Digestion Conditions or ASTM D5526 - 94(2002) Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Accelerated Landfill Conditions.

    [0020] In addition, biodegradable or other environmentally compatible materials can include water-soluble material. Without being limited by any particular theory, water-soluble materials are materials that disintegrate or dissolve in the presences of water. Non-limiting examples of water-soluble material include, but is not necessarily limited to water-soluble polymers, particularly polymers that are useful in film forming, such as poly-vinyl alcohol, cellulose ether, and so forth either individually or in various combinations. As generally known in the art, various additives can be incorporated into the water-soluble polymers to alter disintegration and dissolution as desired.

    [0021] As shown in FIG. 2B, in a comparative arrangement the cover 140 protectively seals the substrate surface of the self-adhesive material 130. Such protection is desirable when the environment affects the adhesive properties of the self-adhesive material such as the loss of adhesive force due to oxidation, moisture, and so forth. For such a cover, it is desirable that the adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 130 to the cover 140 be less than the adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 130 to the surface portion 116. In this way, cover 140 may be detached from the rim 144 such that the self-adhesive material 130 remains in the void 114.

    [0022] According to the present invention the surface portion 116 is the surface of a release layer 118 - see Fig. 2A - that is attached to the inner surface 110. In this way, the release layer 118 can be used to control adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 130. If the properties of the inner surface do not allow proper adhesive force with the self-adhesive material, the release layer 118 can be attached to the inner surface to provide a surface portion 116 that allows for the desired adhesive force with the self-adhesive material 130. For example, the release layer 118 may be made of a wax paper, silicone coated paper, and so forth that is glued to the inner surface 110.

    [0023] The release layer 118 is formed to release from the inner surface 110 and remain attached to the self-adhesive material 130 when the self-adhesive material is applied to the hard surface. The release layer 118 provides a protective layer or backing for the self-adhesive material until the appliance with the hard surface is put into use such as by flushing in the case of a toilet. When used in this manner, the release layer 118 is desirably formed of biodegradable or other environmentally compatible materials. More specifically, the release layer can be formed from water-soluble material as describe herein which upon contact with water, such as through flushing, will dissolve or disintegrate to fully expose the self-adhesive material.

    [0024] Cross-sectional views of an applicator 100 delivering self-adhesive material 130 to a surface are as shown in FIGs. 3A and 3-B. As described above, the void 114 has a general concave shape. In one embodiment, the concave shape can be in the form of a deformable resilient shape of a dome and sidewalls. Such a shape easily deforms when force is applied and then recovers to its original profile when the force is removed. Material useful in the making such a deformable applicator 100 include deformable resilient material, such as flexible or rigid plastic including, but not limited to, thermoformed plastic.

    [0025] To use the applicator for the delivery of self-adhesive material 130 to a surface, the cover 140 is removed to expose the self-adhesive material. As shown in FIG. 3A the exposed self-adhesive material is positioned against a substrate. Appropriate pressure is applied to facilitate any required deformation of the applicator surfaces and the adhesion of self-adhesive material 130 to the substrate. When an optional handle 125 is available it can be grasped between a finger and thumb to help steady the applicator as it is being pressed against the substrate. As the applicator 100 is pressed against the substrate, the surfaces that define the normally concave void 114 deform so as to allow contact of the self-adhesive material with the substrate or surface. In some embodiments, upon release of self-adhesive material 130, the applicator 100 resumes its original profile with inner surface 110 forming a void 114 having a generally concave shape. Self-adhesive material 130 remains in contact with the substrate and is left behind on the substrate when applicator 100 is pulled away. The self-adhesive material 130 is held in place on the substrate by its adhesive properties.

    [0026] An applicator 400 for delivering a self-adhesive material to a substrate is as shown in FIG. 4. This applicator is not covered by wording of claim 1 claiming an applicator system having a release layer. The applicator 400 has an inner surface 410 that defines a void 414 for holding a self-adhesive material 430. The applicator includes an outer surface 420 which along with the void can be individually formed to facilitate the handling and delivery of the self-adhesive material. The applicator can be formed from either a single material or various different materials. For example, the outer surface can be made of a rigid material this is formed to facilitate the holding, moving, manipulating, and so forth of the applicator while the inner surface can be made of material designed for the holding and delivery of the self-adhesive material. In some arrangements a portion of the applicator extends essentially laterally from the outer surface 420 so as to for a handle 425 which can be adapted to be grasped between a finger and thumb. In one arrangement the handle 425 can include texturing 427 on either side to facilitate grasping the applicator. Optionally, the outer surface 420 of the applicator can be formed to accommodate the optional handle 425. The handle 425 facilitates maneuvering of the applicator into position for delivery of the self-adhesive material 430 to the surface. Such a handle can be useful for the attaching self-adhesive material to the inside surface of a toilet or generally and container that holds. As shown in FIG. 4, the outer surface 420, the inner surface 410, and the handle 425 are formed together as a single unitary device.

    [0027] The inner surface 410 has a portion (not shown) that is adapted to receive and adhere a self-adhesive material 430. Self-adhesive material 430 can be a paste, gel or the like that is adapted for applying directly to a substrate. In some arrangements, the self-adhesive material 430 may be a sanitary agent that may be used to clean, disinfect or odorize a substrate. The self-adhesive material 430 can sanitize the substrate by disintegrating and releasing cleaning, disinfecting and/or deodorizing substances when contacted with a rinse liquid. In one arrangement the adhesive properties of the self-adhesive material 430 are controlled such that adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 430 to a surface portion (not shown) is less than adhesive force of the self-adhesive material 430 to a substrate. In this way, surface portion (not shown) readily releases the self-adhesive material when self-adhesive material 430 comes in contact with a surface or a substrate such as the inside surface of a toilet bowel.

    [0028] Generally, the inner surface 410 defines a void 414 for accepting the self-adhesive material 430 which adheres to a portion (not shown) of the inner surface. The void formed by inner surface has a generally concave shape so the self-adhesive material 430 fits within the void. In some arrangements as shown in FIG. 5A, a cover 540 attaches to a periphery surrounding the void and seals the self-adhesive material within the void.

    [0029] Use of the applicator 400 typically involves grasping the applicator 400 by the handle 425 between a finger and thumb. Any cover over the void is removed so as to expose the self-adhesive material 430 within the void 410 for delivery to a substrate. To position the applicator for delivery of the exposed self-adhesive material 430, a finger and thumb grasp handle 425 and maneuver the applicator 400 into contact with a substrate. Applicator 400 is positioned so that the self-adhesive material 430 can be brought into contact with the substrate. Optionally, while grasping the handle 425 of the applicator with a thumb and finger, a free finger on either hand can press on the outer surface 420 opposite the self-adhesive material to deform the applicator as required so that the self-adhesive material comes in contact with the substrate. For example, the applicator can be used to deliver a single dose of the self-adhesive material to a surface of a toilet by placing the applicator 400 with self-adhesive material 430 in contact with the surface of the toilet above a water line.

    [0030] An example of product packaging for use in providing self-adhesive materials that are delivered to a substrate is as shown in FIGs. 5A and 5B. This product packaging is not covered by the wording of claim 1 claiming an applicator system having a release layer.

    [0031] A plurality of applicators 400a-e for delivering a self-adhesive material can be combined in a single package as desired to meet marketing and customer need for convenience and cost. For example, product package 500 that holds multiple applicator in a fashion similar to a pack of chewing gum. Once opened the residual portion of the product package forms a container 510 that holds any remaining applicators while allowing for the easy removal of individual applicators. As generally known for typical consumer products, an end 520 of the product package is designed for easy and convenient removal so as to expose the plurality of applicators 400a-e. Again as commonly known in the art the products package 500 can include a perforated portion 530 and underlying pull tab 532 which can be used to "open" the product package by facilitating the removal of end 520. Once the end 530 is removed individual applicators can slide out of the product package 500 as is being exhibited by applicator 400e.

    [0032] As shown in FIG. 5A, the applicator 400e can include a handle 525. Besides being useful during application of the self-adhesive material to a substrate as described above, such a handle can be used to facilitate the removal of an applicator such as 400e from the container 510. By grasping and pulling on the handle 525, the applicator 400e can be withdrawn from the container 510. Optionally, the applicators, such as 400e, can include a cover 540 that can used to protect the contained self-adhesive material. The cover can be formed to have a tab 546 which is to be used to help remove the cover 540. In another embodiment, the outer surface of the adjacent applicator can function as a cover.

    [0033] In yet another example of applicator packaging, hangable product packaging 600 for use in providing self-adhesive materials that are delivered to a substrate is as shown in FIG. 6. This applicator packaging is not covered by the wording of claim 1 claiming an applicator system having a release layer.

    [0034] In this arrangement, a plurality of applicators 400f-h for delivering a self-adhesive material can be combined in a single package as desired to meet marketing and customer need for convenience and cost. Here, hangable product packaging 600 is designed to contain multiple applicators that are removably attached to one another in series. This type of hangable product packaging can include a tab 660 having aperture 662 for use in supporting hangable product packaging 600 form a marketing display or storage support such as by a peg, rod, nail, and so forth. As generally known for typical consumer products, the tab 600 and the applicators 400f-g are attached sequentially in series via separable connections 602a-c. For example, the connections can include a series of perforations or serrations, which allow each applicator to be serially removed from the hangable product packaging.

    [0035] For illustration purposes the details of each of the applicators 400f-h are shown each individually and each with distinct view of the applicator. In actual use, the hangable product packaging would provide all the applicators in a closed and sealed form as common known for consumer products. In any case, each applicator includes a self-adhesive material 630 which is contained in a void 610. A cover 640 that attached to rim 612 can cover and protect the self-adhesive material in the void 610 and can have a tab 646. The applicator can include a handle 625 with optional gripping 627 that among other functions can be useful during the separation of an applicator from the hangable product packaging 600. Further and as commonly known in the supply of products, the hangable product packaging 600 can include optional protective layer 650 that surrounds and protects either individual or multiple applicators.

    [0036] A non-limiting example of material used to form the various forms of the product packaging can includes biodegradable or other environmentally compatible materials include water-soluble materials as described above for use with the applicator. Optionally, the product packaging materials can be transparent, translucent, or opaque and can be constructed from single-layer sheets or multi-layer laminate sheets as deemed desirable based on a variety of considerations related to product supply, packaging, marketing, business needs, and so forth.

    [0037] Fig. 7 provides an exemplary alternative to the arrangement shown in Fig. 6 which alternative is not covered by the wording of claim 1 claiming an applicator system having a release layer. The applicator packaging may be provided in a hangable product packaging 600 for use in providing self-adhesive materials that are delivered to a substrate. In this embodiment, a plurality of applicators 400i-k for delivering a self-adhesive material 730 can be combined in a single package as desired to meet marketing and customer need for convenience and cost. In this arrangement, hangable product packaging 700 is designed to contain multiple applicators that are removably attached to one another in series. For example, in the arrangement shown in Fig. 7, the individual applicators may be separated by perforations 708 between the applicators. This type of hangable product packaging can include a tab 760 having aperture 762 for use in supporting hangable product packaging 700 form a marketing display or storage support such as by a peg, rod, nail, and so forth.

    [0038] For illustration purposes the details of each of the applicators 400i-k are shown each individually and each with distinct view of the applicator. In actual use, the hangable product packaging would provide all the applicators in a closed and sealed form as common known for consumer products. In any case, each applicator includes a self-adhesive material 730 which is contained in a void 710. A cover 740 that attached to rim 712 can cover and protect the self-adhesive material in the void 710 and can have one or more gripping areas 747 along the edge of the cover 740. In the arrangement shown in Fig. 7, the gripping areas 747 may be recesses that may accommodate the finger of a user. A surprising benefit of providing such gripping areas 747 is that the user may be able to place her finger(s) into the gripping areas 747, such as a thumb and middle finger and secure the adhesive material 730 and then use her index finger to engage the outer surface 720 and apply force, F, to effectively "press" the adhesive material 730 onto whichever surface she desires. Such a process is shown in Fig. 8 - not covered by the wording of claim 1 claiming an applicator system having a release layer, nor by wording of claim 8 - with the addition that an applicator 4001 is provided with a removable material 840 on the underside of the applicator 4001 that may be removed prior to engaging the material onto a surface (not shown). The removable material may be a foil that is adhered onto the underside of the applicator 4001 that secures the adhesive material 730 within the void of the applicator 4001 during storage, transport, etc.

    [0039] It is to be appreciated that various changes, rearrangements and modifications may be made, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An applicator system for delivery of a single dose of sanitary agent to a surface, such as to a surface of a toilet, comprising an applicator and a self-adhesive material, wherein the applicator comprises:

    an outer surface (120);

    an inner surface (110) opposite the outer surface, the inner surface defining a void (114);

    a rim (144) disposed about a periphery of the void (114); and

    a cover (140) removably attached to the rim;

    the self-adhesive material (130) having an applicator side and a substrate side disposed within the void (114);

    wherein a release layer (118) is attached to the inner surface (110) and is thereby disposed between and in contact with the inner surface (110) and the applicator side of the self-adhesive material (130), the applicator comprising a deformable resilient material such that, with the cover (140) removed and the applicator system positioned against the surface with a substrate side of the self-adhesive material (130) facing the surface, pressure applied to the applicator deforms the void bringing the self-adhesive material into adhesion with the surface,

    characterized in that the applicator system is configured such that when the pressure is relaxed the release layer (118) releases from the inner surface (110) and remains attached to the self-adhesive material (130).


     
    2. The applicator system of claim 1, wherein the release layer (118) is formed of biodegradable or other environmentally compatible material.
     
    3. The applicator system of claim 1, wherein the inner surface (110) of the void (114) has a concave shape in the form of a dome and sidewalls made of the deformable resilient material.
     
    4. The applicator system of claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the deformable resilient material is a thermoformed flexible plastic.
     
    5. The applicator system of claim 2, 3 or 4, further comprising a handle (125) attached to the outer surface (120).
     
    6. The applicator system of claim 5, wherein the handle (125) is configured such that it can be grasped between a finger and thumb.
     
    7. The applicator system of any preceding claim, wherein a composition of the self-adhesive material is selected from the formulations consisting of: detersive, cleansing, fragrancing, disinfecting, septic, corrosive, enzymatic, or combinations thereof.
     
    8. A method of using an applicator system according to any of claims 1 to 7 for delivery of a self-adhesive material, the method comprising:

    providing the applicator system;

    removing the cover (140);

    placing the applicator in contact with the surface, such as to the surface of a toilet, with the inner surface (110) facing the surface;

    pressing the applicator against the surface to deform the void (114) bringing the substrate side of the self-adhesive material into adhesive contact with the surface; and

    removing the applicator from the surface whereby the release layer (118) remains attached to the self-adhesive material (130).


     
    9. The method of claim 8, further comprising the steps of providing a handle (125) attached to the outer surface and grasping the handle.
     
    10. The method of claim 9, wherein the handle is grasped between a finger and thumb as it is being pressed against the surface.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Applikatorsystem zur Abgabe einer Einzeldosis eines Sanitärmittels an eine Oberfläche, wie eine Fläche einer Toilette, umfassend einen Applikator und ein selbsthaftendes Material, wobei der Applikator umfasst:

    eine Außenfläche (120);

    eine Innenfläche (110) gegenüber der Außenfläche, wobei die Innenfläche einen Hohlraum (114) definiert;

    einen Rand (144), der über einen Umfang des Hohlraums (114) angeordnet ist; und

    eine Abdeckung (140), die entfernbar an dem Rand angebracht ist;

    wobei das selbsthaftende Material (130) eine Applikatorseite und eine Substratseite aufweist, die innerhalb des Hohlraums (114) angeordnet sind;

    wobei eine Freisetzungsschicht (118) an der Innenfläche (110) angebracht ist und dadurch zwischen und in Kontakt mit der Innenfläche (110) und der Applikatorseite des selbsthaftenden Materials (130) angeordnet ist, wobei der Applikator ein verformbares nachgiebiges Material umfasst, so dass, wenn die Abdeckung (140) entfernt ist und das Applikatorsystem gegen die Fläche positioniert ist, wobei eine Substratseite des selbsthaftenden Materials (130) der Fläche zugewandt ist, ein Druck, der auf den Applikator ausgeübt wird, den Hohlraum verformt, wodurch das selbsthaftende Material zum Haften auf der Fläche gebracht wird;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Applikatorsystem derart ausgelegt ist, dass, wenn der Druck nachgelassen wird, die Freisetzungsschicht (118) von der Innenfläche (110) freigesetzt wird und an dem selbsthaftenden Material (130) angebracht bleibt.


     
    2. Applikatorsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Freisetzungsschicht (118) aus einem bioabbaubaren oder anderen umweltverträglichen Material gebildet ist.
     
    3. Applikatorsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Innenfläche (110) des Hohlraums (114) eine konkave Form in der Form einer Kuppel und Seitenwände aus dem verformbaren nachgiebigen Material aufweist.
     
    4. Applikatorsystem nach Anspruch 1, 2 oder 3, wobei das verformbare nachgiebige Material ein thermogeformter flexibler Kunststoff ist.
     
    5. Applikatorsystem nach Anspruch 2, 3 oder 4, ferner umfassend einen Griff (125), der an der Außenfläche (120) angebracht ist.
     
    6. Applikatorsystem nach Anspruch 5, wobei der Griff (125) derart ausgelegt ist, dass dieser zwischen einem Finger und dem Daumen erfasst werden kann.
     
    7. Applikatorsystem nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei eine Zusammensetzung des selbsthaftenden Materials ausgewählt ist aus den Formulierungen bestehend aus: detersiv, reinigend, duftend, desinfizierend, septisch, korrosiv, enzymatisch, oder Kombinationen davon.
     
    8. Verfahren zur Verwendung eines Applikatorsystems nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7 zur Abgabe eines selbsthaftenden Materials, wobei das Verfahren umfasst:

    Bereitstellen des Applikatorsystems;

    Entfernen der Abdeckung (140);

    Platzieren des Applikators in Kontakt mit der Oberfläche, wie der Fläche einer Toilette, wobei die Innenfläche (110) der Fläche zugewandt ist;

    Drücken des Applikators gegen die Fläche, um den Hohlraum (114) zu verformen, wobei die Substratseite des selbsthaftenden Materials in Haftkontakt mit der Fläche gebracht wird; und

    Entfernen des Applikators von der Fläche, wodurch die Freisetzungsschicht (118) an dem selbsthaftenden Material (130) angebracht bleibt.


     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, ferner umfassend die Schritte: Bereitstellen eines Griffs (125), der an der Außenfläche angebracht wird, und Erfassen des Griffs.
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 9, wobei der Griff zwischen einem Finger und dem Daumen erfasst wird, während er gegen die Fläche gedrückt wird.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système applicateur pour poser une seule dose d'agent sanitaire sur une surface telle qu'une surface de toilettes, comprenant un applicateur et un matériau autoadhésif, dans lequel l'applicateur comprend :

    une surface extérieure (120) ;

    une surface intérieure (110) opposée à la surface extérieure, la surface intérieure définissant une cavité (114) ;

    un rebord (144) disposé sur une périphérie de la cavité (114) ; et

    un couvercle (140) fixé de manière amovible au rebord ;

    le matériau autoadhésif (130) ayant un côté applicateur et un côté substrat disposés dans la cavité (114) ;

    dans lequel une couche de libération (118) est fixée à la surface intérieure (110) et est ainsi disposée entre, et en contact avec, la surface intérieure (110) et le côté applicateur du matériau auto-adhésif (130), l'applicateur comprenant un matériau élastique déformable de telle sorte que lorsque le couvercle (140) est enlevé et le système applicateur positionné contre la surface, avec un côté substrat du matériau auto-adhésif (130) face à la surface, une pression appliquée à l'applicateur déforme la cavité, faisant adhérer le matériau auto-adhésif à la surface,

    caractérisé en ce que le système applicateur est configuré de telle sorte que lorsque la pression est relâchée, la couche de libération (118) se libère de la surface intérieure (110) et reste fixée au matériau auto-adhésif (130).


     
    2. Système applicateur de la revendication 1, dans lequel la couche de libération (118) se compose d'un matériau biodégradable ou autre matériau compatible avec l'environnement.
     
    3. Système applicateur de la revendication 1, dans lequel la surface intérieure (110) de la cavité (114) a une forme concave en forme de coupole, et comporte des parois latérales composées du matériau élastique déformable.
     
    4. Système applicateur de la revendication 1, 2 ou 3, dans lequel le matériau élastique déformable est une matière plastique flexible thermoformée.
     
    5. Système applicateur de la revendication 2, 3 ou 4, comprenant également une poignée (125) fixée à la surface extérieure (120).
     
    6. Système applicateur de la revendication 5, dans lequel la poignée (125) est configurée de manière à pouvoir être saisie entre un doigt et le pouce.
     
    7. Système applicateur de l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel une composition du matériau auto-adhésif est sélectionnée parmi les formulations constituées par : détergent, nettoyant, désodorisant, désinfectant, septique, corrosif, enzymatique ou des combinaisons de ceux-ci.
     
    8. Procédé d'utilisation d'un système applicateur selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 pour poser un matériau autoadhésif, le procédé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    prévoir le système applicateur ;

    enlever le couvercle (140) ;

    placer l'applicateur en contact avec la surface telle que la surface de toilettes, avec la surface intérieure (110) face à la surface ;

    presser l'applicateur contre la surface pour déformer la cavité (114), faisant adhérer le côté substrat du matériau autoadhésif à la surface ; et

    enlever l'applicateur de la surface, moyennant quoi la couche de libération (118) reste fixée au matériau autoadhésif (130).


     
    9. Procédé de la revendication 8, comprenant également les étapes consistant à prévoir une poignée (125) fixée à la surface extérieure, et à saisir la poignée.
     
    10. Procédé de la revendication 9, dans lequel la poignée est saisie entre un doigt et le pouce alors qu'elle est pressée contre la surface.
     




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    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